Caveat Emptor

Recently upgraded my fibre connection to 1GBPs via MyRepublic. A guy from NUCLEUS CONNECT (company who owns the network) comes to collect my old modem. He doesn’t give me a new modem, doesn’t test or set-up anything (all handled by MyRepublic guys separately).

Before he leaves, he gives me a form and says I have to sign it. I ask him to explain what it is I’m signing and why, since all he did was collect something from me. He can’t/won’t tell me. I ask for a copy of the form. He starts huffing and puffing and doesn’t want to give it to me, so I say, “if you don’t give me the acknowledgement, I’m not returning you the modem.”

Finally he gets angry, hands me the form and leaves in a huff. After he leaves, I read the fine print where I was asked to sign. It has nothing to do with the modem or service, but is instead:

A CONSENT TO ALLOW DISCLOSURE OF MY PERSONAL INFORMATION FOR THE PURPOSES OF DEVELOPING OR PROMOTING PRODUCTS AND SERVICES, RESEARCH, CUSTOMER BENEFITS AND OTHER MARKETING AND OTHER ADVERTISING ACTIVITIES AND PROGRAMMES.

#‎NUCLEUSCONNECT‬ your personal data protection policies are a joke.  Shame on you.

#‎mediadevelopmentauthority‬

‪#‎personaldataprotection‬

#myrepublic

Going Up

She slowly leaned forward to hold the door open for us, as a spritely old gentleman carrying a large plastic bag, entered just ahead of me.

“Thank you”, I said, and in silence, we pressed the buttons that would transport us to our floors. The doors closed.

“Perchah ah?” (“broken” in Malay), I heard her ask purposefully.

“那个门” (“that door” in Mandarin), he replied, and then stopped.

My back was to them so I could not see their expressions. In the awkward silence I heard a happy desire to share, frustrated only by a lack of common vocabulary.

I exited the lift with a smile as I greeted them both with a goodbye. Perhaps the keys to our future harmony lie in our past.

Electro Canto

In my seat on a very crowded aeroplane in Hong Kong, amidst the din of boarding passengers and frazzled stewardesses, I’m drawn to a steady stream of robotic sounds that vaguely resemble speech. The sound of words seem to be there, as is the cadence and emphasis, but any tonal variation is completely missing. Metallic, artificial, like a tone-deaf Cantopop loop meeting a stream of consciousness. I’m insanely curious. I search beyond the curtain of moving bodies and, in the next aisle, see an old woman talking to her companion in the seat beside her. The old lady looks about 90, gaunt, faded, preserved, hair newly dyed, with a sometimes serious gaze that stretches beyond the confines of the cabin. One hand is pressed against her throat, holding what looks like a grey tube that is hung around her neck.  Some sort of throat amplifier. Then the plane jerks as it leaves the gate and Electrocantopop grandma puts down her voicebox, brings her handkerchief to face, closes her eyes and sits in silence.

Relationships, HPB FAQs, Lim Biow Chuan and Pastor Lawrence Khong

Relationships are relationships. They are not heterosexual or homosexual. Relationships are not respecters of persons. Relationships are also not a statistic, as much as statistics are not facts. A sample size of less than 7 billion guarantees that.

A relationship is a state of being connected. An ever-changing, interchangeable flow of fact and feeling.  Romantic relationships exist between two persons. They exist, and are sustained, regardless of, and sometimes in spite of, race, religion, sexual orientation or sleeping position.

A religious leader who trumpets his personal beliefs in public is wholly entitled to do so. Everyone else who is not the religious leader, including his followers, is entitled to agree or disagree with his point of view. Each person, has the right, and perhaps the responsibility, to choose whether they want to begin or sustain a relationship with this religious leader, based on whether his values and methods mesh with theirs.

A government representative who chooses to speak out in a similarly public manner, using a shallow secondary school argument, against making potentially helpful information available for citizens, shows little capacity for qualitative analysis or human connection. The people who made this person their governing representative have a right, and perhaps a responsibility, to question how this shallow thought process affects his other decisions, which in turn affect them.

The people might also question whether this representative should be given the responsibility to lead them in the future. In other words, should their relationship with him as their representative continue? The choice is theirs.

Each one of us has a choice. That is how relationships work.