Thursday, May 29, 2008

The 3-in-1 Post

Ok, so I finally decided to post something here.. no, it’s not about the shampoo or instant coffee.. this would technically be 3 posts.. all combined into one. Will start with something that’s not centred around myself..

Pedra Branca.. happiness. After what felt like forever.. the judgement was passed and the little island is finally ours. I still recall how a few of my friends and I were talking that it was ‘still a long way to go’ before the verdict comes out. That was in last September when the whole Pedra Branca thing fired up.. how time flies..

Well, all I can say is that I’m happy. It could have been better, like what our dear PM said.. it would have been nice to have the island and all it’s playgrounds around it, but hey, at least we got the bigger/more important chunk. Kudos to Prof S. Jayakumar, Prof Tommy Koh and Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong for doing such a splendid job over at Hague. It’s amazing if you ask me.. how the ownership of the island goes to us.. just look at the map and you’ll see that the island is waaaay off the mainland, but thanks to these splendid people for putting up such a good case, it’s now written on stone that it’s ours. Wow.. *cheers*

Ok, so much for the Country.. I don’t particularly feel like discussing on the recent Chinese/Burmese happenings.. so looking inward, I’ve finally settled on my FYP. From the previous post, you might have inferred that there was (and there really was) quite a mess with the FYP situation with DSO. So after barking up a few wrong trees, I finally settled on one.. a more research styled project. But well, I’ll comment on the details in time to come.. it’s perhaps not the right time and place to be yakking about my FYP now.. but all said, I finally got a project, so let’s hope that it’ll work out good.

Number 3 on the list would be the Scholarship Application. Yes, I have tried YET AGAIN to apply for a scholarship. This time with DSO (who else?). I mean since I’m already here I might as well try right? Since I probably stand a better chance? Well, WRONG! As with most gah-men or semi-gah-men organisations, they’re usually result-blind. This time, I dare say that the essay I drafted for the application was the best I have ever written (thanks darling, couldn’t have done it without your help).. it was the most effort and time, as well as brain matter spent on writing the essay, needless to say, it looks the best..

but in the very words of the HR personnel whom I submitted it to,

“..I see that your degree audit states that your GPA is 3.96 points. As an applicant for SOAR would require a GPA of at least 4.2 points at the point of application; hence I am afraid that I will not be able to shortlist you for SOAR.”

So I won’t even be considered for it. How sad right? I don’t even get to make the first cut, perhaps if I had been shortlisted then I probably had a chance to proof myself at the interview.. but no. I am short of 0.24 points so I won’t even be considered. Growl. And they tell us that there's always more slots than IA students wanting to take up the scholarship.. BAH! What nonsense..

So that pretty much sums up the past 3 weeks. IA’s finally ending soon and it’s about time I guess. With all that’s been going on here, it’d be good perhaps to apply some ‘repressive memory’ to this whole episode in life and then just move on.. hah.

From the ChannelNewsAsia Website:
ICJ awards Pedra Branca's sovereignty to Singapore
23 May 2008 1755 hrs (GMT + 8hrs)

THE HAGUE: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague in the Netherlands has awarded sovereignty over Pedra Branca island to Singapore, while the sovereignty of Middle Rocks has been awarded to Malaysia.

The world court delivered the judgement on Friday, after several rounds of written and oral pleadings by the two disputing countries. The ICJ last heard arguments from both sides in November 2007.

For Pedra Branca , ICJ's 16-member bench voted 12-4 in favour of Singapore. Ownership of Middle Rocks, a maritime feature 0.6 nautical miles from Pedra Branca , was voted 15-1 in favour of Malaysia.

As for the island's other maritime feature, South Ledge, Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh, the Acting President of ICJ, said: "The Court has not been mandated by the parties to draw the line of delimitation with respect to the territorial waters of Malaysia and Singapore in the area in question.

"In these circumstances, the Court concludes that for the reasons explained above, sovereignty over South Ledge, as a low tide elevation, belongs to the State in the territorial waters of which it is located."

The verdict brings to a close a 28-year row between the two neighbours. The dispute arose in 1980 when Singapore protested against a new Malaysian map of its maritime boundaries, which claimed the islet for itself.

Years of bilateral talks failed to resolve the matter and the parties agreed to seek the intervention of the UN court.

Pedra Branca , which Malaysia calls Pulau Batu Puteh, is located some 24 nautical miles to the east of Singapore and it commands the entire eastern approach to the Singapore Strait, through which almost 900 ships pass daily.

Pedra Branca also houses the Horsburgh Lighthouse, the oldest feature on the island which was built by the British between 1847 and 1851.

Leaders from both Singapore and Malaysia had said they would accept the ICJ's decision and stressed that whichever way it went, it would not affect bilateral ties.

A joint technical committee has been set up to implement the terms of the judgement.

Dean of the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Barry Desker, said the judgement indicates that Southeast Asia is moving to accept the broader norms of international law.

He added that it augurs well for the dispute settlement mechanism of the ASEAN Charter and will set precedence for the way Singapore and Malaysia deal with their other outstanding bilateral issues.

Mr Desker said: "In the past, the tendency in ASEAN was to try and resolve issues purely by mediation or negotiations between two parties. The result was that issues or disputes between parties in the region tended to go on and on without completion, without successful negotiation.

"I think we are now moving in the direction of accepting a turn to international law – a willingness to accept international arbitration and this bodes well for issues in which there are bilateral differences."

Mr Desker also described the verdict as a "win-win" outcome for both sides because no party can claim it has won everything.

Moving forward, he said the technical committees of both countries will need to put into action the decision of the International Court of Justice. These include working out the necessary protocols to ensure the navigation safety of fishing vessels and pleasure crafts around Pedra Branca .


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuborg Beer

Erdinger's fine.. really sweet and smooth taste that goes down real easily. Hoegaarden's good too.. just as smooth with a bit of a slight 'roughness' to it. But when you're looking for something that meets the mark, where you want the smoothness of an erdinger.. light enough to chuck down easily.. but yet, still having enough oomph and punch that they're golden/clear counterparts have.. look no further.

Meet Tuborg. It wasn't till this past weekend that I had my first sip. And looks like the first impression was a long-lasting one.. addictive if I may say. You get the sweetness and smoothness of an Erdinger.. the typical white-beer kinda flavour.. exploding with taste. But yet, you don't get the aftertaste that a Hoegaarden leaves behind. Add to that a punch that a regular Carlsberg/Heineken gives you.. fuse them together, say the magic word and walaa! You get Tuborg. And hey, they even have an idiot-proof pull-off bottle cap.. doesn't get any better.. *wink*

By far, the best beer I've tasted. Tried it at Fosters; English Rose Cafe at holland on friday.. the nice waitress was kind enough to recommend their promotional beer and I thot.. 'uh, what the heck.. can't be THAT bad'. Heh.. I'm so happy I tried it.. and then a trip down to Cold Storage and I saw it there too.. apparently, Carlsberg owns them.. they're probably new to the whole beer scene in singapore.. but they've made quite an impact I guess.. (at least to me) heh..

so go ahead.. go grab one and let me know how you feel about it. =)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Grumblings about April

Realised that I haven’t blogged in quite a while. It’s almost a month since the last post.. not sure how the last month went by though.. for one work is starting to close up. I’m more or less done with my bit to make Singapore’s defense industry a notch better.. *smile*

That being said, other things don’t seem too well.. and so the ramblings and grumblings will begin. Proceed with caution.. or earplugs rather.

FYP MESS: This all started with me wanting to do my FYP with DSO. What better way right? I mean, I’m already in the company spending a good 6 months of my time, up to my ears in defense R&D.. why not carry on.. so I voiced out and they were nice enough to finally get down to forming up a project specially for me to do as my FYP.. (and everyone goes ‘aww…’) and that’s about where it starts to spiral out of control..

Apparently, the security clearance for the project didn’t go up high enough, and due to some ‘unforeseen’ miscommunication issues, the top-level big-bosses didn’t clear the project. So even though I have already managed to find a prof at NTU who’s willing to take up this project, and I’ve done all that I can possibly humanly (or inhumanly) do, they decided in the end to withdraw the project. Bummer. So much for me thinking that I’d slog my guts out for them.. only for things to turn out this way.

And as you would guess, NTU with it’s superb, awesome and HIGHLY efficient administration ‘capabilities’, does not allow me to re-submit another proposal for a project. So even though DSO is willing to re-draft another project just for me (and everyone goes ‘aww…’ again), NTU will not be willing to accept it. In their very own words, “..I’m sorry, it’s too late..” right.

Somehow, I feel that there wasn’t enough done. Like DSO could have done more, seriously.. if they really wanted to help me push for this project. I mean, after all, it’s gonna be a Sponsored project, and everyone knows that NTU will bow down to you.. to you who will SPONSOR them anything.. just look at what they were willing to do to get more students to pay hostel fees with the triple sharing thing.. hah. So maybe it’s just a ploy, a conspiracy against alvin, “knowing that he probably won’t get thru the NTU side, so we’ll just tell him to go check with them if they’re still willing to take in a new project proposal.. he probably won’t get thru anyway, so that way, it won’t be our fault..” Ok, that’s pushing it abit. But I can’t help but feel that way.. especially a week ago when they pricked my bubble bad..

The next rambling will probably be on the application of sponsorship from DSO. See, the original plan and intent, was to do my FYP with them, and because of that, I’ll most probably extend my attachment period with them, so I can have a head-start on this whole FYP thing.. plus, I foresee that I’ll be paid too (a temp staff gets paid too right?).. so that isn’t a bad thing. It’ll be like being paid to do my school work, so it really isn’t that bad an idea to extend my IA period. And then, because I’m already doing my FYP with them, I’d stand a better chance to be considered for their sponsorship. So they’ll pay for my last year of school fees and in return, I’m only bonded for 1 year after I graduate. Again, that’s not a bad thing.. looking at it, it also means that I do not have to really worry about finding a job upon graduation, cos I’ll be ‘guaranteed’ a job.

So you see.. this is the IDEAL plan.. But like they say, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. And my guess is that it probably applies to this as well.

So the FYP is messed up. And because of that, I’m starting to wonder if I should even bother to apply for the sponsorship. Deadline’s this Friday, so I’ll be needing to decide soon. And along with that, I’m now also undecided as to whether I should extend my IA term with them. Like I said, my input to the team has more or less reached its end. There’s only so much I can do regarding this particular topic. Exploring other topics to improve the project is a possibility, but it’s not something that I can do in like 2 months or less.. and plus, if they already don’t wish for me to work with them in the future, I’d just be extra baggage for them.. and so I’ll be treated AS extra baggage; ie I’m expendable.

So the other alternative is just to bite the bullet and finish this IA term professionally and then walk away from it/them.. never to return.. *buahaha* And perhaps go on a short break before I sit mindlessly in class for my inter-sem module.. which I shall grumble about some other time.

I’m now stuck with a whole list of FYPs to choose from.. the list that every prof uploads and tries to sell. Let’s hope that the few profs I contacted will be nice and willing to accept me..

So that was how my April went by.. how was urs?