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Singapore Script Sketch 12 Oct

ScribeSketches… Singapore Script Sketches… yes, still trying out new terms. One of these might work!


Seen at a restaurant yesterday:

It was a table of six–at least some of them Mainland Chinese because they were talking (in Mandarin) about how Singapore does this/that and Singapore people don’t do this/that. Three  men and three women seated at a corner table with the three women in the corner against the wall–‘trapped’ unless the people sitting beyond stand up for you. Two of the men talked almost continuously. The slightly more senior man next to the slightly more senior lady (short bobbed hair) talked almost exclusively to her, barely breaking off as the waitress leaned over him to place food in front of them. The other, young, tanned and wrinkled, directed his talk at the other two women, ignoring the fairer, plumpish man to his left who didn’t say much, just grinned and nodded when addressed and when prodded to grin and nod. The two women against the wall were wearing a long sleeved top and a dark cardigan over a shirt and had the sort of unstyled, unshaped long hair that young professional women sport to indicated they are still feminine even if they don’t take the trouble to get a good haircut.

The Talking Men got impatient with the young server (very tall, very shy, very pretty girl who I thought Chinese till then but realised might be Burmese/Vietnamese) because she didn’t speak enough Mandarin to understand that though they had ordered individual dishes the main courses were to be placed in the middle of the table for them to share while the sides of fries/mash/rice were put on individual plates as requested for each of them. But a senior staff member, a Filipina who spoke excellent Mandarin came and sorted things out. (I was most impressed by her actually!)


Word Snapshot

Or maybe ‘Scribe Short’? ‘Script Short’? Anyway, observations in under 250 words or one page…

Because as an Enneagram 5 (thanks Bian for introducing Enneagrams!) I tend to live inside my head and in words and distance myself from what’s going on outside.

I love some daily art/photo sites but it’s capturing stuff I see/hear/learn from the ‘outside’ in words that I’m trying to work at.


Yesterday, on the way back from VivoCity there was construction work along Pasir Panjang Road. The road split for centre work and there was also other work going on on the left side of the road, so we were a very narrow single lane. The car in front was a posh white BMW and it was going very slowly (for a car) because in front of it was a cyclist (going very fast for a cyclist). Not a recreational cyclist in shiny helmet and bright shiny clothes on a shiny new bike but one who looked like a migrant worker–tall and leggy with longish hair tied under a head scarf, dark loose clothes on an old, dark bike.

We (the car in front, my car, the growing line of cars behind) were all going slowly because there was no room to overtake him. I was hoping no one would get impatient and cause an accident. If only the driver in front stayed calm he could ‘protect’ the cyclist from the anyone behind accelerating into him.
Then the road opened up and at once the cyclist veered left to the unblocked curbside. Instead of surging ahead, the car drew alongside him and someone inside waved and he gave a big grin and waved back: a gesture that seemed part salutation, part thanks.

More Shit on Singapore’s Stand on Sharks Fins…

basically the Ministry is saying Singapore didn’t support the CITES proposals because a) not all countries agree on which species of sharks are most endangered b) they will be difficult to enforce given sharks are not traded in whole body parts but processed products and c) CITES is only one of many shark conservation instruments (while true Singapore has not signed onto any other conservation effort either).
Conclusion: Singapore will maintain smug self-satisfaction by putting responsibility on parties catching & live finning sharks and only import & eat (the difficult to verify if endangered or cruelly killed) shark parts.

It is an economic deal of course.
My new resolution:
I don’t eat sharks’ fin.
Now I won’t eat with people who eat shark’s fin. Do you?

Reply from the Ministry Regarding Singapore’s Stand on Shark Finning
Posted by Cheryl Fan at 14:46
From: LYE_Fong_Keng@ava.gov.sg
Cc: MND_HQ@mnd.gov.sg, HE_Xingying@mnd.gov.sg, GOH_Shih_Yong@ava.gov.sg, AVA_QSM@ava.gov.sg

Dear Ms Fan

Please refer to your email on 20 Apr 2010 to Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister
(MEWR) and Mr Lim Hng Kiang, Minister (MTI), which has been forwarded to

Singapore is a Party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which is an international
agreement to ensure that trade does not threaten wildlife species with
extinction. Parties regulate the import and export of CITES wildlife
through a system of permits when certain conditions are met. CITES convenes
a triennial meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP). The COP is the
forum when parties to CITES decide if an animal species is threatened with
extinction and should be listed in the CITES Appendices. At present, the
basking shark, whale shark, great white shark and sawfishes are protected
under CITES, but regulated trade in these sharks and their products is
allowed under CITES.

At the recent CITES COP15 in Doha, Singapore did not support the sharks
proposals. However, we wish to clarify that this is not because the
Singapore government does not care about the plight of the sharks. We are
of the view that the CITES mechanism is not appropriate for management of
shark fisheries because of the following reasons:-

a) The listing of a marine species in CITES Appendix II requires the Party
that introduces the listed species from the sea and exporting it (eg. the
fish or its parts and derivatives), to conduct a non-detriment finding
(NDF) before issuance of a CITES export permit. NDF is a scientific process
of assessing whether the taking of a specimen would be detrimental to the
population of the species in the wild. NDF can easily be done for
terrestrial species but would be a great challenge for marine species.
CITES Parties have been discussing but have not reached an agreement on how
the terms “introduction from the sea” and “non-detriment finding” are to be
applied to and conducted for commercially harvested marine species. As
such, Parties would not be able to issue CITES permits or they would be
issuing permits without properly assessing the health of the populations of

b) Marine species like sharks are generally not traded in whole body form,
but as processed products, such as fillets, dressed meat or fins. It would
be difficult to identify and differentiate such parts and products of
CITES-listed shark species from other shark species and it would be very
difficult for Customs officers to effectively enforce the CITES listing.
Furthermore, for processed specimens, it would almost be impossible to
extract genetic materials for lab analysis even if DNA technology is
available. As such, the CITES listing would not provide any value-add to
the conservation of sharks.

CITES is only one of many conservation instruments available to protect
threatened or endangered species. There are other mechanisms available to
address the issues concerning the conservation of biodiversity and wildlife

We are of the view that Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs)
and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) are the more appropriate
competent authorities to manage and conserve sharks in the high seas due to
the nature and dynamics of shark fisheries and how the trade in shark
products operates.

Individual Parties that are involved in sharks fisheries and landing of
sharks could implement and enforce national fisheries management measures
such as the National Plan of Action or NPOA-Sharks to conserve and manage
sharks. The measures could include closing of a fishing season, reducing
catch quotas, reducing by-catches, limiting the sizes of fish to be
harvested, reducing the number of licenses issued to fishing vessels to
catch sharks, restricting the landing of threatened species, etc. Some
countries, such as US, UK, Australia and Japan have implemented the
NPOA-Sharks. The FAO has also developed an International Plan of Action for
sharks or IPOA-Sharks to ensure the sustainability of sharks globally.

Parties that catch and land live sharks have the responsibility and could
stop live sharks finning through their national legislations and
enforcement of fishing measures. Many countries that are involved in shark
fisheries now prohibit finning and encourage the use of whole sharks.
Sharks are not only traded for their fins but their meat are consumed by
local communities or in some countries such as Australia and European
countries, as ‘flake’ or ‘fish and chips’. Sharks are not targeted species
for their fins but are caught as by-catches eg. in tuna and swordfish
fisheries. If countries prohibit the trade in shark’s fins, then local
fishermen would only discard and not be able to use the resources which
would go to waste.

Singapore does not have shark fisheries and we do not support live shark
finning. Our trade in sharks and shark products is carried out through
imports and exports. The AVA regulates the import of sharks and shark’s
fins through a licensing scheme. Only licensed fish dealers are allowed to
import sharks and shark’s fins and for CITES-protected shark species, only
shipments with valid CITES documents are permitted.