Monthly Archives: September 2007

Amazon MP3

Amazon’s launched its own mp3 store, which (legally) sells music in non-copy-protected mp3 format. I’ve resisted buying files via iTunes because it’s relatively expensive (in the UK anyway) and usually comes in copyprotected aac format, which I get quite annoyed by, but now I might actually start buying music again! =P


Singapore's upcoming IRs

After my recent visit to Tokyo Disneyland, and also reading kennysia’s experience at the Venetian Macao, I’ve been thinking about the upcoming IRs in Singapore and doing a little research on dear ol’ Wikipedia.

(As background – kennysia was awarded a free trip to Venetian Macao as part of a publicity review thing, making me wish (for once in my life) that I was a celebrity blogger. The Venetian is a hugeass casino resort that recently opened in Macau, owned by Las Vegas Sands, which happens to be the company that is working on the IR being set up at Marina Bay in Singapore.)

I’ve not been keeping up with the IR plans, since I’d initially regarded them as a distant project that caters mainly for foreigners, but after reading about the grandiose plans for Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World at Sentosa (the latter of which is going to include a Universal Studios theme park), I find myself quite excited, really. Sure they’re meant to draw tourists in – but what’s stopping locals from visiting them too? Domestic tourism in Singapore, at last!

There are social costs, of course, involved in setting up a casino, true, but compared to the potential economical benefit? I can really imagine the two IRs being a major draw where tourism is concerned. Moreover, Singapore is small. We already have a (pretty effective) police force in place. Along with the planned restrictions for locals in entering the casinos (something I don’t personally have a problem with, since I’m not particularly interested in that part of the IR), it seems like these costs can be kept to a minimum.

Of course I might be terribly wrong, but at this point in time, 2009/2010 (when the resorts open) seems to be an exciting period ahead for Singapore.

Homosexuality, Christianity and Singapore

I’ve been thinking about the issue of the legality of homosexuality in Singapore for some time now, especially more so every since Otto Fong, a teacher in RI, published his ‘open letter’ declaring himself homosexual, and the Ministry of Education apparently pressured him into taking it down.

As I’d commented somewhere on LiveJournal, I can totally understand why a Christian might disapprove of homosexuality – the bible practically explicitly instructs us to do so (to kill them, more specifically).

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them. (Lev. 20:13)

Personally, I don’t believe that every word of the bible is infallible or should be taken as an instruction to be applied in everyday life, but I know many people who do, and yes – if the almighty God your creator has told you that homosexuality is wrong, it is altogether sensible that you should do your part to stamp it out. Encourage your homosexual friends to ‘turn over a new leaf’, if you sincerely believe that will be better for them – fine. Form support groups for homosexuals who want to ‘change’ – alright, I guess. Have campaigns to educate the public on the evils of homosexuality (whatever those be) – I’m a little dubious about that, but hey, it’s (theoretically) just exposing others to your viewpoint, so I guess that’s alright.

But where I draw the line is when church groups vocally lobby to retain section 377 of the penal code, that part of Singaporean law which makes it illegal for homosexuals to have sex with one another. It’s not a law that is actively enforced (even if they were able to), but it silently signals the government’s non-acceptance of homosexuality in Singapore.

Civil law is civil law, and unless every citizen is a member of a certain religion (and even then, perhaps not), there is no reason why religious viewpoints should be mixed in with deciding how to maintain secular social order. As Christians we have no right to force our beliefs upon others, just as the Muslims have no right to make us eat halal food (though as a sidetrack, a lot of Malay food is seriously tasty and hard to avoid eating =P).

Purely from a secular point of view, I fail to see how homosexuality makes a detrimental impact on society as a whole – arguments about the ‘breakdown of traditional family structure’ and stuff don’t quite cut it, for me. In fact, I don’t see why homosexuality should be regarded as a greater ill than smoking or alcohol.

I’m not particularly supportive of homosexuality (am personally slightly homophobic, no particular reason – just not particularly comfortable with the concept), but I don’t see why they should be discriminated against either, and I am tired of Christians being broadly labelled as ‘anti-gay’ when really I think it’s something we have no business poking our noses into in the first place (on a national legal scale, anyway).

Photoshop magic

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Elite Silver!

Looks like my mileage woes were for naught – my Thai Airways miles were accrued on a 1-to-1 rate for KrisFlyer, so I’ve actually already achieved KrisFlyer Elite Silver status! The silly travel agent apparently quoted the miles for one-way flight, so I don’t even need to bank on the return leg of the journey to get my miles.

In this case I guess I’m quite happy with the outcome, but if I’d decided to buy the (more expensive) SIA ticket just to get Elite Silver, I would be really annoyed… Oh well. Good thing it’s turned out the way it has, then. =)