Friday, August 28, 2015

Saying Goodbye to my current deployment, ST Kinetics.


ST Kinetics, the installation I've been posted to and guarding for the past one year plus. But now I'll have to bid farewell. Thank you to my colleagues, staff and cats. All of the happiness, memories and experiences we've shared. You all will be greatly missed.
Me and CPL Jeffery
Me and Shazwani
Selfie Queen and Myself, Hidayah!!
Taken at Old Police Academy
Coffee cum talk cock session
The cats of ST Kinetics.
30 years service. He's seen everything.
The many faces of Farhan and Hidayah.
Thank you for the memories. All of you will be greatly missed....

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Random Thoughts: What if Singapore Was Never Expelled From Malaysia.

Disclaimer: Everything you are about to read is purely the thoughts of the writer. If you have any problems with the content of this article, do take it up with me before posting any bullshit online. Regardless, we are all entitled to our own opinions and freedom of speech. Do respect mine before stirring any crap against me. And yes, I'm a Singaporean and I love my country. Proceed with an open mind and at your own risk.

Edited on 10th August 2016
This article published on a later date at on Wake Up Singapore has similar elements and content from my article. Do you think they copied me? You be the judge...

What if Singapore Was Never Expelled From Malaysia.

Fake Wikipedia infopedia of the what
could have been the State of Singapore

As we have very much learnt in our history textbooks, Singapore was once a part of Malaysia. But due to various reasons, we're expelled from the Federation and left to be on our own with very high economic success. However, I shall not elaborate further on the reasons why we're expelled, but rather, "what if" Singapore is still part of Malaysia? How does the our policy differ and what may or may not happen if we are still a part of the Federation?

Okay. So considering that this is an alternate universe, taking inspiration from comics and the concept of the TV series, "Fringe" where the characters traveled in between dimensions, where an alternate reality exists and the choices we make define both realities. Singapore may still be a part of Malaysia in some alternate universe/dimension. This is my take and a preview on what if Singapore stays as a state of Malaysia.


As the late Lee Kuan Yew once said, he has believed in the merger, a people connected by geography, economics, ties of kinship. Many Singaporean and Malaysian families alike have connections across each other's border. It would certainly make much sense at that time for Singapore to be a state of Malaysia.

A video artpiece from the 2013 Singapore Binnacle featuring "Happy and Free". Hypothetically showcasing Singapore in the present as a state of Malaysia.

Malay Language would play a major role.

The 14 states of Malaysia
Although the national language of Singapore is Malay, it is currently playing a ceremonial role, being featured on the state crest, national anthem, medal names and command drills. It has fallen out of use unlike during the 60s where Malay played a major role even after Singapore became independent. Even the older generation of Chinese people know how to speak it. Over the years, many institutions have dropped the use of Malay in favor of English. 
Road signs featured in the State of Singapore
As with any Malaysian state, regardless of race, "Bahasa Malaysia" would have be taught in primary schools. Chinese and Indians especially would be multilingual, as they are taught Malay and English on top of their native tongue and dialect. 

Directional road signs and street names would feature Malay words and road names. In the 70's, Malaysia changed many of its colonial street names to Malay. For example the former "Davidson Road" in KL was changed to "Jalan Hang Jebat". Fancy seeing "Mountbatten Road" as "Jalan Othman Wok" anyone? Government intuitions and statutory board logos would also have to be addressed in Malay, for example, the "Public Utilities Board" would be addressed as "Lembaga Kemudahan Awam".
A re-imagining rendition of state organization logos of the State of Singapore

Malaysian state symbols would be used and holidays will be in line with the Federation.

The Singapore and Malaysia flags side by side during the 2015 Sea Games closing ceremony. As "Negaraku" was being played, for awhile, it did look like Singapore was a state of Malaysia. 
A behind-the-scenes photo from the film "1965". Decorations showing the state's allegiance with Malaysia.
The Singapore state flag would precede and be hung alongside Malaysia's "Jalur Gemilang" (Malay for "Stripes of Glory"). President would probably still be addressed as "Yang di-Pertua Negeri". "Negaraku" would be the national anthem while "Majulah Singapura" would be reduced to become the state anthem. And the state itself would commonly be refereed to as "Singapura" rather than "Singapore". 9th of August would simply be a normal day, instead, we would be celebrating two national holidays, Hari Merdeka (Independence Day) on August 31st and Malaysia Day on September 16th. Not to forget... The Malaysian Ringgit would be the currency of the state. Sorry, no more SGD$1.00 to RM3.00.

Kampongs would probably still be around.

Typical Kampong in the state of Singapore. Photo credits: www.travelfish.org

In Malaysia, there is a local property law, where if you own land, it's yours forever and the government won't have the power to take it away from you by force. And as a Malaysian, you own the land and whatever lies below it, till the very core of the earth. That's right, the government cannot build a tunnel under your land and they'll have to buy the tunneling rights to from you. With this in mind, kampongs, farmlands, and private housing would be of abundance in Singapore. However, my thoughts is that the state would prevent people from building private houses and may limit individual land ownership due to space constraints. But they may not have any rights to disturb already established kampongs or private housing due to the federal government policy. HDB would probably exist, but Singaporeans are given a choice to stay in kampongs.

Uniformed services, statutory boards and most government functions would be provided and under purview of the Federal Government.

Former Chief Minister the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his son, Mr Lee Hsien Loong being escorted by Royal Malaysia Police.  
Police Force, Fire Services, Armed Forces, statutory boards and other government organizations may be centralized and provided by the federal government. Singapore Police Force, Singapore Civil Defence Force may merge with their Malaysian counterparts. Functions of Singaporean Members or Parliaments will probably be reduced to serving the needs of residents of their respective constituencies rather than holding onto portfolios under the Legislative Assembly. Singaporeans may also hold appointments and jobs in government organizations and may serve in other states within Malaysia.

PAP's influence would have spilled across the causeway.

Yang Di-Pertua Negeri, Dr Tony Tan inspecting the Guard of Honor during 2015 Merdeka Day.
Singapore Chief Minister, Lee Hsien Loong and
Prime Minister Najib Razak in Malaysia Parliament.
Photo Credit: Today
In 1964, the People's Action Party ran for the Malaysian general elections, with the PAP winning one seat. The PAP at that time was seen as a threat and an intrusion into Malaysian politics, which was also one of the reasons we are expelled from the federation. PAP's ideology would have spread in Malaysian politics, and the results could have seen less or none of the bumiputera benefits as the party championed for a "Malaysian Malaysia". Many of the current Malaysian policies may also differ if the PAP had a presence in Malaysian parliament. Singapore policies may also differ as the Federal Government creates the laws for Singapore and its people.

Singapore will no longer be the center of everything.

Dewan Bandaraya Negeri Singapura, Jalan St Andrews
Economical success would be shifted away from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. Which would have resulted in a more laid back and less competitive environment. Sure Singapore would still have an economy but it may be concentrated only on the CBD area rather than the rest of the island. And given that the harbors was the result of Singapore's economic success, the state will continue to be competitive in the port services rather than the finance sector, benefiting not only the state, but Malaysia as well. Infrastructure would probably be less crowded and less foreigners or people for that matter would have flooded the places. And given the free access to housing, jobs and basically everything of the other states of Peninsular Malaysia, some Singaporeans would have found better jobs and opportunities in the capital or other parts of Malaysia.

The bumiputera policy would be extended to the state

MyKad Identity Card featuring a Singapore Address
Finally, the most controversial point of all. This is also one of the reasons why Singapore was expelled for the federation in the first place. However, given that Singapore was given a higher anatomy over it's people (Same goes for Sabah and Sarawak at that time) unlike the other states, this policy may not apply or be reduced to a certain extend. Also with PAP's presence in Malaysian Parliament, this policy may be reduced or not even exist by today. 7% discount for HDB for bumiputera anyone?

Conclusion

State of Singapore's 2015 Hari Merdeka poster.
Once again, these are my personal thoughts. Despite some favors favoring the Malays, I do not think that a merger with Malaysia will suit us in the current times given our status as a global city and that both territories have been apart for so long. Both countries no longer share the same political agenda, thinking, mindset, culture, and many other miscellaneous differences. If for whatever reason, a merger were to happen, many issues will arise. 

Malaysia will need to accommodate and adjust to Singapore's demands and Singapore to do just the same. There will be people who oppose the merger and incidents may arise to stop it from happening as history has proven from the Konfrontasi conflict. Another is that Singaporeans tend to be arrogant, thinking that the world revolves around Singapore revolves and we are better and well off as compared to our ASEAN neighbors, this sort of attitude will not go down well for us if a merger were to happen.

By now many readers are probably questioning, does the writer want a merger with Malaysia? Well, honestly, it is just a thought and opinion. Once again, this perspective is based in regard to a "what if" and alternate universes. In this case, a direct answer would be no. Without elaborating further, Malaysia right now is going through a crisis and I'm actually glad we're not a part of it.

Well, if you're planning an alternate universe TV series or a movie with Singapore being a Malaysian state as a backdrop, you're welcome to use my article for inspiration. =)

Photo credits: Google, Today, Travelfish

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Lost Roads and Heritage: Jalan Ulu Seletar and Masjid Ahmad Ibrahim

I've always had a strong interest in toponymics; history of place, where it got its name from, ect. This is also one of the reasons why this blog was set up. Presenting my first article by me, Jalan Ulu Seletar, Sembawang Road.

Background

Few months back, I was riding my motorcycle back from Johor Bahru heading towards Bishan from my routine gasoline top up across the border. Rather than taking Selatar Expressway and exiting Upper Thomson, I decided to take the scenic route and use Mandai Road for a change. As defined by Google Maps, I followed the route it had suggested me. As I was riding down Sembawang Road, a small building caught my eye, from far, it looked like a mosque. So I decided to slow down and take an opportunity to pray there.
Masjid Ahmad Ibrahim in 2015.
There was something peculiar. The access road into the mosque looked very weird, seems like the length of the road was merely enough to park two vehicles with a rusty road sign at the kerb reading, "Jln Ulu Seletar". It was used as a parking space rather than a road. I decided to do some research when I have the time.
The street sign of Jalan Ulu Seletar, overtaken by algae
Jalan Ulu Selatar as viewed from Sembawang Road.
The length of Jalan Ulu Seletar is reduced to a stump, able to park two vehicles.
The name "Seletar" originated from a group of orang asli (aboriginal Malay peoples) living at the coastal lands of Sungei Seletar (Now Lower Seletar Reservoir) in northern Singapore. It is said that these aboriginal Malay peoples are relocated to Johor by the sultan in the 1800s. Seems that the name "Seletar" had been stuck and refereed to that area ever since. Translating directly to English, "Jalan Ulu Seletar" means "Rural Seletar Road" I assumed that the namesake road was also named due to its "ulu" location, given that at that time, it was really a rural location. I've tried to research on when exactly the road was built and named but to no avail.
A long concrete path in which I assumed was once part of Jalan Ulu Seletar. Now a footpath in Springside Park
The concrete path's end, viewed towards Sembawang Road. 
Springside Estate as view from the dead end of the former Jalan Ulu Seletar
Looking at the current state of the road, it seems to be serving as an address for Masjid Ahmad Ibrahim, the only Islamic institution around the area. To the south of the mouse is Springside Park, a small playground managed by National Parks. Aa concrete path right behind Jalan Ulu Seletar's end I presumed was formerly part of the road, leading to a row of metal poles to prevent vehicles from coming through. Beyond that is Springside estate. A quick check on historical maps reveals that Jalan Ulu Seletar was quite longer than what it currently is now.
Taken from the 1956 map at http://hm.onemap.sg. Jalan Ulu Seletar highlighted in orange.

Located within the former Nee Soon Village, several sources stated that the land to the south of the road was swampy wasteland. Later maps showed that the latter half is actually a track and a community center was built there in 1963. On a map of the Nee Soon Constituency, a village is depicted at the end of the road, presumably, Jalan Ulu Seletar serves as an access road to the village.

Jalan Ulu Seletar depicted in a 1972 map showing the two institutions.
Note the Kum Mang Hng Village depicted at the end of Jalan Ulu Seletar.

Masjid Ahmad Ibrahim

Taken from the Masjid Ahmad Ibrahim website and several other sources, in 1955 a madrasah (Religious School) was built on a piece of land at the junction of Sembawang Road and Jalan Ulu Selatar, bearing the address, "15 Jalan Ulu Seletar". It was known as Madrasah At Tazabiah Al-Islamiah. Within the madrasah building, it also housed a surau, known as “Surau Nee Soon”. It primarily serves villagers around the area. In 1959, the Member of Parliament for Sembawang-Nee Soon, Tan Sri Ahmad Ibrahim helped to upgrade the facilities of the surau and by 1961, its status was upgraded to a mosque and changed to its current namesake.
Taken from the Masjid Ahmad Ibrahim Facebook page. Photo dated unknown.
Taken from the Masjid Ahmad Ibrahim Facebook page. Note the 4 digit postal code.
The current sign of Masjid Ahmad Ibrahim, 2015, still bearing the Jalan Ulu Seletar address.

Demise of Jalan Ulu Seletar

Jalan Ulu Selatar in 1998 maps. Springside Estate roads are shown to be "Under Construction"
Nee Soon Village was to be converted into a HDB estate with plans laid out in 1976. It is presumed that the Kum Mang Hng Village was to be acquired by the government as Yishun Avenue 1 runs to the north of Jalan Ulu Seletar as shown in maps. By 1977, the villages had been cleared, paving the way for the construction of Yishun New Town.

The demise of Jalan Ulu Seletar became evident by the development of Springside private housing estate on the south in 1998 with the construction of Springside Avenue and Springside Road to the north. The land to the north of Jalan Ulu Selatar in which the rest of the road used to ply were in military control by around that time. Most of the road had became expunged by then, leaving a small portion to the south of Masjid Ahmad Ibrahim
Judging by the cars featured, this could be sometime in the late 80s and early 90s.
The road also seems to have fallen out of use as it featured a barrier which many
defunct roads have. Note the scenery in the background, featuring the swampy land.

Personal Thoughts and Reflections

Like many Malay road names in the 50s and 60s, many are defunct, renamed, expunged, gone or whatever the hell they call it, all in the name of development and in favor of English names such as "Selatar Aerospace Park" or "Seletar Link". I believe that if it wasn't for Masjid Ahmad Ibrahim, Jalan Ulu Seletar would have been totally erased from modern maps. A good way to retain the road would be to name the estate "Ulu Seletar" instead of "Springside" with the housing developments build around the road and secondary roads should be named using Malay road suffixes such as "Lorong Ulu Seletar", "Lintang Ulu Seletar", "Lengkok Ulu Seletar" and "Lebuh Ulu Seletar", retaining the traditional feel of the estate. The road could have been realigned to meet the needs of the development.
Jalan Ulu Seletar taken from the 1995 street directory over Google Maps location of the area.
What is left of Jalan Ulu Seletar today.
Today, Jalan Ulu Seletar is merely a tiny car park and an access path into the mosque. It remains to be an address of Masjid Ahmad Ibrahim along Sembawang Road despite being almost expunged. It is highly unlikely that the mosque will disappear or relocated anytime soon. Until then, Jalan Ulu Seletar lives ceremoniously as an address of a religious institution and in our memories.

Photo Credits go to NLB archives, Google maps, Singapore historical maps and https://thelongnwindingroad.wordpress.com

Friday, August 21, 2015

Introduction to my Fiancee, Fatin Afiqah. #ourSG50story

Me and fiancee infront of Mandarin Gallery, Orchard Road posing with the SG50 prop at the background.

Introduction to "Our SG50 Story"

Me and Fatin met sometime during March 2015. With Singapore's golden jubilee celebrations in the background, we decided to associate our relationship with the Singapore50 initiative and branding, SG50 is considered to be our nation's most special, significant and biggest independence day celebration yet. 

At first, people thought it was a ridiculous idea. I mean, why the hell would you be associating your partner's relationship with SG50 when many government organizations, statutory bodies, private companies are so called over using the SG50 branding, even to the point where it became commercialized, overuse of the brand to make it seem that it's being endorsed for profits. I've also encountered a blog, "Simi Sai Also SG50" which pokes fun at the SG50 branding. But I believe that these people don't seem to understand the significance of the branding, Considering that this country has came a long way since 1965 to what it is today is a remarkable progress and there is no harm with being proud and patriotic with a year long initiative of celebrations and activities for its people. And FYI, you can love your country without liking your government. (Just saying....)

Partially inspired by "budak motor", "budak design", Malay weddings, and other couples we decided to build a concept and branding for ourselves based on the SG50 initiative.

Only for the year 2015 will our logo be used in tandem with the SG50 logo.
Back to me and my fiancee. We got into a relationship on 5th April 2015, and to mark the occasion, I made a logo for us based on the SG50 logo. As Singapore celebrates its golden jubilee, we mark the start of our relationship and and this logo symbolizes and reflects on the occasion. The logo also serves as a benchmark for each and every anniversary. "Our SG50 Story" statement capitalizes with the significance of the golden jubilee celebrations, acting as a backdrop to our relationship to make it stand out, special and more meaningful.
A variation of our logo specially used during our engagement. 
The logo can be modified to mark certain occasions of our relationship, as seen above, used during our engagement.
Our logo and the SG50 logo being featured on the engagement tray.
To further commemorate and highlight the branding of our relationship on social media, two hashtags are used on social media platforms, namely Facebook and Instagram, #OurSG50Story, #FarhanFiqah

Fiancee with our customized button pins
The engagement gifts from my side featuring our logo.
The happy couple on the engagement day, 25th July 2015
We hope through this post, others will understand the meaning and significance of our logo and why is SG50 being associated with us. If those lepak under the HDB block Malays such as "budak design" and "mat motor" can have their own logos to identify themselves with, why not us? (Speaking sarcastically, no butthurt intended)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Collectibles Review: SG50 Commemorative Notes and NDP Singa Figurines Limited Edition Box Set

SG50 Commemorative Notes

There's been a bunch of hype in the media for the past few weeks in regards to the SG50 Commemorative Notes. So today on the 20th of August at around 8.30 AM at a POSB Bank Bishan Central branch, I decided to queue for my very own set. Its a good thing I've arrived early as there was already a crowd or uncles and aunties already at the bank and obtained a queue number. I was told that there was a wait of roughly one and a half hours. So I went down to a local McDonald's for breakfast before returning.

The atmosphere was quite rowdy upon my return to the bank. There I had my first look from a bank teller, a free booklet to put the notes in. After another round of waiting, a some confusion over the queue numbers thanks for a latecomer infront of me, I finally got my hands on my Commemorative Notes. Looks very impressive and good otherwise.

The box that comes with the booklet
The Booklet
$50 Commemorative Note
$10 Commemorative Note
The 5 different rear designs of the $10 Commemorative Notes

Overall, the notes do look good (Fatin thinks otherwise though.. Hahaha) and compliment the current "Portrait Series" notes and the booklet adds to the presentable touch. Perhaps once I buy a house, I'm gonna display this in the display case.

NDP 2015 Singa Figurines Limited Edition Box Set

After giving much though for the past few days, I have firmly decided to get the NDP Singa Figurines Limited Edition Box Set. the day before, I researched on the Singapore Kindness Movement Facebook page on their opening hours and availability. Most of the individual figurines such as the Singa Army, Singa Air Force anNavy Singa had already sold out. So today, after I went home to drop off the Commemorative Notes booklet, I took a little nap and woke up realizing I was late for 30 minutes! 

Quickly I got onto Hidayah and proceeded to The Kindness Gallery co-located within MICA at the Old Hill Street Police Station. Once again, there was a queue ahead of me, and a man was frustrated with the staff over a damage tear at the unseen part of the box. What bothers me is that he was so rude to the staff.

The limited edition NDP Singa Figurines box set. Limited to 1000 made.
Apparently mine was set number 934.
Upon opening the box. My brain was screaming.. "WAHHH!!"
Letting them out of the box seems easy. But the figurines will NEVER leave the plastic case.
The Certificate of Authenticity, stating my set number and a NDP Singa bookmark.

The government has certainly made the effort to glorify Singapore's golden jubilee with these initiatives. I guess it's really a special moment for us considering we have came a long way. Me and Fatin are glad that we met during this special year, and associating our relationship with SG50 makes it extra special for us. Will elaborate further in future blog posts.

Now... Something that bothers me. A quick check on Carousell, people are actually selling these stuff for a premium online! Especially the Singas which are free in the first place. Understandable that collectors wanna collect all 15 designs but after collecting them, they resell them again for a premium! Even the Commemorative Notes are going for $150 and above... The hypocritical behaviour of these people, milking all the ways to make money. 


Well, regardless, glad to have gotten my SG50 Commemorative Notes and NDP Singa Figurines Limited Edition Box Set in time. Certainly worth it as stuff like these don't come often.