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PM talking cock? Impossible to know if trade-offs are reasonable, fair or appropriate

In Political governance, Temasek on 29/06/2014 at 4:49 am

(Or “Shades of Orwell’s Big Brother?”)

Came across this thoughtful piece by Andy Mukherjee over the weekend. It explains clearly the issues and trade-offs Singapore faces in building our ideal society, while ensuring that Singaporeans have jobs and economic opportunities to build better lives and a brighter future.
As the article points out, we do enjoy important advantages compared to other countries, but it will still not be easy. There are serious trade-offs, which we must be willing to acknowledge and address. If we just pretend that everything can be better, and no hard choices are necessary, we will get into trouble. Mukherjee calls this “please-all economics”, and expresses confidence that Singaporeans are too pragmatic to fall for it. We must make sure that he is right. – LHL on FB two weeks ago

Piece PM raving about: http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/06/12/breakingviews-singapore-unrest-idINL4N0OQ07F20140612

But if we don’t know how much money we have, and how much are the returns the reserves are making for us, how can we judge if the trade-offs PM and his govt make are the right ones? After all he has as gd as admitted his govt got immigration, welfare, public tpt and public housing policies wrong by changing (sorry tweaking or is it evolving?) these policies.

And these were policies significant numbers (self included, and I note not M’sian new citizen Pussy Cat Lim who confines herself to general banalities) had been warning against for yrs. We were called “noise”, until the govt decided to change these policies.

This is what one LHL said many yrs ago when he was DPM and economic and financial czar:

The Singapore government, May 16, defended the secrecy surrounding its financial reserves of more than US$100 billion, saying it was not in the national interest to disclose details.
The veil of secrecy was necessary to protect the Singapore dollar from speculative attacks, Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in parliament.

“It is not in the people’s interest and the nation’s interest to detail our assets and their yearly returns,” he said.http://www.singapore-window.org/sw01/010516a3.htm

This remains the govt’s stand.

And if I remember correctly, his dad once said that info reserves had to be kept a secret so that S’poreans couldn’t ask for more welfare, which they would if they knew how much money S’pore had. Readers correcting me or referencing the quote appreciated.I can’t find it via my googling.

In this mobile internet age, it is sad and self-defeating that the the PM and the PAP govt (ministers and civil servants) cling to the Leninist system that all information is political and can be designated a “state secret” at any time if the govt decides it does not help to bolster the govt’s or party’s own legitimacy and power.

BTW flaw in AndyM’s analysis which disqualifies from being an unbiased analyst

There is a fifth way which Mr Mukherjee has not considered. It is to reduce and reallocate government expenditures. In particular, the government can consider reduce defence spending so as to increase spending on welfare. This is a classic “Gun vs Butter” resource allocation problem studied in elementary economics. At present, Singapore is spending nearly a quarter of the $57 billion estimated government expenditures for FY2014 on defence alone (23% at $13 billion) … [TRE]

Maybe he aiming to be a PAP minister? He is a FT based here.

He did serious weight-lifting in 2011 at a Temasek briefing:First of all, congratulations on beating the sage of Omaha because [ … ] you seem to have out performed Warren Buffett on every horizon. He was BSing as Temasek and Berskshire cannot be compared ’cause Berkshire is listed, Temasek is not.

And if you think PM’s remarks on trade-offs when juxtaposed with his remarks  on the need for secrecy on reserves are Orwellian, his press secretary’s remarks in relation to Roy Ngerng are even more chilling:

… What is at stake is not any short-term positive or negative impact on the government, but the sort of public debate Singapore should have. When someone makes false and malicious personal allegations that impugn a person’s character or integrity, the victim has the right to vindicate his reputation, whether he is an ordinary citizen or the prime minister. The internet should not be exempt from the laws of defamation. It is perfectly possible to have a free and vigorous debate without defaming anyone, as occurs often in Singapore. Emphasis mine

Foster public debate by suing for defamation? Come on, pull the other leg, it’s got bells on it. I’m reminded of the slogans in 1984:

WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

 

 

 

SIR – I refer to the article “A butterfly on a wheel” (June 13th). You referred to an “alleged ‘serious libel’” by Roy Ngerng. This is not an allegation. Mr Ngerng has publicly admitted accusing Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister, of criminal misappropriation of pension funds, falsely and completely without foundation. After promising to apologise and to remove the post, Mr Ngerng did the opposite; he actively disseminated the libel further. This was a grave and deliberate defamation, whether it occurred online or in the traditional media being immaterial.

What is at stake is not any short-term positive or negative impact on the government, but the sort of public debate Singapore should have. When someone makes false and malicious personal allegations that impugn a person’s character or integrity, the victim has the right to vindicate his reputation, whether he is an ordinary citizen or the prime minister. The internet should not be exempt from the laws of defamation. It is perfectly possible to have a free and vigorous debate without defaming anyone, as occurs often in Singapore.

Chang Li Lin
Press secretary to the prime minister
Singapore

- See more at: http://www.economist.com/news/letters/21604530-ukraine-singapore-employment-housing-food-trucks-john-birch-society-football-0#sthash.lPfPUP1T.dpuf

 

CPF: The cock that Swee Say talks

In CPF, Financial competency, Financial planning on 25/06/2014 at 4:43 am

The best way for Singaporeans to prepare for retirement is to use less of their Central Provident Fund (CPF) money when they are young. Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, said this will ensure the current level of CPF payout can be maintained over time and not be eroded by inflation.

Mr Lim, who is also the labour chief, made that point when speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the closing of the Singapore Model Parliament yesterday. (23 Jan 2014). He later issued a clarification saying “that housing, healthcare and education for the children” were excluded from his spending comments, saying the constructive, nation-building media had misreported him.

Even with the clarification, he was talking rubbish, showing how clueless the nTUC minister was with the life of his ordinary members.

For starters, as TRE pointed out

Using less CPF money means leaving the money with CPF board, which in the case of OA, will earn only 2.5%. Inflation rate for the last few years already exceeded 2.5% (except last year, which barely covered the 2.4% inflation rate) [Link]:

  • 2010 – 2.8%
  • 2011 – 5.2%
  • 2012 – 4.6%
  • 2013 – 2.4%

Next after his clarification that he was talking of CPF spending other than for “housing, healthcare and education for the children”, one is left wondering if he doesn’t realise that other than for these things, CPF cannot be used for other than retirement. Is he so out of touch? Or another example of his special status, like once a month CPF statement?

The more impt issue, if no use CPF, how to afford “affordable” public housing? Public housing is only “affordable” because of 20-yr mortgages that use CPF monies to finance the loans.

At the moment 36% of a S’porean’s wages are locked up in the CPF because of this Hard Truth

[Without the CPF], Singaporeans would buy enormous quantities of clothes, shoes, furniture, television sets, radio, tape recorders, hi-fis, washing machines, motor cars. They would have no substantial or permanent asset to show for it.

  • Asian Wall Street Journal, Oct 21 1985 quoting one LKY.

Our money, but can only be spent on the “right” things: uniquely S’porean.

But it was an ang moh’s idea in the first place: In February 1940, one Keynes published How to Pay for the War. He advocated that interest rates should be kept low and that compulsory saving (thereby deferring pay) should be used as a mechanism to prevent the inflation that occurred during World War One. A portion of everyone’s income would be automatically invested in government bonds. Then, when the war was over, and the economy was in dire need of savings, the money would be released. The plan was too revolutionary for the British government.

In the S’pore version, the payout got deferred and deferred.

“The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.”
“It must come sometimes to ‘jam to-day’,” Alice objected.
“No, it can’t,” said the Queen. “It’s jam every other day: to-day isn’t any other day, you know.”
“I don’t understand you,” said Alice. “It’s dreadfully confusing!”

(Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There)

What Home Team’s recent cock-ups tell us

In Political governance, Public Administration on 30/01/2014 at 4:51 am

S’pore Notes was analysing the response DPM Teo gave to the apparent* tardiness in responding to the Little India ripple, and the little old lady in a red car entering S’pore illegally,  evading capture, and then entering undetected a secured area**

One of his readers gave the most insightful analysis I have seen of what these incidents portend: This incident has sparked off comments like yours and your commentators. The seriousness of the situation in its proper context is more than such observations, in my opinion. It exposes the mindset of those in charge of the security of the nation. They talk themselves into believing that everything is under control and that they are prepared for any eventual situation. The recent billion dollar decision to upgrade of the warplanes and expected purchase of the latest military toys give them this illusion. The quality of our uniformed personnel is not what they tell you. The result will be disastrous given the leaders’ penchant for annoying our neighbours.

Should we be afraid, very afraid that S’pore’s home security services appear to be paper tigers. leading to our neighbours thinking that our SAF is also a paper tiger? The performance of two ex-SAF chiefs in SMRT and NOL. PM, DPM Teo, BG Yeo and the three newbie ministers (two SAF generals ansd one admiral), would do nothing to dispel the perception.

My Facebook Avatar isn’t so sure that there is a serious, systematic problem: In the case of her entering S’pore illegally, failure to being detained in the police compound and her entry into a secured area, who else is at fault other than line officers involved? If there were systematical flaws, well we’d have heard of a lot more incidents, including possibly a few bombings. Sometimes, the front lines officersto blame.

Maybe the sytemic flaw is the training the officers receive?

I’ve got mixed views.

To quote DPM Teo, “What do you think?”

Related posts:

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/scholar-ex-saf-chief-temasek-md-fails-to-turnaround-nol/

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/sporeans-are-over-reacting-to-the-riot/

*All the problems at Home Team over recent yrs (corruption, Ang Moh tua kee attitude, PR status for possible criminals etc etc) show that it was badly run when Wong Kan Seng was the Home minister. There should be a claw-back of the millions he earned as a minister.

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*I’m undecided on whether the riot squad was activated tardily. I agree with DPM Teo that the riot squad should not suka suka be activated. The time taken to decide (about 15 minutes) sounds reasonable to me. On getting there, well it takes time. You can’t have a convoy of heavy vehicles full of people speeding at 90km to the scene. Use helicopters?

My beef is the behaviour of the police officers on the spot. I hope the inquiry tells us why they didn’t fire warning shots when their vehicles were in danger of being damaged. And if they were wrong not to fire warning shots in such a situation. An old timer NS riot squad guy tells me that in his time the police would defend their cars on the ground that it is a symbol of their authority like their badges and guns.

**Secured area? What security?

Jos keeps on talking cock

In Infrastructure, Political governance, Public Administration on 14/01/2014 at 4:52 am

“We cannot have the attitude that everything will be perfect from Day One. If we go in with that attitude, it can only mean that we have to build in a lot of redundancy.” - Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State for Transport.

As someone who once upon a time reported directly to people who reported directly to LKY and Dr Goh, I can safely say that they all expected things to be perfect from Day 1. So now Ms Teo implying  that because of their exacting standards, they were encouraging inefficiencies and wastefulness?

Even before he is dead, LKY gets slimed? Son should give Jos a tight slap to show his filial piety this CNY. Co-driver too busy looking at bank statements and feeling happy.

Seriously, the govt should stop giving excuses for a simple cock-up: it should simply admit that it was an honest mistake by civil servants who didn’t drive because they couldn’t afford the COEs. Insufficient signs were put up as I explained here and this was a major source of the problem.

(Pic from TRE)

Waz interesting is that even now she refuses to concede that there were insufficient signs:

Q: After the jam, more signs and advertisements on the routes came up. Why not earlier?

I once got a speeding ticket (in Singapore) and was adamant there was no signage (for speed limit). I had driven on this road umpteen times. I thought: “Never mind. Tomorrow I’ll pay attention.” True enough, I saw the sign. Sometimes we don’t notice (the signs) because we don’t need them.

You can always have more (signs and advertisements). But you have to be interested.(http://www.singapolitics.sg/supperclub/josephine-teo-%E2%80%98free-mrt-rides-has-allowed-lifestyle-change%E2%80%99)

Here’s a great comment from TOC’s facebook in response to her remarks about redundancy:

Tremendous time/effort would be incurred when trying to rectify a flawed design/system. Doing it right the first time is critical. A good design is the result of thorough research/ consultation/ brainstorming and that will ensure the success of the project. eg. years ago, woody goh said handicap people should stay away from travelling for safety reason, now we have to retrofit busses/MRT stations for wheel chair access. same for HDB flat, now installing lifts on every floor and the whole project takes decades to complete, what if the HDB architechs had done that in the first place? zero effort for wheel chair access! Our MRT trains adopted designed with 6 carriages while HK MTR already up and running and uses 8 carriages. We could have learnt from HK, instead, we choose ONLY 6 carriages. Now we are flooded with immigrants over crowding the transport system but we are handicapped in increasing the MRT stations capacity by using 8 carriages and must go for the stupid solution of changing the signaling system to cut down only 20 sec peak frequency. using tens of millions and takes 5 years or more to do it. Now who is the stupid one? which way is more cost effective?

BTW, notice that NTUC MPs were, are a bunch of cocks (the exception is Halimah). Think Jos, Lims ( Cheap Zorro, Cry Baby), Hard of hearing Han, Irene the Whiner, Choo the criminal and racist, BG Yeo’s MP from Hell (Cynthia) and NMP Terry Lee.

Related posts:

Jos: Talk Cock Queen

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/jos-too-is-talking-cock/

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/reputations-be-mean-laugh/

Jos: Empress Dowager of Bishan East

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/thanks-jos-for-giving-nishan-east-residents-another-reason-not-to-support-the-pap/

Ageing population Hard Truth is cock and bull?

In Economy, Political economy, Political governance, Public Administration on 20/11/2013 at 4:25 am

The govt and the constructive, nation-building media keep shouting at us that a rapidly aging population (and the stas do show this aging as a fact, no bull here) will lead to disaster if FTs like two-timing new citizen Raj or Tammy’s killer or the FTs that beat up S’poreans and then fled S’pore*, or a looney, violent bank director are not allowed in by the container load. They point to Japan as what can happen if FTs are not allowed in: economic stagnation. The truth is more complex. As I reported here HSBC, a bank, in 2012 published research that Japan is doing pretty well when compared to other developed countries, including immigrant friendly countries like the US and the UK (though the UK is now repenting its liberal immigration policy)

Whatever the impact of an ageing population on S’pore’s prosperity, here’s a piece of evidence casting doubt on the assumptions (stated or unstated) behind the need to have a population of 6.9m by 2030. It comes from academics from the University of Edinburgh.

The idea that dependent older people represent a great demographic challenge of our age has been turned on its head …The research questions an assumption behind arguments for health, social care and immigration policies … The paper demands society rethink some of its assumptions about elderly dependency – drawing a distinction between the ‘young old’ and the ‘old old’

Here’s more from the BBC’s Home (i.e. domestic affairs) editor (Note that the paper in question is based on British statistics but the argument seems applicable elsewhere as he points out)

“The extent, speed and effect of population ageing have all been exaggerated and we should not assume that it will strain health and social care systems,” Professor John MacInnes and senior research fellow Jeroen Spijker write in the article ‘Population Ageing: The timebomb that isn’t?’

Healthier and fitter

The mistake people have been making, the paper suggests, is to assume that all pensioners are dependent and all working-age adults are workers.

They point out that, while it is true there are now more people over 65 in the UK than children under 15, rising life expectancy means older people are effectively “younger”, healthier and fitter than previous generations.

Instead of simply looking at how old someone is, the research focuses on how long they might be expected to live.

“Many behaviours and attitudes (including those related to health) are more strongly linked to remaining life expectancy than to age,” it says.

In 1841, life expectancy at birth was 40 years for males and 42 years for females.

By 1900 it was 52 and 57 and today it is 79 and 83. So the point at which we enter ‘old age’ has also been changing.

Equally, using age to define the adult working populations makes little sense, the authors suggest, because “there are more dependents of working age (9.5 million) than there are older people who do not work”.

So they calculated an alternative measure, what they call “the real elderly dependency ratio”, based on the sum of men and women with a remaining life expectancy of up to 15 years divided by the number of people in employment, irrespective of age.

Important implications

Using this measure, the paper calculates that old-age dependency in the UK fell by one third over the past four decades – and is likely to stabilise close to its current level.

The measure suggests similar falls in many other countries.

“Our calculations show that – over the past four decades – the population far from ageing, has in fact been getting younger, with increasing numbers of people in work for every older person or child,” the authors say.

“The different story of population ageing told by our real elderly dependency ratio has several important implications for health policy and clinical practice.”

In policy terms, this analysis to one of the central challenges of an ageing population might be something of a game changer. Rather than seeing longevity itself as an expensive problem, focus could shift towards managing morbidity and remaining life expectancy.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24921171

The continued refusal of the govt to accept that the issue of ageing population is a complex one and the unwillingness to question its Hard Truth on the issue continued in the face of evidence that the Hard Truth is doing real harm looks all too similar to the intellectual fetters that led central bankers to persist in tighten monetary policy in the early 1930s when faced with a global Depression.

It also shows that they are unlike LKY and Dr Goh Keng Swee who were willing to challenge the conventional wisdom that allowing MNCs in amounted to neo-colonialism. And demographics is not the only issue where the PAP govt is wedded to Hard Truths. Take welfare, where there is evidence that gd welfare systems do not reduce the will to work: they do not make people lazy e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-24974745: another University of Edinburgh study.

Maybe, time to send scholars there to learn to walk on the wild side, and think unHard Truths? After all  University of Edinburgh is a great university. It juz doesn’t produce the ruling elite of the UK or the US. Our scholars to to unis where the UK and US ruling elite are educated.

BTW, here’s an article on using robots to as carers for the elderly: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24949081

*PR was given to one after he beat up the S’poreans.

Answering the PAP’s cock & bull about the “long term”

In Political governance on 05/06/2013 at 5:08 am

The head of the civil service’s defence of the infamous population white paper and the long game the PAP govt is playing over how to control the new media (http://www.tremeritus.com/2013/06/04/the-real-reason-behind-the-internet-crackdown/) reminded me that the PM, other PAPpies and their allies love to talk of the PAP (and allies)  being the only ones that think long term, and that only they can protect future generations, because only they dare take the unpopular decisions (Like allowing FTs to flood into S’pore while limiting the places in local unis for locals?).

No, the retort is not to say, like Lord Keynes,”In the long run we are all dead”.

No the retort is that long-term planning and decision-making must proceed with a clear understanding of the trade-offs between current and future generations. Thinking of the children does not spare one from considering the present needs of the hungry, sick and elderly.*

Let me explain what is meant.

Doesn’t: The Republican [looney right wing tea drinkers] line on fiscal policy is that it is unconscionable to saddle Americans’ children and grandchildren with a mountain of debt.

Only a gutsy, enlightened steward has the wisdom to thwart a future threat to the nation’s well-being by biting the bullet and calling for short-term pain to promote long-term gain. Only a statesman is equipped to make the tough decisions to set the country on a better course.

sound something that our PM or any PAPpy minister from our rational “left of centre” cabinet would say?

Here’s the crushing rejoinder:

But there are philosophical and empirical complexities at play in the “protect future generations!” line of reasoning. If we could avoid bigger trouble in the long run by assuming short-term hardships now, should we? Well, the answer depends on how dire things look in the long run, how much hardship is necessary to avert disaster, and how certain we are that the strategy will in fact work out in the nation’s favour. It would be irrational to opt for certain, indefinite-term pain now to purchase an unspecified amount of theoretical gain later. In any case, the moral calculation is quite a bit more involved than [what the PAP would say**] Government owes a duty to future generations, but it has a duty toward individuals living today as well: it would be perverse to aim to quell the indebtedness of Americans coming of age in 2050 by cutting food stamps for hungry children today.

The pursuit of solvency must proceed with a clear understanding of the trade-offs between current and future generations. Thinking of the children does not spare one from considering the present needs of the hungry, sick and elderly.[From Economist blog]

This idea of trade-offs is nothing new. When I studied the law on trusts, there were tomes of cases on the duties of trustees when deciding whether to cut trees belonging to a trust. The income beneficiaries wanted the trees cut so that they could get the income; against them were those who were not yet income beneficiaries. They didn’t want the trees cut, and the capital “squandered”: cutting the trees now would affect their income from the estate in the future. The trustees often found themselves in the Court of Chancery when one side or other was unhappy.

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*As Uncle Leong could have pointed out here,  thinking. planning and implementing policies didn’t do much for the average S’porean: low growth, wages and productivity, with high household debt and inflation.

**My addition to make it easier to follow the reasoning.

Town Council Debate: Cocks posturing & preening

In Political governance on 22/05/2013 at 5:30 am

Yes,yes Aunties’s not a cock but she sure behaved like Khaw and  Dr Teo. All these three, and the other supporting speakers didn’t try to bother to explain what the facts were. They juz tried to slime the other side, hoping that some mud would stick. No one drew blood.

I won’t bother to go into detail critcising what the PAPpies said as Sg Daily has done a gd job over the last few days providing links to a critique of the PAP’s position and its attacks on the WP. All I will say is that it confirms my view, many yrs ago, that the idea of town councils would come to haunt the PAP. It wasn’t even a gd idea at the time. Ah well, another black mark to Goh Chok Tong and one Lee Hsien Loong and their team.

I’ll juz make some points about what I found astounding about the WP’s position and netizens’ views.

I find it really strange that the WP thinks its OK for it to give a contract to its supporters but that it is wrong for the PAP to give a contract to a PAP linked company. The distinction escapes me. To me, “It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice”. (Deng Xiaopin).

The other point is Auntie telling Dr Teo to report the WP to the CPIB if he had evidence of wrong-doing. Err Auntie, why so more PAP than the PAP? Imagine if when Auntie first made her allegations, those many noons ago, the PAP had said the same to her. I mean she, WP and netizens would be bitching at the PAP for trying to hide something. And rightly so. So why like that Auntie?

Which brings me to the point that netizens are so anti-PAP that they unthinkingly cheer the WP’s position on

– it’s OK to give contracts to supporters, but not party-affiliated organisations; and

– trying to win the argument by telling other side to report the matter to the CPIB.

While the PAP has the 120% support of the constructive, nation-building media, netizens are 99.9% anti-PAP. Here’s a tot for the PAP: if the local media were less servile to the PAP, would the internet be a less hostile place to the PAP. Could the hostile environment on the internet be a reaction to the power of the PAP over the local media.

To end, it would be nice if both sides respected the other side so that we the public can learn the truth of the allegations. Here’s an interesting excerpt on the benefits of respecting one’s opponent, though the author readily admits it’s damned difficult,:

Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticising the views of an opponent? If there are obvious contradictions in the opponent’s case, then you should point them out, forcefully. If there are somewhat hidden contradictions, you should carefully expose them to view – and then dump on them. But the search for hidden contradictions often crosses the line into nitpicking, sea-lawyering and outright parody. The thrill of the chase and the conviction that your opponent has to be harbouring a confusion somewhere encourages uncharitable interpretation, which gives you an easy target to attack.

But such easy targets are typically irrelevant to the real issues at stake and simply waste everybody’s time and patience, even if they give amusement to your supporters. The best antidote I know for this tendency to caricature one’s opponent is a list of rules promulgated many years ago by social psychologist and game theorist Anatol Rapoport.

How to compose a successful critical commentary:

1. Attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly and fairly that your target says: “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.”

2. List any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).

3. Mention anything you have learned from your target.

4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

One immediate effect of following these rules is that your targets will be a receptive audience for your criticism: you have already shown that you understand their positions as well as they do, and have demonstrated good judgment (you agree with them on some important matters and have even been persuaded by something they said). Following Rapoport’s rules is always, for me, something of a struggle…

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/may/19/daniel-dennett-intuition-pumps-thinking-extract

Wimmin, keep away from our cocks: PAP, Govt

In Humour, Political governance on 24/12/2012 at 10:43 am

Here’s what of JG (smart gal except she believes in WP) view of why Laura Ong was exposed: to tell gals to lay off PAP MPs. The punishment is being exposed publicly. Or put put it another way, cut off the supply of gals so as not to put temptation in the way of the PAP MPs.

Hey, you got it wrong!! How dare Laura sleep with Palmer??? She’s the one who is in the wrong!! Let the media dogs go after her!!

How dare Laura’s BF expose the affair to TRE and TNP? He’s also in the wrong!! Let the media dogs go after him too!!

Hence most of the expose is about Laura and his BF. Including camping outside their house, or their parents’ house, or asking neighbors about their actions. None of these stuffs when it comes to Palmer.

Seen in this perspective, everything makes sense. The PAP is whiter than white. If they are blemished, its the blemish-er that’s in the wrong. Let everyone learn his lesson – don’t ever touch a PAP MP, OK??

And maybe this is why Sue’s pix appears so often in SPH’s publication. The govt wants to send the message to customer service ladies that customer service does not include providing sexual gratification to civil servants.

Postings may be light until after 2 or 3 January. Happy partying or whatever you may be planning to do or are already doing.

Jos too is talking cock

In Economy, Political governance on 26/10/2012 at 5:42 am

Shouldn’t Jos Teo bitch about the Integrated Programmes that make PSLE such an impt exam today, rather than against employers that offer PSLE leave for their employees, and parents that take time off to coach their kids. In my time, PSLE was important to get into RI, Victoria and Serangoon English: once in if no major balls-up could do PreU in these schools (Integrated Programme is juz modern variant), but if one went to mission primary schools, going to mision secondary schools (and PreU) wasn’t that dependent on PSLE results, unless one was stupid. Things got even better when the govt started NJC.  More places for PreU studies.

But then the cycle turned and now PLSE is the exam to pass.

“We are quite mistaken to behave as if PSLE is THE defining moment in a child’s development.”: Err not all parents can afford to send their kids overseas to make sure they get a good education, if the kids get culled here.

And following the logic of her outburst, wouldn’t the logic of her argument mean that the government is wrong to continue curbing the number of COEs? As even ministers and MAS concede that the rising costs of COEs adds to inflationary pressures, even if ministers are wrong to say that rising COEs don’t affect the cost of living of us plebs (those unable to afford owning cars, and have to use public tpt).

Which brings me to the inflation situation.

Remember me bitching in early August that MTI jnr minister Lee Yi Shyan, and the local media covering him, were misrepresenting the pix on food inflation? I had pointed out that there were reports of rising food prices.

Well now MAS validates what I was saying. MAS warned on Tuesday about upward pressures in imported food prices over the next few months and into early 2013 due to weather-related supply disruptions.

Jos has gd company. And this ST guy should be in line to be a jnr minister.

Note: Last sentence and link to Jos piece added at 9.09am on day of publication.

 

Talking cock Kadir, Hariss?

In Uncategorized on 25/09/2012 at 6:23 am

Waz this rubbish abt wanting to attack when playing away?

“Strikers win games, defenders win trophies,” said a great Arsenal manager who won the double when it meant something.

Hope that these LionsXII guys are playing mind games, not being talk cock artists.

Vietnam: “A toxic cocktail”

In Vietnam on 22/09/2012 at 3:17 pm

From the September issue of the ISEAS ASEAN monitor

“A toxic cocktail” – the words of economist Le Dang Doanh – aptly describe Vietnam’s situation for the fourth quarter of 2012. The ingredients are economic stagnation, banking scandals, political insecurity caused by Party rectification and anti-corruption drives, and challenges to Vietnamese sovereignty in the South China Sea. Party rectification aims to curb abuses of power and corruptive behaviour by government officials in cahoots with businesses to enrich both sides. Politician banker, Nguyen Duc Kien, and the head of the Asia Commercial Bank, Ly Xuan Hai, have been arrested. Notably, while the rumour mill has for years linked Kien to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, the Chief of Police has declared that it was the Prime Minister himself who directed the arrests. Earlier reports gave credit to the Minister for Public Security but the order probably came from the Political Bureau.

The arrested pair of Kien and Ly could reveal the extent of illegal activities in the banking sector. Rumours are pointing to imprudent bank loans arranged by Kien, as well as his role in the merger/acquisition of another bank, an act perceived as political bullying. In the next two months there will be an intense struggle over how the official reports regarding Party rectification should be written. Individual leaders would want to avoid blame, and most important, retain their positions. Party rectification would also go down to provincial level and lower. Greater conservatism and caution in officials’ behaviour, if only to avoid making mistakes, leading to riskaversion,is to be expected.

The economy has not lived up to earlier optimism. Imports have decreased and analysts note that this would impact negatively on exports in the next quarter. Credit growth is at an unhealthy low while the burst of the real estate bubble has turned speculation into locked investments. Speculators are not realising losses and banks are unable to recover loans. Close to 100,000 companies, mostly from the private sector, have ceased operations.

On this downward spin, there are yet no signs of external help, be it from a buoyant world economy or the IMF. The stagnation is expected to be relieved slightly as the end of the year usually sees a rise in consumption, but the overall trend is a downward one.

Key points: While Vietnam and China appear to have reached a quiet and uncomfortable détente over the South China Sea, expect more bilateral problems as the fishing season resumes this September.

Economist on Vietnam

Vietnam’s banks are in dire shape; and that corruption and waste pervade the economy.

This was never a secret, but during the boom years in the middle of the past decade, when the economy was growing by 8% a year and foreign investment was pouring in, nobody much cared. Now, with slower growth, huge business debts and more competition from places such as Cambodia, Indonesia and Myanmar, the problems loom large. It did not help when, two months ago, the central bank admitted that bad debts amounted to up to 10% of all bank loans, double the level previously admitted to. The real figure could be two or three times that.

The hitch in Hanoi

And so confidence in the Vietnamese economy, especially among Western investors, is tumbling. Foreign direct investment (FDI) into Vietnam, at $8 billion for the first seven months of the year, is a third lower than a year earlier. Japan accounts for fully half of all the inflows.

STOMPED! Yacoob’s CoC

In Media, Political governance on 11/07/2012 at 8:09 am

(Or “The difference between blogging and the traditional newspaper story”) 

Remember when Yaacob was  promoting his CoC (Code of Conduct) for the internet, he praised our mainstream constructive media and said they should be exemplars netizens should follow http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/two-examples-of-how-st-covers-fts/ .

We now know what he wants us netizens to do: fake news reports using paid content producers like STOMP. His sis is a very, very senior editor at ST, a sister publication of STOMP.

Well I doubt that in 2012, we will hear anymore about his CoC. But next year is another year, and the CoC is not a once in 50-years event.

I was reminded of the above CoC and STOMP’s paid content producers posing as “citizen journalists” when I read this: [T]he traditional newspaper story derives its force and directionality from the man-bites-dog newsiness of the flat content. It’s very difficult to include expert commentary that depletes or diffuses the newsiness, because it sucks the signifying force out of the piece. In contrast, blogging and tweeting are far more flexible and use many other discursive techniques to supply directionality and signifying force, most importantly personalistic tone. You can write a blog post about something utterly un-newsworthy, say the fact that Barack Obama is president of the United States, and make it signify through sheer emotive presence or stylistic technique. But you can’t write a newspaper story about that.

One great reason why netizens shouldn’t be forced to be like a newspaper, even one like the FT or NYT or the Economist, let alone a publication like ST when even the footie news is distorted for the government’s constructive, nation-building agenda of “FTs are betterest” policy. 

Read the whole blog posting because it gives great insights on how a newspaper, any newspaper from the NYT to ST and its peers in China and North Korea, operate http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/06/media-rules

Related http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18458567

Indonesia: Talking cock is not helpful, helpful

In Indonesia, Infrastructure on 13/06/2012 at 7:32 am

Work on a new deepwater port for container ships on an island between Batam and Bintan is set to begin next year, creating a potential rival to Singapore’s port. The port, on Tanjung Sauh, aims to be a major transshipment center for Indonesia, and is part of the country’s overhaul of its transport infrastructure to cope with growing domestic demand.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/05/21/deepwater-port-near-batam-set-rival-singapore.html

Well in 2005, Indonesia annced a major expansion of the port on Batam. It even awarded a contract to a French company. Err nothing ever happened. Wonder if this time, it will be anything different. And remember that Batam has one unused int’l airport. It was built to rival S’pore’s airport in the late 1970s.

Readers will know I’m bullish on Indonesia. But that is despite, not because, of its officials or the government planning agencies.

But here’s one talking cock project that works: using social media to help farmers get info they need http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18193993

China’s Community Convention = Yaacob’s CoC

In Political governance on 04/06/2012 at 6:34 am

The “community convention” of China’s biggest microblogging service, Weibo, made public last week, says its members may not use the service to:

  • Spread rumours
  • Publish untrue information (Interjection: Might be a problem if this is adopted here as SPH publications have an online presence. Exemption for newspapers that need an annual government permit on the ground that they are already regulated? Juz being constructive, not mean.)
  • Attack others with personal insults (PAP and this site might have a problem here if this is adopted here) or libellous comments
  • Oppose the basic principles of China’s constitution
  • Reveal national secrets
  • Threaten China’s honour
  • Promote cults or superstitions
  • Call for illegal protests or mass gatherings

It adds that members must not use “oblique expressions or other methods” to circumvent the rules.

Substitute the word “S’pore’s” for “China’s”, and Yaacob, Kee Chui Chan, and the staff of MDA and Institute of Policy Studies don’t need to consult no more the “inhabitants of cowboy towns”.  Can go back to earning millions of dollars without working with the troublesome, noisy “little people”.

Community Convention  covers everything that DPM Teo, Yaacob, Kee Chui, and IPS (and now even Dr M) find objectionable abt the behaviour they find ojectionable.

More on Weibo’s CoC http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-18208446

—–

Telling coc jokes: Ministerial CoC needed

In Humour, Internet, Political governance on 03/05/2012 at 7:10 pm

Based on the remarks of the PM and the two DPMs the last few days, I think Yaacob would find S’poreans receptive to a Ministerial CoC (Code of Conduct) on the telling of jokes in bad taste.

I ranted earlier on DPM Teo’s joke on more openness and passing the burden of integrating FTs to us S’poreans who never asked for them in the first place.

Well that was the start of the bad-joke telling session.

We then had Tharman telling us that although inflation rose by about 5.2% (“a high figure” said he) in March 2012, this did not mean that the average Singaporean will feel this “high inflation” because more than half of the headline inflation rate of 5.2% came from higher COEs for cars and the effect of higher market rent on houses. The vast majority of Singaporeans who already own their homes and are not buying new cars would not feel the effects of these sharp increases. And the increase in prices of daily necessities and essential services such as food and clothing have actually been much more moderate at 3% or lower.

Well he got well and truly beaten up for this tasteless joke because among other things, high COE prices affect those who need to buy vans and lorries to transport goods. Their costs go up and guess who pays?

And this isn’t the first time he tried to tell bad jokes. Remember the one about someone earning less than a $1000 a month being able to afford to a 30-yr HDB mortgage, or the one that low-income Singaporeans may be able to receive between $3.97 to $5.10 in government benefits for every dollar paid in taxes over a life time. We found out that it all depends on the assumptions made, and anyway in the case of benefits, much of it was paid into the CPF account, while a recipient had to pay his taxes upfront in cash. What abt the time value of the money, minister?

Then the PM joined in. He told the joke about the need for wages to be driven by higher productivity. I mean how could productivity go up with 80,000 immigrants a year being imported to keep wages down? Or even the planned only 25,000?

And what abt this spotted by Donaldson Tan and reported on his FB page, “MBS raised demand for unskilled labour in the hospitality sector, resulting in wage growth for everyone in the hospitality sector while Labour Chief asserted that wage growth must be backed by productivity gain. There is no productivity gain in the PM’s example.”?

The PM also said, “Singaporeans will always be our priority”: “Whether it was adjusting the supply of foreign workers or the pursuit of economic growth, he said the Government seeks to maximise the advantages for its citizens, and to provide them with jobs and a share of the nation’s success.” (ST report)

Huh? Hey who waz it who allowed in 80,000 FTs a year to keep wages down, without expanding the public housing and transport infrastructure?

And before I forget his office said that only “good quality” people are allowed to immigrate? What abt the hooker-looking, violent, cheating, unrepentent shop assistant, and the hawkers that became PRs? Not exactly “good quality” migrants are they? Honest mistakes?

Now this was one bad joke too far.

Yaacob’s Code of Conduct for the internet is not needed because S’pore has the penal code and laws on sedition, contempt of court, criminal and civil defamation and incitement to religious hatred that can be used to repress curb the excesses of netizens like the unemployed chap behind “Fabrications abt the PAP”.

But let’s trade. What about a CoC for ministers to get ministers to stop telling cock jokes, in exchange for a CoC in which bloggers become less anti the governing PAP?

Kee Chui.

 .

DBS FTs: balls-up on top of cock-up?

In Banks, Corporate governance, Temasek on 15/06/2010 at 5:53 am

Islamic finance is set to play a bigger and more central role in global finance. This is because of greater awareness and adoption in more financial centres.

Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang said this at the launch of the inaugural World Islamic Banking Conference Asia Summit in Singapore on Monday.

So why is DBS cutting back on the activities of its Islamic banking activities?

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/dbs-fts-goofed-again/

Temasek should sort out the “FT is best policy” that dominates the thinking at DBS. It is on its 6th FT CEO in a row. It’s costing Temasek (and ultimately us) shareholder value.

Remember it was an FT that overpaid for Dao Heng Bank, and messed up the takeover of OUB.  And the loss in market share in retail banking, so much so that the ex-CEO of PosBank has been brought back as adviser.

Other cock ups

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/dbs-fts-balls-up-contd/

Roy Ngereg and the silence of the FT lovers

In Uncategorized on 22/06/2014 at 4:48 am

Remember Kirsten Han, wimmin of AWARE (diss MSmen also: all their male partners FTs is it?), William Wan and lots of FT lovers were quick to support the PAP govt in accusing S’poreans of the “X” word? Where’s the evidence of increased xenophobia? Yes a bit of hot, filthy, vulgar, smelly air, but I don’t see S’poreans beating up Pinoy Pride provocateurs for example, let alone gunning them down. If S’poreans in Manila or Cebu had behaved like these Pinoys here, thed’d be gunned down and our flag burnt. Reflect on that the Pinoy embassy and stop playing the victim game to justify yr cushy jobs.

Take the recent “hate” posting that has generated lots of noise. It was puerile, offensive in parts but hateful? Nope it wasn’t  In fact I tot that the suggestion that asking Pinoy cashier (not many nowadays: not gd use of their great skills in selling and customer service) if insecticide killed Pinoys, then saying one meant cockroaches not Pinoys, was wicked.

As to the one about not wanting to be served by Pinoys, it showed how dumb the writer was:

– I love being served by Pinoys, they know how to do “service with a smile” unlike people like Roy’s M’sian Cina gf; and

– the eatery can ask the requester to leave, publicise the fact, scoring points with MoM and the FT lovers.

But there is mostly silence from these FT lovers.when it comes to supporting Roy, as this TRE poster pointed out,

Why no civic staement ?:

Only MARUAH issued press statement ? What about the rest from the civil society group who are so quick to scold S’poreans for being xenophobic & racist ?? Where are:
1. Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE),
2. Beyond the Border,
3. Behind the Men,
4. Function 8,
5. Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME),
6. LeftWrite Center,
7. Project X,
8. Sayoni,
9. Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign,
10. Think Centre,
11. Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2)
12. Workfair.

and the individaul:
Fikri Alkhatib, Damien Chng, Ian Chong, Jean Chong, Chong Si Min, Kirstan Han, Farhan M Idris, Godwin Koay, Lynn Lee, Siew Kum Hong*, Constance Singam, Alvin Tan Cheong Kheng, Jolene Tan, Teng Qian Xi, Shelley Thio, Teo Soh Lung, Vincent Wijeysingha**, Mark Wong De Yi, Wong Pei Chi, June Yang Yajun, Yap Ching Wi and Rachel Zeng.

Where are your statements, why so quiet ?

And then there was the wannabe NMP for FTs, defender of Anton Casey and FT drinks-supplier (not unemployed S’poreans as has been suggested to him):

Chris K:

Oi, William Wan where is your “kindness”?

Why they silent about true blue S’poreans that many S’poreans think kanna bullied? He not FT is it?

It would be nice if these people and organisations think of how easy and unfair it is to accuse fellow S’poreans of xenophobia’ when they try to curry favour with an otherwise hostile govt. But why should they? FTs are no threat to their own jobs. pay, or standard of living. They are to many S’poreans.

For me as a retiree, the more FTs the better (wage repression keeps a lid on price increases) but I see the ill effects on working S’poreans (Yup not so cynical like “abc”). I hope the FT lovers too look beyond their narrow economic and financial interests, and “ang mohs know best” attitude.

———

*Note that Siow is an active member of Maruah. So not fair to include him among FT lovers only. He has also spoken out on FB against the defamation action.

**He too has supported Roy. Likewise unfair to include him.

 

PM is clueless about the WP & PAP

In Political governance on 02/06/2014 at 4:45 am

Sun Tzu said, If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.

Going by what he said last week, when and Low Thia Khiang engaged in a jaw-jaw in Parliament  on constructive politics, WP’s stand on major policy issues and the role of the opposition in parliament, PM doesn’t know the enemy and the PAP. So how can he fix anyone?

He said:

It’s an eloquent explanation for why the WP has been inarticulate, about many things. In a serious parliament, the Government presents its policies. The Opposition presents its alternatives. The WP may not have alternatives on every issue; it may not have a full range of all the complexities of designing an HDB scheme or MediShield scheme. You do have a responsibility to say which direction are we going. And that direction has to be set clearly – not to explain to the PAP, but to explain to Singaporeans what you stand for.

Err except that in a parliamentary democracy (I’m assuming S’pore is one, not a defacto one-party state), the opposition spends most of its time after losing a general election criticising the govt, and its policies. It only starts proposing alternatives maybe one yr before the next general election; and that only because it wants to present itself as a credible alternative to the govt.

Now the WP has made it clear that it isn’t ready for power and will at best be part of Team PAP if the PAP doesn’t win a parly majority. Nothing about teaming up with the other opposition parties.

So there really isn’t the need of presenting alternatives. And our PM should know it, and he should know that S’poreans know this too. The WP is uniquely S’porean: it doesn’t want to be the driver. It’s happy being a self-appointed co-driver.

And the following show that a Catholic High, NJC boy has problems understanding the principles of Tao that Low is using http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/low-shows-the-usefulness-of-non-action/ (’cause dad’s a legalist? http://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/lao-tse-and-hard-truths/):

I hope he takes an equally reasonable approach when it comes to election rallies because the WP approach has been to be extremely reasonable – indeed low profile – in Parliament but come election time to turn into tigers and heroes.

It’s an eloquent explanation for why the WP has been inarticulate, about many things. In a serious parliament, the Government presents its policies. The Opposition presents its alternatives. The WP may not have alternatives on every issue; it may not have a full range of all the complexities of designing an HDB scheme or MediShield scheme. You do have a responsibility to say which direction are we going. And that direction has to be set clearly – not to explain to the PAP, but to explain to Singaporeans what you stand for.

And

[A]fter all this complicated explanation, I don’t know whether Mr Low Thia Khiang still stands by what was said in Parliament in the White Paper debate last year… But after telling me you can massage this and some people can do (with) less and others will need more – that’s easy to say, who’s going to do the massaging? Of course, the Government. And that, is the mark of a sub-standard Opposition.”

If PM doesn’t understand that WP Low is a follower of Lao Tze, then the PAP is in trouble.

And it’s not that PM understands himself or the PA.

It’s a bit rich for PM to say:

I think the record will speak for itself, when we make a shift we acknowledge a shift. When the WP changes position they pretend they haven’t – that is the difference.

And

We have to call a spade a spade. If we have changed position and your previous position was wrong, say so. If you hold by your position, have your guts to reaffirm it and take the consequences. But to weasel away, play with words, avoid the issue and then claim to be responsible, that is what we fear can drive Singapore’s politics into the same place where many other countries have gone.

As Lao Tze WP Low said

Talking about the WP flip-flopping on foreign workers issue… In any case, I also noted that when the PAP has to make a policy U-turn, they call it policy shift. I don’t know whether that is a shift or it’s a flip-flop.

He could have highlighted other PAP semantics like “evolving” (public tpt sys policies are “evolving”) or “moving on” (“Let’s forget the cock-up. This is an order”)?”

But Low was talking rubbish when he said, This is the mark of a responsible Opposition not to jam up the Government; allowing the Government – after giving our view, debating it – allowing the Government to move forward, not to jam up the Government. It is a mark of a responsible Government and a mark of first world Parliament”.

WP can’t jam p anything. The PAP’s majority (more than two-thirds) means it can do what it likes. And there’s nothing the WP can do about it. So long as the PAP has a two-thirds majority in parliament, it can do what it likes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

—-

*Lee Hsien Loong and Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang engaged in a verbal sparing in Parliament on 28 May on constructive politics, WP’s stand on the big issues as well as the role of opposition in parliament.

Wah lan, FTs getting their very own NMP?

In Political governance on 21/05/2014 at 4:53 am

This tot crossed my mind when I read that the general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM), Dr William Wan, is applying for the post of Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP). He told the media that his nomination papers were submitted yesterday (14 May).

SKM’s mission is to inspire graciousness through spontaneous acts of kindness, thus making life more pleasant for everyone [Link]. The patron of SKM is PM Lee Hsien Loong and its adviser is Minister Lawrence Wong.

As to why he could be a Trojan Horse (albeit an unwitting and unintended one) for FTs, here is the evidence that made me conclude (reasonably I hope) that he believes,  “In S’pore, FTs are more equal than S’poreans”.

– Dr Wan came out to defend Anton Casey (‘SKM condemns ‘online lynching’ of Anton Casey‘).

The Straits Times then carried an article by Dr Wan in which he condemned the online behaviour of Singaporeans. He felt that Singaporeans had shown a lack of empathy towards Anton Casey.

Casey had described Singapore MRT commuters as “poor people”. He said, “Normal service (after getting his Porsche back from the workshop) can resume, once I have washed the stench of public transport off me FFS!” (FFS is an acronym for “for f**k’s sake”.)

In his article, Dr Wan lamented that “something has gone wrong with us Singaporeans”. He said incidents like Anton Casey “reiterate the need for us to reassess our social media habits”. Defending Casey, Dr Wan surmised that he was perhaps “simply being thoughtless and careless” when he posted the offensive remarks … (TRE)

– He ignored suggestions to show that he cared for S’poreans down on their luck by doing for them a totful, gracious act that he did for FTs.

[T]o show empathy for foreign workers, SKM and Coca-Cola Singapore delivered free cans of Coke to foreign construction workers at a high-rise work site via drones [Link].

Dr Wan said, “What we hope to do is to encourage Singaporeans to make showing appreciation to foreign workers part of our daily lives.” (TRE).

I applaud him (and Coke) for providing the foreign manual workers with cold drinks. It was a totful, gracious gesture.

But I find it strange that he then ignored suggestions that he should arrange for some drinks for S’poreans too. I’ll let TRE tell the story:

TRE has suggested that perhaps he should show empathy for his displaced fellow Singaporeans too (‘How about showing empathy for displaced SG workers?‘).

One suggestion would be to get his volunteers to hand out cans of Coke to Singaporeans seeking employment help at the Workforce Development Agency. There is no need to use any high-tech flying drones in this case – his volunteers just need to stand at the door and give out canned drinks to our fellow Singaporeans who need help and comfort.

He does totful, gracious gestures only for FTs? Doesn’t charity begin at home?

When it was reported that PM got flak for saying on the occasion of an Indian festival: “Singapore belongs to all of us, Singaporeans, new arrivals, people who are on permanent residence here, people who are on employment pass here.”*, I tot that the complainants were going too far. I tot they read too much in the word “belonging” and were being extremely petty and mean.

But, if as it is likely, William Wan, gets to be an NMP, I now can understand and even sympathise with those S’poreans unhappy with the PM’s comments, even if I disagree with their views and pettiness.

BTW, wonder why PM left out those on S Passes and work permits, many of whom are Pinoys, and Indians when he said, “Singapore belongs to all of us, Singaporeans, new arrivals, people who are on permanent residence here, people who are on employment pass here.”? Very strange given that he was talking on the occasion of an Indian festival and given the data

[T]here has been a significant increase for S Pass holders between Dec 2011 to Dec 2013.

47,000 to be exact.

This is 15,900 or 51% more, as compared to the period of Dec 2009 to Dec 2011.

Work permit holders increase substantially too, by 77,000 during the period of Dec 2011 and Dec 2013. It’s a 47% or 24,700 increase from previous 2 years.

Our total foreign workforce increased by 123,700 between Dec 2011 to Dec 2013 – that’s more than 60,000 each year.

(http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2014/05/foreign-workforce-numbers-moderating-or-increasing/)

An honest mistake by PM? Or should we read something in his omission of S Pass and Work Permit holders? What do you think?

——-

*At a grassroots event in Ang Mo Kio to celebrate the Indian New Year, Mr Lee was reported to have said that “the event was an embodiment of the theme as well as on a larger scale where everyone participates as one big Singapore family” and that Singapore was a place “where we all celebrate one another’s festivals and happy events together.”

He added that “Singapore belongs to all of us”, which he said included “Singaporeans, new arrivals, people who are on permanent residence here, people who are on employment pass here.”

No security breach, but “secured” premises vandalised?

In Political governance, Public Administration on 16/05/2014 at 4:45 am

(Or “PR spinning goes mad” or “‘Ponding’ revisited”)

There was “no breach of security measures” by the Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council in relation to the vandalism case in Toa Payoh … said Dr Teo Ho Pin* (CNA).  Graffiti was found along the rooftop of Block 85A at Toa Payoh Lorong 4. on 8 May and five 17-year-olds have been charged with vandalism.

Earlier, on 5 May, a train at the Bishan depot was spray-painted with graffiti. This is the third time vandals have struck a key transport facility in four years, and the second time a train in Bishan depot has been vandalised . In the latest case, reports said the depot’s perimeter fence was intact, and SMRT has yet to confirm any security breach, CNA reported.

So how did the vandals get in undetected to deface the property and then get out again undetected? Goh Meng Sen** allowed the vandals to use his UFO’s  teleporting machine to get in and in and out of the secured premises, is it?

Come on SMRT and Dr Teo, if vandals can get in and out of secured premises, then there were breaches of security. Let’s not indulge in word games to try look gd. These semantics only make you look stupid, and remind S’poreans that only the PM has cockles with a certain dish.

Dr VivianB put an end to claims by his officials that Orchard Rd wasn’t flooded, it was juz “ponded”. He sneered at their claims of “ponding”. Much credit we netizens gave him, showing how much he is disliked in cyberspace.

Mr Teo Chee Hean should show SMRT and Dr Teo why he was brought in as Home Minister. It had become a sex holiday camp during Wong Kan Seng’s long tenure there and Mr Teo made it fit for purpose again, looney M’sians braching borders excepted.

He should publicly  take SMRT and Dr Teo to task for trying to PR their way out of security failures that could have jeopardise lives, and further damage the PAP govt. If terrorists had breached these premises, and people had died, S’poreans would know that the PAP govt is a paper tiger when it comes to protecting S’poreans against terrorists.

Worse, imagine if the terrorists were the people Gilbert Goh or Goh Meng Seng love to trash, and MoM Tan, PM and his ministers, Kirsten Han and Maruah love to embrace: FTs?

All hell would break lose, and rightly so given that the PAP govt prides itself on keeping S’pore safe and on its love of FTs. S’poreans would be rational in thinking that when security and FT policies contradict one another, the security of S’pore and S’poreans suffer.

So pls Me Teo, pls wake up and go wake up Dr Teo’s and General Kuek’s. ideas. It’s OK to sleep in Parly (white elephant only) but not on the day-job of keeping S’pore safe.

—–

*CNA tells us how the vandals got in:.

Channel NewsAsia has been trying to figure out how the vandals could have reached the rooftop without using the trap door.

Looking at the place, one can see a small opening which leads to the roof. There are also stains on the walls, which could mean that the vandals could have placed a ladder against the walls to get to the opening.

If allowing a small opening to remain is not a security breach, what is, Dr Teo?

Dr Teo stressed that the PAP town councils take a serious view of the security and safety of roofs and water tanks at HDB blocks.

He said that over the last three years, the town councils have set up a security protocol on rooftop access.

Dr Teo said: “The town councils have set up three lines of defence to make sure that (only) authorised personnel can go up to the rooftop of our HDB flats.

“So we have, first of all, secured locks to make sure that all the trap doors and all the doors are properly locked using a very robust lock system.

“We also make sure that our water tanks are all with brackets — they are all bolted down to make sure that nobody can vandalise (them).

“At the same time, we have an authorised access system where only authorised persons can go up the roof.”

The town councils believe the present security system is adequate to prevent any unauthorised access to the roofs. However, they will need to evaluate if the breach is caused by other factors.

How can measures be adequate, yet there is a breach, causing a need to evaluate if the breach is caused by other factors.

**Maybe taz why GMS is AWOL or MIA yet again. He was leading the charge against the Pinoys’ party but has gone quiet. Maybe modifying his teleporter (with the help of Tan kin Lian) to zap Pinoys who party at his sacred spot and transfere to Filipino Lucky Plaza, where the Pinoys have de-facto sovereignty?

Have a gd weekend. Tune in next week. Plenty on garang Pinoys planning on taking on GG and GMS.

 

 

Think up another “clarification”, general

In Indonesia on 19/04/2014 at 5:15 am

(Or “The lies Indon officials tell”)

“Wasn’t me, was an impostor,” the head of the Indonesian Armed Forces should have said. Or, “I no speak English”. LOL

Some 48 hours after his interview with Channel NewsAsia aired on Tuesday, the head of the TNI deaplogised an apology he made during the interview.

General Moeldoko said on Thursday that he had not apologised to the Singapore government for the naming of a warship after two Indonesian marines who bombed MacDonald House in Singapore in 1965.

Instead, he clarified that he was expressing his regret that the naming decision was final and would not be changed.

On Tuesday night, Channel NewsAsia aired an exclusive interview with General Moeldoko, during which he touched on the relations between Singapore and Indonesia, among other issues.

He was asked by Channel NewsAsia senior Southeast Asia correspondent Sujadi Siswo about the decision to name a warship Usman Harun after the two Indonesian marines, and the ties between the two countries.

“Once again I apologise. We have no ill intent whatsoever to stir emotions. Not at all. Second, relations between the two countries are on the mend. There’ve been communications among leaders. Singapore’s Chief of Defence and I have spoken,” General Moeldoko had said. (CNA)

What could be clearer? He did apologise.

So he’s a talk cock general? I prefer our paper generals.

Seriously, I was surprised at his unambiguous apology and wondered why the TNI had eaten crow. Now we know, “He didn’t mean what he we heard.” So TNI still believes in killing civilians is a legitimate military tactic.http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/govt-sporeans-that-blur-on-indons-ship-naming/? Tell the Americans.

Still want us to trust Indonesia Mad Dog Chee?

Related posts: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/haze-what-raffles-would-have-done/

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/investing-in-indonesia-is-like-eating-puffer-fish-tre-readership/

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/indonesia-even-friends-get-screwed/

Temasek’s Lim talks rubbish/ Olam helps African farmers

In Africa, Commodities, GIC, Political governance, Temasek on 03/04/2014 at 4:55 am

Temasek’s chairman Lim Boon Heng (the chap who cried when voting for casinos) was quoted by BT on 31 March as saying, “Coming from a little island nation with no natural resources except for some granite rocks, we are not a sovereign wealth fund in the normal sense of the term,” he said at a reception to mark the opening of Temasek’s new European office in London last Friday.

“Instead, we invest capital accumulated from generations of hard work and commitment by everyone in Temasek and the Temasek portfolio companies,” said Mr Lim in a speech at the Millennium Mayfair Hotel.

Well, I could reasonably say that he is talking rot*. It could be reasonably argued that part or most of money saved (via budget surpluses) could have been be more productively spent on making life better for S’poreans. It could have been spent on

– more hospital beds (http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/03/13/gan-says-hospital-beds-increased-by-30-really/),

– better public transport (Using back-of-the envelope calculations and figures in annual reports, since it was listed SMRT (over a decade ago) has paid S$562.79m in dividends to Temasek, and ComfortDelgro has paid the S’pore Labour Foundation (a statutory board affiliated to the NTUC) dividends of  S$150.46m since 2003 (Comfort and Delgro merged in 2003, and SLF had a stake in Comfort). The amount that ended up with the government was S$713.25m, with SMRT contributing 79%. But ComfortDelgro is likely be the main beneficiary of the S$1.1bn bus plan) (Italics added at 6.55am),

– low cost public housing (remember Mah saying that lowering the cost of land cheaper was raiding the reserves http://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/what-are-in-our-reserves-a-revisit/. Link also describes how budget surpluses and the reserves are linked),

– welfare for the elderly and needy. and

– education.

The list for the productive use of govt revenue rather than to play roulette or baccarat (OK, OK invest) can go on and on.

 

Leading local economists (not juz a wannabe opposition politican) have made this point about better uses of govt money than squirreling it away for a rainy day that never comes**. They juz don’t get reported by our constructive, nation-building media.

But maybe the govt is changing its attitude and Temasek is leading the way?

Olam is into sustainable, ecofriendly agriculture.

Sor and farmers from 36 communities in the Juabeso/Bia district are part of a project to produce climate-smart cocoa, claimed to the the world’s first. The $1m, three-year pilot collaboration between Rainforest Alliance (RA), an environmental organization, and Olam International, agricultural company, offers financial incentive to the farmers.

In the wild, cocoa trees grow under taller trees, which protect them from the scorching sun. But in Ghana as in neighbouring Ivory Coast, which together account for more than half the global supply, cocoa is grown as a monoculture.

“I had a lot of trees on my farm, but I cut and burned them. I thought they brought diseases, were a nuisance and took the place of cocoa,” says the mother of four, who owns a 4-acre farm in Eteso.  “I didn’t know about the importance of shade trees until I joined the group.”

(http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2013/12/ghana)

Three cheers for Olam and Temasek for helping African farmers. Next stop S’pore SMEs?

Maybe Temasek is experimenting in Africa. Next an investment in a S’pore based co that helps S’poreans? Charity begins at home.

BTW, nice to see that GIC opened an office in Brazil. About time as Latin America is becoming unfashionable among the ang mohs.

GIC opened an office yesterday in Brazil, as it looks for more investment opportunities in Latin America.

The new office – its 10th globally – will focus on areas such as real estate, healthcare, financial and business services, and natural resources and infrastructure.

“Our presence in Brazil will enable our partners to engage early and interact closely with the GIC team, which is very beneficial for complex and sizeable investments,” said group chief investment officer Lim Chow Kiat.

“We believe our partners will gain from having access to GIC’s global network of business contacts and market insights. Although emerging markets remain volatile, we are confident of the long-term Latin America growth story.” (Yesterday’s BT).

These countries need capital, now that the ang mohs no longer like the area. China is investing there, BTW.

————————————————————————————————————

*One of these days I’ll blog why ever since Devan Nai, Lim Chee Onn and Ong Teng Cheonf, we’ve had clowns as NTUC leaders. Lim may have been a failure as NTUC leader (Devan Nair fixed him), he he turned out to be a gd for Keppel, for which I’m grateful.)

**I hope thyose who think the world of Ong Teng Cheong realise that he wanted to look away even the returns from reserves away from the masses. Lee Hsien Loong and co got their way on using some of the returns on govt spending.

Focus on dividend growth, not yield

In Financial competency, Reits on 11/03/2014 at 4:25 am

Here’s some gd advice from the FT when buying dividend stocks:

However, experts warn investors should not be lured by high dividend payouts from individual companies, as this can entail risk. Instead, they note that dividend growth can result in much higher returns.

“Chasing a high dividend is a risky strategy; the yield might look attractive, but the risk is the dividend gets cut and the share price falls further,” said Adrian Lowcock, senior investment manager at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“The share price may have already fallen to reflect expectations the dividend will be cut – meaning the yield would then have risen,” he added. “We saw this in 2008/09 when the banks all had high yields but were not going to be paying dividends for many years.”

Investors should instead look for growing income, as these companies are likely to be financially more robust, growing their capital base.

So maybe time to think about SMRT http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/smrt-only-now-meh/?

And here’s a gd BT article on evaluating Reits: http://www.cpf.gov.sg/imsavvy/infohub_article.asp?readid={651562920-19895-7719950079} High yields do not mean a Reit is an attractive buy, however. Yields are related to risk and growth potential, as investor Bobby Jayaraman pointed out in his 2012 book on Reit investing, Building Wealth Through Reits. The safer the Reit and the higher its growth potential, the lower its yields will be. This is because high demand from investors for these assets pushes up their price, thus lowering yields.

If you want to know more about the Reit structure http://www.cpf.gov.sg/imsavvy/infohub_article.asp?readid={651939829-19894-8559931515}

Govt, S’poreans that blur on Indons’ ship-naming?

In Indonesia on 17/02/2014 at 4:38 am

The govt missed the opportunity to kick the Indonesian govt in the balls. It could have made the Indon govt look stupid and crass internationally. S’poreans (govt* and all the commentators bar one Voice, see below) are behaving like frogs in a well in their reaction to the Indonesian brazenness over the naming a naval vessel after two “heroes” who killed S’porean civilians in the 1960s.

Seriously, the issue is bigger than our sensitivities about the Indonesian govt’s view that we are a Little Red Speck that it can trod on or push around like East Timor or West Papua.

It’s about whether Indonesia views attacks against civilians as a legitimate military tactic, contrary to the rules of war, Even the hegemon accepts that killing civilians is wrong even if its drones keep killing civilians (“Accident leh. Not on purpose”). So the US and the int’l community should want to know if Indonesia views killing civilians as a legitimate military tactic. The behaviour of Indonesia’s armed forces in Acheh, Sulawesi, West Papua and East Timor provides evidence that the military (at least) condones the killing of innocent civilians.

Taking a step further does Indonesia implicitly or covertly condone terrorism as a legitimate response to grievances (legtimate or otherwise)? S’pore should be asking the US and the int’l community to ask Indonesia. After all, Indonesia considers the two men who killed innocent civilians “heroes”. Isn’t this glorifying and condoning terrorism which is the killing of innocent civilians to publicise or further a cause? Even North Korea who has engaged in terrorist attacks against airliners and in third countries (such as Burma in 1983) doesn’t go round naming warships after the “killers”.

I’m bullish about Indonesia’s economic prospects but I’m not blind to the flaws in Indonesian governance. I’ve written: The Indonesian army has form in bullying its people and invading neighbours: Aceh, Sulawesi, East Timor, West Papua, Malaysia. Remember the Indonesian army planted bombs here in the 1960s?

Other instances of bad Indonesian behaviour

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/indonesia-bullying-instincts-arising/

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/haze-pm-silence-is-not-a-solution/

The above musings was “triggered” by this letter to Voices:

From

Haj Mohamed

Published: 13 February, 4:04 AM

I refer to the report “Jakarta ‘meant no ill will’ in naming of frigate” (Feb 12). The issue is not merely about bilateral relations per se.

Indonesia’s decision to name a ship after the MacDonald House bombers sends a confusing signal about its stand on terrorism.

The bombing was done in a civilian area, killing civilians, and the world is clear that such bombings, including suicide bombings, are acts of terrorism. So, what is Indonesia’s stand on the Bali bombers?

There is a saying that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, which I believe holds only when one considers the other as an enemy.

Now that Indonesia has clarified that there is no enmity between our two countries, it must clarify its stand on terrorism and its criteria for defining heroes, so as not to reinforce a few of its citizens’ wrong perception that Jemaah Islamiyah members are heroes.

Related post: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/haze-what-raffles-would-have-done/

Update at 5.00am

Riau Islands Governor Muhammad Sani has told the Batam chapter of the Indonesian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) to reconsider its plan to build a statue in honour of former Marines Usman and Harun to prevent further friction with Singapore.

Singapore had reacted strongly to Indonesia’s recent move to name a warship after the two Marines who carried out the bombing of MacDonald House in Singapore in 1965.

“With the current situation, please reconsider (the plan) and do not add more problems,” Mr Sani was quoted as saying by the Antara news agency on Sunday.

Mr Sani said that Batam Kadin should bear in mind that Batam is a stone’s throw away from Singapore.

“What is the benefit for us?” Sani asked.

The building of the statue is subject to approval from the Batam Free Trade Zone Management Agency.

A spokesman for the agency has cited several factors it needs to consider before granting a permit — aesthetics, maintaining good relations and Batam’s location — noting that many Singaporean businessmen invest in Batam.

A Batam resident who goes by only one name, Parulian, warned: “What if Singaporeans pull their investment?” (CNA report)

Money talks.

*Actually the govt’s behaviour was measured but two ministers who were paper generals spoiled the gravitas that Shan and MFA pitched the issue at with their comments. Kee Chui and MoM Tan should have sat down and shut up. but one assumes they wanted to how lien their patriotism, if not their stupidity and crudeness. They came across as the Indonesian generals do: paper tigers. Maybe they practising to be like Indonesian ministers: talk cock, sing song clowns? LKY would be appalled.

S$, Baht & Rupiah looking gd

In Currencies, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia on 13/02/2014 at 4:43 am

Given that a senior cabinet minister and NTUC chief, and a jnr minister from NTUC is giving the PAP govt a bad name, maybe it’s time to remind S’poreans that the PAP govt is not all full of NTUC clowns. On Tueday I reported that Khaw and MoM Tan had the developers concerned, and today I’ll remind S’poreans that PM’s economic team (headed by Tharman) are keeping int’l investors onside (too bad about TOC, TRe readers, but then they can take comfort that locals like me too like a strong S$.)

(4 Feb) – Recent alarmist commentary may have stirred up concerns about Singapore’s economy, but in the midst of the emerging market rout, safe-haven seekers’ faith appeared unshaken as they scooped up its currency.

“We have noted its safe-haven status within the Asian region is getting stronger in past years. So when you have a broad risk off, in general the Singapore dollar will outperform,” said Ju Wang, senior foreign-exchange strategist at HSBC.

Earlier this week, global markets largely sold off, but the Singapore dollar strengthened, with the U.S. dollar fetching as little as 1.2666 on Tuesday, compared with around 1.2790 Friday. Against the currency of its neighbor Malaysia, the Singapore dollar has touched its highest level since 1998.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101390521

But To be sure, it isn’t clear the Sing’s climb is sustainable or would withstand a more extended market rout.

“When people want to take money off the table, the safe-haven tag may not be helpful,” Song said. “We can’t avoid spillover from contagion in Southeast Asia.”

Now that would have TOC, TRE readers happy, ’cause they can blame it on the govt.

BTW, here’s an interesting article on the flows in and out of Indonesia and the other Fragile Five. http://www.economist.com/blogs/buttonwood/2014/02/emerging-markets. Actually the rupiah has done relatively better than most other emerging markets currencies against the US$. So has the the Thai baht despite the political problems.

But the currencies of  Thailand Indonesia, M’sia  and the Philippines have fared worse against Japan’s yen than they have against the US dollar. This means that Japanese financial ,institutions may slow down their investments in the region: investing here could be like catching a falling knife. So, they’ll likely wait.

 

Zorro & PA make PM look stupid, cheap-skate, ill-mannered & ungracious

In Political governance on 12/02/2014 at 4:50 am

(Or “PA trying to show that it is no PAP stooge?”)

Tot Cheap, Cheapo Quick Zorro is a minister in PMO, the deputy chairman of the PA,  and that PA and the PAP are one and the same? Think again, with people like Zorro and other senior PA managerss, who needs enemies, the PM (and chairman of PA) must be wondering. PM may also be wondering if Zorro and other clowns manager at PA are trying to fix him or that they showing S’poreans that they are not part of the PAP machine.

Still laughing at Zorro Lim’s explanation of why ex-presidential TCB was “un-invited” from an Istana function organised by the PA. And at his petulance in being upset that Dr Tan made the un-invitation public*:  Mr Tan Cheng Bock is just informing his followers and friends on facebook.
Cannot meh? (TRE reader)

Wouldn’t it have been easier (i.e. less damaging to PM, Zorro personally, the govt, the PAP and the PA) once the balls-up was discovered for Lim to say to his staff, “As our sister Jos said We cannot have the attitude that everything will be perfect from Day One: but more careful. Make sure the correct list is used next yr. As for this year, let the invitations stand. Order more food. No budget? Juz cut activities in WP areas. Make the residents there repent. We don’t want PAP voters and neutral S’poreans to think we are ill-mannered: badly brought up by our parents.”

Instead, he called all those wrongly invited to dis-invite them (Wonder how many? Any Oppo GE 2011 canidates? Think Ben Pwee and SDP’s Dr Ang). Surely on a cost-benefit analysis, this was a waste of his valuable time**? Particularly given the PR damage if this dis-invitation was made public? In the age of social media, disclosure must be presumed.

As it is, one TRE reader voiced what is on many minds (self-included)

I think the whole episode of “uninviting Lim Cheng Bock came out badly” in the eyes of many Singaporeans. It showed clearly as long as someone is against the PAP, they do not deserve to be a Singaporean, notwithstanding his or her past contributions to nation building. At least I view it this way as a Singaporean from this episode. Because Tan Cheng Bock, an ex PAP member dared to stand up against the current PAP policies, it seems he is more an outlaw today, and whatever credit he chalked up in sacrificing his youthful years in nation building became a zero and does not deserve any recognition at all***.

He or she goes on to make some very valid points:

Secondly, with Lim Swee Say’s explanation, it also reflected badly on the PA as an organization. It looks like in coming up with the first list of invitees, they did not even know exactly what criteria to use to come up with the selected people for the Istana Party. All these days with the PM loudspeaking his sincere wish to recognize the first generation people who contributed to our nation building, it looks like at the end the selection was morely likely based on a preferred list, which is not surprising at all. Woe betide once again!

Thirdly, Lim Swee Say came across as unconvincing at all, especially when he is also the Labour Chief who needs to have a heart full of empathy in the first place. But by executing the order to uninvite a fellow Singaporean who was already invited, it just reflects clearly that our leadership is uncompassionate and also unkind. Even if the case was not about Tan Cheng Bock per se, but if any ordinary Singaporean who got invited to the Istana to be informed later that he was univited because of an error, have the government given any thought on how the affected person would feel. He or she could have already announced to all the friends that he was invited by the PM for the Istana Party.***

Given the above logic, Tan Cheng Bock has every right to make a comment on how he really felt about the matter. Does Lim Swee Say expect Tan Cheng Bock to challenge the decree when it was announced to him over the phone? Cheng Bock has to accept it as a gentleman but does it mean he has bought into the explanation which is a lousy one in the first place. So my advice to Swee Say, just shut up!

And it’s not only netizens. This appeared in MediaCorp’s freesheet:

Aileen Tan Ai Ker

Published: 10 February, 4:06 AM

I refer to the report “Cheng Bock invited to Istana party ‘by mistake’” (Feb 8). Invitations are traditionally, even now, sent because the host wishes to have the company of the guest.

No one sends an invitation and retracts it, especially after it has been accepted. This is unacceptable in any culture, by any social standard. It is a question of “face” and emotional quotient. Similarly, a guest should have basic, reasonable emotional intelligence to decline an invitation if he or she feels awkward or is on unfriendly terms with the host.

In this instance, former Member of Parliament and presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock received and accepted the invitation.

The People’s Association (PA) should have been sensitive and exercised discretion to host him and those guests whom they considered were invited by mistake.

An old invitation list was used, despite today’s database management technology. It would have been smarter to bear the brunt of this and be graceful. The cost of hosting them would probably have been negligible.

Instead, the episode reflects badly on the PA, which deals with the grassroots and Singaporeans in general.

We expect more sensitivity than a simple apology after making a mistake. EQ training might help prevent a repeat.

Update: Related article: http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/02/08/pap-in-stage-3-to-4-of-decline/

—-

*He implies that since Dr Tan accepted the dis-invitation, he should juz sit down and shut up. A TRE reader pointed out: Mr Lim SS, Dr Tan may accept your explanation. He may not necessarily agree with or support your explanation. He has not explicitly say that he agrees with your explanation. Example : I may accept the price of NTUC goods/products however I may not support it. So Dr Tan has the rights to provide his side of the story. Remember he has his grassroots supporters to explain to. So if you have nothing to hide, Mr Lim why be do defensive.

**Remember he needs time to read his specially prepared monthly CPF statement, and to borrow toothpicks from a certain place.

***It is not about the invite – it is about some small- minded people who felt threatened by his presence. By 0.35 % margin! Dr. Tan will be the one sending out the list. Now he is pariah!

Shame on the PAP. (Another TRE reader)

****But the important things is this – if an invitation has been extended, you honour it and follow through with it. And if you have to have a longer guest list and cater more food as a result of this, then so be it. Making things right in situations like this is to honour what the Government has done. Updating the list and uninviting people is not making things right, and in fact is not right and making things worse.

It is disappointing that you would stand by and approve of this kind of conduct. Is this the ethos PA goes by?

Don’t highly qualified people in the civil service understand what it means to do the right thing in human relationships? (Yet another TRE reader)

Bernice Wong: Anton’s masculine, not sheltered, babyed & childish

In Humour on 23/01/2014 at 1:44 pm

Not like locals. (But let’s be fair, she implied this in 2010).

But before going into the details, a few things to clear up.

First an apology from me. Scumbag Anton Casey is not working for HSBC but for Crossinvest. Sorry for my mistake: it was an honest mistake.

I’m very certain, he will be moving on from Crossinvest given that: The Company was created out of a Swiss single family office with almost three decades of leading experience and presence in Switzerland. We operate based on the finest Swiss Private banking traditions. 

Well among the finest Swiss Private banking traditions are

– discretion; and.

– operating in the shadows, leaving no fingerprints behind.

Don’t see Casey meeting these standards. Besides, In a statement, Managing director Christophe Audergon said: “Crossinvest does not condone the comments. We believe they were made in poor taste.” (Update on 25 January 2014 juzt before midnight: he got fired. TRE’s take)

Now that I’ve apologised, on to what he should do to prove to S’poreans that he is genuinely sorry for what he did, before talking about wifey’s comments on why she wanted an ang moh man.

Talk is cheap Anton Casey; Show us you’re sorry. Dob’t talk cock, sing song like the S’poreans you say you respect. ST editor turned Jedi (apparently: ever tot she Trojan horse?) has a list of things he could do to prove he is sorry.,

I got only one suggestion on the premise that money talks, BS walks.

In Christianity, Islam and Judaism, there is a tradition of donating 10% of one’s worldly goods* to charity (OK, to be precise “gd works”) to show that one is a gd Christian, Jew or Muslim*. So in that spirit, he should donate 10% of his worldly assets to charity or to TRE or any combination thereof. So if he is worth $10m dollars (after all being a millionaire is nothing here: think of all those S’poreans with landed property or even HDB flats that have paid off all or most of their mortgages), he should offer $1m to TRE.

Somehow, I think this FT where the T stands for Trash, isn’t really that sorry enough to spend any money doing gd to show he is sorry (though he sp4ends money on PR and lawyers).. I doubt Ms Bernice Wong would be impressed if he was sorry enough to lose 10% of his assets. As it is she has to live with the following comments (now deeply mortifying for her) on why for her ang moh is tua kee

‘I have never been able to click with local guys. Somehow, our personalities don’t match up.

‘I will say that the local guys I’ve met are pretty sheltered. I’d like them to be more masculine, not so ‘baby-ed’ and less childish.’ http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/01/20/briton-belittles-people-taking-public-transport/

I mean who’s sheltered, babyed and childish? And is it masculine to have no balls to stand up for what one says? A real man would say, “I stand by what I said, and I will accept the consequences. Wanna fight?” He wouldn’t make police reports or wimp out by metaphorically getting on his knees and asking for forgiveness.

Finally, wonder what his in-laws think about the video which seems to insult us slit-eyes. This is what someone posted on Facebook: For all those who are not aware, his son is making the ‘chinky Asian’ face where in the West, if they want to mock Asians, they make this face- it’s called the chinky face, where you narrow your eyes to a slit and make buck teeth. That’s what the kid was doing, throughout the entire time in the video.

Here’s a screenshot of the end of the video. Look at the face he (Anton) made- especially, if you run the video, you’d see he deliberately made the ‘buck teeth’ face. It’s obvious he instructed the kid to do that all the 14 secs of the video. So he has also encouraged his son to do it, because if you look at the other pics that are online of his son, his face isn’t like that. Look at both the kid’s eyes and mouth in the whole video, and you’d know what type of face he was making …

IE S’pore & Jos’ point about perfection

In Economy, Humour on 21/01/2014 at 5:24 am

Readers will know that I recently commented (here and here) on Jos Teo’s tots as articulated to ST: comments that have annoyed netizens no end. Juz read the comments posted by TRE readers grumbling that she gets so many things so wrong. “We cannot have the attitude that everything will be perfect from Day One. If we go in with that attitude, it can only mean that we have to build in a lot of redundancy, in particular came in for a lot of flak.

Well getting things wrong also seems to apply to her hubbie’s organisation (According to ST,”Her husband, Mr Teo Eng Cheong, is chief executive officer of IE Singapore …”)

IE S’pore has goofed big time. according to a BT report dated 18 January 2014:

ERRORS in trade data collection meant that International Enterprise (IE) Singapore wrongly reported two months of exports data, with possible implications for fourth-quarter GDP estimates.

October 2013′s non-oil domestic exports (NODX) was said to have grown 2.8 per cent, when in fact it had shrunk 2.7 per cent. Data for September was also overstated – NODX was initially said to have shrunk 1.2 per cent when the actual contraction was a larger 2 per cent – due to the “multiple counting of some trade permits”.

As trade data for both months have been corrected downwards, total trade and NODX for the full year 2013 will now come in lower than expected, IE said in an annex to its trade report for December, released yesterday.

IE will only announce Singapore’s full-year trade data next month, but UOB economist Francis Tan estimates that full-year NODX would have dropped 5.4 per cent, taking September and October’s erroneous figures, but could now fall a sharper 6 per cent. Both are worse than IE’s forecast of a NODX contraction of 4 to 5 per cent for 2013, last revised down in November.

It was an honest mistake. Maybe it was also example of what Jos Teo said, “We cannot have the attitude that everything will be perfect from Day One. If we go in with that attitude, it can only mean that we have to build in a lot of redundancy.

BT wrote: IE said yesterday that the errors were traced back to changes to a trade declaration system known as Access, which is used by four air express companies to declare their consolidated imports and exports. In August last year, changes were made to this system to allow the companies to make amendments to their trade permit records, such as flight details.

However, all amended permits were counted as new ones when transmitted from the Access system to the Singapore Customs’ Trade Statistics System, and then to IE Singapore. In nominal terms, the counting errors meant a difference between an originally tabulated NODX value of $15.599 billion for October, and a corrected value of $14.757 billion.

In response to BT’s queries, IE explained that the over-reporting was not immediately apparent as the values of the individual records still fell within the expected range. “When unusually large numbers were picked up, IE Singapore worked with Singapore Customs immediately to investigate and rectify the issue,” IE said.

For trade data, Singapore Customs conducts selective checks of trade permits against the commercial documents to verify the accuracy of data submitted by traders. “IE Singapore also conducts checks on a monthly basis to track trends based on the value of goods and large ticket items. Export and import categories with significant data swings will be picked up for further verification and analysis in consultation with Singapore Customs,”  …

One economist is annoyed:

DBS economist Irvin Seah thinks internal processes need to be tightened when it comes to collecting official data. “We have seen quite significant revisions, not just in NODX, but also in the advanced GDP estimates. Whether these are estimates or actual figures, there ought to be as little revision as possible. These numbers are important to everyone who wants a good gauge of where the economy is going, not just economists,” he said.

But another was relaxed,“no great damage was done”, said Barclays economist Joey Chew. “After all, the October red herring of a recovery was quickly refuted the very next month when November exports fell sharply, indicating that Singapore exports are clearly not yet out of the woods. The continued slump in electronics in December further confirmed that,” she said.

Whatever it is, S’pore’s reputation remains intact according to BT (But it would say that wouldn’t it?)

As for whether these errors undermine the reliability of Singapore’s statistics, Credit Suisse economist Michael Wan said that he sees them as inherent to the “messy affair” of collecting data. “I don’t think it raises questions about the integrity of Singapore’s statistical collection fundamentally. It’s always an ongoing affair to reduce the number of errors,” he said.

UOB’s Mr Tan said: “The good thing is that they are at least signalling that they are doing the right thing, by coming out and correcting the errors.”

A couple of errors ought not to affect credibility, said Barclays’ Ms Chew. “Especially if the errors are due to technological problems rather than data collection issues, or people gaming the system – for example Chinese exporters reporting fake trade.”

But IE S’pore should not be complacent: Barclay’s Ms Chew does have other issues to raise about Singapore’s data though. “First, the timeliness. We are one of the last to report CPI (consumer price index) in the region, and I don’t understand why. Also, IE Singapore does not release a lot of the export data they collect.”

Jos and hubby should be hoping that the recent bad publicity is part of the karma of the year of the Goat, not the karma for 2014. If the latter, expect more to hear more nad publicity from Jos and IE S’pore?

Jos double confirms that govt doesn’t plan for S’poreans

In Infrastructure, Political governance, Public Administration on 17/01/2014 at 4:44 am

A TOC reader highlighted this bit of ST’s interview with Talk Cock Queen Jos http://www.singapolitics.sg/supperclub/josephine-teo-%E2%80%98free-mrt-rides-has-allowed-lifestyle-change%E2%80%99

Q: You lead the committee for Changi Airport’s expansion. Is it expanding fast enough? Our aviation correspondent said given the projections, Changi Airport could be operating at more than 90 per cent capacity (in the few years before Terminal 5 opens).

A:We’re still building ahead of demand. When you plan airport handling capacity, you also plan with a service standard in mind.>

The person then commented: “Apparently, there’s no need to build ahead of demand for housing, local tpt & medical needs (remember the hospital crunch) OR is it NEW PAP don’t plan with a service standard in mind> when it comes to population needs?”

For the record, I had blogged in 2012  about the lack of planning when it came to immigration

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/integrating-fts-its-our-problem-now-contd/

and in 2011 on the difference between the difference approaches taken as regards the airport and public tpt http://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/why-are-trains-overcrowded-but-not-the-port-or-airport/

PM should give her another tight slap for spilling for double confirming that PAP thinks we are “second class”, not “first class” like foreigners even though 60-70% of S’porean voters support the PAP.

Taz in addition to insulting his dad.

BTW, I hope readers noticed that LTA gave her (its boss, remember she senior jnr transport minister) a hard kick in her behind. In the above link, I said she refused to concede that inadequate signage contributed to the congestion on the MCE (and bad PR for the govt). Yesterday it was reported: “Two weeks after the opening of the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE), the Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday acknowledged it could have done more in terms of pre-publicity and putting up more signs to get motorists familiar with the new expressway and the surrounding road network.” (Today)

Hey PM, even her subordinates getting annoyed with this NUT NTUC person?

Maybe she could serve S’pore (and the PAP)  better by having a fourth child? She had said if she hadn’t entered politics, she’d have a fourth child. One more baby, one less FT.

Alcohol, Little India and the migrant worker

In Economy on 06/01/2014 at 5:24 am

It’ll soon be a month since the disturbance in Little India which has rattled S’poreans (that they over-reacted). Even the PM was rattled, so much so  that he still talked a lot of cock about it at Christmas http://singaporedesk.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taking-easy-way-out.html.

Here are some relevant facts that I’ve discovered that are not reported in our constructive nation-building media or in the usually anti govt alternative media that I hope will help S’poreans towards a right understanding of the riot and surrounding issues:

– Alcohol is available in the dormitories’ supermarkets. I had tot they were banned from selling alcohol. The most popular brands are two imported brands from India (one is Kingfisher, the other I can’t recall), followed by our very own ABC. Needless to say, the beers are not yr  normal strength beers: they have alcohol content sof 10-12% versus the usual 4%.

– To avoid problems, the beer is only sold in cans, not bottles. For those who’ve not been involved in drunken brawls: broken beer bottles are useful in a fight. Just grab the handle of an empty bottle (no point wasting gd beer), and smash it against a wall and you are ready to maim or kill. But if the police catch you with it even if no-one is injured by it, it’s the cane after “due process”.

– Despite these sales, there are no reports in the alternative media about brawls, scenes of drunkenness near the supermarkets. Maybe, the workers are responsible drinkers? Or TOC, TRE reporters don’t do dorm visits (unlike Lianain Films)? As for ST and other MSM publications reporting such fights, they wouldn’t report such frights even if they happened outside their doorsteps would they? They will call Yaacob and ask,”Is there a fight? What are the right facts for us to report?”?

– The Little India shopkeepers (and their landlords) made great money off these workers. I’ve heard that a small shop selling veggies could gross S$90,000 in sales on a gd weekend day. When you hear media reports of the bizmen in the area moaning, bear this in mind. BTW, I understand that the dorm supermarkets’ prices of Indian, Bangladeshi favourites and staples are competitive. It’s juz that the workers love shopping in Little India: it’s their home away from home.

– Prior to the riot, Little India on weekends wasn’t a nice place to hold seminars on “the struggle for workers’ rights” (Maruah tried to hold its do on a Monday) or for romantic dates. A beer marketing executive,who regularly tours outlets, says that fights and drunkenness were a common occurrences in the area. Guess minister Lui didn’t speak up about too many alcohol outlets because of the previous observation about the profits being made. Let me very clear, if Boat Quay or Clarke Quay were as crowded as little India on weekends, they too would be unpleasant places. No ang moh tua kee pls. Besides our manual worker guests don’t beat up taxi-drivers for sport: only drunken ang mohs do it, then flee or plead they are depressed.

– Since the riot, I’ve seen more workers going to and returning from the the Marine Parade sea front on weekends and public hols. I expect the area to remain peaceful and crime free.

They come hear to earn a living, a hard one: not to get drunk, brawl , steal or molest. They are like us

                                                                                               Hath
 59   not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,
 60   dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with
 61   the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
 62   to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
 63   warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as
 64   a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
 65   if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison
 66   us, do we not die?

(Shylock in The Merchant of Venice)

FTs: Humour free zone? Jokes prohibited?

In Humour, Internet on 23/12/2013 at 4:48 am

This blogger is ambivalent about Bertha Henson. The conventional wisdom is that this once Sith Lord in the making changed her spots after retiring from SPH* where she was a cyber warrior (general rank) at ST, no less, into a Jedi warrior. One of these days, I’ll go into the conspiracy theory as to why she could be a Trojan horse (and explain the inconvenient fact to said theory that MDA fixed her). But as this is Christmas, I’ll not be that Gringie.

Whether on not she is part of a black ops against us cowboys of S’pore’s cyberspace, she writes well, very well. She’s pretty witty too, and has mastered the dark art of black humour, if not satire. Example: http://berthahenson.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/personally-speaking-no-fund-intended/. And she loves journalism; she did a lovely piece on her accreditation  to an activist event: sorry lazy to find the article to link to it.

But despite being treated as Jedi both by the cowboys and the MDA and ST, she recently was attacked by two tua kee cyber activists (both ladies) on Facebook for writing  http://berthahenson.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/a-sunday-problem/. Read it for yrself  before going on to read their comments, and my take on the piece and them.

I’ll not name them, ’cause its Christmas and I’m no Grinch or Krampus. A man dressed as Krampus in Austria … pretty scary, huh?

One said: What a lovely way to dehumanise a group of people: make assumptions and fall back on stereotypes, while coming across as reasoned and reasonable. Dear Bertha, the problems facing migrant workers go beyond what happens to them on a Sunday. Of course, we only notice them on Sundays because they’re busy working themselves to the bone, building our city, cleaning our loos, clearing our trash and staying out of YOUR way the rest of the week. Where they go on their rest day really isn’t anyone’s problem but their own. Would YOU like your boss to tell you what to do when you’re not working?

Another wrote:

It is a very condescending article. From the very first paragraph you can see the belittling and patronising: “We have a problem. We have hundreds of thousands of foreign workers – and we don’t know what to do with them on Sundays. And they probably don’t know what to do with themselves on Sundays either.”

Why do we need to do anything with them on their off day – it is THEIR off day. And who are we to say that they don’t know what to do with themselves, simply because from our standpoint that don’t seem to be doing what we would prefer them to do (which is what, attend Alcoholics Anonymous and play friendly games of basketball in their dorms?)

The second paragraph is just as facepalm-worthy: “The foreign maid can stay “home” and be paid for not taking the day off. And even if they are out, they’re not likely to get into a drunken stupor and throw pieces of concrete around. They’ll just crowd somewhere until someone shoos them somewhere else.”

The fact that foreign domestic workers stay “home” on their day off potentially means that they will also be made to work on their day off. This is not a situation we should be okay with, much less use as a sort of “ah this is okay for FDWs, but what about the other migrant workers” example.

Also, migrant workers in Little India are also “not likely to get into a drunken stupor and throw pieces of concrete around”; just because a group of men did it once on one Sunday night – out of all the many Sunday nights over the many years that they DIDN’T do it – doesn’t make that entire group of people suddenly prone to doing it.

And the last sentence of that paragraph: “They’ll just crowd somewhere until someone shoos them somewhere else.” Like that’s an okay state of affairs too! Oh, these FDWs don’t bother us, they just hang about with their friends and if we Singaporeans don’t like it just shoo them away lah! <- How condescending and dehumanising is that?!

So just in the first two paragraphs already almost every single sentence is offensive. Wah lau.

Foreign workers should be able to do whatever they want on their days off. It is the Singaporean mindset – the one that tells us that we enlightened beings must take care of “those from the Indian subcontinent” because they don’t know what to do with themselves – that should change.

I think Ms Henson is having a dig at the govt’s uncaring attitude to solving a problem, any problem: everything has to be neat and tidy, and damn the human cost.

My take on her critics is that these two gals don’t do humour, at least when it comes to FTs. Or they may think that the issue should not be the subject of any humour: too serious to joke about. Bit like the attitude of the authorities in the aftermath of the riot: no alcohol, and apparently no Maruah meeting in restaurant private room which employs FTs. On the latter, scared that FTs will riot? Come on Maruah are wimps in action: talk cock, sing song. Sorry KH, can’t resist that.

But to be fair to the gals , one of Henson’s BN team “Liked” the second entry.  So maybe I’m wrong about said lady activists. Either that or her disciple is a Judas, or a sotong boy. I suspect the last is most likely.

Merry Christmas. Keep on feasting.

*A more classy, intelligent version of what Tan Kin Lian did after he retired from NTUC Income: resigning from the PAP and standing as the People’s Voice in the presidential election, where he lost his deposit and deprived us of cocking a snook at the PAP. The PAP’s preferred candidate won by around three hundred votes. But to be fair, TKL fought the gd fight for those who invested in securities that invested in credit-default notes. (Declaration of interest: I helped out there) Investors got a raw deal, but it could have been worse if not for TKL.( http://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/helping-retail-investors-the-hk-way-and-the-spore-way/#more-7316 and http://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/what-abt-high-notes-sm-goh/)

Tan Kuku for tsunami of Jap $ in 2014

In Japan on 10/12/2013 at 5:42 am

When the BOJ under governor Haruhiko Kuroda launched its monetary base-doubling quantitative and and qualitative easing (QQE) policy in April, there were strong expectations that a “tsunami” of Japanese funds would rush into Southeast Asia in search of higher yields.

So far, that has not happened even though Japanese institutional and individual investors are said to be eager to increase their exposure to Southeast Asian markets. A principal reason for their hesitancy, officials say, is Japanese investors’ fear of being exposed to exchange rate risk.

As a result, there is “intense discussion going on now between Japanese and Asean officials on ways to improve and enlarge the (currency) hedging markets” in Asean, according to Iwan Aziz, head of the Office of Regional Economic Integration at the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB).– BT report last week

Well can tan kuku for an agreement. Asean officials more noted for talking cock than doing something, anything.

And anyway, this region will not be flavour of the month early next yr. The West is. Don’t count on a wall of Jap money.

Relax leh Brudder S’pore Notes, things going yr way

In Political governance, Public Administration on 06/12/2013 at 6:25 am

Things not as bad as you paint it in “Is Cyber City Burning?”

You raised the MSM smear of Nicile Seah, and Alex Au’s and Breakfast Network’s legal problems as the PAP govt’s desperate, vicious attempt to stifle dissent..

Honestly, the SPH slimes that went wrong on Nicole Seah is an added bonus for her attempt to refresh her celebrity status by going public about her personal life to her thousands of Facebook friends. Well she did her publicity, and the slimes gave her even more publicity. So these slimes made her day. An added bonus for us netizens is that it showed that Alex Tan has changed for the better: his response to Nicole’s post was matured and totful, showing a different Alex Tan: and ’cause of an FT gal? http://therealsingapore.com/content/alex-tan-words-encouragement-nicole-seah

As to Alex Au’s situation, I think he welcomes the AG’s suit. It makes his day too. AG has been consistent in his views and actions.

On waz happening to the retired Imperial Storm  Trooper general (paper, cyber branch), it shows how moronic the govt is. Their reaction to the govt’s action show that netizens and the govt deserve one another: both assume a static, non dynamic world. As I’ve argued before, the internet, social media is like water. Really those ethnic Chinese S’porean cyber warriors have no excuse. They should know their Lao Tzu even if (like me) only in translation.

And lest we forget, or didn’t notice TOC had another narrow escape* for which we and TOC should be grateful for: http://www.sammyboy.com/showthread.php?169215-TOC-apologise-to-Wanbao and http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2013/11/unwilling-to-burden-family-95-year-old-samsui-woman-commits-suicide/

Team Yaacob could have played the DRUMS to the tune of RAVII (Recriminations, Accusations, Vilifications, Insinuations & Insults)  but didn’t. The issue is as Holmes would have asked,”Why didn’t the dog bark?”. Well maybe the SPH cock-ups made it difficult to beat-up TOC without having to beat up SPH too. Though there is a distinction: one might have injured a gal’s reputation, the other was an attack against the state. Big difference leh.

So most likely Team Yaacob was asleep. Remember that Yaacob failed to prevent floods unlike that hard-hearted sneere of the elderly poor who has done I must admit a pretty decent job as flood minister, though he has failed as dengue preventer.. But I cut him some slack as the contractors have been busy cutting the grass and shubbery, and filling potential ponding areas in my area. .

Next, Brudder Notes, you and other bloggers are untouched. Still fighting the gd fight, unhindered. 

And you (and others) have won: More and more fret that S’pore is threatened by inequality, and rampant, uncaring capitalism and the govt? They are insecure and fearful. They feel poor.

So as the super long hols are coming (Chritmas, New year and CNY at end Jan) let’s make merry before the price rises hit us in our pocket. As I’ve argued before, first half 2014 is the last window of opportunity to whack us before the next GE that must be held sometime in 2016. Whack us hard in early 2014, and then in 2015 and 2016 Budget give us the goodies. And if the ground is sweet in 2015, hold a GE and promise goodies for 2016.

Relax, Brudder Notes. Getting angry like the Hulk or P Ravi doesn’t do one any good. Look at P Ravi now. He seems less angry nowadays and he looks like a Bollywood star. So long as you (and others) can protest, things are never that bad. As a foot soldier of the UK’s Labour Party who died recently at 104 once said, “We may not win by protesting. But if we don’t protest we will lose.”

With 88% of people here owning smartphones, you protests (and that of others) will be heard, more and more.

*Earlier lucky break: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/toc-more-than-meets-the-eye/. Background: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/smrt-racist-pr-team/

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Temasek tales: TLC overpaid?/ Olam: Cheong?/ Won’t read this in TRE, TOC?

In Africa, Airlines, Commodities, Temasek on 26/11/2013 at 5:54 am

Changi Airport Group: Winner’s curse?

The Aeroportos do Futuro group led by Odebrecht SA, and including Singapore airport operator Changi Airport Group, offered 19 billion reais (US$8.3 billion) and won the right to run Galeao airport in Rio de Janeiro, which will host tourists for the soccer World Cup next year and the 2016 Olympic Games, for 25 years. The consortium offered nearly four times the minimum bid for the right to operate Rio’s Galeão airport for the next 25 years.

We will only know the consortium overpaid if we know the next highest bid. Will let you know if this info is made public in Brazil )))

Last chance to buy Olam?

More bull points to add to this:

– When Olam released its quarterly results in early November, it showed it  had generated positive free cash flow – the first time in four years for a seasonally weak quarter.

Its executive director of finance and business development A Shekhar told analysts and reporters: “We’re very pleased that we’re striking the right notes on both objectives of profit growth as well as free cash-flow generation.”

– Ang mohs are still sceptical about the parts of the stock’s biz model.

– But they bulls on Africa and Olam got an edge there. Africa is now seen a destination mkt, not juz an exporter of commodities i.e. origination mkt:

The commodities houses are attracted to the African destination business for three reasons. First, demand is rising fast, in many cases at double-digit annual rates. Second, many African governments subsidise basic commodities such as petrol and wheat, in effect guaranteeing a return to the traders. Third, most African countries lack the infrastructure needed to import raw materials, from silos for storing wheat and rice to terminals for unloading petrol. The commodities houses say that, as they build this infrastructure, they will be able to secure a market and benefit from years of rising demand. (FT report on Africa dated 10 November 2013)

Even Chris Balding flies SIA

Would the Temasek model help improve the efficiency of China’s state-owned enterprises? Only one (Singapore Airlines) or possibly two (DBS bank) of Temasek’s GLCs have established themselves as international brands, according to critics such as Chris Balding of Peking University*. SingTel has made successful foreign acquisitions, but other GLCs have fared less well. STATS ChipPAC, a semiconductor firm, lost money in the second quarter of this year, as a result of the costs of closing a factory in Malaysia.

The few academic studies of Singapore’s GLCs are more encouraging, however. A 2004 article by Carlos Ramirez of George Mason University and Ling Hui Tan of the IMF showed that the country’s GLCs enjoyed a higher market value, relative to the book value of their assets, than comparable private firms. They also generated a higher return on assets, on average.

In judging the performance of Temasek’s GLCs, the counterfactual is important. They may not be as obviously successful as private titans from the region such as Samsung or LG. But they are not nearly as bad as most SOEs, including China’s. The enthusiasm for reform of SOEs in China reflects their deteriorating returns and accumulating debt. According to M.K. Tang of Goldman Sachs, their return on assets was 6.5 percentage points below that of other Chinese firms in 2012 and their shares trade at a growing discount. Even Mr Balding, meanwhile, is happy to fly Singapore Airlines.

http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21590562-chinas-rulers-look-singapore-tips-portfolio-management-soe-glc

*Cock Balding forgets Keppel and SembCorp in rigbuilding. More on these two cos later this week.

Infocomm Dysfunctional Authority

In Infrastructure, Internet, Public Administration on 22/11/2013 at 5:01 am

Yaacob the Info minister wrote on Facebook a few days ago that many agencies have worked hard in the past weeks to strengthen the security of Singapore’s computer systems and websites*, and those responsible for the recent hacking incidents have been arrested or are being investigated**.

Taz gd, but what about making sure that IDA works hard and competently to give the public info on cyber security accurately, and in a timely manner? Rather than inaccurately, and only after cyber leaks and DRUMS.

Going by its recent ingloriously track record, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) should be renamed   Inforomm Dysfunctional Authority  because it’s so dysfunctional  in communicating info on cyber security and ICT matters.

It can’t even explain to our constructive, nation-building local journalists that the PMO’s website was not hacked. Granted that our well-paid hacks are not the most intelligent people in S’pore, but surely Yaacob’s finest could have told them in simple English, “PMO’s website was not hacked into”?

Singapore ICT regulator Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) was cited by local media reports to blame a vulnerability in Google’s search bar, embedded in the two websites, as the cause of the breach. In a media briefing to which only local media were invited …

… a Google spokesperson told ZDNet in an e-mail Wednesday: “It has come to our attention that the PMO’s website recently experienced an attack in the search functionality of the site run by Google’s Custom Search Engine site-search widget.

“After investigation, it appears that the code in the Google custom search engine is safe and the vulnerability lies with the coding on the webpage.”

While IDA declined to comment further on this issue as it is currently under police investigation, ZDNet understands the regulator was misquoted in local news reports. Rather than Google’s search bar, it had instead pointed to a vulnerability in the search function which the hackers were able to exploit and redirect visitors to the external webpages.

(http://www.zdnet.com/sg/google-denies-its-search-bar-caused-singapore-websites-breach-7000023129/)

At the very least, IDA gave the impression that our cybersecurity machinery was the equivalent of the flood prevention team  when Yaacob was “flooder-in-chief”.

Now onto an earlier, and more major, failure to communicate. Remember the Saturday a few weeks ago when govt websites suddenly closed for “routine maintenance’? Although they were soon up, netizens suspicions were aroused and they started playing DRUMS in the absence of authoritative info.

And they were correct to think that there problems, only not hacking but cock-ups.

Only on Monday evening (after a memo surfaced on the internet), IDA admitted the problems in accessing several Singapore government websites over the weekend were due to technical problems that arose during maintenance on Saturday afternoon. While the glitches have been rectified, people accessing these websites may continue to face intermittent access as maintenance was still ongoing.

In this day and age, IDA should communicate openly with the public. After all, this is not North Korea, even if our media ratings are close to that of the North Koreans than that to the US or UK.

I leave it to this blogger who wrote before IDA admitted that there were cock-ups, not juz “routine maintenance” to explain what I mean:

“It’s strange that the IDA did not deem it fit to update people more regularly when so many sites were out of service. Not only were they unable to transact, say, on SingPass, they were also wondering if indeed a cyber attack had been carried out against government agencies, as part of a bigger wave of attacks.

Ironically, the IDA can look at the way SingTel updated its customers in the hours after a fire at a telephone exchange just weeks ago. Though the damage was way bigger, angering a lot more customers, at least they knew what was going on.

And fall short, it definitely did this time. While there is speculation on why and how the sites could have been down, one thing is clear – this maintenance caused the sites to go down longer than expected.

That itself reflects badly on the nation’s cyber security efforts. “Self pwn” is the phrase that comes to mind when you bring down your own networks inadvertently.”

(http://www.techgoondu.com/2013/11/03/commentary-should-maintenance-bring-down-government-websites-for-hours/#.Ungbl1Nfp-d)

Recently, CNA reported, Singapore’s Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Lawrence Wong, has said that countries in Asia need to adapt to emerging trends in social media, in order to get the new generation more engaged in literature and the arts.

Maybe he sould have a talk with  Yaacob and s/o Devan Nair who seem clueless about the effect of social media and the internet on public communications and PR in general. Strange this cluelessness, given their roles in govt as public communicators and PR. or they juz there for wayang.

One final tot. I’m surprised that neither GG nor TRE nor TOC tot it fit to ask if the people responsible for website security in general or the maintenance cock-ups, in particular,  were FTs or true-blue S’poreans.

This blogger has argued we need a S’porean core in cyber security.

One “career path” often joked about, but taken somewhat seriously, is to get into an IT management role in a bank then outsource the dirty work to vendors, sit back and enjoy a Dilbert moment every day.

Now, when that dirty work is cyber security, there is a problem. It’s an area where you can’t be an expert without getting your hands dirty. Yes, there are security solutions out there to tap on, but it is important to know your own servers well. How can you secure your home if you don’t know where the holes are in your fences?

Similarly, when it comes to defending national infrastructure, it pays to have a ready pool of experts, with actual hands-on experience.

This work cannot be easily outsourced, since it may involve getting access to sensitive information, say, military secrets. A Singaporean core, to borrow the government’s term, may be needed in such as an operation.

http://www.techgoondu.com/2013/11/12/commentary-singapore-hacking-cases-show-importance-of-deep-infocomm-expertise/comment-page-1/#.Uofv9idfp-c

But will our FT-loving govt listen? Worse it seems the govt’s model of “Talent is two-timing new citizen Raj or Tammy’s killer or the FTs that beat up S’poreans and then fled S’pore (one was even given PR after the beating), or a violent, cheating PRC shop assistant, or PRC hawkers or a looney, violent bank director.

*“A quote from a decade and a half ago: ‘Secure web servers are the equivalent of heavy armoured cars. The problem is, the roads are subject to random detours, anyone with a screwdriver can control the traffic lights and there are no police.’”
—Richard Guy Briggs on “Besieged”, Nov 9th 2013

**Taz before the latest reported hack of schools’ sites and a local museum’s mailing list was made public in NZ. Don’t know if you notice, but the local media is downplaying the security implications of the hacks by making them sound trivial.The schools’ hack is “defacement” and the mailing list was described as being on the website. The Hard Truth is that in these cases, servers were broken into.

This is in contrast to the “hack”of PMO’s site which was over-sensationalised. (There was no hack there as reported above. In the PMO’s case, at no time was there any server intrusion. The server was secure.) One wonders if IDA has finally educated the hacks on the basics of cyber security or did it order them to downplay the hacks as the hacks would imply that contrary to Yaacob’s comments about working hard to fix security issues, the cyber security teams are not working hard, or worse, working hard incompetently.


Financial centres’ curses

In Economy, Internet, Political economy, Political governance on 13/10/2013 at 5:10 am

For all the highfaluting talk of govt and talk-cock artists especially in the local media, we don’t do things like this even though Burma is in Asean (our backyard):

[I]n Burma – or Myanmar – social media sites and the whole internet have been inaccessible for years.

For one Canadian-Vietnamese woman that has provided a unique business opportunity to found the Burma’s first-ever social networking site.

However, Rita Nguyen had never been to the country before this year as BBC South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head heard.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24393043

Why?

(Related post: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/a-very-high-tech-inventive-low-population-country/)

Are we are more comfortable as serfs slaves PMETs in a financial centre?

A recent article, interestingly, makes a compelling argument that places that depend on the financial industry (like S’pore) are like resource-rich countries, and like them suffer from the triple problems of a high exchange rate that causes problems for manufacturers, revenue volatility and poor governance.

Is finance like crude oil? Countries rich in minerals are often poverty-stricken, corrupt and violent. A relatively small rent-seeking elite captures vast wealth while the dominant sector crowds out the rest of the economy. The parallels with countries ‘blessed’ with powerful financial sectors are becoming too obvious to ignore.

http://taxjustice.blogspot.sg/2013/09/is-finance-like-crude-oil-resource.html

Another US innovation to breed entrepreneurs

… has designed I-Corps as a way of converting the most promising science and engineering projects in American universities into start-ups. The I-Corps teams … comprise just a principal investigator (usually a tenured professor), a younger entrepreneurial lead (undergraduate, graduate or post-doctoral student) and an experienced entrepreneur or venture capitalist as a mentor. Each of the 100 or so teams has received a [US}$50,000 to cover a crash course on how to avoid the pitfalls common to all new ventures … New ventures, they are taught, are all about finding customers, what distribution channels to adopt, how to price the product, who to partner with, and more. From day one, the mantra is “get out of the lab” … The I-Corps programme is based on the premise that all new ventures are little more than a series of untested hypotheses—in other words, optimistic guesses about market size, customer needs, product pricing and sales channels. With so many unknowns, the programme teaches participants to treat their start-up as if it were a typical research project, amenable to the same iterative process of hypothesis testing and experimentation.

http://www.economist.com/node/21559734

Trust has to regained, PM

In Political governance on 04/10/2013 at 4:49 am

PM’s “right that major policy success hinges on citizens trusting government. And that incorruptibility, impartiality, and integrity are crucial to that trust.” (GIC’s ex-chief economist on Facebook)

But “trust” is an aquifer, glacier or reservoir that needs constant replenishment because of the constant outflows.When more water is used, than comes in, there is a point when the inflow has to be increased, or the outflow limited, or stopped, so that reserves can be built up again.

As I see it, because the govt had not changed policies that need changing, there was and (still is) a net outflow of trust.  To put it another way, the bank account containing “trust” that his dad and friends had built up has “insufficient funds”. PM and predecessor (PM was the DPM then) have been living off the old guard’s legacy, taking out more “trust” than they have been putting “in”.

The PM has made a start in trying to increase the inflow in order to replenish the “trust” aquifer, glacier, reservoir or bank account  by changing the govt’s policies* but he shouldn’t be calling us to trust the govt until we start seeing the results of the changes in our daily lives. S’poreans know fellow S’poreans talk cock a lot, and can be gd BS artists: as TRE found out recently, “Since the official launch of TR Emeritus’ VIP Membership System (VMS) last month, the number of sign-ups has not been good. Only dozens have signed up. … We have estimated that TRE needs 400 to 500 active members per year to sustain TRE in the long run. Our membership costs a mere S$10.00 per month.”

Tony Blair before he became UK’s PM in 19997, said in 1994, he said: “Parties that do not change, die, and this party is a living movement not an historical monument. If the world changes and we don’t then we become of no use to the world. Our principles cease being principles and ossify into dogma.” In the S’pore context, substitute “dogma” for “Hard Truths”.

The PAP is changing but it’s a work-in-progress. I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt in public tpt, healthcare, housing and education; but not when it comes to its FT policy. As Uncle Leong explained recently, the signs have yet to appear that the govt is walking its talk of closing the floodgates. And there is its white paper on 6.9m by 2030.

*As the former chief economist of GIC put it on Facebook: But what is equally crucial to this trust is the Governments ability to reform current policy and out-moded mindsets and deliver truly affordable and efficient healthcare, public housing, public transport, equitable and high quality education adequate and humane social security and safety nets, and a sensible population policy that does not result in overcrowding and social tensions.

The PM and cabinet has made a bold and substantial move in this direction in housing and healthcare reforms in the months up to National Day. Kudos to this commendable act of leadership.

However, markedly more can and must be done in these and the other key social policy areas above to complete reforms for the common good and fully prevent a loss in policy trust – something we cannot afford in Singapore.

I would put as the govt finally spending our money to make life more comfortable for us.

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/analysing-pms-coming-rally-speech/

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/the-pap-govt-has-lost-output-legitimacy-discuss/

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/shld-the-govt-get-the-credit-for-fixing-the-problems-that-hard-truths-caused-discuss/

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/pms-speech-not-juz-a-change-of-format/

 

No worries abt one-yr wait to see renal specialist

In Financial competency, Humour on 27/09/2013 at 5:00 am

I refer to http://mysingaporenews.blogspot.sg/2013/09/medical-appointments-in-world-class.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+MySingaporeNews+%28My+Singapore+News%29 and to http://www.tremeritus.com/2013/09/23/one-year-wait-to-see-specialist-at-sgh/

They are all very angry people because Ms Tay’s hubby has to wait for a year before he can see a kidney specialist.

I know someone who recently was told that he had to go to see a kidney specialist. He was then told by the girl responsible for making an appt that the waiting period was one yr if not longer. He juz shrugged his shoulders.

He was pretty relaxed abt waiting because

– He knew that there is a priority procedure for “siong’ cases. He had benefited from the priority list several yrs ago when a routine check had the doctor concerned about his eyes. He got an appt to see a specialist within weeks. I have had a similar experience.

– He also knew that the polyclinic doctors were monitoring the situation, via tests every time he renewed his medication. The doctor had told him that the dosage of one pill could be increased if necessary.

– The doctor had given him a copy of the results of his test. He was thinking of consulting a private-sector GP that he trusted to ask him what the results meant: is he in clear and imminent danger of dying, as Ms Tay seems to fear for her hubby? He could have also asked one of our mutual doctor friends, but felt piah seh.

– According to my friend, a doctor once told told him that polyclinic doctors knowing the length of the queue do put marginal cases on the waiting list juz to be kia-su: anticipative medicine that should be commended.

– If nec, he would consult a private sector specialist and then return to polyclinic with the results. The worse case would be if he got warded immediately as a private patient because things were that bad.

Be very clear, neither of us are defending the staus quo: one yr’s wait is not right, if one cannot afford to go “private’*. Especially, as there is the Toto element in the system. It is sometimes (very rarely to be fair) possible that if the polyclinic calls to make an appointment, it will be told that someone has juz cancelled and that there is a slot available say in two months. The polyclinic may grab the spot for the patient, and tell the patient that “die, die” got to go.  Conscientious staff do this even though there are consequences for the staff if the patient is daft not to take the lucky opportunity. I have heard that it does happen: daft patients who refuse to take the slot because got “other appointment” like going to beautician, or got golf game.

The system should be changed so that all such cancellations are offered to the next person in the queue. Only fair. Of course, this assumes that the IT system can cope with such changes. It may not be possible with legacy systems.

But, we are saying that she (and presumably hubby) are being too KS, and emotional. They also do not seem to trust the doctors, or the system. We don’t assume that the doctors or the system are out to fix us.

As to the comments of Redbean that a first world system shouldn’t have anyone waiting for one yr, juz google up the topic of waiting lists in the UK’s NHS system, one of the world’s finest. The issue is simple. In healthcare ,the demand is endless, resources are finite. There are two ways to handle the problem, rationing by

– wealth, the American way.

– queuing, the NHS way.

I wish Redbean, and all those TRE readers commenting on Ms Tay’s letter read what Jeremy Lim has to say http://theindependent.sg/what-singapore-did-right-and-wrong-in-health-care/, before they comment adversely on the healthcare system here. He also wrote shumething similar in ST https://www.evernote.com/shard/s1/sh/bfb5535d-4859-47f1-beb9-99270276e45f/4133391be0a8092e6d1ac8cdc39ef20b.

Read both articles. Jeremy Lim has his heart in the right place (unlike a certain sneering minister who was a doctor), but knows the practical problems of providing “affordable” healthcare.

Let’s be informed on the topic before opening our mouths. Don’t talk cock on this v. v. impt issue. Don’t use it to express cliched anti-govt or PAP cliches. Even the WP doesn’t.

*We are assuming Ms Tay’s hubbie has financial concerns but can afford to visit a private GP to ask what the test results mean. We are also assuming that they can know a gd GP, by reputation, at least. I hope they are not like a very rich neighbour who uses the public healthcare system but who is always complaining that she never sees the same specialist or GP again: always new one she complains.

It is acceptable if one is cheap-skate, or searching for “value’ person. My friend was an arbitrageur when he worked in the stockbroking industry. He believes that there are always free lunches but one mustn’t be choosy or picky. But he warns to be careful to avoid getting food poisoning. One bad case of food poisoning can wipe out the savings made, unless one goes to a polyclinic for treatment.

Where S’pore and other Asean countries most vulnerable to Fed tapering

In China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Vietnam on 14/09/2013 at 5:36 am

This chart from Reuters shows the vulnerability of major Asian economies to Fed policy of tapering

http://graphics.thomsonreuters.com/RNGS/2013/AUG/ASIARANKINGS/ASIARANKINGS.html

S’pore is vulnerable

Slowing GDP: Most vulnerable

Growing Public Debt : Second most vulnerable

Uncompetitive Currency: Second most vulnerable

Growing Credit Intensity: Fourth most vulnerable. Another view: Banks with large property loan portfolios will face higher risks when interest rates start to rise — this as highly-leveraged households begin to have difficulty paying their mortgages.

Economists said this could lead to credit tightening by banks, and a hard landing for the property sector.

If that happens, DBS Bank said Singapore and Hong Kong will be hardest hit within Asia.

In other Asean round-up news

surpluses of Thailand, Hong Kong and Malaysia have narrowed even more since the second half of 2007. However, this is partly because Thailand and Malaysia have boosted domestic investment, which lifts imports.

Malaysian and Indonesian companies are grappling with a margin squeeze: The two commodity-producing economies have witnessed the biggest rise in their real cost of capital. The Philippines has the opposite problem: Falling inflation-adjusted returns for savers.

Rightly or wrongly, though, the sovereign debt issued by developed countries is perceived as safe. Malaysia is not in the same league, and it is pruning petrol and diesel subsidies to control its growing public debt problem.

Unlike in 1997, most Asian countries have relatively straightforward choices. Malaysia can introduce a goods and services tax to control the 14 percentage point increase in its sovereign-debt-to-GDP ratio since 2007. Indonesia can raise interest rates to tame 9 percent inflation. The main problem is India, with its cocktail of slumping growth, high inflation, a creaking banking system, reckless fiscal policies and political uncertainty. Other Asian nations can’t take rising U.S. interest rates lightly, but they are far from a crisis.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2013/09/05/not-all-asian-countries-need-to-fear-the-fed/

Indonesia’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate 25 basis points Thursday afternoon in a move that defied market expectations and continued a swift phase of tightening efforts as the nation’s economic growth showed signs of stumbling.

The interest rate increased to 7.25 percent, the fourth hike in as many months, as Bank Indonesia moved to stabilize the increasingly volatile rupiah while controlling inflation and the widening trade deficit.

The danger of capital controls in Asean (Note this is new link and chart, not the one originally posted)

http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21586569-error-apology-and-revision-spreadsheet-different

Asean trade with China (FT charts)

Tharman has a point, but Lawrence Wong missed the plot

In Economy, Financial competency on 27/08/2013 at 4:50 am

Speaking at the Network ASEAN forum on Friday morning, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said there was never a realistic prospect of a smooth and easy exit from quantitative easing (QE).

But the QE tapering will not be bad for the ASEAN economies as it is not in anyone’s interest for very low global interest rates to continue indefinitely.

It also signals an economic recovery in the US — a major market for ASEAN. [Channel News Asia last week].

Investors who have suffered from the flight from regional markets and currencies should look on the bright side. What he said is one gd point to remain calm.

Another reason why tapering is gd: The Federal Reserve is forcing Asia to kick its addiction to hot money. The prospect of higher U.S. interest rates had made the region’s dwindling trade surpluses look an increasingly dangerous habit. Though markets may be turbulent, pricier local money or cheaper currencies will improve the trade balance for most Asian countries. http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2013/08/22/fed-liquidity-curbs-will-act-as-asias-detox-plan/

But QE tapering is gd news only if investors are not leveraged to their eyeballs and counting, bringing me to the issue of Lawrence Wong (a board director at the central bank, where Tharman is the chairman) talked cock on “over-leveraged” borrowers.

Most heavy borrowers in Singapore have above average income levels, which means they are less likely to default on their loans.

Acting Culture, Community and Youth Minister Lawrence Wong said this [on 11 August] in response to questions in Parliament on household debts from Nominated MP Laurence Lien and Non-Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong.

He went on to say: On borrowers who are “over-leveraged”, or those with debt service burdens exceeding 60 per cent of their income, Mr Wong said most of them have incomes higher than the median household income of S$6,000.

He added that nearly 90 per cent of these borrowers are servicing private property loans, and more than 80 per cent are servicing only one loan.

The reasons to be concerned about these people is not that they earn a lot and can service a loan while leading the gd life, or that they only got one loan. The issues are:

– What happens if they lose their high playing jobs. Will they find another high paying job before the bank manager starts calling? And if they can’t?

– Do they have the cash to cope with a rise in interest rates, whether they have a job that pays them a high a lot or not?

That they have incomes higher than the median household income of S$6,000 is irrelevant, or only one loan is irrelevant to the issue of whether the level of over-leverage poses a danger to the system. Going by the numbers available, over-leverae borrowers do not seem to pose a danger to the system. But the minister’s explanation does worry me: it could indicate the complacency of the central bank and the govt. Hopefully, I’m wrong about their complacency.

A very high tech, inventive, low population country

In Internet, Political economy on 25/08/2013 at 4:46 am

No, not us. We are none of these, though we got many of the u/m conveniences, sort of.

Estonia (population 1.3m) is a world leader in technology. Estonian geeks developed the code behind Skype, Hotmail and Kazaa (a precursor of the Napster file-sharing software). In 2007 it became the first country to allow online voting in a general election. It has among the world’s zippiest broadband speeds and holds the record for start-ups per person. Its 1.3m citizens pay for parking spaces with their mobile phones and have their health records stored in the digital cloud. Filing an annual tax return online, as 95% of Estonians do, takes about five minutes. How did the smallest Baltic state develop such a strong tech culture?

Mr Ilves, a co-founder of Skype the president says Estonia’s success is not so much about ditching legacy technology as it is about shedding “legacy thinking”. Replicating a paper-based tax-filing procedure on a computer, for instance, is no good; having such forms pre-filled so that the taxpayer has only to check the calculations has made the system a success. Education is important, too: last year, in a public-private partnership, a programme called ProgeTiiger (“Programming Tiger”) was announced, to teach five-year-olds the basics of coding. “In the 80s every boy in high-school wanted to be a rock-star,” says Mr Hinrikus. “Now everybody in high-school wants to be an entrepreneur.”  Mr Hinrikus is a co-founder of Skype.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2013/07/economist-explains-21

Interestingly, some time back ST had a piece entitled “Generating bright ideas in S’pore”. It mentioned Google and Facebbok but not Skype. Wonder why?

Related post: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/estonia-doing-it-spore-still-talking-about-it/

Related link on why S’pore can only talk cock: http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/02/07SINGAPORE394.html

Govt needed NatCon + survey to find these things out?

In Political governance on 23/08/2013 at 4:45 am

The door-to-door survey of 4,000 Singaporeans was conducted by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) between November last year and February. It was carried out to validate the issues brought up in the 660 OSC sessions held over the past year …

[OSC committee Chairman and Education Minister Heng Swee Keat] noted that overall, the participants at the OSC sessions wanted the assurance that housing, healthcare and public transport will remain affordable.

Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) project comes up with these findings?

What a waste of time, effort and our money so that the govt learns that the people are concerned that housing, healthcare and public transport will remain affordable. And that there are concerns about education. If I wanted to be nasty, I would say that SingCon or NatCon shows out of touch the govt is with the rabble masses. But I won’t, but am surprised the usual suspects that love playing the DRUMS didn’t raise this point. They don’t do original insights, is it?

Juz reading the opinions, analysis and comments on the internet and social media would have told the govt the people’s Hard Truths. OK, as the internet and social media are Injun or Taliban or juz plain hostile territory for the PAP, the govt may be forgiven for doubting that new media is reflecting the facts on the ground.

But then, if the grassroot leaders, PAP MPs and the local media had given no-DRUMS feedback to the govt, the govt would have realised that the Injuns did not speak with forked tongues. Instead the govt only found out the truth after talking with selected S’poreans, and conducting a survey to verify what it was told.

It could have saved time, effort and money if it had listened to netizens, and done a survey to verify whether netizens were reflecting reality, or talking cock like the PAP grassroot leqadersand MPs, and the constructive, nation-building media.

And would was a survey necessary to verify what netizens are bitching and bleating about reflected the reality of feelings on the ground, other than to to give the people at a govt related think-tank shumething to do? What about using the ISD?

In M’sia, the Special Branch (The ISD and the Special Branch trace their origins to the Malayan Special Branch) is so gd that a senior DAP official said in a seminar after the 2008 M’sian elections that the officers info on where the DAP would win was very accurate. They were comparing notes before the 2008 election.

My serious point is that the PAP govt has to find out out new methods of reading the tracks on the ground. The old methods no longer work. They should be ditched or modified. This needs to be done both for the good of the PAP and for ordinary S’poreans. The PAP can no longer rely on the so-called grassroot leaders, the local media and MPs. They too are playing the DRUMS that the govt accuses netizens of doing.

One way is to find a way to verify whether the new media is reflecting (for free) the facts on the ground.Maybe because the info is free, is one reason why the govt ignores it? Remember the PAP MP whose words implied that he looked down on others who earned less than serious money?

But the govt should also have to find ways of finding out and double confirming what the middle-class netizens are ignoring, out of ignorance, complacency, arrogance or maliciousness. They too can play the DRUMS as well as the mainstream media, govt and the PAP. Yes, almost everyone in S’pore plays the DRUMS: one man’s Hard Truths are the DRUMS of lesser mortals, and vice-versa.

But let’s not be too hard on the govt for not making the best use of the resources available, or of wasting time, effort and money to find out what S’poreans think. Wayang is now very impt in politics because nowadays  S’poreans, like other people, think better of politicans who “listen” to their opinions, or “feel” their pain. Or least pretend to.

Taz a new Hard Truth. Paternalism is out. As is “Sit down and shut up. We know what is best for you.”

If Animal Farm was written today, Napoleon and the pigs would have to have a “conversation” with the  other animals, and a survey to validate the said conversation, before going ahead and oppressing them.

—-

*PM and the PAP had serious problems in the 2011GE and the recent by-election with the quality of info they were receiving from the grassroot leaders on voter sentiment. After the 2011 GE, he had to defend the said leaders after PAP MPs criticised them.

Analysing PM’s coming rally speech

In Political economy, Political governance on 16/08/2013 at 5:08 am

So PM is working hard on his National Day Rally speech, at least he said so about a week ago. (He shouldn’t be working hard, he should be working smart: hard work is no substitute for using one’s intellect, which PM has in spades, effectively. If working hard were all that mattered, the FTs toiling on our work sites would have it made.)

We have been told that he will focus on public concerns that housing, healthcare and public transport will remain affordable, and on education (I assume, affordability and the stress it causes pushy parents with average kids). He will most probably talk about jobs (including low or stagnating salaries, and how the govt is tackling these issues), as the concerns for good jobs has also been raised at these talk cock sing song Our S’pore Conversation sessions.

Interestingly in February 1958, this was written by an ang moh reporter: “But, governors may come and may go: but the problems of government are the same. The problems that remain in Singapore are housing, health services, education and expansion of industry.”*.

Well the PAP won the 1959 general elections and have governed S’pore since then, and the problems are the same.

By addressing the issue of affordability, will he implicitly be sending the message that he is be ditching dad’s Hard Truth that populism is bad**?

Not if Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, the minister in-charge of Our Singapore Conversation (OSC), is to believed. He told the media this week that OSC is not a knee-jerk, “populist” policy-making exercise. It is not a “major meet-the-people session”, with the govt collating a wish list and then giving the people what they want. He emphasised that OSC does not sacrifice any strategic thinking on the part of the govt for the sake of showing empathy with the people.

But, he would say this wouldn’t he? Let’s juz ignore the DRUMS and the noise, and focus on the effects. “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice,”, said one Deng Xiaoping.

Anyway, Simon Johnson, once the Chief Economist at the IMF, home of austerity’s the answer to almost any economic problem, and now the Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management, Populism and irresponsibility are not, in fact, synonyms. Populism can be sound, he argues. He argues that populism is often used in a pejorative way – as a putdown, implying “the people” want irresponsible things that would undermine the fabric of society or the smooth functioning of the economy.

So what if the people are to be “pampered”? If it is right thing to do by them, do it. According to Simon Johnston, the issue is whether  a ”populist” measure in question is a responsible one. If it is, then the label doesn’t matter, juz do it. (http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/a-populist-measure-can-be-a-sound-measure-ex-imf-chief-economist/)

“It doesn’t matter whether a cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice.”

Filial piety aside, he should openly embrace, or at least quietly hug in the dark, responsible populism, given the measures he has been taking like civil service pay rises, help for poor in renting flats etc etc. (http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/minister-you-thinking-of-yr-govt/)

Next, hopefully (from the perspective of PAPpies, and those of us S’poreans who treasure stability, efficiency and rent-seeking over human rights and democracy), PM works smart on his “likeability”, not on his power point presentation. One of these days, I’ll blog on why he has a great personal story to tell. A preview: overbearing, overachieving father with high expectations who refuses to retire gracefully into old age. And there is more.

PM’s dad was respected and feared. But PM’s not his dad, and times have changed. Kind-heated intellectual thuggery, bullying and hectoring are no longer in fashion with voters. So being “likeable” is very impt.

An analogy with the Catholic Church (Dad used to claim that PAP cadre system was based on the way the cardinals elected the pope, while the pope chose the cardinals, though analysts have pointed out that the PAP’s cadre system more closely resembles the Leninst way organising a “dictatorship of the proletariat”. The best example of this is the way Chinese leaders are elected to run the ruling party and the country.) shows why PM needs to be likeable if the PAP is dominate S’pore politics and life for another 50 years.

So far people have generally taken at face value the image of Francis as a “barefoot pope” who is personally modest, feels compassion for the disadvantaged and is endowed with a basic human warmth that his predecessor seemed at times to lack. He is simply likeable, and that ensures that he commands some respectful attention (even from those who disagree with him) when he seems to be speaking from the heart.

In the leader of a religious organisation whose core beliefs are not open to negotiations, style matters a lot. People can sense hypocrisy and pomposity, and they can also sense the opposite. (http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2013/07/pope-gays)

As he works smart (not hard) on his speech, he should remember the recent Cambodian elections where the opposition united against a strongman leader who brought prosperity to his country and who sued his opponents for damages and who keeps the media on a very tight leash. It has at least deprived the govt of its two-thirds majority (if not winning the election). (http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/cambodian-elections-harbinger-of-sporean-ge/)

All to play for PM.

And keep up the good work of reforming the system. I may not always agree that he is doing the “right” things but I will concede that are trying hard, whatever his motives. But, like the Red Queen in “Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There”, he is running to keep up with S’poreans rising expectations of change and a better life. To quote Tocqueville as I did here:

experience teaches us that, generally speaking, the most perilous moment for a bad government is one when it seeks to mend its ways….Patiently endured for so long as it seemed beyond redress, a grievance comes to appear intolerable once the possibility of removing it crosses men’s minds.*

And there is the problem of changing a party where there are people like Kate Spade, Charles Chong and VivianB (Don’t do compassion, and sneer at the poor), Lee Bee Wah (Doesn’t do meitocracy at STTA, and her dog used to run away. She now keeps her gates shut tight. My dogs lead such a gd life that one even refuses to leave the house for daily walks), Seng the MP with hearing problems, Ong Ye Kung and Lionel de Souza.

PM would have heard Dr Goh say, as I have, “Oppositions don’t win elections, govts lose elections.”

To sum up: What S’poreans need and want to hear from the PM is what the PAP govt stands for, what it believes, how the govt now would be different from the one before. And that needs to be set out with absolute clarity in a language that S’poreans can understand and empathise with.”

The problem is that PM has been part of the govt since the 1980s, and DPM, and economic, financial and civil service czar in the 1990s and early noughties, and PM since 2004,  making it difficult, if not impossible, for him to say move on from the past. He was a major creator of the problems that caused the disconnect between a substantial number of voters and the PAP govt, that he as PM now has to repair.

Even dad would find this impossible to do.

Churchill and FDR juz might have managed to do it, but our PM is no Churchill or FDR, let alone his dad.

*Singapore Correspondent. Political Dispatches from Singapore (1958-1962)

(http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/mai/new-book-singapore-correspondent/)
by Leon Comber*

Publisher:  Marshall Cavendish International Asia

Singapore Correspondent Book CoverSingapore Correspondent” covers five years of Singapore’s colourful political past – a period of living turbulently and sometimes dangerously. It is a collection of eye-witness dispatches, sent from Singapore to London, spanning a time when Singapore was emerging from British colonial rule and moving forward to self-government and independence. Many of the early struggles of the People’s Action Party (PAP) are described as the focus is on the political struggle taking place in which the PAP played a major part. Many important events which have long been forgotten are brought to life. These dispatches prove that political history need not be dull, and indeed can sometimes be entertaining and lively.

* MAI Adjunct Research Fellow

Reviewed here: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/im-invested-in-spore-spore-in-50s-60s/

Related: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/when-55-of-voters-were-fts/

**Coming a few days after dad launched his latest book on Hard Truths, it may look like he’s giving dad a very tight slap+. Tot that was job of co-driver? Trying to make WP redundant? Or Low and gang not doing enough, preferring to share out contracts and enjoying their salaries? And this reminds me of: Former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s views expressed in his new book, One Man’s View of the World, are “obsolete,” said Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The views represented the Mahathir generation, he added.

“We should not always look at the dichotomy between rights and race, black and white.

“For example, he (Lee) talks about race-based policies, but there is very little understanding of the discourse in the last decade,” he said.

Anwar said Lee was still “trapped in the old mindset,” when he used to be in the opposition during Malaya before Singapore was established.

“His thoughts are not so relevant now in the context of the present day. That is what prompted him to make sweeping statements to generalise the situation in Malaysia,” Anwar told reporters … [Star]

+Filial piety? What filial piety? At least PM learned the lesson from dad that eggs must be broken to make omelets: that the ends justifies the means.  LKY should be proud that his son has at least learned this.

Is the PAP leopard baring his fangs and unsheathing his claws?

In Political governance on 07/08/2013 at 4:51 am

(Or “Netizens, look on the bright side”)

Reading the recent articles of the Magnificent Seven bloggers, and E-Jay, one would think so: that the leopard has not changed its spots. He’s returning to his usual predatory habits of stalking, bullying and intimidating the herbivores with the aim of creating a climate of fear and terror. There are Yaacob’s Laws, the persecution and demonising of P Ravi and cartoonist Chew (Breaking News: He juz apologised and the charges should be withdrawn. BTW, AG had once asked him to withdraw some of these cartoons, but he ignored AG.),  AG’s warning letters to bloggers about “contempt of court” postings, the play-pen name calling of Auntie and her Singh etc etc.

Maybe they should look on the bright side like Brian Cohen in the Life of Brian*. Suffering a lingering, painful death by cruxification, Brian’s spirits were lifted by others crucified along with him, who sang “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”.

As the bloggers swing, in their imaginations on the gallows, on their connecting cables or mice tails, in the world beyond cyberspace:

“Dr Paul Ananth Tambyah has been promoted to Full Professor with tenure at the National University of Singapore where he is an expert in infectious diseases at the Department of Medicine.”

“Professor Tambyah is a member of the SDP’s Healthcare Advisory Panel and co-authored, together with nine other members, the SDP National Healthcare Plan: Caring For All Singaporeans and in the olden days would have signed up to the PAP in order to serve the public (while earning serious money) is what I told a retired senior imperial storm trooper (keyboard division) when we were talking about the quality of people becoming PAP MPs (think Kate Spade and Fool Me) and those joining the Opposition. Instead he is an active member of the SDP (I know him).

– Mdm Vellama challenged the Prime Minister by filing an application in High Court in March 2012 calling “for the grant of declaration that the Prime Minister does not possess the “unfettered discretion to decide when to announce by-elections in Hougang SMC and must do so within three months or within such reasonable time as this Honorable Court deems fit”.

Seems, she is still receiving financial assistance from the Community Development Council.

– The defence minister has yet to sue P Ravi for defamation despite a govt spokesperson writing to ST’s Forum Page: “With his post, Mr Philemon appeared to be insinuating the following: That the Government was not telling the truth, that it hoards the masks for the privileged, and that it does not care for the public.” (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, why are you reading my blog?) Instead NG (Negative Govt) played the DRUMS (Distortions, Rumours, Untruths, Misinformation and Smears) while netizens heard RAVI (Recriminations, Accusations, Vilifications & Insinuations (or is it Insults?).

– SDP activist allowed to do his doctorate in NUS Biz School.

When PM’s dad was PM, it was widely perceived that the PAP had a “You are with us or against us”**, and anyone who actively opposed the PAP was asking for trouble. Well, whatever the truth of the perception, and as a junior lawyer in a leading corporate law firm, I can assure you that that was the feeling in the firm then. Incidentally, two partners during my stint, went on to be High Court judges, and more

Whatever else I think about the PM (like he cannot even get the haze issue right: he talked of the haze coming back “for weeks” about a month ago, but since then the reading was “moderate”, now “good”), I’m glad to say that this feeling that active opposition to the PAP is not tolerated (and is punished disproportionately) is a lot less prevalent nowadays, no matter what netizens say.

Can anyone imagine a SDP activist getting full tenure in olden times? (OK, a “noise’ maker was denied tenure at NTU but then his connections may have made him hard to get approval: his wife is Editor of ST and his brudder-in-law is one Yaacob, Muslim minister and internet sheriff***. Surely some netizens would have shouted, “Nepotism or favourism”, if he had got tenure? Actually, many shouted “Kelong” when he didn’t get tenure. PAP it seems can’t win netizens over.)

Or would quai lan lady still get financial help from a govt agency in the 70s, 80s, 90s or early noughties? (Nice the welfare people under Kee Chui Chan are doing the right thing by a fellow citizen despite her causing trouble for the PM, wasting AG’s time, and our money.)

Could a SDP activist getting tenure, while another is allowed to do a doctorate, the defence minister not suing P Ravi and a govt agency still helping a quai lan lady be part of a cunning plot by the PAP to lull the public into thinking it is morping into a decent, “clean”, ‘constructive” party with the “right” politics? Or is the PAP really morping into the “right” party?

After all, it is also throwing our money at us. A no-no when LKY was in power.

One ang moh seems to think so: The first step for Singapore’s reinvention lies with recognizing the seriousness of its challenges. The policies of the past may have worked impressively, but may not be as appropriate in the future. As my old Japanese sensei Jiro Tokuyama once noted: the hardest thing to do is how to unlearn the secrets of your past success. The ingredients in the cocktail that is Singapore need to be tweaked for a new era. http://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2013/07/18/singapore-needs-a-new-sling/

The writer is right about the need to “unlearn”, but many (self included) think more than “tweaks” are needed. (The piece is wrong here also: “Steps to increase the size of apartments, repurpose aging shopping and office structure for housing as well as encouraging more home-based work could also prove helpful.” — I don’t know where the writer gets these ideas; the opposite is happening says Alex Au rightly)

So come the next GE, will the PAP do better?

The continuing good news for “P” (for “political”) netizens, and the opposition is that so long as VivianB is in the cabinet, the PAP will have very serious problems being perceived as the “compassionate” , “right” party, no matter how much of our money the govt throws at us (latest efforts http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/need-to-look-out-for-pmes/765942.html and http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/more-govt-help-for/765132.html), or does the “right’ thing like giving a SDP activist tenure, and helping quai lan lady.

If PM is smart, he’ll get rid of VivianB and promote Lily Neo. Kee Chui needs all the help he can get, and he lost Halimah. It’s not as though PM doesn’t have another Indian Christian available: Indranee Thurai Rajah is reported to be a pretty decent and capable junior minister. So long as VivianB is in the cabinet, I for one know the PAP leopard cannot change its spots to save itself.

Finally, celebrate National Day. Don’t be boxed in by the opposing narratives of the govt (watch NDP parade) or those opposed to the PAP by turning up at Hong Leong Park. Do yr own thing. Don’t be sheep.

—-

*It tells the story of Brian Cohen, a young Jewish man who is born on the same day as, and next door to, Jesus Christ and is subsequently mistaken for the Messiah.

**Bit like anti-PAP TRE posters on my republished pieces. When I blog against the PAP, I get praised. When I’m neutral, I get called names. Some use my neutral pieces against me, posting onto my anti-PAP pieces, that I am a PAP stooge.  These posters are only happy if a piece is 150% anti-PAP. And when I support a PAP policy, I’m beyond the pale.

***A paid-up member of the M’sian establishment said that in M’sia with those connections even a donkey would get tenure. He then grumbled about the state of the Malay community here (he has relations here) and went to school here.

LionsXII: Park three buses

In Footie on 02/07/2013 at 7:01 am

Remember that a great Arsenal mgr once said, “Strikers win games, defenders win trophies”. No not that wanker Wenger.

BTW, Sundram although you are a gd coach, pls don’t talk cock. Based on last yr’s results, LionsXII were contenders for trophies this season. And no-one ever tot team was cock, though S’poreans were concerned FAS would let FTs sabo the team. Didn’t happen. Glad that “S” in FAS stands for “S’pore” not “Serbia”.

LionsXII! The real Lions!

Why the silence on PM’s latest goof?

In Humour on 01/07/2013 at 5:26 am

(Or “Cyber activists are suicidal? Frus over what?”)

About this time last week, our PM warned that the haze would return “for weeks”. Well since then, conditions are pretty normal for this time of the year. And on Saturday, ST reported NEA as saying the reduction from very high levels of pollution could be due to less fires.

So if one wanted to be mean but factually correct, one could rightly say PM was wrong. And if one wanted to be “P” (political), one could say, “So waz new? He always talking cock”.

(BTW, I owe an apology to the WP town council and the NEA: I had suggested that it didn’t make sense to clean the ceilings at the two hawker cenres because PM said the haze respite was temporary. Guess they knew that PM would be wrong, as usual.)

Seriously, jokes’ aside, why isn’t the “PAP govt is always in the wrong” brigade complaining, especially the “P” ones.

Three reasons: one is that like other S’poreans, they too are relieved, and happy that conditions are back to the usual “moderate” haze for this time of the year.

And maybe, they too are proud that the leaders of this little red dot got the Indons to apologise, and do shumething without returning the so-called ill-gotten gains from Indonesia. Actually this money isn’t ours, Indons still own the money. Convict them in Indon courts, and then can talk about the morality of returning the money.

The third reason is that the more chim and vocal members of “PAP govt is always in the wrong” may be be in shock over two foot shooting (or is it “feet in mouth) accidents, involving three prominent bloggers, in less than five days.

The first was Andrew Loh’s unprovoked rant, full of “dirty” words,against the president of S’pore*. He quickly apologised but one was left wondering why did he get so upset over such a bland, meaningless statement? Because it was bland, meaningless, and late?

The other incident involved minister Shan (the dog and cat lover, weird combi this), Ms Kisten Han and Remy Choo. See here for a good summary (and funny take)  of what happened. To summarise

– Ms Han said in her blog that the minister wanted Mr Choo to convey that Mr Shanmugam would not hesitate to sue those republishing the article; but

– Mr Shanmugam later clarified that this description was inaccurate; then

- in a statement carried on Ms Han’s blog later, Mr Choo said that he was responsible for giving that impression to Miss Han, and that it was incorrect and unfair of him to have done so.

Having read both Remy Choo’s FB comments**, if anyone had to apologise it should not be him. It shld be Ms Kisten Han for rushing into print with her “chim” tots on the dangers of sharing, when the law is pretty clear on the matter: share libelous stuff at yr peril http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-22652083.

Surely she must have known that said minister would react aggressively, not that I blame him***. She, at least explained, her motivations on her public FB Wall; motivations which I find very emotional. If I were in close regular contact with her, I’d be afraid, very afraid, lest confidences be spilled.Anyway, if Remy is not upset with her, then taz the end of the matter. He is the “damaged” party.If he has political ambitions to become a MP, he can forget it. His apology would be used against him if he stood, and we all know that our political parties are all Kiasus.

(FTR, I had dealings with Kirsten and Remy a few yrs back. They are “Smarter than the average bear”. BTW, wonder what Yogi would think of Barrie the Bear.  A bear that is S’porean, Canadian, Muslim, and Indon-loving?)

As evidence of this reason, that some bloggers are in shock, juz before the Andrew incident, one or two “P” bloggers were hinting that the masks were issued after the need for them had passed.

Whatever, why the sudden bout of foot shooting or mouths in foots is what I want to know? Both incidents were so unnecessary. There needn’t have to be apologies if these three prominent and leading bloggers had tot before they acted. Are the three bloggers are frus about way things are developing here that they make irrational decisions?

Anyway, let’s not get worked up. “Move on”, as the PAPpies like to say.Not much damage except to the gentlemanly Remy Choo.

But let’s try to learn lessons so as not to repeat these “mistakes”. One lesson is that be aware of one’s emotions: remember Yoda tot the Jedi to be unattached to their emotions, while being aware of them. Wonder if Yoda learnt this from the Buddha?

*When I was first shown the post, I tot Andrew Loh was the victim of a hack, or “an honest” tech mistake where a poster’s comment got merged into his post, or “an honest” editorial cock-up (pressed “publish”, instead of “save”. Believe you mean this can happen. I’ve published when I wanted to save, and save when I wanted to publish.)

**On his public FB wall.

*** I’d be even more aggressive. There are “conventions” on such private conversations and the reporting thereof. The most impt of which is “Everything is not attributable” without the permission of the speaker.

Haze: Is this allegation true?

In Public Administration on 27/06/2013 at 5:34 am

This caught my attention,”From Facebook posts, there were people who collapsed or died of heart attack or asthma attack.”; a sentence from a long piece by a reader to TOC and posted by TOC.

I’ve read similar allegations by TRE readers then who went on to castigate our govt for allowing these things to happen, and our”constructive”, “nation-building” media for not reporting these deaths etc.

My doctor friends tell me they have not seen an increase in such cases, and say that there are are no rumours floating around from doctors working in public hospitals on such increases.

What I would like to know:

– Are there postings of “people who collapsed or died of heart attack or asthma attack”. Asking as I’ve not seen any such, but then I’m not a big user of FB. This posting appeared on Tuesday evening, but I saw it only yesterday.

– Whether there has been any increase in “people who collapsed or died of heart attack or asthma attack”? Hope the govt can provide data and Uncle Leong can critique the info provided. Maybe some PAP MP or Lina Chiam will ask for the numbers if the govt doesn’t come forward?

BTW, three cheers for TOC. It has been trying to do something to help people during the haze: not juz talk cock, sing song and bitch. TOC is so unlike many other kay poh bloggers or FB “activists”.

And it gets “marked” by the govt? SIGH.

BTW2, Support the NEA’s website rebuking “wrong” facts. I’m surprised that a few of the “usual suspects” think that it is a waste of effort, with nEA having better things to do. ’cause their kakis kanna slime?

Why Plan “Suffocate S’poreans” failed?

In Humour, Indonesia, Malaysia on 26/06/2013 at 4:55 am

(Or “Why Indonesia apologised?”)

So the Indonesian presisent has apologised to M’sia and S’pore for the haze, despite an official earlier saying that Indonesia would not apologise to S’pore. And the president also admitted that his ministers were talking cock, while doing bugger-all.

So this has worked: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/haze-what-raffles-would-have-done/?

Seriously, why has Indonesia apologised to this  “little red dot” inhabited by “children”?

My friend in M’sia’s Special Branch told me the following story based on bugs placed in the cabinet room: nothing to do with us “children” it seems.

On Monday, the Indonesia cabinet was briefed on “Operation Smoke Out the Money”. The president and his ministers were told that S’pore was choking in the smoke from Riau and would be soon be very receptive to this call by a fair-minded S’porean-Canadian* to surrender all of its ill-gotten gains from Indonesia, especially as the article was republished in the widely read, influential patriotic and nationalistic TRE, and the very respected, influential SGDaily carried a link to the original article**. My source said that many ministers were heard groaning presumably because they had illicit money in S’pore.

Then an aide came in and said, “Mr President, the dad of S’pore’s PM wants to speak to you.” The ministers clapped.

Then another aide called, “Sir, Najib, Anwar and Tun M are calling, together”. The president said, “How do they know so fast Suharto’s buddy is repenting? And why a joint call?”.One minister said,”Sir, they came together to honour you, the MAN who brought S’pore to its knees!”

The aide said, “Sir, I doubt it. M’sia has declared an emergency in South Johor and schools in KL are closing; all because of the haze. Apparently, Superman*** is blowing the smoke away from S’pore, diverting the smoke into Malaya. S’pore is smoke free! The Malay media is asking, “Why are our Muslim brudders behaving like this? Screwing, smoking us and not the infidels in S’pore? S’pore took their money, not us!”

A third aide came in saying, “Sir, the plantation companies and APRIL are calling. They want to know how much more money yr ministers want them to deposit in the ministers’ S’pore bank accounts?”

The president went, “Oh Riau!”. My SB source says presumably because Riau is now hotter than hell.

And one Christian minister was heard sniggering, “Where are the Islamic superheroes when Muslims need them?”. Ash trays and wine glasses were thrown at him.

*Contrary to TRE posters, Special Branch does not believe he is an Indonesian Quisling, doing it for the money. He is an honest S’porean- Canadian. He sincerely believes that S’pore is screwing Indonesia.

**Only TOC didn’t carry the article.

***I reminded my SB contact of Superman’s Jewish origins: Kal-El (his Krypton name) sounds like the Jewish term for “Voice of God”. My contact laughingly said that LKY chose his friends better than M’sia’s rulers did. He chose Israel and the US to suck up to, M’sia chose Muslim countries and the US as friends.

S’pore dissident and rebel suggests an easy, effective & lazy way of undermining PAP rule

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 12/06/2013 at 5:54 am

I had written that new media was like Lao Tzu’s description of water, “Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox:what is soft is strong.”

.Tan Wah Piow illustrates how the water analogy works (albeit without using the term).

This is how the real “S’pore Dissident* and “S’pore Rebel” defines what he calls “Virtual Movement for Democracy in Cyberspace (VMD)” : This force is far more radical, dynamic, reflective of the people’s mood, and certainly more threatening to the PAP than all the opposition parties combined … the “Virtual Movement for Democracy in Cyberspace (VMD)”

It is a movement without leaders, organisation, or membership. Yet it has a capacity to grow, and is already setting the political demands for change. The power of this virtual movement lies in its ability to synergise the individual desires for democratic changes in Singapore into real collective political actions. The energy within this virtual movement comes from the decades of pent up frustrations, as well as the feeling of betrayal of the Singapore cause … All of us are now part of this VMD.

It is this VMD which is now setting the political agenda in Singapore. The avalanche of criticisms against AIM, the Population White Paper, and now the control of the Internet are not led by any of the opposition party, but by the uncoordinated collective efforts of individuals in cyberspace. They include those who write articles, bloggers, those who make comments, those who distribute articles through facebook and social media. The VMD would not be a potent political force without a buoyant cyberspace. At the same time, the cyberspace in Singapore would be sterile without the VMD.

(http://www.tremeritus.com/2013/06/04/the-real-reason-behind-the-internet-crackdown/ I very strongly commend readers read it. It is the only piece from one of the “usual suspects” on Yaacob’s internet rules that is rational, unemotional, doesn’t tie itself up in contradictions; in short, no BS. The others are “noise”, cocks preening themselves for a Wayang.)

As usual, he calls for the PAP to be kicked out**. But, During the interim, we need more guerrilla-type bloggers and cyber-warriors to counter the current set of regulations. Each time we forward an article we like in cyberspace to our friends and acquaintances, we are actively undermining the legitimacy and dominance of the PAP.

Juz forward articles we like. So simple leh. But then the best strategies are often the simplest. Not the complicated ones.

So, while I don’t share his obsession with overthrowing the PAP (if the PAP does the right things by S’poreans, I’ll vote for it), I share his view on the Virtual Movement for Democracy in Cyberspace and how we can grow it the lazy way: juz forward articles we like.

No need to do blackouts or attend protests in the hot sun. Juz use the tools of the wired city-state that the PAP govt has created.

*No disrespect meant to Gopalan and Rajan Nair, the two self-styled S’pore Dissidents. I’m sure even they must concede that Tan has done more for the cause they and he believe in than their combined efforts, which objectively speaking amounts to little more than hot air.

**LKY’s disciple, Lim Kit Siang, had started calling for UMNO to be voted out at about the same time as Tan had started to call for the overthrow of the PAP: since the early 70s. UMNO and the PAP, like Johnnie Walker, are still going strong.

Quadruple confirm: Public servants don’t do cost-benefit analysis

In Financial competency, Humour, Public Administration on 04/06/2013 at 5:12 am

Former NUS law professor, Tey Tsun Hang, was sentenced to a 5 months’ jail term and ordered to pay a penalty of $514.80 by the court yesterday. He was convicted of corruptly obtaining gifts and sex from former student Darinne Ko.

Last week, the former chief of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), Peter Lim Sin Pang, was convicted by a District Court for corruption. He was on trial for abusing his position to obtain sexual favours from Ms Pang Chor Mui in return for favorable consideration of her company’s tender bid for business.

Also last week, the Ministry of Home Affairs said disciplinary proceedings against the former chief of the Central Narcotics Bureau Ng Boon Gay would remain suspended until a final outcome in the criminal proceedings. Mr Ng was acquitted of corruption charges in February. Mr Ng was accused of obtaining sexual favours from IT sales manager Ms Cecilia Sue in return for furthering the business interests of her two employers. The MHA spokesperson also said that the prosecution was studying  the written grounds of decision and assessing whether to file a Petition of Appeal.

Even though Gay was acquired, all three public servants paid a high price for being a bit (very cheap actually) cheap when it came to sex. In return for a few freebie trysts, they ended up spending very serious money on lawyers , and damaging their reputations and earning capabilities. I mean who will want to employ two soiled police scholars and an academic who proclaimed his academic integrity* when he was charged?

Then there was ex-Speaker of Parliament, “Mangoes for Laura” Palmer. True he wasn’t charged and never paid lawyers’ fees, but the guy was castrated in public: within a few hours he fell from “tua kee” to zero you-know-what.

Obviously, they didn’t do cost-benefit analysis. If they had been, they could have realised that the costs of being cheap on sex was higher than if they had paid for it. They would have realised that paying for sex was less risky for their careers and reputations. Based on legal fees of $500,000 a case (and I’m being conservative given the size of the legal teams), even if each man charged had sex 100 times (and the reports indicate that the frequency wasn’t that high), the cost would be $5,000 a session. And these were with aunties! Not slim, tall Vogue model-types.

If these senior public servants, didn’t use cost-benefit analysis on such an impt, personal matter, what are the chances that public servants use cost-benefit analysis when analysising or making decisions for us the masses? Yup, highly unlikely.

Anyway, these four cases illustrate the ancient Chinese saying of, “Kill a cock to frighten the monkeys”. Here four cocks were “killed’ to remind public servants that free sex is not a benefit of service. Never mind, public servants can afford to pay for sex, juz like they can afford to buy $5m to S10m apartments from a TLC, even when the TLC expresses concerns that it can sell some of these apartments. And if the MDA chairman and CEO may have problems with their personal cost-benefit analysis (what with QE possibly being reversed, with knock-on effects for S’pore property, and KepLand’s remarks on selling its apts), can ministers and the public trust that the MDA has done its cost-benefit analysis on its new media regulations? It could be telling that the Manpower minister replaced MDA’s CEO at a Talking Points programme on the issue of new media regulation? BTW, where was the water engineer**, Yaacob?

Note (Last three lines added two hrs after first publication, after reading FT etc)

——

*I tot he was going to deny that he ever had sex with his student. It has been part of Western academic tradition since the times of the Greeks that sex with students was taboo. There was a lewd Roman joke that Socrates never had sex with Plato despite both being gay because Plato was Socrates’ pupil. The Romans didn’t do gay sex.

**See the * at end in link on what I mean by “water engineer”.

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