mardi, novembre 29, 2005

My Singapore trip

I am in Singapore. I am delighted to see that not much have changed. I am able to eat the foods which I missed so much in France.

But the journey this time round was not easy. Seb and I left our place at 8.30am to catch the 12pm flight leaving for Singapore. We took the train from Courbevoie to St Lazare, the Metro from St Lazare to Chalete, the RER B from Chalete to CDG Airport terminal 1 RER station and finally a bus to the airport terminal. 4 different transports in order to reach our plane and that took us just an hour and 15 mins.

Still, all is not well. It was snowing in Paris and our flight was delayed by 3 hours. The runway had to be cleared of snow and our plane had to go under a 'car wash'. Yeah, we were finally on the runway and there were lorries with extenable hoses to splash hot water on the plane to warm it up and to unfroze the wings. That was impressive to see when you were inside the plane. As we took Malaysia Airline, the delay cost us to miss our transitting flight. So at KL Airport, we waited 2 hours to get our flight back to Singapore. By the time we touched down Singapore land, we were so tired. We had not really slept since the last 24 hours.

Now, all is well. As the third day of my stay started, I am starting to plan what to eat for today. I do have a choice from the 40 over items I wrote down. :) Seb thinks that I should just stay in a foodcourt. Got to go, no time to lose.

jeudi, novembre 03, 2005

It all started at Clichy-sous-bois

Recently, there has been some social unrest here in Seine Saint-Denis. This department is right beside Paris. In fact, I work in Saint-Denis, which is one of the towns of Seine Saint-Denis.
Things got hot last week when two teenage boys were electrocuted while hiding in an electric power plant. They were trying to run away from the police. People in this poor neighbourhood, Clichy-sous-bois (a town in Seine Saint-Denis) were upset and hooligans started to go on riots at night by burning cars and destroying public properties like the bus stops, rubbish bins etc.
Now, a few other towns in Seine Saint-Denis are also having riots almost every night. The minister of interior is holding talks with the families of the two dead boys. The television is inviting educators, police and politicians for debates on how this incident escalate to such a level.
It is difficult to explain in a few words as the root of the problem goes way deep now. There are high unemployment rate, more immigrants and non-white French. The people felt that they are ignored by the society.
But the first question I asked was ‘Why were the boys running away from the police?’ Are not police there to help us, the citizens? The police in Singapore look friendly and helpful.
In one of the reportage on television, people are scared of the police. There are comments that the police harass them, check on them just because they are not white. The police use dogs to scare them and insult them during checks. The police can accuse them of anything and has the right to put them in temporary detention for any reason.
Yet, there are two side of a coin in every story so it is really difficult to say who is to blame for the two boys. But one thing for sure, the riots are definitely not for a good cause. Cars and factories were burnt. I do not understand why some people are just so ignorant and had nothing better to do in their lives than to be destroyers. I condemn the actions of destroying things.
For more information, check out BBC.