Posted by: ahpoke | December 1, 2012

MineCraft Shoot

MineCraft Shoot @ Fort Canning Park

RaRa as Ender(wo)man
Patrica as Creeper

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Posted by: ahpoke | June 27, 2011

Cosfest 11 Day 2 – Fairy Tail

Fairy Tail

Cosfest 11 Day 2 @ Downtown East

moster82 As Gray Fullbuster
otoh1m3-rand As Wendy Marvell

Posted by: ahpoke | June 26, 2011

Cosfest 11 Day 1 – Witch Hunter

Witch Hunter

Cosfest 11 Day 1 @ Downtown East

Sasuke_Dragon as Tasha Godspell
random_panda as Halloween
Kazuo as Xing Bairong
Moster82 as Vihyungrang
Karei as Aria Godspell
Midoka as Words Blondy von Worth
Kaen as Cougar Kunein

Posted by: ahpoke | June 5, 2011

Defense of the Ingrates

Another incident today made me waver on my feelings that this country is worth defending. Why do we defend a country full of ingrates, full of people who are rude, downright discourteous  and have the innate ability not to apologize. Cab drivers of a first, second and third world country, mostly greet their customers jovially whenever their customers board the cab. First and second world cab drivers, drive relatively safely, as an accident will impact their earnings greatly and by safely, I mean not like race car drivers racing for pole position.

So what kind of country do I live in where cab drivers hardly greet their customers, mostly race like their lives are too short and behave a lot like a bunch of unschooled self righteous bastards.

Are you in such a hurry:

That seeing a traffic jam on the CTE makes you cut 3 lanes to take an exit?

That you are unable to see that a vulnerable bike with pillion is within range of your reckless act?

That you must flick your finger(s) at someone who just beeps at your dangerous driving?

That you accelerate to the point that others can hear over revving in your cab engine?

That you are unable to say sorry even after the rider has caught up to you?

That you can challenge the person to complain against you?

That you are got the time to take down the motorbike’s number?

 

From the bike rider and pillion that you nearly killed who sincerely feel pity for who you are, cab driver of CityCab SHA9380T.

Posted by: ahpoke | May 29, 2011

Engaging a Citizen’s Army

I was just listening to the news, about the current defense minister talking about wanting to engage the citizen’s army more. I wonder how serious he is about it. But if he is, I certainly have a few things to say about it.

Hey, Dr Ng Eng Hen, here’s my two cents about national service and how you can engage Serviceman better, whether NSF, Regulars or NSmen. This all stems from my experience serving my time for HR in RSN.

1. Pay serviceman CORRECTLY and ON TIME.

This problem is one that can be easily addressed by replacing the military/DXO pay office by people who can be held chargeable and accountable for their mistakes. There is a military expert scheme in place as well, why can’t we have a military expert in accounting as well. Simply put, the current group of people managing the payroll for all active serviceman are mostly DXOs, meaning that it is rather hard for them to be charged for their mistakes, not like their military counterparts. A problem that many servicemen come to me and complain about, is that their pays are wrong, whether under or overpaid.

Here are the problem with underpaying them for a certain month:
– They are unhappy as they might have had plans for that money.
– The problems are usually not rectified within the month and normally drag on.
– It affects their moral.

Here are the problems with overpaying them for a certain month (mostly due to bonuses):
– They are unhappy as they normally have to repay that amount back with interest even if its the fault of the salary services.
– These amounts are recovered sometimes even up to 12 months after it was paid out, I have seen a case of it being recovered suddenly after 20 months of payout, this causes unhappiness within the ranks.
– Simply put, it affects moral.

2. Have a standard and transparent pay scheme for SAF personnel for each rank of each type, across tri services.

There are so many pay schemes, so many different allowances, a range of pays for a certain pay grade, simply because servicemen love to compare pay and when they find out that their newly enlisted peers are earning more than them, it will affect their moral and cause unhappiness within ranks. It will breed jealousy and other problems that should not be present in a army.

Here is a more simplified pay structure which could help SAF save money as well, simply because the current SAF pay structure is confusing with a ranges rather than fixed values.

Relevant Basic Rank Pay + Relevant Allowances + Years in Service Allowance = Total Pay

So a basic pay would be dependent on the serviceman rank/type of service(NSF or Regular)

His relevant allowance would be for example, his shipboard allowance, overseas deployment allowance, vocation allowance, appointment allowance.

And finally, something that is not in the current pay scheme, years in service allowance (YIS allowance), this rewards servicemen for staying longer.

These should all be printed out in the serviceman’s payslip listed properly instead of just all lumped together as basic pay. It should be made known how much each rank earns from REC all the way to 3 Star and how much the various allowances give. I do understand the current wishes of the SAF to want to pay people in accordance to the market rates, but having an MASC component should be based on a percentage, tagged to their performance band of their current pay rather than just a figure. This motivates serviceman to work harder and produce better results.

3. Accord the correct PES status to NSFs.

Medically fit NSFs who aspire to go to OCS, SCS, etc etc sometimes are accorded a PES status that renders them pretty much a clerk or the such. The usual range of problems are irregular heart rate, skin problems no related to grass and the such, etc etc. This is a dampener for NSFs who are really motivated to serve the nation, but because of petty health problems, this is not allowed. It’s a simple issue of making it clear to the MOs that they should be looking out for potential leadership talent. But no, all these handpicked MOs want to cover their own ass.

On the other hand, medically unfit NSF are accorded fitter PES statuses, even though they clearly have medical problems that are non documented. For example, he has shattered his bones before, causing metal plates to be inserted. He should have been downgraded for it, but simply because he did not have a doctor’s documentation for it, he is left as a PES A NSF. Does a MO have no brain to send him for a X-ray to confirm the presence for a metal plate in there? I know MOs are just NSF, but that doesn’t mean they should lack initiative, after all, they will be our doctors of the future.

4. Pay NSF a suitable allowance.

NSFs need to live as well. The cost of living in Singapore is astoundingly high. Here is the rough monthly expenditure of a extremely thrifty NSF REC/PTE who draws a salary of $420 without combat allowance.

Public Transport : $111 (Concession)
Canteen Food     : $50 (on an average of $2/weekday)
Social Spending  : $100
Material Needs   : $100
Total                 : $361

Do you honestly believe a NSF who is stuck in camp for 5 days and only released over the weekends will NOT have any pent up need for material comfort? What about planning for his financial future? Most would need the money, as NS is preventing them from working part time. A person who works like an NSF part time outside would earn MORE than a NSF. SAF is keeping us away from our families and loved ones, the least they should do is pay enough. Food served in the cookhouses are the bare standards of  living, sometimes not making the standard. Serviceman WANT the money to spend on the canteen food which is just better than cookhouse.

NSF are being charged adult fare on public transport, which is crazy considering how little NSF are paid. If medical treatment was not free for NSF, every NSF would probably start complaining considering how much our health suffers when we go into NS, both mentally and physically. If I didn’t think from a balanced point of view, I would campaign that those who complete their liability should get even more subsidized treatment from government healthcare facilities. After all, we did complete two years of slavery.

This is an calculation of a Non Combat NSF REC/PTE who draws $420:

1 Month = 30 Days
1 Day = $14 earn in SAF

A REC would be spending 24 hours in camp, but let’s just assume working time is roughly 16 hours, after all, SAF advocates at least 8 hrs of REST.
A REC would be earning 60 CENTS / Hour

A PTE would be spending about 9 hours in camp if he were to be a clerk who works 8-5, but let’s assume he has a 1 hour lunch break. So his working time is roughly 8 hours.
A PTE would be earning $1.75 / Hour

Compared to a student who works part time for $5/hr, NSF only earn 35% of what outside people earn.

Also, the more a NSF works, his pay will not change, compared to a part timer who works more hours in a day, he can get paid more, but NSF work themselves to the bone to complete their given task, if not, they could be given EXTRA DUTY or charged for insubordination or one of those very general charges that could get them thrown into DB and extend their ORD.

This is not counting that servicemen has to pay for SAF insurance.

If they insist that it would drive the taxes up to pay for a higher NSF allowance, why not cut the Generals/Admirals pay and increase the NSF pay? But after all, they are driving the taxes up, just look at the GST.

5. Assign appropriate staff for the appropriate job.

There are people who are not suited for a certain job, for example, a physically weak NSF should not be assigned to a physically demanding job. A non initiative NSF should not be put in a job that requires a lot of initiative. All these qualities can be detected easily thru BMT / interviews before their jobs. There are so many cases of NSF who are not suited for a job being assigned there. Recently a simple phone call to CMPB proved tedious and a lot of useless NSFs and DXOs were encountered in the process.  The first call to the relevant department’s NSF said that he didn’t know because although it was a job that his department handled, he didn’t know a thing as he only took instructions from his “Mdm” and because his “Mdm” was not around, he could not do anything. That NSF was a CPL, supposedly a leader. He did not know how to ask around his own department’s other DXOs for advice. If the NSF is not suitable to be a CPL in his office, he should not be promoted to CPL and a suitable NSF made his in charge even if the newer NSF is newer and less experienced.  After several calls, the inquiry reached back to the same department.

Another case of non suited personnel is in the case of training, where training staff are usually the less experienced, less motivated and the bottom of the pack. Take Tekong for example, BMT is handled by 3SG and 2LT who are mostly NSF, they are usually the bottom of the SCS and OCS. They are usually less motivated to serve, and normally will pass on their lack of motivation, unless they are under the watchful eye of a good “encik”, which is normally not the case. This is the case of the bottom people training the new people to become new bottom people. A teacher can only bring a student as high as himself, but if the teacher is of low standard, the student under him can only rise so high. The best should be posted to train new NSF in places like Tekong. Let’s face it, it’s a paper society now.

6. Clean up useless people.

There are so many useless people in SAF who should be given the pink slip, but are not due to manpowering reasons. A lot of these people do not have basic qualifications when they enlist, like having only PSLE or lower education. This should be triggering a lot of alarms. Sure these people have the potential to become highly educated people afterwards, but if they have remained in the organization without furthering their studies from PSLE, and effort should be made to equip these serviceman with a higher level of education, like sending them for studies, and if they refuse, they should be given the sack for refusing to upgrade. It can be used to start a career, but a serviceman should definitely be upgraded. Like for example, a CSM though is in charge of a group of trainee’s discipline should be properly equipped with at least a technical diploma if he is to educate his trainees in technical proficiency, the problem with this is, that many people in charge, do not have the paper qualifications to take care of training trainees, but still are assigned to do so anyways, simply because of their rank and years in service.

7. Stop forcing NSF/Regulars into doing National Day Parade.

Helping out in national day should be a honor, not something that becomes a chore. It should be opened to volunteerism rather than just being picked just because it happens to be your unit’s turn to do it this year. With a pool of volunteers, the appropriate serviceman should be assigned to the appropriate job based on what he has been trained to do. I am sure by offering suitable compensation, such as extra leave or days off, many will want to volunteer to do it, that way, you may pick the required people rather than force them.

8. Do not delay NSF enlistment unnecessarily.

This is a major problem, as males who have not served their NS liability find it difficult to find full time employment especially when they do not have a fixed enlistment date. When I completed school. I had to wait 24 months to be enlisted, that is, simply put, 2 years. During these 2 years, I could have easily been promoted or at least qualified to take further study exams. But due to NS liability, I could not find full time employment, could not go and study. I had to make do with part time employment. Calling CMPB for assistance was useless as they did not want to make it their case. I wasted a lot of time trying to get in so I can complete my service. If only those people at CMPB had listened to my complains then, I would have finished my NS liability by now instead of just starting. It took a letter from an MP before they were willing to help, by then I had spent 18 months trying to get help. When they sent me a letter, I had to wait another 6 months to enlist. A total of 24 months of my life wasted.

9. Open a channel between ranks.

Encourage the lower ranks to speak out. Most people are unable to talk to their superiors or superior’s superior as their superiors block their complains and stuff like that. Serviceman are unable to complain to outside media, to parallel authorities, to outside authorities, simply due to this thing called chain of command. Just because they make a valid complaint against their superiors, doesn’t mean anything. When one complain gets thru, the serviceman in question would not get posted out and in fact will probably be tortured by his superior mentally and sometimes physically thru informal punishment. An independent unit should be formed to look into these complaints, charging those who make false complaints and charging those superiors that bend the rules to their favor or go to the extremes. This could be administered simply by assigned a group of people per camp to be incharge of this issue.

The Anti Corruption (for naming sake) platoon could be something like this:

IC: MAJ rank or higher
2IC: LTA/2LT rank or higher
Specs: 3 x SGTs or higher
ASA: 3 x clerks, 1 CPL IC

The ASAs would handle the inquiries, while the specs will investigate. The IC/2IC would be there to make the important decisions. There should also be a no wrong door policy, because if a camp’s anti corruption platoon was corrupt, the servicemen would need to be able to complain elsewhere. Because who watches the watchers.

These nodes should be under a SLTC or higher, so that if it comes to a charging of a highly ranked officer, a suitably higher ranked officer need not be arranged to charge him. This post should be a secondary appointment and the IC of each node should be able to handle themselves most of the time.

I hope that this article reaches you by some miracle and that you sincerely consider some of these suggestions that I have taken the time to write so that the future generations may not suffer as I have in my road to carry on with my life, all because of national service. Do note that the hate against national service is only growing, and if one day, it really reaches that critical mass, it will explode and when the army rebels, it will spell trouble for Singapore. I write this simply because I care for my nation and the future of my children born here in Singapore.

Posted by: ahpoke | April 10, 2011

SOY C 2011 – Sandplay GUMI

The one shot that was nice, though I’m still dissatisfied with it.

Posted by: ahpoke | April 9, 2011

SOY C(ontinues)

I went, saw, got bored, anyhow shoot, so got nth to show for it.

Got caught in a storm on my way back. So tired =w=

So it wasn’t that bad, I got myself a brand new lanyard. Gonna convert it to a base pass lanyard on Monday hur hur hur. Managed to take ONE nice photo.

Check in TMR for the only nice shot I took =w=

Posted by: ahpoke | April 2, 2011

The Curse of Being Nice

Your regular a picture a day has been interrupted by an essay today.

The curse of being nice, is that, when your nice to someone, you have to at least maintain that level of niceness. For if you fail to do so, the person that you have let down, will get angry the moment you let him/her down. When its in your nature to be nice, you initially will treat everyone nicely, and when you realize that you are unable to click with that particular person, you would be less nice to that person and that person would just get angry at you even though they may not be entitled to that level of niceness.

Every human wants to be treated nicely, but yet may not deserve it.

Why do people insist on being treated nicely still, even when the moment comes when they themselves change from treating the person they used to be nice to, like crap.

Should people just remain nice no matter what happens? Unless its genetically coded into your DNA like some people… It’s impossible…

Posted by: ahpoke | April 1, 2011

A Picture Whenever #11 – Ring of Clouds

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