Sorry Yoko for thinking you the reason.
Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Given the news about police raids on a gold trading firm, this sounds topical: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/examining-the-ponzi-scheme-through-the-mind-of-the-con-artist/?nl=business&emc=edit_dlbkam_20120821
A few weeks ago, I met the publisher and CEO of Epigram books. A 60-something entrepreneur, rather than take things easy (he has a succesful design company), a few years ago, he decided to go into publishing books here. He is a brave man. I know the economics of book publishing having been involved in the setting up of a textbook publisher in KL. It was sold in 2011, with the founder losing a few million $ in the process.
I bot some books that looked interesting, and here’s one I tot would interest readers of this blog: Mum’s Not Cooking which promotes itself as “What do you do when you’re homesick for some Singapore food, but you can’t really cook, mum’s nowhere nearby, or there’s no hawker centre … Recognising that you may not easily obtain ‘authentic’ ingredients if you’re based overseas where you are … suggests food substitutions to help you approximate that taste for home”.
Would have been very useful all those many years ago when I studied (London) and then worked (Oz) overseas.
Its shumething for self or friends moving on overseas for some time or permanently.
So if you are planning to move on overseas (not juz to Johor or other parts of Malaya, or Batam or Bintang), or know someone who is going to study, or work abroad, get him or her a copy of this book which should be available at a bookshop. If not google for Epigram Books and contact the staff. I’m sure they will tell you where to get a copy.
As a present, it doesn’t cost much and will be appreciated.
While surfing the internet, I came across these articles on how a city in England is using its graveyard as a wild life reserve.
There will be parts of Bukit Brown that remain untouched. What abt telling us what you want done to these areas.
Waz this rubbish abt wanting to attack when playing away?
“Strikers win games, defenders win trophies,” said a great Arsenal manager who won the double when it meant something.
Hope that these LionsXII guys are playing mind games, not being talk cock artists.
The US started kicking the Swiss banks in the head over US citizens evading US taxes via Swiss banks. Will the US ”tighten the screws” on the likes of MS, and will S’pore get caught in the row? Watch and wait.
The hearing featured a case study involving Microsoft’s shifting of IP rights for software developed in America, and the earnings that flow from them, to divisions in lower-tax Puerto Rico, Ireland and Singapore. One witness, Professor Stephen Shay of Harvard Law School, pointed out that in 2011 these three units enjoyed an average effective tax rate of just 4% and managed to book $15.4 billion of pre-tax profit—55% of Microsoft’s worldwide total. Their 1,914 employees generated an eyebrow-raising $8m of profit each, compared with $312,000 each for the 88,000 working in the rest of Microsoft. Whether or not this apportionment of profits complies with transfer-pricing rules, it is “not consistent with a commonsense understanding of where the locus of Microsoft’s economic activity…is occurring,” said Mr Shay. The claim that fair transfer prices were paid is “just not credible given the bottom-line outcome,” he added.
In 2011, the Senate investigators asserted, Microsoft’s parent company was paid $4 billion by Ireland and Singapore for rights that the two subsidiaries used to generate three times that amount in royalty payments from other bits of the group … A Microsoft man who was grilled at the hearing said the staffers’ sums ignored hefty, regular “buy-in” payments that the foreign subsidiaries have to make to the parent.
Earlier this week, FT reported Burma is to delay the implementation of controversial foreign investment legislation passed this month, but will step up reforms in areas like financial services, land use and government structures.
Seems the president will ask parly to make changes to the foreign investment law. So this compromise did not work.
This is what the ISEAS Monitor (Sept issue) wrote juz before the compromise and its analysis is spot-on.
Myanmar is being confronted with a serious challenge to the rule of law and the integrity of the constitutional arrangement by a controversy over the ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal (CT) regarding the status of parliamentary bodies. It began when parliamentarians insisted that committees, commissions and bodies formed by parliament be accorded the status of “Union” (central) level organisations in order to fulfill their ‘check and balance’ function.
A request to clarify the issue was sent to the President early this year. The Attorney-General, on behalf of the President, submitted the issue to the CT for a ruling. The CT ruled, in February, that the interpretation of committees, commissions and bodies “formed by each Hluttaw [parliament] as Union Level Organisations” was unconstitutional. Many parliamentarians did not accept the verdict and 191 MPs from the Pyithu Hluttaw (PH; lower house) informed its Speaker in April theirintention to table a motion calling for the impeachment of the CT chair and members.
When negotiations to resolve the dispute failed, 301 MPs from the PH again prompted the Speaker, on 8 August, for the impeachment citing breach of constitutional provisions and failure to fulfill their duties. The Speaker sent amessage to the President on 14 August suggesting that the Attorney-General’ssubmission to the CT be withdrawn and the CT chair and members should resign voluntarily before 21 August. The President replied in a message, dated 20 August,to the Speaker that the submission could not be withdrawn because the verdict hadalready been reached and he could not act to make the CT chair and members, who had independently made a decision in accordance with the Constitution, resign as that would be unfair and against the law.
The CT also held a press conference on 20 August to explain its position and reaffirmits commitment to stand by the decision and to carry on its tasks and duties.
Subsequently, it was announced that the impeachment process would be initiatedby the Amyotha Hluttaw (upper house) in the current parliamentary session. The spectre of political division looms.
Key points: The CT and MPs are on a collision course. This could arrest the momentum of much-needed political and economic reforms, and erode the legitimacy of the democratic institution. In the worst case, it could be an excuse for the return of authoritarianism.
Meanwhile, Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is visiting the US, has said she supports further easing of sanctions against Burma’s government.
And M’sian retailer, Parkson, plans to expand into Burma, despite its not so happy experiences in Vietnam.
(Or “Why Thai billionaire settled”)
Thai billionaire, Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, offered S$8.88bn (US$7.3 bn) in cash for the 70% stake in F&N that he did not already own. The belief was that that he wanted to kill the sale of F&N’s APB shares to Heineken.http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/thai-billionaire-in-7-3-billion-bid-for-fraser-neave/?src=dlbksb
Well he didn’t. Instead he has agreed to support the sale of F&N’s stake in APB to Heineken NV. As part of an agreement, Heineken said it will not make a general offer for shares in F&N under the Singapore merger code.
Below was the analysis I was planning to publish before news of the deal. Tot readers might be interested in my analysis on why he wouldn’t block the APB deal, and why he wouldn’t get F&N at $8.88.
The shareholders of F%N should note that about a third of APB’s revenues come, not from Tiger, but from products licenced from Heineken. And some licences are going to renewed soon: in Indon and Vietnam. So if F&N shareholders reject the sale of F&N’s share of APB to Heineken, and if Heineken cuts its nose to spite its face, APB is worth only S$36.7. Actually, this fact explains something I never understood: Tiger was not APB’s premier offering in a number of regional products; a Heineken product was. Now I know why: ang mohs (APB is managed by Heineken) clever to ensure that Heineken products have a presence.
So this is shumething the Thai bidder of F&N has to take into consideration given that he is geared to his eyeballs and beyond. He also has to take into account that APB could be delisted if the free float drops a little more. Co must have free float of at least 10% of shares.
All F&N shareholders also have to take into account that
– Heineken’s shareholders don’t want it to overpay for APB,
– Heineken has mgt control of APB, and
– even if Heineken withdraws its bid, it can take control of APB via arbitration and has the right of first refusal over F&N’s APB shares. F&N directors have said that in case of dispute over valuation, the mechanism is not related to its share price. So could get less.
My guess is that he will not try to block the sale at the coming EGM of F&N. He wants the cash and other assets of F&N (soft drinks?) in a break-up of F&N. But his offer of S$8.88 is too cheap. F&N closed yesterday at 8.97. Note F&N plans to return effectively S$2.12 a share if its shareholders approve the sale of APB shares.
An interesting and informative post on the difference.
It’s all abt Fed printing $. And he said this before last Thursday when the US Federal Reserve moved to pump even more money into the economy by injecting US$40bn a month into the US economy.
Yesterday, ThaiBev said it was “not seeking funding for a potential general offer for F&N”. Previous post
Seems that there was no appetite among the S’poran and M’sian banks it approached to fund the takeover. So it didn’t try to get funding.
Oh and the party acting in concert with it is the controllling shareholder’s son-in-law’s co that bot the APB shares from OCBC and friends ($45) and in the market.
In this piece, NMP Janice Koh laments the govmin is not funding S’pore’s participation in a very “chim” arts festival: Are we intending to backtrack on the last ten years of work in profiling our best artists internationally? Why bother investing millions of dollars in art schools and scholarships to develop artistic talent each year, into encouraging greater arts participation on the ground, if there is no concerted and consistent effort to create a track for our top creative talent to showcase Singapore’s artistic excellence at the most critical platforms? And despite all the rhetoric on wanting to encourage dialogue and engagement, was the visual arts sector and the artistic community consulted at all on this issue before the pull-out?
As shumeone who knows very little of the arts scene here, and who knows many S’poreans who are like me, when the piece was edited from her Facebook post to an online article in an online magazine (not TRE), she should have:
– given more information on government funding for other show case events: is the Venice do juz one of several, some of many, or the only one (If it was the only one, she should say so. If she doesn’t know, why write about it on an on-line magazine?); and
– told us whether the government consulted with the community. This: ”And despite all the rhetoric on wanting to encourage dialogue and engagement, was the visual arts sector and the artistic community consulted at all on this issue before the pull-out?” seemed to imply that there wasn’t. After all, if there was, she would have surely known?
Sadly as it stands, S’porans like myself who are not into the artsy, folksy scene, are left wondering whether this is a “rant”, well intended doubtless, by a member or a friend of the arts community, against an action of the government that she and the arts community does not like? It is certainly no critical analysis of the role of govt spending or priorities in the arts.
This point of view is reinforced by the minister’s comments in parly that the arts community were consulted http://blogs.todayonline.com/forartssake/2012/09/10/mica-responds-to-venice-biennale-issue/. He also gave details of the cost of participation in that chim do.
Janice Koh on her Facebook page or even on her personal blog has every right to rant and rave. But Janice Koh (the “arts” NMP — a title she has not cried off) has no such right when writing in a more formal setting, and a wider audience. She should also bear in mind that society has a view, wrong of course, that actress are “air heads”. So she shouldn’t add to that view.
My wider point, is that us netizens have to do more than rant and rave. We got to share facts.
(Or “Why LKY did things “My way or the highway”)
Burma has finally passed a new investment law acceptable to the govt and parliament (govt supporters and opposition had problems with govt’s original proposal) http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asia/311492/myanmar-passes-investment-law
Govt backed down: judges resigned, and opponents of the above law passed it in a form acceptable to govt. Even ltd democracy can be bothersome. The army represenratives kept neutral. They were meant to give government an in-built majority.
Best to do it the LKY way? “I ignore polling as a method of government. I think that shows a certain weakness of mind – an inability to chart a course whichever way the wind blows, whichever way the media encourages the people to go, you follow. You are not a leader.”
Lsst yr this time, Thailand was hit by a massive flood that left the country and government floundering. This yr, it seems Thailand is prepared for another massive flood despite the prediction that the rains will not be so heavy.
(Or “Ravi is lucky to have four trusty friends” or “A friend in need, is a friend in need”)
Last week, I wrote that if Ravi is found to be mentally sick, only the SDP would come out of the sorry tale with credit.
Well, whether Ravi is found to be ill or not, TRE would come out with credit. This piece explains very clearly the circumstances behind Ravi’s latest action against the Law Soc (asking the court to sack all the council members): Ravi has a letter from a very qualified and eminent doctor, clearing him of being a loony, and a danger to his clients.
If only Ravi had given us the info contained therein last week, I for one would have been more sympathetic towards him. But I must add, even after reading TRE’s piece, I can understand the Law Soc’s court petition*. But I now understand why Ravi is so angry. He gave Law Soc a letter saying he is fine.
So now other than SDP and TRE who else are Ravi’s friends?
Andrew Loh and http://publichouse.sg/. But they tend to report Ravi’s version without giving background info. With the constructive, nation-building as his opponent, context is always impt in getting Ravi’s side of the story understood.
I hope that Ravi will use TRE, Andrew Loh and Publichouse to tell his side of the story in a timely manner and not allow the media to misrepresent the facts. The task then to explain his side of the story is made more difficult. Take his action to petition the court to remove the Law Soc council last Friday. The TRE article should have ideally appeared the day he announced the petition.
As to who are not his friends, one is possibly KennethJ who leaked without any context, Dr Fones’ letter to the Law Soc . The twit did Ravi no favours: made Ravi’s looniness a fact, rather than juz an opinion of a doctor. KennethJ went on to compare Ravi to a USSR dissident being certified loony.
The problem that KennethJ and are netizens who shout “repression are three-fold.
Ravi has a documented history of mental illness and forgetting to take his medicine.
He accepts these facts, most of the time.
And Ravi has not denied the following serious allegations: that he
– was involved in a row outside a Hindu temple;
– shouted vulgarities at a MediaCorp producer (who filed a police report); and
– stopped taking his medicine
Whatever it is, let’s hope Ravi listens to those who have his interests at heart, and not those who want to use him for their own ends (Example?: This lady is trying to mix up the mental health issue with the “repression” issue. And she seems to have conveniently forgotten that the publicity and leaks came from Ravi, not the Law Soc).
And if they advise him to take his medicine regularly, I hope he takes his pills.
Three cheers for SDP, TRE Andrew Loh and Publichouse. So far, only they are doing the right thing by Ravi.
I will cheerfully admit that I’m no friend. In this blog, I(as a trained lawyer)’ve criticised the legal positions he has taken. But of his courage, I’ve never said a bad word: as brave, if not braver, than the late Saint JBJ.
*The latest twist in the story http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1223845/1/.html. W
I was planning to write a totful, analytical piece abt the changes at TOC since the GE of 2011. There had been major changes twice since then in the way TOC was run.
But the front page of TOC (at the time of writing compels) me to put up this short note.
There are nine Main Stories, of which only one is an original piece. Of the rest,
two three are media releases (no, I’m not bitching abt them because they give useful info) but the remaining six five Main Stories are from other blogs. And the original article is not a gd piece of writing. It’s a rant.
And the reprints (two from the same person) are OK reads, nothing v.v good. Today’s Main Story, written by one KennethJ, is not even that recent. It was written shumetime back.
While today’s front page, is extreme, I’ve noticed that ever since Ravi the do-gooder stepped down*, there has been a growing use of “reprints”. In June, I sent an email to a member of the Core Team asking jokingly if KennethJ was paying for ad space or had taken over TOC**. On 2 June and 3 June this year, out of the nine Main Stories TOC carried, he had three articles (I’m not sure if they were reprints from his blog) and one praising him to the skies.***
Is TOC becoming an aggregator? Is it becoming an aggregator out of choice or because of a dearth of original material ?Remember it’s so easy nowadays to start a blog, and aggregators like SGDaily and S’pore Surf draw attention to new bloggers by helping promote pieces they think should be of interest.
And why is the editorial team not writing more themselves? Ravi and before him, Andrew Loh, used to write many of the original articles that appeared in TOC.
*I helped him edit and the new team asked me twice to help edit but never used my edits (their right) and I never ever got another piece to edit from them (fair enough, not wasting the time of both sides if they don’t like my edits)
**Remember he tried to takeover SDP only to fail and look silly, dumb and petulant in the process. Chiam (his mentor) came out looking silly but recovered quickly his credibility. KennethJ never did.
***And between 7 July- 10th July, there were two articles by him (again not sure if they were reprints) and one abt him out of the nine Main Stories.
It’s deadly serious. Reputations will be made or lost.
– the Law Society of Singapore and one of its members, Wong Siew Hong, indicated that they will defend the legal suits filed against them by lawyer M Ravi (he is now suing them for $36m); and
– Ravi told us that the Law Soc had petitioned the court to compel him to see a doctor (CNA article).
And on Monday evening, the Law Soc informed its members of a requisition to convene an EGM to explain its dispute with Ravi.
So it isn’t a wayang by Ravi, the performance artist, who put on a singing and dancing show at Hong Lim Green sometime back. Reputations are at stake, not only Ravi’s.
We will soon know
– Was it true as reported in ST (sister publication of STOMP, where a content provider employee fabricated a story) that he was involved in an incident at a temple (the police came but did not arrest anyone) the day after he saw Dr Fones and the day before the doctor’s letter about Ravi’s mental health was written and leaked? (Note Ravi has never denied this report.). And if so, did this incident this influence the actions of Dr Fones and Wong Siew Hong? And how did they get to know about the incident since it wasn’t reported at the time?
– Was it true Ravi intimidated a MediaCorp producer? She has filed a police report. Again, Ravi has not denied her account of what happened. He juz kept quiet.
– Had he stopped taking his medication, at the time of the above and his performance at Hong Lim Green? I’ve heard allegations that he had stopped his taking his medicine at said times.
– The circumstances in which Ravi give KennethJ (the son of JBJ, and a failed politician and attention-seeker) authority to release the letter?
– Why did said KennethJ release the letter without giving any it any context? Intentionally saboing his lawyer and ally, or sheer incompetence, or tidak apa, or was that what Ravi wanted initially?
– Why did the Law Soc withdraw its initial comment ”that LSS had initiated the intervention in the court proceedings.” – Did Wong act on his own initiative, or was he asked to do so by someone higher up in the Law Soc?
If Ravi is found not to have been ill, there will a big row on the competency of the Law Soc, and the general public will be inclined to accept the allegations of KennethJ and those who allege that Ravi was being fixed were right.
If Ravi is found to have been ill, what does it say about
– the said KennethJ who wrote a piece comparing Ravi’s row with the Law Soc to the practice in the USSR of certifying dissidents as loonies. Is KennethJ a loonie himself in writing such rubbish? Or juz an opportunistic trouble maker?
– And what does it say about the netizens who took the view that Ravi was being fixed? Nothing wrong with him, they yelled in TRE and various other blogs. Their hatred of the establishment warped their judgements?
If Ravi is found to have been ill, only the SDP will have come out with credit in this sorry tale. Remember, the Singapore Democratic Party called on all parties to “give (Mr Ravi) the space that he needs while he is going through a difficult period”. In a statement on its website, the SDP noted, among other things, that “those who recommend Ravi’s absence from court for him to seek treatment may not necessarily be wishing him ill and those who are treating him are not his enemies.”
And actually the Law Soc should get (it won’t partly because of its mistakes) credit for trying to ensure that clients’ lawyers have their wits around them, while protecting the interests of lawyers who may have mental problems.
Whatever the result, I hope Ravi remembers who his friends are. And S’poreans should remember that we should never let our prejudices rule us. “Seek facts from the truth”, as Chairman Mao would say.
*Ravi had accused the LawSoc and Mr Wong of failing to investigate content of a doctor’s letter that he was looney before it was made known to the public. He also claimed that Mr Wong’s actions had breached the confidentiality of the letter. He alleged that it caused him to be “injured in his professional reputation and has thereby suffered loss and damage”. He claimed millions of dollars in damages.
A few months ago, MediaCorp reported that it heard that F1 was not listing here, not juz postponing its IPO.
On Friday MediaCorp reported, Singapore Exchange CEO Magnus Bocker said he expects a few big ticket initial public offerings (IPOs) to come into Singapore for the rest of 2012.
These listings are expected to come from local and regional companies. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporebusinessnews/view/1221696/1/.html
F1 is not a regional or local company.
And “big ticket”? Not USA$1bn and bigger IPOs aka M’sia. We had two sub billion USD IPOs of Reits and another hospital Reit of similar size is coming. Reuters reports: “Religare Health Trust is set to launch an up to $400 million initial public offering in Singapore, a source said, in a move that will allow the backer of the trust, Indian hospitals group Fortis Healthcare, to cut its substantial debt level.”
When is the ang moh FT CEO and his Indian FT president (“Tonto” is his name?) going to deliver on a US$1bn IPO. S’pore has never played second fiddle to M’sia in capital markets, except in Islamic finance. Now in IPOs, the FTs have S’pore down.
Remember that like any other form of lottery game your chances of winning are not greatly increased by playing.
Something in the air that develops such ladies? Juz like something in the air that develops feisty wimmin in M’sia.
Thailand’s economy grew more than forecast in the April to June period helped by domestic consumption and continued recovery in manufacturing.
Growth was 3.3% in the second quarter, compared to the previous three months. Analysts had forecast growth of 1.7%.
Thai market as of 15 August was +19.7% on the yr in US$ terms, slightly behind S’pores 20%. Explain this Dr Chee, KennethJ, EJay and other haters of all things PAP.
So what can it buy? It can even buy Sprint, a US telco: only US$13.6bn. This list explains why a buy would be a inreresting idea at integrating the Apple experience,which is so impt for Apple’s profits.
The funny thing is that even if it buys everything on the list (Twitter, RIM, maker of Blackberry, are on the list suggested), it still has US$20bn in spare cash.
The government and the constructive, nation-building media, and the inhabitants of “cowboy towns” are engaged in a dialogue of the deaf.
The government and the media are shouting at S’poreans to be proud of our PRC FT gladiators who win Olympic medals. “It’s for S’pore” the govmin and media shout. I’m waiting for one Goh Chok Tong to come out to say that those of us who are not proud of our FT Olympians are unpatriotic, and are not real S’poreans, unlike the PRC gladiators who are the true blue S’poreans.
(BTW PM, BG Tan: OK to spit, stone and despise those like our PRC men gladiators or Tao Li who don’t win medals?)
Netizens are screaming that the medals these instant citizens win are worthless; like many of the FTs allowed in by the cattle truck load.
Well the conversation is getting boring.
So here’s my solution to get some civilty and rationality. A solution that is in keeping with our uniquely S’porean tradition of trying to put a monetary value on everything — even the value of being a citizen.
Netizens and the government should think of S’pore as the equivalent of a Nike or Adidas who regularly sponsor athletes. They do a cost-benefit analysis to see whether they should sponsor someone, and then regularly monitor and update the analysis to see if the sponsorship should continue. If the athlete does not add value to the brand, either by helping sell more goods, or by bringing in additional intangible goodwill (yes, this is measured in $ terms by corporate sponsors), the person gets dropped, or the fees get reduced.
So show us the cost-benefit analysis to justify why money spent on FT gladiators is worth it. If it can be done for F1, why not for FT gladiators. Be prepared to monetarise the intangibles. Don’t be like one VivianB who overspent by three times the original budget on the Kiddie Games while being mean and insulting to the poor*: didn’t get any return did we? Also show us the assumptions used and make sure the assumptions can stand scrutiny: don’t be like Tharman and his jokes on inflation, GST and owning a flat on a salary less than S$1000 a month.
The PM talks of having a more open, inclusive society.
Let’s have a proper debate on whether the FT gladiators add value to S’pore. After all, realising the data will not affect national security.
Somehow I think the government prefers to shout us down.
Here I prophesised that Far East Reit would be forced to increase the expected yield on its trust from a niggardly 6-6.5%.
Well Morocco Mole (sidekick to Secret Squirrel) tells me that the Reit, which owns hotels and serviced residences in Singapore has not changed its pricing, despite CDL’s yield of 6ish% and Ascendas Hos of almost 8%.
So don’t subscribe if you are hoping for a pop in the price on listing day. CDL looks a better yield play. Got public track record.
But first things first: Congrats Feng Tian Wei for winning an Olympic bronze medal. You’ve joined a elite club. Gd for you.
Now to the rant of the day.
Our FT gladiators are supposed to bring glory to S’pore. Err thaz the theory.
PRC FT ping-pong player Wang Yuegu bitched about the umpire and his selection after her quarter-final defeat in the women’s singles competition on Tuesday. Unless Wang Yuegu can substantiate her allegations about the Germans trying to “fix” her , she has tarnished S’pore’s reputation, more so since ”there were hardly any umpiring decisions made against her”: in point of fact there was only one. Details below*
She shamed us several times over. She was undignified in defeat, not for the first time**. What will people think we are? Nothing more than Chinese peasants, without manners?
There’s something more important. We native S’poreans have over many decades built a reputation as people whose words have to be taken seriously because we do not say things that are unreasonable, or which we cannot substantiate or prove.
One LKY set the standard. Pre the collapse of the USSR, his geo-political analyses were taken serious by the likes of Dr Kissinger. He also sued people who defamed him, daring them to provide the basis of their defamation. They never could.
So while Wang is a team silver medalist in the 2008 Olympics and in the last world ping-pong championship, her behaviour shames us. The medals she won are not worth the stain on our national reputation.
Even her personal groveling and that of the entire ping-pong association (headed by another uncouth and undignified FT, a PAP female MP) will not remove the stain.
To their credit, our constructive, nation-building media did not suppress news of this disgraceful behaviour by an FT. But I note that the behaviour of the said FT was not condemned by the publications belonging to SPH***, or the association. If it had been the sport of us native S’poreans, footie, I’m sure ST and FAS officials would have howled their disapproval. And ministers would have joined in.
I hope the silence is only due to the hope of another team silver ping-pong silver model, and not because FTs have to be treated like “gods”.
*Moments after her 4-1 defeat to Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa at London’s ExCel Arena, Wang stunned the Singapore media when she hit out at the appointment of German Claudia Moller as the umpire for their match.
“As soon as I saw I had a German umpire, I knew I was going to lose points,” said the 31-year-old, who is ranked world No 11, and who could be competing in her last Olympics.
“My husband is German, and I have a private problem with them. Someone from their team is abusing their relationship with officials and has arranged for me to have a German umpire.
“They’re abusing their power and I can’t respect that.
“Today, I feel fine personally about the match, but I feel bad for the sport and bad for the Olympic Games that this is allowed to happen.”
This despite Today reporting ”there were hardly any umpiring decisions made against her during her clash with Ishikawa yesterday, it is unclear what the real reasons are behind her surprise and unusual outburst … Wang could not be contacted later to further explain her verbal lashing.
When approached after the incident, table tennis team manager Loy Soo Han declined comment. Likewise, Singapore Table Tennis Association Chief Executive Officer Wong Hui Leng did not want to speak on the matter”.- TODAY
**However, at the World Championship in Dortmund, Germany, in March this year, Wang was shown the red card for protesting a series of dubious service calls by German umpire Klaus Seipold and Kosovo’s Jeton Beqiri during Singapore’s 3-0 win over Taiwan in a Group B match.
She initially refused to leave, and women’s team coach Zhou Shusen and assistant coach Jing Junhong were also involved in the incident.
Afterwards, the Singapore team were also given a formal warning by the tournament organisers on their conduct.
***Three cheers for Today which had words for her and STTA, pointing out that her outburst was an attack on the German table tennis federation, and yet STTA remained silent. Another reason that S’pore is shamed by the FT and her FT-loving PAP leader.
(Or “Planning to open the floodgates again after the next GE?”)
“The government plans to ramp up infrastructure in Singapore over the next decade to meet the needs of population growth here in recent years, even though the inflow of immigrants has fallen since 2009,” spun the constructive, nation-building BT (a sister publication of STOMP where paid “content providers” posed as citizen journalists and faked at least one item of news).
It went on, “Population growth in recent years has outpaced infrastructure capacity, a paper released by the government yesterday noted. Published by the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD), the paper notes the need to build infrastructure in a timely manner. A major effort over the next 5-10 years will seek to meet the demand for housing, transport and public services.” More details below*.
One wonders if all this spending has two purposes:
One we all know: improve the governing PAP’s image with the voters so that in the next general election (it has to be held by 2016, but can be earlier), the PAP can improve on its 60% share of the vote, and perhaps even win back Aljunied GRC?
And if the winning majority is back up to the high 60s, open the doors again to FTs by the cattle truck-loads?
If you think I’m being too sceptical or cynical about the government’s intentions, this is what the May issue of the ISEAS Monitor says abt an earlier report** in April this year by said government unit, ”[it] serves as an early warning of a possible relaxation of recently tightened immigration policies.” ISEAS is the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies , a think-tank that is a statutory board that needs government financing.
Note that it also said that the White Paper on population promised by the end of the year, will be based on said report made public in April.
And in ST (also sister of STOMP) on the same day that BT’s report, it was reported that the government is asking our views on population: FTs and birth rates included)
Still think I’m too sceptical?
Watch and wait. And think thrice about voting for the PAP even if the PAP makes sure the public transport system improves by a factor of 10, new public housing becomes affordable, and the needy get lots more help.
*The rail network will be doubled in Singapore, from 138km in 2008 to 280km in the next 10 years. One new segment of the MRT network will open every year to from now to 2017. This will ensure that more than 400,000 housing units on the island will be within 400 metres of a rapid transit system station, more than double that today.
More than 800 new buses will be rolled out over the next five years, which will raise the current bus capacity by 20 per cent. Some $4.7 billion has been allocated in fiscal year 2012 to enhance the public transport infrastructure in Singapore. In all, the government has committed to spend about $60 billion to double the Singapore MRT network from what it was in 2008, and to increase the capacity of existing rail lines, the expenditure overview stated.
**It warned of the low fertitilty rate and the need for 20-25,000 new FT citizens a year to keep the population from declining in 2030.
Kirin Holdings, the Japanese brewing giant and 15% shareholder in F&N, is considering a bid for the soft drinks and dairy businesses of F&N, but it wasn’t clear how much Kirin would pay reports BLOOMBERG NEWS
Took him two years.
Never sign a contract on Friday; Saturdays and Sundays are fortuitous for doing deals; starting just about anything on a Monday and you’ll be starting with a bad omen.
I don’t know whether Ravi is “well” as he claims or ill again as Dr Fones says in the leaked letter, but until Ravi is proven to be ill again, I’ll comment on his actions on the premise that he is “well”. In this regard, Ravi’s actions on Sunday at Hong Lim Green was juz him mocking those who want to portray him as having a relapse of his mental illness. Incidentally, I tot Yahoo’s reporter covering the story had serious problems understanding satire and performance art.
But I have serious problems understanding what Ravi is up to here: Mr Ravi’s colleague, Mr Louis Joseph, has served a letter of demand on the Law Society and Mr Wong, to which they have seven days to respond. The letter, dated yesterday, asked for compensation and a public apology from the Law Society and Mr Wong for alleged defamation.
Among other things, it claimed that Mr Wong’s conduct last Monday was “intended primarily to injure” Mr Ravi’s “reputation, goodwill and standing in the community”. [Extract from MediaCorp's report]
How could Ravi allow it to be said that Mr Wong’s conduct last Monday was “intended primarily to injure” Mr Ravi’s “reputation, goodwill and standing in the community”?
– It was KennethJ (son of JBJ) who twittered a copy of the letter from Dr Fones saying Ravi was mentally ill.*
– And it was Ravi who gave permission to said KennethJ (a client) to publicise the letter because he wanted S’poreans to know that he tot an attempt was being made to ”silence” him on the quiet (shumething that KennethJ seems to believe in too)*.
That he publicised the letter in a manner that damaged Ravi’s reputation, well taz between him and Ravi. If said letter had not been broadcasted in the way it was, “without head or tail”*, Ravi’s “reputation, goodwill and standing in the community” would not have been damaged because the matter would be between him, the Law Society, Dr Fones and the judge**. Yes, there mighr be cause for a defamation claim, but there would be no publicity, publicity that damaged Ravi.
He and KennethJ are the authors of the injury to Ravi’s ”reputation, goodwill and standing in the community”, I’m sad and sorry to say.
Note, I’m not saying that the Law Soc’s employee acted correctly, I’m saying that any injury resulted from Ravi and KennethJ’s actions, not that of the Law Soc’s employee. Maybe, if the Law Soc and its employee decide to contest the allegations, they should make KennethJ a party in the proceedings?
Oh and, I remain to be convinced that the Law Soc is trying to “fix” Ravi. KennethJ, this is S’pore, nor Russia or the USSR. Here your dad was only sued regularly, there he would be locked up in a lunatic asylum. BTW, do you now know the words of the Pledge?
**Reminds me of the case where Ravi argued that a drug mule who refused to testify against an alleged drug lord should have his conviction set aside because the state should have compelled said drug mule to testify against said drug lord: fortunately the judges saw thru the Alice-in-Wonderland logic of lawyer Ravi, even if he and other “Free the mule” groupies didn’t.
(Or “LawSocGate: Some light pls)
Lawyer Ravi (as brave, if not braver than lion-hearted JBJ) is planning to take legal action against the Law Soc and Wong Siew Hong, its employee.
And that he is making a complaint to the medical authorities (albeit the wrong one based on his publicist’s report: he should be reporting Dr Fones to the Singapore Medical Council – not Association. The SMA is the doctors’ trade union — with teeth unlike NTUC unions – while SMC is the regulatory body) abt his doctor’s conduct.
I hope he follows through with his plan.*
This is because I think it is important for S’poreans to know:
– Was it true as reported in ST (sister publication of STOMP) that he was involved in an incident at a temple (the police came but did not arrest anyone) the day after he saw Dr Fones and the day before the doctor’s letter was written and leaked?And if so, did this incident this influence the actions of Dr Fones and Wong Siew Hong? And how did they get to know about the incident since it wasn’t reported at the time?
– The circumstances in which Ravi give KennethJ (the son of said JBJ, and a failed politician and attention-seeker) authority to release the letter?*
– Why did said KJ release the letter without giving any it any context? Intentionally saboing his lawyer and ally, or sheer incompetence, or tidak apa, or was that what Ravi wanted initially?*
– Why did Law Society withdraw its initial comment ”that LSS had initiated the intervention in the court proceedings.” I am told that there was a row among Law Soc council members on the initial comment and a request to approve Wong’s actions. Depending on who is telling me, a big minority, or narrow majority, or just some Law Soc council members who were willing to publicly resign and talk about why they resigned forced the Law Soc to withdraw its first statement because they refused to rectify the action of Law Soc staffer.
– Did Wong act on his own initiative, or was he asked to do so by someone higher up in the Law Soc?
Related posting: My view on Ravi’s legal skills http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/waz-petition-ladys-game/
*He already has backtracked a little. After announcing plans to issue a writ against the Law Soc and its employee, he has sent a letter of demand to the Law Soc.
**Ravi wanted his side of the story told because he was afraid that he would be silenced quietly. Unfortunately, KJ, his client and ally, for some strange reason, released the letter, without giving the context of said letter. This made it terrible for Ravi. So Andrew Loh and Richard Wan intervened, with a video of Ravi explaining what had happened etc.
Richard Wan: What actually happened is this. Ravi got the letter after the morning session of the High Court hearing on the by-election case (16th). The details I think is pretty much described in the various media. KJ was there at the hearing. Ravi passed the letter to KJ to put it up online so as to inform the public what has happened. However, KJ did not write up to describe more details what had happened – he simply just put up the letter (ie, no head no tail). Of course, his twitter posting went viral. A TRE reader then alerted me …
… Yes, as explained, putting up the letter alone by itself without any other description or write-up was confusing. Which is why it was taken down since Andrew and myself were going to come up with the full article to explain things from Ravi’s side.
Richard Wan, TRE’s public face, somewhere in the thread here.
(Or “Morale that bad meh at CHC?”)
I was surprised to read that a must-go annual major Christian mega-show, scheduled for early August, has been cancelled because of the troubles enveloping CHC. The hubbie of Auntie Sun was the executive director of the show, CHC members provided the manpower to run the annual show, and CHC, this year, the venue.
It seems one Canon Wong announced on the festival’s Facebook and website on 13 July that in view of Kong Hee and CHC “currently undergoing a challenging period”, the festival’s committee had decided not to go ahead with this year’s festival.
While, CHC and its members cannot be faulted or blamed for not wanting to put in the effort for the show this year, it would have been good PR for the church, its members and its “prosperity” gospel: When the going gets tough, the tough get going” would be a great message to tell people about the CHC members.
Or in biblical terms:
– “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
– “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Good boxers never ever give the impression that they are hurt by the opponent’s punches. Remember the “Thrilla in Manila” or when Ali forced himself up when he was knocked down by Fraser in their first fight?
And anyway, by carrying on as usual, they would be showing the finger to their detractors.
They must be pretty demoralised by what has happened: if the five are convicted, they, CHC and its members have failed to “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” . They have failed theit God.
As it is, the Commissioner of Charities has made findings of fact that CHC management have failed to appeal. This could account for the very aggressive show of support (members keeping up their spirits by showing defiance?) for Kong, the other four charged, and Auntie, that some (not me, though), including a top criminal lawyer, think amounts to contempt of court.
But I’m surprised that the other churches didn’t step in to offer the manpower for hospitality, ushering and security that is usually provided by CHC staff and members. CHC could still provide the managers, technicans and venue.
As to those netizens bitching at Kong, Sun and the CHC because of the lifestyles of Kong (Sentosa Cove penthouse) and Auntie Sun (Hollywood mansion and lifestyles for herself, and various relations and friends: “The [African prosperity gospel] pastors’ wealth raises eyebrows. Some have their own planes for jetting between the churches and the offices of their sprawling business conglomerates. In March David Oyedopo, reckoned to be Nigeria’s richest pastor by Forbes, a business magazine that puts his wealth at $150m, added an airline to his empire.” (From a recent issue of the Economist)
Thailand’s Constitutional Court has rejected allegations that government plans to amend the constitution are an attempt to overthrow the monarchy. But it has made the task of changing the constitution more difficult.
The court said that parliament could only only rewrite the constitution on a piecemeal basis. A referendum was needed to decide whether the government could go ahead with the proposed changes wholesale.
The red shirts (pro govt) and the yellow shirts (anti govt) can continue rowing.
Yesterday’s alarmist post http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/07/13/thai-market-to-collapse/
Thailand’s SET index was up 18% from end of last yr to 11 July. BUT …
Thailand’s constitutional court is set to make a ruling on Friday which could spark a new round of political unrest.
It will vote on whether politicians can start work on drafting a new constitution, or whether that process could undermine the monarchy.
If the judgement goes against the ruling Pheu Thai party, it could be dissolved and senior members banned from parliament.
StanChart explains why http://www.cnbc.com/id/48143271?__source=ft&par=ft.: it’s all abt domestic demand.
(Or “The results of two smartphone manufacturers show where the margins are”}
A few weeks ago, a PAP apologist ranted in ST about the Lady visiting Europe, implying that she should have visited Asia because Asia was rising, Europe declining. I pointed out that if not for Europe, she would be dead. There is something as gratitude, a word that seems unknown to him and other PAPpies.
Well it seems she is pretty savvy too in economics. Asia is still so dependent on European (and America) growth. Even the nation-building, constructive ST tells us.
Here’s a great example not reported by the local media. Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC reported a 58% fall in net profit to 7.4bn Taiwanese dollars (US$248m) in the three months ending in June. Second quarter revenue of 91bn Taiwanese dollars was worse-than-expected.
This is why: HTC sells most of its phones in Asia’s developing economies at the lower, less profitable end of the market.
Contrast this with the news on the same day that Korean rival Samsung Electronics posted record second-quarter earnings largely due to the success of its Galaxy smartphone. The main markets for this are the US and to a certain extent, Europe. Asia is only a small market for this top-end smartphone.
(Or “Let’s give one cheer to Dr Ng”)
Us netizens are forever bitching (rightly too) that the constructive, nation-building media report news selectively, and that comment and analysis are pretty slanted. Everything has to be viewed via the lenses of boot-licking, constructivism and nation-building.
Earlier this week, there was a lot of comment (no analysis)
in the cowboy towns of the internet about the fact that abt one-third of the eligible PRs for NS, don’t do it. “Over the last five years, about a third of male foreigners who became PRs under the sponsorship of their parents renounced their PR status prior to serving NS.”
Funny that there was no mention (except by TRE) or comment on what the Minister of Defence advised PR FT parents in the interview he gave in which those numbers were given.
Dr Ng said, “Better don’t take up the PR if your children are not going to do NS. It’s as simple as that. In our system if you don’t fulfil your NS liabilities, even if you choose to give up your PR, there are harsh penalties.”
“I have received many letters from families that are separated and they cannot come back to Singapore,” he added.
I think that he is telling FTs who want it all, that they can’t have it all. They got to choose. Shouldn’t he get at least one cheer for this?
As Kong and Sun might hector their detractors: “Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.”
“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
Yup, I like quoting from the King James version of the Gospels. And I like quoting from the Gospels, but not the letters of Paul, except the one abt “Faith, Hope and Charity”. Charity means “Love” but not of the sexual kind.
(Or “CHC members: Why should tax-payers subsidise Sun Ho’s Hollywood life-style?” or “We are subsidising CHC in Crossover Project”)
In this, I pointed out, among a few other things, some in favour of CHC members, some against, that CHC members were wrong in thinking that CHC’s money could be spent as they wished: that it was not their grandfather’s money. This post expands the point I was trying to make because based on their media comments, some CHC members are showing a great deal of entitlement over spending taxpayers’ money over Sun Ho’s Hollywood life-style and Crossover Project.
Maybe, they don’t realise they are using the money of other S’poreans, who may not share their idea of Christianity, or who may believe in other gods, or even no god.
Methinks the members of the City Harvest Church in expressing their love and support of Kong, the other four accused and Geisha Sun are forgetting what Jesus is reported to have said in Luke 20:25, Matthew 22:21 and Mark 12:17 about the relationship that should exist between the church and the state. Luke’s version reads, ”Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s”.
In this saying, Jesus was establishing the limits, regulating the rights, and distinguishing “the jurisdiction of the two empires of heaven and earth” according to a famous American biblical commentator of the 19th century http://www.preteristarchive.com/Books/1810_clarke_commentary.html
I’ll try to explain the relevance of this quote to the CHC situation.
CHC management and members are saying that how the money spent by the five is a CHC internal affair and nothing to do with others, implying that the Commissioner of Charities should leave them alone: it’s their money and if they want to spend it on their Auntie Sun and her hollywood buddies so be it.
But the problem with this view is that the status of a charity is granted not by God but by Caesar (the state).
CHC could have opted not to become a charity, but it chose to register as a charity (presumably because it was greedy for — OK taking advantage of — the tax benefits and reputational branding of being a charity). It becomes subject to the Commissioner of Charities, and all that entails.
It is no longer a private organisation, and the laws and regulations relating to charities applies.
In return for the tax benefits and seal of gd corporate governance that CHC gets by being designated as a charity, it has to play by S’pore’s (Caesar’s) laws, and in particular, the laws and regulations that CoC’s enforces. These include not “misusing” (as defined by Caesar’s laws, not the laws of God as understood by CHC) the charity’s funds . It cannot pick and choose which laws and regulations it has to obey.
Not their grandfather’s money.
Because of the exemptions from tax that a charity and donors get, the tax-paying public is subsidising Geriatric Gyrating Geisha’s Hollywood life-style and music performances. This explains how the state subsidises a charity, any charity.
As Christians, CHC church members accept that it’s either God’s way or the highway to Hell. Likewise they must accept that by becoming a charity, CHC and its managers have to obey the laws of Caesar. And that if the managers fail to “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”, they will be punished by Caesar’s courts. At least there are courts. Their God is prosectuor, judge and executor (OK, also the defender).
“For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up,” as Hosea 8:7 says.
No wonder other Christians are worried. CHC members should listen to this lady and “sit down and shut up” before they upset other S’poreans with their sense of entitlement that other S’poreans must subsidise Auntie Ho’s Hollywood life-style and Crossover Project.
CHC management and members, and Kong and his Geisha seem unable to appreciate that hard times for the many mean greater scrutiny of the few who flaunt living in Sentosa Cove penthouses or Hollywood mansions, especially when the former are subsidising the latter’s lavish life-style.
They shouldn’t forget that one reason why the PAP government is unpopular is because of its perceived indifference to the widening income gap. And remember, the PAP ministers don’t show-off their life-styles unlike Auntie Ho.
In a coming post (hopefully next week), I will prophesie that Kong and the management of CHC are preparing the way to take a course of action more usually associated with a certain political party.
This report about how the NDP is set to look like Singapore’s cityscape reminded me of the mystery over the sudden resignation of Chief Guards Officer, Colonel Nelson Yau Thian Hock, in March this year. It left the Organising Committee of the National Day Parade (NDP) 2012 without a chairman.
As he was a high-flyer who was expected to be promoted to Brigader General (assuming a successful NDP) later this year, speculation was rife on his abrupt resignation for “personal reasons”. The mainstream media reported that he was not under any internal investigation for MINDEF, nor he was not asked to resign. Nor were there comments on what a irresponsible thing to do, resigning suddenly, months before the event.
It was rumoured that he was going to contest the Hougang by-election for the PAP (“Yau to replace Yaw” get it?). Slightly more creditable was the rumour that one of the MPs in PM’s GRC would step down, and PM would call a by-elections in his GRC and in Hougang. The PAP would say that if it won both, the two would merge into one GRC.
Then there were the rumours that he was another client of the under-aged prostitute that had snared other seniorish government employees, and private-sector professionals. But his name has not appeared among those charged, though there are rumours that there a few more people are to be charged (including a prominent activist). But I’ve been reliably told that there are no plans to charge anyone else in this case.
Then there was a rumour that he was dying. Nothing further on this rumour.
Whatever it is, he has not surfaced in the private sector or GLC sectors, my head -hunter friends tell me. Nor as a private contractor (mercenary), a market where British and American ex-officers often find lucrative second careers. But then they are warriors who are combat-honed and experienced, not combat-trained toy soldiers.
When I read, “gyrating around household appliances wearing only revealing kimono-styled lingerie”, in Yahoo!’s article on the singing wife of Kong the Pastor, I had to click the video embedded in article.
What a waste of time: the geriatric auntie (OK nice jaw line, and vv skinny and pale) was NOT wearing revealing lingerie.
I live in a respectable neighbourhood and some local gals go running dressed in sports bras and shorts in this heat. One even walked her Huskie dressed in sports bra and shorts. (A seriously surrealistic scene what with said dog panting away in his fur coat, while madam is appropriately dressed for the weather.)
Back to the gals: can’t call their outfits “revealing”. Mrs Pastor by any standard (except that of Jihadists, Taliban or mad Indon Mullahs) is decently dressed, nothing revealing about her underwear.
Yahoo!’s editors should fact-check the work of their content providers.
Korea Exchange, which runs the world’s 13th-largest stock market, is helping ASEAN countries set up exchanges in return for stakes in the bourses. It helped Laos (last year) and Cambodia (recently) open their stock market trading platforms.
The Cambodian government has a 55%ish stake in the Cambodia Securities Exchange, while the Korea Exchange which provided information-technology systems, owns the rest. It holds 49% in Lao Securities Exchange, while the Laotian government owns 51%.
It is hoping to do the same for Myanmar even though the Tokyo Stock Exchange and Daiwa Securities had negotiated a “memorandum of understanding” to establish a stock exchange and develop the country’s capital markets.
Korea Exchange said that it would do its best to win the Myanmar government’s confidence until Myanmar makes a final decision and enters into a binding agreement for the establishment of its exchange.
True, these are “peanut” deals, but they are the kind of deals one would expect SGX to do given that these nations are ASEAN members. And anyway, while SGX may think it is a global player, it hasn’t done anything globally. It made a dumb bid for ASX (dumb because no-one except SGX and ASX mgts tot the Oz authorities would allow the bid*); and had to close its dark pool joint venture Chi-East in May as business volumes were weak and unlikely to improve.
*The bid would have benefitted ASX’s shareholders, in the main brokers using ASX’s trading platform. Brokers are damned gd at getting non-brokers particularly foreigners to buy into them or their investments. British brokers made their fortunes in the 1980s (including one David Cameron’s father) by selling out to, in the main, US banks.
Happened in India recently. Private equity firms (think Americans again), which had invested in Indian stock brokers between 2005 and 2008, are in the main, struggling to exit these investments as current valuations of broking firms are less than half of what they were during the stake purchases due to a drop in profits on account of declining trading volumes and shift in the business model to a capital-driven one. http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-06-15/news/32254600_1_pe-firms-broking-equity-firms
So the the Katong home of the late Liem Sioe Liong, one of Indonesia’s richest men, is valued at approximately S$100 million, according to a report in Indonesia’s TEMPO Interactive. The property is 86,000 sq ft.
It was reported yesterday that the billionaire boss of technology giant Oracle is to buy 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lanai. Larry Ellison’s successful bid is unknown, but the asking price for the 141 sq mile (365 sq km) was said to be between US$500m and $600m http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-18529739.
Reminded me that in the late 1980s, the grounds of the Imperial Palace in downtown Tokyo was said to be worth all the land in California. Australia sold part of the land its embassy was on and paid off half of its foreign debt.
(Or “Benefit of doubt for Woolly Wally even when the reported facts point to his guilt?)
Following the twists and turns of the tale of Woolly Wally Woffles especially the apparent factual inconsistency(details below) and how the AG’s “clarifications” have been challenged, made me wonder if S’pore’s administration of justice could ever become first-world: by admitting that goof-ups can happen.
I read that Britain’s Serious Fraud Office said that the way it had handled some seized material in an investigation into the role of a property developer in the collapse of the Icelandic bank Kaupthing “was flawed and thus unlawful” http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/05/22/british-prosecutor-acknowledges-errors-in-inquiry/?nl=business&emc=edit_dlbkpm_20120522
It has now dropped the investigation and is likely to have to pay serious damages.
Has the identity of driver been established?
Both the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Law minister said that investigations were ongoing, as to who the driver actually was; and that the case has not been concluded. But reports from the constructive, nation-building media on what happened in court give the impression (see words in red) that Woolly Wally was the driver. On the face of these reports, Woolly Wally Woffles was the driver (Otherwise why get someone to take the rap for him?) unless the local media got it wrong (Always a possibility despite Yaacob wanting us netizens to use it as an example.).
Note the government has not complained to the media about the accuracy of these reports. So we can accept them as an accurate reflection of what was said in court.
So is this a case where a rich and prominent person gets treated with kid gloves in an investigation even when the reported facts point to his guilt?
– CNA carried this report:
13 th June 2012
SINGAPORE: Prominent plastic surgeon Woffles Wu Tze Liang has been ordered to pay the maximum fine of S$1,000 for getting an elderly employee to take the rap for him for a speeding offence.
The 52-year-old had abetted Mr Kuan Kit Wah, then 76, to provide false information to the police in November 2006.
The car, belonging to Wu, was travelling at 91-kilometer (km) per hour on Adam Road when the speed limit is 70km per hour.
The court heard that Wu also made Mr Kuan take the rap for him for another speeding offence in September 2005.
This charge was taken into consideration during the sentencing on June 12.
Wu could also have been jailed up to six months and fined.
– ST’s report:
[in relation to the incident in September 2005,] . . . Wu got Mr Kuan, then 76, to tell police that he was the driver of a car speeding at 95kmh on Lornie Road. Mr Kuan is said to have lied again about a speeding offence committed at 9.45am on Nov 10, 2006. The car was then travelling at 91kmh on Adam Road.
The speed limit in both instances was 70kmh and involved Wu’s car. Court papers did not state who the actual driver was.
The court heard that a notice was sent to Wu to reveal the identity of the driver. Concerned that he would accumulate demerit points were he to accept liability for the speeding offences, he roped in Mr Kuan, then a maintenance technician in his clinic. Now 83 years old, Mr Kuan was also described as a close family friend of the doctor. He has not been charged.
I nearly had a heart attack a few minutes ago when I was skimming thru ST. The Lions plan to field a geriatric ang moh striker in the coming game against M’sia. I mean even Alex Ferguson doesn’t field 41-year old strikers. Mid-fielders and defenders are different. The best age well like Gigsy, Maldini and Barasi. So having Bennett back could be a gd move.
So I guess Roman and FAS must be looking at the example of the PA and PAP in Aljunied where two geratrics were apponted to replace the much younger Mrs Lim and Madam Cynthia Phua as grassroot advisers http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/pap-in-aljunied-grc-no-room-for-young-blood/
FAS, what about replacing Roman? If he had been one of ancient Romans, he would have committed suicide long ago to atone for his failures. In S’pore, he gets his contract renewd while the players get sacked. This is not international best practice in footie.
Even the PAP got rid of BG Yeo from its mgt when he failed to hold Aljunied. And “retired” Wong, Ramond Lim and Mah Bow Tan for not being “popular” enough.
(Or “How to get more taxis on the road, increasing rentals, and still screw the consumer”)
Last Saturday, MediaCorp’s freesheet carried an article that screamed
More may obtain a taxi licence to rent cabs for personal use instead of plying the roads
It went on: more people could possibly be getting taxi licences for the wrong reasons – as suggested by Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew in a press interview … Noting how, with the exception of those owned by ComfortDelGro, taxis are hired out mostly to cabbies who drive a single shift per day, Mr Lui said the authorities “need to be even more vigilant about this … because now driving a taxi can, with high COE prices, become a substitute for owning a car”.
Right, it’s the fault of cabbies gaming the system that we can’t get a cab. Not the fault of ComfortDelgro, the govt, or SMRT.
In mid April, there was a ST report that taxi drivers’ take-home income have gone up by as much as 30% since the increase in taxi fares at the end of last year. “ComfortDelGro, the biggest operator here with about 15,600 taxis, said average net income per cab per day has risen by 12 per cent to $210.93 … up from $188.69 in November, excludes costs drivers have to bear, such as rental and diesel.”
In the run-up to the fare increase late last year, our nation-building, constructive media were full of stories of the plight of cabbies. And when fares were increased, there were stories of drops in income as people stopped taking cabs. Poor cabbies. The media also reported extensively that the fleet owners were NOT increasing their taxi rentals. The benefits of the increase were all going to the cabbies.
So I was surprised (in February or early March) to read in the same said media that S’pore had plenty of taxis (about 27,000 of them) but that taxis were under-utilised because some work on one shift with one operator per taxi who “once they earn enough would call it a day”.
In April, we were told that they are doing well: to to 30% increase in take-home pay. So will there be shortages again as more of those taxis with one operator are AWOL because the operators call it a day after they earn enough? Now we are again reminded that many cabs are only operated by one person a day, and worse: that increasingly cabbies are gaming the system by using the taxi as a car, not as a cab. Juz earn enough to pay rental, then use taxi as car, for what we are not told. Transport gds? Visit clients? Or rent to senior members of Home Team or other scholars to have sex in in return for favours?
A shortage that will be solved when the fleet owners increase their charges so that the cabbies have to work longer hours again?
In other words, are we “being conditioned” for operating costs (not fares) for cabbies to go up to increase the supply of available taxis.
Then we will read stories in the media that taxi drivers are suffering, and that fares have to rise. And we shouldn’t complain if we are compassionate.
The cycle of spin goes on. Bit like the cycle of life.
Instead of inceasing rentals to increase supply, why not insist that each taxi must have mutiple operators working in shifts? Incentives, disincentives could be introduced to force cabbies into sharing? Afraid of too many cabs on the road, forcing down rentals because cabbies are leaving the industry?
British insurer Prudential Plc is thinking of bidding for the insurance business of Thailand’s Thanachart Bank, Reuters and the FT report, in a abt US$500 million (310 million sterling) deal. The Pru wants to expand further into SE Asia but has only 2% of the Thai market, unlike Indonesia where it has extensive operations.. It has not tried to do a major deal since shareholders aborted a US435bn bid for AIA in early 2011.
The Thanachart Bank unit, which is set to be auctioned, is expected to include life and non-life assets as well as a bancassurance arrangement. Some Japanese and European insurers are also expected to participate in the process.
Note ING , which is in the process of selling its Asia insurance and asset management businesses, also has assets in Thailand that are up for sale.
(Or “Why Vui Kong should take responsibility for saving his own life, and not depend on his groupies to spin tales” or “Why is Vui Kong spinning such a tangled web?”)
So the Court of Appeal will be giving its latest verdict on Wednesday on the latest attempt of Vui Kong and his groupies to save him from judicial murder. I doubt very much that the court will allow the appeal*.
By comparison, our entrpreneurs got it easy
According to the Christian doctrine of the trinity, there is only one God but God is three persons: the Father, the Son ( Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit. But each person is God, whole and entire.
Well our public transport system is some sort of trinity: the government*, ComfortDelgro and SMRT. Except while they are legally separate entities, in practice there is a kind of blending. This makes the Christian doctrine of the trinity easy to understand by comparison.
I’ll use the flow of funds between the companies and the government to illustrate an example of S’pore’s unique trinity at work. Using back-of-the envelope calculations and figures in annual reports, since it was listed SMRT (over a decade ago) has paid S$562.79m in dividends to Temasek, and ComfortDelgro has paid the S’pore Labour Foundation (a statutory board affiliated to the NTUC) dividends of S$150.46m*since 2003 (Comfort and Delgro merged in 2003, and SLF had a stake in Comfort). The amount that ended up with the government was S$713.25m, with SMRT contributing 79%. But ComfortDelgro is likely be the main beneficiary of the S$1.1bn bus plan**, given that, at present, SBS Transit (a listed co 75% owned by ComfortDelgro) provides most of the buses. Taz an example of how messed up things are.
The funds’ flows also show that the government is putting back all the dividends it received from these two companies and then adding 35% more. So it’s wrong to say that the SMRT and ComfortDelgro are getting free lunches. At most the government is subsidising their lunches by 35%.
The government should get credit for ploughing its share of the “loot” (as the proponents of nationalisation would put it and MPs Puthu, PAP, and PritamS, WP, might put it), but it doesn’t. Taz how messed up are.
(Incidentally, one could reasonably argue that the other shareholders — and the minority shareholders of SBS Transit, remember ComfortDelgro owns around 75% – are getting a free lunch while the government returns its share of the dividends. But let’s not get into that today.)
What a mess. Even the government implicitly accepts that the present “rojak” system of organising the public transport here is not something that it would have introduced, if it had been prescient:
– it is is now planning to publicly funding the bus fleets of Comfort Delgro and SMRT with S$1.1bn; and
– in 2009, the then transport minister, a private sector PAP ”catch” (“retired’ after the 2011 general election when the WP almost won the GRC he was helming) that joined the government was trying to fix the system while not admitting that the system was broken even then. (Thank Alex Au’s write-up on this for reminding us what that minister said in 2009.)
So it is no surprise that the the WP’s call in its 2011 general election manifesto to nationalise the public transport system**** is getting a lot of support (the nationalisation, not the WP’s call) from netizens. There may be merit in a nationalised public transport system: instead of being run for shareholders who are only interested in profits, and dividends, the system is run for the benefit of commuters. One of these days, I may run through the arguments. But don’t hold your breath. I think the debate is sterile as it all depends on one’s assumptions and definitions.
Sorry, back to the “rojak” system: in the short-term, there is a problem of overcrowded buses. And this problem needs fixing. Nationalising the system ain’t as easy as passing a law. Shareholders have to be compensated and this requires valuations to be made, and agreed upon, or adjudicated. And it ain’t as though the shareholders are FTs. As mentioned earlier:
– Temasek owns 54% of SMRT; and
– The S’pore Labour Foundation, a statutory board linked to the NTUC, holds 12% of Comfort Delgro. SLF is Delgro’s single largest shareholder.
(Incidentally these stakes especially Temasek’s controlling stake shows how absurd the system is. S’pore has public transport private monopolies that are partially owned and controlled by the government. And the government regulates the fares and the routes. And as mentioned earlier, the government’s share of the dividends are now ploughed back and added to, but not appreciated by the public.)
Meantime, who is to run the system, and fund the fleet expansion? Public has to wait while these issues are sorted out? It’s OK for those critics who don’t use public transport that often, especially those who have one car per family person. But most S’poreans are not that fortunate.
To me, the government spending on the buses is a pragmatic quick fix both for the public and itself. The commuting public (self included when forced to travel during peak periods, admittedly a rare occurrence) gets less annoyed with the government, while the government is seen as publicly responding positively on a matter of public unhappiness.
As to the concern that the system is being fixed to bring more FTs in, let’s reserve judgement on that. Too early to even speculate. To even speculate, shows the level of mistrust that some people have of this government. I’m not one of them.
So while longer term, nationalisisation may be the best way to run a public transport system, it ain’t a short-term fix. The short-term fix is what the government is doing, throw money at the problem.
Critics should focus on whether the fix is the most cost-effective means of solving an immediate problem, not focus on a possible long-term solution. They should be making a case (not juz asking) for ComfortDelgro and SMRT to make massive rights issues to fund bus fleet expansion. Or asking for detailed details on what taxpayers get in return? Or how to ensure that the other shareholders don’t get a free lunch because of the S$1.1bn package.
Plenty of things to do to keep the government on its toes.
BTW, the full quote in the title is:
Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!
*I’ve simplified: there is a universe within the government — including the Land Transport Authority, the Ministry of Transport, the committee that fixes train and bus fares, the S’pore Labour Foundation, the Minister of Finance (owner of Temasek), the Singapore Civil Defence Force and the police force.
**Dodgy this calculation as I’ve used a dodgy, lazy assumption, but near enough for all but CFAers, or investment analysts, or myself when analysing an investment)
***The government has allocated S$1.1bn to the purchase of 800 new buses, 550 of which will be paid for by the government (that is, through public funds), with the remaining 250 paid for by the PTOs. The S$1.1bn is also to fund running costs over the next 10 years. More on the use of the money, and an assurance that the operators will not benefit because it is a subsidy for us commuters. [Last sentence is an update on @ March 2012 at 9.00am]
****Unless the WP has quietly ditched this too like its benchmarking of ministers’ pay to the poor. I am not being mean or nasty. In January 2012, Gerald Giam had to be reminded in a private conversation where I was present that nationalisation was in the party manifesto for the 2011 general election. GG seems to have difficulty remembering things. He had some problems in parliament during the ministers’ salaries debate.