Thursday, September 25, 2014

When to call it quits

Most people will try to achieve something in their lifetime. Many will take on a challenge beyond their capability. After facing so much failure, will you call it quits.

For example, I was going for a very long distance cycling trip. The leg start to cramp after 120KM. It cramped so bad that I can't even move my leg. I decided to push on after resting till the cramp goes away. 20KM later another cramp started again. I rested again and continue. A third cramp started after just 3KM. This time it is on both legs. I can't even walk. Luckily I have stopped at the traffic light and there is little traffic. Do I call it quits? It is just another 17KM away to my destination. I pushed on and completed the route.

That is only a simple example. What about people like Abraham Lincoln? He lost 8 elections, failed business twice, get rejected in job applications. He is the typical example of those failed many times but in the end succeeded.

Obviously you only see those who succeeded. What about millions others who tried but never succeed? So when it is time to call it quits.

Actually, there is no such thing as "call it quits". How would you know if your next try won't turn out to be successful? But, I am not saying that you must keep on trying. Many will give themselves a limit. If that limit is reached then they gracefully let it be. Now that is not equal to quitting. Who knows when there is a new opportunity to try again? It is better than just quitting it all together. By letting go, it could also stops your mind bottleneck and fresh ideas may come out after a rest.

In my programming work, I used to hit bottlenecks. No matter how long I tried, the result just won't come out correctly. I stopped and try to do something else, after a while fresh ideas came right in and I am able to complete it exactly as expected. If I had quit then I will never get the result and settled for something less.

Do try to achieve what you wanted but don't push yourselves so hard that you keep repeating the same mistake and become stagnant with no result in view.

I like to end this note with an anticlimax. In this world there are still people who believes that the earth is flat. They stuck to the idea despite overwhelming proof that it is otherwise. Don't be such people. Accept that you are wrong in the first place and quit already.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Toll Charges

Singapore increased VEP (Vehicle Entry Permit) on 1 Aug 2014. The purpose is to limit vehicles entering Singapore between 2 am to 5 pm. Beyond the time limit it is free. On school holidays, the time frame is 2 am to 12 pm. This seems to be in line with the concept of limiting the number of cars in Singapore.

Malaysia ups its toll charges on the same date. It also introduces new toll charges for travelling from Johore to Singapore. That means the toll applies both direction.

Since Singapore only charges a fee for vehicles exiting Singapore previously, LTA anounced that Singapore will match the toll charges set by Malaysia. It couldn't be less fair to do so.

However, this means that each car will have to pay 5.7 times on a return trip. It is a heavy load to those frequent travelers.

There are a lot of complaints obviously. Many said that it is unjust to do so. Many blamed LTA for blindly matching the charges.

It is true that Singapore increased the VEP first. However, the purpose is not to increase the toll for vehicles entering Singapore. It does not have entry toll in the first place. It does allow free entry beyond the stipulated time frame though. Thus it should not be viewed as entry toll charges.

Malaysia obviously take it as a toll increase regardless and thus it adjusts its toll rate too. But VEP is for vehicles entering Singapore, thus Malaysia introduces new toll for vehicles entering Malaysia. Now that is a toll that applies at all times and it applies to both directions.

LTA subsequently announced that it will match Malaysia toll charges on top of the VEP as Singapore does not consider VEP as a toll charge. Why does LTA matches the toll charges? Well, VEP is for foreign vehicles entering Singapore during working hours. Toll charges is for ALL vehicles entering Singapore. It is a very different thing.

Since Malaysia says it is to pay for the maintenance of EPL which, according to a commentor in TODAY, is not necessary means that vehicles using the EPL need to pass through CIQ, it simply means that the toll is for vehicles entering and exiting Malaysia. Surely it is not unfair for Singapore to match the tolls in the same way.

In the end, the vehicle user had to fork out the extras regardless. For those Malaysians working in Singapore and those Singaporeans in Iskandar and else where, it means they have to pay for the extras each day.  It is a loss loss situation.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Old Clementi Railway

Old Clementi Railway is an abandoned railway. This railway is the former Jurong line which is 14KM in length. What is left of it now is just a few sections of decaying rail tracks. This trip does not try to trace the complete 14 KM. The effort is just to try some section of it along Ulu Pandan PC.

Due to convenience sake, the trip starts at a bus stop near Nan Hua Primary along Commonwealth Ave West. A walk to Jln Lembing then Faber Dr with the intention to find one section still indicated in OpenStreetMap (OSM). Unfortunately it is totally not accessible. I have no choice but continue through a park to climb up a staircase to access to Faber Heights an thereafter to the Ulu Pandan PC.

The first plant seems new to me. I guess it is a Memecylon but could be a Syzygium instead. Unless the flower blooms, it is very hard to judge. This plant is at Faber Walk.

Along Faber Walk, there are quite a number of Red Powderpuff trees with bees flying around. I did not take any picture as the flower is relatively small and not so nice.

There are quite a number of private housing along Faber Heights. I saw this Starfruit tree with flowers and fruit.

At Ulu Pandan PC, there is an opening at the undrepass of Commonwealth Ave West. It seems to be quite close to the rail track. I walked over it and did see the track in front and behind me. I walked backwards towards the west to see where it leads and to my dismay it only last a couple of meters before disappearing totally but I can still see an opening in front. Since the distance backwards is quite short, I decided to continue forward to the east instead.

One thing to note is that I am not keen to take pictures of the rail. The trip is basically a flora fauna photography trip. has a much better documentation on the track.

A short distance after the underpass, the track actually goes underground. It is probably due to land fill near the Singapore Buddhist Youth Mission. I strayed into a garden to the left and talked to a old gentleman who is tending to the garden. He kindly told me that the rail is indeed under ground. He suggest me to continue walking above the land fill and the track will be further down the opening.

From the map it is indeed a walking path indicated instead of a rail track. I took the advice and continues the trip. The track appears near underpass at Clement Ave 6. To the right of it is some sort of garden or farm. To the left it seems to be an abandoned building site.  I tried the right hand side when I reached a crossing where a path leads to HDB Blk 305.

The abandoned building looks weird. It is more like a cemetery site but without any tomb stones. It looks like a Muslim burial site but I can't make out the tombs thus backed out of the place.

I went to the right into the farm/garden. There is a sign board that says it is a temporary garden.   Here I took a few pictures of a Passion fruit.

A spider egg nursery is found but I just can't find any information besides that it is probably a Jumping Spider egg sac.

There are, of course, some other plants but they are too common to warrant a picture of it. I contined the track and came to an end before an overpass across the PC and the river. The crossing is probably too dangerous for people so it was blocked up. Just before the overpass, the rail actually hangs above ground with its sleepers still attached. This is probably to the land sunk in below it.

Luckily there is a foot path leading down to the PC. I continued down the PC to cross the river further down.  This Cockspur Coral Flower along the river looks too nice to miss.

After crossing the river, I go back towards the rail. There is no footpath that leads to the rail so I just had to make one. Managed to take a picture of the rusty rail crossing.

Right after I reached the rail that I realize there is another blocking of the rail overpass above Sunset Way. I had no choice but to walk towards it then climb down by the side to reach Sunset Way. Crossing the road, I tried again to climb up to the rail as there is again no footpath leading up. Had to resort to all four limbs just to do that.

To my dismay, a few meters down the rail and the path ended with a "No Trepassing" sign board. Being a law abiding citizen, I had to end the trip right here. I would very much like to continue to the Green Corridor but resisted from doing so.

Just before I turned off, I saw a blue dragonfly.

Walking along Sunset Way,  I took a picture of a Malayan Eyebright out of boredom.

The trip is a disappointment. Not much nature pictures available and a lot of obstacles and detours. I would not encourage others to follow my footstep thus both the album and track info are omitted. Anyhow, the route is 3.9 KM. The actual track is probably 1/4 of it.

Thursday, September 04, 2014


The following is purely fictional. 如有相似, 纯属偶然.

One is a member of  a community. The other is the community's leader. The member felt strongly that some thing has to be done. The leader felt that the member is too pushy.

The member gets more vocal, The leader feels that the member is telling him what he should do. The member starts to get other members involved. The leader felt that the member has gone beyond tolerance.

The result is that the member gets expelled. The member gets so mad that he starts to say things that are conflicting by itself.

Who is wrong? I guess all are. Who is right? I guess both are. It all boils down to whose side you are on. I guess others should not take sides. It is a situation such that neither can see eye to eye. They just do what they think is right. The result is a broken relationship.