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Posts Tagged ‘PAP’

PAP’s “servant leadership” like SingTel’s service?

In Political governance, Telecoms, Uncategorized on 22/10/2014 at 6:13 am

Oxymorons, both. Yet why do S’poreans buy into both?

The day before I read Ho Kwon Ping’s speech*, the following conversation occurred on Facebook between friends

One friend asked another friend on her views on buying a Samsung Galaxy note 4 here. The first friend has daughter working here.

My other friend replied

If she doesn’t already have a plan that she is locked into .. she shld jus sign up for one or recontract if it’s due for renewal. The subsidy for the fone is pretty gud. I only paid S$48 for my note4. I use Singtel even tho I have endless issues with them but I feel it is still better than the other 2 telos we have here. 

When it comes to voting for the PAP, 25- 35% of S’poreans, I suspect think like her. Plenty of problems with PAP (like Singtel’s service, the PAP’s servant-leadership sucks). But then there are compensations (like bullying bullying hooligans like Roy and H3: no human rights BS for them; low taxes**; can leave doors unlocked even when no-one in the house; uncongested roads, safe streets etc etc).

And what are the alternatives to the PAP? The Worthless Party that doesn’t to become the governing party, even in coalition with other oppo parties (only loyal courtier leh); SDP whose leader can still go wacko (remember Dr Chee’s remarks about Punggol East); and even NSP (a sensible party after Goh Meng Seng*** moved on and started sliming it) can do strange things. NSP is KPKBing about nothing impt (a lawyer, I’m told, refuses to declare how rich rich she is). Makes one want to weep.

Coming back to SingTel: I couldn’t help but think “Singtel screws footie fans but gives peanuts to disabled?” when I in July I read , Singtel announced yesterday a donation of S$1.1 million to SG Enable, an agency which provides services for disabled people, with the money going towards the setting up and running of the Enabling Innovation Centre (EIC).BT 23 July.

Remember the cost of EPL and World Cup footie.

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*”Is Ho Kwon Ping saying all that much? 15 years from now means 2029/30. That’s at least three general elections away!” was posted on facebook by a friend.

**Don’t buy into the BS that CPF is a tax. It has elements of a tax (think retention, limited use and pay now, get back in future when value is deminished), but until the day one the govt stops monies in CPF account being inherited in cash, tax it ain’t. Sorry to disagree with Uncle Leong. I respect or agree with many of his views, but not on CPF being a tax.

***Goh Meng Seng can contradict himself in same paragraph.

It is truly enlightening to see that BOTH people from the “Third World” and “First World” places like Malaysia and Hong Kong are shunning Singapore for “retirement”. But as Singaporeans, do we have a choice at all? We are born in Singapore and we have little choice but live, retire and die in Singapore. However, under PAP rule, we are going to suffer, after decades of contributing to Singapore’s development, we will die poor, having to be forced to sell off our HDB flat for our retirement.

But then he says:

I guess the ultimate aim of PAP has been leaked before, they wanted us to retire in JB (Johor Bahru)!

So waz this about … as Singaporeans, do we have a choice at all? We are born in Singapore and we have little choice but live, retire and die in Singapore.

Come on Goh Meng Seng, think before write. Or at least read back what you just wrote, a second ago.

And we do have a choice to retain our citizenship and live abroad in our old age. M’sia and the Philippines have “silver-hair” programmes fot foreigners. I also know of S’poreans who have sold off their HDB flats and moved onto NZ, Oz and Canada.

As you are personally aware (having sold yr HDB flat to fund the NSP’s campaign in 2011), the high prices of HDB flats gives options to many S’poreans. Whether they take advantage of it, is up to them. If they die, die want to remain here, they have to accept whatever govt, the majority of their fellow S’poreans prefer. At the moment, 60 — 70% prefer the PAP. And with anti-PAP activists like you and the person you advised, Tan Kin Lian, who can blame them?

 

 

 

 

 

Elections before 9/8/15?

In Economy, India, Indonesia, Political economy on 21/10/2014 at 6:13 am

Conventional wisdom is that the next GE will be held after the 50th anniversary celebrations of S’pore’s independence which will be a celebration of all things PAP. So the Oppo parties are not gearing up for an early GE (end of this yr or before Aug 9 next yr.)

And this piece of news doesn’t disturb the narrative:With the January 2017 deadline for the next General Election looming closer, the Elections Department (ELD) has been calling up public servants for training to be election officials, as part of the electoral process … , the ELD said in an emailed statement: “ELD prepares and organises the Public Service to conduct elections in Singapore. Amongst other work, ELD selects and trains public officers on an ongoing basis to perform election duties during an election.” (CNA 17 October)

There have been early training sessions before with no elections following. The conducting of training sessions is a lousy leading indicator.

But think about the economic prospects of S’pore  and the training could be a sign of early elections.

No govt wants to hold a general election in a recession or when a a recession is likely. Already the growth rates for this yr and next yr have had to be trimmed because the global economy isn’t doing too well.

And things could get worse: The global economy is in a woeful state [Skip the next few paras if pressed for time or an illiterate in finance and economics]. The euro zone, fully 17% of global GDP, is predicted to expand just 0.8% in 2014 according to the IMF. China and Japan, together 25% of global GDP, are slowing. Emerging markets are floundering: a report on the synchronised slowdown from the Fund puts much of it down to weak trading partners (a sort of trade contagion). As the world slows, America seems a prudent place to park cash. Chinese and Japanese holdings of US Treasury bonds—now $2.5 trillion—have doubled in five years, according to the TIC data.

… the euro area. Inflation is just 0.3% and the area is already awash with unemployed workers … end up with both fiscal and monetary policy being relatively tight.

What would happen next? American exporters would get hit twice—first by weak demand from abroad, then as their goods get pricier for foreigners to buy as the dollar continues to rise. But since America is a relatively closed economy, the impact abroad could be bigger. The big risk is that a runaway dollar topples emerging-market economies just as it did in the 1980s and 1990s. A pessimist would argue that many of the conditions now are exactly as they were then. Many emerging markets borrow by issuing bonds in dollars, rather than their own currency. Appetite for these higher-yielding dollar bonds has been strong in recent years: in January 2014 Indonesia issued its largest dollar bond since 1998; according to its Finance Ministry data, India has dollar debts of around $273 billion (15% of GDP). As the dollar rises, the local-currency cost of these debts goes up.

Floating exchange rates make things a little different when compared to the Asian crisis, but would not help that much. Take a country like Brazil, which has inflation of 6.75% (see the WSJ on this) and yet an economy in recession. If its currency continues to depreciate against the dollar then inflation builds up further. The central bank ends up in a bind: raise rates to cut inflation and stem the depreciation, or keep rates low to get the economy back on track. Both paths would be risky, and could cause a wider stress if the contagion of previous emerging-market crises is any guide.

With any luck none of this will happen. But it all could happen. And if you are in the business of forecasting and stress testing, you should prepare for the worst.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2014/10/pessimistic-forecast

So what about the fact that oil prices are close to US$80 from US$105 a few weeks ago

[M]ajor Asian economies, though, will look at falling oil prices less as a stimulant and more as a signal that global growth is faltering. For export-dependent Asia, lacklustre worldwide demand could end up being highly disinflationary.

That’s a big worry for the likes of China, Hong Kong and Singapore. These economies have all seen private credit rise rapidly since the 2008 crisis and need tolerably healthy inflation to help bring down the real value of debt. But China’s 1.6 percent inflation rate is now the lowest since February 2010, while the annual rate of increase in Singapore’s consumer prices has slipped below 1 percent. South Korea, which has historically had a problem of high household debt, can’t afford to allow its meagre 1.1 percent inflation rate to slide further.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2014/10/17/cheap-oil-is-no-tonic-for-sluggish-asian-economies/*

So I wouldn’t be surprised if 50th anniversary celebration events come fast and furious early next yr: to remind S’poreans of the role of the PAP in S’pore’s development from the second largest port in Asia to a global city state, with property prices to match those of global cities like NY and London.

But I’d be surprised if the PAP reminded us one LKY said in 1959,”we must go about our task (of building up a nation) with urgency … of integrating our people now and quickly”, because he said this when revealing that only 270,00 out of the 600,000 voters were born here. 

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*Btw two countries where I have investments will benefit: The big exceptions are India and Indonesia. Both governments supply gasoline and diesel to their consumers at fixed, affordable rates. For them, the 25 percent slide in the price of a barrel of Brent crude over the past four months translates into significant budgetary savings, which could be channelled into much-needed infrastructure investment.

 

 

A delusion? PAP confident it regained lost ground

In Financial competency, Political governance on 20/10/2014 at 5:41 am

Surely not when S’poreans in their 20s and 30s and their parents have difficulties in the PAP’s version of paradise? If these two groups have problems how can the PAP expect to hold the line at 60% of the popular vote? Let alone improve it to 65-66%*.

Speaking at a seminar organised by the Singapore Exchange and SIM University sometime back, one Mr Kevin Scully (who has been around in financial services so long that I wonder if he is related to Dracula) puts it: “You cannot rely on your children for financial support because they probably have more debt and cashflow problems than you. My daughter is getting married, and she needs $700,000 to pay for her flat.”*

http://www.cpf.gov.sg/imsavvy/infohub_article.asp?readid={489390965-20577-4829937219}

As the SunT writer put it very succinctly, “My generation has enjoyed the Singapore miracle, so to speak, when big-ticket items such as HDB flats cost a fraction of what they are worth now. If we have difficulties financing our retirement, the next generation will have an even rougher ride.”

And their parents while benefiting from asset appreciation (or inflation, if one is a die, die anti PAP cyber warrior) have a problem, illustrated also by Kevin Sculley:

the costs of food and health care have vastly outpaced the six- and 12-month fixed deposit rates over the past 10 years.

“We need to get returns of at least 3 to 5 per cent on our investments just to stand still. Clearly, this will not come from bank deposits.”

As the SunT writer puts it

He flagged another problem for those of my generation – people in their 40s and 50s – namely, the likelihood that many of us may run out of money during retirement because of inflation.

It was a sobering thought for those of us at the seminar organised by the Singapore Exchange and SIM University.

So how can this be true? [T]he People’s Action Party (PAP) was confident it had regained lost ground since the 2011 general election. Its confidence stemmed, it was said, from a huge survey that it had been conducting over the past few months …  http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/fts-then-1970s-now/

But then S’poreans could be like the victim in a long-term relationship with an abusive partner. A bit less abuse, a bit of tender loving care and the victim is ready to accept more abuse in future.

*I’m assuming that the PAP believes that it needs a clear, biggish majority to ensure that it retains the “moral” right to continue paying PAP ministers their relatively huge salaries while not doing too much to deserve the money (think RI boys Hng Kiang and Yaacob). If it doesn’t, it could resort to very serious gerrymandering so that the 35% core vote (die, die must have PAP) keeps the PAP in power, with the help of egoists Tan Kin Lian (and Goh Meng Seng, his PE 2011 adviser), s/o JBJ and Tan Jee Say, who are more than happy to split the Oppo vote.

We [Barisan Socialists] won thirteen seats at the elections, averaging 15.000 votes to each seat. The PAP won thirty- seven seats, averaging 7,000 votes to each seat. The United People’s Party, whose function was to split the left-wing votes, campaigned on a programme that was somewhat similar to ours but more extremely put. Only their leader, Mr. Ong Eng Guan, was elected. We received 201,000 votes (35 per cent) and the PAP 272,000 votes (47 per cent). The difference is only 70,000 votes out of a total electorate of nearly 500,000. The UPP took away 49,000 votes (8 per cent), causing us the loss of seven constituencies (apart from Mr. Ong’s), and saved four PAP Ministers from defeat.

http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/29th-november-1963/23/the-situation-in-singapore

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/want-a-pekatan-here-its-disunited/

 

 

 

 

 

PRC GLCs’ CEOs put our ministers to shame

In China, Humour, S'pore Inc on 14/10/2014 at 5:22 am

CEO pay

As the above shows, they are paid a pittance

Yet FT reports that as their pay is being cut by up to 60%, “The biggest difference between China and western countries is that we pursue the goal of getting rich together,” Fu Chengyu, head of the country’s largest refiner, told reporters. “If you want to earn big sums, you should not be an SOE executive.” (“SOE” is State Owned Enterprice i.e a GLC or TLC).

Need I say more?

[M]oney is by far the least [important factor]” when choosing where to work. At this level it can’t be painful, right? The job we’re doing is a vocation. All of us like to be paid whatever is deemed competitive in the market, but it’s not the main driver.”” said the CEO of Switzerland’s third largest bank who has had to cut his pay by 12% because shareholders were unhappy.

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/hen-jost-gracef-money-money-money/

What the SA elections teach us

In Political governance on 22/09/2014 at 6:10 am

Earlier this year there was a general election in South Africa which should be a dose of reality for those anti-PAP cyber-warriors who say that in the next GE, the PAP will be out, without them having to do anything except rant at the PAP.

The election will confirm to the WP, SDP NSP and the Chiams, the obstacles they face, while making the PAPpies smile.

The governing African National Congress (ANC) lost a few percentage points nationally compared with 2009, but when you consider the bad headlines – from the police shootings in Marikana, to violent service delivery protests, to President Jacob Zuma’s alleged corruption, to the government’s failure to deliver text books to school children – it is not unreasonable for the party to spin its 62% of the vote as a formidable victory. (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-2733971)

The result is proof of the power of incumbency …

Even Heart Truths will not be able to argue that S’pore has SA levels of unemployment (24%), inflation (6% and climbing fast) and crime (murder rate of 3.1 per 100,000 people). Though given Roy’s (http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/roys-defence-has-me-confused/), and Hui Hui’s (3,000 can become 6,000 and 500 become 1000) ability to conjure up “facts”, I wouldn’t be surprised if he can come up with similar figures.

Meanwhile Heart Truths and many other bloggers continue to blind themselves and other anti-PAP paper activists to the reality that the PAP, is adapting to the new environment. As someone who does not want any party controlling two-thirds of the legislature, I can only hope the PAP refuses to change its “We love FTs” policy. If it does change this policy (or pretends to and manages to fool us), and continues spending our money on ourselves, the best I can hope for in the next GE is that light blue clones of the MIW retain their seats. 1996 all over again? Sigh.

So pls Heart Truths and other anti-PAP cyber warriors pls go buy Hard Choices and understand the enemy you are facing. Don’t let the efforts and hopes of 2011 be squandered, like the the hopes and efforts of 1991 were squandered by the antics of JBJ and the SDP. Only Chiam and Low kept the flame of dissent alive until 2006, 10 yrs later.

We might not be so lucky after the next GE.

Meanwhile, TRE readers are not willing to cough up the money to keep the site going for 12 months. They came up with $ to keep it going for 3-4 months. Worse they donated “peanuts”. Of the $17,000 raised, there was a donation of $10,000 from one person. How to defeat PAP?

 

 

 

 

Thanks Yacoob, Ms Koh

In Political governance on 15/09/2014 at 5:10 am

If I were the people featured in “To S’pore With Love”* and the film maker, I’d be sending flowers and fruit to Yaacon and Ms Koh Lin-Net the CEO of MDA, as a token of my appreciation, cause nothing could have created more interest in the film than banning it.  (To be ppedantic, it seems  the film has not technically been banned: only “public” screenings are banned; private screenings are OK. While we can have doubts on how the authoriies will intrepet “private” let’s not KPKB like the usual anti-PAP suspects. Wait and see.)

But given the views of those featured, it seems that they are not the kind of people who appreciate any gd deed of the PAP govt; always have to complain.

Seriously, if this is the objection

The Media Development Authority said it took issue with the film’s version of history. “The MDA has assessed that the contents of the film undermine national security because legitimate actions of the security agencies to protect the national security and stability of Singapore are presented in a distorted way as acts that victimized innocent individuals,” the agency said in a press release on Wednesday.

“The individuals featured in the film gave the impression that they are being unfairly denied their right to return to Singapore,” the agency said. In fact, it added, former Communists can return “if they agree to be interviewed by the authorities on their past activities to resolve their cases” while other “criminal offenses will have to be accounted for in accordance with the law.”**

(http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/10/film-about-exiles-is-banned-in-singapore/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&smid=nytimesarts&_r=2&)

what’s so difficult about having a statement read out before each public screening setting out the “right” view?

MDA could also arrange for relevant extracts of Men in White*** to be handed out to the audience before the screening.

And get MediaCorp to rescreen the documentaries on the Hock Lee Bus riot and the 1964  race riot. Or maybe insist that public screenings of the “wrong” version of history, be preceded by the screenings of these MediaCorp documentaries. But then Maruah would bitch that this would constitute “cruel and unusual punishment”: and I would have to agree with this complaint.

“Banning” is a really lazy, outdated, stupid way of handling alternate, unofficial narratives especially in the era of YouTube.

But it’s the Hard Truth way of doing things. And a reflection that the only way is the Hard Truth way. Even China, since the 1980s, has moved beyond  the tots of Mao, We still live with the unthinking application of Hard Truths, whether relevant or not.

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*A documentary about the lives of Singaporean exiles has been banned in Singapore on the grounds that it undermines national security. [Actually the film has not technically been banned: only "public" screenings are banned; private screenings are OK. But I don't expect Americans to be so subtle.]

To Singapore, With Love” by the Singaporean filmmaker Tan Pin Pin was classified as NAR, the Media Development Authority said Wednesday. NAR stands for “Not allowed for all ratings,” meaning it can neither be shown nor distributed in Singapore.

Ms. Tan had traveled to the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Thailand to film the lives of nine Singaporeans, in their 60s and older. Among them were trade unionists, student leaders and Communists who fled in the 1960s and 1970s, for fear of being imprisoned under Singapore’s Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without trial.

In the film, they speak about their homeland, and how they cope in exile – by frying up a plate of Singapore rice noodles, or flying in to meet loved ones in neighboring Malaysia.

(http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/10/film-about-exiles-is-banned-in-singapore/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&smid=nytimesarts&_r=2&)

**“A number of these self-professed ‘exiles’ were members of, or had provided support to, the proscribed Communist Party of Malaya (CPM). The CPM sought to overthrow the legitimate elected governments of Singapore and Malaysia through armed struggle and subversion, and replace them with a communist regime,” MDA said.

“One of the interviewees in the film claimed that he had no choice but to join the CPM after he left Singapore when in fact, he was an active CPM member even before he left Singapore. Indeed, as another interviewee who left Singapore in similar circumstances admits, a number of Barisan Sosialis activists then were already members of the Malayan National Liberation League, the CPM’s political wing, before they fled Singapore with its help and subsequently joined the communist guerrilla forces.”

“Two of the individuals in the film conveniently omitted mentioning the criminal offences which they remain liable for, like tampering with their Singapore passports or absconding from National Service,” MDA said.

In its statement, MDA also said that the individuals featured in the film were not “forced” to leave Singapore, “nor are they being prevented from returning”.

The Singapore government has made it clear that it would allow former CPM members to return to Singapore if they agree to be interviewed by the authorities on their past activities to resolve their cases. Criminal offences will have to be accounted for in accordance with the law, it said.

“These facts had been published at the time of these events, and are on public records, even though some Singaporeans today may be unfamiliar with these cases,” MDA said

***Written by three ST men, and published by SPH, the book contains extensive interviews of PAP cadres, many of whom moved on out of the PAP to oppose it . I met two of the authors in May and commended them for calling these cadres as “leftists”, rather than the term “communists”, the term used by LKY and his gang.

Here’s another alternative narrative http://singaporerebel.blogspot.sg/2014/08/the-nature-of-paps-governance-is.html by someone who has called these “leftists”, “progressives”. Waz so progressive about adopting Mao’s tots or USSR’s practices? Btw, I don’t dispute his thesis that the PAP govt adopted the colonial apparatus; neither does the govt.

I hope this gets banned, so that more S’poreans will get to know that it exists, and watch it, hopefully.

Hen, JosT, GraceF: Money, money, money

In Humour on 13/09/2014 at 12:56 pm

I tot of the three ministers when I read:

WSJ Wealth Advisor’s Veronica Dagher explains in an article and accompanying video that “core expenses” for a family of four in Chicago – like an $850,000 mortgage on a $1.2m house, $24,000 a year in property taxes, $25,000 in home maintenance and $30,000 in groceries – really add up.

Then there’s discretionary spending, such as $25,000 a year for two vacations, $15,000 a year for car payments, $10,000 for entertainment and $12,000 in “club dues”. (Who are we kidding? I bet that paltry amount won’t even get you a golf membership with real live caddies. What are we, savages?)

The Daily Kos’s Weinenkel says the entreaty to “cut your spending” is the best part of the video:

“Let’s forget that the median middle-class household income peaked at $56,080 in 1999 and it stands at roughly $50,017 now. Welcome to examples of the shrinking middle class, Wall Street Journal.”

If that wasn’t a strong enough dose of wealth hubris, Dagher provides plenty of examples of six-figure families living beyond their means.

“Sylvia Flores was earning more than $200,000 a year overseeing website content for retailers and tech firms when she got into trouble,” Dagher writes. “She had a personal chef and a housekeeper, and took her husband and two children to Hawaii for frequent vacations.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-29168898

So the Hen, Jos Teo and Grace Fu shouldn’t pretend that they are public-spirited for taking less pay by becoming PAP ministers, but others are not, or may not be. Juz be silent on the issue of ministerial loot salaries: like Tharman and Shan. But then they are local Indians, the other three are local Chinese. Indians have a reputation of being more political savvy.

After tot (7 October 4.30 am)

I came across this quote while reading FT last week, “money is by far the least [important factor]” when choosing where to work. At this level it can’t be painful, right? The job we’re doing is a vocation. All of us like to be paid whatever is deemed competitive in the market, but it’s not the main driver.”” said the CEO of Switzerland’s third largest bank who has had to cut his pay by 12% because shareholders were unhappy.

 

Swedish minister: Why public sector pay shldn’t be benchmarked to private sector

In Political governance, Public Administration on 03/09/2014 at 4:52 am

Peter Norman is Sweden’s financial markets minister. He is reforming Sweden’s state pension schemes, known as the AP funds; cutting five funds into three. Despite a background in financial services, he is against benchmarking public sector pay to that of the private sector: FT reported on Monday

Adding insult to injury for those working at the AP funds, whose jobs are now at risk, Mr Norman also wants to cut the salaries of those who will remain at the three buffer funds drastically.

He believes their salaries should not be benchmarked against private sector companies but against other public authorities, such as the central bank, where pay is far less generous. He does not buy the argument that this will result in a “brain drain”.

“Take SMHI, which delivers the [Swedish] weather forecasts,” he says. “Surely there is a weatherman in the US who is considered the best in the world and who earns an astronomical salary, but that doesn’t mean someone at SMHI should earn the same. We need discipline.”*

Benchmarking salaries in this way would cut the pay for AP staff in half, according to those inside the funds. “It is a tough pill to swallow,” says Mr Norman, who has spoken out against excessive pay in the financial industry frequently.

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*Reminds me of the time when ministers salaries were linked to remiser king, Peter Lim’s take-home pay. Wong Kan Seng, Mah Bow Tan, Yaacob and Raymond Lim that gd meh?

How moronic and spastic can a PAPpy get?

In Humour on 22/08/2014 at 4:24 am

Based on someone who claims that he voted for the PAP (letter to TRE appended below), so spastic and moronic that he is happy to reveal his dumbness publicly

I take great personal offence at this bit: the 39.9% vocal minority should be the less successful sour grapes who prefer to spend their time as armchair generals on Internet criticizing our great Government instead of improving themselves and their careers and lives.

I’m certainly someone who has always voted Oppo (even a discharged looney guy in the days when one JBJ recruited such people and bicycle thieves to stand as MPs) because I have always felt that giving the PAP a hegemony is no good for S’pore. The mismanagement of the 2Ps (Peanuts and Pinkie) prove my point: the chickens are coming to roost e.g. on CPF, public transport, immigration. Remember that Pinkie was DPM (and responsible for economic and financial matters) when Peanuts was PM.

I’m also certainly a loud critic (often bitchy) of the PAP govt.

But as to being tarred as”less successful sour grapes” juz because I am among the 39.9% who voted Oppo, what can I say except this PAP voter is a moron. What’s his evidence that I and all 39.9% are “less successful sour grapes”?

There are are a whole bunch of other RI boys like Drs Ang Yong Guan, Paul Thamby (SDP member and full professor at NUS/ NUH) and Wong Wee Nam who I can confidently assume did not vote for the PAP (Not everyone like WP’s philandering Yaw, remember him? He voted for PAP when he stood as WP candidate. And he got promoted to Low’s Hougang seat as a reward?). Are they “less successful sour grapes”? And Siow Kum Hong is from RI too: a successful guy (got landed property, car, and share options in US tech co). He showed up the worthlessness of Auntie and Low as “co-drivers” when he was NMP.

And then there are NJC boys Show Mao and Richard Wan; and scholars Tony Tan, Gerald Giam and Hazel Poa?

They all “less successful sour grapes”? Come on.

If anybody is “less successful” think Jason Chua: he was unemployed when he founded a pro-PAP website. Or Lionel de Souza (never made police inspector despite being given “acting” rank), the PAP branch secretary at Hougang. Now taz a born loser.

I’m sure that there “less successful sour grapes” among those who vote oppo, juz as there are fruscos who become active opponents of the PAP (think Tan Kin Lian; Tan Jee Say; Andrew Loh and s/o JBJ), but juz as Jason Chua and Lionel de Souza show, such people are also found among the ranks of PAP activists.

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Vocal minority drowning out voices of majority on TRE

Dear TRE and readers,

I am a member of the 2011 60.1% majority voting for our world class PAP government. Once in a while, I dropped by TRE to size up the other side. While I found TRE to be highly hilarious and entertaining in the past, recently, I found the voices to be troubling, protectionist and bordering on xenophobic.

Right now, there are so many threads on TRE that are so negative on Singapore, a country that is highly rated by many international organizations, this is unfair to our country and could cause our great international reputation as a liberal, open economy, meritocratic society to be tarnished for no good reason!

While CHEAPER BETTER FASTER sounds a bit cruel, we need to bear in mind that without this, our inflation will be higher and a bowl of mee pok could be $7-8! In fact, my north India acquaintances are earning upwards of $6000 per month and using salary level as indicator of ability, it is fair to say that they are more expensive while better and faster than many locals who are less capable!

In any countries, there will always be a minority who is unable to do well due to their inherent ability, education level, IQ and EQ. With their lack of education, lower earning powers and subsequent lower social status, it is no wonder that they feel that Singapore is being unfair to them!

Actually, the MAJORITY of Born and Bred TRUE BLUE Singaporeans are doing well, grateful to our great world class PAP government and demonstrated it by voting 60.1% enmass in 2011! Most of the time, we are successful in our careers and hence do not have the time to waste on Internet forums.

On the other hand, the 39.9% vocal minority should be the less successful sour grapes who prefer to spend their time as armchair generals on Internet criticizing our great Government instead of improving themselves and their careers and lives.

Till now, I refrained from using any rude words. I hope everyone can be civil and play fair.

To my bros the 60.1% who voted for PAP in 2011: feel free to add your comments to show the 39.9% what you really think. Otherwise, the 39.9% vocal minority will just keep on saying unfair things and mislead people into thinking that many people are unhappy with PAP when facts show that 60.1% majority support the Party!

To the 39.9% in 2011: I hope you will refrain from commenting, and instead, let the 60.1% to comment for once. I am quite sure we, the 60.1%, will surprise you with our strong support for government.

Take on PM’s NatDay message: Trying to lull us into complacency

In Political governance on 10/08/2014 at 5:01 am

The gd news that it won’t work.

But let’s begin with the message.

In the 1999 science fiction film “Matrix”, the Matrix is a simulated world created by machines to keep humans complacent. In S’pore today, is the PAP is trying to receate a Matrix here to lull us into complacency: things can only get better under cont’d hegemony the PAP? This tot crossed my mind when I read this CNA report. My comments are interspersed

Singapore’s economy grew 3.5 per cent in the first half of the year, bringing the growth forecast for the rest of the year to between 2.5 and 3.5 per cent. That is narrower than the forecast by the Trade and Industry Ministry in February this year of between 2 and 4 per cent. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said this in his National Day Message on Friday (Aug 8) ahead of Singapore’s 49th birthday. [Growth for the full year will be below last year's 4.1%: at best growth be 15% lower than last yr.]

Mr Lee outlined some priorities for the country, including giving Singaporeans greater peace of mind in their retirement years and helping everyone achieve their potential, regardless of their family background or circumstances. Ahead of his National Day Rally, Mr Lee also hinted at several policy changes to come. 

In enhancing retirement adequacy, Mr Lee said his team is studying how to make it more convenient for retirees to get cash out of their flats, in a prudent and sustainable way. Currently there is the Lease Buy back scheme. It is a monetization option to help low-income elderly households unlock part of their housing equity, and receive a lifelong income stream to supplement their retirement income. Response to the scheme though has been somewhat lukewarm, with just over 300 households signing up for it since it was enhanced in February last year. [Well it's pretty mean.]

The Prime Minister will also talk about ways the Central Provident Fund system could be improved at the National Day Rally in a week’s time. [It doesn’t need tweaking, it needs to be retot. Mad Dog Chee is right to say that retirement has to be delinked from housing and healthcare: CPF puts these three issues into one pot. 

“Stronger safety nets are not just to give you peace of mind, but also to build confidence to hope and dare,” said Mr Lee. “Our system will help you shoot for the stars. Everyone will have full opportunities to fulfil your potential, regardless of your family background or circumstances.”  [Believe this and you believe that the the PAP is socialist or that the moon is made of green cheese.]

Mr Lee said education is a big part of achieving this. To that end, a committee tasked with reviewing polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education studies is expected to announce its recommendations to help young Singaporeans acquire the relevant skills, to succeed in a constantly changing, economic environment. [Juz let more people who can meet the standards get in the local unis. And don’t suppress the pay of skilled technicians like plumbers and electricians. And don’t import FTs by the A380 cattle class. 

“You are talented, passionate and confident. You deserve to chase your dreams and be the best you can be. The academic route is not the only way up. We will also help you upgrade yourselves while you work. We will help you master specialised skills, and earn advanced qualifications as you progress in your careers,” said Mr Lee. [Why love FTs meh if Singkies so good? Why have to spur S'poreans?]

But Mr Lee said this is also a matter of social values: “As Singaporeans, we must judge a person not just by his educational qualifications but also by his skills, contributions and character. This is how we keep Singapore a land of hope and opportunity for all.” [Give me a break. Scholars get all the best jobs. ]

He added Singapore will succeed, only if its citizens stand together as one united people. There was a rallying call by the Prime Minister for Singaporeans to come together despite their differences and to uphold the spirit of the Pioneers who built this country. … said Singapore has changed, so there also needs to be a reassessment of its position, direction and strategies. Err, what about rethinking the need for PAP hegemony? And the emphasis on the “right” tots.The problem is very existence of Hard Truths: Tony Blair last month said “A Changing world means changing policies and a changed party.”]

… even as Singapore has made strong progress since independence, it has not reached its limit. As the country turns 50 next year, Mr Lee observed that many Singaporeans intend to embrace and mark the special occasion in their own ways. [Migrating?]

He said it is this collective sense of ownership and belonging, that will take this country forward, in a changing world. collective [Sense of ownership and belonging? What sense of ownership and belonging?]

The gd news that that it’s difficult to make us complacent is because the govt is always making too conservative and unreasonable assumptions when it comes to “safety net” issues . Take CPF Life; S’poreans “invested” in CPF life bear the risk of fund going bust.while knowing little of its inner workings. And Medishield is starting to look too expensive with reserves of 200%. this means higher than optimal (for us) premiums.

Oh btw, Ang Yong Guan (remember him?) on Facebook recently said govt’s “share on health is 35% and the Health Minister intends to bring it to 40%. That means our OOP (out of pocket) is 60%. That’s still high for citizens. It should be the other round 60-40% and not 40-60%. 4% of GDP on health and they are damn proud of it. For health, they can go higher than that.”

He is right.

Did you know Cat Lim qualified her “people no longer trust their government” comment?

In Humour, Political governance on 24/07/2014 at 5:26 pm

I’m sure you remember that Cat Lim in June repeated her broken record that the PAP is doomed (first said in the 1990s and repeated every few yrs), adding a variation that the PAP is no longer trusted by S’poreans. After a civil servant, in the course of his duties, pointedly pointed out out “Gee how come the govt keeps winning elections by huge majorities?”, she said on 16 June  “I would like to point out that the mistrust is very real, even if it only involves a minority.”

(From her blog … the South China Morning Post published my Open Letter to the PM, and subsequently, a response from the Consul-General of Singapore in Hong Kong, Mr Jacky Foo. The Straits Timesreported on Mr Foo’s letter on 14 June, and published my reply ​to this report on the Forum page on 16 June. My reply is reproduced below.)

Gee from the PAP are doomed because the people mistrust it, she now says “only … a minority” mistrust it. Artistic licence? Or BS?

And our objective, anti-PAP bloggers glossed over her qualification. heck they are getting as bad as SPH and MediaCorp journalists and editors. At least they have the excuse of needing to toe the line to pay-off their affordable public housing mortgages. And so cannot afford to have integrity.

Actually, Ms Lim should have waited before changing her mind. Tan Jee Say had this to say a few weeks ago on FB (after Cat’s reply): [ST] chose to cite only one major indicator of  the  2014 Edelman Trust Barometer , namely the survey result  that showed 75% of Singaporeans trust government  institutions; this, it claimed, proved that the vast majority trust the government.

 But a second key indicator gave a different  dimension, namely that only 26% of Singaporeans trust their government leaders to tell the truth  regardless  of how complex or unpopular it is. Does this 26% trust in leaders to tell the truth mean that 74% of Singaporeans cannot trust PAP government leaders to tell the truth or expect them to tell untruths or even lies? Now this is telling. If the statistics are true, it speaks volumes about the low level of trust  Singaporeans have in PAP leaders. It is definitely a crisis for the PAP however hard the PAP might want to deny, ignore or gloss over it …

One, and I’m one, can disagree with TJS’s contention, that only 26% trust the PAP (pls read the survey again TJS) but his is a valid reasonable, point of view. He also RI boy.

Finally on the issue of where the majority lies, here’s something for those of us who think that the fact that the PAP got 60% of the votes in GE 2011 and two ex-PAP men (and proud of the fact they were PAP men0  got between them 70% of the votes in PE 20111, showed that the PAP had the support of the majority of voters, to think about. We could be wrong in our reasoning:

something John Oliver recently satirised on his HBO comedy show, “Last Week Tonight”. A Brit, Mr Oliver was keen to highlight a uniquely American irony: while 65% of the country notices the income gap has widened, and 60% believe the system “unfairly favours the wealthy”, 60% nevertheless insist that “most people who work hard enough can make it”—a faith that echoes the buoyant message of the junior senator from Florida. 

Mr Oliver plays a little fast and loose with the math here: there’s no telling how much the two 60% blocs in the polls overlap. (It’s possible, for example, that up to two-thirds of the optimists about hard-working Americans do not believe the system favours the wealthy—remember your Venn diagrams.) And there is nothing necessarily illogical about thinking that while the economy favours those with lots of money, it also gives the lower orders a chance to improve their lot. 

(From an Economist blog)

 

Double confirm, PAP supporting Germany/ PAP MPs are B’Stard?

In Humour on 13/07/2014 at 4:54 am

On Monday, I said that the PAP would be cheering on any other term except the Argies because their mgr is only the 22nd best paid mgr out of the 32 teams. And we know what a PAP eye doctor MP thinks of people who are not as well paid as he is: he doesn’t respect them.

Well go read yr Sat ST front page and see what it says: PAP is predicting and rooting a German win.

So let’s cheer on the Argies. Their mgr is only paid 23% of that of the German mgr’s salary (6th in the rankings).

And if the Argies win an unlikely victory, remind the PAP at every possible opportunity that being well-paid doesn’t mean gd performance. The Russians, English and Italians crashed out in the first round despite paying the highest salaries. BTW Brazil’s mgr is the 4th best paid but he got form as a World Cup winner.

As the footie. Expect a boring game. The Germans’ thrashing of Brazil notwithstanding, the rest of Germany’s matches have been tight, quiet affairs, and Argentina survived the knockout stage by winning 1-0, 1-0, and 0-0 on penalties.

Now onto PAP MPs.

Rik Mayall died suddenly a few months back of a heart attack. He was the most original and funniest of the alternative comedians who emerged in the early 1980s and still dominate British television. They were maverick, furious and stridently political, though sometimes wonderfully imprecise in their aim. (Economist).

He played a character called B’Stard, in the uproarious political satire The New Statesman and the following lines should amuse S’poreans, esp the PM, because one can imagine a PAP MP (Lily Neo, Halimah, Denise Phua, Puthu* excepted) talking like B’Stard. Think the eye doctors and Kate Spade (remember her YPAP speech that the poor must only be helped minimally)

Alan B’Stard: We hear an awful lot of leftie whingeing about NHS [UK's publicly funded heathcare system] waiting lists. Well the answer’s simple. Shut down the health service. Result? No more waiting lists. You see, in the good old days, you were poor, you got ill and you died. And yet these days people seem to think they’ve got some sort of God-given right to be cured. And what is the result of this sloppy socialist thinking? More poor people. In contrast, my policies would eradicate poor people, thereby eliminating poverty. And they say that we … have no heart.

Alan B’Stard: I suppose life’s just too easy for me. I mean, I’m incredibly rich, I’ve got the largest majority on the House of Commons and, if I was any better looking, I think people would suspect I was an android.

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-27772259

*The male PAP MPs who are medical doctors are shown up by this FT male Doc. Maybe taz why the PAP inducted him? It wanted a male Dr who could show compassion. Too bad he didn’t do NS and sneered at NSmen. But if AWARE can sneer at NSmen with impunity (their FT partners will defend them), let’s forgive Puthu. That he didn’rt do NS isn’t his fault, PAP kicked (sort of) dad out.

 

Why millionaire-ministers are rooting for any team except Argies

In Footie, Humour, Political governance on 07/07/2014 at 4:42 am

While all S’poreans, disgusted with million dollar salaries for ministers should be cheering for the Argies.

It’s all about the money the managers earn relative to their performance. Argie’s mgr is only 22nd in the World Cup managers” salaries ranking while the other three teams are 4th Brazil), 6th (Germany) and 8th (my favourite).

The Argie mgr is paid only 20.45% of the salary of the Brazilian manager. A certain PAP MP eye doctor would surely sneer at him if he consulted said eye doctor.

Here, I explained why the World Cup is proving the PAP wrong: there is no relation between high pay and gd performance.

In round 1, the teams managed by the three highest paid managers were eliminated. The teams were Russia, England and Italy.

The managers are paid £6.7m, £3.5m and £2.6m, respectively. (Data from UK paper, hence the £)

Other mgrs on the top 10 most well paid list that were eliminated were Spain (mgr is the 7th most highly paid at £2m) and and Japan (9th at £1.6m). For the record, Portugal’s mgr is 12th at £1.3m.

I went on to analyse the other  games where less well-paid managers won. Thiink Costa Rica.

But the PAP can still say the World Cup validates the salary thesis esp if Brazil wins. So come on Argies.

Of the remaining four managers, Brazil ‘s mgr is the fourth most highly paid manager at £2.4m, Germany’s mgr is paid £2.1m (6th), Holland’s mgr (8th in the world) at £2m, and a long way away is the Argies’ mgr (22) at £0.49m.

But the stats say Germany will win. Beating Brazil in semi and Argies in final.

Not juz because Brazil is missing Neymar with a fractured bone in his spine sustained against Colombia.

Breakingviews’ updated Soccernomics calculator … which crunches economic and demographic numbers to predict the outcome of World Cup matches, has performed reasonably well during the first half of the tournament. It predicted the correct winner in 27 of the 48 matches in the group stage. Excluding drawn matches, the calculator was right 69 percent of the time. [Got Italy and Spain wrong though]

On-field form plays no direct part in Breakingviews’ predictions. The model combines the transfer value of players, the country’s population, the proportion of people who play soccer, and public engagement with the sport to come up with an overall rating. Teams with the higher rank should win.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2014/06/27/numbers-show-germany-will-beat-brazil-to-world-cup/

Another reason why Argies will not win: geriatric squads don’t win the World Cup. a four-place drop in performance (see chart). In other words, if a reigning champion simply brought back its roster from four years before, its mean age would increase by four years, and it would be expected to finish a dismal 17th. http://www.economist.com/blogs/gametheory/2014/07/player-age-football

World Cup: Best paid mgrs keep losing to poorer ones

In Footie, Humour, Political governance on 06/07/2014 at 7:04 am

Former are under performers like certain very well-paid PAP ministers?

This World cup is proving a nightmare to the PAP’s Hard Truth that ministers will only perform well if very well paid by int’l standards.

I’ll let the facts speak:

In round 1, the teams managed by the three highest paid managers were eliminated. The teams were Russia, England and Italy.

The managers are paid £6.7m, £3.5m and £2.6m, respectively. (Data from UK paper, hence the £)

Other mgrs on the top 10 most well paid list that were eliminated were Spain (mgr is the 7th most highly paid at £2m) and and Japan (9th at £1.6m). For the record, Portugal’s mgr is 12th at £1.3m.

Then, Switzerland lost to Argies. It’s manager is paid £2.2m (5th in the world). Argies’ mgr is a lowly 22 at £0.49m,

Brazil’s manager is the 4th most highly paid at £2.4m and as we all know he juz missed two bullets. Chile’s mgr (at £1.1m) is ranked 14th, and Columbia’s is ranked 15th at £1m.

scan0001 (from ST last week)

Germany’s mgr is the kind of guy PAP would like as a poster boy. He is paid £2.1m (6th) and doing well.

Another PAP-poster boy would be Holland’s mgr (8th in the world at £2m),

They would demonise Argis’ mgr (a lowly 22 at £0.49m: how would PAP MP eye doctor respect him?) , Costa Rica’s mgr ( ranked 26th with £0.26m),and Belgium (20th at £0,52m).

More evidence (as if more was needed) to show that the PAP is talking rubbish about the link between ministerial salaries and the quality of ministers. It doesn’t work in World Cup footie. The PAP would be praying hard that Argies don’t win.

BTW, I’m hoping for an all ang moh final with Holland winning. And it’s not ’cause the German coach is paid more.

 

Buying votes? Or social justice redistribution?

In Political governance on 02/07/2014 at 4:47 am

A recent announcement reminded me that National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Monday (June 2) warned against turning elections into an auction between political parties promising voters as much “goodies” as they can, with as low taxes as possible*.

PAP not into vote buying: perish the tot, he was saying.

So how come this announcement?

In the first week of July, about 1.6 million Singaporeans will receive letters informing them of their 2014 GST Voucher (GSTV), as well as other Budget 2014 benefits** such as the 2014 GSTV Special Payments, the 5-Year Medisave top-up, as well as the Service and Conservancy Charges (S&CC) rebates, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said in a press release on Monday (June 30).

Most Singaporeans will automatically receive their GSTV payouts and 5-Year Medisave top-ups, the MOF said. Those who have not signed up for past Government payouts and/or are not CPF members will receive letters informing them of the actions they need to take by Dec 31 to receive their benefits. (CNA)

And this is only the latest in a string of spending our money on ourselves to make life more comfortable:

The Government … (June 5) accepted the MediShield Life Review Committee’s recommendation that it should bear most of the costs of the scheme, details of which were released the same day.

“The Government accepts the committee’s recommendation and will bear most of the cost of bringing in those with pre-existing conditions. In this way, the Government will help all Singaporeans, including those with pre-existing conditions and those who are currently excluded, achieve MediShield Life cover, while ensuring that premiums are kept affordable for policyholders,” the Ministry of Health …

Said Committee chairman Bobby Chin: “We have listened to what Singaporeans valued most in MediShield Life. Our recommendations will provide better protection against large hospital bills for all Singaporeans, for life.”

He added that the committee will finalise its recommendations in a month, with the scheme slated to be implemented by the end of 2015.

The government will commit nearly $4 billion in financial support over five years to the revamped national health insurance scheme that will offer lifelong coverage and better protection.

– The recent Pioneer Generation package.catering to those born in 1949 or earlier, and who became a Citizen before 1987, will cost the Government S$9 billion.The Government will establish an S$8 billion Pioneer Generation Fund to meet the cost of the package over time.

– Then there is an ongoing public tpt revamp which now includes baskers and themed cabins. It started off several yrs ago with a $1.1bn (spread over 5 yrs I think) subsidy for buses, and will result in routes being contracted out to operators.

– Temasek yestewrday pledged an additional endowment of $60 million over the next five years to Temasek Cares, a non-profit philanthropic organisation founded in June 2009 to help needy and disadvantaged Singaporeans.

But let’s be fair, a site that the PAP says is not related to it (Of course, site founder was unemployed, not a very PAP thing) , reposted this from a site that seems pro-PAP (or at least anti-oppo):

On the one hand cry election is coming, that’s pork barrel politics, on the other hand, shouted gahmen not doing enough to help the poor, why 4-roomer get less.

GST Voucher is a redistribution system from the rich, and from foreigners who pay GST, towards the poor and middle income group in Singapore.

Fair point.

What do you think? Vote buying or social justice redistribution at work? Just remember, it’s yr money.

Whatever lah; spending other people’s money can do a lot for a politician. Think Thaksin. He introduced a simple idea to Thai politics that had been ignored by his rivals: find out what people want, and give it to them. Ever since he has been unbeaten at the polls. The national discussion of economic policy, including that led by the current junta, has concentrated on the idea of reducing the cost of household expenditures.

Taz the reality. So much for the theory that there is a need for competing political visions of different kinds that encompass not only what is best for the nation but also the economic and social needs of the population. Juz ask WP. It’s “vision” is “PAP is OK with us as co-driver”. No wonder PAP are annoyed.

When elections become a contest of competing political visions, pigs will fly. Money always talks.

——

*“In all honesty, we must acknowledge most of our people would always want more, but would never want to pay more in taxes, and it’s incumbent upon our part to be honest with our voters, because if every election is a mere auction between political parties to give as much goodies as they can with as little taxes they need to pay, I think democracy of that manner must lead to insolvency and eventually, political cynicism.”

Mr Khaw added there is no shortage of money to finance the development of infrastructure – the problem is a lack of sustainable good ideas which will benefit all sectors in a country. He said, as long as projects are bankable, there will be no shortage of funding. However, it is inevitable that governments may need to help finance some projects in order to help the poorer segments of the population.

**The benefits are as follows:

GSTV – CASH AND GSTV – CASH: SENIORS’ BONUS
About 1.3 million Singaporeans will receive the GSTV – Cash on Aug 1. Of this group, about 660,000 Singaporeans aged 55 and above will also receive the GSTV – Cash: Seniors’ Bonus, which will see them receiving double the GSTV – Cash amount in 2014. The GSTV – Cash and GSTV – Cash: Seniors’ Bonus will cost the Government S$505 million, the MOF said.

GSTV – MEDISAVE
About 380,000 Singaporeans aged 65 and above will also receive the GSTV – Medisave top-up on Aug 1, at a cost to the Government of S$115 million.

GSTV – U-SAVE AND GSTV – U-SAVE SPECIAL PAYMENT
The regular GST Voucher – U-Save will be given out quarterly, the MOF said. In addition, a Special Payment will be given out in July 2014 and January 2015. These vouchers will offset utilities directly and cost the Government S$290 million in total. In July, 800,000 households will receive S$90 to S$195 each in rebates, depending on the type of flat they stay in.

ADDITIONAL MEDISAVE TOP-UPS UNDER 5-YEAR MEDISAVE TOP-UP SCHEME
As announced in Budget 2014, Singaporeans born on or before Dec 31, 1959 – in other words, those aged 55 and above in 2014 – and who do not enjoy Pioneer Generation benefits will receive Medisave top-ups of S$100 or S$200 annually over the next five years, the ministry said. About 530,000 Singaporeans will benefit at a cost to the Government of S$100 million. Those who stay in homes of Annual Value above S$13,000 or who own more than one property will receive S$100 a year. “The vast majority – those living in HDB flats who do not own more than one property – will get the higher top-up of S$200 a year,” the MOF announced.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This remains the govt’s stand.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

 

 

 

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

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

Chang Li Lin
Press secretary to the prime minister
Singapore

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

 

What does Ms Jean Ang Yee Mei Lin’s mocking of elderly S’porean tell us about her?

In Humour on 20/06/2014 at 5:07 am

Or of the values of NTUC Income, PA, PAP and Hri Kumar?.

To recap, Ms Jean Ang Yee Mei Lin made fun last weekend 0f an elderly, sick S’porean. She is, it seems, an agent at NTUC Income and a very prominent and senior grass-roots activist in the Bishan area. For more details see http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/06/15/grassroots-leader-mocks-old-lady-at-cpf-dialogue/

She clearly has no time for the sick, and elderly, even though she is no spring chicken herself, and is an active, senior grass-rootsb leader in a PAP GRC. Wonder if she will explaining the details of the Pioneer Package to the elderly in Bishan? But who knows?

Next.

What does  Ms Jean Ang Yee Mei Lin tell us of the values of NTUC Income, PA, PAP and Hri Kumar?

If Tan Tock Seng Hospital was right to fire Roy Ngerng* for breach of its values, err what does the continued silence and inaction of NTUC Income PA, PAP and Hri Kumar* tell us of their values when someone associated with them mocks an elderly sick lady.

Maybe she is upholding the values that NTUC Income, PA, PAP and Hri Kumar hold dear? Remember a PAP minister sneering at the elderly poor? (OK. OK. The Pioneer Package is the PAP’s way of using our money to repent for his sneers.)

Hence their silence and inaction over the appalling, sickening behaviour of an active, senior grasss-roots leader?

Many yrs ago in the Marine Parade area, a grass-root leader beat up a boy when the boy rebuked him for not following the rules. His behaviour was disowned and he was sacked. Those were the days.

But then shouldn’t they should award her a medal for her dedication to their values? Or at least defend her actions?

Seriously, I’m sure their silence and inaction is due to their being ashamed of being associated with someone like her. I mean, with people like her around, flashing her thighs, mocking signs an elderly ill lady, the PAP govt can continue throwing our money at ourselves, and still at least 10 to 25% of the voters will continue being unhappy with the PAP.

With friends like her, who needs enemies? Certainly not Income, PAP, Hri Kumar, PA or the PM. BTW, PM should be glad that he has enemies like s/o JBJ, TKL and Goh Meng Seng. He should treasure them. They make him look like a pretty decent human being who can look people in the eye while talking to them. One of those who oppose him, can’t.

Before ending, I must say I’m impressed by Hri Kumar’s behaviour at the talk. He allowed the lady to make her comments, despite the attempts of his supporters to shut her up. And he handled s/o JBJ attempt at “constructive politics” pretty well. He does not deserve TOC’s slur that by telling the public that the lady lived in a “terrace house” he was giving details of where she lived. There are quite a number of terrace houses in Bishan. (But TOC behaviours like the ST in reverse.)

I hope his behaviour teaches the grass-roots leaders something other than licking the leaders’ feet and sneering at the poor, elderly and ill. I’m thinking of Ms Jean Ang Yee Mei Lin in particular. And hope that she doesn’t have children. They would have been badly brought up. Think of her young daughters wearing cheong sams inappropriately.

I’ve not seen so much exposed thigh except in a Thai brothel or at the old Tekka meat market. She must be proud of her legs to want to flash them so much.

*I’m not saying TTSH was right to sack him. I think it should have given him a severe warning for his confessed misconduct. Then send him on no-pay leave for the duration of the court case. From what I’ve been told, he is no skiver unlike his new citizen M’sian Chinese gf. He is a hardworking S’porean. He needs a true-blue S’porean partner, not a M’sian Chinese gf.

Tot S’poreans are honest, honour honesty? Think again

In Corporate governance, Financial competency on 18/06/2014 at 4:29 am

I was shocked as a user of financial statements to read this in BT last week:

More than one-fourth of senior executives in Singapore feel it is justifiable to misstate financial performance in order to survive an economic downturn. The staggering statistic was one of many in EY’s 13th and latest Global Fraud Survey.

The exercise, which involved 2,719 interviews with senior decision-makers in the largest companies in 59 countries – conducted between November 2013 and February 2014 – looked at the perceived levels of fraud, bribery and corruption across the world in current times.

It found that financial statement fraud risk is still prevalent. Aside from Singapore’s response, EY’s survey found that – across the globe – 6 per cent of respondents said that misstating financial performance is justifiable in order to survive an economic downturn. This is an increase from 5 per cent two years ago.

EY noted that this is driven by responses from emerging markets where, in some jurisdictions, a significantly higher proportion of respondents stated that they could justify such actions. Compared with Singapore (28 per cent), 24 per cent in India and 10 per cent in South Africa felt misstating financial performance was justifiable.

(BT 12 June: Emphasis is mine)

We are miles away from the global benchmark (6%) and worse than India (where few yrs ago there was a major accounting scandal at a giant Indian IT co), a country where corruption is so common.

How to trust any co’s financial statements? Blame education system, PAP govt or S’pore society?

Wrong to blame our society?

Juz think about it. Roy Ngerng who claimed his research into the CPF system showed that the govt had stolen the monies, and who when sued by the PM for defamation, readily and cheerfully admits that the govt didn’t steal the monies but like a true blue S’poreans wants to avoid coughing up money (BS is cheap, money is another thing) is a heloo among the chattering classes.(think Maruah) and the born losers.

This is what his lawyer released yesterday: “The defendant …  had publicly apologised to the Plaintiff and acknowledged that the allegation about which the Plaintiff complained was false (in wording, and in a manner, required by the Plaintiff), who had given undertakings not to publish such an allegation, and who had agreed to remove material to which the Plaintiff had objected. 

My take has been that the the only original thing about his CPF articles is the accusation that the govt steals our CPF monies. http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/roy-missed-his-calling-in-life/

As long ago as 2007, the intricacies of CPF were spelled out by an NMP in parly http://siewkumhong.blogspot.sg/2007/09/speech-on-ministerial-statement-on-cpf.html. Check out the references in speech. And Uncle Leong, Roy’s sifu has been active too.

So what has Roy added to the debate? Juz the accusation (now retracted) that govt stole the monies: an accusation he now readily admits is BS.

And he is a heloo to Maruah etc?

And nothing is wrong with the moral and ethical value of at least some highly paid, professional S’poreans?

Something is very wrong with us when a significant number of S’porean professionals are prepared to lie for their employers, paymasters, or when a self-declared liar is a hero to many S’poreans (number unknown).

BTW, I make no comment on whether PM is right morally, ethically, PRwise to sue because the issues are not as clear cut as the PAPpies, anti-PAP activists and ordinary, decent-minded S’poreans who dislike bullying think. It’s a complex problem that even game theory cannot help find an answer. I don’t know whether PM was right or wrong to sue.

Coming back to the issue of the willingness to lying, the PAP govt must take a lot of the blame for this. It has been in power, micro-managing and social engineering S’poreans since 1959, and has put collective responsibility and duty (calls it constructive nation-building) above all else, especially the conscience of the individual. Surely, some could have taken this to mean that it’s OK to lie for employer, paymaster?

PAP’s new secret weapons?

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

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

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

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

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

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

All in the cause of next GE?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——–

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

 

 

 

 

 

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/)

 

People that the PAP fear?

In Hong Kong, Media on 14/05/2014 at 4:59 am

“A prophet without honour in his own country or home,” was what I tot.

No not talking about one Devan Nair, for one thing he is being re-recognised by the PAP govt: “Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officially opened the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability in Jurong East …”, it was reported on 1 May 2014.

No, I couldn’t help but think “A prophet without honour in his own country or home”*, when I read on Saturday, “Outspoken academic Cherian George takes up post at Hong Kong Baptist University” (http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1508715/outspoken-academic-cherian-george-takes-post-hong-kong-baptist).

He needs no introduction as the hubbie of ST’s editor, brudder-in-law to the Malay minister, and an academic and former journalist who has had disagreements with the PAP govt since the 1980s. Seeing no future in journalism, he became an academic. In 2009, he was made an NTU associate professor but denied tenure. In 2010, NTU denied the school’s attempt to renew his position as head of journalism. He was denied tenure again last year and had to “move on” and out of S’pore.

Is it not surprising that The Reporters Without Borders 2014 Press Freedom Index ranked Hong Kong at 61 and Singapore at 150 out of 180 nations?

Mr Spock can reasonably conclude that he was denied tenure because “Service and other contributions to the university, profession or community are also taken into consideration.”**

He is after all, “one of Singapore’s most accomplished and civic minded media commentators”, as someone whom  I respect described him. He could also have be a model for what Seah Chiang Nee in his final column for the Star wrote: “make sure you get the facts right. Use refined language, with no exaggeration. Accuracy, objectivity! When it does well, give it credit; if it does badly in the eyes of most people, say so.” This is something that doesn’t fit rabid PAP cybder warriors.

Rabid anti-PAP cyber warriors especially those who distort the truth can take heart that they are not the ones the PAP fear most or that they will get into trouble for attacking the PAP.

The PAP it seems fears those who are willing to speak the truth, and who thereby have the respect of the 35% of S’poreans who can be swayed by the facts and rational arguments, unlike the 35% (Any donkey so long it is branded “PAP” and 30% (Any donkey who says he is anti-PAP) who can’t.

I’m exaggerating who the PAP fear most? Remember this incident when someone was uninvited to the Istana.

And there are some (not me though, here’s why ) who think that Alex Au’s legal problems have something to do with his well researched and totful pieces.

Happily for the PAP, the really rabid anti-PAP cyber warriors don’t think that telling the truth is that important. What matters is being cheered on by 30% of the voters. If only they can recognise that 30% is not a majority in S’pore politics, and that they have to appeal to the middle 35%.

But maybe they (or at least some of them do) do but are afraid of kanna “marked” by the PAP, and suffering the consequences like having to “move on” or being a non-person.. Better to appeal to the 30% hard core. Better safe than sorry. That after all is the S’porean way.

———–

*1And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. 2And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? 3Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. 4But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 5And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching. (Mark 6)

**An NTU spokesman said,: “The tenure review process is purely a peer-driven academic exercise with two equally important criteria, distinction in scholarship and high quality teaching. Service and other contributions to the university, profession or community are also taken into consideration.”

He wrote on his blog, “As for why the university took the exceptional step of withholding tenure from a faculty member who it decided had earned promotion, I was assured this had nothing to do with my scholarship, teaching or service, and not because I had conducted myself inappropriately.” He was never contradicted by NTU.

So a hyper rationalist like Mr Spock can reasonably conclude that it was “Service and other contributions to the university, profession or community are also taken into consideration” that did him in, making him move on; to a place controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, no friend of a free media or internet.

 

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.

 

Why SMC should act against PAP MP

In Humour, Malaysia, Political governance on 16/04/2014 at 4:18 am

One day after foot-in-mouth* and eye specialist Dr Lim Wee Kiak retracted his criticisms of M’sia’s handling of the MH 370, Reuters reported  Malaysia’s government has begun investigating civil aviation and military authorities to determine why opportunities to identify and track … MH370 were missed in the chaotic hours after it vanished, two officials said*.

(http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/04/11/malaysia-airplane-investigation-idINDEEA3A06M20140411)

If only he waited another day, he would have come up roses, in his original criticism. And the govt would have edlook stupid in implicitly castigating him.

Seriously, if the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) can censure plastic surgeon Dr Woolly Woffles Wu for getting his employee to take the blame for his speeding offences in 2005 and 2006 when the courts take a lenient view of this offence (unlike the UK where it is considered a perversion of justice, jailable up to eight months http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-tees-23282995), it should censure Dr Lim for stupidity.

SMC is suspending Dr Wu from practice for four months, saying that in arriving at an appropriate sanction, its role was to consider what penalties would be sufficient and of specific deterrence such that no registered medical practitioner would want to take the risk to commit such an offence that would lower the standing of the medical profession.

Well the same should apply for doctors who consistently talk rubbish in public.

SMC also said that Woffles had “tarnished the good name of the profession”, “instead of setting a good example for younger practitioners to emulate”.

Well does SMC want young doctors to emulate Dr Lim? They would if they don’t take him to task for making stupid remarks.

Dr Wu’s seniority and standing in the medical profession was also found to be an aggravating factor, said the SMC.

Well Dr Lim is a senior doctor too. He too makes serious money.

As the PAP is short-listing its candidates for the next GE, it might to consider eye doctors a miss, and retiring those it already has. Think VivianB and Dr Lim, and one can draw reasonable conclusions about the kind of people who become eye doctors and PAP MPs.

—-

*“If the annual salary of the Minister of Information, Communication and Arts is only $500,000, it may pose some problems when he discuss policies with media CEOs who earn millions of dollars because they need not listen to the minister’s ideas and proposals. Hence, a reasonable payout will help to maintain a bit of dignity,” Dr Lim told LianHe ZaoBao in Chinese.

**The story reported portrays the dysfunctional M’sian system:

A sixth source, a senior official in the civil aviation sector, said the plane’s disappearance had exposed bureaucratic dysfunction in Malaysia, which has rarely been subject to such international demands for transparency. “There was never the need for these silos to speak to one another. It’s not because of ill intent, it’s just the way the system was set up,” the official said.

The accounts given to Reuters reveal growing tensions between civilian officials, the military and Malaysia Airlines over whether more could have been done in those initial hours.

One of the Reuters sources said military officials in particular were concerned they could lose their jobs.

Tensions have also emerged between the government and state-controlled Malaysia Airlines.

 

NTUC: What Devan Nair got wrong

In Political governance on 11/04/2014 at 5:49 am

The NTUC has a clown cabinet minister and its own MPs within the PAP.The last time it approved of a strike was decades ago (2 Jan 1986). The PAP govt frowns on strikes, and NTUC has to be constructive, and nation-building, like the local media. The PAP govt knows best leh.

Once upon a time the PAP was strike friendly. In 1960 125,000 man-hours were lost in strikes compared with only 26.000 in 1959. The person who reported this statistic, the outgoing head of the S’pore Chamber of Commerce called for an inquiry into where the trade union movement was leading S’pore.

Woodhull, a union man (Singapore Trades Union Congress) and a PAP cadre and activist (later arrested in Coldstore) said in the 6 months before the PAP took power in 1959, the workers were “repressed”. So the jump in strikes was to be expected when they were liberated. (Singapore Correspondent. Political Dispatches from Singapore (1958-1962))

Well the PAP soon grew less-strike friendly as the economy was affected by strikes and an economic slowdown.

LKY and the other PAP leaders (remember he was only first among equals) decided to form a new trade union movement. National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) was created in 1961 when the Singapore Trades Union Congress (STUC), which had backed the People’s Action Party (PAP), split into the NTUC and the Singapore Association of Trade Unions (SATU). In 1963, the government detained SATU’s leaders during Operation Coldstore and deregistered it.

Only NTUC was left standing: competition eliminated. It never had to persuade the workers that its plans were better.

Devan Nair as a founder of the NTUC and as its first Sec-Gen had a different idea of the role of unions from the one of union leaders in the S’pore of the 1950s: one where the govt, unions and businessmen collaborated for the public good, and where general economic prosperity benefited the employers and their workers.

He (and other PAP leaders) publicly said that they had in mind the German model of industrial relations: “The most notable of such experiments have been by the Staedtler, Carl Zeiss, Robert Bosch, Gert Spindler and Rexroth undertakings in West Germany, and the John Lewis and Scott-Bader enterprises in England.” The last two were British worker co-operatives. John Lewis is still a model for the co-operative way of doing things.

They hated the traditional British model despite (perhaps because) many of the leaders having studied there, and despite the English-educated leaders having influenced by British socialist thinkers, the Fabian Society and the British Labour party. Devan Nair (not one of the UK educated leaders) quoting a British writer, Mr. Folkert Wilken, on the subject:

“It is an inveterate evil of the traditional structure of trade unions, that in order to exist they must struggle to recruit members, and to make membership appear in the most attractive light. They are therefore under constant compulsion to prove the necessity of their existence. They have to institute periodic and militant proceedings for increased wages and shorter hours. By doing this, they are appealing to the egotistic interests of the workers. Thus, they never appeal to the social ideals dormant in the workers. They cannot, for they do not consider it their duty to further such ideals, and have no clear picture of the practical realisation of these ideals. They therefore wish to persevere in their war for higher wages and less work. To these aims they owed their birth, a hundred years ago. But then, those aims were justified by the conditions of the time, as they are always justified when there is capitalistic exploitation of labour.”

The virus of the British industrial disease is also latent in Singapore** and could develop a malignant potency in future years, if our social thinkers and planners do not give thought to the development of corrective and remedial measures.

(http://sgrepository.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/wages-alone/)

Funnily for an ex-communist, he never ever mentioned (at least publicly: I’m happy to stand corrected on this point) that the NTUC was modeled on the Soviet Union’s and Communist China’s trade unions’ movements (Just like one LKY kept insisting that the PAP was modeled on the Roman Catholic Church when in fact it was modeled on the Soviet communist party and the Chinese communist party that imitated its structure. The ideas and principles of both organisations followed those of Lenin). The unions were subordinate to the leaders of the communist party who were also the leaders of the govt, the countries being one party states.  They were not equal partners to the govt or the employers (state-owned). This didn’t matter because the communist party represented the interests of the workers, the proletariat.

Devan Nair wanted to improve the working conditions and life of the workers, but he was willingly to use a model that had shown itself capable of exploiting the workers; a system that depended on the whims and fancies of the political leader, there being no institutional checks to their power. No need to have checks and balances because the party and hence its leaders represented the workers.

I’m sure that such a smart man (in EQ and IQ) would have realised the danger especially as he was a well read man (his speeches seem to indicate this, or did he have a good speech writer?). But as he tot the world of LKY****, he created (with others) the NTUC based on the Leninist model.

As I pointed out earlier, by 1973, he may have recognised the problems S’pore was going to face if it continued on the PAP govt’s chosen trajectory, but he was impotent to change the system. He had helped create a union movement that was subordinate to the ruling govt in a defacto one-party state. .The NTUC would improve the life of the the workers only if the govt wanted to take care of the workers. If it didn’t, the NTUC would not be in a position to help the workers. It would only spin the govt’s propaganda, like Squealer in Animal Farm, explaining why the other farm animals had to endure hardship.

When in the mid 1990s, the govt realised that S’pore was losing its competitive edge (a fact, not a Hard Truth or Heart Truth) and it tot that economic growth required real wages to be held down and real estate prices to be inflated*** the workers had to accept the nasty consequences. The NTUC was part of the machinery of govt. As to protesting, well sheep S’poreans don’t protest: they juz bleat*****. Besides, S’poreans are law abiding and protests (Hong Leong excepted) and strikes need official permission, Hong Leong excepted.

NTUC, as a champion of the workers, was flawed from its conception, a bit like the creature that Dr Frankenstein created. For that, Devan Nair, whatever his good intentions, must accept part of the blame.

One wonders whether when Lim Chin Seong and Fong Swee Suan, Woodhull  and other radical left unionists met Devan Nair in the afterlife, they chorused,”Dr Frankenstein, we presume?”?

—–

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

by Leon Comber*

Publisher:  Marshall Cavendish International Asia

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

* MAI Adjunct Research Fellow

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

**Bit ironical this given that PAP activists were in the forefront of the strikes.

***OK, OK, I exaggerate. But go ask Mah Bow Tan.

****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/

*****They always have. It’s juz that the internet and social media have amplified the once soft bleats. Take away the anonymity of the internet and social media and there will be a reurn to the silence of the lambs.

Footie: When team losing, don’t sack mgr

In Footie on 30/03/2014 at 10:13 am

MU owners and fans are still behind Moysie despite a season that is worse than the worst nightmares. Nice of fans to cheer him at Old Trafford last night. And they may be right to remain sanguine.

Graph comparing performance

Ter Weel analysed managerial turnover across 18 seasons (1986-2004) of the Dutch premier division, the Eredivisie. As well as looking at what happened to teams who sacked their manager when the going got tough, he looked at those who had faced a similar slump in form but who stood by their boss to ride out the crisis.

He found that both groups faced a similar pattern of declines and improvements in form … he argues that this finding is not specific to the Netherlands. Major football leagues in Europe, including England, Germany, Italy and Spain also bore out the same conclusion – teams suffering an uncharacteristic slump in form will bounce back and return to their normal long-term position in the league, regardless of whether they replace their manager or not.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23724517

As PM now watches the LionsXII (at least when they are winning), he may use this “fact” as a Hard Truth on why we shouldn’t give the PAP the sack.

Which voter are you?

In Political governance on 28/03/2014 at 4:53 am

Came across something interesting (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-26689333) that can be used to analyse (ok pontificate on or BS on) voting patterns in S’pore.

1. Comfortable Nostalgia: “They tend to be older, more traditional voters who dislike the social and cultural changes they see as altering [country] for the worse.”

2. Optimistic Contentment: “Confident, comfortable & usually on higher incomes they are prudent & tolerant but think [country] is a soft touch.”

3. Calm Persistence: “Often coping rather than comfortable, they hope rather than expect things to get better.”

4. Hard-pressed Anxiety: “Pessimistic & insecure, these people want more help from government and resent competition for that help particularly from new-comers.”

5. Long-term Despair: “Many are serial strugglers; angry & alienated they feel little or no stake in the country or that anyone stands up for them.”

6. Cosmopolitan Critics: “Generally younger, more secular and urban-based, worried about growing inequality & the general direction the country is going in.”

“Comfortable Nostalgia” and “Optimistic Contentment” (me?) would be daft not to vote PAP, while “Hard-pressed Anxiety”, “Long-term Despair” and  “Cosmopolitan Critics” would surely vote for the opposition to the PAP? Though after the 2011 GE, Eric Tan (remember him?) told me that it was a surprise voters that well-off S’poreans, who could see that their children (grown -up or growining up) were not or would not enjoy the good life that they had or have, voted for the opposition.

The fight would be for the “Calm Persistence” voters, and the “Hard Pressed Anxiety”?

But if the SDP and WP decide to fight each other and the PAP, there will be problems  because based on the results of PE 2011, the SDP has most of the votes of the “Long-term Despair” and  “Cosmopolitan Critics”; while the WP has support among “Calm Persistence” even if the RI doctors in the SDP fall into this group), and “Hard-pressed Anxiety” (the SDP and WP share votes with some “daft” ones voting PAP ). By avoiding three-way fights, these two parties and the Chiams, NSP and the clowns other parties make sure that the anti-PAP voters are used to maximum effect.

Hence the uproar when Mad Dog Chee (escaped his RI doctors?) wanted to fight the WP in Punggol-East. Fortunately, the roar of protest shocked him into sanity, and treatment.

BTW, I think based on the postings on TREthe majority of TRE posters would seem fall into  the “Hard-pressed Anxiety”and “Long-term Despair” (i.e. into the losers) even though TeamTRE belongs in the “Calm Persistence” and “Hard-pressed Anxiety”  categories: the only people who would spend time and money on doing what they believe is right, even if the losers are freeloading on their efforts.

TOC’s editors, team and natural readers would fall into fall into the”Calm Persistence” “Hard-pressed Anxiety”and .”Cosmopolitan Critics” groups.

Those who read this blog (not via TRE) are in 1-5. Why TRE republishes me I know not. Maybe it’s to tell the losers that life is more complex than the PAP’s demand (“For us or against us”) that the losers seem to have adopted?  Or maybe because it knows that there is a silent majority of readers in the “Calm Persistence” and “Hard-pressed Anxiety”. Could be as TRE has raised the funds to keep on going for another year. So maybe the TRE community is more than losers freeloading on the efforts TeamTRE?

Finally, as to why I’m not a PAP supporter, it’s largely ’cause* I don’t like the PAP’s attitude of insisting on the imposing the “right” values on S’poreans (even if I may agree with many these values like hating free-loaders and losers who expect something for nothing). I believe that:

… pensioners would be free to spend their savings on a Lamborghini following a rule change in the Budget.

From 2015, people reaching retirement age will be able to use pension pots however they want, rather than having to buy a guaranteed annual income.

Pensions minister Steve Webb said it was people’s “choice” whether to buy Italian Lamborghini sports cars.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-26649162

It’s our choice to do dumb things provided we are prepared to live with the consequences without moaning and groaning.

*Also I believe that a one-party state is bad for S’pore. For that think the problems in public transport and housing  that the PAP caused. BTW, one could argue that its recent changes in its public housing and tpt policies and its seeming change in FT PMET policy is geared at winning the “Calm Persistent” voters over and moving “Hard Pressed Anxiety” voters into the “Calm Persistent” group; and the “Calm Persistent” voters into the “Optimistic Contentment’ category. It’s also trying to show S’poreans that the gd life can still be found here.

Reason why S’poreans migrating, not reproducing?

In Political governance, Public Administration on 24/03/2014 at 4:23 am

… Google managers need to keep their staff happy because, Mr Teller says, you don’t need your manager’s permission to leave a particular section if you believe they are behaving in an obnoxious manner.

“Not only will you leave but everyone will leave and that guy is going to find himself voted off the island by his own people,” he adds. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25880738) Emphasis mine.

Hmm bit like general elections. Opps forgot that we got the GRC system. So we can’t vote the PAP out even if another 11%  of the voters change their minds about the PAP in the next GE. Those who predict that in the next GE, the PAP will lose power should remember this in their lucid moments when they lapse into sanity.

Seriously, maybe the number of true blue S’poreans, migrating (http://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/spore-inc-are-local-talents-emigrating-too-fast/) and the low birth rate* is the way S’poreans are telling the PAP that the PAP sucks? Even if 60% of the voters continue voting for the PAP.

But never mind, maybe PAP is thinking like this?

After the uprising of the 17th of June

The Secretary of the Writers Union

Had leaflets distributed …

Stating that the people

Had thrown away the confidence of the government

And could win it back only

By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier

In that case for the government

To dissolve the people

And elect another?

(The writer, Bertolt Brecht, was a famous playwright,  a Hollywood screen writer in the golden years of Hollywood in the 1930s) and a Marxist activist.) http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/rewriting-lkys-views-on-fts-and-if-so-why/

Coming back to the Google manager:

You must reward people for failing, he says. If not, they won’t take risks and make breakthroughs. If you don’t reward failure, people will hang on to a doomed idea for fear of the consequences. That wastes time and saps an organisation’s spirit.

Finding new transformational ideas is like sending out a team of scouts to explore uncharted terrain for new mountains to climb, he says.

“If you shame them when they come back, if you tell them that they’ve failed you because they didn’t find a mountain, no matter how diligently they looked for or how cleverly they looked for it, those scouts will quit your company.”

But this is no excuse for those in Home Team. They are not creative types: they are employed to prevent things happening (breach of border security) or escalating (senior police commanders). From the I(ndian?) http://theindependent.sg/review-the-home-team/

BTW, I’m glad the Indian stopped the self-defeating habit of not allowing one to read its article unless one “Liked” it. I always moved on. I mean how to “Like” something before one read it? So PAPpish or CCP, not the spirit of the world’s largest democracy.

——————————————————–

*Update at 5.00am: Juz read this

Now the big problem is a rock-bottom low birthrate — with a fertility rate under 1.2 – barely  half that necessary to replace the current population, which threatens to turn this ultra-dynamic city state into a giant old-age home.

The reasons for this plunge, according to demographer Gavin Jones at the National University of Singapore, lie largely in such things as long working hours and ever-rising housing costs, something that has been boosted by foreign purchases of private residences. With large apartments increasingly expensive, Singaporeans, particularly those with children, often think of emigrating to less expensive or at least roomier places such as the United States, Australia and New Zealand. One recent survey estimated that over half of Singaporeans want to migrate; the World Bank estimates upward of 300,000 Singaporeans have moved abroad, accounting for almost one in 10 citizens. …

.One key element relates to focusing on how to nurture families once again, and to recapture that sense of Singaporean-ness that makes the place so special. It is not so much a matter of financial incentives — these have not worked — as in controlling housing costs, expanding space for families,  and most importantly, finding better ways to balance life and work.

Already some initial steps to humanize the metropolis are taking place. These include a remarkable expansion and improvement of green space, and attempts to decentralize work around the newer state housing estates and commercial developments. Steps to increase the size of apartments, repurpose aging shopping and office structure for housing as well as encouraging more home-based work could also prove helpful. These changes will be critical if the world’s most successful city wants to remain so in the decades ahead.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2013/07/18/singapore-needs-a-new-sling/

When global rankings don’t flatter, PAP’s evolving response

In Economy, Humour, Political economy on 19/03/2014 at 5:03 am

“Troubles come in threes” is an old English saying.

he PAP may have reason to agree. The PAP has had three unflattering rankings. First off was the one early this yr from the people behind the Corruption Index.

Remember Ng Eng Hen getting upset with Transparency International (TI) for giving Singapore a “poor” rating last year for the way it spends money buying weapons. He said that TI’s assumptions for its assessment were flawed. He questioned its move to group Singapore in the same category as Iraq and Afghanistan. TRE rightly pointed out that given if the government finds TI not to be credible as Dr Ng has alleged in Parliament, perhaps the government should stop using TI’s rankings and surveys altogether.

For a start perhaps, CPIB could stop using TI’s rankings on its website. Presently, it prominently displays TI’s CPI on its home page.

Next, CPIB could remove all references to TI on its website [Link]:

[Err don't think this is done]

Also, PM Lee should remember not to quote TI in his speeches anymore [Link]:

(http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/02/19/dr-ng-condemns-tis-defence-spending-rating-for-sg/)

Smart people TeamTRE. TRE readers should note that the public face of TRE is a scholar and elite schoolboy. And they hate elites even though one of elites is on TeamTRE. Kinda irrational?

This was followed by EIU naming S’pore as the most expensive city in the world. Tharman rubbished this: My take on Tharman’s take.

BT, part of the constructive, nation-building SPH came out with a piece rubbishing the basis of the index Index and saying that it was not applicable to locals. Extract from BT is at end of article. Kinda long and boring.

Finally there was S’pore’s appearance at 5th spot in the Crony-Capitalism Index http://www.economist.com/news/international/21599041-countries-where-politically-connected-businessmen-are-most-likely-prosper-planet.

So far, there has been conspicuous silence from the govt and its media running dogs (apologies to the dogs) allies, even though the new media is flogging the story with glee, together with the takeover of Olam: anything to do in the PAP?

Could it be that the PAP has realised that silence is golden when it comes to responding to unflattering rankings. Perhaps it  has realised the self-defeating nature of rubbishing the unflattering ranking. It gives more publicity to the ranking, shows how hurt it feels and its rubbishing leaves PAP supporters wondering if the assumptions or basis of flattering rankings too are rubbish especially if the rankings come from the same organisation like in case of TI’s rankings.

As someone who hates triumphalism of any sort (the fates get tempted), I hope that the PAP’s silence extends to flattering ratings too. Pigs likely to fly first.

SINGAPORE may have climbed five spots to claim the “unenviable title” of the world’s most expensive city, according to a bi-annual ranking compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), but economists downplay the significance of the results.

While acknowledging the undeniable existence of rising price pressures here, economists The Business Times spoke to cautioned against extrapolating that the cost of living for locals has skyrocketed.

This is because two key factors – currency fluctuations and the survey’s expatriate focus – would “automatically limit” such deductions.

In order to achieve comparative indices, EIU’s Worldwide Cost of Living survey converts each country’s prices into US dollars. Therefore, a weaker yen pushed Tokyo – last year’s most expensive city – down to sixth place, and this paved the way for Singapore to claim the dubious honour this time around.

Therefore, Singapore’s ascent to costliest city was due in part to currency fluctuations – EIU noted that over the last decade, Singapore has seen 40 per cent currency appreciation.

Said UOB economist Francis Tan: “There’s so much (buzz) about Singapore taking the top spot, but a lot of this has been fuelled by the fluctuations in different currencies. I wouldn’t read too much into it, because next year we could be number 6 again.”

Mizuho Bank economist Vishnu Varathan added: “If one were to look at cost of living from the point of view of a domestic person, then currency movements arguably don’t matter as much.”

CIMB economist Song Seng Wun was also keen to highlight the survey’s expatriate focus and its purpose as a tool for determining foreigners’ salaries.

In its description of the survey, EIU said: “The survey itself is a purpose-built Internet tool designed to help human resources and finance managers calculate cost-of-living allowances and build compensation packages for expatriates and business travellers.”

Still, emphasising that the basket of goods is “fairly broad to address a lot of essentials”, Jon Copestake, editor of the report, told BT: “The survey is also comparative between locations so it could be argued that if a city is most expensive for expats, then why not for everyone?”

But Mizuho’s Mr Varathan pointed out that “the survey has got inherent biases”: “As they’re looking to compare (like-for-like) items, they probably missed out on some local stuff, and that’s going to work against us. For example, if we take the price of a cappuccino, it will likely set you back about $5. But that’s not the same as getting Ah Poh’s coffee at Golden Shoe.”

Limitations aside, all three economists agreed that the survey results are worth reflecting upon, especially since currency fluctuations only tell part of the story.

Noting that Singapore’s rising price prominence has been “steady rather than spectacular”, EIU said that the city-state was the 18th most expensive city 10 years ago.

It said that Singapore has some structurally expensive items that “skew the overall cost of living upwards”, including cars. This has meant that transport costs in Singapore are almost three times higher than in New York.

Added EIU: “In addition, as a city-state with very few natural resources to speak of, Singapore is reliant on other countries for energy and water supplies, making it the third most expensive destination for utility costs.”

Although the survey’s findings could suggest that Singapore may be losing its cost competitiveness, UOB’s Mr Tan thinks otherwise: “There’s a reason why Singapore is expensive, and there’s a price to pay for everything. If (multinational corporations) want to be in a country where you push a button and things work, where there is near-zero political risk, where the business environment is vibrant – they’ve got to pay a premium for that.”   5March BT

What PM should say this Sunday?

In Political governance, Public Administration on 07/02/2014 at 5:11 am

“Sorry”. For what specifically you may ask? There are many things the PAP should repent for after all.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will announce the details of the Pioneer Generation Package on Sunday. Social and Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing said the package will take care of the seniors for the rest of their time as Singaporeans.

Mr Chan said: “It is not about giving them something for one year and that’s it. It is more than that. It is a package… to take care of them for the rest of their time as Singaporeans, and the rest of the time they are with us.

“We want to make this commitment because it is a testimony to what we believe as a nation, that as the Chinese say, ‘yin shui si yuan’, (meaning) when we drink from the well, we will remember the source.”

Mr Chan was speaking at a Lunar New Year dinner for residents from Tanjong Pagar GRC.

He added that a key focus of the package will be on healthcare costs, noting that this will help those who are taking care of the pioneer generation.

Mr Chan said: “And we also understand that for many younger parents, the younger generation people who are supporting the pioneer generation, that healthcare has been a main focus for them.

“And because of this, we will focus the first step of the Pioneer Generation Package on giving the pioneer generation and their families a sense of assurance that their healthcare (needs) will be taken care of by the society as a whole.” CNA

Of course the devil is in the details, and it could be juz spin. But I’ll give the PAP and the govt the benefit of the doubt ’cause the general election is round the corner: 2015 is my prediction.

Here’s a constructive, nation-building, and vote-winning suggestion for the PAP: If the PM really wants to show his sincerity, he should, on behalf of the cabinet, apologise to the pioneer generation for his then welfare’s minister’s sneering words aimed at the unfortunate members of the pioneer generation.

Dr Lily Neo:

Sir, I want to check with the Minister again when he said on the strict criteria on the entitlement for PA recipients. May I ask him what is his definition of “subsistence living”? Am I correct to say that, out of $260 per month for PA recipients, $100 goes to rental, power supply and S&C and leaving them with only $5 a day to live on? Am I correct to say that any basic meal in any hawker centre is already $2.50 to $3.00 per meal? Therefore, is it too much to ask for just three meals a day as an entitlement for the PA recipients?

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan:

How much do you want? Do you want three meals in a hawker centre, food court or restaurant?

To add insult to the pain of this slap, said minister was overspending on his pet project: the Kiddie Games: S$387m (more than 3x the estimated S$122m). To be fair, the original budgets of these kinds of events are always works of fiction. The sponsors always keep demanding more, while the organisers always underestimate: ome reason why it seems one LKY never had S’pore bid for such prestige events.

The minister did not apologise. Nor did the PM or any other minister rebuke the minister in public or disown his remarks: though to be fair to the govt, Lily Neo did get her wish: there was a relatively big increase later. This could be the govt repenting privately?

But if it waz private repentance, doing it quietly doesn’t do the PAP any gd. A public apology for the remarks made by that rich, privileged  ACS kid would be a gd start to the PAP’s GE campaign, showing that it really, really appreciates the pioneer generation. It should because its intl’ reputation as a successful govt, and grip on power owe much to the pioneer generation willingness to “eat bitter”, something that their children (increasingly) and grandchildren (100%) are unwilling to do anymore.  Blame, partially, the mega-rise in ministerial salaries in the 90s. Only partially because better education and the internet have led them to expect more from the govt. On its part the PAP failed to keep the basics affordable: look at the cost of education, public tpt and public housing. On healthcare, decent healthcare has always been expensive.

EPL vote buying?

In Footie, Political governance, Public Administration on 28/01/2014 at 5:53 am

(Or How PAP is connecting with S’poreans without the anti-PAP paper warriors noticing)

Football fans on Saturday evening indulged in free screenings of the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Hull City at community clubs across Singapore.

At Yio Chu Kang Community Club, some 20 fans turned up at the beginning of the match at 8.45pm.

More spectators gradually streamed in as the match progressed.

It seemed residents simply relished the chance to catch the game without having to pay anything.

One of the spectators said: “It’s because of the ridiculously expensive prices that one has to pay to watch English football these days and I also have a bit of time to kill.”

The screening of the match was opportunity to build communal bonds through the platform of shared spectatorship.(CNA three/ Sundays ago)

Err more like trying to tell people that find it expensive to subscribe to SingTel’s EPL package that the PA PAP are making sure that the high cost of watching EPL is mitigated, and come GE2015/2016, vote PAP.

All those TRE and TOC reaaders, and other anti-PAP paper activists be frustrated, very frustrated. Soon, the clubs will be showing games when United, Sity, Gooners and Chelsea play one another, not juz uninteresting games.

But if not for me, our intellectual paper warriors would be clueless on this PAP move (has anyone blogged or commented on this piece of news?. The said kay pohs (and their readership in TRE, TOC) don’t watch footie, and are still fighting GE 2011. Guys, the PAP is moving on for GE 2015.

The new approach is to show voters the PAP cares: even in WP areas http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/pa-reaches-out-wp-wards-17-projects.

Wonder if SingTel will allow the WP town council to screen such matches too, or only restricted to PAP PA venues? Sadly WP MPs won’t even bother asking: too busy looking at their bank statements. They too wear white.

But all is not lost. The usual tua kee blogging suspects should remind S’poreans that watching EPL is expensibe ’cause

– two TLCs (SingTel and StarHub) out into a bidding war for the EPL rights;

– the PAP’s govt competition rules made this possible, may inevitable. Tot competition riles were to keep prices down?

“Mummy, flying economy is worse than taking the MRT!”

In Humour on 26/01/2014 at 5:02 am

” Shouldn’t we be travelling apart from ordinary S’poreans?”

“Baby, I don’t know what to say. Anton, why liddat leh? Where’s the private jet?”

“Darlin’, pls don’t shout at me. I lost my job.”

“Daddy doesn’t have money, Mummy? I got to take the MRT, not sit in the Porsche?”

“Anton, you poor now?”

“Don’t be liddat, Ms Gold Digger 1959.”

“I should have married Ah Beng not ang moh.”

Forgive me but the above conversation (imaginary of course between Bernice Wong and her son and her hubbie) wickedly came to mind when I read in ST that he he and his family flew to Perth on an economy-class SIA flight.

I don’t know about you but I find travelling economy-class for any more than a two hour flight really uncomfortable.  Thankfully, I don’t care for jetting round the world. Otherwise I’d have to speculate or go back to work to make some serious money to afford airfares. Nowadays, even choping a seat in economy class beside the cabin doors costs extra.

Seriously, if he is as rich as he implied, what with his sneers at S’poreans travelling on the MRT, why isn’t he and his family travelling biz or first class? Especially as there are two very good reason to do so this time: security and the absence of publicity. Airlines guard jealously the privacy of premium class passengers. He can’t be genuine about being afraid of his security, can he? Travelling economy-class, where the MRT-travelling S’poreans also travel.

Another reason to doubt that that he is that wealthy is that he is only offering to do community service, not donating serious money and do community service. To donate  money only would be bad PR: “Trying to buy yr way out? Why liddat?”) (Related post: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/talk-is-cheap-anton-casey-show-us-youre-sorry/)

Finally, if he is that rich, why isn’t he using one of big law firms in the Raffles Place, Marina Bay area? His lawyers are based in heartlander Toa Payoh. The expat lady that had Tammy put down is using a big name legal firm to defend her.

BTW, notice how sympathetic the ST story is to him? Hey ST, he wronged us. Or ST agrees with this guy that S’poreans are wrong, not Anton Casey? Bit like William Wan, the general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement whose patrons according to TRE “is PM Lee Hsien Loong and its adviser is Mr Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth”. He seems to be blaming S’poreans, not Anton Casey, for the row. Maybe someone should remind William Wan that Anton Casey has apologised, and telling us that he wronged S’poreans. Sometimes this PAPpish attitude of “S’poreans always daft, always wrong” goes too far?

What do you think?

To end here some great views from the Guardian’s blog reporting the “bullying of Anton Casey” as William Wan seems to put it:

– You have the freedom to poke at a wasp nest. Later, you end up at a hospital. Did you deserve it? No. But did you ask for it? YES!

– I will rather think whom ever poke at a wasp nest, did ask for it and deserve whatever the end result of their FUN is!!

http://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2014/jan/23/daddy-poor-people-anton-casey-facebook-comments-singapore#comment-31119883. Read it to see another lighthearted take on the matter.

A PAP MP on the need to lose dignity to get $50 vouchers

In Political governance on 20/01/2014 at 5:00 am

Last year, the Fare Review Mechanism Committee (FRMC), among other things, proposed that public transport operators be required to contribute to the Public Transport Fund to help needy households when fares are adjusted, as a way of “sharing” their gains with commuters, it said. This could range from 20% t to 50% of the expected increase in fare revenue, depending on profitability, Presumably it would then issue vouchers for distribution to the needy poor.

I was reminded of  the proposal when I read, The thing is, the G talks about public transport vouchers again. Now if I remember correctly, hundreds of vouchers in the past hadn’t even been taken up…Either people really don’t need them – or there wasn’t a good plan to get them to the needy. Perhaps, that should be fixed first. http://berthahenson.wordpress.com/2014/

The proposed fund in turn reminded me that one Charles Chong in the  early noughtie said the needy should be made to lose their dignity to get $50 help vouchers.

This is what I posted in 2011

I hear Charles Chong will speak in parliament tomorrow. Doubtless he will talk about helping the needy*. It’s the in- thing in the PAP to want to help the needy. (This is of progress of sorts. Only recently, Lily Neo was berated and sneered at by VivianB for asking for more help for the poor. When that happened, I tot of Oliver Twist asking for more food and being beaten for his pains.)

But I would like to ask Charles Chong, “Must a needy S’porean still lose his dignity for a $30 voucher?”.

Let me explain the background by winding the watch back some years.

In the early noughties, when S’pore was in a recession or recovering from one, one Charles Chong said, “We shouldn’t…be telling everyone that there’s this help available. It’s quite a process to go through to get the vouchers. A person with dignity won’t do it unless he’s in genuine trouble.” Charles Chong was explaining his (and some other PAP MPs’) reluctance to distribute free electricity vouchers on the ground that giving these to the needy would create a culture of dependence.

After reading this remark, I began to have serious problems with the attitude of the governing party. (Previously I had been indifferent to the PAP, even though before 1991, I was a “LKY is almost always right” and “LKY has his heart in the right place” person.)

This remark of Charles Chong also prompted a writer to MediaCorp’s freesheet to ask,”Can a Singaporean no longer lend a hand … without being accused of encouraging a crutch mentality? Aren’t we allowed to feel compassion for another? …cannot use for any other purpose except to pay your utility bill. There is no need to make people beg for that.”

I don’t recall the government or Charles Chong responding to this letter …

(http://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/question-for-charles-chong/)

Will Kee Cui tell us that the PAP govt repudiate such an attitude today? Will Charles Chong say “It was an honest mistake?”.

For the record, Charles Chong is my MP. As readers will know, I’ve always voted WP all my life. But even if JJ stands for the WP, I’m likely to be on hols next GE. Charles Chong and the WP makes me want to puke**. My wish i9s that the SDP stands in Joo Chiat in place of WP, with JJ as its candidate. Yah, I typival S’porean: want cake and eat it too, all of it.

Let’s not be fooled into believing that the PM, cabinet ministers,  and PAP and WP MPs and  get out of bed in the morning to help the working poor. I would exempt Lily Neo and Halimah Yaacob and possibly Kee Chui from the last sentence.

Maybe, anti-PAP paper activists including readers of TOC and TRE should remind Charles Chong and voters that he said,“We shouldn’t…be telling everyone that there’s this help available. It’s quite a process to go through to get the vouchers. A person with dignity won’t do it unless he’s in genuine trouble.”

If this turned me against the PAP’s policies, it might turn others too. Or remind wavering anti-PAP S’poreans why they are right not to trust the PAP.

—-

*He did. speak of helping the needy. Funnily he didn’t say that they should be made to crawl on their knees to get help. But then he only won by 300 votes in GE2011, and the PAP only got 60% of the popular vote.

**In its election manifesto WP called for public tpt nationalisation, something Low reaffirmed after the Punggol East victory. Now, “The WP believes that public transport should be provided as a public good and not for profit” And if we help it be a kingmaker in the next GE. will it play us out and support the PAP, Hard Truths and all? Remember PritamS’s comments on coalition with the PAP juz after the voters of Aljunied gave WP a gd majority. He slapped us in the face, not the PAP, driver. Low only slapped Singh’s wrist.

Cost benefit analysis: PAP govt underestimating the value of human life?

In Economy, Financial competency, Political economy, Political governance on 12/01/2014 at 6:27 am

I came across this in the latest copy of the Economist in the letters section:

Petty’s cash ledger

SIR – You credited William Petty with inventing economics in the 17th century, but did not do full justice to his cost-benefit calculations (Free exchange, December 21st). The good doctor estimated the value of a person to be somewhere between £60-90 and in “Political Arithmetick” he suggested these values could be used “to compute the loss we have sustained” from the plague and war. In 1667 he argued that given the value of an individual and the cost of transporting people away from the plague in London and caring for them, every pound spent would yield a return of £84 as the probability of survival increased. (He also suggested that an individual in England was worth £90, and in Ireland £70.)

In a lecture on anatomy in 1676 Petty argued that the state should intervene to assure better medicine, which could save 200,000 subjects a year and thus represented a sensible state expenditure. Today’s economic estimates are more refined and the data are more exact, but the arguments presented by Petty still resonate in public policy.

Rashi Fein
Professor emeritus of the economics of medicine
Harvard Medical School

This set me thinking that since the govt is forever touting the importance of costing out the benefits of any spending proposal (something I agree with), maybe it should tell us how much it values a S’porean in monetary terms? Esp since the PM has just said that that more social spending does not mean better results http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/01/11/like-a-war-zone/

As pigs are likely to fly first maybe the SDP RI brains trust (Paul A, Wee Nam, Ang -Drs three- etc) can  “force” the govt to do so by coming up with their own SDP valuation, and what they calculate is the PAP valuation.

As to the co driver doing something? They wearing white?

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/why-a-2015-ge-is-now-more-probable/

Govt’s mistakes, S’poreans blamed

In Infrastructure, Political governance, Public Administration on 10/01/2014 at 4:42 am

Twice in three days, S’poreans get blamed by the PAP for govt mistakes.

The traffic snarls on the Marina Coastal Expressway’s (MCE) first day of operations occurred as motorists were unfamiliar with the newly opened highway, said Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew. (MediaCorp 7th January)

I see this this as Lui shifting the blame to motorists using the MCE for the initial congestion problems on the MCE for what a user (at 11 am on the Monday day, so he had plenty of time to observe his surroundings) told me was a failure by tpt officials: “There is only one sign indicating the first exit into the city. One would have tot that based on the signage used on other expressways, there would be signs saying ‘Exit to X, 100m’ etc at regular intervals.” As the media reports a lot more signage going up since I heard this comment, I assume this problem has been fixed. And that this is the source of the problem.

If additional signage was required, then it wasn’t only the fault of daft S’poreans, was it minister?

Then there is the problem of a shortage of hospital beds. Dr Chia Shi Lu, who is a MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, said the shortage of hospital beds is “due to holiday season”, effectively saying that it’s the fault of S’poreans who rather not be discharged.

The facts? From a medical professor albeit a SDP member:

– This is a perennial problem and unfortunately is a result of funding policies which are very hospital-centric. It has become something that doctors in the public sector have become accustomed to

“In my opinion, the obvious reason for the beds’ crunch, may to the best of my knowledge, has never been highlighted in the media – that the total number of hospital beds in Singapore has seen zero increase over at least the last 12 years or so, despite an increase in the population by more than 1 million.”  http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2014/01/interview-with-dr-paul-on-the-bed-crunch-issue-in-public-hospitals/

And Uncle Leong has been beating the drum of a shortage of hospital beds for several yrs: “In my opinion, the obvious reason for the beds’ crunch, may to the best of my knowledge, has never been highlighted in the media – that the total number of hospital beds in Singapore has seen zero increase over at least the last 12 years or so, despite an increase in the population by more than 1 million.” (This quote appeared very recently)

Looks like among the PAP’s new yr resolutions, there isn’t one one changing the Hard Truth, “The PAP is never wrong. It’s always the fault of daft S’poreans”. Seriously, it’s so typical of the PAP: blame S’poreans for an thing that could imply that the PAP govt is less than perfect. What next? PM blaming S’poreans* for the recent riot?

And this comes from me, who after the MCE operated smoothly after the addition of a few signs sent an email entitled: “Can’t help thinking of you guys )))” to a few of the usual “PAP are bastards” paper activists who had been yelling their heads over MCE, attaching this from TRE:http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/01/04/bang-balls-to-tre-whiners-mce-traffic-is-smooth-now/

*Actually he can, the driver of the bus that killed the migrant worker was “a S’porea resident”. He could be a PR from M’sia though. Name definitely not PRC name.

 

Why democracy is not a Hard Truth

In Political governance on 30/12/2013 at 6:29 am

I juz came across this quote from the novelist EM Forster who gave two cheers for democracy: “One because it admits variety, and two because it permits criticism.”. Need I say more on why the PAP doesn’t do democracy?  It doesn’t like variety or criticism. and 60% of S’poreans like it that way. What more can I say? Except that those who want the PAP out have four five choices;

– sit down and shut up;

– be prepared to persuade at least 11% more of voters to join the 40% (actually maybe even more, maybe 24% of the voters, see why here);

– turn to revolution;

– despair and “move on” overseas (BTW, ESM’s daughter is overseas though she’s no “quitter” it seems: LKY’s children are still here by contrast); or

– bitch online (TRE, TOC posters and many Facebookers seem to prefer this option).

BTW, the quote (from a 1938 essay) goes on, “Two cheers are quite enough. There is no occasion to give three.” Forster, according to John Gray, a political philisopher,”thought that no political system – not even democracy – should be turned into an icon. What mattered, he thought, was that individuals should have the chance to live as best they can.”. If anyone is interested, here is John Gray on why  “Human rights are important, but they will never be a solution to ending conflict”. Our HR kay pohs should read it and draw lessons on how they go about rights advocacy here. Example: Human rights have two large virtues – they empower us against governments, and anyone can claim them. If we have rights we needn’t approach power on our knees, as supplicants begging for favours. We can demand that our freedoms be respected. And it doesn’t matter who governs us. Human rights can be invoked wherever they exist.

Can I ask the SDP member who follows this blog to pls pass on this message to all his HR kay poh friends and his party members. They tend to talk about HR in abstract terms allowing the PAPPies cheap, easy, and unnecessary victories.

Ho Ho Ho: Santa = S’pore govt = Scrooge?

In Economy, Humour, Political economy, Political governance on 26/12/2013 at 5:54 am

Santa’s critics note that higher profits and productivity have not resulted in higher pay for the elves. They were seeing their real incomes squeezed even before the Fairy Tale of Wall Street had an unhappy ending in 2008, and then took pay cuts rather than lose their jobs. With welfare being cut, most plumped for a job over the dole even if it meant a cut in living standards.

Santa accepts that the workforce has made sacrifices. But he insists these are vital to keep the company going at a time of cut-throat global competition. The elves have to understand, he adds, that the alternative to zero-hour contracts and pay cuts would be that the jobs would be outsourced from Lapland to a lower-cost grotto in the far east.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/economics-blog/2013/dec/22/santa-elves-living-standards-surveillance

Doesn’t Santa sound like PM or his dad or VivianB or “cheaper, faster” Zorro  etc? I’m so confident that readers will agree that I wouldn’t give examples. This isn’t ST.

As to Scrooge, this is how Dickens described Scrooge before Scrooge repented and became a Dr Chee type of person (actually better than Mad Dog  as Scrooge had his personal wealth to spend on the poor, Dr Chee is depending on our reserves and higher taxes)

“Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas.”

“Even the blindmen’s dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, ‘No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!”

Mean of Dickens? Scrooge when asked for donations for the poor, “There are many things which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited” and  “Are there no prisons?”. Sounds very much like our very own VivianB when he was welfare minister?

Merry Christmas.

What mrbrown can teach PAP MP Baey

In Humour on 20/12/2013 at 4:56 am

Some time back, I read on Facebook a comment by mrbrown to the effect that in his line of work getting his facts “right” (Yaacob would be proud) is very important. Otherwise, no one would believe him in the future. And this from a joker.

Going by the grave that tampon-detective Baey is digging for himself, the PAP should be arranging for mrbrown to coach Baey and other PAP MPs* on the importance of getting their facts “right”. I mean Yaacob’s too busy on the nightmare that is Bertha Henson: like “Freddy” Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street film series, she keeps on haunting the MDA, and can’t be killed off. But the staff of MDA, and Yaacob should be glad that she is only haunting their dreams, she hasn’t killed any of them, yet.

I’m sure you all know about Baey’s $2.50 nasi padang. If not read, this account by TRE (only available for three months unless you are VIP member: even TRE agrees with the PAP govt  that those who pay, get better treatment. Taz the S’porean way given the many cheapos around.).

He wouldn’t have got himself into said hole if he had checked the cost of the dish before blogging on it. Instead he guessed and got netizens’ tits in a twist at the price.And on whether he lived in a bubble: “the elite’s bubble”.

He then compounded his initial mistake by explaining that he tot it cost $2.50 because, he gave $10, and got back $7, and as the bandung drink must have cost 0.50, the rice was $2.50.

So since when did bandung cost $0.50? More nasty comments followed.

But now it’s more than an issue of credibility and being out-of-touch with us common folks. He said, [The stallkeeper] acknowledged that his staff had recognised me that day and out of respect for my work and service in the community, charged me only $3 when it was more than $4.

Well as a TRE reader put it: If only ex chief of SCDF knew how to word his defence in getting bj from the woman out of respect and goodwill, he would not have been convicted of corruption.

Or as another reader put it: … Cecilia Sue also respect Ng Boon Gay’s work and gave him goodwill blowjobs. Why Ng Boon Gay got to resign? …

The issue is as SgCynic put it: Based on Baey Yam Keng’s reasoning, a lot of people are waiting to give presents to ministers and MPs out of respect and public service officers out of goodwill for the work they do.
We also respect our police officers for their beat and shall we give them gifts “out of goodwill”.
The glacerial slide to corruption begins…

To move on, Baey should do what this TRE reader suggested:

I remember a Minister once visited a Singapore departmental store on an official visit and was given a gift as a souvenir. I remember it to be a wallet or a belt or something like that. After some hoo-ha, the Minister admitted he was not aware of the price of the souvenir, and offered pay for the souvenir.

I suggest in this case, Baey should admit he was wrong not to be more careful about hawkers offering discounts to MPs , and that since it happened, and he is now aware such a favour was given, just pay for the balance and apologise for the ignorance of the market prices of food.

To mention anything else is pathethic [sic] and to link this to some charity now to score point is to add insult to injury.

But then Baey is a PAPpy and PAPpies don’t do apologies. And if Baey is any guide, they can’t even compare like to like. They prefer apples to oranges. I let TRE explain:

To find out the actual price of a typical nasi padang meal, Mr Baey ordered mutton, egg and a veggie from the nasi padang stall on Sunday (15 Dec). This time, the owner charged him the “full price” of $3.70.

“However, some netizens still refused to accept that it was the reality and insisted that I had been ‘corrupt’ again. I decided that any explanation was futile and I would just let actions speak for themselves,” Mr Baey concluded.

Actually, if Mr Baey had wanted to compare apple with apple, he should have ordered a piece of chicken and two veggies, plus a bandung drink – the exact same food he ordered on 11 December. Then Singaporeans would know how much actual “goodwill” he received from the stall owner that day.

BTW, Siew Kum Hong said on FB that he doesn’t  “see the point in making so much of” Baey’s mistakes.

My FB avater posted in response: PAppies are nowadays always fair game juz as JBJ and Dr Chee were fair game for the PAP and our constructive, nation-building media when LKY was in charge. Change under son is commendable but the past is still catching up with the PAP. Karma.

On this cheerful note, have a gd time but don’t drive and drink.

*Esp ministers

– Tharman

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/tharman-trying-to-tell-jokes-again/

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/will-hougang-make-the-pap-moan-the-inflation-blues-not-joke-abt-it/

– Hng Kiang

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/will-hougang-make-the-pap-moan-the-inflation-blues-not-joke-abt-it/

– Lee Jnr on world food prices

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/err-lee-what-did-you-say-abt-food-inflation/

Why a 2015 GE is now more probable

In Economy, Political governance on 13/12/2013 at 6:03 am

(Note there is an update since first publication at the end to reflect the PAP’s calls for ideas on how to celebrate a coming 50th anniversary.)

I’ve been beating the DRUMS that 2014 is the last window that the govt can raise prices because the GE has to be held sometime in 2016 and raising prices in 2015 is too close for comfort. I’ve also been drumming that an election in 2015 is possible.

Well going by one report and one speech. last week,  an election in mid 2015 is  more than probable

The report: Singapore’s economic growth will stay strong in the next two years relative to the other countries in Asean, despite the cooling of China’s economic engine, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) has predicted.

The independent consultancy said in its latest quarterly report that healthy increases in consumption and strong exports will boost Singapore’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 3.8 per cent this year.

Next year, strong momentum and greater demand will push up its economic growth to 4.1 per cent.

In the year after, 2015, Singapore’s growth will ease, but remain robust at 3.9 per cent, said the Cebr report entitled “Economic Insight, Southeast Asia”.

(http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/premium/top-stories/spore-economy-stay-pink-next-2-years-20131205)

The speech: Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Defence Chan Chun Sing  said the PAP has to deliver a better life for Singaporeans during its term of government, and also convince the people that it is the best party to deliver beyond this term. He was addressing addressed 1,000 PAP members at the party’s annual gathering on Sunday morning.

He, who is also the PAP Organising Secretary, said the party will act to “deliver, enable and communicate”*.

(Aside, netizens are missing the point by focusing Chan’s call for party members to “continuously and strenuously defend the common space for people to speak up”.

“If we do not stand up for what we believe, other people will occupy that space and cast us into irrelevance. We must not concede the space – physical or cyber . . . We will have to do battle everywhere as necessary.” 

And netizens are not making hay that the FT rioters really listened to him, unlike Sheep, Singkies S’poreans)

So, returning to the issue of a GE in 2015, the ground is likely to be sweet in mid, late 2015. In addition to a decent economy (other Asean countries too will do well), S’poreans would have forgotten about the early 2014 price rises in public tpt etc, lulled by the goodies in the 2015 Budget, improving public tpt, steady HDB prices, and propaganda that the govt is no longer pro-FTs and that it cares for S’poreans.

On the last point, there will a lot of smoke about the need for FT manual workers for the infrastructure projects. Already an ex-ST editor (who is it is alleged had designs on the top job in ST) was quoted (singing for X’mas goodies?**) as saying,  “It will be tough for the (government) to fulfill its promises on infrastructure development without foreign manpower,” observed Singaporean blogger Bertha Henson. “And it would not make sense for citizens to advocate such a tightening of the tap that it compromises our own future.”. One of these days I’ll blog on why her first statement is an exaggeration, that is straight out of the PAP’s spin book.

Then after the GE, and PAP has its more than two-thirds majority, and its toilet-trained WP***, the balance, let rip the GST increase, price rises and resume the flood of FTs?

What can the paper warriors do to counter the paper generals? In late 2014, and in 2015, it is impt for S’pore Notes, TOC, TRE (if it hasn’t closed down in disgust at the failure of its ungrateful readers to fund its continued existence: they expect Andrew, Richard etc not only to work for free, but to fund the servers needed), the other tua kee bloggers, and the ikan bilis to keep reminding voters to ask the PAP if after the GE, the govt will increase GST, or other taxes, or the cost of services, or allow in more FTs (to achieve a population of 8m, more than the White Paper projection of 6.9m). Of course, the PAP leaders and ministers will will say not say, “YES”, lest they lose a few more GRCs.

The PAP will then be held accountable for their pre-election promises, if the promises are broken, somewhere down the line, hopefully. But then, the PAPpies may play the same cyclical, cynical game again, knowing that S’poreans got short memories: even sheep got better memories.

Update on 27th January at 4.05am: I’ve been asked why I didn’t mention the 50th anniversary celebrations as an election feel good factor. The reason is that this is a two-edged sword. If handled in the traditional PAP manner (Soviet, Chinese, North Korean parades) style, it would remind older S’poreans (like self) of the difference in the quality of the PAP leadership. I think the PAP realises this. Witness the spate of ministers asking S’poreans for ideas on how to celebrate 50 yrs of independence? Since when has the PAP listened to the people?

—-

*“The world has changed, and so must we,” declared Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Mandarin yesterday at the biennial People’s Action Party (PAP) convention.

To that end, the ruling party has adopted a new resolution statement – its first in 25 years – which reinterprets the PAP’s goals so as to stay relevant “in this new phase and with the new generation”.

“This is a strategic shift,” said Mr Lee. “Although the content looks similar, its meaning is different. This is a new frame of thinking for the PAP, to make the party’s long-term goals more relevant to the needs of society today.”

As the culmination of five engagement sessions with party members (spread over the course of three months), the main thrust of the new eight-point resolution involves upholding an “open and compassionate meritocracy” in a “fair and just society” with “opportunities for all Singaporeans”.

“We rely on free markets to grow the pie but will moderate its excesses . . . We support a progressive system of benefits and taxes to enable all to enjoy quality education, good housing, and affordable healthcare,” (Extract from BT)

**She juz kanna saboed by MDA as readers will know.

***

Men in White wearing blue

Men in Blue wearing white. Yup Auntie’s a man. Wonder if Kim Song noticed? (OK, OK, I sorry for being mean to an old RI boy).

Gaming the system: Unsaid assumptions of PAP, NTUC MP

In Political economy on 18/11/2013 at 5:29 am

This call by a PAP,NTUC MP provoked me and someone else into some chim tots, MWC [Migrant Workers' Centre] cautions workers and employers alike to access the Work Injury System honestly and fairly so that it can provide meaningful compensation to workers who have suffered physical incapacity or impairment from legitimate injuries suffered in the course of their work.

(http://www.straitstimes.com/premium/forum-letters/story/change-mindsets-employers-workers-needed-20131115)

Someone posted on Facebook: From the way the statement by MWC is phrased, I think they should seriously rename themselves the Migrant Worker EMPLOYERS’ Centre, as it is clear they are more concerned about the employers’ interests than they are with the workers they claim to represent.

If the employer alienates the migrant worker for fighting for what he believes he truly deserves, shouldn’t the MWC take the employer to task for such a clearly discriminatory practice that is against MOM’s employment guidelines? Why side with the employer?

I responded to the poster: The unsaid assumptions (reasonable for a NTUC and PAP MP) are that the employers are usually fair-minded people, while migrant workers are out to cheat their fair-minded employers. LOL

I also posted:No matter how gd any system is, it can be gamed. The only way out is to give someone discretion to catch the gamers. Problem is that this leads to other problems*. BTW, gaming the rules is the reason the govt gives as an excuse not to legislate rights to many things that in other societies are accepted as part of the social fabric. Sadly the co-driver tends to agree with the govt. Only the SDP is prepared to challenge this self-serving excuse, not that I’m saying gaming will not happen. We juz have to accept that fact and change the rules, and accept that there will be abuses. Juz try to minimise it.

And as cutting and pasting this post, it struck me that the MAP, NTUC MP does not take into account in the statement, the imbalance of power and resources between the aggrieved migrant worker and an employer. One is on subsistence wages (by our standards at least), the other most probably drives a BMW or Mercedes and owns an apartment or two. This PAP, NTUC doesn’t know the meaning of social justice, and the need to level the odds in favour of the migrant worker.

*I was thinking of corruption. S’poreans are always complaining of the rigidity of the public service. One reason for such rigidity is that giving discretion to public servants, opens the doors to their exercising their discretion in return for monetary and other incentives. Hence the rule book.

PAP reverts to form

In Political governance on 08/11/2013 at 4:57 am

NatCon’s narrative was that the govt is willing to listen to the people.

Well the way the govt is conducting itself on the tudung* issue seems to contradict the narrative of a govt willing to listen to the people. Maybe it has decided to return to the Hard Truth of dismissing views or facts that do not support the canon of Hard Truths? Even if these views are articulated by senior PAPpists?

Government leaders yesterday weighed in on the hijab issue, which made its way back into the national spotlight in recent weeks, with Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean reiterating that, while the Government understands “community perspectives”, it also “has the responsibility to balance all these different community requirements and keep in mind what we need, to maintain overall social harmony”.

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim, who met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong together with Malay Members of Parliament (MPs) from the People’s Action Party over the matter, called for “constructive dialogue” as the way forward. “This is the Singapore way and has served everyone well over the years,” he said on Facebook. (Today 6 Nov)

If the govt is a listening govt, shouldn’t DPM’s comments come some days after the meeting, after the govt has had time to analyse the views of the Malay minister and PAP May MPs? I mean it’s not as though the tudung wearers and friends, and their enemies are rioting in the streets. Everything is at the “discussion” stage, and is likely to remain at that level: uniquely S’porean for any topic. Action of any sort is haram in S’pore: witness the reaction to Alex Au’s piece on doing something other than talking.

And if the govt can’t be bothered to listen to and ponder on the views of the Malay minister, and the PAP Malay MPs (kaki lang, orang sendiri), why should anyone think it listens to anyone else?

I couldn’t help laughing at Yacoob’s “This is the Singapore way and has served everyone well over the years” . The Singapore way is “Sit down, shut up, and do as you are told”: “constructive dialogue” is a dog-whistle meant to fool the masses. I’m happy to report that the plebs have caught on, even if the govt and the constructive, nation-building media don’t realise that the unwashed masses have caught on. The PAP govt and the local media still thinks that since 70% of the voters still “Like” the PAP, that the plebs are deft?

But let’s give the govt two cheers that it isn’t into “faking it” PR.

If DPM Teo had waited a few days, then the comments couldn’t be seen as undercutting Yaacob and the Malay MPs, and would buttress the NatCon narrative that this PAP govt listens.

For this bad PR, we should be thankful. We should glad that the govt is not resorting to Tony Blair’s appointment of a team to clear all misterial statements to ensure that even if there are contradictions, disagreements, inconsistencies, muddled-thinking  in govt policies and actions, at least a fake consistency is projected.

S/o Devan Nair is sleeping on the job? Or he isn’t being listened to? Dr Goebbels would be spinning in his grave excepted that he was cremated.

Update at 8.35 am: NSP has come up with a sensible idea. It also calls on the government to “commission an official survey to gauge how the other communities feel about Muslim women wearing the hijab in Government professions.”. Hear, Hear.

*I prefer the term “tudung”. “Hijab” to me implies that the item of dress is a recent import, It isn’t. It’s been around for many a year.Halimah was using it it law school in the mid 70s, if my memory is correct.

Conspiracy theorists could spin then all the references to “hijab” by the govt, ministers, MPs, local media, is as an attempt to frame and spin that the petitioners  are introducing something alien . But the evidence seems to indicate the word “hijab” was used in the original petition.

Self-inflicted PR wounds are not uncommon as pointed out above.

 

PAP’s view of us 40%ers?

In Humour, Political governance on 04/11/2013 at 5:40 am

“Their bowls are filled with rice, their mouths are filled with pork, but after they finish their meals, they criticise the government,” he* laughed.

“The Chinese masses are shameless and you don’t need to respect them.”

Substitute the word “Chinese masses” with “40% of deft S’porean voters”, and I suspect the PAP would “Like” the sentiments expressed.

Given that the PAP has ruled S’pore since 1959, and our standard of living is now first world, surely the PAP had shumething to do with it*? And surely. the PAP is entitled to get upset that 40% of the voters (self included) prefer to vote for the opposition?

Actually, the PAP should adopt a slightly different perspective. True, WP*** won a GRC and got 12.8% of the popular vote. But it is widely perceived by S’poreans as “PAP Lite”: in some lighting conditions their light blue shirts appear white.

This means that 72.8% of the electorate are very comfortable with the PAP, and S’pore being a defacto one party state: all the elected MPs are from the PAP (most) or the WP (7).

The presidential election double confirmed this as the preferred candidate won by a very, very short nose in a photo finish. The runner-up was a former PAP MP who unlike Tan Kin Lian, who lost his deposit, did not repent of his time in the PAP. Between Tony Tan and Tan Cheng Bock, MD, they got 70% of the votes. Tan Jee Say, came third, with 25%. Taz the gap between the support for the PAP, and the real opposition.

Maybe, this is what the PAP is worried about (see my extracts from govt think-tank October 2014 Asean Monitor)?

Most probably, though, the PAP juz wants 150% control. It’s in the DNA, like Hard Truths.

—-

*A BBC report said that this was said by one Liang Wenyong, the Communist Party boss of Gushanzi, a farming town in Hebei province, At a lavish banquet as he picked a variety of delicacies in front of him, including a whole lobster, Mr Liang gave his unvarnished views on the Chinese masses. Unfortunately for him, he was caught on tape.

The leaked video quickly prompted more than 9,000 angry comments on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter …Unsurprisingly, Liang Wenyong was fired. But in a twist typical of the new clean-up campaign, officials in Gushanzi were also ordered to study Xi Jinping’s teachings.

**Yes, Yes, I know that one Jack Lam and friend keep saying on Facebook that S’pore was in the 50s, the second biggest  port in the Asia, as though that alone would explain S’pore’s subsequent success. My retort: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/why-young-sporeans-should-be-sent-to-yangon/.

***S/o of JBJ takes exception to the claims (he says) that the local media make that Low founded the WP. Low may not have founded the WP but after the party’s leadership dethroned JBJ, and appointed him as leader, he changed the party, bringing organisation,, respectability and moderation to it. Remember JBJ’s WP allowed loonies and a bicyle thief tpo stand as MPs. And no-one could call WP “PAP Lite”: it waz too dysfunctional for that, and, anyway, was nothing more than JBJ’s chariot. BTW there is a gd site on FB to JBJ. Worth a visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/jbj.memory/

Why anti-PAP paper activists needn’t get shriller

In Humour, Political governance on 09/10/2013 at 4:44 am

A rabid anti-PAP paper activist posted this on Facebook:

LHL is out of touch with reality on the ground. It is very clear that he has refused to learn.

Now no matter whether he cry, say sorry, beg for forgiveness – Aljunied & Punggol East will be repeated all over Singapore in 2016.

He was referring to PM’s tv appearance on 24 September. There were lots of similar comments on Facebook and on TRE and TOC (Surprising very few people post on TRS, making its claim that it represents the real S’porean sound true, apathetically and KS). Increasingly, the tone of many of the “usual suspects” including many of the the Magnificent 7, are getting shriller and shriller, and angrier and angrier. Are they trying to drown out their doubts that maybe the govt is winning the battle of ideas and votes?

Maybe the anti-PAP paper activists are realising that the govt has realised that for many S’poreans especially the PMETs the link between economic growth and living standards is broken, and is trying hard to addressing the issue (Related http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/trust-has-to-regained-pm/). (Worse, perhaps, the govt has read that a Nobel prize winner in  economics, Stiglitz, makes a very bold assertion that inequality is economically inefficient and that it’s bad for society? And now believes in pursuing a more equal society, rather than juz chasing for votes.)

In the words of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), a govt-funded think tank, in its Oct Asean Monitor

The National Day Rally Speech in August offered the clearest indication to date of how the People’s Action Party will try to win back the ground that it lost in the 2011 general elections. With tweaks to the national health insurance scheme, to housing subsidies for the middle class and to primary school admissions and national examinations, the ruling party has opted to recalibrate social and welfare policies to address middle-class concerns instead of relaxing its stance on civil liberties or freedom of expression. Having chosen this path, it may not be inappropriate to expect more populist policy shifts, designed to appeal to the middle ground, in the run-up to the 2016 elections.

Interestingly, it goes on to say

These policy tweaks were, in part, the result of public feedback gleaned from the year-long nationwide public clinics collectively known as Our Singapore Conversation. While understandably touted by government leaders and the local media as a sign of more consultative politics, the litmus test will be whether such conversations are a one-off event and whether divergent public desires and government interests can ever be reconciled.

So our paper activists still can dream on that the PAP will lose support. So chill out a little, to avoid health problems. After all, assuming they are mostly ordinary S’poreans, if they get strokes or cardiac attacks, they will have to use the “subsidised” healthcare system. I’m sure that that tot when suffering a stroke or heart attack, will make them even angrier, and sicker, making the attack worse. They are using the very system that they “condemn”. Of course, they may all have expensive private healthcare insurance like the elite, though I doubt it.

The report then highlights a fault line that the anti-PAP activists ignore because they are in the main on the side of the social activists (a notable exception is Berrie, the Muslim bear from S’pore and Canada).

With a promising GDP forecast for this year, the economy will take a back seat to emerging socio political issues. One such issue is the struggle between gay rights activists and moral conservatives.

This tension has existed for some time, but a recent request from pastors for an audience with the law minister after the latter met with a gay rights group suggests that the push-back from moral conservatives will grow stronger. Another emerging issue is the increasingly political nature of heritage conservation in the city-state. With heritage issues now fronted more and more by the young and well educated, the key question is whether heritage will become a vote winner for the youth demographic.

It then talks of an issue close to the hearts of social activists, and Gilbert Goh and friends, for different reasons: Finally, civil society’s response in the aftermath of the November 2012 bus strike by several Chinese drivers suggests that the championing of social justice for vulnerable migrant workers — the likes of which Singapore has not seen since the 1980s — is now re-emerging as a pertinent issue.

It ends with hope for the paper activists who “die,die” want the PAP out:  Key points: The demand for greater political pluralism will continue to grow. The question is how different interests can be managed or, indeed, if they require state intervention at all.

So anti-PAP paper activists, time to sound less shrill, and less full of hate. A govt statutory board is telling you history is on yr side. Change is a’coming. If you want the new S’pore to reflect yr values, be rational, not emotional. Could even help you avoid having to use the healthcare system you hate.

Sun Tzu & the PAP’s non-use of new media, & the PM

In Internet, Media on 30/09/2013 at 6:36 am

(If you want to read about SunT left out about the Finnish education system scroll to the end)

This extract from a CNA report last Friday reminded me of an email exchange I had with a new media big cat (not ‘fat” cat) sometime back: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has addressed some key themes arising from the “Ask the PM” live forum on Channel NewsAsia which took place on Tuesday.

In a posting on his Facebook page on Thursday, he thanked viewers for their questions and comments, but said there were too many questions for him to answer individually.

He addressed key themes including education and housing.

I had suggested how the PAP should have reacted to P Ravi: Instead of using his skin to beat the RAVII DRUMS, it should have used Facebook, the medium he was accused of playing the DRUMS on.

A new media big cat (not “fat cat”) pointed out (his comments slighly edited)

MIW cannot stoop to the same level as the others by responding on fb. It’s typical for anyone to bring the battle to their own familiar turf or battleground. u dun fight in “enemy” territory which limits yr own exposure and not forgetting that the “enemy” territory r flanked by “enemy’s” supporters and so u won’t be able to have the last say.

He quoted Sun Tzu’s “The art of War”, a book that the Chinese generals still swear by and quote. I will not be surprised if the PAP too refers to Sun Tzu when in doubt (PM was from Catholic High and the book is a classic alongside the Analects and the Tao). I too used to be a fan of Sun Tzu (How to win without fighting sounds pretty attractive) until an ang moh by the name of Edward Luttwak (he would have been a strategist during the period of the Three Kingdoms or the Warring States) wrote recently a book on Chinese strategy, and pointed out waz wrong with Sun Tzu’s precepts.

Coming in for criticism by name is Sun Tzu, whose writings of 2,500 years ago, including “The Art of War“, are the main source of what Mr Luttwak calls “the flawed principles of ancient unwisdom”. He grants that the cunning statecraft, stratagems for deception and diplomatic finesse advocated by Sun Tzu may have worked when used by one warring Chinese state against another. But he argues that these doctrines have served China poorly in fending off other adversaries.

With a quick pass through the history of China’s engagement with Jurchens, Khitans, Mongols, Manchus and other Asiatic nomads, he notes that China has been ruled by Hans, its ethnic majority, for only about a third of the past millennium. “While Han generals in charge of large armies were busy quoting Sun Tzu to each other, relatively small numbers of mounted warriors schooled in the rudely effective strategy and tactics of the steppe outmanoeuvred and defeated their forces,” he writes.

The bit about being thrashed regularly by the nomads is a fact, not a hard Truth.

So if the PAP continues to ignore new media because it is unfamiliar terrain that Sun Tzu says one shld not fight on, it will continue making unnecessary, avoidable PR fiascoes. But maybe it’s beginning to plan abandoning this Sun Tzu precept by recceing the new media terrain. The people behind the Breakfast Network (highly commended by me) and Independent (it sucks), are retired Imperial Stormtroop generals from the Keyboard corps. They could be juz like the German generals who turned on Hitler when Germany was losing, or be like Benedict Arnold (an American rebel hero who offered to surrender a fortress to the British). Or they could be what Sun Tzu recommends using. Only time will tell.

Onto serious matters. The PAP’s brand and message need to be recast for the age of social media (and. new media) in general) and the PM needs to show boldness and political artistry in grabbing his (and that of the PAP’s) share of attention. He can’t rely on the traditional media to help him grab attention. For starters, traditional media is no longer trusted here, especially  by the young. Then, too, the traditional media’s market share has diminished. And then there are all the competing celebrities on social media like all those cats’ pixs. And then there is vigilantism of websites like Stomp which have large audiences.

The PM has plenty of competition, be it in the mainstream media or new media.

And besides his style sucks in PR terms. As a double first in Maths from Cambridge, he is familiar with the scientific method: specificity, objectivity, and accountability. These are elements lacking in politics, anywhere in the world, let alone in S’pore, a de-facto one party state. They are lacking because politicians don’t need these skills to win elections. But Angela Merkel has shown that one can have the “scientific method” and be personally popular. And are we not the Prussians of the East? (The Prussians were the Germans’ Germans. Now most of what is now Prussia is in Poland.)

And as I will show on Wednesday, he has problems with the substance of hie messages too.

All in all, the PM and the PAP have a long way to go in the use of new media even with the help of BN and the Independent. Us, injuns and outlaws rule the comboy towns and the territory outside the MSM, govt forts.

Finally on a totally different topic, here’s sumething SunT didn’t tell us about the Finnish education system: Angry Birds creator Rovio has brought Angry Birds Playground, a schools initiative devised with the University of Helsinki in Finland, into the kindergarten classroom of children, aimed at six-year-olds.

With the initiative already in use in Finland, Rovio has now entered into an agreement with schools in China.

“With small children, the Finnish approach to education is very much play-orientated,” says Sanna Lukander, vice president of book publishing at Rovio Entertainment.

“These characters and their world seemed to inspire children. You can’t not think about how you might motivate children to do more than play.”

Games have a larger effect on learning than traditional materials”

Prof Constance Steinkuehler Games scholar

BTW, didn’t read the SunT stuff. Friend who read it told me that it didn’t talk about games. I had earlier sent him the above link given his interest in the Finnish way.

Shld the govt get the credit for fixing the problems that Hard Truths caused? Discuss

In Political governance on 20/09/2013 at 5:31 am

Recently George Osborne (UK’s finance minister) was trumpeting the UK’s economy ecovery, saying it was because of govt measures.

David Blanchflower – a former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee – and a long-time critic of the chancellor told the Mirror that Mr Osborne is “the guy who crashed your car – and then wants you to thank him for having the wreck towed home”.

One could similarly reasonably argue that PM’s promise to meet our concerns (housing, healthcare and public transport will remain affordable, and on education) is like that: “Crashed the cars, trains and buses we were on – and then wants us to thank him for pulling us out of the wreckage using our own money, by voting for the PAP”.

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

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/govt-needed-natcon-survey-to-find-these-things-out/

After all S’poreans concerns that housing, healthcare and public transport will remain affordable, and on education are the result of govt policies

As one person on TRE put it: 

The damages are all too embedded and beyond corrections.
How to bring down prices of COEs and Housing drastically.
How to eject the huge influx of FT arrivals over the years.

Unimaginable consequences are set in motion to erupt like
a volcano in the day of reckoning.
What if….in the event of a meltdown, severe drought, heavy
flooding and etc..etc – total Chaos

If the policies and road maps are not substaintable, we simply
self-destruct should catastrophes strike. Don’t think so ??

Of course, I’m being unfair. After all ang mohs tell us the gd side of the S’pore way, PAP style

– overall: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/jeremy-warner/10293503/Singapore-safe-haven-model-society.html.

– healthcare: http://www.tremeritus.com/2013/09/05/prof-tyler-cowen-on-spores-healthcare-system/

And even I have said that many of the shortcomings that we face are problems that arise from the success of the past that many have contributed too, including the PAP. No not linking as I doubt many would click it: it’s against the netizens’ conventional narrative that the “PAP got everything wrong”.

The govt has to bear its share of the problems, not juz bask in ang moh’s praise of LKY (which in this case, I largely concur with) http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2013/09/singapore-s-elder-statesman. Where I disagree is that LKY is pragmatic: he once was, but since the 1990s, he has been fixated with his Hatd Truths, which he believes are eternal truths. They are not, and the younger LKY would have recognised that instead of being fixated with them.

Have a gd weekend.

Ingratitude, uniquely S’porean? Blame the internet? Not really

In India, Internet, Political governance on 06/09/2013 at 5:15 am

The irony is the opposition made gains where there is almost full employment, the country peaceful and prosperous.

(http://www.pressrun.net/weblog/2013/08/singapore-prime-ministers-and-election-results.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rana+%28pressrun.net%29 I commend this blogger who usually has interesting, unpredectible perspectives. Not one of the usual suspects, whose rants can be surmised even without reading their articles: juz scan the titles.)

The govt in Norway is expected to lose an election on 9th September, even though eonomic growth was at 2.6% year-on-year in the second quarter and unemployment at just 3.4%, while the current-account surplus is huge: nearly 14% of GDP.

One could argue that because things are so gd, people are willing to take risks, experiment.

When times are bad, if the ones suffering badly are a smallish minority, and the majority, while unhappy, are fearful of what can happen, the majority of voters will opt for “Better the devil we know” We saw that in 2001 when an election was called after 9/11. If Islamic terrorists could successfully attack Metropolis, which place was safe? And if there was a resulting global recession, who better than the PAP to handle it for S’pore? Certainly better than JBJ’s lot, even though the WP had juz kicked JBJ out as leader.

But the classic example was UK during the early yrs of Thatcher’s tenure. Despite massive unemployment she won a second term (helped by winning a war). The unemployed voted against her, but those with jobs trusted her govt more than they did the opposition Labour party, which was seen as incompetent economically (strikes, IMF loan when it was governing).

Connected with the issue of experimentation when times are gd, is that people get tired of the same govt. The present Norwegian govt has been in power since 2005. As the PAP has been in power since 1959 (UMNO and allies in M’sia since 1957), it’s a testament to their tenacity and public goodwill that the PAP and UMNO are still in power. Even the LDP in Japan has lost power for two spells before regaining it.

The author of the above quote puts the unpopularity of the S’pore govt to the internet:

The internet seems to have been a game-changer. In the first post-Twitter general election, in 2011, the People’s Action Party (PAP) won only 60.1 per cent of the vote, its lowest share since independence, while the opposition secured six seats, more than ever before. (Twitter was launched only in 2006.)

He has a point because the internet

… proved a real pest,
Critics online all the time,
How do you make ‘em toe the line?

But let’s not forget. In the last GE 60% voted for the PAP. Taz a gd majority by any standard except that of the PAP itself and S’poreans. Remember, we used to give it 70-over % of the popular vote, and all the seats in parliament in the 70s.

True the PAP’s “preferred” candidate won the PE by a very short nose. But the man that nearly became president was someone that for many S’poreans (self included) exemplified what many S’poreans liked about the PAP Old Guard: principled, meritocratic, technocratic, smart (academically and street-wise), no wayang, no pretensions and compassionate: not sneering, complacent, privileged, incompetent and self-serving snob. Even the PAP’s preferred candidate belonged to the Old Guard, even if he had a privileged background: in fact many of the Old Guard had privileged backgrounds, they juz didn’t behave like a certain sneerer. Tony Tan juz didn’t get my vote because he was the “preferred” candidate. But if it had been between him, TJS and TKL (ex-PAP too), I’d voted for Tony Tan.

The next candidate, TJS, had only 25% of the vote. This is in line with the hard core opposition vote that emerges in any constituency an opposition candidate appears, even a looney one.

What the internet has allowed, is to give amplification to the voices of the hard core opposition supporters. They were never silent but the exclusion of their voices from the constructive, nation-building local media meant that they could only communicate in a less than effective way most of the time to other die-hards and ordinary S’poreans.

Ordinary S’poreans now realise that these voices are not demon voices because like the hard core opposition voters, they too have grievances, doubts etc. They now know, they are not alone.

The power of the internet and the govt’s concern that it is losing the commanding heights of public communications are best illustrated by P Ravi’s reposting on Facebook about the availability of the masks: that the public were not going to get it despite repeated govt assurances to the contrary, and the govt’s heavy-handed reaction. This reposting was enough to get him accused of spreading misinformation.

P Ravi’s defence when the govt accused him spreading misinformation about the distribution of masks, was that he sharing with his Facebook friends (1000 over if you must know), giving the govt feedback, and seeking clarification from the govt: rather contradictory assertions. Why the govt didn’t ridicule these contradictions is beyond me. Instead, Yaacob, a civil servant and the constructive, nation-building media beat the drums to the tune of RAVII*, making him a hero and martyr to the hostiles on the internet and, in particular on social media. My posts on this

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/p-ravis-reposting-what-the-govt-should-have-done/

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/reason-why-govt-fears-keyboard-warriors/

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/is-the-pap-leopard-baring-his-fangs-and-unsheathing-his-claws/

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/telling-gd-info-from-bad-the-secret-police-way/

So nope, the desire to experiment when things are gd, isn’t unique to S’pore. Nor is the internet the cause of the unpopularity. Even when the PAP had 70ish % of the popular vote, the balance voted for the opposition.

And 35% of the population like the values of the PAP Old Guard, they juz don’t like the way the PAP has developed in the 1990s and noughties. All this means that those who want change cannot afford to be complacent esp as there is going to be a party that’s going to be gd for the Party i.e. the PAP.

*Recriminations, Accusations, Vilifications, Insinuations & Insults. Minister Shan talks of criticising ministers n the “right” way (E-Jay’s take). Well, what Yaacob and a civil servant did to Ravi, and what VivianB did to various people including the elderly poor doesn’t set gd examples for the public, do they?

Great party, gd for the Party?

In Humour, Political governance on 28/08/2013 at 5:00 am

“We should mark the occasion properly, 50 years is a significant milestone … I don’t think we should just have a fireworks display and a party, I think that would not be at the right level,” said PM recently.

A friend (not a PAPpy, though a fat cat in more ways than one (a car-owning, pauncy lawyer working in an investment bank and a landlord to boot) wrote on FB: “I am ENORMOUSLY EXCITED about #sg50 and if you like me are a child of #Singapore, I hope you are too!”

My reply: Don’t you think that a dominant underlying (but subtle) theme would be that “He who cannot be named” isn’t so bad after all? You can’t do indi celebrations about S’pore without [mentioning] HIM  can you? It will be interesting to see if the Barisan Socialists get credit for arguing before the referendum that S’pore could be independent on its own. I doubt it, a certain fat cat is more likely to lose weight first. ))) BTW, party followed by GE?

Of course the PM doesn’t juz want have “a fireworks display and a party”. He will want to use the occasion to rebrand and detoxify the PAP so that S’pore can remain a de-facto one party state. As he is a smart man, though not a creatively smart man, he will

– continue giving out more goodies using our money (watch out for that special bonus of peanuts); and

– remind the people of the role that his dad and the PAP played in getting us to the 50-year mark in pretty gd shape. Let’s face it, there are serious problems here, but as the FT recently wrote, they are the problems associated with success*.

And as a filial son** and leader of the PAP , he would want to rehabilitate the battering that his dad’s image has been getting. Nothing better than to remind S’poreans of the role LKY played in helping get us to first world status.

(Aside, The funny but sad thing is that the books that dad has been writing with the help of a team from the nation-building ST, have contributed a lot to the negative image that his dad seems to have among younger S’poreans. Maybe the ST journalists are covert subversives, guiding him to self-harm his image? Remember that LKY’s acolyte, Wong Kan Seng, once decried, and I agreed with him, some ST journalists as anti-Christians? Maybe, they anti LKY and anti-PAP?)

For my part, I look forward to the goodies (nice to know I’m get back something for the taxes I used to pay, and the GST I kanna still pay) but I will occasionally remind myself and readers that:

– it’s our money the govt is spending to make us happier and more comfortable;

– the end-game of the party, commemoration is continued dominance of the People’s Action Party (not too bad if it keeps PritamS from a cabinet post);

– the PAP’s narrative that the mainstream media will be bleating on loudly about, is not the only narrative: there are others equally worthy to celebrate or least listen listen to;

– LKY was the leader of a gd team, not the action man (stronger than Putin), superhero (a combi of Superman and Captain America), sage (great than Confucious) that he is likely to be made out to be by the local media.

And oh yes, I will remind self and readers, to now and then, ask the PM, “Will GST be raised after the next GE?” And listen carefully to the reply. I’m sure, he won’t say, “No rise” or “Yes, sure to go up” but the ambiguity of the answer is impt in deciding whether to drink his Kool-Aid.

Enjoy the party, congratulate ourselves and the PAP; but remember to throw some sand into the machinery PAP’s propaganda machine. Treat the sand throwing as part of the party’s fun and games.

*And those who keep on ranting that S’pore was the second biggest port in Asia, implying by that comment, that life was gd at the time, should read the book, I reviewed here, containing reports written for a London magazine between 1958 and 1962, or at least click my review. S’pore had a large budget deficit, there was high unemployment, no-one wanted to buy S’pore govt bonds despite the gd yield, workers were striking because the just elected PAP govt was pro-union, and one Toh Chin Chye said, “[W]e disagree that that the survival of Singapore depend on foreign capital, and capitalists …”

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

**I’m sure the rumours that he told his dad to sit down and shut up after his dad’s “repent” comments during the 2011 GE campaign, must upset the PM: Asians don’t do such things. And correcting dad about his Hard Truth on Malay Muslims, when the Malay minister, and the minister’s sister (present when LKY made the remarks) kept quiet, must have hurt PM. They should have have done the right thing and corrected LKY. So rehabilitating dad’s image is gd politically and for PM personally.

Shouldn’t telling Dinesh’s family more be part of the PM’s narrative of a caring PAP govt?

In Political governance, Public Administration on 21/08/2013 at 4:51 am

(Or “How not to rebuild trust the PAP way”)

“Iswaran says the police already spent 28 months and interviewed 130 on the case (compared to 13 months and over 60 witnesses for Shane Todd).” http://singaporedesk.blogspot.sg/2013/08/one-death-that-will-not-go-away.html

I personally am not interested in what had happened to Dinesh Raman. While what happened was wrong, and a tragedy for his family, it is a rare incident. A prison officer had pleaded guilty and been fined, and the govt has admitted its liability to compensate the family, and has promised to further improve the system, after making changes. Taz gd enough for me.

But his family deserves to know the gory details if taz what they think they need to find closure and move on. As a goodwill gesture, the govt should tell them more*, even if this information goes beyond what the strict letter of the law requires it to do.

The prison officer responsible will surely face disciplinary proceedings. As another gesture of goodwill, the govt should also allow the family to witness these proceedings.

Giving the family more details of what happened, and allowing them to witness the disciplinary proceedings should take the wind out of the sails of the usual kay pohs call for transparency and accountability. They have their own agendas, using the tragedy and the family’s moral right to know what happened, for their own ends: ends that may be commendable in themselves, or may not.

Oh and the govt should apologise for what happened. After all it has admitted liability.

Sadly, the govt does not do gd PR, even after PM’s speech. Pigs will fly first. Or “Populism rules OK” will be PAP’s mantra. Or LKY will “stand corrected” on more Hard Truths; or juz “repent”.

The big idea behind the rally speech seems to be an attempt by the PAP govt to rebuild the trust it once unquestioning had among large sections of the public. Not giving the family more information doesn’t help rebuild that trust in two ways..

As a TRE reader puts it: The PM and his cabinet is behind Vivian Balakrishnan to know the truth only in the hawker centre cleaning issue. This affects the whole of Singapore as the integrity issue is of utmost concern. If this is not cleared up by WP then Singapore’s standing on the world stage is affected. Other trivial matters like death of a human being while is custody is not important …

And sadly, it will remind S’poreans*** that if Dinesh had been a FT from the hegemon, many things would have been different for him and his family. Actually, taz not quite correct. Remember the ang moh caws who beat up two S’poreans at Suntec a few yrs back? One was given PR status and he and another were “allowed” to skip bail. One still remains at large. They were not US citizens. And DPM Teo has yet to tell us the results of the disciplinary proceedings against the police investigator who handled the case.

PM’s rally speech was pretty decent. He at least held the hand of responsible populism in public, even though he didn’t take up my suggestion of embracing her publicly. But he may have taken my suggestion of fondling her behind the stage.

But the handling of Dinesh’s case shows that more needs to be done to reconnect the PAP with the people so that the old slogan of “The PAP and the people are one” becomes a half Hard Truth again.

As the old adage goes, “Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done.” . This was said in the Dark Ages. It’s more so in the age of the internet and new media where, “A lie can be halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on.” Actually this too was said in the Dark Ages, but is so apt for today.

Finally, shumething forb family to think about. Maybe, just maybe, the family should ask their MP, if they live in a PAP area, for help in finding out more. Having a superhero action man lawyer may make them feel gd, but is it effective in getting more info on how Dinesh died?

*Some of the things that need explaining to the family http://www.tremeritus.com/2013/08/18/letter-on-death-of-prison-inmate-dinesh-not-published-by-st/

**This is how someone apologised for a police shooting of 34 miners. Ben Magara was only recently appointed as chief executive of Lonmin, the London-listed company which had employed the striking miners. But he had the courage to turn up [at the first anniversay commeoration of the shootings] and tell the thousands who had assembled at the site of the shooting: “We will never replace your loved ones and I say we are truly sorry for that.”

***And allow the usual suspects to play the DRUMS to the tune of RAVI (Recriminations, Accusations, Vilifications & Insinuations (or is it Insults?).

Analysing PM’s coming rally speech

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All to play for PM.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even dad would find this impossible to do.

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

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

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

Publisher:  Marshall Cavendish International Asia

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

* MAI Adjunct Research Fellow

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

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

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

The views represented the Mahathir generation, he added.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—-

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

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

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

Will Tai do a Yaw? Cut & run?

In Political governance on 14/07/2013 at 5:22 am

This is speculation but speculation based on what worked before for Low, the man of Tao, who is non-confrontational: like water.

As Cze, me, and, now tua kee blogger, Alex Au have point out, Tai Vie Shun has some questions to answer, but he never did.

And never will if Low’s statement of Saturday evening is the final word: taz it’s for public to decide. This followed PM’s latest comments (even TRE says he has many supporters) on the issue.

Might Tai leave S’pore? In effect doing a Yaw?

Low could come out to say, “We were investigating privately, we are not detectives,. But he left S’pore so we can’t do anything,”

Let’s see. Let me be clear, I’m not saying that Low will “fix” things. As someone steeped in Tao, things will juz happen, to his advantage.

If Tai does a Yaw, I sure the usual suspects will praise Low like they did when Yaw skipped town, saying nothing about his sex life http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/lol-expelling-yaw-took-courage/.

Finally, if no-one blogs on why the PM is taking such a hard line, other than he has evidence that can stand up in court behind him, I’ll have to blog on why Auntie’s attack on a govt agency without evidence that could stand up in the court of public opinion was dumb. Whoever originated the ST article that got PritamS all upset, deserves a million-dollar bonus.

If only Auntie and her man were men steeped in Tao, the PAP would have had to move on. Happily for them, only Low is a man of Tao.

Related post

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/yawgate-only-lau-wang-lin-comes-out-with-credit/

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