I think I have been studying too much BE

POSTED BY raine chong 2 years ago on 29 November 2011

I was watching an interesting program with Stuart the other day about Pensions in Britain. Is it effective? Has the country benefited from this?

In Britain, the average worker gets 20% taken away from their pay check, which is what they pay for council tax. This money goes into funding for education, health, public services, benefits, and last of all, pension. Well at least that was what I was told.

But honestly, I don’t understand how is that enough when I see more bums in the street living off benefits. I met so many students who took advantage of free education and ended up wasting the government’s money on education for them when the money could have been spent on something more productive, and I see elderly getting pension even when they don’t need it.

Free education

How can education ever be free? In the past I really wish for free education. But if you think about it, education requires an institution. It requires a good teaching staff. It requires sufficient equipment and facilities. It requires recognition. Education is considered a luxury. This means money.


With the raising living standards, of course a more higher class medical service is expected. It requires research. It requires a good health staff. An efficient functioning health institution. All these means money… as well. Though, every time I go to the doctor they’re are so freakin useless saying I’m okay when I am obviously coughing my lungs out -_-

Public Services

I am talking about road maintenance. Building maintenance. Council services ensuring security and sustainability of the city. Making sure everything is in order. Having a good government body. Yep, this means money.. again. Still, everything closes at 6, food is too expensive to eat out…


This is the worst part of it all. I absolutely have no respect for anyone who is going to live off the government, not bothering to get a job, or rather, being a beggar as a living. Getting pregnant without advance family planning, dropping out of school and not focusing in getting a ideal future for one’s self. Honestly, this type of mindset still existing in a developed country? At the end of the day, the government has to spend money on these useless bums, when all that money could be spent on making a better environment for the citizens to live in.


When I first mentioned about giving 10-20% of my salary to my parents as soon as I start working, Stuart was rather shock. I mean in Singapore, that is the way isn’t it? Your parents gave you life, wisdom, and knowledge. Gave you the decent environment to grow up in to make you who you are today. The least we could do is to ensure their comfort when they reach their retirement age. Which was why I was surprised that such a economically advance country like Britain don’t practice such values. Instead, the old folks rely on pension instead.

I understand how Stuart explains that it is just culture differences. But then again, I could never imagine myself not giving my parents money even when the government is. How can a child just “fuck off” after knowing all they their parents have done for them? I think this goes beyond culture into personal values and self-conscience.


I was watching “Cathy Come Home” at school the other day, and I was extremely taken back by the social and housing problems in Britain. All I could ask myself was, “does this Cathy women not have any family connections?” If she had, are they that heartless to not take her in at her time of need?

It is when looking at all these little issues happening here, I started to understand why the Singapore government set certain policies a certain way:

Our medical fees are partly subsidised - Now singapore has one of the highest standards in Medicine.

Our School fees are partly subsidised - most of us treasure education and will by hook or by crook GET an education even if it means stepping on everyone else.

Our taxes are only 7% - which caters to our public services. Together with that there are foreign taxes that contributes to the society.

20% are being set aside by the government for retirement for us - We work for our own pension. Which makes us even more hard-working in our career which contributes to the economy to be more productive.

It can all be argued that because Singapore is a small country, it is easier to manage. This is very true. Even if we happen to have social problems it wouldn’t be as bad as how it is here. But looking at Britain’s long painful transition since the 1800s, it makes it quite amazing to look at Singapore’s rapid transition from the 1960s to what it is today.

But again, you can’t deny the beautiful historical landscape and monument Britain has managed to preserve for hundreds of years. Despite the terrible economy, people(like me) come here not for the market, but the wonderful culture that is largely influence since the Victorian times. If only this beauty was reflected in the lives of the modern folks.

P.S: I still want a scottish wedding in Scotland.

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  • completed!


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  • completing my drawing of the chairs in my plan…

    completing my drawing of the chairs in my plan…

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  • on the way to finishing my portfolio! :D 

    on the way to finishing my portfolio! :D 

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    My views on the cuts on tuition fees in Britain

    POSTED BY raine chong 2 years ago on 18 September 2011

    Disclaimer: I am not a british citizen so I might be ignorant to most political issues in the UK. So pardon me if I stated anything that is offensive.

    Recent news, Glasgow School of art sets UK fees at £27 k. 

    Glasgow School of Art has confirmed it will charge UK students from outside Scotland £27,000 for degree courses.

    The institute will charge £6,750 per year for four-year art and design degree courses from 2012/13.

    Students studying for a degree in architecture and art and design students who enter directly into the second will pay £9,000 per year.

    My first reaction is, So What?

    What is a big deal of paying for your education? Education can never be free because the country have to hire educators to educate university students for students to obtain a degree. So the money should come from somewhere right?

    Yes, Britain has one of the highest tax charges as far as I know(20%).

    But let us review on the benefits Britain has for their people:

    FREE medical service

    Good retirement from the government 

    Getting money from the government when one is out of jobs

    Child benefits

    Student loan

    Free Council housing

    and the list goes on…..

    And coming from Singapore where we are not much subsidised but is subsidised reasonably…..




    Yet given the determination to succeed that is ingrained in us, most of us still manage to get by.

    United Kingdom is such a big place with a population of 61 million. Which used to have a very strong economy………….

    Imagine having to pay for 61 million individual’s medical bills, 61 million retires, and for the rest of the bumps in the country who chose not to work nor strive to get a good education but to live of the government…

    Currently UK has 650 constituencies. Which means the ratio of government to citizen is around 1:93846. Imagine taking care of 90 000 children at a time. Who can survive it?

    But due to the credit crunch thanks to america that affected the whole world, the Stirling Pound has dropped rapidly throughout the years. Do you not think it is a little bit cruel to still demand such good benefits/service from the government and watch the country go down the hill like that?

    Now, Britain relies HEAVILY, and I stress on the word HEAVILY on International student fees to keep the economy going strong. We pay up to on average £50 K each just to get an education here. And given the vast amount of Internationals in every university, imagine how much the country is making? However, the economy is still not improving. And they have resorted to cut fees for students.

    I am shocked and disappointed that citizens are not worried about the country’s economic state but more worried about their welfare. Self-centered much?

    The government is no superman you know. They can’t make money appear just like that. -_-

    And unlike where I am from, the UK government do not expect students to pay upfront. You just need to pay them back when you have started a career to stand on your own two feet. Take it as an education mortgage if you will.

    I am not saying education means money. There is always a way to obtain education as long as you have the will power. Having a loan for education isn’t a bad thing. But during an economic crises, one has to sacrifice. Would you rather the government cut student fees or cut medical bills/ retirement fund?

    "Don’t worry about what the country can do for you. However think about what you can do for your country,"
    -my dad

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    Mass Housing and Social Amenities

    POSTED BY raine chong 2 years ago on 14 September 2011

    Just the other day I went for an architecture talk at the Glasgow School of art on the Architecture of Mass Housing. It was an interesting one because I started to understand a little bit more about urban development, and have developed a strange love hate relationship with the Glasgow Housing Association.

    Why? Ian Wall was the speaker that spoke about housing in Glasgow. And the things he talks about makes me want to punch him in the balls, at the same time, it makes so much sense.

    Mass Housing in Britain took place in 3 periods. 1917, 1945, and 1968. Since then, quality of mass housing descended rapidly. After second world war in 1945, the country developed a control of capital, mass action in mass development. Thus this led to mass social housing. 85% of all houses in Scotland were mass public housing.

    During the time, the success of the reformist was much greater. So everyone focused on making profit on real estate. Cost was the sole determine on the economy despite the fact that these mass social housing had no variety or quality.

    They had a saying,

    cheaper they are, more we produce, better it is.

    It was soul destroying for people who live in it. The houses were badly built, badly maintain, no social facilities. Most of these were ring fencing public housing, but not privatized housing.

    The GHA always did two things to maintain the “heritage” or however they define it. Either to refurbish the flats, or DEMOLISH! Haven’t they heard of Enbloc?

    Public housing now is known as the house of last resort. In the past, most people lived in public housing. Now, living in a public housing is like a disgrace. I hope singapore won’t sink into such a state. *prays*

    Housing is all about the people. There is no need for series of layers. All you see is rolling ground, then house of flats. The series of layers of trees and gardens are socially useless, and cost money to maintain because they are only objects.

    -Ian Wall 

    Doesn’t that make you want to kick him in the balls? Yes. Housing may be all about people. But it is also the developer/architect/government’s job to make it hospitable for the people isn’t it? If they have any love for the people of course. If not what is there a need to appoint for a leader to guide the country? What is an architect for? What is a developer there for? If every developer in the world had that sort of mindset(all about money for maintainance), then any tom dick and harry can be a developer and hire any man who has a licence to approve plans to built a block of flats that is totally useless.

    I feel it is more about maintanance. Yes, housing may be all about people. But how is it possible for people to make it a home when they’re not even given even the least decent environment to create a community? Social amenities are much more then just decorations in the streets, but it helps create a social community. It allows people to have a sense of belonging within the neighbourhood thus it makes them more protective of their territory, which lead to lower crime rate. If developers/government/architects give them housing without thinking of or respecting the tenants social issues, how do they expect the tenets to respect the flats they’re given?

    I remember when I first came to scotland, I was so facinated by the culture. But looking at certain areas in the city certainly makes me feel so depressed. At first, I thought it was because mass housing was just not possible in the west because of the culture. But after sitting for this lecture, I take it back. Frankly, if France can do it, Singapore can do it, America can do it, I don’t see why Britain can’t. Social Amenities may cost money. But I think it is an extremely good investment in a country. Maybe instead of wasting money on booze, invest some in making better neighbourhood for lower income folks?

    Image above: public housing in Singapore

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    Highest Ranked in Anno Student Design Competition

    POSTED BY raine chong 3 years ago on 29 August 2011

    Yay. Although didn’t win, managed to get into highest ranked in Anno Design Competition.

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    New Apple Headquarters in Cuptertino, CA.

    POSTED BY raine chong 3 years ago on 25 August 2011

    Apple is building what is sure to be the coolest office building ever in Cuptertino! 

    Fucking gorgeous.

    I think soon Apple can start its own country, city and whatsoever! I bet you they’re much more rich then the economy failing America now!

    for details check out this link =))


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    Regarding Built Environmental Studies

    POSTED BY raine chong 3 years ago on 8 August 2011

    A couple of months ago, we received a news that BE is also going to be withdrawn as a core subject for Stage 2 and stage 3 students.

    Anyone has info on whats happening with it now?

    If not, it looks like I have to built up my Singaporean COMPLAIN spirit to get what I want. Why on earth would the school want to replace Built Environment Studies with PERFORMANCE ART?? What does Performance Arts have anything to do with Architecture?

    I am beginning to think I may have made the wrong choice in coming to this school to pursue my degree. I am paying £10 000 to pursue my degree. Above that I am paying rent, bills and all the other shit which the UK government would benefit from International Students. I expect good treatment and services.

    Isn’t it a known fact that britain has the world class education world wide? That the quality of the education system is so superb that countries all over the world would pay just to get an education here.

    This is my own simple definition of quality. You get what you pay for, or better.

    Then I tried to google “Britain world Class education”, and the first few searches was far from what I was hoping to quote in my blog. The first post regarding Britain and world class education on the google search list was dated in 2008. I don’t even trust that article, because the way it was written seemed a wee bit sarcastic and it was only from one source.


    UK education is all about you. No matter what level, you’ll have the flexibility to shape your study to suit your needs. This freedom; combined with a centuries-old tradition of excellence and an innovative approach to teaching makes UK education recognised and respected all over the world.

    -from http://www.educationuk.org

    In a world of life-long learning, British education is …a first-class ticket for life.

    - The Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Tony Blair, MP

    British qualifications are recognised and respected around the world. The UK enjoys a reputation for unsurpassed quality throughout the world. It encourages skills that are relevant, marketable and much sought-after by today’s top companies which means students can look forward to better career prospects and higher potential earnings.

    - from the British Council Website

    Yes. This was what I was told. RELEVANT. Can someone educate me on how Perfomance Arts has anything to do with Architecture, which me, RAINE CHONG is so god damn passionate about?

    Further more, I am really interested in Urban Planning and development and I believed the Mackintosh School of architecture, in which I was told has one of the best teaching staff in Scotland and the 3rd best schools in Architecture, could guide me through.

    But hold on, let me rant about something for a moment.


    Although I learnt most of my knowledge in Architecture in Temasek Polytechnic. I was not sober for the full of 1st and 2nd year of architecture, and it always didnt take me more then a week to finish an assignment that required 4 weeks to finish. I do last minute studies and didn’t give a crap about whether I could score an A, because firstly I was bored that the assignments were not challenging and every assignment I was given I had the “been there done that” feeling.

    For my 2nd year portfolio submission, I did not even give a crap what I was gona put inside my portfolio. When we were given 2 months to finish it up, I finished it within 2 days, and was getting myself drunk the rest of the time. Till now I still wonder how the hell did I pass my 2nd year.

    My only challenge was written exams. But I was lucky enough because out of 14 major topics, I only studied 5 topics. And in the paper of 8 questions I only needed to answer 3 topics. And all 5 topics that I studied came out. Am I not lucky or what?

    In other words I felt like I was wasting my time. Seriously those that want to get into GSA from Singapore, don’t waste your time in 1st year. I don’t understand why are so strict for 2nd year entry from College. But oh well, they’re lucky they have the name. Yes. I am that shallow that I am paying for the branding to be printed out in my CV.


    But I can say in the GSA, I only learnt most of my knowledge from one tutor - Johnny Rogers. His fantastic teaching skills and his passion for built environment studies. It was through his teaching I have learnt so much about British town planning and how it has shaped the present and future of Britain.

    Even my own country, Singapore has adapted the british policies(except urban planning which we adapted from the french) and has succeeded and excel in transforming Singapore to what it is today.


    That is why I am willing to pay so much for my education. I just have so much respect on how the Urban planers of Britain have shaped Britain. But here I am, facing the possibility that I may not be getting what I am paying for, and it is too late for a transfer.

    It is a known fact the British Currency is falling by the second.

    So it is also normal to assume that Britain is losing money too.

    Britain relies heavily on International Students who comes into the country and pays school fees, which is mostly around £10k - £20k (and british students study for free wtfff but not anymore wahahahaha). These students comes into the country, who also uses the services here in Britain which also contributes to the British Universities.

    Recently there was a cut in student fees, which some British students made a big fuss about I don’t know why. YOU GUYS SHOULD START PAYING SCHOOL FEES. Just be glad the government don’t expect to to pay them back immediately and still provide you with education. Think about kids from other countries who want an education and the only way they can get an education is if they were born with a silver spoon in the mouth. Their own government won’t even loan them money for education. So be thankful! Don’t expect to be spoon fed all your life AYE?

    But what I was annoyed by this whole situation was that the British government is also cutting down cost on university facilities and staff.

    Okay, so you have finally made students pay for their fees(£9000 per student). Why are you cutting down on facilities and staff as well? What are you going to do with all that money?

    I am not a British Citizen so I am not so sure about many British Policies and all that. Not really into politics. Maybe some of you can educate me.

    But my main concern is that I feel I am not getting what I paid for. And I feel cheated by the education system.

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    POSTED BY raine chong 3 years ago on 3 August 2011

    Argh I need help! Which is for my summer project! >.<

    Here’s What I am suppose to do.

    The first thing that came into my mind was? The moment I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in City Harvest Church at Singapore Expo hall eight.

    Argh! But I am having a hard time finding floor plans and such, and all I can do is imagine and recall how everything was being laid out in Expo Hall eight. I should have taken more photos when I was back! Now that they have moved its so hard! I can’t get anyone to take photo of it! =(

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    Derelict London

    POSTED BY raine chong 3 years ago on 17 February 2011

    Oh my gosh. Came across this article and I seriously feel for these houses =(

    700,000 properties are now currently standing empty across England, and councils will be given new powers to buy up boarded up houses under plans by the government to tackle homelessness in the country, and to have an estimated amount of 25,000 empty homes occupied by 2011.

    "Poorly maintained empty properties are magnets for vandals, drug users, squatters and even arsonists.Boarding them up simply helps to identify them as empty. Bringing empty homes back into use reduces opportunities for such low-level anti-social behaviour."

    Perhaps not the safest building to go climbing around in, but it is an example of a 19th century concrete house, believed to be the only surviving example in England =(

    Built in 1873 by Charles Drake of the Patent Concrete Building Company, it is also listed on English Heritage’s Buildings. Southwark Council have refused permission for its demolition hence its appearance. Compulsory emergency works were given under Health & Safety to prevent the building collapsing into the road carried out by Southwark Council. And get this, their invoice is stuck to the outside wall for the attention of the owner whose whereabouts is unknown. LOL.

    Carole writes:

    "I’m sure I can remember a family living in it during the late ‘70’s though a friend disputes this. I have been inside it and there’s no stairs, one of the front room floors has collapsed and there doesn’t appear to have been any electricity in it. It is huge inside.I have the impression that the local residents would like it demolished - one woman on the bus sitting behind me called it an ‘eyesore’. It looks even worse next to the new building being constructed beside it."

    Richard writes:

    "I grew up in East Dulwich and the house on the corner of Lordship Lane and Underhill Roadwas a childrens home in the 70’s - definitely. I was about 10 at the time I think so would’ve been around 77/78. It was run by a woman known as Auntie Lena and I had a few friends at the time who lived in there, so I used to be round there quite a bit! I cant remember any of the kids there being much older than me and I think there were only about 8 kids there at any one time. Every time I go past there I have fond memories!"

    This late 15th century thatched timber-framed house was ravaged by fire in 2003. It has decayed considerably since then. The timber frame survived but the he building is extremely unstable. A stalemate has developed between the building’s owner and Hounslow Council, which has rejected several planning applications.The owner, unlike the previous one, is around, is now proposing turning the site into a hotel. He claims that the building is now beyond repair and would have to be rebuilt from scratch to be restored to its original glory. 

    The must be the one I feel most for. Poor old St Mary’s Lodge. Designed and constructed in 1843 by one of the leading architects of the day, John Young. It was built for his family of nine children and two servants and incorporates some wonderful architectural flourishes. He enlarged the house in the 1860s and also added an elegant garden at the rear. The Youngs remained at St Mary’s Lodge until John Young’s death in 1877, after which it remained a family home until 1959. After which,  from the early 1960s, the local authority used St Mary’s Lodge as a women’s hostel. It was closed in the mid-1990s and the building and grounds were left unmaintained and unsecured. Sadly, vandals, squatters and the elements have left the house and grounds in a poor state, particularly following a major fire in 2005. =(( 

    Sad isn’t it? To be honest one of my dream is to have my dream house, which is not directly built on a site, but to have an extremely old tradition building preserved on the exterior, and build my home within it.

    But anyway, all details and info here was taken from derelict london.com. If you guys wanna read more about these homes, go here:

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    Scotland’s Lost Homes

    POSTED BY raine chong 3 years ago on 5 February 2011

    I saw my uncle having some old pictures of Scotland’s lost homes, and i practically fell inlove with the pictures. So I searched in online!

    Milkbank House, Lockerbie. Demolished c. 1960

    Armadale Castle

    Blythswood House

    Corraith house

    Craighall house

    Cove house interior

    Dean House

    Donibristle house

    Dormont house

    Girgenti house

    Glencaladh house

    Gordon castle

    Grange house

    Hatton house entrance hall

    Ichdairnie house

    Inchrye abbey

    Lamington house library

    Loudoun castle

    So cool right? if wanna see more I got the pictures from this website:


    I think its so cool how they have the houses named after their names (I think. Scottish lads and lassies educate me if I’m wrong). Next time I will have a house named “RAINE’S HOUSE” with a UK postcode! =x YES I WILL BE LIVING IN THE UK FOR GOOD. BEING ONE OF THE INTERNATIONALS WHO ARE SNATCHING THE BRITISH JOBS AND I WON’T LET ANYONE STOP ME! WHAHAHAHAHAHA (just kidding). But I am intending to stay here for good. I LOVE SCOTLAND.

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    Anno Student Design Comp

    POSTED BY raine chong 3 years ago on 26 November 2010

    Recieved another email with my association with Coroflot.

    hmm. Another competition to enter. Which work should I submit?

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    Bigger dreams, wider opportunity

    POSTED BY raine chong 3 years ago on 25 October 2010

    I was checking my coroflot account, and apparently, there were 2 new messages.

    It was 2 job offers, both from the US. One of them is to develop conceptual design of shipping containers, which is in New York City, and the other, is to design and develop sustainable housing, which is in Kansas City.

    It actually amazed me even with just a Diploma in Interior Architecture and Design from Temasek Polytechnic, could still get me offers overseas.

    But then again, it made me feel, I could achieve so much more than what I am doing now.

    Bigger dreams, wider opportunity. =>

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