Dr Teo Ho Pin, the Coordinating Chairman of the 14 PAP Town Councils, released a 26 points rebuttal to the questions about selling the software to AIMS, a PAP backed company, and leasing back of it, highlighted some bad IT management practices on developing the original software.

So if you don't have any background in IT but left in charge of a IT program, here are some lessons you can learn from the whole issue.

Lesson 1: Software should aim to be OS and Application agnostic

5. After a comprehensive review, D&T identified various deficiencies and gaps in the system. The main issue, however, was that the system was becoming obsolete and unmaintainable. It had been built in 2003, on Microsoft Windows XP and Oracle Financial 11 platforms. By 2010, Windows XP had been superseded  by Windows Vista as well as Windows 7, and Oracle would soon phase out and discontinue support to its Financial 11 platform.

We are well aware that that Windows and Oracle changes OS and software versions quite often. The original software should have been OS and application agnostic.

Who was in charge of building the original software? Was the question of Windows OS and Oracle upgrade/change considered during the building of the original software?

Ignoring the agnostic approach would lead this types of issue cropping up when a new version of an OS or application is launched.

Lesson 2: Give yourself more than two years head start to evaluate expiring IT contracts

4. In 2010, the NCS contract was going to expire. The TCs got together and jointly appointed Deloitte and Touche Enterprise Risk Services Pte Ltd (“D&T”) to advise on the review of the computer system for all the TCs. Several meetings were held with D&T.

With the contract with NCS expiring in Oct 2010, PAP Town Councils only gave themselves less than one year to evaluate the software.

If possible, give yourself a two years head start or more if you can to evaluate your software contract. This will give you time to evaluate and even create a new contract for IT services, especially for mission critical applications.

Lesson 3: Ensure your IT contract allow room for size variation.

22. Under the contract with AIM, the TCs could terminate the arrangements by giving one month’s notice if the TCs were not satisfied with AIM’s performance. Similarly, AIM could terminate by giving one month’s notice in the event of material changes to the membership of a TC, or to the scope and duties of a TC, like changes to its boundaries. This is reasonable as the contractor has agreed to provide services on the basis of the existing TC- and town-boundaries, and priced this assumption into the tender. Should this change materially, the contractor could end up providing services to a TC which comprises a much larger area and more residents, but at the same price.

Just as in life, data size, such as town boundaries, is bound to change and at most of the time, it is beyond your control. Make sure your IT contracts cover changes so that you will be charged a hefty bill at the end of the day.

A youth from India  by the name of Aditya Bhatia must have gotten a rude awakening on the New Year when he was arrested by the police for making threats on Facebook to "plant bombs in Marina Bay Sands".

As his post has been taken down, this was what appeared on Yahoo

“The day I’ll [sic] leave Singapore ! Gonna take a big big revenge [sic] !” he wrote, adding that he was going to “spit everywhere” and “plant bombs on Marina Bay Sands”.

A report on Today Online this afternoon shared that the boy has been arrested by the Singapore police.

Wrote Today Online, 

"Police have arrested a 13-year-old boy who allegedly threatened to plant bombs in Marina Bay Sands.
The boy is believed to have posted the threat on his Facebook page last Saturday.

Police said the case is classified as a Breach of Prohibition Against False Threats of Terrorist Acts. "

Moral of the story: If you are looking to vent your anger on your friends or on Singapore, go play a game or something. Never threaten to bomb the country.

Happy New Year - I still love you!

Happy New Year to all readers!

Here's a music video to show how much I still love Singapore despite the challenges.

I feel this music video beats National Day 2012 theme song " 'Love At First Light'!" anytime.

The latest in the war of words between AIMS and Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) over a fiancial system had AHTC Chairman Sylvia Lim issuing a press release yesterday.

Wrote AHTC Sylvia Lim,

"As for developing an alternative replacement IT system for town management for AHTC, AIM reportedly said that AHTC had indicated sometime in June 2011 that it was developing its own system to serve residents.  At the time, the Workers’ Party (WP) MPs who became the incoming management of AHTC were acutely aware of the possible termination of the computing and financial systems at short notice by AIM, hanging over AHTC like the proverbial Sword of Damocles."

So what is this Sword of Damocles? 

As always, Wikipedia has all the answers.

From Wikipedia,

"Damocles exclaimed that, as a great man of power and authority surrounded by magnificence, Dionysius was truly extremely fortunate. Dionysius then offered to switch places with Damocles, so that Damocles could taste that very fortune firsthand. Damocles quickly and eagerly accepted the king's proposal. Damocles sat down in the king's throne surrounded by every luxury, but Dionysius arranged that a huge sword should hang above the throne, held at the pommel only by a single hair of a horse's tail. Damocles finally begged the tyrant that he be allowed to depart, because he no longer wanted to be so fortunate.

Dionysius had successfully conveyed a sense of the constant fear in which the great man lives."

In modern days, "it is used to denote the sense of foreboding engendered by a precarious situation,especially one in which the onset of tragedy is restrained only by a delicate trigger or chance".

There are arguments from some that AHTC was going to build their own financial system and was eventually going to reject AIMS software.

From my point of view, AHTC had no choice but to build their own financial system because AIMS had a contractual clause highlighting that it could terminate their service with one month notice.

As such, that is where lies the "Sword of Damocles". If AHTC were to continue using AIMS, AHTC would be at the mercy of the directors of AIMS, which had directors made up of ex-members of an opposing political party.

All AIMS needed to do was invoke the clause of "material indifference" and terminate their service in one month.

There is no way a financial system could be completed, evaluated and tested, within a month. Without a proper financial system, AHTC would then be questioned by the Housing Development Board on why there isn't a proper financial system in place since AIMS terminated their service.

AHTC, thus, had to build their own financial system to advert such a "tragedy".

This is why Sylvia Lim highlighted that the possible termination of AIMS in short notice was like the "Sword of Damocles" hanging over them.

Is it worth the speed?

The headlines for The New Paper is of an accident that occurred at Woodlands a few days short of Christmas.

The video below is graphic, but it serves as reminder to both drivers and pedestrians.

For drivers, your impatience to wait for a red light to turn green might just end the life of another. Earlier in the year, a Ferrari driver decision to beat the red light ended the life of a taxi driver and his passenger. The innocent taken away from a moment of impatience.

There are no rewinds in life and a minute late won't mean the end of the world.

As a pedestrian, we should always be on the lookout for incoming vehicles even in the safety of red traffic light. Be aware when you cross the road. Don't text or look at your sms. You will never know if a driver, at the moment of time, decide to beat the lights to save time.

Be careful when you cross any road.

The Town Council Management Report is out. The media chose to focus on the Red score that the opposition ward, Aljunied-Hougang, for S&CC arrears.

You can look at the data at http://www.towncouncils.sg/doing/Results_4thTCMR.html but since Singapore love to compare itself against another, it would be interesting to look at how each town council individual score.

Which town council was observed to have the most count stain and litter?

Jurong Town Council -  40% of counts observed are due to stain and litter, the highest amount the town councils.

The lowest observed is at Bishan - Toa Payoh Town Council with 32%.

Which town was observed to have the most count dumped bulky refuse?

Pasir Ris - Punggol - 39% of counts observed are due to Dumped Bulky Refuse, the highest amount the town councils.

The lowest observed is at Chua Chu Kang Town Council with 27%.

Which town was observed to have the most count of Moss/Cobwebs?

Bishan - Toa Payoh - 25% of counts observed are due to Dumped Bulky Refuse, the highest amount the town councils.

The lowest observed is at Jurong with 15%.

Which town was observed to have the most count of graffiti?

Jurong - 14% of counts observed were due to graffit, the highest amount the town councils.

The lowest observed is a tie between Tampines, Pasir-Ris - Punggol, Moulmein - Kallang, East Coast and Bishan - Toa Payoh at 9%

Will follow-up the maintenance section in another post.

Days before the resignation of Michael Palmer, Singapore Speaker of Parliament, one of the biggest Chinese newspaper in Singapore headlined 2012 as the year of lust.  With the Michael's resignation, Bloomberg said it caps the year of lust totally.

So how can a politician have safe extramarital sex? Here's learning from past mistakes.

1. Keep your lovey dovey off digital and analog.

It seems the media here is quick to blame Michael's confession to his party leaders because of tip off of the love emails and sms between him and the unfortunately lady.

So the lesson here is that as much as the digital revolution has allowed for more communication, keep your lovey dovey stuff off any form of digital and analog materials and only for her/his ears only.

Pent it all up and on the day of your rendezvous, let it all out for her/his ears only.

2. Keep your rendezvous meeting on a Monday evening

Monday evenings for secret meetings looks like the best time to escape. Doing it on Monday's allow you to beat the Monday's blues, plus everybody will think Mondays you are just having a night cap or having a summary meeting.

3. Find somebody like 10 degree of separation from your organisation

Make sure the person you are romantically linked to is as far as possible from your organisation as possible even if the bosses deny the relationship between the two organisations.

If your romantic partner is part of the IT company that sells you IT products, stay far far away.

4. Sleep with somebody from the opposition camp.

You can sleep with somebody from the opposition and nobody will believe you when found out. Even if  you are caught sleeping with the enemy, you have the perfect excuse that despite your difference, both of you have found a common ground. Make sure the ground is carpeted too as it could be tough on the knees. 

5. Go to an expensive and high class hotel

If you are going to get caught, as least be caught in style. Don't be seen as a miser who choose to do the deed in the car to save money.
Get caught in the most expensive hotel. Nothing beats going out with a bang.

Do you have any suggestions for politicians to practice safe extramarital sex? Please share them. 

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