Monday, May 26, 2008

SMRT and its 'additional' train in the peak hour

Hurray!! The newspaper exclaimed when the SMRT, train operator in Singapore announced additional trains for service at peak hours in the evening.

On the other hand, I (as one of the throngs trying to get train space), frowned and asked myself where the additional train is. The fact is that taking daily train to work at 6.50 AM and back at 6.05 PM, I don't feel any reduction on the crowd or even tiny additional space.

In fact this afternoon I experienced once again the poor logistical problem or woe that passengers of SMRT train experiences. The train from Changi Airport to Tanah Merah station (2 stations a way) is at 10 minutes period!! The moment the train come, every single soul in expo seems to board the train and of course automatically the train became packed the moment it left Expo station (between Changi Airport and Tanah Merah). Now, that's an extremely smart business decision huh? The train is calculated to arrive when the train is guaranteed full (Smart SMRT analyst, whoever that is). The fact is that the frequency has increased from 8 to 10 mins, in my experience. Now, the moment the train reach Tanah Merah, every single souls seem to migrate from that train to the train heading to Boon Lay. Hence, another packed train. Now I know where the additional train is taken from. I think it may actually be the train that normally serve Changi Airport - Tanah Merah route. Gee... how smart is SMRT.

And o yeah, despite the addition of train, I don't feel that I actually have higher chance to getting more space in the train. Gee......

Not that I have much choice since we only have one train operators serving that line. Taking bus is going to take forever to reach home and taking taxi is extremely expensive (~S$ 40+++). I guess the economist will say that's my price of convenience. Not that I have enough fund to pay for taxi trip everyday!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

HSBC and language use

HSBC or The Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corporation is a global bank. Hence, I again do not expect the bank to have any blunder in English.

Was trying to register for Internet Banking and sadly after typing a username containing all alphabets, I was prompted that the "username can only contain alpha numeric characters (i.e. A-Z, a-z, 0-9)". The key word there is "can". Hence I thought, hey my username containing merele alphabets should fit into the category. However, apparently who ever program the login page means that I MUST have ALL those variations (some capital letters, some small letter, some number). So, I can only create a username having some capital letter, some small letter, and some number. Such misconception that the warning sentence can provide the customer is very sad for a global brand like HSBC.

Perhaps the bank is really living to what the say "... local bank". Maybe HSBC of Singapore is using a twisted form of English.

Or I guess language spell check and grammar check for software are very much lacking nowadays.

I wonder what the point of cutting cost (by outsourcing to countries with cheaper labour) is the brand image is degraded by multiple small mistakes as simple as spelling error.

I don't think any company should dare to say its a global (or famous or premium) brand unless it's willing to spend money to be correct in the smallest detail.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Plastic bag degraded in three months!

Wow, read this

A 16-year old teen may have solved environmental big problem.

A mixture of Sphingomonas and Pseudomonas is all it takes to reduce plastic bag made of PE in few months. The more amazing thing is that this teen's study is new! I wonder why noone has ever tried things as simple as what he has done....

Turmeric chicken soup

I'll teach you how to cook a simple but yet nice and healthy soup.

Boil chicken together with a good dash of turmeric and 2-3 pieces of peeled onion. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar to taste. Make sure it's sufficiently salty okay? Make sure it's yellow in colour as well. Increase the turmeric bit by bit while tasting it, making sure that it's not too much (too much = bitter).

MRSA and antibiotics

MRSA stands for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a super strain of bacteria, a mutated form of Staphylococcus aureus. Physicians and scientists (and the pharmaceutical company partly I think) hate MRSA very much because it can resist many antibiotics and hence its infection is very hard to treat. Originally, MRSA was feared by hospital goers simply because MRSA tends to lurk in the hospital. Well, in hospital, patients are generally with low immune response so it's easier for the bacteria to survive. After all, if you have such a powerful weaponry in your gene, the weaponry makes it difficult for the bacteria to survive on people with normal immune response. You see, it's a give and take situation.
However, lately a new strain of MRSA emerges with better ability to infect the healthy. Hence, more danger for us.

One important thing that lay person needs to understand is that MRSA or other super bug emerges mainly due to abuse, misuse, and overuse of antibiotics. We simply have select for super strain due to our stupidity.
What I find more puzzling is the fact that some people are touting a new compound or are searching new compound (read: antibiotics) to fight MRSA as if MRSA will never develop resistance to the compound. What kind of naivity is that? MRSA itself develops after being selected by antibiotics for so long there will be a compound which it can't develop resistance for? Even after MRSA collect so many types of antibiotics from A to Z??
What the....

Andersen's Ice Cream

Thought of sending the following comment for Andersen's Ice Cream but amazingly, the webiste has broken links all over, even for the Contact Us page!! So, I post the comment here.

Hi, I was at IMM, Singapore and happen to eat at a stall near Andersen's stall. Hence, I had a chance to watch the advertisement put up on the big LCD screen above Andersen's stall.A few comments that I would really like to share:1. Andersen's touted the brand as a premium ice cream, but the ads is poorly done and does not seem to befit the premium image.2. Please get someone to do a spell check before an advertisement is published. It's "irresistible", not "irresitable". It's "concoction", not "concotion". Such error further degrades the image of Andersen's.3. I humbly think that your Big LCD screen is a waste of time. How many peope will actually have time to understand what the advertisement is about? The advertisement is far too long as well. Someone walking past the store won't even have chance to see more than 5 seconds of the advertisement.
Sadly to say, this website does not seem to be updated as well :-)
You may want to really pay someone to put a better image or marketing to your business.
I commend your "home-packs" packaging though. It looks nice :-)


Strange that how many people try to call their product premium but are not willing to spend extra money to get advertisement done to support the image.

BMW is one of the global brand that strongly bear the premium image.