The atheists of Singapore

The atheists of Singapore

Like many of the growing kids, following the church teachings and laws is a norm, a way of life for all the kids in the neighboring. The kid will follow the parents and guardians to the church proceedings and will even at times be involved in church activities at their own call. The trend continues until the kid has grown up and has moved to the world, and starts to question the eligibility and authenticity to question the religious faith that has of the time been inculcated into his system.

It becomes even harder to contemplate, when the actions and orientation that the kids pick from the world are not the teachings they attained in church. Some turn into gays, others lesbians while others basically walk out of the church. We are not being judges here , rather trying to benchmark the extent to which the people and most often the young are being exposed to and ends up turning away from the teachings of Christianity, Muslim and all the many other faiths.

It brings much perspective into the nature of the so called Christians who lead a double standard life. These are the people that know the clear red line between what is accepted as right and what makes it a wrong. There are those that despite the orientation of sexuality of a person, they are still part of the church. Not all but some.

Being optimistic of standing out as being different may not last long. As people will from time to time question the reasons behind the move you made. Feeling left out or sidelined from the affairs that you are being involved are some of the predicaments that are likely to occur unto such a person. Being normal to Christians is having all qualities that can one can relate and point out from the bible. Being gay, according to the bible is not normal, it is as a result of wildly influence.

When such people decide to come out and declare their stand on some issues contradicting with the church values, chances are high that even the government authorities will come in and start probing them for other offences that they think they might have committed for the time that they had served.

There is an organization in Singapore that seeks to amend, cater and fight for the rights of recognition as being non-religious. It is a registered organization and members seek to register more when they create awareness of their existence to further their interests. At the moment, there are two such organizations, representing both the gays and those that are lesbians.

It is very alarming that most of the young people in Singapore are also taking deep roots into the gospel of a non-believer. People aged at below 15 years of age are also having a stand that they don't have the faith in the existence of God. This is probably due to the radicalization by the pioneer members of the sect.

Each day, each week and each month there are people that continually come out in the public limelight to declare their paganisms. There are those people that were raised in religion based homes and later left those believes to be non-believers. While for others, there were already communities in Singapore that had been pagans since time in memorial, they were therefore raising a generation of people that had no standards , morals and believes in any of the believers religions per say. These communities were very strict as there were consequences of not doing what was required for them, they were punished severely. To the worst of things some of the non-believers have at one point attempted suicide as a means to find refuge in being them.

In Singapore, we start with the irrefutable proposition that the alternative to multi-racialism… is genocide in varying degrees. – Mr S. Rajaratnam, then Minister for Culture (1959–1965)

Singapore culture strives to be unbias to any or no religion. All people are equal before the law regardless of race, language or religion or non religion. Today, despite differences in ethnicity, religion and culture, people in Singapore live together as one united people.

The Legacy of Lee Kuan Yew

The Legacy of Lee Kuan Yew

Best known as the founding father of modern Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew is credited with turning an insignificant island in Southeast Asia into a booming global metropolis.

Once Singapore gained its independence from the UK in 1963, Lee Kuan Yew became the first Prime Minister of the sovereign city-state. After governing Singapore for over three decades, he is also the longest serving prime minister.

A visionary thinker and transformational leader, Lee Kuan Yew is widely considered to be one of Asia's most influential political figures and credited with leading Singapore to transition from the third world to first world in a single generation. Thanks to his overwhelming parliamentary control at every election, Lee oversaw Singapore's transformation from a British colony with a deep harbor to an Asian Tiger economy.

As he instilled the principles of meritocracy and multiculturalism into the city-state, Lee made English the common language with the purpose of integrating its immigrant society and encourage trade with the West. Under his rule, Singapore became more a more cohesive nation since promoting bilingualism in school allowed students to preserve their mother tongue and identity while not favoring any language over another.

Here are some of his most memorable quotes from different points of his career.

“Even from the sickbed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel that something is wrong, I will get up. Those who believe that after I have left the government as prime minister, I will go into a permanent retirement really should have their heads examined.” - National Day Rally of 1988, two years before his rule ended.

Lee's rule was criticized for curtailing civil liberties - such as media control - and bringing libel suits against political opponents. Despite the protests, Lee argued that such measures were necessary to achieve political stability and rule of law which are essential for economic development.

“I am often accused of interfering in the private lives of citizens. Yes, if I did not, had I not done that, we wouldn't be here today. And I say without the slightest remorse, that we wouldn't be here, we would not have made economic progress, if we had not intervened on very personal matters - who your neighbor is, how you live, the noise you make, how you spit, or what language you use. We decide what is right. Never mind what the people think.” - National Day Rally of 1986.

“I'm no longer in active politics. It's irrelevant to me what young Singaporeans think of me. What they think of me after I'm dead and gone in one generation will be determined by researchers who do PhDs on me, right? So there will be a lot of revisionism. As people revised Stalin, Brezhnev and one day now Yeltsin, and later on Putin. I've lived long enough to know that you may be idealized in life and reviled after you're dead.” - “Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going.”

“If Singapore is a nanny state, then I'm proud to have fostered one.” - “From Third World to First: The Singapore Story - 1965-2000,” written by Lee and published in 2000.

“At the end of the day, what I cherish most are the human relationships. With the unfailing support of my wife and partner I have lived my life to the fullest. It is the friendships I made and the close family ties I nurtured that have provided me with that sense of satisfaction at a life well lived, and have made me what I am.” - A speech in 2003.

“I always tried to be correct, not politically correct.” - “From Third World to First: The Singapore Story.”

“So when the graduate man does not want to marry a graduate woman, I tell him he's a fool, stupid. You marry a non-graduate, you're going to have problems, some children bright, some not bright. You'll be tearing your hair out.” - “Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going,” written by Lee and published in 2011.

“When I visited Madame Tussauds as a student in the 1940s... there were two groups of figures: the famous and the notorious, either British kings and famous leaders, or notorious murderers. I hope Madame Tussauds will not put my likeness too close to the notorious.” - “The Wit and Wisdom of Lee Kuan Yew,” a collection of his quotes published in 2013.

Green lungs beyond the concrete

Green lungs beyond the concrete

Singapore, tiny island state is filled with skyscrapers and multistory flats and malls. There are green belts directly in the heart of Singapore.First spot would be Pulau Ubin. It is an offshore island especially for those who fancy nature reserve. It is a village like area with dusty tracks and bike trails. Going to the place reminds people of the 1960s Singapore landscape. It is a cycling haven filled with mangrove at ChekJawa. It is easily accessible by first taking MRT green line till Tanah Merah Station. Hop on a bus to reach Changi Village. From Changi Village proceed by walking to Changi Point Terminal for Ferry to catch one of the 15-minute boat ride to arrive at Pulau Ubin.

Another green lung is Canning Fort Park. It was once a British administration site and first ever Botanic Gardens launched by Sir Raffles. It was occupied by Sultans and British military. It is the perfect quiet getaway dotted with colonial era structures. Tours are free which runs every month. Getting to Fort Canning is easy, by just taking MRT to reach DhobyGhaut. From there walk towards Singapore National Museum and the park would be right behind.

Bukit Timah Reserve for Nature is the highest peak in all of Singapore. It has diverse flora species and fauna species, close to 40% for all of Singapore. Be sure to reach early for a leisure hike up to the peak. Beware of cheeky monkeys encounter where they might snatch away your food. It can be reached by taking the MRT train right to Orchard Station. Proceed to hop on Bus 75/171 heading Bukit Timah. The park will be right opposite BktTimah Shopping Complex at the road end towards Hindhede.

PasirRis Nature Park has green flora on the backdrop of a beach. It is tiny but filled with interesting sights. It has a mangrove forest accessible via boardwalk and a triple storey tower for birdwatching. Kids can ride on ponies at the Gallop Stables. Renting a bicycle to get around is a good choice as well. End your day with a drink at the breezy bars at the beachside. It can be reached via walking from PasirRis MRT Station across Drive 3.

Bishan and AngMoKio Park is another green belt worth mentioning. It is 62 hectare hug smacked in the middle of suburbs and is complete with beautiful green tracts, sparkling water streams, green flora and boardwalks for human access. Café bars are all strategically located within the walking trail. Grub is a hot spot for coffee and brunch. Aramsa Spa is highly recommended for massage seekers looking to wind down after a tiring walk. You can reach the park from Bishan MRT Station. Proceed to take the bus No. 53, 58 or 55 from the Bus Interchange and drop off at Bishan Park.

Kusu Island is located south from Singapore Island and has iconic blue lagoons for swimming enthusiasts. It has also one Chinese temple as well as one Malay shrine on a hilltop. Massive amount of visitors throng the island during September and October months every year for the annual 9th lunar calendar month pilgrimage. Other period will not see any visitors. Food and water are best self-prepared. If you want to reach Kusu Island, head to Marina Bay MRT Station and hop on bus 402. You will arrive at Marina Cruise Centre. You can then take any 2 ferry rides offered daily. 3 rides are available on Saturdays and 5 on Sundays.

Southern Ridges is another hot hiking spot encompassing Mt Faber, Kent Ridge, TelokBlangah and Hortpark. It has 10km long of lush greenery, with canopy walks across Henderson Waves. History buffs can visit the WWII info centre, Bukit Chandu Reflections right in the mid-point for Kent Ridge parks. It is to commemorate the PasirPanjang battle which saw 1400 Malays ethnic soldiers staving off 13,000 Japanese military men. Getting there is easy as you just need to arrive via MRT to reach Harbourfront station. The park would be right across an expressway with the trail beginning at the mountain leg.

History of the Old Green Bus

History of the Old Green Bus

Every country has their own transportation history, from the old version in the past, and then keep developing to the newest version until today, or just perish because it can't satisfy people needs as the new, effective, and faster technology has developed. In Singapore, bus as a public transportation has its own story.

This Bus Company was established in the 1930s by Ong Chin Chuan and the associates. This company's vehicles had 30 seats. The type of Vulcan omnibus, which come from England. This bus painted in green and operated for 5 routes, from the terminals in Queen Street to Lim Chu Kang and Johor Baru. The Bus No. 5 operated from Bukit Timah area, until the Princess Elizabeth estate, was the most profitable route. This bus had a cost started from five cents to the most expensive 50 cents. This most expensive route is headed to Johor Baru, as the longest track. Before the war occurred, this company ran a mosquito buses, it is a motor bus which had seven seats and ran in rural areas. This is the most popular vehicle at that time, besides affordable in price, it also fast

Behind the company's story, there's also a story about the owners who grew in this business. Ong Cheng Siang, the son of Ong Chin Chuan, has inherited the green bus Company as the second generation. This business has boomed at that time but then led to internal strife between the staff and the shareholders. In 1960, Mr. Ong Cheng Siang has been kidnapped. He was 44 years old. He was brought to some place on the east coast. One of his sons has said that they heard their father was buried inside the hole underground. As the newspaper reported, Mr. Ong Cheng Siang has been released a few days later, after paid $500,000. He's been dumped from the car by the kidnappers at Amber road and have him helped by the cab driver who sent him to his motor workshop. He came back with rashes. His misfortune didn't end there. In 1960, he also became a victim of acid attack and left a scar on his particular body parts. And in 1971, he diagnosed to have a throat cancer and then facing his death after this illness at 55 years.

In 1971, this company is being merged with another two companies. The government taking control and merged all of the bus company operated under the Singapore Bus Service (SBS) in 1973.

Mr. Ong Cheng Siang has left three children, Ong LekMeng, Ong Bee Geok, and Patrick Ong Pei Wen. Lately, they've been asked by Alvin Tan from the National Heritage Board, to tell the stories and showed their photos of the bus company. They are happily loaned about 50 photos of the company histories, and said they want to share their family legacies with public, to let them know the history of the transportation and their family contributions, and also help with the research including the Singaporean past transportation. They also tell the stories about their beautiful memories in their past, when they took the bus and the bus driver knew them and they didn't have to pay for the ride. And when they were a child's, they used to spend their evening at the bus terminal and helped to count the takings. Mr. Alvin Tan said that the photos and the memories of the Ong family have filled the gap in the Singapore early transportation history.