Void decks should they remain void?

I came across this blog post on void decks on the ground floor of housing blocks.

Good, now I’ve got your attention. But this post is not about politics, it’s about urban planning and social spaces.

Having won Aljunied GRC, the Workers’ Party faced a problem of where they would conduct their MP’s clinics  — the kind of thing that in Singapore-speak we call “Meet-the-people sessions” — where at regular intervals, the member of parliament (MP) for an area would make himself available to listen to and assist his constituents. The party had no physical premises in the group representation constituency (GRC). So, last week, they held the first of their weekly clinics at void decks.

“Void decks” — another typically Singaporean term. These are the unwalled ground floors beneath blocks of flats.

… …. … … …

We seem to have forgotten that void decks serve important environmental and social purposes.

In the early days, HDB architects and planners realised that given our climate, it is important to ensure good air-circulation. That was why HDB blocks were commonly designed with void decks. The upper diagram on the right illustrates the airflow that should result.

I think the cooling factor is far more important than a karaoke center. link

Family’s ‘special night’ ends in tragedy

This is a very sad story on two fronts.

MALAYSIAN police have classified the death of Singaporean lorry driver Lah Lee Hock as a case of ‘sudden death’, but his son believes something more sinister could have happened.

On Sunday, Mr Lah, 37, was found lying on the floor of a nightclub in Plaza Sentosa in Johor Baru. He died in the first-floor lift lobby of the building later.

He had gone to the nightclub on the fourth floor with his Ipoh-born wife, Mrs Lah Li Yun, 33, their son Wee Siong, 17, and the teenager’s girlfriend Felicia Ding, 18.

Wee Siong said it was a special night out for the family.

‘We go there only when we have money, to drink and ‘shake our head’,’ he said in Mandarin on Monday, referring to the way people dance when high on the drug Ecstasy. ‘The last time we were there together was in January.’

At about 1am, the four split up to dance, he said. His father went to his ‘usual spot’ in front of the speakers while the rest of them went to the dance floor.

In the print edition, the article mentioned the couple have 3 other children. I guess it is too late for the father, may be this will point to a different path for the eldest son.  Rest In Peace and best wishes.

link Good for 3 days.

Getting Things Done or GTD

This book has been around for some time and some people really swear by it. I am currently into my first month of doing this.

Collect.  Collect all your the items that you have to do into a “collection bucket/s”.  Well if you don’t see it how can your process them?  I have found that it is not that simple to just dump out everything I was tracking or committed to do.  If anything pops up, when I am at my desk, it goes into a my tracking system.  If I am away from my desk, I immediately key it into my handphone (E71).

Process.  Process the stuff collected.  I must remember to go through B5 notebook that I use. Had a few todos that were missed out. Small items that can be done within 2 minutes, do it now.  Larger stuff, break down into small discrete next action steps (eg. buy screws from home improvement shop, buy glue to repair shoes).  Put into action list or waiting for list.

Organize.   Group the results of processing.  Multi step action items goes into Projects lists.  One off action items goes into a Next Action item list.  .  Waiting for items goes into a waiting for list.  This part here I don’t always do.   I usually push it into a tickler/calendar file. Reference materials goes into a reference file or list.

Review.  Review regularly to keep it fresh.  Check through action item lists and collect some more.  If it is at the end of the week, do a weekly review.

Do.  Just Do It.  Complete the Next Action list, item by item.  But which one first?  That is for another post.  After I internalize that part.  For now a good guide is the things that you hate doing most first.  Those items if not worked on tends to take the most time.

Singapore Cabinet website not updated.

I was looking at the Singapore Cabinet appointments to read up on the new appointees.  The new Cabinet was announced on 18 May 11.   I suppose it takes some time to line up the resumes and pictures.

The website appears to be dated 19 May 11, 1 day later with incorrect information.  Mrs Lim was defeated at the polls on 7 May and as part of reshuffle, Mr Lui is no longer heading MICA.

Was the date auto generated?

Update 22 May:  The page has been updated.

Willard Boyle, father of the digital cameras

I just saw this on Engadget, the man who revolutionized digital imaging has passed on.

We have some sad news to share with you today: Willard Boyle, the man who created the imaging technology behind everything from digital cameras to barcode scanners, has died at the age of 86. In 2009, Boyle shared a Nobel Prize in physics for inventing the CCD, which allowed people to capture images in digital format for the first time.

The article goes on to say that the groundwork started in 1969.  I guess formal recognition took its time.

link link

Firefox Sync not working.

This is for anyone encountering the same problem with Firefox Sync.  I was using this to sync between my home pc with FF3 and the office with portable FF4.  It was stable, everything works as it should I never need to check or worried about it.  Except maybe for the home pc History showing up on the office computer.

When FF4 went production, like the millions of others, I downloaded a copy and use.  A few weeks later, Sync stopped working.  I thought maybe the server was down or something.  Noodling around gave no recent news.  So I waited, and waited.  A check in the comments section of this Add in reveals that lots of people are having the same issue.  I waited some more.

Finally last week, I decided to try some troubleshooting.  I tried to resync my work FF4.  Seems that is not the original device.  During the long week end, I resynced the home computer FF3 and cleaned up some bookmarks.  Logged into the work computer add in the new sync code.  At first I thought it was not working and was in the midst of uninstalling the Add-in when I released that some of the bookmark folder names have changed.  Yippee, it is working now!

In summary, resync the original source of the bookmarks, put in the new sync code on other devices.  Wait.  Be Patient!

Mentor Minister and Senior Minister resigns after General Election

The former former Prime Minister and former Prime Minister has resigned from their cabinet positions.  They will continue to serve their wards as MPs.

We have studied the new political situation and thought how it can affect the future. We have made our contributions to the development of Singapore. The time has come for a younger generation to carry Singapore forward in a more difficult and complex situation. The Prime Minister and his team of younger leaders should have a fresh clean slate. A younger generation, besides having a non-corrupt and meritocratic government and a high standard of living, wants to be more engaged in the decisions which affect them. After a watershed general election, we have decided to leave the cabinet and have a completely younger team of ministers to connect to and engage with this young generation in shaping the future of our Singapore.
But the younger team must always have in mind the interests of the older generation.  This generation who has contributed to Singapore must be well-looked after.

Issued by:
Press Secretary to Senior Minister
Press Secretary to Minister Mentor
14 May 2011


Looking for a job

An old friend of mine got a job after a long period.  After being laid off, about a year ago, job offers were very thin.

Quite sometime ago, I received an SMS asking to help look out for job offers.  In return, I offered to polish the resume.  It was necessary as the resume of full of details but it fails the 3 second rule to capture and engage the recruiter.

After some rework, there were some positive responses and shortlists but no joy.  As in any job hunt, when it never rains, but pours.  Fast forward a few months later, there are now not one but two offers.


Overheard 1 – Polling day

On Polling Day,  went to the nearby food court to buy lunch for the family.  It was very crowded as the food court was near the Polling station.  Naturally, some people after voting went over for lunch.

While I was queuing, I overheard a tai-tai said “Is this the only ban mian stall?”

The first thing I thought “Hmm, this lady never go to a food court before?”

2011 General Election results

The General Election came and when.  This time round, it took the job of a cabinet minister and two female junior ministers.  There was a deep resentment of the ruling party’s policies.  The opposition parties came in with the best results since Barisan Socialis walked of Paliament some 40 years ago.