atans1

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Cyber warriors: Spyware is cheaply available

In Uncategorized on 11/08/2014 at 4:18 am

In yr cursing the PAP govt this National Day, pls remember that anonymity in’t an option any more:

surveillance spyware has been found in the Gulf.  In October 2012 similar software known as FinFisher, manufactured by Anglo-German company Gamma, was linked to the monitoring of high profile dissidents in Bahrain. Like Hacking Team, Gamma only sells to governments.

Until recently such technology was only used by governments with a long history of expertise in spying, such as Russia, says Bill Marczak of Bahrain Watch, an NGO that monitors human-rights violations in Bahrain. “Now any government that is willing to spend several hundred thousand dollars can acquire these hacking tools and get the training they need,” says Cynthia Wong, who researches internet violations for Human Rights Watch.

That leaves activists more exposed than ever. “Social media activity is increasingly being used as evidence against us,” says a Saudi activist, who wishes to remain anonymous. Most online activists in the Gulf use pseudonyms on their Twitter or Facebook accounts, but Human Rights Watch says a common counter-tactic used by the authorities in the United Arab Emirates, for example, is to unmask users’ identities by recording their internet address and therefore their location.

Currently it is legal for governments to buy the spyware—the sale and export of surveillance tools is virtually unregulated by international law. Spyware providers say they sell their products to governments for “lawful purposes”.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/pomegranate/2014/07/internet-monitoring-gulf

Lest We Forget: Pioneers the PAP doesn’t want us to remember

In Uncategorized on 07/08/2014 at 4:40 am
With the 9th of August a few days away, the govt wants us to do the ‘right” things the “right” way to celebrate the day.
I’m sure the PAP will not like S’poreans to remember that there are ISD detainees among the “pioneer” generation. The PAP govt airbrushes them out of history: all the pioneer generation were hard-working supporters of the PAP.
I’m republishing Dr G Raman’s Facebook tribute to his fellow ISD detainee Tan Jing Quee as a way of paying tribute to the “unknown” ISD detainees like Ng Ho (chairman of Ong Eng Guan’s United People’s Party: see below for more on Ong Eng Guan who nearly became PM) who are not well-known dissidents. Only they and their families remember the pain and suffering they endured. They too belong to the pioneer generation,
(Apologies to G Raman for not asking his permission to reproduce this tribute to a dissident I had not known about. I met G. Raman many yrs ago when I was doing my pupillage. we shared a taxi to the Sub Courts because in a quiet, unemotional way, he described spartan conditions he was subject to when in detention.)
Btw, Drs Wong Wee Nam, Paul Tamby (Wonder if S’pore will volunteer his services in the fight against Ebola? He is a professor specialising in infectious diseases and Ebola is deadly) are not aberrants.  RI has produced dissident activists since the 50s.  Tan Jing Quee and Raman were RI boys. But then RI also produced TJS and TKL who deprived RI boy Dr Tan Cheng Bock of the presidency which went to SJI, St Pat boy. The duo also prevented S’poreans from giving the PAP a poke in the eye: Dr Tan could be presiding over third National Day parade. Imagine how LKY would feel.
TAN JING QUEE – 3 YEARS ON by Dr G Raman
From FB — That We May Dream Again
The Mid-fiftiesI first met Jing Quee in 1954, 60 years ago, when we both entered Raffles Institution. Its campus was where Raffles City now stands. Entry into RI was based on the results of the state-wide entrance examination, the predecessor of the present PSLE. The best were admitted to RI. Jing Quee had already displayed brilliance at an early age.We are products of our age. The social and political forces at play determine our values and attitudes. 1955 was the year of the protest by Chinese middle school students against conscription for national service. The French had been defeated by the brave Vietnamese people at the Battle of Diem Phien Phu under General Vo Nguyen Giap.Barely five years earlier, Mao Tse-tung had stood on the parapet at Tiananmen Square calling upon the Chinese people to “stand up”. One-fourth of humanity heeded his call and stood up.Though the Korean War had ended dividing the nation into two, the Cold War was raging. Russia and China were ring-fenced by military treaties stretching from the North Atlantic (NATO) through the Middle East (METO) to East Asia (SEATO). Russia and China were experimenting with a new social order to establish a more equal and egalitarian system. Russia had succeeded to a certain extent and China was adopting the socialist model of economic and social development.Anti-colonial and liberation movements were raging from the Caribbean to Asia through Africa. The UN had launched a de-colonisation programme and the metropolitan powers were against the wall trying frantically to retain a foothold in their former colonies through proxies.The clamour for independence and democracy had created political groups in Singapore. One of the organisations among the English speaking activists was the Malayan Democratic Union a gathering of liberals – lawyers, doctors, journalists and teachers. The Chinese educated had their own organisations Like the Old Boys’ Association which joined other like minded groups struggling for independence with Singapore as an integral part. Singapore was a crown colony ruled autonomously by the British after the Straits Settlements comprising Malacca, Penang and Singapore was dismantled in 1948. “Merdeka” was in the air.1954 was also the year PAP was formed. It had among its members, lawyers, doctors, teachers, journalists, workers and businessmen. It published two slim brochures containing its manifesto and policies. The policies were enunciated by authors covering different areas like education, the trade unions, multi-racial unity and multilingualism. It stood for an independent, democratic, socialist Malaya including Singapore. Singapore was treated as an integral part of Malaya by everyone.1954 was also the year that the British government proposed a Constitution for Singapore to grant self-government and for holding of island-wide election. The Randell Constitution as it was called, paved the way for the election of 25 members to the Legislative Assembly.This was the political milieu during Jing Quee’s RI days. I remember him attending the Legislative Assembly meetings and PAP rallies. Most students were politically conscious at that time and they formed Literary and Debating Societies in their schools. They discussed the political issues of the day. Jing Quee became the President of the RI Literary and Debating Society.Not only did Jing Quee have brain power, he also had brawn power. He played football and was the striker for the RI 1st XI. He was known for his speed in the field which matched his oratorical speed.
Days in the VarsityJing Quee joined the University of Malaya in 1960 and read for an Arts degree. Political talks, forums and debates were the order of the day. There was no restriction as we have now on political matters. There was no requirement that a political club should be registered before students can embark on political activities. There was no rush to complete the courses in time to make up for lost time on national service. Jing Quee became the President of the University Socialist Club and the editor of its thought-provoking publication, Fajar (Dawn).The University in 1960 was truly an intellectual hub. The PAP had captured 43 of the 51 seats in parliament at the 1959 election. Many of the undergraduates joined the campaign in support of the PAP as it was then the vanguard of the progressive forces in Singapore. Its Secretary General was the champion of freedom at that time but he was soon to jettison all the ideals that he and his party stood for.Jing Quee’s articles and editorials in Fajar were known for their depth and literary flair. After graduation he did not look for a highly paid job in the private sector or in the civil service. With his mastery of the English language he could have got a teaching job in the Ministry of Education with security of tenure and the perks that go with a government appointment. He shunned these and joined the trade union for a small pay of $500 per month. To him, living up to his ideals were more paramount than amassing material wealth.Entering Politics

The PAP has been a monolith for a long time but not in the early years after its formation. One of the senior members of the PAP, Ong Eng Guan even challenged Lee Kuan Yew for the post of prime minister. The cadres had to vote on who they wanted as the PM. The voting took a surprising turn. The result was a tie. The chairman of the party, Toh Chin Chye cam to Lee’s rescue by giving him th casting vote. Jing Quee watched all these with disdain. He knew the meaning of the words “treachery” and “aggrandizement.”

The inevitable split within the PAP between the progressive forces and the reactionary (anti-people) forces took place in 1961. The breakaway group of intellectuals and political activists formed the Barisan Sosialis with Lim Chin Siong as its secretary general. Though not organisationally linked with the Barisan at that time, Jing Quee stood as its candidate for Kampong Glam. Jing Quee lost by only around 100 votes. The votes for candidates opposing Rajaratnam weresplit with the unprincipled Harban Singh of the United PeoplesParty polling around 1000 votes which should have gone to Jing Quee if Harns had not entered the fray.

Detention in 1963

Jing Quee’s detention was part of Lee Kuan Yew’s p[lot to eliminate all those who dissented against his policies. The label that was fixed on them was that they were subversive and being members of the communist united front out to destroy Singapore! Was there any evidence to support this allegation? This was the same label that was pasted against more than 200 activists during Operation Coldstore of February 1963 when Lim Chin Siong and a host of others were detained. In February 1963 Singapore was still a crown colony whose members were Singapore, Malaya and Britain. Lee tried to distance himself from the Internal Security Council’s decision on the detentions but records show that he was actively involved in it.

The British have opened their archives after the passage of 30 years. None of the minutes, exchange of correspondence and documents show any proof of the existence of a communist united front or that Lim was a communist (see the very informative books, “Comet in our Sky” and “The 1963 Operation Coldstore in Singapore – Commemorating 50 Years. The detentions were to satisfy Lee’s lust for power.

Trip to London

Jing Quee came out of prison in 1966. He headed for London to read law and to escape the stifling atmosphere in Singapore. London in the mid-60s was a hothouse of political activities. One could read any book, attend any forum and meet any social activist from whichever part of the world he came.

Jing Quee was a voracious reader. His regular haunts were the bookshops and libraries. There were no computers or internet. He attended talks, seminars and workshops shoring up his intellectual arsenal.

Return to Singapore and Law Practice

Jing Quee returned to Singapore overland. He travelled through Europe and Asia with his wife to be, Rose. The trip was to satisfy this curiosity and discover new horizons. Jing Quee’s quest for knowledge knew no bounds. One can talk to him on any topic and he will haveto say something on it. He was a polymath.

Jing Quee joined J B Jeyaretnam’s practice for a while before setting up a partnership with Lim Chin Joo. Jing Quee and Chin Joo as the firm was styled, flourished. The firm expanded and made a mark for itself. Jing Quee handled the litigation work and enjoyed practice. He once told me how he succeeded in a case involving complex questions on company law against a lawyer who was a top notch in corporate law. But Jing Quee remained humble despite such successes and the accompanying monetary rewards. He was looking forward to retirement soon after he touched 60 so that he could spend more time with his first love – books and writing.
Jing Quee wrote extensively – essays, short stories, poems and books. These contain a wealth of information and edifying prose and poetry.

The 1977 Detention

In February 1977 Jing Quee was detained together with about 16 others accused once again of being subversive and promoting the cause of the communist unite front. I was the first in this group to be detained and anther label was fixed, that of being “Euro-communists”, a creature hitherto unknown. There was international outcry against these repressive actions but the PAP government paid no heed to them. After a few months, most of us were released after making the usual template “confessions” or “admissions”. Alas, truth was a major casualty in all the detentions including the arrests of 22 social workers, lawyers and professionals in the 1987 Operation Spectrum.

Jing Quee the Man of Letters

He was a man of letters in both senses of the word. He not only read widely. He also wrote extensively and edited books on history and politics. He gave expression to his ideals in poetry some of which were light-hearted but stimulating. His poem on his detention stirs the soul.

Jing Quee the Man

Jing Quee was an icon. He is an exemplar of what an intellectual should be – erudite, humble and a champion of the rights of every person. He evokes all those ideals that we yearn for and want to see realized. I shall forever cherish his contributions towards the cause of freedom.

Whining cyber warriors are born losers?

In CPF, Uncategorized on 02/08/2014 at 7:19 am

If you go to link below, and click around, you will find that S’pore’s ranking on happiness (70) is very close to that Laos (69) and Burma (67) despite being way ahead in development rankings. M’sia is also at 70. The Thais and Indons are happiest in Asean (80).

So in Asean, S’poreans are about the norm happiness wise. And on par with HK which is at around our lrvel of development.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2014/07/daily-chart-18

So juz as there is something wrong with netizens’ perceptions about material prosperity, they got happiness wrong too? TRE posters and other netizens must the exception to reasonably happy S’poreans? Born losers in happiness as in prosperity?

Any wonder then why govt commissioning a new study to find out what the people want, for retirement, and for health needs? Can’t rely on the noise from cyberspace for accurate feedback? Born losers here (self-included). S’pore Notes bitching on new govt study.

 

But then I’ve been called a PAP mole and worse by TRE ranters.

 

 

 

 

 

8.1 sq miles country doesn’t need FTs to win gold medals

In Uncategorized on 27/07/2014 at 4:25 am

Population: 10,000. Has won 28 medals (10 gold) in Commonwealth Games since first competing in 1990. No FTs. All locals.

It’s a remote island in the South Pacific which measures only 8.1 square miles in area (less than an eighth the size of Glasgow, which is about to host the 20th edition of the Games) and has been covered in bird droppings for thousands of years.

A largely barren dot in the ocean, its 10,000 or so inhabitants are among the fattest on the planet. Diabetes is a major public health problem there.

Yet Nauru, the world’s smallest republic, has been by far and away the most successful sporting nation in the Commonwealth since they started competing at the Auckland Games in 1990.

They have won 28 medals since then, including 10 golds. All have come in weightlifting.

In a population-adjusted league table produced by BBC Sport, Nauru – which lies more than 2,000 miles (3,200km) north-east of Brisbane and financially relies heavily upon the mining of the phosphates formed by those seabirds – has been 45 times more successful than second-placed Samoa – 1,700 miles (2,700km) away to the south-east.

http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/commonwealth-games/28015180

 

ICT: To export, we import

In Economy, Uncategorized on 26/07/2014 at 5:02 am

What the charts show us that we import ICT stuff (5th in the world), add value then export them (4th).

Trade of ICT goods

Pinoys go home; grass greener there/ No goons with guns abroad, unlike at home

In Uncategorized on 28/06/2014 at 4:34 am

The Philippines, it seems, is the emerging SE Asian economic power house.

The Philippines presents one of the most spectacular comeback stories in recent times. The country, which had been lagging far behind its regional peers, is now making its presence know among the world’s most vibrant economies, and is now spoken of as a ‘tiger cub’ and ‘Next Eleven economy.’

… a revival in domestic and international business confidence for a nation that once was second only to Japan in prosperity. Need proof? The Philippines recently hosted the World Economic Forum on East Asia, where corporate leaders, policymakers and the press from across the globe met to talk business.

The Philippine economy has witnessed a tremendous transition to growth over the last decade. It has managed stellar returns and amassed huge foreign exchange reserves while keeping inflation and interest rates under check. Despite Typhoon Haiyan (known as ‘Yolanda’ in the Philippines), which hammered the country in 2013, the Philippine economy grew by 7.2% last year, making it the fifth-largest in Southeast Asia. That compares to to a 4.7% average from 2008-2012. According to research by IHS Inc., the Philippines economy is projected to have a long-term economic growth of 4.5-5% (per year) from 2016 to 2030, reaching $1.2 trillion by 2030. 

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/markets/061714/asian-nation-poised-steady-growth.asp?utm_source=basics&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Basics-6/20/2014

So whty do the Pinoys keep on going abroad? Maybe they don’t believe the above? And prefer working overseas?

Or maybe working overseas is safer than at home?

Whatever BS they propagate out feeling unsafe in S’pore, S’pore’s a lot safer than home. No goons with guns here.

No goons with guns abroad, a gd reason not to go home or remain at home  now that economy is going to be the Asean powerhouse?

Back to investing

In fact, the Philippine market has been in an extended uptrend over the last four years, and has withstood global headwinds and weakening confidence in emerging markets. The market’s PSEi Index posted YTD returns of over 16% as of early June 2014, led by sectors such as business process outsourcing (BPO), cement and consumer products.

The availability of a skilled and educated work force that is proficient in English – along with low labor costs – make the Philippines a preferred BPO destination. The BPO sector is expected to grow rapidly and offer employment to approximately 110,000 additional workers over the next two-to-three years. Interestingly, there is no publicly listed company that derives the bulk of its revenue from the BPO business. Instead, investors can allocate to companies that merely benefit from BPO, such as real estate. Leading names in this category are Robinsons Land Corp. (RLC), SM Investments Corp. (SM), SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SMPH), Megaworld Corp. (MEG) and Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI).

Rising infrastructure investment, along with need to rebuild after last year’s typhoon and earthquakes (the nation sees frequent seismic and volcanic activity), means that cement companies could be a good play. Companies like Holcim Philippines, Inc. (HLCM) and Lafarge Republic, Inc. (LRI) stand to benefit.

And in a nation of roughly 100 million people, the consumer products sector should not be ignored. Companies to study include Universal Robina Corp. (URC), Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Inc. (PIP) and RFM Corp. (RFM). Similarly, energy producer First Gen Corp. (FGEN) should be considered.

Defining “S’poreaness”, Msian Cina can help

In Uncategorized on 27/06/2014 at 5:01 am

Last Sunday. a friend posted on Facebook,  At an Indian wedding, complete with lots of Tamil references [presumably in English as my friend doesn't speak Tamil] and dancing, where the couple and families are Christian, and they just did a yam seng. Wonderful stuff.

Uniquely S’porean, my FB avatar commented.

Coincidentally, on 20th June, I had gone to Gillman Barracks to view “No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia is the first touring exhibition of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, a multi-year collaboration that charts contemporary art practices in three major geographic regions: South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. Presenting recent works by artists from the region, No Country introduces audiences to some of the most challenging and inventive voices in South and Southeast Asia today.”

Two photographs by M’sian artist Vincent Leong had a lot of relevance to Siow Kum Hong’s comments on Facebook and S’poreans on-going rows on what is it to be S’porean, a country where a govt-linked organisation intervened to help FTs prevent locals from cooking curry: worse it was proud of the fact, until S’poreans objected.http://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/the-curry-thickens/

When the guide  (very gd BTW in bringing to live the exhibition . Sorry, I was amiss in not asking her name, though I did thank her for a job well done) asked me what I tot of the photos, I said I found the photos weird. They were familiar yet strange. One was of an Indian family and the other of a large group of people of different races. Both were done in the style of imperial British photos but were of ordinary people*.

She explained that the large group were all members of an extended ethnic Chinese family, even if some didn’t look particulat Chinese ones. In both photos, she pointed out (silly me not to have noticed) that the ethnic Indian and Chinese families were wearing Malay dress: more formal in the Indian portrait, very casual in the other.

The artist it seems was trying to explore what it was to be a M’sian, a country where hardline elements, and the ruling elite of the majority ethnic community claim to be arbiters of who is a real M’sian.

This exploration has relevance here where the immigrant polices of the govt could lead to a revisiting of a situation that one LKY once called for action to remedy.

In 1959, LKY reported that only 270,00 out of the 600,000 voters were born here, adding ,”we must go about our task (of building up a nation) with urgency … of integrating our people now and quickly”.http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/when-55-of-voters-were-fts/

And now after having built a core citizenry, the same PAP govt is returning us to the past? Nation-building was an “honest mistake? Or Mao’s doctrine of “perpetual revolution” in action? Or muddled thinking of third-rate minds?

—-

*The guide later explained that the photos were modeled on a colonial era photo of Malay royalty. And that the recent photos were made to look and feel old. She showed us a copy of the original photo of the Malay royals. A constructive suggestion: while her paper visual aids were effective, maybe if there is the budget, the guides should be provided with tablets (large screes pls) as this is contemporary art. Unless of course, the use of paper in plastic folders is meant to jar. LOL

 

 

 

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.

 

Educating children: Not juz teachers, schools & edn ministry

In Uncategorized on 19/06/2014 at 4:43 am

A UK newspaper interviewed The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted)chief Sir Michael Wilshaw who suggested “bad parents” should be fined if they didn’t attend parents evenings, did not read to their children and allowed homework to go undone.

These ideas fit into the PAP way of doing things. I’m surprised they havn’t been introduced or tried out here.

But maybe the PAP (remember that the acceptable face of the PAP, Tharman, was once education minister) realised the downside is that measures like these will penalise and marginalise further the kids of poorer S’poreans.

The paper says Sir Michael’s comments will “provoke anger from poverty campaigners who say that poor families are least able to pay the fines and that their children will suffer”.

However, Sir Michael says “deprivation was used as an excuse for low achievement” and teachers should tell parents “if they weren’t doing a good job”. (BBC Online)

Where a 55 hr working week is the norm

In Uncategorized on 17/06/2014 at 4:55 am

It’s the school hols and on TRE recently, I came across a SDP piece complaining about our education system. As usual with such pieces, it puts all the blame on the PAP govt, as though parents’ expectations are divorced from govt education policy.

There are two things that are not widely talked about about the education system both by the govt and its critics

One is class size. I was shocked, last yr, to find out that in govt schools, secondary and primary, the average class size is 40, the same when I went to school in the 60s and 70s. In independent schools, the class size is about 25. So how can education help help level up the poor, PM? Oh I juz read on FB that there are now primary schools with 30 students in Pr 1.

Neighbourhood schools should have more teachers. But then that goes against the Hard Truth of meritocracy: yr merit in exams entitles the student to smaller class sizes (and better teachers). Meritocracy has its privileges..

And the hours teachers “work” are longer than the hrs S’poreans normally work even taking into account the school hols. . Recently I read this on the BBC: For secondary head teachers, it stretches to an average of 63.3 hours per week – the longest of any of the teaching jobs. Primary classroom teachers worked longer hours – 59.3 hours – than their secondary school counterparts, who worked for 55.7 hours per week. The hours in a secondary academy were slightly less, at 55.2 hours.

I sent the link to a friend whose wife teaches in a neighbourhood primary school. He wrote:”59.3 hrs/week actually seems low, since she’s in school 7am-6pm and then also does work on weekends [during] term-time — it’s much more relaxed during holidays (only 2 weeks guaranteed off in June and ~3 weeks in December).

So she works 55 hrs a week (Mon to Fri) albeit with 30 days holidays. But this still works out to over 50 hrs a week after taking into account the 30 days off and the time when they don’t teach but have to go to work during the school hols.

Taz almost like the hours research analysts worked when I was in broking. They were well paid but one analyst complained that it was “blood” money, given the hours. And teachers don’t get paid as much.

And teaching isn’t exactly an enjoyable job: the author of The Lord of the Rings (a personal fav) wrote: “All teaching is exhausting, and depressing and one is seldom comforted by knowing when one has had some effect. I wish I could now tell some of mine (of long ago) how I remember them and things they said, though I was (only, as it appeared) looking out of the window or giggling at my neighbour”.http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/12/jrr-tolkien-teaching-exhausting-depressing-unseen-letter-lord-rings)

I’m sure if our teachers were FTs, Constance Singham, Kirsten Han, William Wan and other FT lovers would be protesting at the long, hard, inhuman hours FT teachers work. but as our teachers are in the main true-blue S’poreans, these FT lovers remain silent.

Coming back to the SDP article, there were the usual anti-PAP rants, but a TRE reader responded as follows

Proven Perfection:
June 2, 2014 at 1:00 am (Quote)
Which model do we wish to copy when the whole world is descending here to learn of our education system?
We tops the world education ranking yr after yr
From maths to science.
From pr to university.
The high number of foreign students here speak volume.
Even our mediocre students who fail to gain entry into our local unis studying abroad come up tops there.
Our Maths textbooks are sought after in many developed countries!
Nothing venture nothing gain.
In any competitive system there is bound to be some attrition.
Check out the Far East.
From S Korea to China to Japan.
Its worse!
The suicide rate is simply atrocious.
No choice in a truly meritocratic system meant for selecting the best & allowing people’s highest potential to surface.
Remember Spore is where it us today because of our human resource NOT mineral resource.
Tempering with it like our neighbour will spell doom.
The flaw in any subjective exam or project work is its reliability & accuracy or credibility.
We arent dealing with 1 candidate and a Sherlock Holmes assigned. It could be plagiarized work.
The tutors’. The teachers’ (because of ranking) The parents’ or siblings’. Copied.
Strict or lenient assessment or appraisal however beautiful the rubrics.
The solution. Stick to the pen & paper as its dominant plus a variety of other subjective assessments.
Our 1st world status is a product of pen & paper leaders like LKY, LHL, etc. Double First at Cambridge.
Dont take risk and reinvent radically when the system pays.
Look at how rotten the whole world is today and youll be thankful for our educational system.

No amount of criticism (reasonable and unreasonable) can disguise the fact that we got a great system: for a significant minority of students. The issue is catering for the others, and or their pushy parents.

Even FTs are trying out our system. Here’s a link to a story about FTs sending their kids to local schools: http://features.insing.com/feature/foreign-students-take-on-too-tough-singapore-education-system/id-a43d3101/?utm_source=OB&utm_medium=content_stories&utm_campaign=features-rss

To end, if anti-PAP cyber warriors want to help the Oppo persuade the 35% of S’poreans that can be persuaded not to blindly support the PAP, they should never demonise anyone who is not blindly and unquestionably anti-PAP. They must remember that the core anti-PAP is around 30%, of which 5% are lunatics (they voted for Tan Kin Lian in PE 2011).

 

 

 

 

“Freak election” training manual for SAF’s paper generals? And us 40% S’poreans too?

In Humour, Political governance, Uncategorized on 15/06/2014 at 5:58 am

Remember the Hard Truth that the SAF could intervene if there is a “freak” election result?

Could what is happening in Thailand tell us what will happen here when in the near future when the PAP (even with the help of its near clones, the People in Blue) is unable to command a parly majority? And the SAF intervenes?

The paper generals could do worse than to follow the Thai generals and give us, for starters, free World cup footie? http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27790396 And if its not a WC yr, then free EPL*?

Thailand’s ruling junta has ordered TV regulators to ensure that football fans will not have to pay to watch any matches at the World Cup.

This will be part of  what The military said it was part of its “happiness campaign”, which has seen a number of policy gimmicks, such as free haircuts and concerts. In S’pore, S’poreans would appreciate free hawker food and no PUB bills.

As the Economist reports:

One of their priorities is a push for Gross National Happiness. The day after the coup General Prayuth told diplomats that economic revival was a big priority. Returning happiness to the people is to be counted a separate issue, apparently. A week later, and state agencies have been reported to be working on a Happiness Index. The Nation, a pro-establishment newspaper that has come to read like a Thai variation on one of Vietnam’s Party-controlled papers, reported that under the generals all of the existing economic plans have been amended—in order to boost gross national happiness. Perhaps this is all an allusion to the happiness-minded people of Bhutan, also Buddhists who adore their king? Then try picturing Bhutanese marching through Bangkok in jackboots.

On June 5th the junta organised its first “Return Happiness to the Public” event. Staged at Victory Monument, which had recently been the site of small-scale protests against the coup, it featured dancers in camouflage outfits; a spicy routine by the orchestra of the Royal Thai Army; plus free food, and haircuts. A few hundred or so fans of the army showed up, and its Thai Psychological Operation team says it was pleased with the attendance.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2014/06/thailands-military-coup

Related article: http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2014/06/watching-thailand-s-coup-myanmar

The generals could learn about interrupting tv programmes: Since the coup on 22 May, TV programmes have frequently been interrupted by the army listing names of people they’re summoning for questioning. Though not of course footie games.

And making, All those detained … sign an agreement which states they will not criticise the military government.

And for us S’poreans who did not PAP in GE 2011, we can do what the Thais who are unhappy about are doing

– eat sandwiches (State-run newspapers have warned people against eating sandwiches, and a senior police chief said they’re keeping a close eye on the sandwich-eaters. Eating sandwiches is not illegal per se, he said, but if sandwich-eating is being used as a front – when the real intention is to criticise the coup – then that would be.);

– give the three-finger salute

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-27833824

On a serious note, what the Thai coup is all about: Royalists not happy at who is the heir to the thrown http://m.afr.com/p/world/thailand_secret_story_the_battle_QcvSA6u4clBHmLTFPLFQNJ

What is not reported in the story, is that Thaksin and the crown prince are buddies.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2014/05/future-thailands-elite

*After all PAP PA is showing WC and EPL matches http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/paps-new-secret-weapons/

But this TRE poster is unhappy, he can’t bring his own food and drink:

there is a rule which says:

No outside food and drinks are allowed. Tidbits and drinks (hot/cold) are sold in the football loft.

The reader said, “I am very angry at how the PA is exploiting Singaporeans, even politicizing sports and profiteering from the World Cup!”

He said that he can understand if the place is a food court or restaurant whose primary interest is to make money and it demands that no outside food and drinks are allowed. But he cannot understand why PA disallows residents to bring their own tidbits and drinks.

“I am not allowed to bring outside food and drinks but can only buy the more expensive food and drinks directly from PA???” the reader said. “Why can’t I bring my own water from home?”

“Why this kind of small money PA also wants to make? What about the millions of dollars of budget allocated to PA every year? Not enough?” the reader wondered.

The reader was also angry that priority is not given to Singaporeans to watch the free screenings.

“It does not state if priority will be given to Singaporeans. In previous PA events in which I have attended, such as the monthly walk-a-jog sessions, a certain group of nationality will jump at every chance to hog free drinking water or other goodies after the walk-jog,” he added.

The reader then took issue with the limited seating capacity as the venue could only cater to 150 viewers.

“Is this a joke? In GE 2011, there were 27,701 voters in Hong Kah North SMC and today only 150 out of 27,701 voters can watch the matches for free???” the reader asked.

“That’s not even 1% of the residents!” he exclaimed.

He remarked sarcastically, “The PA must not underestimate that only 150 out of 27,000+ voters will go to the CC – this is not a PAP GE rally!”

“Will the PA please stop treating citizens as sheep?” he asked.

The reader concluded by saying he will not bother to write to the PA, REACH or his MP, Dr Amy Khor.

“Because I am afraid Dr Amy Khor would repeat what she has already said in parliament that ‘Singaporeans first’ policy is not good for the economy!” he said.

Gosh, he think S’pore’s his grandfather’s place is it? And he xenophobe to boot?

 

S’pore is Asean equities mkt of choice

In Indonesia, Uncategorized on 14/06/2014 at 4:37 am

Singapore equities are Morgan Stanley’s Asean choice compared with those of Thailand and Indonesia, because of their attractive valuations and defensive nature.

“In a rising rate environment, we believe Singapore could be a relatively safe haven (despite its higher earnings volatility), excluding its relatively vulnerable property sector,” a report by Morgan Stanley Research said yesterday.

In a huge plug for the PAP govt (eat yr hearts out TKL, KenJ, TRE readers), S’pore’s relatively low political and policy risk and its healthy banking system, and well managed cash-generating firms are what makes S’pore its top pick in Asean..

This contrasts to the continued political uncertainty in Thailand and the fact that positive developments on the Indonesian macroeconomic front appear to have already been priced in by equity investors. Morgan Stanley report was neutral on Indonesia, and Thailand was the analysts’ least-preferred market.

PAP’s new secret weapons?

In Footie, Political governance, Uncategorized on 12/06/2014 at 4:47 am

With the World cup starting today (tomorrow morning our time), one thing I know, is that, our elite anti-PAP cyber-warriors are not footie fans. That can be the only explanation why they have not be sounding the alarm on how the PAP PA is trying to attract younger, non-elite S’poreans by screening footie games.  The PAP, unlike these cyber-warriors realise that football is the new opiate of the masses

A few weeks ago it was reported that the People’s Association (PA) publicised which Community Centres will be hosting screenings of first-round World Cup games. CNA reported, According to a table released by the PA on its website on Monday (May 26), all 30 Centres participating in the live screenings will televise the first match involving host Brazil and Croatia on June 13.

More recently there was an announcement that the total number of CCs screening the matches ‘live’ would be increased to 40 and that more matches will be shown.

40 Community Clubs (CC) islandwide will be showing World Cup matches live and for free as well. Buona Vista CC for instance, will screen the matches in its multi-purpose hall, which has a seating capacity of 300. There will also be fringe activities such as football-related contests. In a statement earlier this month, the People’s Association said it hopes the sessions will inspire community bonding. It also hopes to ignite passion for football. (CNA on Tuesaday) Err what about helping PAP connect with younger S’poreans?

This move to screen World Cup matches followed a screening of second tier EPL matches http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/epl-vote-buying/. And we know who has the rights to EPL and WS here, don’t we?

All in the cause of next GE?

And there’s more. There will be a PAP PA 2.0: The Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC), previously announced last year at the National Day Rally, held a short brief for potential volunteers* …

The PA is increasingly showing its age. Example: In 2012 the defeated PAP MPs for Aljunied GRC Mrs Lim Hwee Hua and Mdm Cynthia Phua stepped down as grassroots advisers to Aljunied ”grassroots organisations” to be replaced by  71- year old Professor Brian Lee  and 62 year old Mrs Daisie Yip both much older than the two defeated PAP MPs. I said, Oh dear, are things so bad at the grassroots in Aljunied that the People’s Association can only find two extremely old chickens (too old for the slaughter-house) to replace the defeated PAP MPs who were no spring chickens themselves? http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/pap-in-aljunied-grc-no-room-for-young-blood/

This is a far cry from the days when PA “organisers and activists”, as LKY called them, were trained in PAP ideology and in how govt ministries worked, and sent to community centres to organise recreational, cultural and social events. The idea was for them to become via the organising of these activities, the “natural” community leaders.

The YVC seems to be a return to the PA of the 1950s and 60s: Young Singaporean and PR volunteers (aged between 15-35) in the Youth Volunteer Corps attend a short residential camp and volunteer for semesters of service (from 3 – 6 months) for either local or overseas community projects. The programme, built from existing NYC programmes such as the Youth Expedition Project (YEP) will entail volunteers working in ‘diverse’ teams to create community service solutions to serve critical, broad community needs:  education, health, special needs, arts, sports and heritage, and environment. Volunteers will be matched to interests they wish to pursue, and they will be provided with resources from partnering NGOs and government, particularly the $100 million National Youth Fund which the YVC will tap into.

(http://wisemental-king.sg/post/80881286433/youth-volunteer-corps-a-powerhouse: wisemental king comes across as a wannabe YVC leader, juz read his posts)

Hitler had his V1 (today’s cruise missiles) and V2 (today’s ICBMs) secret weapons . Are televised footie and the Hitler LKY Youth Volunteer Corps the PAP’s secret weapons for winning back Aljunied and Punggol East in the next GE*.  In addition, of course, to one PritamS. BTW, I’m glad that the WP has cottoned on to the danger of PritamS. As recommended here: If WP is smart, they should lock PritamS in a padded cell, and when the next GE is called, announce that he will not be standing again. He is a liability in a party with men of substance and quiet achievement like Low, Show Mao and JJ.

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/low-shows-the-usefulness-of-non-action/

One gd thing about PritamS is that he plays footie, but sadly with a PAP MP team.

——–

*Or at least in shoring up the popular vote so that it doesn’t fall further or result in a loss of another GRC?

 

 

 

 

 

How “warm” are Ozzies to us?/ Pinoy Talent and Trash

In Uncategorized on 07/06/2014 at 4:30 am

They are “warmer” to China and Japan, both much bigger trading partners and investors.

China narrowly eclipses Japan … with 31% of the votes, versus 28% for Japan (Singapore is third, with 12%). China also enjoyed a jump of six percentage points, to 60%, with Australians expressing “warm feelings” towards the country, despite its recent “assertiveness” in the region. (Economist)

———-

A US tech entrepreneur based in the Philippines says of Pinoy IT talent, “The good ones have left for Singapore or Hong Kong. It makes it hard for tech entrepreneurs to operate here,” he says.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27379715

So that Pinoy IT Trash working here is actually a Talent back home.

 

One ranking PAP govt and media will never publicise

In Uncategorized on 25/05/2014 at 4:42 am

One ranking PAP govt will not be proud of: see where we stand in diabetes ranjing 11in world. But S’poreans have to take responsibility for diabetes, can’t rely on govt. Govt has never explained why basic diabetes medication can be bot in JB at close to polyclinic charges. Subsidy? What subsidy? It’s a subsidy only to what the private sector charges.

Graphic truncated for those above us. For full pix http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2014/04/daily-chart-15

Send a strong, polite, non-threatening message to the Pinoy party organisers

In Uncategorized on 23/05/2014 at 4:51 am

while helping Team@TRE (the reincarnation of the PAP old guard?) help S’poreans

I recently blogged that the Pinoy organisers had applied for a permit to party at Orchard Party, following the advice of one Goh Meng Seng.  He had called the party a “trespass” on our sovereignty.

Gilbert Goh had said our sovereignty is being threatened and had called for a silent protest if the Pinoy party went ahead.

Here’s my constructive, nation-building suggestion on how those who don’t want the Pinoys to party at Orchard Rd can send a strong, non-violent, non-threatening, polite message to the Pinoy community*, our govt, and other FT lovers, before said party to show their anger.

They should donate money to TRE to fund its plan to increase its servers.

TRE recently asked for more donations* after the latest attack on its website. I’ll let it explain:

Our provider has also suggested that we revert to our original 4 servers setup which is more robust with different servers handling different aspects of the website.
After carefully weighing the options, we have decided to adopt the recommendations and proceed with the implementation of advanced filtering capabilities and deployment of an additional server. Considering that the next general election may be called in the next 12 months or so, it is vital for TRE to be prepared for the worst and to remain online when it is much needed.
The new server setup and add-on advanced filtering capabilities will add an approximately US$1000 per month or US$12,000 a year to our existing operating expenses, which is beyond our budget.
Although the Team@TRE is prepared to fork out and share the additional expenses to the best of our abilities, we would greatly appreciate it if willing and able readers are able to help us defray part of the cost by making a donation.
We are hoping that our kind readers will help us cover at least 50% of the cost if possible, as US$12,000 a year is a huge amount for the team considering most of us are retired.

(Emphasis mine)

Donate $, so that Team@TRE doesn’t have to come out with their own money to serve S’poreans, OK a section of S’poreans. They are serving their readers, and paying for the service.To Team@TRE, being the people’s servant is no motherhood statement.

So Gilbert Goh, or  Goh Meng Seng (or both), start a petition asking people to donate to TRE to show their anger at the Pinoy organisers for organising a party in downtown Orchard Rd.

Coming back to being the people’s servant, can you imagine PM and his ministers working for free, and donating their savings to help S’poreans? They tell us (think Ng, Grace Fu) that taking big discount to what they say is their market worth is already a big sacrifice.

Team@TRE resembles the PAP old guard more than the present cabinet does? When LKY became PM, he cut his pay by half to $4,000**, and also cut his ministers’ and civil servants’ pay too. Devan Nair had said of the old guard:

It is important to appreciate, however, that Lee Kuan Yew and Co. belong to a freak generation. In fact, as individuals, they were quite unrepresentative of the great majority of their social class, the members of which were brought up and educated in the colonial era, and whose major preoccupation was to fend for themselves and feather their own nests … But because the present generation of leaders exceeded their class characteristics and loyalties, and developed a creative vision of a better society, they were able to establish themselves as the modern leaders of Singapore. In more senses than one, this freak generation are the creators of the vibrant and bustling Republic we know today.

(http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/in-1973-devan-nair-foresaw-todays-income-inequality/)

*Doubtless there will be Pinoys who will claim that they feel threatened by these donations. Other examples of Pinoys feeling “threatened”. Funny how easily Pinoys feel threatened when S’poreans, unlike Pinoys at home, don’t carry or use guns. (http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/tightening-ft-immigration-helps-sporeans-pmes/)

**Remember that David Marshall as chief minister was paid $8,000 a month (he said so himself). (http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/what-grace-fu-cant-afford/)

 

PRC workers: Hard working but willing to strike and riot

In Uncategorized on 18/05/2014 at 4:59 am

This is Ibaraki, the garden of Japan. The deep alluvial soils can produce up to five vegetable crops a year if properly looked after … a line of young men are bent double, a knife in one hand a basket in the other. They are rapidly cutting the tall, green spinach and placing each bunch carefully in a basket. The only Japanese man working here is Yoshinori Kitajima, the farm’s owner. All of the others are Chinese.

For the last 10 years Mr Kitajima has been hiring Chinese “trainees” to work on his farm. He admits his business would not survive without them. Young Japanese simply would not do this sort of work anymore.

Working side by side with the young men from poor villages in central China has given Mr Kitajima a new regard for his Chinese neighbours.

“When I work with these trainees, I can feel they are pure and genuine,” he said.

“They remind me of Japanese people from a previous generation. They still have the spirit of working together. This is something we in Japan have lost.”

He calls them trainees because officially they are here to study and can only stay three years. But across the country, there are now at least 100,000 Chinese “students” working on Japan’s farms and in Japanese factories.

(Apologies no attribution for this. Forgot to record at time of cutting and pasting, many moons ago: sorry leh, lazy to google. Suspect was Economist)

Well one LKY would agree with him.

They should remember that PRC workers while no slouchers are quite happy to riot (overturn police cars, damage private property) and strike. They are not docile sheep, unlike Japa and S’poreans.

BTW, these trainees remind me of the use of Pinoys, PRCs etc in our super markets once upon a time: on training in S’pore meh. Now no need such excuse. when these practice returns, I’m willing to believe govt that it ‘s tightening FT inflow

 

Why global education league rankings are meaningless

In Hong Kong, Uncategorized on 11/05/2014 at 4:27 am

South Korea is rated number one according to this ranking* by Pearson and the EIU. And other education league tables also rank it highly.

But we know that over 200 Southern Korean students obeyed orders, and drowned as a result.They behaved like sheep rather than intelligent human beings.They were not sceptical enough. Is this what education all about? Behaving like sheep?

BTW, we are third and I’m sure our students would have obeyed orders too, like the Japs (second), and drowned. (Can’t be sure about the Hongkies 4th.  (http://www.bbc.com/news/business-27314075). I suspect the Hongkie kids would have disobeyed orders, HK’s that kind of place, Hongkies not afraid to protest. Power to them)

If behaving like sheep is the result of the best education system in the world, I’d rather be an American kid ( USranked 14th)

– it’s an American teenager from Hicksville USA (actually Mississippi) who started a campaign that made Coke and Pepsi drop an ingredient in their sports drinks. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27300185

– And remember this 5-yr-0ld American boy who is a Microsoft recognised security researcher for spotting an Xbox flaw? http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/v-v-good-at-solving-paper-problems-so-what-more-peanuts/

When the PAP govt and its trumpeters and drummers in our constructive, nation-building media laud our education system citing these int’l league tables, remember the Korean kids who drowned. My test would be, “Which countries’ kids are least likely to have drowned?”

—-

*These rankings are based upon an amalgamation of international tests and education data – including the OECD’s Pisa tests, and two major US-based studies, Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (Timss) and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (Pirls).

They also include higher-education graduation rates, which helped the UK to a much higher position than in Pisa tests,

More equal than other S’poreans?

In Political governance, Public Administration, Uncategorized on 30/04/2014 at 6:03 am

I’m thinking of Ronald McDonald (a FT turned true blue S’porean who if he had a son with dual citizenship would surely insist that his son dows NS, unlike Yaacob who tells us only that he hopes his son will do NS) and again my beef (rendang flavoured) is with the way the S’poreans who don’t dream the “right” dreams” or think the “right” tots are being ghettoised and discriminated against by the PAP govt.

Let me explain.

I avoided going anyway near a McDonald’s store on Monday because it was the start of the latest “Hello Kitty” promotion. I had memories of what happened in 2000:

Fist fights broke out while frustrated patrons threatened store managers, damaged restaurant property and compelled the fast-food outlets to hire private security firms to police crowds. At one outlet, at least seven people were injured after a glass door they were leaning on shattered.

Singapore, which keeps tight curbs on public speech and famously bans most sales of chewing gum to keep its streets clean, was caught by surprise. While public demand was heated for similar promotions in Hong Kong and Taiwan, few expected law-abiding Singaporeans to turn so catty—or for the issue to claw its way to the top ranks of power.

“We should not get too carried away,” said then-Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who later became prime minister. “Even if you want the Kitty, there is no need to fight fiercely to try and get one,” he told local media at a public event.

In Parliament, a lawmaker asked the environment minister if he planned to stop McDonald’s from selling Hello Kitty dolls. “It’s not under my purview,” the minister replied.

And only last yr

… things got heated again when McDonald’s rolled out a so-called “Fairy Tales” Hello Kitty set, featuring six versions designed after popular folklore. The last one—a black kitten sporting a skeletal motif—sparked mayhem as security personnel were called in to deal with heated squabbles caused by widespread line-jumping. McDonald’s wrote a letter to a local newspaper apologizing for the chaos and promised to do better next time.

(http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303834304579523793654859518?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303834304579523793654859518.html)

Finally, an online sale, I tot, was a warning of the public order problems that would ensure on Monday.

To improve buyers’ experience and curb black-market sales, the company also is offering online sales for a collector’s set featuring all six toys, Ms. Low said.

But the online sales drive was overwhelmed by the weight of orders, forcing the fast-food chain to temporarily suspend sales after less than two hours.

Hundreds of disgruntled Kitty-lovers hurled abuse on McDonald’s Facebook page, accusing the fast-food chain of sloppy customer service.

So you’d have tot that the police would conclude, “Three strikes and you’re out, Ronald.”; the police having the power to prevent such a commercial event from being held if they had concerns about “public disorder and mischief”, that “may disrupt community life”.

But, Pledging to prevent a repeat of ugly scenes that plagued past promotions, McDonald’s says it has engaged private-security firms to provide crowd control and prepared line-management plans for its staff. It is also boosting its toy supplies by roughly 50% .compared with last year.

In the event, the police were right in their judgment in allowing the promotion to go ahead, nothing untoward happened on Monday and Tuesday.

But my point is that given the track record of problems in 2000 and 2013, and the very recent online bad-tempered, why did our police not insist that McDonald cancel the event?

Yet some S’poreans are routinely not allowed to hold events in public spaces (other than in Hong Lim) because of concerns of public order. Even the light-blue clones of the MIW were not allowed to hold an event in a park in 2007 because of concerns of public order.

When WP chairman and NCMP Sylvia Lim raised a question over the issue in Parliament, she (and we) was told that such activities “have the potential for public disorder and mischief, and may disrupt community life.”*

Yet the police, it seems, had no such concerns with the MacDonald’s promotion, despite MacDonald’s track record of being the cause of public “disorder and mischief”, that disrupted “community life” in 20000 and 2013.

My point is that shouldn’t these S’poreans (who are not PA or NTUC activists) be given the opportunity as the Filipinos and McDonald of proving the police wrong. After all many of these S’poreans who dream different dreams or think different tots have served NS, defending the country.

Shouldn’t they be given the opportunity to show that they can behave in the right way in public like the Filipinos? http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/fts-more-equal-than-the-wrong-sporeans-why-liddat-pm/

And why is Ronald McDonald given the benefit of the doubt despite his track record of causing problems (albeit unintentionally and indirectly) in 2000 and 2013?

And yet the “wrong” S’poreans are presumed to be dangerous to public order? Doesn’t their honourable discharge from full-time NS mean that they deserve to be treated like Filipinos and Ronald, and be given the presumption of good behaviour?

One could reasonably argue (I’m not) that such an attitude to NS men sucks, and is most insulting from a govt that says it values those who do NS. Just recently, the media reported that Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said a package of “meaningful” benefits is being considered for operationally ready NSmen. “We want to centre the recognition benefits by giving them a greater stake in Singapore, whether it is housing, health or education,”…

The various contradictions and inconsistencies  that have mutated from the Hard Truths on which the PAP has governed S’pore since 1959 are coming to haunt the PAP; contractions and inconsistencies which have especially multiplied since the “FTs are betterest” policies were introduced to repress the wages of local PMETs. Appropriately, the ghosts are appearing juz as the PAP govt is planning to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our enforced independence, as a prelude to its next GE campaign.

——–

*”Police requirement is that such party activities be held indoors or within stadiums, so that any law and order problems will be contained. This policy applies to all political parties,” Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs Ho Peng Kee.

 

How many of them were males & did NS?

In Uncategorized on 27/04/2014 at 4:29 am

From 1987 to 2012, some 3,400 minors a year on average were granted Singapore citizenship while also holding foreign citizenship, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean said. He was responding to a question in Parliament by Non-Constituency MP Lina Chiam. (CNA a few months ago, January 2014 to be precise)

Could Mrs Chiam or any NMP ask how many of them were males and did NS, like Chen Show Mao?

Grandfathers’ place, is it? PIDCS, Finest Filipino Talents at work?

In Uncategorized on 25/04/2014 at 4:30 am

These tots (and more) crossed my mind when I read that the SPF (Sarong Party  Singapore Police Force) had issued a statement on its Facebook page [Link] today (22 Apr) saying that as at 10am, no permit application has been received for the 116th Philippine Independence Celebration on 8 Jun 2014 at Ngee Ann City.

“Neither have the event organisers shared any plans related to the event with the authorities,”

I called a Filipino community adviser (a true blue S’porean who married a Filipino, so he kanna do NS by his wife) and asked him how come the Filipino organisers dare publicise the venue of the 8th June event even before they had applied for a police permit? Think they own S’pore and the police is it? .Juz because Lucky Plaza is Filipino Plaza? (FYI, Lucky Plaza is across the street from the proposed venue, and so is a natural, rational  choice for any Filipino do.)

He said the organisers are Filipinos, not S’poreans. S’poreans know how to organise, and do things the right way; Filipinos only know how to party. Taz why S’pore so rich and the Philippines so poor. I said if this is Foreign Talent organisers  at work, waz the Trash like at work? He tot my comment unfair and harsh because every yr there is a new organising committee.

Not like S’pore where there is old blood mentoring the new blood: like LKY mentoring GCT and LHL and GCT mentoring LHL, even though LHL had apprenticed under both for a long time,as did GCT under LKY.

And the organisers are volunteers, who have full time jobs, not civil servants whose job is to organise events.

(BTW, this is how bad the Philippines govt can be in handling a hostage crisis http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27114551)

I then asked him, if the Filipinos had raised the money to pay for the stage and venue? Last time, we met he said that these would cost $55,000.

He said, think any GLC or TLC dare sponsor? Our telcos (esp SingTel) are usually big sponsors of Pinoy events because of the traffic the Filipinos generate: they love to talk, not work.

Again, if this is Foreign Talent organisers  at work, waz the Trash like at work? S’poreans would have raised the money before publicising the event. And after getting a permit.

Now my real beef with the organisers: Are the organisers right to be fearful they are of the threats against them? And to KBKW about these threats?

I say “No” because the

–  draconian laws on murder and the use of firearms (Maruah take note) and the way the SPF and judiciary work means there are almost no murders or serious violent crimes here (unlike in the Philippines); and

– nutters (my view of them) threatening the organisers don’t go round shooting, killing, beating or even publicly abusing Filipinos in public (they are typical S’porean sheep, in that sense, albeit mad sheep, bleating BS anonymously. So let’s not get carried away with the threat they pose to public safety, and FTs in particular. I’m thinking of BG MoM and Kisten Han. We should, like PM, condemn them, but not profile them as a genuine threat to people and law and order.

At a lunch last Thursday with the above Filipino community adviser, he had to concede my point that S’poreans don’t go round with guns shooting people unlike what the Filipinos (“goons with guns”) do in the Philippines. I told him to tell the organisers not to BS the threats to get public sympathy because fair-minded S’poreans (not FT lovers and FT tua kees like BG Tan and Kisten Han), will not believe them. Am I right on this?

And if the organisers are genuinely are afraid? Are they rational, given how safe S’pore is. I was once at a McDonald’s with an activist who is always criticising the govt. He left his bag (with top end lap top inside) at a table out of sight from the counter where we were lining up. I said bag might be stolen. He said, “S’pore, not US”.

Again, if the organisers are Foreign Talents  at work, waz the Trash like?

As to why the adviser didn’t advise the Filipinos on the right way of doing things here? He typical S’porean. If he is asked for advice, he will respond. Otherwise, like a typical S’porean he minds his own biz.. He not like Filipinos who are always free with their advice.

 

Less privileged S’poreans feel like these Easter Islanders

In Uncategorized on 24/04/2014 at 4:55 am

As Easter Island’s tourist industry has taken off, Chileans have moved from the mainland to live here, opening hotels, bars and restaurants.

They now outnumber the Rapa Nui – the original Easter Islanders of Polynesian descent.

That has created tensions. Mr Pakarati describes the islanders as “victims of indiscriminate immigration” from Chile which, culturally, has little in common with the island.

“There isn’t enough space for everyone, enough drinking water, enough fuel,” he says. “This is about sustainability and quality of life.”

Like other Rapa Nui, Mr Pakarati says the number of immigrant residents should be restricted and the locals should have more say in how the island is run.

“Our conflict is not with the Chileans, it’s with the inefficient Chilean state,” he says. “The Rapa Nui are one big tribe, and our territory should belong to us.”

(http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-26951566)

The above, I think, encapsulates the feelings of many PMETs who work with FT PMETS, co-operating and at the same time competing against them. In S’pore, it’s not about enough drinking water, enough fuel; but it’s about wage repression*, cost and asset inflation, crowded public tpt : “This is about sustainability and quality of life.” And that FTs are treated better by the govt and the privileged

This, General MoM and Kirsten Han, you may like to know is why there are S’poreans who are not happy that FTs are allowed in by the container-load. Nothing to do with bigotry or xenophobia. It’s all to do that they, unlike you two, find life hard for themselves and their families in an environment where the presence of FTs keeps real wages from rising, while adding to cost and asset inflation, and crowded public tpt.

Pls don’t call these S’poreans names. Be like PM, he rightly condemned a certain group of S’poreans that deserved being labelled and tarred and thrown into jail. But unlike you, he, an even more privileged S’porean than you, (and ST) didn’t tar everyone who doesn’t the FT policies of his govt http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/unacceptable-apalling-daft-behaviour/, bigots and xenophobes.

Don’t prize FTs until like that. They like S’poreans are human beings, not tua kees to be worshiped.

I’m sure you will deny such labeling of locals, but go reflect on yr choice of words. And be more precise in future.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

Remember that

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
Four-score Men and Four-score more,

Could not make Humpty Dumpty where he was before.

Privilege has its limitations.

*

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/pm-this-cant-be-right-5-9-gdp-but-0-4-wage-increase/

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/beer-real-wages-next-ge/

 

 

TRE carries gd, original socio-economic analysis

In Uncategorized on 22/04/2014 at 5:27 am

TRE juz doesn’t do republishing anti-PAP bloggers like Tan Kin Lian and carrying int’l media coverage of S’pore.

I recently congratulated Richard Wan (he paid for canteen lunch) that TRE is attracting some writers who don’t blog, and who produce some pretty decent socio-economic stuff. Here are two recent examples

http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/04/20/cat-out-of-the-foreigner-created-job-bag/

http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/04/21/did-pinoy-universities-suddenly-excel-in-last-15-years/

http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/04/19/where-hdb-has-gone-wrong/

Meanwhile TOC seems stuck in a rut. I’ll blog on it one of these days and yes I got a beef against TOC. It bitches about PM censoring on his Facebook. Readers might like to know that TOC prevents me my Facebook avatar from commenting on its Facebook page. To be fair, I can still comment (I think) on its articles.

Actually the PM isn’t censoring. He is juz “hiding” the article from public view*. Unlike TOC who prevents me from commenting. Let me be clear, I’m not saying that TOC cannot should not prevent me from commenting. It’s its right. But kinda rich to criticise PM for juz “hiding” a comment* when it more pro-active in handling comments not to its liking. Sounds like the PAP govt in allowing all FTs to hold events in public spaces while preventing some S’poreans  (Think the PAP’s light blue clones and various civil groups) from doing the same on the grounds of “law and order” issues, even if the FTs in question are from a country where people believe in the power of the people to overthrow elected govts while the S’poreans are juz sheep who dream different from the “right” dreams.

Related post: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/in-praise-of-tr-emeritus/

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” is a philosophical thought experiment that raises questions regarding observation and knowledge of reality.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_a_tree_falls_in_a_forest

 

Unacceptable, appalling, daft behaviour

In Uncategorized on 21/04/2014 at 5:13 am

Sigh, sad is the day when this critic of the PAP’s policy of bringing in FTs (where the “T” stands for “Trash”, think of SGX’s CEO, and president) by the container load* has to agree with the PM on an FT related-issue (see his comments at **). And this after agreeing with ST http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/sts-right/. Drove me to drink.

My Facebook avatar posted these (among other comments he made to Goh Meng Seng’s comments that the Filipinos’ event is an attack on S’pore’s sovereignty and speculating of the troubles that could occur if the Indians and PRCs wanted to celebrate their national days in public spaces

I for one have no issues with any overseas group wanting to celebrate their national day here so long as they do so in compliance with the law. Fact that they are obeying the law of S’pore shows that sovereignty is not an issue. Sovereignty is only an issue when our laws are not respected, and flouted. Of course if they are found breaking the law, they should be deported ASAP and Maruah should sit down and shut up.

– Juz because there are more Indians and PRCs doesn’t make that a problem in itself. There seems to be an assumption that their numbers make them organising a do a problem. Well shouldn’t we assume that they want to organise something peaceful and festive? Or are we assuming that whatever they do they will only riot? And that our police are daft?

He also responded to P Ravi’s http://www.raviphilemon.net/2014/04/hypernationalism-does-no-one-no-good.html as follows:

I don’t think “hypernationalism” or even “nationalism” is the issue. There is a group of very vocal S’poreans who will use any excuse to “whack” the PAP. Sadly ’cause of the way the PAP govt does things, the size of this group is not known. But we do now that based on PE 2011, there are 35% of S’poreans who can be swayed from the “right” way. I’m sure PM and the PAP are having a gd laugh. The people who are denouncing the Filipinos because they hate the PAP are helping the PAP. SIGH.

I like PM am appalled. He at the trolls. Me at the trolls for being so daft as to hand a PR victory to the PAP. Anger at the FT policy is understandable, but verbally abusing FTs and helping the PAP is unacceptable.

But let’s not be too hard on the trolls.They could be confused by what they are hearing from the govt and social media. I’ll be blogging soon on some of Goh Meng Seng’s comments on the matter that have me confused. He seems to be opposed to the event while at the same time encouraging the organisers to go ahead. But I need to clear my head first. Drank too much malt.

——-

Examples:

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/population-white-paper-paps-suicide-note/

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/population-white-paper-2030-will-resemble-1959/

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

**PM’s Facebook message

PM Lee posted a Facebook message on 19 April saying that he was appalled to read about netizens “harassing” the organisers of the Philippines’ Independence Day celebrations.

“They are a disgrace to Singapore,” he said; adding that fortunately, it appeared to be the work of a “few trolls”.

He said, “We must treat people in Singapore the way we ourselves expect to be treated overseas. Many Singaporeans live overseas, and are warmly welcomed in their adopted homes.”

He then talked about the recent Singapore Day celebration in London, “How would we have felt if British netizens had spammed our website, and abused Singaporeans living in Britain?”’We must show that we are generous of spirit and welcome visitors into our midst, even as we manage the foreign population here. Otherwise we will lower our standing in the eyes of the world, and have every reason to be ashamed of ourselves,” he said.

PM Lee’s Facebook post [Link]:

Why do gd? Gd for yr health leh ))

In Uncategorized on 20/04/2014 at 5:30 am

Juz look at the gd health of LKY and Dr M. Seriously there was a very elderly who died last yr I think. She was helping others into her 90s. I wish I could remember her name. And honour her in this post.

The Greek founders of philosophy constantly debated how best to live the good life. Some contended that personal pleasure is the key. Others pointed out that serving society and finding purpose is vital. Socrates was in the latter camp, fiercely arguing that an unvirtuous person could not be happy, and that a virtuous person could not fail to be happy. These days, psychologists tend to regard that point as moot, since self-serving “hedonic” pleasures generate the same sorts of good feelings as those generated by serving some greater “eudaimonic” purpose. However, a study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, by Barbara Fredrickson, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and her colleagues suggests Socrates had a point. Though both hedonic and eudaimonic behaviour bring pleasure, the eudaimonic sort also brings health.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2013/08/psychosomatic-medicine

ST’s right (((((

In Uncategorized on 18/04/2014 at 8:39 am

ST wrote an editorial denouncing the ranting against FTs especially the attack on the Filipinos’ planned do. [Update on 20th April 2014 at 6 am:Curb the anti-foreigner ranting ST editorial]

I agree with ST. Last yr I wrote “Pinoys been doing it legally for yrs, so why the rants now?” and I reproduce it below. BTW, the Filipinos cleaned up the park after their event, unlike our environmentalists who talk the talk of honouring the environment but who are no better than litter-bugs http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/litter-bugs-honour-earth-hour/

It’s not often that LKY and Dr Chee agree on anything but they do on one issue

One LKY in 1957 said in the legislative assembly :

For cheap labour, they [the British] allowed unrestricted immigration without any plan, without any policy and without any intention of creating or preserving the self. I do not condemn the immigration as such, but I condemn the government which has no regard for the people of the country who have been assimilated and did not bother to educate or to provide education for those coming in. Today, with the renaissance of the motherland of each of the immigration groups, chauvinist tendencies are incited. Yet at this critical juncture we have to call upon these immigrants to give this country their undivided loyalty.

(S’pore Notes: http://singaporedesk.blogspot.sg/2014/02/the-wit-wisdom-of-lee-kuan-yew.html)

In 2013, at Hong Lim Green (the people’s parly?), Dr Chee said, “A word of caution, I ask all of us here in Singapore to be the people that we truly are, the tolerant people that we are and if we attack, we attack the policy, we point out the flaws in the policy, not against the people who are here for work.”, can be simplified to “We disagree with the govt’s pro-FT policy, not the foreigners working here. We are unhappy with the “FTs first, citizens last” attitude of the govt because …”  http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/easy-to-avoid-xenophobe-label/

(http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/back-to-the-future-lky-dr-chee-the-sdp-agree-on/)

—–

Pinoys been doing it legally for yrs, so why the rants now?

In Uncategorized on 26/05/2013 at 1:18 pm

There has been plenty of noise and rubbish posted online about the Filipinos’ plan to celebrate the 115th Philippine Independence Day at Hong Lim Park. There are those calling it illegal, cursing the Pinoys, and accusing the police of not doing anything to prevent it. Some of the rants veer toward xenophobia or sedition. All because TRE asked legitimate questions about whether the event was legal.

Why the rants only now when this event has been held for at least two years , if not longer, at Hong Lim*? Just google for that fact. So our police allow an illegal event? This is S’pore, not the Philippines, Thailand, M’sia or Indonesia where can suka suka party or riot anywhere, anytime. This is S’pore where Harry’s Law** is enforced.

I asked a police contact whether a permit was needed to stage it, and was told that a permit was needed. Another contact told me that every yr since it began, the Filipino embassy had applied, and been given permission, for the event to be held.

It is not like the Merlion riots demonstrations where garang, qua-lan, and lazy and cowardly (don’t want to go to JB) M’sian FTs working here, unhappy that Anwar lost the M’sian elections, broke the admittedly, very draconian and KS law on the staging of public events without a police permit.

The Filipinos played it by the book, so let them enjoy themselves***, just like other govts allow S’poreans to enjoy themselves on our National Day in their countries’ public spaces.

We may not like the PAP govt’s perceived pro-FT policy, that Pinoy HR managers in MNCs prefer to employ Pinoys, and that Pinoy (and Indian and M’sian and PRC) FT PMETs are taking away jobs or keeping salaries low here: but let’s not be like our constructive, nation-building media (example from Alex Au) or the Todds, who have lost all credibility because they talk rubbish.

Netizens should have a lot more sense than our local media or the Todds. Otherwise, netizens deserve our local media, and the PAP govt.

——

*When I pointed out to TRE that this event had been an on-going event and gave them the above link, so that TRE could give its readers the facts, the editor asked me to write about it. I don’t blame TRE for not googling before writing its piece because it is a two-person outfit. One man focuses on IT and the other on content. Both have full time jobs, and families. Worse, they have to spend their own money keeping TRE alive: tee-shirts and donations don’t cover the IT costs. And if TRE closes down because of a lack of funds, it’s netizens fault! Open yr wallets. Don’t juz post that you will donate or have donated, then do nothing.

**Everything is prohibited, unless allowed.

***Our NSmen need their Filipino (and SRi Lankan, Burmese and Indon) maids to carry their gear when our NSmen go on route marches.

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/pinoys-been-doing-it-legally-for-yrs-so-why-the-rants-now/

V.V. good at solving “paper” problems, so what? More peanuts?

In Uncategorized on 14/04/2014 at 4:20 am

We are Number 1 at problem-solving skills*, according to the results of international tests. Singapore and South Korea were top in tests taken by 15-year-olds. These problem-solving tests were taken at the same time as the Pisa tests, which compare how well pupils perform in maths, reading and science.

So what? A 5-year boy, from a country ranked 18th, is on Microsoft’s list of recognised security researchers.

A five-year-old boy who worked out a security vulnerability on Microsoft’s Xbox Live service has been officially thanked by the company.

Kristoffer Von Hassel, from San Diego, figured out how to log in to his dad’s account without the right password.

Microsoft has fixed the flaw, and added Kristoffer .

In an interview with local news station KGTV, Kristoffer said: “I was like yea!”

Don’t  see anyone that young, let alone any teenager, from S’pore, South Korea, China, Finland etc on that list.

Seriously, rankings like this have their uses (PR mainly; but most importantly as orange or red lights that there are serious problems in the education system) but the”real world rarely requires IQ-smart people to sit in silos, decipher data and reports, and solve pre-designed problems based on pure hard logic,” says Perry Tan (who GIC’s ex-chief economist says  has deep working HR experience with big global employers).

He also says:

The PISA test involves students solving pre-defined problems individually online.

How well does that translate to real world problem solving scenarios where you have to make sense of incomplete information and data; define the problem; collaborate and debate with others who have differing perspectives, cultures and styles; work with and around systems, processes and organisational dynamics; use intuition as much as logic to formulate a solution; market your solution to stakeholders to get buy-in; and finally drive relentlessly towards an outcome you want?

His edited comments appeared in the constructive, nation-building Today. TOC (the unconstructive, nation-destroyer run by those who are upset that the PAP didn’t select them as elite paper warriors. LOL, juz joking) gives the unedited letter: http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2014/04/dont-blindly-trumpet-achievements-in-standardised-tests/

Are peanuts the prize for problem-solving monkeys? Or bananas?

Well this article would imply that the answer is “Yes”, http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2010/12/02/what-is-a-college-degree-worth-in-china/high-test-scores-low-ability

Students, parents, teachers, school leaders and even local government officials all work together to get good scores. From a very young age, children are relieved of any other burden or deprived of opportunity to do anything else so they can focus on getting good scores.

The result is that Chinese college graduates often have high scores but low ability. Those who are good at taking tests go to college, which also emphasizes book knowledge. But when they graduate, they find out that employers actually want much more than test scores. That is why another study by McKinsey found that fewer than 10 percent of Chinese college graduates would be suitable for work in foreign companies.

——-

*This longish excerpt from TRE  explains what the “problems” are. As I see it, there are lots of books that teach one how to solve these “problems”. Also gives background info on the various tests.

Singapore students have topped the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) problem-solving test.

PISA, organised by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), examines and compares how well education systems around the world are helping their students acquire the knowledge and skills essential for full participation in modern societies. It was first administered in 2000 and is conducted every 3 years with the most recent assessment in 2012. This is the second time that Singapore participated.

85,000 students worldwide took part in a computer-based problem-solving test. Singapore students beat other 15-year-olds from countries such as Japan, China and Finland.

Some of the types of questions that students had to answer are like:

  • Using a fictitious subway map, how do you get from “Diamond” to “Einstein” in the quickest way possible?
  • Plan how guests at a birthday party should be seated, based on a set of requirements

Nearly 3 in 10 Singaporean students were top performers – which means Singapore has the highest proportion of top performers in the PISA problem-solving test.

The 1,394 students from Singapore come from 172 schools, and they were randomly selected by PISA for the assessment.

Andreas Schleicher, OECD’s Acting Director for Education & Skills, said, “This data demonstrates that Singaporean students are not just spoon-fed. They are actually quite creative thinkers. They are actually able to engage with unfamiliar problems.”

Mr Schleicher added, “The idea of PISA is to reflect the type of skills that matters for the success of people in life and at work.”

“And we’re seeing, actually, big losses in employment, in tasks requiring routine cognitive skills. We’re seeing increases in tasks that require non-routine analytical skills, the capacity of students to extrapolate from what they know.”

Mr Schleicher also said that the world economy no longer pays for what a person knows. “Google knows everything. The world economy pays you for what you can do with what you know, and that makes a very big difference,” he said.

“Innovation today is no longer about you having a great idea and being able to do it. Innovation is to do with how you can connect with the ideas of others, people who share other ways of thinking, other belief systems.”

Mr Schleicher praised Singapore, “I think the reason why Singapore is doing well is because Singapore has very close eyes and ears of what’s happening in the world and the economy, and I think maintaining that is very critical.”

 

 

 

Litter-bugs honour Earth Hour

In Uncategorized on 02/04/2014 at 5:23 am

No, I’m not trying to imitate New Nation. BTW, I don’t find NN funny. It tries too hard and is too obvious

Anyway, back to the hypocrisy of those who say that we should care more for the environment. I read the following Facebook comment (with accompanying photos) “Earth Hour in Singapore: first the glitter, then the litter; after the flash, leave the trash.”

Cherian George posted the above comment accompanied by  photographs of litter that would not look out of place on Sunday morning at the barbeque areas along East Coast Park.

An uppity, irony-challenged organiser grumbled “Cherian, you make it sound as if the Earth Hour movement and WWF left the trash back. Ever managed a crowd of 9000?”

Wonderful reply, “Oh dear, … I think everyone else understood perfectly that my post was a comment on the crowd’s anti-social behaviour, and not a criticism of the organisers. Putting your spokesman role aside, don’t you find it tragically ironic that people can come for an event whose sole purpose is to show we care for the environment – and then leave it to others to clean up their mess?”

Three points I’d like to add

First is the police should make it a condition before granting permission for future “environment-themed events that the organisers clean up after the event. I’m sure the kay pohs like Maruah will say that this is a cunning way to impose additional costs on social activists. Hey, if environmental lovers can’t clean up after their event, they should be forced to do so. Cleanliness via coercion is the S’pore way.

Next, if the supporters of environmental causes are juz as bad as ordinary S’poreans, surely the govt has a point when it insists that S’poreans cannot be trusted to do the right thing without coercion: that civic consciousness needs the spur and whip of anti-social draconian laws.

Finally, if the Filipino organisers of the annual Filipino independence day celebrations at Hong Lim Park can arrange for the cleaning of the place, after the event, why couldn’t the orgaisers of Earth Day?

My serious point is that activists must not be hypocrites, less they damage their cause. Especially when the cause is to remind us of the damage that we are doing to the environment

Why visit Phnom Penh?

In Uncategorized on 30/03/2014 at 4:30 am

There is the sex scene.  As an oldie, I’m sad to see so many distinguished seniors (ex-DPP, doctors etc) mess up their lives ’cause of their sexual urges, when they should be basking in contentment and respect, having lived the gd life.  So my advice is …

And hotel accommodation is reasonable.

The cheapest place to stay of the 116 listed in the report is Phnom Penh at just £33 per night. Of course average room rates will be affected by all manor of things—not least the proportion of posh hotels to basic ones (the survey looks at all hotels from one- to five-star) and exchange rate fluctuation. But prices in the Cambodian capital fell by 16% even as tourist numbers rose handsomely, up from 3.6m to 4.2m.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2014/03/airlines-and-hotels

Finnish education system aimed at creating unemployment?

In Casinos, Economy, Financial competency, Uncategorized on 26/03/2014 at 4:38 am

S’poreans who laud the Finnish education system may want to think again. Look at the unemployment figures in this chart. Look st the Finnish the S’porean figures. Finnish education better than ours leh? Our system not that bad leh? worse for rapid PAP haters, govt is promising change. LOL

Here’s another inconvenient fact for those who want us to be more Finnish. A S’porean studying there tells me that slot machines are everywhere: in convenience stores, shopping centres etc.

On gambling on per capita basis and because of our casinos, we juz behind the Ozzies. Restrictions for locals? What restrictions? Only restricted if cannot pay and pay. OK, OK, terms and conditions even then apply. Finland is a distant third.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2014/02/daily-chart-

Coming back to education, the fact that PISA ranks China (OK Shanghai as tops) in education, doesn’t deter wealthy Chinese parents from wanting a posh, private British education (think s/o JBJ). No they want potatoe speaking, half Chinese, half ang moh sons: they want a better education for their kids.

My serious point, is that education is a very complicated topics. And we shouldn’t trivalise a debate on education with throwing data willy nilly to support an ideological position, even if one LKY (the PAPpy haters tremble and cross their hearts at the mere mention of his name) does it. Remember his remarks about the kids in neighbourhood schools that gave the govt grief?

In fact, data has to be analysed, not used as sticking plaster to support or denounce any given position on any issue. There are no “right” facts, juz facts.

 

JBJ: cub & young adult yrs

In Uncategorized on 07/03/2014 at 6:39 am

I’m helping the author of “Dissident Voices” (reviewed here) on his follow-up book (DV II) which will include JBJ and Lee Siew Choh by doing the basic research. Here are my notes and observations on JBJ’s life up to the historical Anson victory. I’m publishing it (and subsequent notes and observations on JBJ etc) because my piece on Lee Siew Choh helped garnered some delicious tit-bits from readers that if verified can be used in the planned book e.g. that he was brilliant academically, winning prizes, and that a son was jailed for refusing to do NS. Hopefully, this berry-picking can be repeated for JBJ etc with yr help.

JBJ: cub & young adult yrs

Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam or J. B. Jeyaretnam  or more commonly and affectionately  “J.B.J.” was born on 5 January 1926,  into an Anglican family of Christian-Tamil descent in then Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) when his parents were on “home leave” from Malaya.

As his father was working in Muar [Who was his father's employer? What was his occupation?], Malaya, he first went to school at a French convent in Muar.  He then attended Muar’s Government English School When his father was transferred to Johor Bahru,  he studied at the English College there.

Here’s something from a blogger* (who also said he was the only male in his convent class: wah got harem so young leh) that I had not come across anywhere elsewhere on what he did during the Japanese Occupation.

He enrolled in Japanese classes/schools in JB and Syonan (Singapore’s Japanese name) to further his studies as he put it – ‘at the time we didn’t know if this was truly the end of the British Empire’.

Having gained some proficiency in Japanese, he was quite naive when his Japanese tutor told him to follow him and start a Japanese class in Muar. He wanted to go, but his father put a stop to it and instead found him a job at the Census Dept. Later he moved on as an interpreter in the Transport Dept, when the Census Dept closed down. He was forthright in admitting why – at the time the Japanese started recruiting young men to work in ‘the Death Railway’ at the Siam-Burma border. Having a job meant that he wasn’t likely to drafted in service at the notorious site. The job paid little but it gave him a chance to buy stuff like tapioca which became his family’s staple food during the 44 month Japanese Occupation.

He would go on to admit that the occupation moulded him into what he would become later. He was a shy and timid boy, but war forced him to take initiatives and be a man. It made him more out-spoken and independent.

After the Japanese Occupation, he came to Singapore to study at St Andrew’s school. (TRE and TOC readers’ would be cursing him and the govt for this today?)

The same blogger reports that his father wanted him to study medicine; but he won, via a correspondence course (reported the Guardian in its obituary), a place to study law at University College London. According to the Guardian, “There, a lecture by Nye Bevan inspired his early socialist beliefs.”

But it sure didn’t show because after he was called to the English Bar by Gray’s Inn, on his return home, in 1952, he joined the Singapore Legal Service.  Not for him the life of a socialist activist in private legal practice, the path followed by one Lee Kuan Yew (LKY). But to be fair to JBJ, he came from a less wealthy background than LKY.

JBJ served as a magistrate, crown counsel, deputy public prosecutor and district judge (becoming the equivalent of today’s Chief District Judge), and as the registrar of the Supreme Court+. He resigned from the service in 1963and entered private practice [Which firm did he join?],  setting up his own law firm in 1968.  The JBJ version was that he was disillusioned with the direction the Legal Service was heading under the govt of LKY. The LKY version was that he resigned because he was bitter at not being appointed a High Court judge. (The usual promotion for the Subordinate Court’s highest judge then and now). Most probably the truth lay in between. LKY and his govt had little time for those who they believed believed in the colonial values. After all, his sons were expensively educated here and in the UK: not for them a local education, where even in schools like RI and ACS, 40 students in a class were the norm. Today our elite schools follow the posh British fee-paying schools with about 25 to a class.

He had married in February 1957, Margaret Cynthia Walker, a British law student he had known in London, and their relationship had endured his return to S’pore. JBJ’s best man at his wedding was Tan Boon Teik, who would become Singapore’s longest serving Attorney General (AG), and JBJ’s nemesis in later years.

The 1960s and early 70s must have been the time that his eldest son Kenneth J, alluded to when he said that the family had a driver, lived in a bungalow and had a dog called “Rusty”. It was a gd time to be an upper middle class professional. But JBJ must have been restless.

In 1971, Jeyaretnam led a group of lawyers [Any idea who they were? Was Gopalan Nair one of them?] who took over the zombie that was the Workers’ Party and became the party’s Secretary-General.  The WP had been founded in 1957 as his personal vehicle by S’pore’s first Chief Minister, David Marshall, after he resigned office. It now became JBI’s personal war chariot until he was deposed as the WP’s leader in 2001, 30 years later.

In the 1972 and 1976 general elections he was thrashed by the PAP candidates he stood against. But he kept on battling away even though he was thrashed again in by-elections in 1977 and 1979. He exemplified what Samuel Beckett the playwright wrote, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

In 1978 (or was it 1977?), Lee Kuan Yew successfully sued him for defamation. The courts found that JBJ had accused him of nepotism and corruption, and of being unfit to be prime minister**. Mr Lee was awarded damages and costs. An appeal to the Privy Council in London was defeated. While I find most of the other defamation suits problematic because they were petty whatever the law says, in this case, I think that LKY had every moral right to sue and win damages.

JBJ and his groupies, ang moh journalists, anti-PAP paper warriors, and ang moh tua kee S’poreans make such of the fact that  “such comments in many democracies would not lead to libel actions but be regarded as part of the cut-and-thrust of parliamentary politics.”. True but up to a point only. They forget that the leaders of political parties don’t make remarks alleging corruption about govt leaders unless they have evidence. When was the last time you heard Republican presidential candidates or the Republican leader of the House or a Republican senator call or imply the president of the US corrupt? Or the leader of the opposition in the UK call the PM corrupt? JBJ went too far this time as he did in the 1990s where he published a defamatory letter the contents of which he didn’t understand (it was in Tamil) and getting not only himself, but other WP leaders into trouble. More on this when I cover that period.

In 1980, he lost again in a general election, though the margin was now a very respectable by 47.0% to 53.0%. His wife died that year of cancer, leaving him a single parent with two sons, and debts. It was not a good year for him. But “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better,” seemed written for him.

In 1981, he became the first opposition politician since Singapore’s independence in 1965 to win a seat in Parliament.  He defeated the candidate of the governing People’s Action Party (PAP) at a by-election in the Anson constituency. It was a famous victory; made sweeter because the by-election had been held because the govt nominated Anson MP and NTUC Chief, CV Devan Nair for the post of president, on the death of President Sheares.

In subsequent posts, I’ll share my notes and takes on his later life and what I see as his enduring legacy. Certainly not the WP or the Reform Party or his style of defamatory rhetoric, but still a legacy, though there are parts that would pain him.

—-

*http://anyhowhantam.blogspot.sg/2013/10/remembering-singapores-lion-of.html

**At a rally in 1977 he said “… I’m not very good at the management of my own personal fortunes, but Mr Lee Kuan Yew, has managed his personal fortunes very well. He is the Prime Minister of Singapore and his wife is the senior partner of Lee & Lee and his brother is Director of several companies including Tat Lee Bank in Market Street, a bank that was given a permit with alacrity, banking permit license when other banks were having difficulty in getting the license”. He paid dearly for these words with damages and costs being awarded to LKY. And as his son Kenneth J said, the family lost the driver, bungalow and dog.

+Update on 14th March 2014 at 6.30pm: He was also tutor in legal philosophy and criminology at the University of Malaya in S’pore. (The WP 50th Anniversary Commemorative Book 1957-2007)

 

 

Were the Coldstore detainees communists, progressives or leftists?

In Uncategorized on 28/02/2014 at 4:31 am

The publication of a book on the 50th anniversary and the MediaCorp documentary (funded by MDA) got TOC activists pretty emotional about whether we were told to the truth about these two events.

They were not the only ones. When TRE republished my piece on Dr Lee Siew Choh, this post appeared

Lim Chin Siong:

with so many books and videos banned, Sporeans not getting the true history of Spore, I hope somehow, TRE or any social media can dedicate a section of their website to tell the true story of Spore.
I am sick and tired of watching NDP after NDP depicting the same story of how Spore turned to a modern city (by the monkeys in white) from an island with a lion spotted a certain man!
I searched and nothing much was told about the man Lim Chin Siong, who was accused as a communist but never proven!

“What is the truth?” and “What is history?”. These are eternal questions for philosophers not for mere mortals.  So what about settling for a narrative of Lim Chin Siong and allies that is objective, balanced, non-judgemental and entertaining?

There is a book, that though, published by a govt agency (National Museum), that does these things: “S’pore: A Biography”*

The writers avoid the term “communists” in describing Lim Chin Siong and friends. When they are called “communists”, it’s LKY, the British etc who are using the term. Lim Chin Siong’s denials are given extensive coverage. Unlike  TOC’s favourite “historian”  Dr Ping Tjin Thum (P.J. Thum), there is no romaticising of Lim and friends by calling them “progressives’. They are described as “radical anti-colonialist leftists”. This, I think, is a pretty fair, neutral description that avoids the emotional laden terms used by LKY or Dr Thum.

The authors go on to say that they got the impression (based on Fong Swee Suan’s recollections)  that the views of people like Lim and Fong on the best political model for S’pore (and Malaya) were evolving, they were “experimenting, weighing up the options”. They tell us that Lim said he was “not [yey] anti-communist”.

They also give the context within which the words and actions of Lim and Fong were viewed. There were demonstrations, violence (girls from Nanyang Girls’ School threw acid at their principal’s face), and the memory of the Malayan Emergency was ever-present. These are things that Dr Thum glides over when he talks of the Malayan Communist Party saying it had given up violence in liberating S’pore (google him up or search the TOC website for articles containing his tots). These were things my parents talked about when they told me of the period (I was born in 1955).

BTW, one of these days I’ll muse about the three narratives of Coldstore: the Hard Truth version propagated by the constructive, nation-buildingl media, Dr Thum’s version propagated by TOC, and the conventional academic narrative (which I largely accept), and which sadly not propagated by anyone, even though this narrative is not banned by the govt. History may be written by the victors, but thank god for academics who poke holes in the official narrative.

——-

*The authors, Mark Ravinder Frost and Yu-Mei Balasingamchow (a name that itself would seem to encapsulate much of Singapore’s history) have carefully tread a narrow path between a definitive (i.e. worthy but dull) history and a popular (i.e. readable but light) treatment of Asia’s only city-state…. But Frost and Balasingamchow have, through a judicious selection of anecdote and primary sources, tied together with just the right amount of analysis and a judicious application of drama, teased out a narrative that both interests and flows, complemented by beautifully-rendered and a propos illustrations. http://www.asianreviewofbooks.com/new/?ID=173#!

Update at 5.05am: Another link describing the book http://www.edmbooks.com/Book/6951/Singapore-A-Biography.html

What does S’pore have in common with US, Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Philippines,?

In Uncategorized on 23/02/2014 at 4:24 am

The only countries that have laws against jaywalking is the answer.

This BBC Online article on jaywalking in the US reminded me that when I went to study in London, I waz surprised that I could jaywalk. I had tot that jaywalking was a British inheritance and the absence of penalties in M’sia was ’cause it was M’sia leh where laws are never enforced. Article says: “Even in Singapore, where repeated jaywalking offences can lead to a $1,000 fine or a six month jail term, rules are routinely flouted.”. Glad to read that the usual suspects who compare us to the sheep of Animal Farm are wrong: some of the time perhaps?

In the US, [C]ar lobby groups also started taking over school safety education, stressing that “streets are for cars and children need to stay out of them”. Anti-jaywalking laws were adopted in many cities in the late 1920s, and became the norm by the 1930s.

—-

*Juz before going to London, I had been caught jaywalking at Hill St by a Vigilante Corps officer.  No action was taken against me because I told his superior that the light had already turned red, stopping traffic, when I crossed the street. Was I expected to walk to the crossing, then wait for the light to turn red again?  It was a one-way street and there was no traffic because of the red light. He saw my point.

Useful articles from S’pore Biz Review

In Uncategorized on 16/02/2014 at 4:23 am

Analysts views on Reits in Nay Yr

http://sbr.com.sg/commercial-property/exclusive/what-could-make-2014-disappointing-year-singapore-reits

Charts on banks’ loans etc

http://sbr.com.sg/financial-services/news/10-charts-prove-singapore-banks-mixed-finish-2013

“Dissident Voices”

In Uncategorized on 14/02/2014 at 4:43 am

When I opened a copy of my friend’s latest book “Dissident Voices”, and saw the dissidents featured (Lim Chin Siong, Catherine Lim, Ong Eng Guan, David Marshall, Chia Thye Poh, Lim Hock Siew, Said Zahari, Tan Wah Piow, Francis Seow and Vincent Cheng Lim), I tot how come no JBJ* and Lee Siew Choh? After all, they too stood firm on their convictions despite the odds. And they too paid a heavy toll for their beliefs … But they never broke. In fact, Catherine Lim is a nobody when compared to those giants, JBJ and Lee.

When we met, he explained to me that he and Marshall Cavendish (the publisher) had agreed a tentative list of names. More than one book was needed to do justice to the names on the list.. The author thought the subjects he chose for the book “S’pore Dissidents” would resonate more with readers who wanted to know more about personalities who dared to be different – and paid a price. There are plans for another volume to cover JBJ and Lee Siew Choh for sure. Other names that could appear are: Alfian Saat, Martyn See, Ng Ho, Low Thia Khiang, Ong Teng Cheong, Devan Nair, Chee Soon Juan, Ho Kwong Ping and Teo Soh Lung.

If he included co-driver Low and Mad Dog (or is it  Coyote?) Chee, what about Chiam? As said, the list is being worked out, so don’t get worked up if your hero is left out. Just tell me and I’ll tell the author. BTW, Ng Ho is the father of another friend. Both father and son were detained under ISA. Despite being detained, my friend is a true-blue S’porean patriot and a poster boy for the meritocracy preached and practiced by the PAP Old Guard: example all his grandchildren are now in elite schools despite him being poor when young.

Whatever it is, the proposed list doesn’t do justice to the contemporary scene of voices. Voices like TOC, TRE and Alex Au. Maybe a third volume is needed? Watch and wait. Let volume II come out first.

Coming back to “Dissident Voices”, it’s written in straight-forward prose. ST’s style of writing at its best.

People of around my generation should read it to refresh or correct their memories, impressions of the late 50s and early 60s because the book covers Lim Chin Siong, Ong Eng Guan, David Marshall, Chia Thye Poh, Lim Hock Siew and Said Zahari. The other four are “dissidents” from other more recent periods.

Younger S’poreans should read it because it tells them a bit of the history of S’pore: about S’poreans who stood firm on their convictions despite the odds. And all but Marshall and Catherine Lim paid a heavy toll for their beliefs – deprivations, long prison terms, lonely lives in self-imposed exile. But they never broke.

They may learn of a time (late 50s, early 60s) when being called a “socialist” was not a sneer or an insult: even one LKY was proud to identify himself as a “socialist”. They may also learn that leaders can come from any level of society, and that it wasn’t necessary to have good academic results to be a leader: the ability to sway the masses was what counted. They may start to understand the background of today’s SAP schools, and why there are older S’poreans who decry the schools’ as an insult to local Chinese culture and traditions.

Readers of this blog like Jack, AuntieLucia etc should encourage their younger relations to read the book. Maybe even buy copies as birthday presents or rewards. Its prose is simple enough for secondary school kids who can learn that once upon a time life was hard, really hard and when S’poreans could not be called apathetic. Related posts:

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

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

More about the author’s background:

- http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/wanted-expertise-on-organising-a-legal-strike/

- Publisher’s media release

DISSIDENT VOICES

by CLEMENT MESENAS

One of the first of its kind–this book

Introduces ten unique individuals who stood

by their beliefs and the ultimate price they

paid for that legacy.

The personalities featured are:

Lim Chin Siong, Catherine Lim,

Ong Eng Guan, David Marshall,

Chia Thye Poh, Lim Hock Siew,

Said Zahari, Tan Wah Piow, Francis Seow and

Vincent Cheng

ABOUT THE BOOK

They stood firm on their convictions despite the odds. Some paid a heavy toll for

their beliefs – deprivations, long prison terms, lonely lives in self-imposed exile. But

they never broke. Some will say the unflinching attitude of these dissidents against

what they perceived as coercive authority has been an exercise in futility. Yet other

say the course of Singapore’s history might have been altered if their will had

prevailed.

Their stories need to be told. The first of it’s kind, this book will inform and educate

rather than to glorify their tough stance. These short memoirs are a record of

human endurance, exemplifying the extremes sacrifices some people will make in

pursuit of their ideals.

Written by veteran journalist and author Clement Mesenas, this book chronicles the

lives of ten leading dissidents.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Clement Mesenas started his career in The Straits Times in 1968, cutting his teeth in

journalism as a young crime reporter before moving on to the sub-editors desk and

then to the field of magazine publishing. He left Singapore in 1979 to become

managing editor of the Kuwait Times for a decade before moving to the Gulf News in

Dubai, where he was deputy editor for another decade. He returned to Singapore in

2000 to join MediaCorp’s TODAY newspaper as one of its pioneering editors, before

he retired in 2011. He now publishes a number of community publications and is

working towards establishing a global network through digital media platforms.

—-

*Didn’t expect Chiam or Dr Chee to appear as they are still active politicians. As to Low, bet you he’d sue if he was called a dissident. He is the PAP’s self-appointed co-driver, a courtier who accepts the PAP’s hegemony. BTW, seems the co-driver and courtier needs a good accountant. Wonder what my friend Eric Tan is doing now? Smiling?

The problem with universal benefits

In Uncategorized on 09/02/2014 at 4:39 am

When I read the u/m from BBC Online, I could help but think about the criticism of the S’pore govt’s policy of mean-testing welfare, healthcare etc.

Mail, columnist Tom Utley wonders at the “bonkers” thinking that awarded him a 60+ Oyster Freedom Pass to travel in London free-of-charge, saving him £15,000 to spend on booze and fags when he’s “financially better off at 60 than I’ve ever been before”.

There are issues with mean-testing and universal benefits. It all depend on one’s objectives. And it isn’t always true that means testing saves tax-payers money. Systems, processes and people are needed to means test. They too cost money. Note that even our travel concessions for the elderly are not means tested.

Raffles Place, Padang area in an alternate universe?

In Uncategorized on 11/01/2014 at 4:41 am

A glimpse of a S’pore if the present lot of SAF generals and admirals in the cabinet (and BG Yeo) had been in charge of S’pore in the early 60s instead of LKY, Dr Goh etc. Going by the performance of LHL, Teo, Lui, kee Chui and Tan (and BG Yeo) over the last few yrs, Raffles Place and the Padang would be like the biz and administrative hubs of Yangon shown in the video in http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2014/01/yangons-heritage

A WALK AROUND battered, ramshackle Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city and former capital, quickly makes it clear how far the country has fallen behind the rest of Asia over the past half-century. In large part the place is but a ghostly reminder of former glories. Under British colonial rule, before independence in 1948, Rangoon (as it was then) was a thriving, cosmopolitan entrepot, the capital of Burma, one of the region’s wealthiest countries. All that came to an abrupt end in 1962 after a junta of army officers, led by the brutal General Ne Win, seized power and launched the country on the quasi-Marxist “Burmese Way to Socialism”. Private foreign-owned businesses were nationalised, prompting the exodus of hundreds of thousands of people, many of Indian origin. http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/why-young-sporeans-should-be-sent-to-yangon/

No other Asean round-up news this week. Keep an eye on Thailand, the problems there are a gd ad and PR for the PAP http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/thailand-huge-ad-gd-pr-for-pap-govt/

11 finance” movies worth watching over hols

In Uncategorized on 25/12/2013 at 4:49 am
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2013
 ‘Wolf’ Martin Scorsese’s film about Jordan Belfort is set join a long list of Wall Street movies that are focused more on frat-boy antics than financial wizardry.

The caricatures personified by Mr. Belfort, Gordon Gekko and the brokers in “Boiler Room” are well-known. “Boiler Room” even includes a long scene with the characters quoting from “Wall Street.”


Here are options for 10 very good (and some so bad they’re great) movies on finance that we’d rather see instead of spending time with our family this holiday.

  1. Trading Places” Money quote: “The people who own the pork belly contracts are saying, ‘Hey, we’re losing all our damn money, and Christmas is around the corner, and I ain’t gonna have no money to buy my son the G.I. Joe with the kung-fu grip!'”
  2. Floored” Money quote: Almost every quote in this documentary on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is unprintable.
  3. Barbarians at the Gate” Money quote: “Kravis will eat you alive if you let him in.”
  4. The Secret of My Success” Money quote: “That was the best damn memo I ever read.”
  5. Other People’s Money” Money quote: “I’ll bet the last company around was the one that made the best goddamn buggy whip you ever saw. Now how would you have liked to have been a stockholder in that company?”
  6. Working Girl” Money quote: “I have a head for business and a bod for sin. Is there anything wrong with that?”
  7. Rogue Trader” Money quote: “One of our traders in Singapore got drunk the other night and pulled a moon.”
  8. American Psycho” Money quote: “I can’t believe that Bryce prefers Van Patton’s card to mine.”
  9. Too Big to Fail” Money quote: “We don’t do this now, we won’t have an economy on Monday.”
  10. It’s a Wonderful Life.” Money quote: “Look, we’re still in business, we’ve got two bucks left!” This 1946 film may be the last time a banker was portrayed on film as a decent person.       From NYT’s DealBook

Pisa’s defects as the benchmark of educational excellence

In Uncategorized on 16/12/2013 at 4:40 am

Yes, I’m making a conscious effort to sit down and shut up on the two topical issues of the day: the riot and Breakfast Network’s suicide. Both issues have had some netizens talking sense, but more often than not rubbish.

The Pisa league table which ranks test results of students from 65 countries is taken very seriously b y the govt and media here because S’pore’s educatio system does very well on the results. They can throw this ranking at the face of pushy, aggressive parents whose kids can’t get into RI, St Nick or SCGS, or at the kay pohs who believe that ang mohs are tua kees (ang mohs do badly relative to the slit eyes of East Asia).

Maths scores

But do realise that S’pore is being compared to entire countries

Are regions a better way of measuring results?

The headline results for these tests are about the performance of countries or at least big Chinese regional education systems that are as big as countries, such as Shanghai or Hong Kong.

But this year’s results show much more local detail. And it often entirely contradicts the national picture.

For instance, the education system in the United States has been seen as one of the great under-performers, struggling among the below-average stragglers.

Go down to state level and it can be an entirely different story. Massachusetts would be a match for the best European systems. There are similar examples in Italy and Spain. Wales is a long way behind the other parts of the UK.

What this means, the OECD says, is that there are often bigger differences within countries than between countries. And if one region can perform so well, why not the rest of the country?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25205112

This aside, there are things that are wrong other than the fact that only the Chinese provide their own, unverifiable data.

– Different questions

About 4,000 children in each of the 65 countries are subjected to the test, which lasts for two hours.

But only a small number of pupils in each school answer the same set of questions.

The reason for this is that Pisa wants to measure a comprehensive set of skills and abilities, so it draws up more questions than a single child could answer (about four-and-a-half hours’ worth) and distributes them between different exam papers.

Pisa then uses a statistical model, called the Rasch model, to estimate each student’s latent ability. They also extrapolate from each student’s answers how they would have fared if they had answered all the other questions, had they been given them.

This approach has its critics. One is quoted below.

David Spiegelhalter, professor of the public understanding of risk at Cambridge University, says this practice raises its own questions.

“They are predicted conditional on knowing the difficulties of the questions – as if these are fixed constants,” he says.

But he thinks there is actually “considerable uncertainty” about this.

Furthermore, a question that is easy for children brought up in one culture may not be as easy for those brought up in another, Spiegelhalter says. “Assuming the difficulty is the same for all students around the whole world” is a mistake, he argues.

So when you see the league table of countries, the first thing to understand is that each country has been ranked according to an estimate of national performance.

– Educational attainment against well-being

South Korea might have come near the top of the educational rankings, but they come bottom in the rankings of happiness at school, Spiegelhalter notes – and Finland is only just above Korea.

– Drop-out rates matter:

But Mr Bodewig adds that the score may be impressive in part because so many poor and disadvantaged Vietnamese students drop out of school. The World Bank reports that in 2010 the gross enrolment rate at upper-secondary schools in Vietnam was just 65%, compared with 89% and 98% in America and Britain, respectively. South Korea’s rate was 95%.

Are TI students included in S’pore’s students that are tested? I assume normal stream students are? If not …

– Tuition helps:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2013/12/education-vietnam

Finally, I hope netizens stop pushing the Finnish model: it’s now crap

Seekers after educational excellence once used to head pilgrim-like towards Finland. This was the most quoted example of a high performing school system, even though in many ways it was a very distinctive and individual system. Scandinavia was the education world’s sensible successful neighbour.

But Finland has slipped downwards and the gloom has spread across Nordic countries, with Sweden among the biggest fallers. Norway and Denmark are absent from the top end of the tables. Their sluggish performances has been overtaken by countries such as Estonia, Poland and Ireland.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25205112

Mandela’s economic and sporting legacies

In Uncategorized on 15/12/2013 at 8:33 am

On the economy, his legacy is mixed. In sport, he used rugby to unite a nation, especially getting the Boers to accept black rule by getting the blacks to accept the ‘Boks.

No Keynesian he

Nelson Mandela, who has died aged 95, was a rare and brave leader. But economically he was, ironically enough, too timid. He set post-apartheid South Africa on course toward a mostly free market economy with stable finances, avoiding the errors of others like neighboring Zimbabwe. But he left the country slow-growing and still suffering from inequality.

Mandela was an orthodox follower, reining in government spending so that public debt gradually declined as a percentage of GDP while pursuing a government-directed industrial strategy that encouraged the development of major black-controlled industrial groups. Foreign investment by multinationals was tolerated, provided the government and favored domestic groups were involved.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2013/12/05/mandelanomics-was-too-conventional-to-shine/

n some senses, Mr Mandela and the African National Congress (ANC) inherited an economy that was heading for bankruptcy.

So, it was to prove a difficult task to create a silk purse of an economy from the pig’s ear that Apartheid had left behind. However, many analysts point out that great strides were made in delivering some of the Freedom Charter aspirations in the early years of the new South Africa.

Dawie Roodt, chief economist at the Efficient Group, says: “Many millions of people got running water, electricity, etc.

“But the infrastructure was neglected, and slowly state inefficiency and corruption became serious problems.”

A good start but efforts faltered esp after he left office

On the surface, at least, things looked good at the start. Inflation, which was running at 14% before 1994, fell to 5% within 10 years.

South Africa’s budget deficit, which was 8% in 1997, fell to 1.5% in 2004. Interest rates dropped from 16% to under 9% in the first decade of the ANC government.

Once sanctions were dropped, South African exports blossomed. Before Mr Mandela took the oath of office, just 10% of the country’s goods were earmarked for export. By the turn of the century nearly a quarter of them were.

It wasn’t just economic numbers on sheets of paper. In the 14 years after 1996, the proportion of South Africans living on $2 (£1.22) a day fell from 12% to 5%.

Annabel Bishop, group economist at Investec, says South Africa’s economy has “essentially doubled in real terms” since the fall of apartheid, growing at an average of 3.2% a year since 1994, as opposed to only 1.6% per annum for the 18 years prior to the end of white minority rule.

She also points out that the real tax revenues have effectively doubled since 1994, which has enabled the government to expand social welfare.

“The state provision of basic services has been extensive,” she says.

But the early years still had to contend with huge problems. Apartheid had created rampant unemployment among the black population, an albatross that continues to hang around the economy’s neck almost two decades later.

South Africa’s official unemployment rate has hovered around 25% for years, and youth unemployment is much higher. By some measures half of those under 25 are out of work.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23041513

Nelson Mandela with Francois Pienaar

Nelson Mandela may have been the first global leader to use sport as a tool to unite people and to redefine a country’s international image.

And even before he was released from prison, Mandela had identified sport as a way of achieving a multi-racial country.

It’s hard to believe now but at the time the green and gold shirt was still deeply associated with the racial struggle in South Africa.

Mandela defied his advisers to wear it, knowing in an instant how the gesture could do more for harmony and equality than years of talks.

Pienaar, like most young white men in the country, had grown up believing Mandela was a terrorist. And the Springboks captain had to convince his team to learn the words to the country’s new national anthem, previously a song of black protest.

And yet after meeting him in the dressing room before the final and that presentation on the pitch at Ellis Park, Pienaar described him as the “symbol of everything that is good about humanity.”

http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/25262862

“Sport has the power to change the world…it has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers,” Mandela.

Why S’poreans are materialistic, impatient?

In Uncategorized on 08/12/2013 at 4:27 am

Blame the fact that S’pore is a city? Not ’cause of PAP or LKY.

Mark van Vugt, of VU University in Amsterdam, and his colleagues found that country scenery … inspires people to think about the future; concrete cityscapes encourage quick decisions aimed at immediate rewards.

What, then, is it about brooks and meadows that propels thoughts of the beyond? Dr van Vugt speculates that competition—for jobs, attractive partners and large bank accounts—is concentrated within cities, rendering them unpredictable. Unpredictability may in turn shunt people onto the fast lane. He admits, however, that the study does not determine whether cities spur impulsive behaviour, or whether the countryside inspires patience.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2013/11/psychology

Alex Au doing a Dr Chee?

In Uncategorized on 29/11/2013 at 5:12 am

Alex Au’s at it again. No I’m not referring to the allegations of contempt by the AG against him yet again. That’s par for the course, and not really news anymore; anymore than that he is a gay rights activist and internet tua kee.

No, I referring to being so subtle so as to be misunderstood yet again by other netizens (self excluded). Remember, I defended him against charges by his fellow tua kee bloggers and lesser lights, and PAP stooges like an ex-NMP that he was advocating violence against the state?

This time a figure no less than the hubbie of ST’s editor misunderstood his latest mischief: If Au – one of Singapore’s most conscientious and civic-minded bloggers – cannot avoid the contempt minefield, then perhaps the problem is actually with the law. Is it getting in the way of intelligent critique of important issues?

The rejoinder would probably be that there are ways to comment without scandalising the court. In theory, perhaps. But again, I would have to ask, if even Alex Au cannot find the path through that minefield, perhaps the fault is with the treacherous terrain?

Au is a meticulous and gifted writer. If he is charged with contempt, there would be a significant chilling effect on other citizens who do not consider themselves anywhere near as polished in their use of words. 

(http://journalism.sg/2013/11/26/why-alex-au-deserves-a-break/ The writer is Associate Professor Cherian George described on Facebook by someone whose views I respect as “one of Singapore’s most accomplished and civic minded media commentators”.)

Sorry, but I have to disagree with Cherian whose views are always worth a reading, at the very least.

It is precisely because Au is a meticulous and gifted writer that we should discount the so-called chilling effect. on other citizens who do not consider themselves anywhere near as polished in their use of words.

This is not a case of someone not knowing the law. In my view, Alex Au is deliberately baiting the AG.

A Facebook poster put it better than I can (though I wish he’d not use exclamation marks), “[H]e is in the business of pushing boundaries, he choose to explore the “treacherous edge”. That business of his carries well-understood risk. He wasn’t out of words, he chose them carefully from abundance. In short, he is asking for it!!”. A PAPpy wants him in jail, “If guilty, he should spend a couple of months in prison so that he will know that there are consequences for his actions.”

As to why “he is asking for it”, I can only speculate.

Maybe, it is a follow-on from the recent pieces that were mischaracterised, misunderstood or misrepresented as a call for violence against the state. He wrote“[I]f the king has made something a criminal offence, then no one should ever try to flout it, no matter how horrible you think the king is?. On this I commented, “Shades of Thomas Aquinas, Locke etc. Look up these names if you don’t recognise them, or have forgotten their arguments on the nature of justice, among other things.”

He could be doing, something other than talking the talk of disobedience. He could be doing what Dr Chee and gang were doing earlier this decade, before the RI doctors put him on medication (anti-mad dog pills and “Think Economics, not HR”if you must know): civil disobedience, Gandhi-style.

Let me be very clear, I’m not commenting or taking sides on whether Alex Au is right or wrong in taking on the AG, or the rights and wrongs of civil disobedience.

I’m simply observing that given his skills as a is a meticulous and gifted writer who has recently written,” [I]f the king has made something a criminal offence, then no one should ever try to flout it, no matter how horrible you think the king is?”, and his history of social , activism, I think he is following in the footsteps of Dr Chee and Gandhi.  I could be wrong. He could be clumsy in his use of language when it comes to issues on the judiciary, though I suspect that pigs would fly first, or VivianB apologises to the elderly poor for his sneers.

I could also be wrong about Cherian. He could be juz trying to portray Alex Au juz as another ordinary S’porean, clumsy with words, like the tpical TRE poster, knowing full well that Alex is baiting the AG. I mean no disrespect to Cherian: he is no-detached ivory-tower observer. He too is a civil society activist. In fact, he was one before it became fashionable (and reasonably safe) to be one. And he has suffered for his sins.

One final tot. When people like Dr Chee and Au take on the state are they not accepting that the PAP govt isn’t that bad? Let me quote Orwell when he criticked Gandhi and his civil disobedience methods: The important point here is not so much that the British treated him forbearingly as that he was always able to command publicity. As can be seen from the phrase quoted above, he believed in “arousing the world”, which is only possible if the world gets a chance to hear what you are doing. It is difficult to see how Gandhi’s methods could be applied in a country where opponents of the regime disappear in the middle of the night and are never heard of again. Without a free press and the right of assembly, it is impossible not merely to appeal to outside opinion, but to bring a mass movement into being, or even to make your intentions known to your adversary. Is there a Gandhi in Russia at this moment? And if there is, what is he accomplishing? The Russian masses could only practise civil disobedience if the same idea happened to occur to all of them simultaneously, and even then, to judge by the history of the Ukraine famine, it would make no difference.

But then I could be wrong again. Orwell was writing in the pre-internet dark ages. We don’t have a free press and the right of assembly but the internet  and social media has got the govt terrified that S’poreans can voice their opinions publicly.

Still want to buy M’sian properties?

In India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Uncategorized on 23/11/2013 at 6:00 am

(Asean round-up)

KL property owners, an estimated 10-16 per cent of whom are foreigners, are facing sharply higher assessment payments of up to 300 per cent following the latest move by City Hall (DBKL) to boost its coffers. http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/premium/top-stories/kl-homeowners-facing-sharp-assessment-hikes-20131119

But otherwise M’sia’s looking pretty gd

– ECONOMISTS have turned more bullish on the Malaysian economy as a result of its unexpectedly strong showing in the third quarter.

They have upgraded their forecasts, and one has even dismissed the second quarter’s sharply reduced current account surplus on the balance of payments as an “abnormal”, one-off glitch.

Malaysia’s growth accelerated to 5 per cent in the third quarter, above the street’s 4.7 per cent, and sharply higher than the 4.4 per cent posted in the second quarter. The expansion was largely driven by domestic demand and a turnaround in exports.

The figures suggest that, despite criticism from rating agencies such as Fitch and an uncertain global economy, the Malaysian economy remains resilient, and continues to maintain steady economic growth.

– THE ringgit is undervalued as it has underperformed its peers since Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Budget almost a month ago, a British bank said.

In a report yesterday, Barclays Bank said the currency’s underperformance stemmed from doubts over the country’s “fiscal credibility”. But it said any such doubt should now be “diminished” after international rating agency Moody’s raised Malaysia’s sovereign outlook to “positive” from “stable” in a report released on Wednesday.

The news should boost Mr Najib’s credibility as a finance minister; he has been flayed by critics who have accused him of going on a profligate spending spree to boost the Barisan Nasional coalition’s popularity. In the run-up to the May 5 general election, government debt had ballooned to more than 54 per cent of GDP, just a whisker away from the legally mandated debt ceiling. Although the BN won, it did so with a weaker mandate.

In July, global rating agency Fitch had affirmed Malaysia’s investment-grade sovereign rating but cut its outlook to “negative” from “stable”. That raised the level and intensity of the criticism against Mr Najib.

(Excerpts from BT)

But M’sia (like Thailand) is doing less than Indonesia to prepare for tapering: Indonesia has raised short-term interest rates and India has attracted deposits from its large diaspora. Both are now accumulating foreign-exchange reserves to help prepare them for the eventual end of quantitative easing. So are South Korea and Taiwan.

Malaysia and Thailand are not taking the same precautions. Neither country has managed to recoup the reserves it lost in August. That’s a worry, considering foreigners own 28 percent of Malaysia’s sovereign bond market. Pending the implementation of a goods and services tax from 2015, the country’s public finances remain shaky. At the peak of the summer turmoil, the cost of insuring against default on Malaysian government bonds was slightly higher than for Philippines debt, which carries a lower credit rating. The gap has widened since.

Finally, debt is soaring. In Thailand, bank loans to individuals have jumped 20 percent in the first nine months of the year, higher than last year’s 18 percent growth. Meanwhile, the Thai economy has lost momentum, the politics has become unstable, and the current account has tipped into a deficit. Instead of easing, Asia’s fear of the Fed is spreading wider.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2013/11/21/asias-fear-of-fed-is-now-infecting-more-economies/

Brainwashed, simple-minded paper tigers

In Uncategorized on 06/11/2013 at 4:57 am

Taz the conclusion I draw about many keyboard warriors from their reactions to the hack on a ST blog, which they should have treated as, at best a ripple, in a after-dinner Chinese-tea cup, and their reactions to Alex Au’s piece criticking their reactions to the said hack.

[H]ow many bloggers and social media participants took pains to distance themselves from the hacking: We don’t approve of such tactics, they kind-of say.

Then what are you saying? That even if you are victimised by a brutish government, you should go no further than respectful and polite conversation?

Get a grip. Hacking is not sui generis. It is one among a vast continuum of acts of resistance.

(http://yawningbread.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/hacker-strikes-fear-among-good-citizens/ There is a part 2)

BTW, make sure you read his replies to the howls of outrage his pieces provoked. Damned gd.

Alex is absolutely right in his disdain and scorn of the goody-two-shoes rushing to reassure the ISD and us that they are quai, even if he goes overboard at times. I felt a bit sick about the said responses to the hack: they were it seemed to me rushing to assure everyone that they didn’t approve of such an “atrocity”. They were rushing to condemn the hack as though it was some major atrocity like 9/11, 7/7 or the like. As he pointed out, it wasn’t even a disruption: Get a grip. Hacking is not sui generis. It is one among a vast continuum of acts of resistance.

I didn’t blog on how I felt because I had problems putting my tots into words (It would have sounded like Alex Tan at his foulest low). Thankfully Alex has done it for me, though for the record, I want to stress that for all its many faults (lack of compassion, muddle-headed tinking, lousy execution, bad PR, love of BS and jargon etc), the PAP govt is not “brutish”. BTW, I don’t think Alex was implying that our govt is “brutish”. But, it’s not for me to say what he thinks.

He has been accused of condoning disruption or violence, or trying to incite disruption, or, worse, violence. This is a very superficial reading, of the piece, if not intentional misrepresentation worthy of a defamation suit. It’s actually a chim piece on the nature and role of activism in any society: democratic, authoritarian or totalitarian.

The howls of “We quai chye” by said activists drew this response from Alex in part 2 of his piece, “[I]f the king has made something a criminal offence, then no one should ever try to flout it, no matter how horrible you think the king is?” Shades of Thomas Aquinas, Locke etc. Look up these names if you don’t recognise them, or have forgotten their arguments on the nature of justice, among other things.

More evidence that many of our cyber warriors are wannabe elitists who didn’t make the grade in our elite schools, or if they did, later in govt, stat boards, or GLCs. Juz expressing their frustrations by ranting and bitching against the PAP govt? Or as is more likely, they are intellectually, not very well-read. They have been too well-conditioned by the state’s schools and media?

87% of the Stompers showed up the pretensions of these paper tigers by feeling “shiok” about the hack.

Finally, something for these toothless paper tigers to chew on. Have they ever tot that the disruption to biz, transport and life, generally, that protests can caus,  play a big part in forcing a govt (democratic or authoritarian) to concede? Remember the credit default swaps fiasco here and in HK. The Hongkies got more of their money back because they were willing to inconvenience the public by regularly protesting on the streets. Singkies when to Hong Leong Green. Well DBS ended up paying Honkies, but not Singkies despite the S in its name standing for “Singapore”.

Think about it.

Alison McElwee: 3 bites = Tammy’s death?

In Uncategorized on 30/10/2013 at 4:48 am

(Update Update 17th February 2014:Sun T reported that peace broke out between the warring harridans with FT admitting that re-homing would have been better option. Tammy’s still dead. Implicitly she admits lying that she lied that other lady didn’t want to take dog back?)

Update on 20th November 2013: ST says Alison McElwee is British)

Ms Alison McElwee adopted a stray dog under the conditions that if there were any problems, she would be returned to the re-homer, Ada Ong.

She shortly thereafter put it down. ST reported:  A woman who had her seven- month-old mongrel Tammy put down for aggression has defended her decision, claiming the person she got it from did not want to take it back.

Ms Alison McElwee, who was criticised for ignoring the rehomer’s pleas to return it, said in a statement: “The rehomer suggested placing (Tammy) in a long- term boarding home” and “did not want to take (it) back”.

But ST wrote: “her [Alison McElwee's] text messages tell different story.”

This was double-confirmed by a minister, no less. Last Thurs I read that the Minister of Law (a dog and cat lover*) wrote on Facebook, Ada told me that she made clear to Tammy’s adopter in subsequent conversations that Ada was prepared to take back Tammy. Ada also showed me the SMS exchanges between the adopter and herself, which seems to bear out what Ada says. I have given Ada my views on the contract, and have suggested to her that she should get a lawyer to pursue this matter. She asked me for help and I have suggested a lawyer to her who will help her pro bono. There could be other fees, expenses – Louis ( from Acres) who was in the conversation, has said that the money will be raised if necessary.

What angers me is that she didn’t take advantage of the offer, preferring to spend money killing the dog. Could it be vengeance?

ST report, “She alleged that Tammy bit her four-year-old daughter and two adults.” She could have believed in an extreme variation of ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”.

What further angered me is that she tot she could lie her way out of trouble.

If I were one of those so-called xenophobes, I should be ranting, “What now ang moh? Think you tua kee? Can suka suka kill a local dog with impunity? And lie about it? Think S’poreans no understand English and don’t know to store text messages?” “Home Team will be their usual ang moh tua kee and allow you to give S’poreans the bird.” Remember the Suntec case?

But I’m no xenophobe. There is the possibility that the alleged attacks caused severe wounds that indicated that Tammy was a dangerous puppy. There was a newspaper report that Tammy was pretty hostile at the vet, though one can understand why. Dogs know when they are in danger.

And she, like Tammy, could be a local. Names can be deceiving, especialli in multicultural S’pore. I tot GIC’s PR flack and Tony Tan’s campaign helper was ang moh. Turns out she’s local, a Eurasian: one of those whose families didn’t flee to Perth (and other ang moh places) when S’pore became self-governing, and then independent.. Nope, Alison McElwee is probably juz trash of the worse kind, white, black, brown, yellow, purple or green. Hopefully, Tammy will get her revenge, as God visits “the iniquity of the fathers mothers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth.”

BTW, I don’t think anyone should flame AVA, or the vets involved. They can’t be expected to vet every request of an owner to kill a dog. Owners too have rights and obligations. And sadly, vicious dogs have to be put down to protect humans.

I have strong views on adopting dogs. Once a dog is adopted by me, it becomes part of the family. It never gets “unadopted”. I even have problems with people who give away their dogs because the dogs are unruly. And I practice what I preach. One of my two dogs was “forced” on me (had to take both), and was problematic: uncivilised and suffering from ailments. Turned out to be sweet, gentle, unlike her hyper but handsome “brudder”.

Finally, this case like that of new citizen Raj (the guy who boasts that his son will avoid NS and still be a PR) gives bad PR to the govt’s policy of letting in the FTs. She (assuming she is a FT) and new citizen Raj don’t give a damn that they are saboing the S’pore govt. Now that’s gratitude! No, LKY, it’s not the voters of Aljunied who will repent. It will be the PAP who will repent that it favours foreigners, not S’poreans, and allows them to flood in with no or very little QC.

One final tot. How come no follow-up story, now that the law minister minister has spoken. Surely ST should be asking Alison McElwee for her response? As I said, maybe, juz maybe, Tammy was too vicious and dangerous, and Alison tot she had to protect us S’poreans against doggie do-gooders like Ada Ong (“Dogs always tua kee”). And, if she refused to comment, we should be told. Or is ST practicising constructive, nation-building censorship? Not wanting to stir S’poreans against FTs?

If so, this wouldn’t be the first time. Remember the F1 SMRT driver, and another driver involved in a bad accident. S’poreans had to find out from social media that they were PRC FTs.

*I had tot that dog and cat lovers were the equivalents of bi-sexuals. But my friend Siow Kum Hong, he and his wife own both dogs and cats, assures me that such people are “not uncommon”.

Easy to avoid “xenophobe” label

In Humour, Uncategorized on 21/10/2013 at 4:47 am

I waz planning to grumble about (I assume unintentional) implications of: There are plenty of xenophobic people these days who rail unjustly against foreigners and cite them for alleged misconduct which they themselves might be guilty of at some other place and time. Whilst these people should be taken to task, it is equally unfair to use the “xenophobic” label to tar others who are merely speaking up against government policies and genuine grievances, but who may not phrase themselves with exactly the right amount of nuance and sensitivity.

It is very easy to be labelled as a xenophobe. All you have to do is to say “Singaporeans should come first”.(http://www.sgpolitics.net/?p=8546)

But, in I’m sure, a different context context, Vincent Wijeysingha expressed my sentiments better than I ever could (I never faced racism when in the UK or Oz, maybe ’cause I waz in the “right” environment), and a lot faster too. See below for a longish quote from Vincent Wijeysingha and the link to his piece*.

So, I’ll confine myself to suggestions on how avoiding getting labelled a xenophobe when criticising the govt’s pro-FT stance. In this age of cut & paste, it’s easy for those who may not phrase themselves with exactly the right amount of nuance and sensitivity can use the words of Dr Tan Cheng Bock and Dr Chee to avoid the use the “xenophobic” label.

Remember Dr Tan’s slogan for the 2011 presidential election that he lost by a very short nose? “Think Singaporean first”. People could say, “The govt/ we should Think Singaporean first’…” or “Rather than its pro-FT policy, the govt should adopt Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s Think Singaporean first’ …”

Dr Chee’s, “A word of caution, I ask all of us here in Singapore to be the people that we truly are, the tolerant people that we are and if we attack, we attack the policy, we point out the flaws in the policy, not against the people who are here for work.”, can be simplified to “We disagree with the govt’s pro-FT policy, not the foreigners working here. We are unhappy with the “FTs first, citizens last” attitude of the govt because …”

I’m assuming that after using these phrases, users don’t talk of “molest” cases increasing because of the presence of FTs (Gilbert Goh), or linking violence and crime to the increasing number of FTs. These are no-go areas if one one’s to avoid the  “xenophobe” label. Talk about the suppression of the wages of local PMETs, stagnating real wage levels, overcrowded public transport and the increase in apartment rents and CoEs.

It’s easy to avoid the “xenophobe”, unless people really want to be called “xenophobes”, or are really xenophobes who pretend that their English lets them down. BTW, let’s bear in mind, that some PAPpies, on their own initiative, may be using “xenophobic” language deliberately to fix, tar S’poreans who criticise the govt’s pro-FT policy.

—–

*”To those following events in the foreigner debate, you may have noticed that the temper is gradually deteriorating. People are beginning to take views that have no relationship to the real situation. The most preposterous racism is being aired. When I lived in the UK for many years, I noticed a similar trend. It resulted, in later years, in racist assaults and eventually killings. The feeling of being frightened for your safety because of escalating racism, frightened for your security and that of your family, is unpleasant, to say the least.

Those who are serious about contributing to the population debate must begin to take responsibility for what they say and do. The action against Ranstad was misguided and wrong because it made an accusation which was not justified and it stoked further the resentment of Singaporeans already so unhappy with how things are developing. More actions of this kind will, I have no doubt, result in far worse outcomes both for foreigners in Singapore as well as for Singaporeans themselves.”

(https://www.facebook.com/notes/vincent-wijeysingha/fuck-off-back-home-foreigner/678499962167930)

Hear, Heat I say.

GG crashes: new Indian chief needed?

In Uncategorized on 11/10/2013 at 5:00 am

(Or “Dr Chee’s no mad dog, he’s coyote”)

Gilbert Goh (who showed up meritocracy S’pore style) like Icarus paid the price of flying too close to the sun after getting S’poreans fired-up about the population white paper. Too bad, we S’poreans too got burned by GG’s hubris.

As this cartoon shows, the PAP is celebrating

It and its running dogs in the media and new media are spinning this rally as a victory for the govt: S’poreans now want 6.9m people by 2030.

They can quote one GG: “The momentum from the protests earlier this year has gone off, and the anger and emotion among Singaporeans is maybe no longer there,” chief organiser Gilbert Goh told AFP. http://sg.news.yahoo.com/low-turn-singapore-anti-immigration-protest-130612015.html

Sadly for us citizens of Manor Farm, Animal Farm S’pore , the truth is more complex. For starters, S’poreans have cottoned on to Gilbert Goh’s dog whistle. And S’poreans don’t do intolerance. Dr Dr Chee has said, ” the tolerant people that we are …”

(Dog whistle is a type of strategy of communication that sends a message that the general population will take a certain meaning from, but a certain group that is “in the know” will take away the secret, intended message. Often involves code words. Urban Dictionary)

The anger and emotion is still there. What has changed since the first event  is that GG has been shown to be anti-foreigner by his words. Example: his call for the 5 October rally. My take on it.

Then there was his attempt to make his protest movement an anti-govt movement, calling for regime change, rather than juz a specific anti-policy movement. See above links.

Finally, there is the multitude of calls to rally after the govt announced some curbs on the FT explosion.

Given GG’s views on FTs, I was surprised that Dr Chee and friends attended the rally, and Dr Chee spoke.

My initial reaction was that Drs Paul A, Wee Nam and others had failed to make sure that he took his anti-mad dog pills, and that he had bitten other SDP members.

But on reflection, Dr Chee’s speech with his, “A word of caution, I ask all of us here in Singapore to be the people that we truly are, the tolerant people that we are and if we attack, we attack the policy, we point out the flaws in the policy, not against the people who are here for work.”*, was an attempt to channel the issue to its original root: unhappiness with the white paper on population, and the govt’s pro-FT policy.

Sadly, Dr Chee’s attempt wouldn’t work. What was so different about GG’s initial call to protest was that it cut across political allegiances. The white paper and the govt’s pro-FT policy, were something, like bad public transport, that affected everyone, and couldn’t be used by the PAP and its running dogs journalists as a test of “Are you with us, or against us?”.  Sadly, GG then made it into “Are you with us, or against us?”.

A new Indian chief is needed to remobilise the RODed, or AWOLed S’poreans.

P Ravi perhaps? He has to his credit the scalp of the previous SMRT CEO (Remember after a protest he organised calling for her resignation, she quit). Opps forgot he member of a small fringe, marginal opposition party, where he works out by climbing stairs, pounding the pavements and drinking teh-tarik. Said party doesn’t even bother to use his new media skills.

Vincent Wijeysingha then? He is a social worker and activist; has concerns about the white paper (he spoke at GG’s first rally) but doesn’t dog whistle that he hates FTs; is smart (even though he went to Victoria, not RI, but then dad was RI principal then and father and son ada class); and talks well. The only people that would hold his gayness against him would be pastor Khong and gang, and Berrie Bear, the Canadian, S’porean, Muslim bear. With enemies like these, who needs friends? And he has friends, including human rights kay pohs, who will add a bit of class to the movement. He can bridge the divide between the unhappy masses and “liberals” on the unhappiness with the population white paper and the govt’s pro-FT policy.  Both are unhappy, but cannot find common ground, as this article http://sg.news.yahoo.com/blogs/singaporescene/great-singaporean-grievance-103242143.html shows.

Take the poisoned chalice, Vincent? Or is it the holy grail? The holy grail was a poisoned chalice for those not worthy to sip from it.

*TOC and Yahoo versions added together

Formula E the new F1?/ Why can’t MSM report F1 event like this?

In Uncategorized on 22/09/2013 at 5:05 am

S’pore did the first Kiddie Games and overspent for no apparent gain.

Why not try Formula E?

There will be 10 teams and 20 drivers racing on roads – not racetracks – in 10 cities, with a preliminary line-up that includes Los Angeles, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro, London, Buenos Aires and Beijing …

Jean Todt, president of the FIA, called Formula E “a vision of the future”. And this comes from a man who built his reputation in rally car racing and then as head of F1’s most famous competitor, Ferrari.

He told the BBC: “F1 is the pinnacle of motor racing, but there is plenty of space for other championships, from endurance racing to touring car, to karting – and definitely Formula E.”

He rejected claims that Formula E is simply a promotional exercise to improve motorsport’s image.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24053853

OK, we got to divert traffic etc, one more time a yr. But this is new and innovative.

BTW, I enjoyed reading http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/24127798 about how Marina Bay is turned into a race track. Makes me proud to be a S’porean: We are the Prussians of the East.

Why can’t our constructive, nation building media report like this?

Or tell us why the race is so technically challenging for the drivers:

The Marina Bay Street Circuit is the second slowest 23-turn circuit on the calendar after Monaco, with an average speed of 172kph. Approximately 46% of the lap is taken at full throttle, compared with over 75% at Monza.

The twisting layout is hard on the brakes, while the gearboxes also take a beating, with around 80 gear changes per lap.

Drivers will complete 61 laps in the race – in 30C heat and 70% humidity – which takes a little under two hours to complete.

A change to the circuit this year is at turn 10 – dubbed the Singapore Sling. The original layout, a three-turn chicane, was seen as dangerous by drivers with Kimi Raikkonen crashing there in 2008 and Lewis Hamilton describing it as ‘the worst corner in Formula 1′.

This year, it has been turned into a single-apex left-hand bend and, without the chicane, lap times are expected to be lower.

This article told me more interesting facts about the skills needed to finish the course than all the drums coming from our MSM.

Where NS leads to successful high tech start-ups

In Uncategorized on 17/09/2013 at 4:48 am

In S’pore, NS is often seen (esp by those doing it) as a waste of time and a source of cheap labour for public events like National Day, F1 and the Kiddie Games.

In Israel, which is surrounded by hostiles threatening to destroy the nation, NS is seen as impt not only for the defence of nation and the Jewish tradition, but also as a training ground for budding high tech entrepreneurs:

Inside the HQ of the Mamram, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) technical support unit in nearby Ramat Gan, computer training course commander … says new recruits on a six-month intensive programming course study from dawn till night and are taught programming skills, teamwork, project management and – most importantly how to be creative. It’s like a school for start-ups.

“When you do a degree in computer science you study the technical things,” she says. “You study how to write a code, mathematics. We don’t focus on that. We focus on how to work in a team. How to understand what your client needs and make software that fits his demands. How to write good code that you will be able to de-bug and maintain.”

Tal Marian, founder of the TechLoft, a commercial shared workspace just off Rothschild, says the results of the military training are obvious. “Some of the military units work like a civilian organisation,” says Marian. “They encourage entrepreneurship, the feeling that if you come up with a good idea that answers a real need of that unit’s mission, you will get the funding and manpower and the time you need.”

After years of helping to solve the nation’s major security threats, the challenges of gaming and mobile apps pale by comparison, he adds.

And

“Entrepreneurs in Israel are unique,” he says. “Their approach to problems is different to others because the army is a huge incubator for innovation and entrepreneurship. The army gave us a few million dollars at the age of 18 and asked us to build technology and systems that address problems that only people 10 or 20 years older are dealing with in other parts of the world. That kind of pressure and challenge really brings a lot of things out of you.”

Tal skipped university to work at a start-up before launching his own, but another important driver of the tech scene is the fact that Israeli university students pay only about $3,100 (£2,000) a year in tuition fees. They emerge from military service and three years of studying with zero debt, eager to take a year off to pursue their dreams.

That youthful exuberance, combined with the rigorous military training in technology and project management, has found a natural home among cafes running down the centre of Rothschild.

When one Tony Tan was DPM a few yrs back, he visited Israel to learn the secrets of building a high tech entrepreneurial culture. Obviously he wasn’t brought to Rothschild Boulevard, or the IDF unit. Obviously, they must have been state secrets then. We know he visited Israeli research institutes and signed shume MOUs.

Related

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16787509

The IDF has already changed enormously in recent years. Its largest unit, 8200, is focused on cyber-warfare. http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21583317-israels-armed-forces-are-shifting-emphasis-mechanised-warfare-toward-air-and

Parks: HK 67%, S’pore 8% of Land Use/ City in 2050

In Uncategorized on 01/09/2013 at 5:18 am

Remember this?

The Singapore government said it is committed to retain about a tenth of land for nature reserves and parks.

Acting Manpower Minister and Senior Minister of State for National Development, Tan Chuan-Jin, said this is significant for a highly urbanised city-state.http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1259158/1/.html

Well HK, which most of us would consider overcrowded, 66.6% of Land Use in the territory is classified as nature reserves and parks versus 8% for S’pore (ST data: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/hk-finds-room-for-7-2-million-people/). So 10% is “peanuts”, when a place with 7.2m people has more green space, a lot more.

If you’ve wondering how come HK has so much parks’ land, the answer is “Land Use”. HK is pretty hilly country and the sides of hills are included in the definition of “Land Use”. Even so in terms of territory, about 30% of HK’s territory is set aside for parks and conversation areas, still a lot more than S’pore’s 8% of “Land Use” or 9.8% of “non-development” land.  But the spin goes on

By 2030, 85 per cent or over eight in 10 residents will be living within a 10-minute walk to a park.

This figure will be up from the current 80 per cent, as mapped out by the Land Use Plan released on Thursday. The promise is that even as Singapore gears up for a population of up to 6.9 million, its urban landscape will still remain largely green.

http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Singapore/Story/A1Story20130201-399404.html

BTW, 2 S’pore buildings shortlisted for World Architecture Festival 2013 Awards Both Included inside this http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-23151365

Now to the future

Have you ever wondered where you or your children may be living in 2050? Experts predict that by then three-quarters of the world’s population will live in cities. For part of its Tomorrow’s Cities season the BBC takes a look through the crystal ball to imagine what city life might be like in 40 years’ time.

ttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23524249

Would you like to live in a circular city? Or a city where there are no parks but lots of greenery? Check out this highly commended audio slide show.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23799590

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 204 other followers