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Posts Tagged ‘ASEAN’

Durian diplomacy is apt name for S’pore, M’sia ties

In Malaysia on 30/08/2014 at 4:29 am
On Thursday, BT reported,
Agrobazaar opens in Kampong Glam – with durian diplomacy
Malaysian PM Najib gives PM Lee the spiky fruit; both sides affirm strong ties
Just as they did at their last retreat in Putrajaya in April, the leaders of Singapore and Malaysia engaged in a dose of durian diplomacy on Wednesday.
This time, it was at the official opening of an agro-food outlet called Agrobazaar Malaysia, located at Sultan Gate in the historic Kampong Glam district. The 464 sq m bazaar, which sells Malaysian produce such as fruit, sauces and coffee, is Malaysia’s first overseas branch of Agrobazaar.
During the opening ceremony, visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak presented his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong with a gift of durians, specifically the popular “musang king” variety, as well as an oil painting of them enjoying the spiky fruit during the April retreat.
Well the durian is a smelly, with a coating of thorns, and relations between the two countries are prickly and can stink: forever rowing.
Earlier in the week BT reported:

The arbitration process to settle a dispute between Singapore and Malaysia over development charges on certain parcels of former Malayan Railway land in Singapore has reached its final stage…. a spokesman from Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) revealed that the decision of the arbitration tribunal was expected “in a few months”.

This paves the way to potentially settle an outstanding issue in the Points of Agreement (POA) on whether Malaysia needs to pay Singapore a development charge on three parcels of land in Tanjong Pagar, Kranji and Woodlands.

This charge is a tax that is payable to the Singapore government to change the use of a land parcel. Singapore believes this tax must be paid, while Malaysia has argued otherwise.

The matter was eventually referred to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague, after Singapore and Malaysia reached an arbitration agreement in 2012.

Singapore and Malaysia have agreed to accept the arbitration award as final and binding. They also agreed that the decision would not affect the implementation of the POA …

 

 

Tourism potential of Indon, Vietnam & Burma

In China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam on 24/08/2014 at 4:58 am

Number of foreign visitors received in 2013

  • Thailand – 26.5 million
  • Malaysia – 25.7 million
  • Hong Kong – 25.6 million
  • South Korea – 12.1 million
  • Japan – 10.3 million
  • Indonesia – 8.8 million
  • Vietnam – 7.5 million
  • Myanmar – 2 million

I’m surprised that Indonesia has only 8.8m visitors given the popularity of Bali.

Still Mynamar is the place to invest in the tourism biz. Opportunities there from recent BBC article.

Remember PAP’s and DR M’s “Asian Values”?

In Political governance on 23/08/2014 at 4:22 am

Well the Thai jumta now has its very own version.

The army men in charge of the new dictatorship say their aim is to build a “Thai-style democracy”. Their intervention looks more interested in reviving a system of tutelary democracy, in which a bunch of royalist elites control the state, though the new regime denies it. Their alternative explanation, based on a notion of Thai uniqueness, seems to have been pulled out of a hat like a rabbit.

There is an obvious resemblance to the concept of “Asian values”, such as were espoused by Mahathir Mohamad, who ran Malaysia for 22 years. That idea tends to preclude robust democracy, and to justify itself on the back of economic development. It has proven useful to governments like Singapore’s and these days its champions tend to point approvingly to China.

Banyan (19th August 2014)

And of course, the govt here claims that China is juz following S’pore.

Qn for Swee Say: How cheap you want us to be?

In China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam on 14/08/2014 at 4:36 am

manufacturing wages

When I saw the above table, I tot of the Deaf Frog’s “Cheaper, Better, Faster”. There is always somewhere cheaper as above from FT article shows. And MNCs will move there: now moving from Jakarta and Vietnam to central Java. (Btw, $ + US$)

“Cheaper, Better, Faster’

The apologist version of what he meant by a website funded by a organisation headed by one Philip Yeo after being approached by one BG Yeo (taz the rumour). With credentials like these how not to believe meh?

In 2007, Lim coined the phrase to exhort Singaporean companies to increase their competitiveness.

Companies have to be cheaper and better than their competitors internationally, because those who used to be cheap (China) are now getting better, and those that used to be good (United States) are now getting cheaper as well. Hence, Singaporean companies have to be cheaper and better than them, and yet turnaround faster.

He obviously didn’t do an MBA: it’s accepted wisdom that one cannot have all three, only two. Attempts to have all three results in failure. This should cheer on TRE posters: Swee Say is urging a policy doomed to failure.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Why we should follow Cambodian politics closely

In Political governance on 26/07/2014 at 6:22 am

Especially those TRE posters (loonies?) who shout that the Oppo will win the next GE*. They ever tot that if the PAP is as bad as what they claim is the case, the PAP won’t steal the election Cambodian style?

Last yr, in a closely fought election, the governing party (the PM says LKY is a hero of his) won a majority of seats in the parliament. The Oppo alleged fraud and refused to take their seats and called for fresh elections. The govt passed laws to its satisfaction in the absence of an oppo in parly.

Now a deal has been struck. The electoral commission is at the heart of the deal. The CPP-dominated National Election Committee—widely derided as a puppet of the government—is to be overhauled, which requires that the constitution be changed. The two major parties will now have four members on the committee, with a ninth independent member to be agreed on by both sides.

—–

The timing of the deal, so near the anniversary of the contested election, might not be a coincidence. Both sides were feeling the public pressure to reach an agreement. For the opposition, the question was how long they could keep operating as a political force with only rallies and public protests to bind them together, while laws were passed without them in the assembly. The government was faced with the prospect of having to keep defending that one-party parliament to the international community.

The violence the government employed to disperse protesters drew a steady stream of criticism throughout the year. Security forces beat and arrested demonstrators, and at least seven were shot dead.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2014/07/cambodian-politics

Just as S’poreans should be watching developments in Thailand,

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/freak-election-training-manual-for-safs-paper-generals-and-us-40-sporeans-too/

– http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/more-on-when-there-is-a-freak-election-result/

we should follow developments in Cambodia. There are lessons to be learner especially about the importance of the election organisers (here under PMO).

Interesting the Thais have introduced a law banning gatherings of five people or more. They learnt that from us?

*None of the Oppo parties believe this is possible. Ask SDP, NSP, People in light blue, SDA, JBJ Remebrance Party, Chiams, TJS Team and Pwee Gang.

Johor: New plans to fleece Sinkies

In Malaysia on 22/07/2014 at 4:32 am

Wonder why land is being reclaimed in the Johor Straits? S’poreans it seems love waterfront properties. So waterfront  properties are being created. And this is adding to the supply of land in Iskandar, where there are already problems for S’poreans what with Johor and Federal taxes and restrictions.

The fixation over waterfront properties in the Iskandar region, which has led to frenetic land reclamation, is threatening to undermine the prospects of the growth corridor launched in Johor eight years ago.

Iskandar Malaysia’s value proposition – polished further by its proximity to Singapore – remains intact, but may not do so if development there is left unchecked.

At 2,217 square kilometres, Johor state’s southern development corridor is thrice the size of Singapore; in sports parlance, that is about the size of 400,000 football fields. (BT report last week).

Meanwhile the development caravan keeps on moving: now to Batu Pahat. Property being built to attract S’poreans further North.

Reminds me of what the bandit chief  in the movie Manificent 7 said, “If God didn’t want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep.” He was talking of the farmers he was stealing from at regular intervals: he was harvesting them at regular intervals..

He could be referring to S’poreans who keep on getting fleeced in Johor.

Me, I’d rent there, if I wanted to live in a bungalow, and rent my property here.

Why Alibaba bot into SingPost and why S’pore will be big e-commerce hub

In Internet on 19/07/2014 at 4:16 am

Asean’s has huge e-commerce potential. Seems contrary to the usual data cited, Asean has internet penetration of 32%, not the accepted wisdom of 10%. Smartphones have multiplied as has their use to access the internet.

http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2014/07/08/asean-nears-its-ecommerce-moment-report/ (Free but need to register)

 

 

 

Earlier this yr, China’s Alibaba Group has signed an agreement to invest S$312.5 million (US$248.88 million) for a 10.35 percent stake* in Singapore’s postal service, SingPost. 

The funds injection will see Alibaba-subsidiary, Alibaba Investment, acquire 30 million existing ordinary shares and 190.096 new ordinary shares, said SingPost in a statement. The two companies signed an agreement that would also allow them to assess the possibility of setting up a new joint venture related to global e-commerce logistics.

—-

*Alibaba bot roughly 190 million new Singapore Post shares and 30 million existing treasury shares for S$1.42 apiece, an 8.4% discount to SingPost’s closing share price of S$1.55. Stock cheonged to the 1.75 level where it remains.

US broker bearish on Indon, bullish on S’pore

In Indonesia on 12/07/2014 at 5:20 am

In its latest ASEAN equity strategy report (written before the presidential polling date ), Morgan Stanley said that it prefers Singapore over Indonesia, global cyclicals over domestic consumption stocks, and defensives over domestic cyclicals. But on its buy list is a stock that is based in Indonesia.

Actually there is another reason to be bearish about Indonesia, short term. We may not know the result until August and a close vote may hobble the “doer” if he wins, as expected.

Back to Morgan Stanley’s report. It argues that based on profitability trends that Singapore and global cyclicals stocks’ profitability has likely bottomed out, while Indonesia and domestic consumption stocks’ profitability has likely peaked. “We believe the trend in quarterly profitability, particularly in Indonesia and Singapore, is likely to be the key incremental catalyst over the next 1-2 months. Signs of cracks in margins have emerged in Indonesia and early signs of improvement in Singapore’s profitability were observed in Q1. Consensus expects profitability to deteriorate in Indonesia and stabilize in Singapore in Q2.”

Although they said that macro developments will continue to play an important role in driving equity markets, the authors believe that incrementally, investors are likely to turn their attention to the outlook for profitability.

Consensus is expecting improvement in Singapore’s profitability in 2015 and 2016, but Morgan Stanley is more optimistic. It expects (for the stocks they cover) expect a Singapore margin (ex REITs) of 7.5% 2014, compared to consensus’ 6.9%.

Similarly for the Morgan Stanley coverage universe, the analysts estimate 7.6% for 2015, compared to the consensus estimate of 7%.

SingTel, Singapore Airlines and Indofood Agri Resources are among the stocks on its buy list.

For SingTel, it ss expecting margin improvement mainly from Optus in Australia.

For SIA, it expects operating margins to improve on yield and load factor improvements. Near-term yield drivers should come from:

i) healthy domestic market and North Asia demand, particularly from China, Europe and Australia;

ii) strategic moves to focus on mid-haul North Asian routes to avoid competition with low cost carriers on short haul, and

iii) effective capacity management to shift capacity from weak demand routes like America/Africa to Europe, Australia and North Asia.

Longer-term yield improvement from FY15 onwards should stem from i) introduction of premium economy class in 2H15, and ii) retrofitting a new cabin design on 19 new aircraft in 2015 and 2016.

As for Indofood Agri, “operational difficulties in South Sumatra are behind us” and yields in the last two quarters since 4Q13 have shown solid improvement”, which supports the call for a recovery.

“In addition, 2Q14 earnings may surprise on the upside as the Street has not fully factored in the gain from inventory destocking, we believe.”

Indon election: The shouter or the doer? And why it matters to us

In Indonesia on 09/07/2014 at 4:26 am

Here’s the best analysis I’ve come across on today’s election on the difference between the two candidates. The election matters to us because one of the candidates has stressed the importance of military might, saying international respect is based on prowess. Given that the Indonesian governing elite has outstanding grievances against S’pore (largely out of frustration, anger that we don’t kow tow to them), if he gets into power, relations will be tenser than normal. No gd for economic ties.

“You cannot understand these two figures [meaning the two candidates, Joko Widodo, known universally as Jokowi, and Prabowo Subianto] without placing them in the context of ten years of SBY,” the acronym by which Indonesia’s current president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is known …

But Mr Yudhoyono’s rule has been exceptionally disappointing for many Indonesians. Mr Winters identifies Mr Yudhoyono’s two major flaws as “his inability to follow through and get things done, and his incapacity to show leadership and make tough decisions.” To compensate for the first failing—which Mr Winters described to me more succinctly as “great PowerPoints, no action”—Indonesians have Jokowi, whose reputation first as mayor of Solo and then as governor of Jakarta rests on nuts-and-bolts administrative competence. As has been amply demonstrated during his campaign, he appears to be incapable of making an electrifying speech. Instead, he likes systems and solutions: as he explained, “I go to the ground, I go to the villages, I go to the riverbank, I go to the market to meet the people. I ask them what they want and what they need and we give solutions.” He wants to move as much of Indonesia’s governance online as possible as a way of avoiding, and thus trimming the power of, Indonesia’s incompetent and sticky-fingered bureaucracy.

Unfortunately, “systems and solutions” is not exactly a to-the-barricade rallying cry. And that is where Mr Subianto comes in: he compensates for Mr Yudhoyono’s second flaw, his indecisiveness, by presenting “a message of firm resolve and calls for national dignity”. He is a former soldier, and his rallies often have a military mien. Where Jokowi is calm and low-key, Mr Subianto has shouted himself hoarse during the campaign. His speeches are full of references to “foreign stooges” and “all of you who have a vision of Indonesian broken apart, a poor Indonesia”.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2014/07/indonesias-election

It’s a close race.

S’poreans should hope the doer wins as a rich, growing stable Indonesia is better for us. Foreign investors certainly prefer him: Deutsche Bank reports that if Mr Prabowo wins, 56% of investors surveyed would sell their Indonesian assets and just 13% would buy, while a Jokowi win would cause 74% to buy and just 6% to sell.

True, if the shouter wins the dirty money will keep on flowing. But there will be more rows and tantrums with S’pore. Mr Subianto (Shouter) has stressed the importance of military might, saying international respect is based on prowess. In addition to the uncertain economic climate that these rows will generate, the rows will give the PAP the excuse maintain and even spend more on defence.

And the full potential of Indonesia’s potential middle class will remain untapped. If the Indonesian middle class expands and grows richer, S’pore will benefit as they come here as tourists and gamblers.

More on when there is a freak election result

In Political governance on 05/07/2014 at 4:38 am

(Or “What else can the Thais teach us about military rule”)

Further to http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/freak-election-training-manual-for-safs-paper-generals-and-us-40-sporeans-too/ based on what is happening in Thailand, when there is a freak election result (2016 as TRE posters are predicting) and the SAF’s paper generals stage a coup to restore the PAP protect parliamentary democracy, S’poreans will be detained for reading Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984, and handing out food packets to passer-byes.

In Thailand, a man was detained for reading Orwell’s 1984 outside a shopping mall, while others have been detained for preparing to hand out sandwiches.For some reason, giving out sandwiches is considered a protest against the coup, not other food though.

In S’pore, the public reading of Animal Farm and 1984, will be illegal as well as sharing food. I’m also sure that bloggers who refer to Animal Farm will be prosecuted, and their blogs closed down: for defaming pigs.

But looking on the bright side, the SAF generals may do what the Thai generals are doing: spend money that Thailand may not have

IT DID not take long for Thailand’s ruling junta to discover the first lesson of building popular goodwill: when in doubt, spend. The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the ruling junta led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha, has occupied itself in its first month in office airing out government coffers with a high-powered leafblower. It paid nearly 92.4 billion baht ($2.8 billion) to rice farmers under a subsidy scheme implemented by the deposed government of Yingluck Shinawatra. It is pondering ambitious transport schemes estimated to cost more than $72 billion.

It has also promised to clear a $21-billion backlog of projects awaiting approval from the Board of Investment (BOI)—of which Mr Prayuth has appointed himself chair. At the BOI’s first post-coup meeting, on June 18th, it approved 18 projects worth $4 billion.

http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21606327-economy-cannot-shrug-thailands-political-problems-when-teflon-wears

The bad news is that investors don’t like coup as the above link tells us.

So the news may be that our paper generals may juz except a freak election result: so long as they can play with their toys.

Related: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/thailand-huge-ad-gd-pr-for-pap-govt/

FTs in HR & recruiment jobs, no gd for locals & other job issues

In Economy on 01/07/2014 at 4:36 am

Restrict HR, recruitement jobs to true-blue S’poreans

Because people tend to look favourably on candidates similar to themselves, a significant reduction in discrimination in the labour market may require the hiring of new recruiters in order to increase diversity among those who screen applicants. However, this study suggests that there is trouble ahead if prospective recruiters are to be evaluated by the current ones.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2014/06/labour-market-discrimination

So if the govt is serious about restricting the growth of FTs here, it should not allow businesses to employ FTs in HR and recruitment posts. Plenty of stories about Pinoys flooding mgrs with only Pinoy applicants. M’sian Chinese and Indian Indians too are allegedly big offenders. As are ang mohs. PRCs got good record here as only $ talk, blood doesn’t.

No wonder S’pore NSman is a rare and endangered species in the corporate suite. AWARE wimmin will be very happy, esp for their FT partners.

MoM’s data proves that liberal FT policies hurt S’poreans

On 14 June, BT reported that

In April, MOM had put the preliminary figure of March’s jobless rate at 2.1 per cent.

But in its Labour Market First Quarter 2014 report released yesterday, MOM noted that its final figure for March was still higher than that of December.

It attributed this to more Singaporeans – particularly the less educated – joining the labour market seeking employment because more jobs with higher wages had opened up, thanks to the tightening of the tap on foreign workers.

And earlier in June, BT reported that MoM data showed that wages went up as a result of less FTs being allowed in

Salaries in the private sector grew 5.3 per cent on the back of a tight labour market and improved economic conditions last year, up from 4.2 per cent in 2012.

Taking into account lower inflation, real total wages rose by 2.9 per cent in 2013, after declining by 0.4 per cent in 2012, according to the latest report on wage practices released by the Ministry of Manpower’s Research and Statistics Department.

As of December 2013, 77 per cent of private establishments with employees earning a monthly basic salary of up to $1,000 gave or intended to give wage increases to these employees in 2013, up from 60 per cent in 2012.

This included the 57 per cent that gave at least $60 built-in wage increase as recommended by the National Wages Council in 2013, up from the 28 per cent that gave at least $50 recommended in the preceding year.

Rank-and-file employees received a basic wage increase of 5.4 per cent, the highest in 16 years and up from 4.3 per cent in 2012. This was the first time since 2002 that the basic wage increase for the rank-and-file exceeded that of the non rank-and-file at 4.7 per cent.

DBS economist Irvin Seah said that the salary growth was in line with his expectations. “In terms of real wage growth, it is quite a significant improvement as inflation was actually higher in 2012. This reflects an improvement in productivity and a tighter labour market,” he said.

Toby Fowlston, managing director of Robert Walters Singapore, said: “There has been an increased focus on hiring local talent, resulting in greater competition for this limited talent pool, especially in certain sectors with high demand. This drives wages up, but not for every industry.”

(Emphasis mine)

And flexi-wages remain a WIP

The MOM report also revealed that there has been a general uptrend in the implementation of flexible wage measures. In December 2013, 86 per cent of private sector employees worked in establishments which had at least one of the flexible wage components recommended by the tripartite partners – employers, workers and government.

Having a narrow maximum-minimum salary ratio was the most common wage recommendation adopted at 63 per cent. This was followed by linking variable bonus to Key Performance Indicators (51 per cent) and having the Monthly Variable Component (34 per cent) in the wage structure.

Bonuses did not go up as much as basic wages in 2013 as the annual variable component in the private sector averaged 2.21 months of basic wage in 2013, up by 0.9 per cent from the 2.19 months in 2012. Consequently, the annual variable component formed a slightly higher share of total wages at 15.6 per cent in 2013, than the 15.4 per cent in 2012.

Cham Hui Fong, assistant secretary-general, National Trades Union Congress, said that the labour movement will continue to push for the Progressive Wage Model to be pervasive in all sectors.

“This will not only raise productivity and upgrade skills, our workers can also look forward to better wages and better career progression. We also call on employers to tap on the various funding schemes and programmes, so as to achieve higher productivity growth,” she added.

Economists like Selena Ling, head, treasury research and strategy at OCBC Bank, added that the wage growth is expected to continue.

“The economic and business cycle is picking up globally, albeit at a choppy pace, and it is not unexpected that more firms are turning the corner. Real wage growth should be sustained this year, especially since inflation is subsiding. It will be very encouraging if the wage share increases over time as well,” she said.

No Country for above 40s

49% of unemployed S’poreans are above 40

http://sbr.com.sg/hr-education/news/mid-life-crisis-bulk-singapore%E2%80%99s-unemployed-are-older-40

 

MoM’s Labor Market survey showed that there were 29,000 unemployed residents older than 40. This is equivalent to 49% of the 59,300 unemployed residents for March 2014.

There are also more older residents who suffer from long-term unemployment. MoM’s data showed that out of 12,900 residents who had been looking for work for more than 25 weeks, almost 8,700 were older than 40.

- See more at: http://sbr.com.sg/hr-education/news/mid-life-crisis-bulk-singapore%E2%80%99s-unemployed-are-older-40#sthash.XQSoHV2X.dpu

 

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.

Why Japs smarter than Singkies

In China, India, Japan, Vietnam on 21/06/2014 at 5:18 am

http://im.ft-static.com/content/images/c272b0ac-d4f9-11e3-adec-00144feabdc0.img.

By 2050, elderly (65 and over) almost 40% of population

Next to Japan only. But no robots here, only FTs.

Japs smarter than us in avoiding the problems that FTs bring, like pushy Pinoys, wanting to change PM from Prime Minister to Pinoy Minister and SPF to S’pore Pinoy Force. But then they have friends like William wan, Kirsten Han, AWARE and Maruah. Their only public opposition is Gilbert Goh and Goh Meng Seng.

The govt should remember that when the Pinoys burnt our flag in the 1990s and it protested, the Pinoy govt gave the S’pore govt the finger, telling it nothing wrong with burning our flag.

 

“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.

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.

 

Event planning Pinoy style?

In Economy on 31/05/2014 at 5:22 am

The way the Pinoy party was planned and organised, then cancelled reflects badly on the claim that “T” in FTs stand for “Talent”. Skip the next four paras if you know the facts.

The Pilipino Independence Day Council Singapore (PIDCS) is a non-profit umbrella organization representing the Pinoy community in Singapore. It is made up of Pinoy professionals, skilled workers, and cultural societies who planned to celebrate the 116th independence of the Philippines at Ngee Ann City, Orchard Road on 8 June 2014.

The announcement drew a chorus of boos and protests from Singaporeans with Goh Meng Seng and Gilbert Goh shouting louder than others. Turned out no application had been made to hold the function, let alone secure the funds.

PIDCS then lodged its application for a permit, then withdrew it. The police said the withdrawal follows public order and safety concerns about the venue. A police spokesman said, “Police had also advised the organisers to consider alternative locations used previously for the event, such as Hong Lim Park in 2013 and Suntec City in 2012.”

The PIDCS then cancelled the event which meant that for the first time in 20 yrs (Yup that long) saying various other venues – including Labrador Park – were considered for this year’s Philippine Independence Day celebrations. The police would have likely granted a permit for the use of such venues. But a PIDCS statement said these venues did not “pan out for various reasons” including “accessibility to public transportation and capacity constraints”.

If the above is the result of Talents planning an event: Talents? What Talents?

– Announcing the event before getting permission, let alone applying for permission.

– Deciding to ignore the “noise”, and applying for permission.

– Not being aware that holding a function in the middle of Orchard Rd is different from that at  Suntec or Hong Lim.

I understand from police sources that the organisers were surprised that the police wanted to know how the organisers planned to handle the additional influx of up to several thousand visitors to an already crowded stretch of Orchard Rd on a Sunday. (I’ll go into more detail on what happened between the police and the Pinoy Pride people sometime in the future. Rest assured that if the Pinoys had come come up with credible plans, the SPF would have allowed the event, Gilbert Goh’s call of disrupting it notwithstanding.)

– Not having a plan B.

– Not securing the funds ($50,000 for the Orchard Rd party)

S’pore doesn’t need these type of Talents to organise events. We can call on Tan Kin Lian and Goh Meng Seng (TKL’s adviser) to organise events badly. Think of TKL’s badly organised election campaign. Three things stand out. The

– Rally that had to end just when TKL started speaking. The other speakers had talked more than they should.

– Plan, abandoned, to raise the deposit (TKL knew he was going to lose it?) via public donations.

– Appearance at a memorial commemoration in campaign tee-shirts, followed by the excuse that they didn’t know it was a memorial commemoration.

To be fair to GMS, the NSP’s 2011 GE was at least in Marine Parade well organised. Example: the posters were better positioned than the PAP ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S’pore’s trade and debt vis-a-vis other Asean countries, China Japan and India

In Economy on 24/05/2014 at 5:48 am

If S’pore is as bad as anti-PAP cyber warriors say, why is the data showing that things are pretty decent?

We are certainly not the paradise that our constructive, nation-building media say it is, but the media is more accurate than the paper-activists. Let’s not deny reality. Don’t be like the PAP on the need to love FTs. LOL

Example: South Korea has a debt-to-output ratio of 103%, Singapore (105%), Thailand (127%), Malaysia (134%), and Hong Kong (208%).

http://im.ft-static.com/content/images/88906250-b9cc-11e3-957a-00144feabdc0.img

http://im.ft-static.com/content/images/88906250-b9cc-11e3-957a-00144feabdc0.img

 

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/)

 

Tightening FT immigration helps S’poreans PMEs

In Political governance, Public Administration on 20/05/2014 at 4:41 am

Al least for finance and accounting professionals.

Salaries for finance and accounting professionals in Singapore are expected to rise, with the tight labour market likely to force companies to increase wages to attract and retain employees, said recruitment firm Robert Half on Thursday in a press release.

55 per cent of companies in Singapore plan to increase wages for professionals in their finance and accounting department. Only 1 per cent of firms plan to cut wages, while the remaining 43 per cent plan to maintain salaries.

This is in contrast to the other five markets surveyed. (CNA last week). These markets are China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia and Brazil.

So waz this rubbish that welcoming FTs with open arms helps S’poreans get better wages? The extract implicitly shows that a liberal Ft policy helps repress wages of locals PMEs; and even ST reported that the liberal FT immigration policy deprive young of jobs:http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/proof-that-fts-displace-sporeans/.

An example of tightening polices: a Pinoy couple and their son are PRs, but their young two-month old child only has a long-term pass. The couple are KPKB about discrimination and fear. I think they are barking up the wrong tree. But then they are Pinoys , playing the “victim” game, like PIDCS . ST reported:

PIDCS is currently being targeted, presumably by Singaporeans who oppose the staging of the event (‘Organisers of Philippine event targeted’, 17 Apr).

PIDCS is said to have received anonymous phone calls demanding the cancellation of the event. The organisers have reportedly felt harassed.

“The callers say we have no right to hold the event in Orchard Road,” a PIDCS spokesman said. “We do not dare to pick up phone calls now if we don’t recognise the number.”

As I told a Pinoy community adviser, “S’poreans, unlike Filipinos, don’t go round shooting people in malls. Nor do they go round burning the Filipino flag. So pls tell the organisers not to BS their fear. This is S’pore not Manila or Mindanao.”

(Related post: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/grandfathers-place-is-it-pidcs-finest-filipino-talents-at-work/)

But let me end constructively. Three cheers for OCBC and may others follow it. I’ll let BT tell the story

For the first time, a local bank will be giving its employees payouts from the Wage Credit Scheme (WCS), instead of using the funds for training and development initiatives.

OCBC Bank will be disbursing $3 million of its first WCS payout to 1,500 eligible Singaporean employees of the bank and its securities subsidiary …

Introduced in Budget 2013 as part of the three-year Transition Support Package, the $3.6 billion WCS helps firms cope with rising wages in a tight labour market. It also encourages businesses to channel resources towards enhancing productivity and subsequently share productivity gains with employees. The WCS payouts co-fund 40 per cent of pay rises given to Singaporeans who earn a gross monthly income of $4,000 and below.

The 1,500 recipients of OCBC’s WCS payout make up about 25 per cent of OCBC … total staff strength in Singapore. Most of these recipients are junior executives and unionised employees, serving as assistant managers, bank officers and clerical staff in the bank’s consumer financial services as well as operations and technology divisions. They will receive the payouts in June and July.

Recipients can opt to have their payout credited to their Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts or to invest in shares through the OCBC Blue Chip Investment Plan, which is open to all employees of the bank. Employees can choose only one of the two payout options.

 

Pinoy organisers give the finger to GMS, GG and friends

In Public Administration on 19/05/2014 at 5:01 am

I have it on good authority that the the Pinoy organisers of the 8 June party (a party that Goh Meng Seng says “trespasses” on S’pore’s sovereignty, while Gilbert Goh says our sovereignty is being threatened) have applied for a police permit. This is despite not having raised the $50,000 or thereabouts to pay for the premises and ancillaries. And despite the telcos (TLCs, GLCs)  being nervous about seen sponsoring an event that upsets Goh Meng Seng, Gilbert Goh and their friends.

Maybe they took the advice of one GMS who advised them on Facebook to apply for a permit?

Seriously, because GG, GMS and friends have made the location an issue of sovereignty (as defined by them*, not int’l law) the Pinoy organisers are apparently not backing down. If their govt can stand up to China over some rocks, despite having a useless navy, so can they stand up to GG, GMs and friends, seems to be the reasoning.

Could the Pinoy organisers’ garangness could also be because they think that the PAP govt is on their side on the issue of the party’s location? If so blame it on some junior civil servants.

I have it on more good authority that junior officers from PMO are assuring the Pinoy community that the Pinoys have nothing to fear. And it’s not my argument that “S’poreans in S’pore, unlike Pinoys in their country, don’t carry or use guns”. Seems these junior officers are saying that “we treasure Pinoys”. Wonder who the “we” encompasses?

Certainly not me. While I have no problem about the Pinoys wanting to party at Orchard Rd, to me those working here are “hewers of wood and drawers of water” (Joshua. 9:21) i.e. menial drudges; labourers. I don’t treasure them, even if there are at least 50,000 new citizens** who are Pinoys. I appreciate them for their gd service and low cost, but treasure them I do not.

Whatever, GMS, can be proud that the Pinoys are taking his advice and applying for a police permit. He can’t complain if they take his advice. Wonder if the Pinoys will dedicate a song to GMS on 8 June thanking him for his efforts? Or invite him to receive a token of their appreciation?

Jokes aside, wonder what will GMS, GG and friends do? Behave like the Filipino govt over the said rocks? Jus KPKB? Might is right as the Chinese govt said to the Filipino govt.

Update at 6.20am: BTW, I juz came across this

Question: Do you believe Professor Santiago Caaway earns only S$1,700 (60,000 pesos) a month?

The Filipino who complained about the expensive Alaskan king crab he and his family have feasted on claims his salary is only 60,000 pesos (approximately S$1,700) a month.
Why you think Pinoys come here to work? It’s a very poor country. And BTW also, he may not be a real “professor”, juz as the college he is working at may not be a real “college”.

——

*“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
    “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
    “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.”    Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. “They’ve a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they’re the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”(Thru the Looking-Glass)
http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/05/17/our-flag-kanna-burn-blame-pro-prc-ft-policies/
**Correct as of few yrs back. Don’t have the latest figure.

 

Our flag kanna burn, blame pro PRC FT policies?

In Humour, Vietnam on 17/05/2014 at 6:20 am

It was reported that the recent Vietnamese rioters burnt our national flag and industrial parks because our Singapore’s flag was mistaken as the PRC’s flag. A TRE writer said that this sounded like a convenient excuse for both the authorities of Vietnam as well as Singapore. To the Vietnamese, it could claim that the fire was an honest mistake. To the Singapore Government, it could claim that the fire was not due to any failed foreign policy.

The person went on to argue that S’pore was pro-PRC, and the Viets knew this, and decided to whack us.

Well this could be right. but my take is that the Viets “know” that S’pore has so many PRC* FTs that they think S’pore is part of Greater China: so might as well burn our flag, while they are burning Taiwanese factories and killing a Chinese worker. Anyway burning our flag is a lot less worse than burning S’porean- owned factories, businesses or industrial parks, or killing S’poreans. So in my scale of things that matter, burning our flag is pretty. Lives and property matter more.

Which brings me to FDI. Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea respectively are Vietnam’s four largest investors, as measured by registered capital. China ranks between 5th and 11th, depending on how Vietnam’s official data is interpreted. A Western analyst says foreign investors are still trying to determine whether there are more serious problems afoot that may pose a potential threat to future investment, such as a bias against foreign investors, or instability in the regime.

(http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2014/05/factory-riots-vietnam)

Given Sembcorp’s biz as a an industrial park developer there, it will be watching closely.

To end, since partying in Orchard Rd is a “trespass” on our sovereignty (at least to one GMS), I look forward to hearing from Goh Meng Seng supporting the govt’s stand on our flag being burnt. If not, I and you the reader can reasonably conclude that GMS is anti-Pinoy or the PAP govt (or both), rather than pro-Singapore. Or at least being pro-S’pore comes lower in his priorities than being ant-Pinoy or anti-PAP.

BTW, I would be more indulgent of GMS if he had simply said that Pinoy partying in Orchard Rd was not to his liking because it was too in S’poreans’ face. But he decided to rant about sovereignty, a technically legalistic concept.

 “I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
    “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
    “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.”

    Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. “They’ve a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they’re the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”

(Thru the Looking-Glass)

Have a gd weekend.

—-

*Slutty looking, violent, cheating shop assistant can get PR meh? There is gd evidence that a PRC prostitute got citizenship.

 

Dr Doom buys into Asean

In Malaysia, Vietnam on 10/05/2014 at 3:58 am

The editor and publisher of The Gloom, Boom and Doom Report said that he personally favors emerging market securities that are still “cheap” …

Marc Faber underlined his belief that emerging markets provide a more suitable option for more profitable investments. He added that he has parked cash in countries such as Vietnam, Iraq, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore.

“I made some investments more than a year ago in Iraq, because it’s very cheap. There’s lots of problems but the market is very very inexpensive,” he said. “Russia is dirt cheap, but I don’t think there is a hurry to buy Russian stocks.”

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101626956

As usual he is a super bear over the US.

 

Citi prefers M’sian equities to S’porean ones

In Malaysia on 06/05/2014 at 4:54 am

The news is that foreign money is returning to the region.

Interestingly on a one-year time frame, Citi prefers M’sia.

The recommendation by Citi Research follows a head-to-head analysis it made of both markets in response to investor comparisons within Asean, with Malaysia edging out Singapore for the following reasons: a lower ringgit, secondary effects from a key economic programme, cost normalisation, and accelerated consumption before the implementation of a goods & services tax in April next year.

While Singapore has performed better year-to-date, Citi’s Asia Report of April 29 maintained that Malaysia has more going for it in the coming months.

Take the recovery cycles in developed markets where Singapore has historically leveraged better. In the current cycle, however, costs and tight labour policies may result in a different outcome for Singapore. At the same time, Malaysia has started to see more manufacturing investment, capturing flows from firms rebalancing as a result of China and Thailand’s woes.

(BT 2 May 2014)

Me? I suspect S’pore will do better. We got an election coming.

Who is right? PM? Heart Truths? Consumer survey?

In Economy, Humour, India, Indonesia, Political governance on 05/05/2014 at 4:51 am

Recently PM said the problems S’pore were facing were the results of success*. Here I asked: Success what success? Real wages grew by only 0.4% while GDP grew by 5.9% . while the prices of public housing apartments went up in a recession.

Meanwhile, many new media warriors (posters on TRE; Heart Truths, near relation to Hard Truths; Han Hui Hui, an FT turned new citizen, who is proof that the Bumis in M’sia are right not to trust the local Cina: Uncle Chua etc) are always full of how hard life is for the average S’porean.

This so-called suffering doesn’t chime with what I observe in shopping malls, restaurants, or even hawkers’ centres or coffee shops, or what my friends, relations or biz connections tell me: S’poreans are  feeling more confident of confident of their prospects, and hence are spending more. Note, I’m not saying that there are no S’poreans suffering, but I take issue that the majority of S’poreans are suffering.

Well a recent Nielsen survey** of 501 S’poreans seems to confirm my view: that things are OK and improving, but not as great as PM is spinning. After all he got a GE to win.

Consumer confidence in Singapore is at its highest level in 10 consecutive quarters, with people remaining upbeat about personal finances and being more willing to spend.

According to the latest consumer confidence index released by Nielsen, Singapore recorded an index score of 99 in the first quarter, up two notches from 97 in the previous quarter … but still shy of the 100 baseline, has yet to reach optimism. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism. [If things are as great as what PM, his ministers and their trumpeters*** in the constructive, nation-building media saying, shouldn't the score be 150 and rising?]

The head of Nielsen Financial Services in Singapore and Malaysia was quoted as saying “The positive outlook on the economy and personal financial circumstances is starting to trickle down to consumers’ spending intentions: we notice an increase in the number of Singaporeans who are willing to spend money on discretionary expenses . . . if these intentions materialise, they could act as a further stimulus to the economy.”

So am I, Nielsen and those S’poreans spending more living in the same S’pore as our PM, or the people complaining via new media? Who is more reflectively of the reality of life in S’pore? PM and Heart Truths and friends are aliens that landed here on UFO Goh Meng Seng, the scourge of Pinoy Pride here?

Jokes about aliens and GMS aside, maybe

– PM and his ministers are out of touch, what with their huge salaries? Yesterday, I wrote “Of course Mah Bow Tan http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/05/01/netizens-agog-at-mah-bow-tans-fortune/and other millionaire ministers (present and retired) are not among these ‘lesser mortals”” in a piece of  EFTs that mimic the strategies of hedge funds.

– It’s these new media warriors who are the suffering underclass and they think that they are representative S’poreans? Or they are fruscos who think that they should have been talent-spotted by the PAP? They are always claiming that the suffering is always the fault of the PAP govt, never an issue of personal responsibility or sheer bad luck, so maybe they have personal grievances against the PAP? BTW, I exclude TRE’s Richard Wan as he knows he has a comfortable living, and knows it.

My serious point is that whatever new media or PAP media or anyone says about any topic, those of us who are rational have to ask ourselves,”Chime with what I observe?”. Don’t get carry away with the views of others. They could have agendas, delusions to propagate.

BTW, more details from BT (1 May) on the Nielsen survey:

– Some 54 per cent of respondents from Singapore consider their finances to be “good” or “excellent”, unchanged from the previous quarter.

– There is an uptick in Singaporeans who intend to invest in stocks and mutual funds, up six percentage points at 32 per cent … continue to be prudent with their money. Some 70 per cent would channel their spare money into savings, up six percentage points compared to the previous quarter and well above the global average of 47 per cent … more Singaporeans intend to increase their discretionary expenditure on a vacation and new clothes. Some 54 per cent intend to spend their spare cash on a holiday, while 37 per cent would spend it on new clothes, a quarterly increase of five and 11 points, respectively.

Interestingly, two of the three countries with the highest consumer confidence levels are in Asean Indonesia (124),  and the Philippines (116). BTW, India (121) is in between.

*Singapore’s economy has fared better than expected over the last decade, but the country’s success also brought about its own set of challenges.  PM Lee made this point in a wide-ranging discussion with regional newspaper editors  recently.

He said the country had paid the price of this fast growth, as infrastructure wasn’t able to keep up with the rapid development.

Mr Lee was asked about Singapore’s success during his time as Prime Minister and if anything exceeded his expectations.

He said yes, the country had done economically better than expected and grown faster — attributing it to favourable conditions.

As investments poured in, the government had put in resources and brought in foreign labour needed to grow. As a result, developments at the Marina Bay area sprung up in within a decade, instead of the expected 20 to 30 years.

He said that in terms of infrastructure, the country had not been able to catch up and had paid a price, and added that the government had been working hard over the past three to four years trying to come back up to speed.

He said that if the government had been able to foresee the outcome, it would have acted sooner.

But that, he said, was with the benefit of “20-20 hindsight”.

“We succeeded more than we expected, and so in terms of the infrastructure, we were not able to catch up — our public transport, building houses,” said Mr Lee. “And we paid a price.”

“We have spent the last three, four years working hard to try and come up back to speed. I wish we had been able to foresee this outcome, and then we would have acted sooner.

“But that’s 20-20 hindsight.”

Mr Lee also emphasised that it’s important for Singaporeans to feel they have a sense of belonging to the country — and that is something that is still a work in progress.

But Mr Lee acknowledged that this growth had come with a cost.

CNA extract

**The survey, conducted from mid February  to  early March this year, polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries,

***These public grievances [on healthcare costs immigration, ministerial salaries] and expert doubts did appear in the media; they were not completely blacked out. But, they were always toned down and set in a context that ensured that the government’s voice remained dominant. When there was undeniable distance between public opinion and the government’s position, leaders required the press to work towards a consensus by shifting the ground rather than nudging the government.

By dampening doubts and dissent, by allowing government to operate in an echo chamber, the media gave yesterday’s policy makers an easier ride. But, today’s policy makers are paying the price. There is now more for them to undo as they move their frame of reference back to the centre-left. Furthermore, a lack of responsiveness resulted in lower levels of trust, which now make it harder for the government to persuade the public when it needs to.

The flawed media policy is behind the current government’s biggest failure – its inability to sell its Population White Paper, which by its own reckoning was a vitally important strategic blueprint for the future. Because it had been unwilling to subject its immigration policies to even the gentle probing of friendly national media in the past, it lost touch with public sentiment and lost precious political capital. Today, it is unable to carry the ground on immigration issues.

Even when it speaks sense – like when the Prime Minister chided Singaporeans for their irrational, tribal response to the upcoming Philippine Independence Day celebration – it meets a wall of cynicism and hostility.

http://www.mediaasia.info/how-singapores-media-restrictions-have-hurt-even-the-pap/

Author is hubby of  ST’s editor.

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.

 

JB among most crime ridden city in the world/ LKY was not wrong

In Malaysia on 26/04/2014 at 6:51 am

Juz better than Guatemala City, Caracas in Venezuela and Joeburg in South Africa. All v v violent places.

http://malaysiafinance.blogspot.sg/2014/04/most-crime-ridden-cities-in-world.html

So LKY was NOT wrong in the 90s, in his analysis of JB! He was WRONG to apologise. Strange our constructive, nation-building not praising his foresight. Err maybe, he no longer considered constructive, nation-builder?

BTW JB is the capital of Iskandar . LOL

Iskandar flip flops agaim. When it started, notwithstanding its attempts to get local biz to relocate, it was telling the Arabs that it wanted to be another s’pore. The arabs wisely dids not buy into the BS. So it started trying its luck with SMEs and TLCs. Now …

Iskandar Malaysia is set to focus more on attracting higher-value manufacturing companies, in a move that may result in some lower-end Singapore businesses having to look for an alternative overseas destination where they can shift some of their operations as they grapple with higher costs and manpower constraints at home.

Mr Ismail Ibrahim, the chief executive of the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), told TODAY in an interview that the special economic zone is shifting away from activities dependent on cheap labour.

“For the manufacturing sector, we are moving Iskandar Malaysia towards higher levels of the value chain. We want to see more of what we term as technology-intensive manufacturing activities and less of the low-cost kind of industries,” he said, adding that this has always been part of the IRDA’s planning.

http://www.todayonline.com/business/iskandar-move-away-being-low-cost-centre#inside

Ten years ago, Mr Lim — the owner of a Singapore food manufacturing company — purchased two industrial land plots across the Causeway, with the hope of shifting some of his operations to Johor Baru’s low-cost environment. He has yet to make that move as, after crunching the numbers, there is not a strong financial case.

“Iskandar is also facing issues of a manpower shortage and rising costs. Last year’s introduction of minimum wages and Goods and Services Tax are just part of it,” Mr Lim, who asked to keep his identity and the name of his company private, told TODAY. “The fact that Iskandar doesn’t have a free port also matters to a food company like us, because imported materials and exported products will be tariffed. Or we can go through Singapore’s ports — and fork out just as much for the cross-strait transport costs.”

The CEO’s comments come as anecdotal evidence suggests that some Singapore manufacturers do not see a compelling reason to move operations to Iskandar.

Singapore remains the biggest foreign investor in Iskandar, having committed a cumulative RM11 billion (S$4.23 billion) to the area as of January, showed data provided by the IRDA. This forms a key part of the RM133.07 billion overall investment that the region has attracted so far, of which RM47.82 billion has been committed to the manufacturing sector.

However, a closer look at the data reveals that although the overall investment amount has been increasing, the proportion of foreign investment in Iskandar has been steadily shrinking, from 55 per cent of the total in 2008 to 35 per cent currently, suggesting a slowdown in overseas interest.

http://www.todayonline.com/business/singapore-companies-have-mixed-views-iskandar

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.

 

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]:

Think up another “clarification”, general

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

(Or “The lies Indon officials tell”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What could be clearer? He did apologise.

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

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

Still want us to trust Indonesia Mad Dog Chee?

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

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

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

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/

Impt of Indonesia to Jardine’s and other local listcos

In Indonesia on 15/04/2014 at 6:03 am

Inonesia was the largest revenue generator for many Singapore-listed companies in their most recent financial year, according to Singapore Exchange (SGX).

One in 10 stocks listed on SGX reported revenues specifically from Indonesia. Of those 80 companies, slightly more than a quarter reported Indonesia as the country that accounted for their largest revenue share.

This excludes stocks which segment revenue to South-east Asia, Asia and the Middle East, or Asia-Pacific regions, such as Jardine Matheson Holdings and Wilmar International.

Jardine Cycle & Carriage (JC&C), a member of the Jardine Matheson group and part of the Straits Times Index, has an interest in Indonesia-listed conglomerate Astra. Together with its subsidiaries and associates, JC&C employs people across Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. It has a total market capitalisation of $17.3 billion and a year-to-date total return gain of 35 per cent.

(BT 10 April)

JC&C is the Jardine group’s crown jewel, which reminds me, “Jardine [Matheson] shares have multiplied 10 times in 12 years, never mind the dividends,” according to a recent FT piece. I missed this. In early noughties, I tot of selling HSBC and buying Matheson or Strategic. Never did. Well HSBC (bought in 84) outperformed Jardines in 80s and 90s but went AWOL or MIA in noughties.

I had tot that based on history, Jardines would goof when I decided against the switch. In its attempts to diversify out of HK before the reds came in and ruined HK, it bot rubbish in Hawaii and elsewhere. HSBC backed people like Superman and other local tycoons while diversifying out of HK and into the US and UK. A sensible strategy more in line with Perfidious Albion. In the noughties, it was HSBC that crashed buying a US subprime lender. The losses there would have ruined a Citi or any other more efficient manager of capital. Happily HSBC had lots of fat to lose. And a massive rights issue almost doubled my holding. HSBC is getting its act together.

Still, Jardines would have been better .

Iskandar: First gd news in 2014

In Malaysia on 12/04/2014 at 5:08 am

Last yr M’sia and Johor shot themselves and investors by imposing levies, restriction on property buyers in Iskandar.

This blog has been always sceptical about the rhetoric of govt co-operation on Iskandar. If both govts can work in training in skilled workforce, Iskandar will be a success. But they still on talking about co-operation.. But taz something.

Singapore has offered to help train a skilled workforce to meet the growing need for workers as the Iskandar Malaysia project takes off.

“As Iskandar thrives, we can expect also to need more people to be trained for the jobs to be created – and so I also talked about vocational training and Singapore helping Malaysia to upgrade its vocational training for workers who can work in Iskandar,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told reporters yesterday after his annual “retreat” meeting with his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak.

In a joint statement, both leaders acknowledged the importance of a skilled labour force in boosting socio-economic development. They welcomed the ongoing talks between the various agencies of the two countries on collaboration in vocational training.

Speaking of the win-win gains for both Singapore and Malaysia in cooperating in Iskandar at a joint press conference, Mr Lee said: “The great advantage of Iskandar Malaysia is that it’s across the Straits of Johor, and that means that you can tap on what Singapore offers in terms of infrastructure, in terms of services, in terms of industrial base.” 8th April BT

MH370 fallout hurts us too

In Economy, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tourism on 06/04/2014 at 4:49 am

The incompetency of the M’sian defence officials (no explanation yet on why aircraft were not scrambled when aircraft veered off course) and there are allegations that the veering off course was not detected forb hours), and the perceived failures may affect us.

Demand for inbound tours featuring Singapore and Malaysia could see some ripple effect, following the backlash that Malaysia has received in China …

SA Tours’ manager for inbound tours, Dan Tan, said that he has seen a 40 per cent decrease in demand for such combined packages. Mr Tan said that the bulk of the drop comes from Chinese tourists, as demand from tourists in other countries have held steady.

At this time of the year, SA Tours usually receives enquiries from Chinese tourists for large tour groups of 80 to 100 people for the mid-year holiday period. However, for now, the company has received enquiries only from small groups of three to five people.

Mr Tan said that while business has already declined because of a weaker global economy, he believes the MH370 incident is another reason behind the drop in numbers for combined inbound tours. “There’s a lot of debate online between Malaysians and the Chinese, and the Chinese are saying they won’t come to Malaysia again,” said Mr Tan.

To assure tourists, Golden Travel Services’ managing director, Cindy Chng, has told them that travelling to Malaysia is still safe, that the incident “should have no linkage with the place itself” …  no cancellations thus far from Chinese tourists coming in July for combined tours … they have expressed some concerns. “They may not have a good impression of Malaysia and don’t want to travel there,” …

She added that she is open to making changes for tourists if they want to forgo the Malaysia leg of the tour. [Package with Bali leh]

While CTC Travel does not have combined tour packages … said that he expects such sentiments to cause a drop in Chinese tourists coming to Singapore. “We’re pretty close neighbours, and people tend to link us together,” …does not think the impact will be huge … CTC … not been affected much as the company does not have many Chinese customers and focuses more on outbound travel.

Timesworld Travel & Educational Tours and Chan Brothers said that the incident has not impacted combined inbound tours, possibly because they run more corporate and educational tours which could be less affected.

But Timesworld … said that they could face a 10 to 20 per cent drop in demand for the peak season. People are still unsure and are waiting for others to take the first step, she said.

Tour operators say that the number of Chinese travellers on combined tours in the upcoming months will depend on how the situation is handled and resolved …

(BT 5 April)

A Balinese festival that we shld adopt

In Holidays and Festivals, Indonesia on 05/04/2014 at 4:43 am

Renumber that dumb idea to hold a Thai festival where water features prominently without the water?

Here’s an idea that should resonate among everyone living here (locals, FTs): a day of silence:

Tourist areas and economic centres usually bustling with activity on the Indonesian island of Bali were deserted on Monday, as its Hindu population observed a day of silence, it appears.

Foreign tourists were required to stay in their hotel compounds, and the island’s airport as well as sea ports were closed, the Jakarta Post newspaper says.

Nyepi marks the start of a new year according to the Balinese lunar calendar. Nobody works or travels, as it is traditionally a day of introspection and fasting. A special group of guards are usually the only people out on the streets – making sure everybody else stays at home.

(http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-26833923)

But we have to make sure make sure that the organisers do not organise the festival omitting the silence.

As this is a Balinese Hindu festival, and Hinduism albeit the Tamil version) is a major religion here, no-one can object to this festival on being a foreign import. It’s a foreign applicable variation of a major local (originally imported, as are all our major religions).

To avoid increasing the number of public hols (remember productivity) and causing offence if an existing public hol has to be removed from the list of public holidays, this “day of silence” could be celebrated on a Saturday or Sunday. Of course retailers, cinema owners  etc will be unhappy. So will employers who at present pay people to work on the weekend.

 

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

Investing in Indonesia is like eating puffer fish/ TRE readership

In Humour, Indonesia, Temasek on 29/03/2014 at 7:01 am

What do I mean by the former?

S$ is a strong currency, the rupiah a weak one; but this yr the rupiah has outpeformed

The rupiah has risen 7 per cent against the US dollar this year, making it the world’s strongest performing currency, while the Jakarta stock market is also rallying, now up 10 per cent. Yields on 10-year government bonds have also come down to 8 per cent, having jumped as high as 9.2 per cent last summer – another sign of fresh enthusiasm for Indonesia’s growth story. FT on 13th March).

Gd that we have a neighbour liddat as China’s growth slows. And Indonesia’s a MINT.

And whatever TRE posters* and Chris Balding say, Temasek has made gd money in Indonesia (think telco and banking, though it has yet to exit the latter) despite a hostile political environment. Money talks.

Too bad about its aggressive, civilian-killing armed forces that would loot and plunder S’pore if given half a chance. Whether we need to spend 25% of the Budget on defence is open to reasoned debate (something which the PAP govt rubbishes) but there is no doubt that we should continuing be a poisonous shrimp to deter Indonesian generals and admirals who want to loot and plunder. The Indonesian govt does not control the military, as the constant outbreaks of internal lawlessness (including the murder of civilians) by the armed forces shows.

Example: Two Indonesian ministers have expressed regret over the inappropriate conduct by two Indonesian marines who had posed as the MacDonald House bombers at the Jakarta International Defence Dialogue exhibition on Wednesday.

In response to media queries, a statement from Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean’s office said Mr Teo confirmed that Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Air Chief Marshal (Ret) Djoko Suyanto telephoned him on Friday afternoon regarding the incident.

Coordinating Minister Djoko expressed regret over the inappropriate conduct by the soldiers, and assured Mr Teo that there was no such policy to do so.

Those views were also repeated by Indonesian Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, who spoke with Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on the phone on Friday.

Dr Purnomo added that the Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Navy, Admiral Marsetio, had launched investigations to determine who was responsible for the inappropriate act. (CNA)

Or maybe juz two-timing? What do you think?

Taz another problem. The Javanese ruling elite loves to intrigue . Raffles knew what to do when they were two-timing, he sent in the army.

As to the quality of ministers: Indonesia’s communications minister, who has campaigned against pornography, has caused an uproar on social media after he followed a Twitter porn account …

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-26680779

Bottom line: Indonesia is a difficult place to invest in (as I can personally tell you), but get it right (I didn’t) and it’s life eating puffer fish. Can die, if not careful.

Related article: http://kementah.blogspot.sg/2014/03/not-business-as-usual-for-indonesia.html

———-

*Yes, TRE readers have written to me telling me that the majority of TRE readers are not losers like “oxygen” and those who call me names, but are “Calm Persistence” and “Hard-pressed Anxiety” types). They dislike being associated with losers: they are hard-working S’poreans who think that the PAP has betrayed them. As to why they don’t fund TRE, they say that that as typical S’poreans, they are free-loaders by nature and that I’m wrong to associate “Calm Persistnce” and “Hard Pressed Anxiety” with community spirit and generosity of spirit. . If they were not free-loaders and apathetic, then TRE would not be the voice of S’poreans. Err, kinda confusing. I got to think thru this paradox.

DBS CEO proves worth of FT where “T” stands for Talent

In Banks on 25/03/2014 at 4:50 am

DBS Bank yesterday said that it will buy the Asian private banking business of Societe Generale for US$220 million, accelerating its ambition of becoming a leading wealth manager in Asia.

The deal will also widen the gap with DBS’s closest rival, the Bank of Singapore, a unit of OCBC Bank.

The price represents about 1.75 per cent of assets under management (AUM), based on the AUM of Societe Generale Private Banking Asia (SGPB Asia) of US$12.6 billion as at last Dec 31. This is a steal: OCBC in 2oio paid US$1.46bn which represents 5.8% of the unit’s assets under management, after adjusting for surplus capital of US$550m*.

Last Tuesday’s BT went on: DBS’s AUM will go up by about 23 per cent to S$85 billion from the current S$69 billion with the purchase, seven months after it was reported the French lender wanted to divest the business to redeploy capital into its core markets.

Swiss bank UBS is the largest private bank in Asia-Pacific, followed by Citi Private Bank and Credit Suisse, in that order according to trade journal Private Banker International in a 2012 survey.

That survey ranked DBS and Bank of Singapore ninth and 10th, respectively.

DBS is onto a winner with this FT and his FT COO. Well DBS deserves it, given the FTs it has had where “T” stands for Trash. SGX needs that kind of luck where both its CEO and COO are FTs where “T” certainly doesn’t stand for Talent. They did Temasek no favours by saying everything was kosher about the share price movements of Olam (More on this next week).

Coming back to OCBC. Its CEO is a Hongkie FT with great credentials. But he hasn’t shown whether the “T” is for Talent or Trash. So far the mkt inclines to the latter. OCBC’s share price crashed (and have yet to recover) when OCBC annced purchase of Hong Kong’s Wing Hang Bank few months ago. Deal is still pending. Hopefully, it dies a natural death.

My fav bank is still UOB where the chairman and CEO are true blue S’poreans. But UOB has limited visions which suits my taste here. DBS is for those who want to own a bank can be the leading regional bank in place of CIMB. It always had the vision but the FTs leading it let it down. Gupta has the talent (and luck) to make it the leading regional bank despite DBS not having significant presences in Indonesia and M’sia. It’s expansion plans in Indonesia were thwarted. S’pore has to play ball with Indonesia (allowing Indonesian banks more privileges here) for DBS to be able to buy Temasek’s Bank Danamon stake.

Finally, yesterday’s BT had a story about the difficulties our three banks were facing. UOB’s finance director said “Funding pressures will serve as a growth constraint for mid-sized banks like us outside of Singapore, particularly amid a backdrop of tightened liquidity conditions in the region. UOB has always emphasised funding stability. We must also be selective in the customer segment we engage in and avoid large concentration risks.” Taz straight talk.

So is [C]ompetition in US-dollar funding is likely to intensify, given the anticipated growth in trade financing, and the liquidity requirements of Basel III, says OCBC’s Mr Tan. Trade financing is still mostly greenback-denominated.

DBS’s Ms Chng says: “The so-called ‘balkani-sation’ of the financial landscape is an emerging risk, potentially resulting in captive capital and liquidity pools within each jurisdiction and impacting the pursuit of synergies across regional operations.”

But  sadly they couldn’t resist sprouting PR rubbish

“From a capital perspective,” says Darren Tan, chief financial officer of OCBC Bank, which is negotiating to buy Hong Kong’s Wing Hang Bank, “we prefer to acquire majority stakes where possible. However, in instances where a majority stake is not immediately available, we will still give the opportunity due consideration if there is strategic value in the acquisition.”

United Overseas Bank’s approach to overseas growth is to expand the platform for customers to tap trade flows within the region, says its CFO, Lee Wai Fai.

DBS puts priority on pursuing organic growth, and adopts “a disciplined approach” to M&A, says Chng Sok Hui, its CFO … She adds that DBS is adopting a digital strategy to expand its footprint in growth markets.

What do they mean?

——————————-

*My 2010 analysis: But maybe OCBC shld have waited. The purchase of ING’s Asian private banking business could come to haunt OCBC. A few days before this deal was annced, ING sold its European biz, at a fraction of the multiple that it got for Asia. Only time will tell if the growth in Asian wealth and OCBC’s ability to grow the private banking biz will justify the hefty premium that OCBC paid.

It paid US$1.46bn which represents 5.8% of the unit’s assets under management, after adjusting for surplus capital of US$550m. This compares with the 2.3% measure paid by Julius Baer for ING’s Swiss assets which is in line with another European purchase by an American private equity group of a smallish private banking outfit — RHJI’s purchase of Kleinworth Benson from Commerzbank.

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/ocbc-reward-for-avoiding-balls-up/

Trumpets pls. BTW, I don’t blame the previous FT CEO of OCBC, Richard O’Connor. He was retiring. In such circumstances, usually the CEO would not take the lead in such a move: he’d go with the flow. Rightly, as he wouldn’t be the person running the show.. This is what happened here, I’m reliably informed. BTW too, he did a great job. Ngiam Tong Dow (remember him) called him an honorary S’porean, I think.

Neighbours show up the S’pore system, for gd and bad

In Indonesia, Malaysia, Political governance, Public Administration on 22/03/2014 at 5:41 am

The governor of Jakarta has been in the news recently because he was nominated by a major Indo political party to be a presidential candidate. He is a very popular choice because he is seen as being against inefficiency, maladministration and corruption.

What our constructive, nation-building and PAP-allied media doesn’t tell us is that he before he entered politics, he sold furniture. He was no scholar, general or admiral like paper generals Kee Chui and MoM Tan (and before them Lui, Pinkie, Teo or Cut and Run George). He was an ordinary citizen who cared enough to enter politics.

This reminds me: a PAPpy-hater complained that http://trulysingapore.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/adequate-water-supply-is-common-sense-not-foresight. Well going by the following BBC extract,

London-based Inmarsat said its engineers realised at an early stage that the aircraft had probably flown for several hours on a northern or southern track, and it was very unlikely that the plane could have headed north over countries with sophisticated air defence systems.
The company further said that it had informed the Malaysian authorities of the information, through an intermediary company, on 12 March, but this was not publicly acknowledged until 15 March.
Furthermore, the authorities continued to search in the South China Sea and Malacca Straits during that time, despite the information suggesting that the plane had flown on much further.

The M’sian officials lacked common sense. At least the then PAP cabinet had the common sense to do make sure we had adequate water supplies. I can’t be sure of the present cabinet. What do you think?

Flooding the city with FTs but not increasing the supply of hospital beds. Worse denying that there is a shortage. http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/03/21/dr-amy-khor-need-to-put-hospital-bed-crunch-in-context/. Err actually this gd TRE piece shows that there are advantages in having an elite schoolboy and scholar on the team. TeamTre has one such person. The TeamTRE-generated analysis is a lot better than the TOC team’s inhouse generated analysis.  For reportage TOC is miles ahead.

BTW, TOC, the chamion of free speech and a free internet, has disallowed my FaceBook avatar from commenting on their FB wall. Gee and they got the cheek to call for the govt to allow greater freedom of expression? Juz as intolerant as MIW? At least MIW are not hypocrites. They openly endorse the idea that only the “right” tots are allowed to be expressed. LOL.

TRE, in contrast, republishes pieces where I ridicule the readership’s excesses in hating all things PAP. Now that is walking the walk of freedom of expression.

Asean travellers, KS, security conscious? Use Changi Int’l

In Airlines, Humour, Infrastructure on 15/03/2014 at 6:59 am

Home Team’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority has been in the sights of DPM Teo and netizens (a rare distinction: err where’s the co-driver?) for a series of recent balls-up. So the tragic disappearance of a MAS plane gave its PR team an opportunity to blow its trumpet, (justifiably, no BS or hype)

Visitor passports presented to immigration officers at Singapore checkpoints are screened against Interpol’s database of lost or stolen travel documents, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Tuesday.

And if a passport is one of more than 40 million on Interpol’s list, the officer is automatically alerted and the traveller pulled aside for further checks.

This procedure has been in place since May 2008, an ICA spokesman told The Straits Times.

He did not elaborate on how the system works, but security experts said that this verification typically takes just a few seconds.

But despite the fact that checks are quick, Singapore remains one of only a few countries that use Interpol’s database to ensure border security, experts noted. (Wed ST)

EDB, and the tourism board should be following this up with a regional advertising campaign:

“Taking a flight of more than an hr? Transit via S’pore: all passports are checked against Interpol’s database of lost or stolen passports. Does yr airport do this? Or are they like KL?”

BTW, a gd riposte to the M’sian Home Affairs minister’s comments

“I am still perturbed. Can’t these immigration officials think? Italian and Austrian (passport holders) but with Asian faces,” he was quoted as saying late on Sunday.,

would be for immigration officers will say that they use to seeing Chinese and Indian faces on MALAYsian passports. So no issues about seeing Asian faces on European passports.

Seriously comment shows he has prejudices, hangups or is still living in the mid 20th century.

Expats & us kanna pay & pay these bills

In Economy, Footie, Humour on 14/03/2014 at 4:44 am

(Update on 19th March at 9.55am: We most ex in Asia for World Cup http://sg.sports.yahoo.com/news/singapore-costliest-place-watch-world-cup-000511872.html. Thank you SingTel and MDA and Yaacob. PM, tot cabinet ministers chosen and remain on merit? What about the minister responsible for Malay affairs and info, formerly of environment ? Meritocracy? What meritocracy?)

One’s a necessity, the other’s a human rights issue for most, even PAPpies, which that brave but blur barking dog, Maruah, fails to highlight, even though it affects FTs, Maruah’s favoured group. Think I’m mean? Think the alleged “rioters”, drug mules, but not true blue S’porean Dan Tan or the alleged Jihadists.

Seriously, the PAP and its allies in the media must be shell-shocked going by their reactions to the EIU’s survey that ranked S’pore as the most expensive place to be an expat. Tharman’s explanation implies (unless he is trying again to be a comedian) that cars are only for expats: true blue S’poreans and ministers can only use public tpt? And I can’t stop laughing at the misreps in this http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/03/11/cnas-editor-the-high-cost-of-singapore-living/

There is one item that affects both locals and expats that Tharman, and Nicolas Fang and other members of the constructive, nation-building media running dogs don’t tell us Utility bills are also listed as big-ticket items by the EIU, but there is not much anyone can do to save there. Unless, of course, one were to turn off the air-conditioning.

(http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2014/03/world-s-most-expensive-city)

So why don’t they tell us aircon only for FTs? Or when will they tell us this? Giving ang moh lover Bernice Wong another opportunity to diss local buyah males; not that they don’t deserve it. BTW, she might now prefer this woman basher. http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/03/11/ft-accused-of-punching-sg-singer-resigns-from-company/

The human rights issue?  The cost of watching footie: We now know the cost of watching the coming World Cup but remember that EPL  and Champions’ and Europa leagues watching ain’t cheap: M’sia and HK are a lot cheaper. For that we have to thank SingTel’s aggressive bidding, its corporate ambitions (err its run by true blue S’poreans not FTs) and Yaacob’s finest at MDA.

But let’s be fair, the strong S$ that makes it cheap for us to shop in JB and other Asean cities has played its part in making S$ S’pore that expensive: Singapore, which has seen its nominal exchange rate appreciate by 40 percent over the past decade, will obviously have higher U.S. dollar prices. But that only matters to the shrinking group of expatriates who are paid in greenbacks. Most consumers care about costs in the currency in which they earn their living.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2014/03/05/singapore-is-not-the-worlds-most-expensive-city/

Here’s another good point: [These surveys] fail the simple test of people revealing their preferences by their decisions. Imagine a company that used the EIU study to ask its employees in Mumbai to tone down their wage expectations in 2014. They will make a beeline to recruiters’ offices – to search for jobs in Singapore.

Majulah Singapura. Despite what TOC and TRE readers claim, S’pore’s an attractive place: I’m still here for starters. So is Jack for all his grumbling. The PAP must have done shumething good? Right Jack? Think about that when S’pore Inc jacks up GST, utility bills, tpt fares, utility bills etc despite the budget surpluses or profits..

Let’s leave the last word to Banyan:

Much has changed in this part of the world since the original writers of the Lonely Planet series chose Singapore as the place to hole up and write their second volume: South-East Asia on a Shoestring. In sum, to survive on $10 a day (well, a bit more) in Singapore these days: don’t touch the cars, drink beer instead of wine, bake your own bread and eat your meals out at the hawker centres. And then it’s all a bit more reasonable. Which is more than can be said of foregoing the air-con.

————-

*World Cup costs from yesterday’s BT

All 64 of the matches will be free for people who either sign up for – or extend existing – mio TV Gold Pack contracts or standalone Barclays Premier League (BPL) contracts for 24 months.

The Gold Pack is a combination of entertainment and BPL content on the mio TV platform. The standalone BPL content package is available to both mio TV and StarHub subscribers.

Viewers who want a World Cup-only deal will pay a one-time price of $105, excluding GST. This is the most expensive World Cup fee to date – 19 per cent higher than the pre-GST price of $88 and 59 per cent higher than the early-bird price of $66 for the 2010 World Cup.

2014 World Cup pricing for business owners will be announced “shortly”, the operator said.

And http://www.thestar.com.my/Opinion/Columnists/Insight-Down-South.aspx/?c={3054A244-0EAD-4847-A743-A2610B82E86B}

 

Why PAP should be afraid but not not too afraid

In China, Humour, Internet, Malaysia, Political governance, Vietnam on 10/03/2014 at 4:49 am

Paper warriors can cause serious problems for paper generals. Take heart Richard Wan, SgDaily, Terry Xu etc. And NSP should put more effort and time on online activities, rather than pounding the streets and climbing stairs, even though P Ravi of NSP gets great workouts: but Ravi, skip the teh tariks at the end. And the Chiams start an online presence.

Online activism can be an accurate indicator of where revolutions might take place next, according to University of Manchester research.

Argentina, Georgia, the Philippines and Brazil are claimed to be most at risk of upheaval, according to this measure.

The Revolution 2.0 Index* was developed last year and identified Ukraine as the most likely to see political upheaval.

This index sees revolution being forecast by computer experts rather than political analysts … It provides a different view of how regimes are put at risk by protest movements, looking at online factors rather than street demonstrations.

The index produces a risk factor based on the level of repression and the ability of people to organise protests online.

(http://www.bbc.com/news/education-26448710)

But Yaacob, MDA, and the ISD can still relax a little: The highest risk comes in countries where there are protests against perceived injustices – but where there is relative freedom online.

Err we knowthat S’poreans don’t like to sweat at Hong Lim: ask Gilbert Goh. (Alternative reason: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/gg-crashes-new-indian-chief-needed/)

So get the people out in their tens of thousands to Hong Lim Green and keep up the online volume, then sure can effect regime change. But fortunately for the PAP, only the LGBTs can get out the crowd. Aand then only once in a pink moon.

Still if PM and the ministers want to make sure they get to keep their mega-salaries then they should start sending study teams to  Ethiopia, Iran, Cuba and China: At the lowest end of this 39-country index are countries such as Iran, Cuba and China because there is a lower level of risk of revolution in repressive countries with tight controls over the internet.

Actually, it juz might be easier to ban Facebook and other forms of social media on the grounds that users waste time on them during office hours (all those cat photos that a certain social activist posts during office hours). Users are subversives, undermining the govt’s productivity drive, the aim of which is to make S’poreans richer slaves.

Talking about the Ukraine, professor Richard Heeks from Manchester University, the creator the index, says: “But social media has been the core tool used to organise protests and maintain them by letting protesters know where they can get nearby food, shelter, medical attention, and so on.

“It has spread word about violence and has garnered support and assistance from overseas.”

BTW, S’pore, Cambodia and Laos are not on the index but the rest of Asean is

The Philippines (4th)

M’sia (14th)

Indonesia (26th)

Vietnam (29th)

Thailand (33rd: err data was up to 2012)

Burma (35th)

———————————————————-

*The index combines Freedom House’s Freedom on the Net scores, the International Telecommunication Union’s information and communication technology development index, and the Economist’s Democracy Index (reversed into an “Outrage Index” so that higher scores mean more autocracy). The first measures the degree of Internet freedom in a country, the second shows how widely Internet technology is used, and the third provides the level of oppression.

 

 

Iskandar, answer to rising costs, Reits & other cost tales

In Economy, Malaysia, Property, Reits on 09/03/2014 at 4:16 am

“The government has underestimated the impact of high business costs on our future economy,” said Inderjit Singh (Ang Mo Kio), urging the government to set up a cost competitiveness committee to tackle the root causes of soaring costs before SMEs and MNCs relocate with jobs in tow. He also asked the government to reverse its land divestment policy, which he deems a key reason behind high industrial rents.

Companies are facing a “triple whammy” of rising rents and utility bills, growing wage costs, and a shortage of workers, said Mr Singh, himself a businessman. And this “chronic” cost issue does not affect SMEs alone. “The top management of some large MNCs here … have expressed their serious concerns about the unrelenting increases of the cost of doing business coupled with the unavailability of workers,” he said.

Iskandar’s industrial parks are a “huge threat”, he said. If Singapore’s SMEs are forced to move to Johor, MNCs may follow their SME suppliers and subcontractors. “The exodus may be larger than we imagine … We risk hollowing out our economy in the future, and I would like to sound an alarm that we are close to the tipping point.”…

Though he acknowledged that PIC and PIC+ would help with topline revenues growth, Mr Singh said: “We are just trying to do too many things too fast, and this is hurting many companies.”

Both he and nominated MP R Dhinakaran, who is also managing director of Jay Gee Group, pointed to rising industrial and commercial rents as a key culprit of the high costs of doing business in Singapore.

Citing Association of Small and Medium Enterprises president Kurt Wee’s comment at BT’s Budget Roundtable that rents rise as much as three-fold when leases are renewed, Mr Dhinakaran said: “In this economic climate, rental increases of this magnitude will be fatal for a large number of SMEs.”

Both Mr Singh and Mr Dhinakaran also linked the high rental costs to the government’s land divestment policy. “JTC was a landlord for 18 per cent of industrial property some 10 years ago, but today manages only 3 per cent of the market. This is a huge shift, and the government lost the ability to influence rental prices resulting in developers and investors making the money,” said Mr Singh.

“We have to reverse this policy, even if it means the government having to buy back some of the Reits. In any case, the biggest Reit players are government-linked entities like Mapletree and CapitaLand,” he added.

Denise Phua (Moulmein-Kallang) felt that certain cost increases – the restoration of CPF contribution rates for older workers, higher progressive wages for low-income earners and cost hikes due to tighter low-skilled foreign manpower policies – are justified, with “strong rationale”.

But she also said that business rents need “the touch of the State”, and asked the government to consider “cooling measures, especially for business rents”.

BT 5 March

Given that Ascendas (a GLC) is the biggest player in the industrial land arena: why do you think when the govt says this?

The government will intervene if it sees evidence of collusion or the abuse of market dominance by any landlord – including real estate investment trusts (Reits), said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck … in Parliament … calls for help with climbing business costs (and in particular, the affordability of business space) have grown louder both in and outside of Parliament in recent months.

Reits – some of which were formed after JTC and HDB divested space to private owners – have been blamed for shorter lease renewals and sharper spikes in rentals.

“We know that it has come up as an issue, many of you have raised it. We will monitor it,” said Mr Teo.

At the same time, he noted that “Reits are not necessarily the leading players in the rental space market, because they currently only own about 13 per cent and 16 per cent of retail and industrial rental spaces respectively. Like any other landlord, they have to compete in the rental market to attract tenants and cannot charge excessive rents”.

Mr Teo also said that rents for space are likely to moderate in the medium term, as the government has released a “significant amount of land”.

Over the next three years, about 145,000 square metres of new shop space will be completed each year. Over the same period, an average of 500,000 square metres of multiple-user factory space will come on-stream each year.

For the former, that represents more than double the average annual demand for such space in the last three years; for the latter, it is just under double.

(BT 7 March)

Silicon Valley S’pore style?

Entrepreneurship will also receive a boost, since by the end of this year, JTC will open two more blocks to incubate start-ups, as part of a cluster called JTC LaunchPad@one-north.

“It’s our answer to Silicon Valley,” said Mr Teo.

Calling Indons’ bluff and other Asean tall tales

In Indonesia, Malaysia on 08/03/2014 at 5:02 am

On 1 March, S’pore upped the stakes in its ongoing row with Indonesia on responsibility for the haze

Singapore has reiterated its call to the Indonesian government to share evidence relating to any involvement by Singapore-linked companies or Singaporeans in illegal land clearing practices in Indonesia.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said this on Saturday in response to media queries on comments by Indonesian Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Agung Laksono.*

Now that S’pore has passed laws allowing it to prosecute , the Indons cannot bitch too hard about S’pore’s failures if it can’t provide evidence, what can S’pore do?. Note that Indon refused to give M’sia and s’pore details of where the fires occurred (which would help identify the culprits) saying “secret lah”. They had earlier bitched that M’sian and S’porean cos had started fires but so far have provided no evidence, despite requests.

Note the Indon parly has just started procedures for ratifying the Asean 2002 treaty on haze pollution.  When will it be ratified 2022? CNA reported on 3 March

Indonesia’s parliament is a step closer to ratifying the ASEAN Agreement on Trans-boundary Haze Pollution.

Parties representing nearly 65 per cent of lawmakers have agreed to ratify the treaty.

Only two political parties – the PDI-P and PKS – have opposed it.

They cited concerns over the violation of sovereignty, as the agreement would allow firefighters from ASEAN countries to extinguish fires on Indonesian territory.

The next step will see a draft bill being discussed, before the agreement is formally ratified in parliament.

Related light reading:

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/why-plan-suffocate-sporeans-failed/

-    –  -

The chief minister of Selangor must be laughing all the way to the bank. Anwar Ibrahim was planning to depose him (both belong to the same gang) by first standing in a state by-election so that he could get into the state assembly. Well Anwar has now been convicted of sodomy http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26479642.

The court decision will affect Mr Anwar’s plans to compete in a key by-election in the state of Selangor this month, reports say.

A victory for Mr Anwar would mean he could become Selangor’s chief minister – widely seen as a powerful post.

The court said he could remain free on bail while he appeals against the verdict to the country’s highest court, AP news agency reported.

————————————————————————————————————————————–

*Mr Agung had said publicly that since 2013, the Indonesian police have launched 41 investigations against errant companies and individuals that may be involved in illegal land clearing practices in Indonesia.

Mr Agung said some of these cases involved Singapore-linked companies or Singaporeans.

MFA said that the Singapore government takes a serious view of these allegations.

It added that if there is credible evidence that Singapore-linked companies or Singaporeans were involved, the Singapore government intends to take further steps against these errant companies and individuals.

The ministry also urged the Indonesian government to take the necessary legal and enforcement action against errant companies or individuals, regardless of their nationality.

It said the primary responsibility for legal and enforcement action lies with Indonesia, where these companies and individuals were allegedly conducting such illegal activities.

MFA noted that a state of emergency has been declared in Riau province due to the severe haze arising from the ongoing forest and peatland fires there as well as fires elsewhere in Sumatra.

Singapore hopes that the fires will be quickly dealt with to prevent a recurrence of transboundary haze.

S’pore: Asean bridgehead for Jap cos, GM & Oz retailer

In Economy on 01/03/2014 at 4:44 am

Banzai! She’s OK mate.

Japanese companies are returning to Singapore at the levels before the global financial crisis, as look to tap growth opportunities in Southeast Asia reported MediaCorp recently, shortly after this

According to the Japanese Embassy in Singapore, it says,  businesses are gradually returning as the region recovers from the crisis and as the strengthening yen adds to their potential investment ambitions.

Primarily, though, it is the growing economies of South-east Asia which are a major draw that many companies, said Mr ShinichiOnishi, Counsellor at the Japanese Embassy.

“Many Japanese companies like to have their headquarters in Singapore, so they can cover the South-east Asian region. There are many big markets around Singapore, such as Indonesia, and the country is a convenient base said Mr Onishi.

Figures provided by the embassy show that 760 Japanese companies had operations here last year, up from 729 in 2007 and 719 in 2008, when the global financial crisis was starting to cause chaos and many foreign companies were forced to pull back fromthe region.

At the same time, the number of Japanese citizens based here is on the increase: Last year, more than 31,000 Japanese citizens were living in Singapore, up from 25,969 in 2007, according to embassy figures.

Design and architecture firm Nikken Sekkei was one such company. It returned to S’pore earlier this year, after leaving in the early 2000s because of an economic slowdown. It has gradually been expanding in the region following the financial crisis, said its Senior Executive Officer Akihiko Hamada. He said it decided to pick Singapore as it is easy to serve neighbouring countries from here and it was already familiar with S’pore.

“We wanted to set up a regional officeto serve the ASEAN region, because of its prospective marvellous economic growth and its large populationof 600 million people. In the next 10 years, there is also an anticipatedinvestment growth in real estate. Aftersome extensive research, we decidedto establish ourselves in Singapore.”

He added that talent is also readily here. Apparently, we got positive and earnest workforce. And presumably the FT policy helps.

This influx has made its impact felt on the Singapore economy. Figures provided by the Economic Development Board (EDB) show that Japan accounted for S$0.6 billion (7.2 per cent) in Total Business Expenditure and S$0.7 billion (5.5 per cent) in Fixed Asset Investments last year.

BTW1, GM has relocated its Asia Pac (ex China) HQ here late last yr ’cause of its thrust into Asean (think Indonesia, it has manufacturing facilities in Thailand) and India. It was AP HQ until it moved to Shanghai in the early noughties.

BTW2, Oz retail giant Cotton On Group yesterday announced the opening of its Asia headquarters in Singapore, which will boost investment and create 200 jobs here.

The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) said that as part of the investment, the group has committed to hiring that number of people by June 2018 to drive its Asia operations.

Since its inception 23 years ago, the Cotton On Group has grown to more than 1,300 stores across nine brands in 16 countries. In 2007, the group established its first store in Asia here.

Today, it has more than 160 stores throughout Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, and plans to open several hundred more in the region in the next five years, at a projected investment in excess of $100 million.

PAP must be doing something right?

Temasek’s Asean tales

In Temasek, Vietnam on 22/02/2014 at 4:23 am

This week’s Asean’s round-up is all about Temasek or its TLCs.

Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings Pvt Ltd TEM.UL is seeking to sell its $3.1 billion stake in Thai telecom company Shin Corp INTUCH.BK, according to people familiar with the matter, and has approached its SingTel (STEL.SI) unit as a possible buyer. But the troubles in Thailand have put an end to the talks.

TRE and TOC readers will be banging their balls when they learn: The Temasek stake in Shin Corp, founded by former Thailand prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, is worth $3.1 billion by current market value.

Shin Corp’s shares now trade more than 50 percent above the price paid in 2006 by a Temasek-led consortium, that included Chinese-Thai businessman Surin Upatkoon, when it bought 96 percent of the Thai firm for a total of $3.8 billion.

As for SingTel:

“At a fair price such a deal would make sense for SingTel,” Chris Lane, senior analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in Hong Kong who covers Asia-Pacific telecommunications. SingTel is 52 percent-owned by Temasek.

Shin Corp owns 40.5 percent of Thailand’s biggest mobile telecoms company, Advanced Info Service Pcl ADVANC.BK. SingTel already has a 23 percent stake in AIS: Adding the Shin Corp stake would cement its position in a bigger market and offset sluggish growth in mature economies where it’s also present, like Australia.

“SingTel executives are involved in the day-to-day operations of the company AIS,” said Bernstein analyst Lane. “Buying the stake from Temasek avoids the possibility of another ‘telco’ securing a significant interest in AIS.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/18/us-temasek-shincorp-singtel-idUSBREA1G1H520140218

FPT Corp, Vietnam’s largest publicly traded telecommunications and software company, has asked Temasek to help it identify a Singapore technology company for acquisition to boost sales overseas, the Bloomberg news agency reported.

FPT will spend as much as US$20 million (S$25 million) on a Singapore acquisition, Chief Executive Officer Bui Quang Ngoc said in an interview on Wednesday. The company, which had sales of 28.6 trillion dong (S$1.7 billion) in 2013, seeks to more than triple revenue from overseas to US$400 million by the end of 2016, co-founder Mr Ngoc, who took charge in July, said in Hanoi. “Singapore is a very attractive market,” Mr Ngoc said. “If we can be successful in Singapore, it means we have enough experience to do it in other countries.”

FPT is looking to acquire a Singapore company that specialises in software services such as inventory management, order processing and employee payroll, said Mr Duong Dung Trieu, chief executive officer of FPT Information System, a unit that contributes 25 per cent of the parent’s pretax profit.

The company plans to make the acquisition in Singapore “as soon as possible,” Mr Ngoc said. Temasek holds less than 5 per cent stake in FPT, according to the Vietnamese company.

Finally airport services and catering firm SATS (a listed TLC) agreed to buy a 41.65 per cent stake in Indonesian aviation and food service provider Cardig Aero Services for 1.1 trillion rupiah (S$118 million) to grow its business in South-east Asia’s largest economy.

Indonesia is a priority market said SATS. The country’s topography and a fast-growing economy and middle-class population will continue to drive greater demand for high-quality food and travel, it said. “CAS is an attractive investment opportunity in our core business which will generate sustainable value for our customers, employees and shareholders as Indonesia continues to grow,” said Mr Alexander Hungate, President and Chief Executive Officer of SATS.

And he’s right about Indonesia: http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21596989-how-worlds-fourth-most-populous-country-weathering-emerging-market

S&P: Tough year for S’pore and regional banks

In Banks, Economy, Property on 20/02/2014 at 4:14 am

Lower economic growth prospects and tighter credit conditions could create a tougher operating environment for the banking sector here and in the region, said a report by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) late last week.

S&P expects S’pore’s GDP) growth to fall to 3.4 % this year, from 3.7% last year.

The report also notes that corporate and household indebtedness has been on the rise here. The situation could worsen this year, in anticipation of interest rates rising; higher borrowing costs amid rising. See DBS’s CEO’s tots below* and related post http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/why-banks-tested-for-50-plunge-in-property-prices-and-other-wonderful-tales/

Related articles: The three local banks posted their reports last week too and for quick snap-shots (not the usual ST or BT fluff)

http://sbr.com.sg/financial-services/news/5-highlights-you-should-know-about-uobs-2013-results

http://sbr.com.sg/financial-services/news/find-out-what-badly-hurt-ocbcs-fy13-results

http://sbr.com.sg/financial-services/news/dbs-braces-itself-looming-30-35-drop-in-mortgage-loan-applications

Charts on banks’ loans etc

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

Cheap way of owning UOB shares

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/haw-par-rediscovered-yet-again/

Update at 6.ooam:

South-east Asia’s three biggest lenders, DBS, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp and United Overseas Bank, have seen their share prices rise this week after posting solid results last Friday. Common trends in the fourth quarter were better margins, trade finance-driven loan growth, seasonally softer treasury earnings and no asset quality weakness, CIMB noted.

UOB has been the star performer this week, gaining 3.5 per cent, while OCBC has risen 2.3 per cent and DBS 0.4 per cent.

UOB, despite being the smallest of the trio, has been particularly impressive with its fee income and regional strategies, CMC Markets Analyst Desmond Chua told TODAY.

“In terms of fee income, it has performed relatively well while the market has been lacklustre, in part due to a higher interest outlook. Its diversification to grow in regional emerging markets has also helped it maintain loan growth despite weaker mortgage demand in Singapore,” he said.

“On the other hand, OCBC’s share price might have been affected by the prospect of its overpriced acquisition of Wing Hang Bank in Hong Kong while DBS hasn’t been able to impress with its fee-based revenue in recent times despite aggressively attacking this space,” he added.

UOB’s net interest margin, which is the highest among local banks at 1.72 per cent full-year, is another advantage for the lender, Voyage Research’s Deputy Research Head Ng Kian Teck added. “UOB has historically been good on this front, and it means the bank can churn the most value out of every dollar loaned — that’s what’s attracting the investors,” he said.

All three banks ended last year on a positive note, with their fourth-quarter net profit rising between 6 and 11 per cent on the back of strong growth in net interest income.

The banks have also continued to solidify their regional presence, drawing more revenue from overseas than before.

….

“Their return on equity is healthier vis-a-vis the other industries, which are facing greater margin pressure due to higher wages. But the banks have been able to control this issue better.”

CMC Markets’ Mr Chua is also bullish, saying: “I’m looking at the banking space being an outperformer this year even though interest rates are bound to rise. Their tactical diversification across this region allows them to tap into Indonesia’s emerging affluent segment, for example.

Update at 5.15pm:Can Singapore safely deflate its property market? http://www.cnbc.com/id/101409247

————————

*DBS Bank chief executive Piyush Gupta expects home prices to fall by 10-15 per cent this year – more than the 10 per cent forecast by property consultants – but says that this decline would not make a material impact on the bank’s loan book. Speaking at DBS’s Q4 results briefing, he said it is likely that the prices of high-end homes will slide 15 per cent, and that for lower-end ones, by 10 per cent.

As for the higher interest rates expected with the shrinking of monetary stimulus policy by the US, he said he was not expecting it to have any effect on DBS. “The Singapore portfolio is really driven on income considerations . . . As I’ve said before, the pressure will likely start coming when unemployment rises – more than when property prices change.” Singapore’s unemployment rate is now at a low 1.8 per cent.

Mr Gupta said: “All our stress tests in the past have shown that we can easily withstand a 20 per cent reduction in Singapore property prices without material impact on our portfolio. We stress-test (for a) 20 (per cent fall in property prices), but don’t expect it to happen; our stress tests are always calibrated to go off the charts. My own sense is that there will be a correction of 10-15 per cent.”

He noted that the market was already stabilising and that the froth was running off, but that if this continued, the government would roll back some of the macro prudential measures. Sales of new mortgages have plunged 30-35 per cent at DBS, and by 40-50 per cent at OCBC Bank as a result of the stricter loan rules.

Mr Gupta likened the Singapore property market to that of New York and London, where prices held up even during the financial crisis between 2008 and 2012. While prices in the rest of the US fell by about a third, prices in New York slipped by only 10 per cent. It was a similar situation in London, another city where the demand is not dependent on the state of the domestic economy.

Mr Gupta said he expects regional money buying properties here to also put a floor under prices. With the slower sales, DBS’s $49.1 billion mortgage book is likely to grow by $2 billion to $2.5 billion this year, down from $3.5 billion last year and $5 billion the year before that, said Mr Gupta.

OCBC Bank chief operating officer Ching Wei Hong said of the new mortgage sales having declined across the board: “That’s expected, given all the cooling measures that have been imposed. We’ve built up a healthy inventory level. The inventory drives the growth of (the loan) book, going into 2014 and 2015. Beyond 2015 H2 and 2016, if conditions remain the same, we’ll see a bit of tapering in that period.”

(BT article last Saturday)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other instances of bad Indonesian behaviour

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

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

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

From

Haj Mohamed

Published: 13 February, 4:04 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update at 5.00am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Money talks.

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

Asean looking gd: gd for us

In Indonesia, Malaysia on 15/02/2014 at 4:15 am

[S]outheast Asia has confounded the sceptics. Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines – the “Tips” – weathering the latest storm with relative ease.

The Jakarta equity index has recorded the biggest gain of any major market – emerging or otherwise – this year, rising 5.2 per cent in dollar terms since the start of January. Financials have led the charge with Bank Rakyat jumping by more than a fifth.

The Philippine market has risen 1.5 per cent, while Thailand’s loss of 0.4 per cent looks tame compared with other EMs. For the same period, Russia’s Micex is down 7.2 per cent and Brazil’s Bovespa is 7.9 per cent lower.

A similar pattern has played out in currency markets. The Indonesian rupiah and the Thai baht are the top EM performers against the dollar this year. [EM means Emerging Markets]

Previous rallies in southeast Asia have been driven by aversion to China – the Tips are less reliant on exports to the country than are many other places in the emerging world. As concerns about economic growth and the financial system bubble up again in China, southeast Asia appears to be benefiting.

However, Bill Maldonado, chief investment officer for Asia at HSBC asset management, says more country-specific factors are at work. (Except from FT blog of 10th Feb)

– Thailand is cheap, juz as profitable as Indonesia: politics makes it cheap.
— Indonesia is growing faster than expected having taken steps earlier to fix its deficits in budget and current account and there there is an election is coming,

Both stk markets are cheap on a price to book basis, the Jakarta index is at a four-year low, while Thai stocks are trading at two-year lows.

Given Indonesia’s proximity to S’pore, we’ll benefit too. Too bad M’sia is not in better shape*. If it is, there will be a GE in 2015.

*Update at 7.30 am: M’sia could be getting better– BT reports: Analysts have revised their estimates for Malaysia’s 2014 growth upwards, with the country having reported fourth-quarter growth of 5.2 per cent, confounding the market’s estimate of 4.8 per cent.

Details released by the central bank indicate that domestic demand remains the key driver of the economy, despite concerns that this would be hit by rising living costs; private consumption remained resilient, rising 7.3 per cent from a year earlier.

In reports released on Wednesday, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch forecast this year’s growth at 5 per cent; Barclays Bank pegged its estimate at 5.4 per cent, while the Malaysian government’s own forecast was between 5 and 5.5 per cent.

If turns out to be correct, GE 2015, after National Day 2015.

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