Thursday, August 12, 2010

7:00 pm

Post NDP + YOG

Edit 1 (13/8/2010 2pm): News of the lousy YOG food for "volunteers" made it into today's Straits Times.

Finally got round to blogging again. The YOG rehearsals ate and will continue to eat up many of my late nights.

We had one break to watch the NDP though. As usual, the SAF shows off with its vast array military equipment. One just have to spot the less-glamorous C4I (aka signals) vehicles at 4:37 to know this is a once in 5 years event.

This just makes a slight mockery of the no-cameras in SAF camps rule. Here we are, showcasing all our hardware to anyone close enough to tune in to our local TV channels. Anyone notice whether this practice of showing off military weapons during national parades coincides with the level of authoritarianism of the country? I know China, Russia and North Korea are famous for doing this.

Going behind the scenes have I have done last year, one will know that for every one performer you see on the TV, there are several behind the TV screens ensuring that things run smoothly. Its those people you should appreciate. Many of them did their jobs not because they are altruistic but because they are forced to do it.

This year though, I'm involved in the YOG opening ceremony at the last minute. I'm not at liberty to discuss what I do till after the performance ends this Saturday. Let's just say, its something not much different from saikang. The difference this time is that my buddies and I will probably be caught anonymously on tape in the mass of the performers.

Do I like saikang for important events? No! Then I prefer doing military stuff in camp instead? No way!

No contradiction in the above. Saikang is the lesser of two evils and that is my point. Being a conscripted army, we didn't have a choice of whether to join the military. This extends to the dictatorial style of military orders. We cannot disobey any orders from the top down, even for non-defence related activities. These makes us (and students) cheap and easy targets to arrow for manpower.

In case you do not know, the YOG budget has overrun more than 3 times. Why is this so I cannot answer. I would like to add my 2 personal contributions to that though.

1. The onlinecitizen managed to dig up an ST article on MOE's purchase of YOG tickets. So am I safe to say that part of the YOG costs has been indirectly subsidised by (government's) money from the MOE? My sister got her ticket free to watch one of the competitions so I'm pretty positive that its the MOE and not the students' Edusave accounts go to paying for this.

2. With the use of army personnel for this event, their labour is not factored into the budget. After all, they are already paid for by Mindef. What about the school students who have to be audience leaders and performers? To be fair, opportunity cost is difficult to measure and thus never included. With 5000 performers and army saikang warriors, I doubt its small.

And the meals provided for us? Pathetic! See this scanned copy of the ST report from hardwarezone forums. I didn't eat that meal in the picture since I was involved quite late. Soggy rice with meat and vegetables in (probably partially melted) thin plastic containers are the norm. We do get ice-cream and drinks about half the time. But I would prefer my cookhouse food anytime.

For last year's NDP, we were provided KFC/Pizza Hut or its voucher equivalent. I remembered that I had so many vouchers, I had to give some to my family and bought my own meals for the rest. After all, eating KFC for lunch and dinner for weeks in a row will do no justice to my health. This is just one of many grievances about this, the rest, I cannot air.

Before I end off, let me post a picture of myself included. Ironic that this being my blog, personal pictures seem to be a rarity this days. I attribute this to the lack of a camera handphone. So obviously, no chance of pictures.

Yet another event to arrow army personnel. My constituency's National Day Dinner which was held last Sunday. See more if you want. Must be not enough willing (and paying?) constituents to fill the seats, so get army people to make up the numbers.

This is not what irks me. The tables were clearly segregated between VIP and non-VIP. Those non-VIP tables including mine were served "lower-quality" food compared to the majority VIP ones. I know I shouldn't complain since I was invited for free, but at least have the decency to give me the same food as those eaten by the MP and 3/5? of the other tables.

All I look forward to, is my ORD to end this.


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