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Posts Tagged ‘SPH’

Setting straight SPH’s tale on WP “discontent”

In CPF, Political governance on 01/08/2014 at 4:39 am

I refer to this “Discontent among WP’s old guard” in the New Paper. Typical of “constructive, nation-building” media. When the PAP changes members of the management team, the media praise it  for” self renewal”, “New blood”. when an Oppo party does the same thing the emphasis is on “discontent”, splits of the losers, malcontents.

I was going to deconstruct the article, given that I’m not too well-informed on the WP’s internal workings (My Morocco Mole has his agenda when telling me stuff. And he had a howler ). But my FB avatar came across a detailed analysis (deconstruction and factual) on FB by a WP member. As we didn’t ask permission, I will not name the person. But if she wants to be named, I will amend this piece to give credit where credit is due.

The New Paper published a report masquerading as a factual analysis of the dynamics at this year’s Organising Members Conference held at the Workers’ Party HQ on 27 July 2014. The article was mischievous and misleading. But more importantly, errors were aplenty. The following are my brief comments.

1. A binary between veterans and younger members who hold degrees was constructed. Supposed “facts” were thrown into this binary framework to create a seamless understanding of what has transpired and to provide analysis of and/ or an account of the situation.

In the article, John Yam and Somasundaram are conveniently labelled as part of the “old guard”. In that case, it appears that both of them were labelled as such due to their physical age in relative to the previous council members who were voted out, such as Ng Swee Bee and Koh Choong Yong who are in their 30s and early 40s respectively, rather than their experience in the Party. If the journalist had done his research, he would have realised that John Yam and Somasundaram joined the Party in 2009 and 2006 respectively. They are in no way “veterans” alluded to by the journalist as being “around for more than 15 years.” In fact, Swee Bee has been in the Party for the last 10 years, longer than John Yam and Somasundaram.

In listing down the reasons for the unhappiness of the “veterans”, he cited that “newer and younger members who hold degrees are preferred over veterans. In that case, the two “older members” who were elected does not in any way fit this caricature. Dr. John Yam holds a PhD and Mr. Somasundaram holds a Masters degree. Swee Bee on the other hand, for the longest time since she joined the Party in 2004 did not have a university degree, but she has been holding the position of Organising Secretary for many years.

The journalist also pointed out that former members, “Mr. Mohamed Fazli Talip and Sajeev Kamalasanan” were veterans of the Party. They were not. Fazli joined the Party in and around 2009/ 2010 and Sajeev joined the Party in 2006. To put it into perspective, Swee Bee and Choong Yong joined the Party in 2004 and 2006 respectively. This binary of “veterans”/ “old guard” vis-a-vis the younger and educated members is clearly misleading and in his attempts to construct a “Other” in the Party, does more harm than good in helping readers of The New Paper understand what had transpired at 216G, Syed Alwi Road on 27 July 2014 and more importantly, the implications/ significance of the new Council in the lead up to the next General Election.

The fundamental point is this. The journalist contradicted himself with the use of the terms “old guard” and “veterans” to mean the same group of people or to construct a faction within the Party from thin air. As he writes on, even he became confused.

2. The journalist displays his lack of understanding of the operations and functions of the Workers’ Party. He did not bother to do his research and check his facts.

The Workers’ Party do not and would not parachute in their candidates. In the article, it was pointed out “candidates are parachuted in, despite not having walked the ground.” Anyone with a basic understanding of the Workers’ Party knows that this is not true at all. The journalist would also be interested to note that the Workers’ Party fielded an ITE graduate at the 2006 elections.

The reasons for Dr. Poh Lee Guan’s sacking, Mr. Eric Tan’s resignation (why Mr. Gerald Giam was made NCMP ahead of Mr. Eric Tan) and the earlier resignations of Mr. Fazli Talip and Mr. Sajeev were made clear to members, cadres and non-cadres at the annual members seminar of the Party. In particular, Mr. Low had explained to the entire membership the reasons as to why candidates were not guaranteed a cadreship. This point was consistently explained to the membership whenever it was brought at internal meetings. For the case of Dr. Poh Lee Guan, Mr. Low had made the reasons clear in his interview with the press after the nomination of Mr. Png Eng Huat during the 2012 Hougang by-elections.

Thus, the journalist was simply mischievous in attempting to illustrate a lineage of discontent and dissatisfaction in the Party. He accepted the comments of these former members at face-value, without trying to better understand the respective motivations/ intentions of these former members. Not too sure whether this is journalism or gossip.

3. “How bad was it?” / “Is there a split?”

In situating his piece in the context of an election drama and an internal party split, the journalist tried his utmost to fit his analysis with the gossip and rumours he picked up with members at the coffeeshop under the party’s headquarters. He had no intention to put up a accurate report.

4. The journalist do not understand the historical context behind Sylvia Lim’s statement.

Sylvia Lim told the cadres that the “WP could not afford to have internal problems or disunity.” Any responsible political party with an understanding of the period in Singapore’s political history (1991 – 1997, Singapore Democratic Party) would make a similar appeal to its members. A quick search would also find Lee Hsien Loong emphasising party unity to his members.


If a political party was nothing but a monolith, with the entire membership parroting the leadership, then I guess something is really wrong. It probably would be inherently broken. As a member of the Party, I am glad to say that this is not the case. The Workers’ Party is growing, its membership is growing and with that will come more competitive internal party elections. Different individuals with different views, ideological inclinations and backgrounds and experiences join the Party at different junctures in their lives. This can only be good for the long term development of a Party. As the case of Mr. Yaw Shin Leong and Dr. Poh Lee Guan had clearly shown, no one is above the institutions and standing orders laid down in the Workers’ Party. WP is a professional organisation and a well-oiled political machinery.

By the way, I attended the conference last Sunday. There were more cadres than the physical space at HQ would allow. It was packed, very packed. No wonder WP needs a new HQ for its continued growth and development. I like to think that this is not very newsworthy for The New Paper.

BTW, I’m sure that TRE ranters who call me a PAP mole, ISD person will say this post confirms what they have been saying, ’cause it sides with the WP. For the record, I think the SDP has the best policies for S’pore, 10-15 yrs into the future. It’s the only party that talks about

De-couple housing and healthcare from CPF.

The major reason why Singaporeans are left with insufficient retirement funds is because the PAP gives Singaporeans no choice but to use what is their retirement money to pay for their HDB flats and hospital expenses.

The SDP plan ensures that HDB flats are sold without the inclusion of land cost (see here) and that the Government stops profiting from healthcare (see here) In this way, our CPF savings are left unmolested for retirement.

Solving the problems around retirement, public housing and healthcare require solving all three issues together.

Yes, yed, I know that in the long term, the SDP’s retirement and healthcare policies will be very expensive for S’poreans but

The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is past the ocean is flat again.

Here’s an explanation of what Keynes meant:by Simon Taylor

Keynes wrote this in one of his earlier works, The Tract on Monetary Reform, in 1923. It should be clear that he is not arguing that we should recklessly enjoy the present and let the future go hang. He is exasperated with the view of mainstream economists that the economy is an equilibrium system which will eventually return to a point of balance, so long as the government doesn’t interfere and if we are only willing to wait. He later challenged that view in his most important work The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1935). arguing that the economy can slip into a long term underemployment equilibrium from which only government policy can rescue it.

 

 

 

How SPH, MediaCorp can get more productive and profitable

In Humour, Internet, Media on 23/03/2014 at 7:21 am

Employ robot writers to replace the Chua sisters, Han, Warren and Yaacob’s sis (Even though she needs the job as Cherian, her hubbie, is leaving NTU soon), among many others.

Not as though the technology isn’t there.

The Los Angeles Times was the first newspaper to publish a story about an earthquake … – thanks to a robot writer.

Journalist and programmer Ken Schwencke created an algorithm that automatically generates a short article when an earthquake occurs.

Mr Schwencke told Slate magazine that it took around three minutes for the story to appear online.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26614051

Here’s more

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-26689983

But let’s be fair, robots could be used productively by the anti-PAP paper activists at TOC* and many other blogs (TRE excepted, ’cause TRE makes it very, very clear that its mission is to provide the alternative voices not reported in our constructive, nation-building media.). Robots could replace regular TRE posters like “oxygen”. Kishore of the LKY School should install one to produce his chim pro-China, anti-Western; or pro PAP pieces.

A serious piece on productivity: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/productivity-ageing-population-immigration/

Update at 10am: Thinking about it, I too can use a robot to bitch about that ACS sneerer, VivianB, Auntie Sylvia, her baiyee and the two  GGs. Also for my praise of WP Low, the scholar and elite schoolboy at TRE and the SDP RI doctors treating Mad Dog Chee. My very serious point is that when we don’t think thru the issues, but instinctively give way to our prejudices when talking, writing;  we might as well turn over the writing, talking to robots.

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*Ya I got bias against TOC http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/neighbours-show-up-the-spore-system-for-gd-and-bad/

SPH reporter can’t do %ages and other SPH horrors

In Media on 09/11/2012 at 5:26 am

So Ms Maria Almenoar defended herself (here’s her defence and a critique).

Forget about who is at fault (most probably both made mistakes), I have two issues with her.

She made the point that since she knew taxi drivers could earn up to $5,000 a month, $7,000 is possible. Well, I suspect that she didn’t realise that $7,000 is 40% more than $5,000. It may be possible but because it’s a big percentage jump, she should have been sceptical.

Next, what is clear from her account, is that my take on how SunT covered the story is correct: no attempt at verification. She says this was not possible.

I am willing to concede this point. But it was possible to see if the number made sense. The backlash against the story was made credible and respectable because a cabbie blogger came out with a detailed analysis on why it was impossible for said driver to earn $7,000 consistently working just eight hours a day. Later there were other pieces explaining that working 12-16 hours to earn that kind of money was not physically sustainable over long periods of time.

Ms Maria Almenoar being a seasoned transport correspondent could have done her sums and confronted the cabbie with her numbers. She didn’t.

But, SPH is being unfair in making her shoulder the defence of the story. It’s not only her mistake. There is an editorial process in any newsroom to see if a story meets certain quality standards before it is published. It clearly failed.

Here’s another case of bad reporting.

Last Friday (2 November), this appeared online: The chief executive of Malay/Muslim community self-help group Mendaki has come out to clarify that Indian-Muslims do receive help from the organisation, contrary to what several netizens had written on the group’s Facebok page.

Madam Moliah Hashim said in a note on the page on Monday that only two of the group’s many schemes are exclusively for Malays, and invited those concerned to a dialogue session with her. ST report.

Note ST’s definition of  “several netizens”. It means “almost 800 comments which were overwhelmingly in agreement with” the complainant. Don’t believe me? Read the whole story.

Now for something more substantive, than juz sniping. Mendaki was described as  “Malay/Muslim community self-help group”.  But ST reported PM saying this about Mendaki, on 29th October:  “he said in a recent interview with the Malay media to mark the 30th anniversary of Malay self-help group Mendaki”.  Which is it ST? Adding to the confusion, SunT, last Sunday, used the term “Malay-Muslim organisations” to describe Mendaki, among others, something pM used in the speech SunT was reporting.

There are differences between “Malay/Muslim”, “Malay” and “Malay-Muslim”. The last term implies that the Malays must be Muslims while the first term carries the implication that there is no nexus between Malay and Muslim.

So what is Mendaki, SPH?

I’ll end with some tots about the Malay* community.

Notice that the Malays* don’t have their own exclusive race-based help or support group unlike the Chinese or Indians. They got to share Mendaki programmes with Indian-Muslims, except for two programmes . Why this state of affairs  when PM has said that there is a role for race-based self-help groups in said story of 29 October?

Snide remarks aside, what it shows is that contrary to a few Hard Truths, the Malay community is not exclusive and in-ward looking. Shouldn’t ST be pointing this out?

One of these days, I must blog on what a M’sian Cina activist is saying: that in M’sia, Malay activists will die to save Chinese and Indians activists from attacks by Malay ultras or the police.

Maybe the purveyor of Hard Truths mixes with the “wrong” Malays? After all, Malay minister Yaacob muttered “worse case scenario” when LKY made his comments about Malays not “mixing”. Indeed his sister was present when LKY made the comments, and she didn’t challenge him did she? Watch the DVD.

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*Ya, I’m avoiding the issue of whether Malays in S’pore must be Muslims. Unlike in M’sia, this is not in the constitution. If our constitution avoids the issue, so can I. Anyway it is a verifiable Hard Truth is that every Malay, S’porean or M’sian, I know is a Muslim. So the point is an academic one.

A Hard Truth about SPH reporting

In Media on 02/11/2012 at 5:15 am

There were two full-page articles in the Sunday Times on Oct 28, 2012 about two cabbies earning $7,000. per month. Since then there’s been plenty in the “cowboy” town about the accuracy of these stories. This piece in TRE has prompted me to share what I’ve learnt about how SPH reports stories.

SunT regularly features the investment “geniuses” of S’pore. They all so smart, always make money. In the past, these stories regularly appeared in ST and, even BT.

Many years ago, I asked people in SPH, editors and reporters, how SPH goes about verifying these tales of investment prowess. The answers were evasive, avoided the issue, when they were answered at all. Often I was ignored.

Only one person, someone who had moved on from SPH, gave me a straight answer. She told me to read the stories carefully. It was always “XXX said he made millions” etc. It never (well almost never) said “XXX made millions’. So it seems that the stories on these investment “geniuses”, were stories based on what they said, not on verifiable facts.

Now go read those SunT pieces again. In the main, it is a straight forward piece of “he said”. No attempt at verification or analysis like like when SPH  reports ministerial statements. But this doesn’t mean the SPHreporters and editors are “not professional”: readers are daft. They “have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not”: “O foolish and senseless people”.

“Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?”

“They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not”.

Bending low: a journalistic skill that ST teaches students?

In Humour on 30/05/2012 at 6:12 am

When I saw the photo (B7 of today’s ST) that accompanied the headline “Students pick up journalism skills at ST camp”, I did a double take.

There was a huge photo of a young person crouching low, almost kneeling (OK, OK I exaggerate, but only a bit. I tot, “Wow, what a revealation abt what happens at ST”. Err wonder if those allegations abt “sucking or licking bums and sexual organs” are true”?

Well turns out he was crouching to take a photo. Then I tot, bit like posture needed to promote nation-building, and constructive criticism of the government.

BTW, a gd source for gossip in SPH tells me that SPH is finding it difficult to recruit young, smart S’poreans as journalists despite a starting pay of above $3,000 a month. They are too ashamed to work for SPH. So SPH is recruiting young, smart M’sian Chinese and Indians instead. Why not go for PRCs and Aryan FTs? Apparently,they don’t blend into the local scene so easily. Given the anti-FT mood, they could be the subject of the news, rather than the reporting of it.

When SPH & DBS team up well, S’pore Inc can be Awesome

In Banks, Media, S'pore Inc on 10/01/2012 at 5:51 am

If anyone thinks that SPH’s publications have lost their clout because of new media, citing the bad reception that Pay Wayang, SMRTgate and PondingGate got from the public despite these publications spinning all the way for the White Side, the way that they covered DBS’s CloneGate shows their clout, even in the age of new media.

Customers were reassured, and the usual moaners were ignored by the public even though DBS is part of the Temasek Group (that S’poreans love to hate partly because its CEO is the wife of the PM), and the public and its customers often view DBS as dysfunctional.

SPH’s publications when combined with an effective public communications strategy is a fearsome tool.

DBS got its strategy right, moving “quickly to assure customers that their losses will be covered and investigations are underway. Experts were immediately put on air not to put a spin on why it’s not a big deal, but rather explain concisely how the scam probably occurred and is being carried out,” Words of the Cze. (If it had tried to weasel its way out, I for one would have asked how come the data theft could have occured at two high traffic ATMs, and why OCBC or UOB were not hit first? Why was DBS so dysfunctional?)

Don’t believe me? Reading ST (and MediaCorp’s freesheet) even I tot DBS was being generous in quickly compensating its customers until I read this in ST’s Forum. It reminded me (a trained lawyer who did a lot of banking legal work) that  it was DBS that lost money, not the affected customers, “When someone deposits money with a bank, he is in effect lending money to it. Property rights to the money pass to the bank. In return, the bank owes its customer a debt. At that point, any money stolen or pilfered from the bank is its money, not its customer’s,” SMU academic. (BTW, I get the impression that a very impt KPI for SMU academics is how often they are quoted in the local MSM. One wonders if they have time to do other things.)

The PAP, SMRT and PUB did not get their public communications strategy right (see the above link on what PUB and SMRT did wrong) and SPH could not play its traditional constructive, nation-building role in helping out the White Side.

Coming back to DBS. When its CEO early last week ( his second anniversary at DBS) came out boasting of his achievements, I tot, “Nemesis” and “What bad news is he foreshadowing?”. Well Nemesis has struck and DBS has reacted very, very well to what could have been a major public relations fiasco. As to the bad news, “Watch and wait”.

But DBS is no longer dysfunctional. Could it be a turnaround situation, worth investing in? In Q3 2011, DBS’s return on equity was ahead of OCBC and UOB. BTW I own Haw Par shares which is a play on UOB.

“F” word banned by PUB?

In Economy, Infrastructure, Media, Political governance, Tourism, Wit on 27/12/2011 at 6:03 am

Trust a former President’s Scholar to come up with the solution to prevent floods in Singapore. VivianB got PUB to rename “flooding” as “ponding”. Why didn’t Yaacob do this instead of calling a flood a 50-yr event. Well there were two 50-year events in less than two months last year.

Seriously, I don’t think it was VivianB’s idea. Likely to be the new CEO of PUB that is behind the renaming. He after all blames us for the floods, saying S’poreans took things for granted*. I say to him, “Don’t try to deflect blame like SMRT’s CEO who told us to guard the trains when there was a security break-in. PUB did not do it’s job.

Ain’t this renaming juz daft and misleading? PUB said of the heavy rain last Friday “there was no flooding at Orchard Road … However, water ponded at the open area of Liat Towers, the underpass between Lucky Plaza and Ngee Ann City, and the basement of Lucky Plaza due to the sustained heavy downpour”.

Sorry PUB, these places were flooded. The ponds were at least ankle deep, at Starbucks, customers walked on chairs to get out, and shops had to close**.

I’m glad that MediaCorp didn’t buy into this euphemism. They called these “flash floods”, as they used to. As to ST, they tried to be truthful, while keeping VivianB and PUB onside. No wonder SPH is such a good dividend payer, while unlisted MediaCorp continues to struggle financially.

If VivianB and PUB were doing their very best to ensure that tourists are not scared off (Remember that the retail trade is tourist dependent to keep profitable and that the overall economy is heading for a slowdown, if not a recession), they failed as far as Malaysia is concerned.  Bernama reported:

Flash Floods In Several Parts Of Singapore Including Orchard Road

Flash floods hits several areas of Singapore including the republic’s most famous shopping alley, Orchard Road, following prolonged heavy rain in the southern and central parts of the city state Friday …

Nice try guys. But better for the economy, retailers and S’pore’s image if the PUB improved its “ponding” prevention measures, not try to play word games.

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*”But maybe we have also become victims of own success. Because we have been so successful, alleviating floods, that we have not seen a flood situation for a long time. So when it came, it did catch Singaporeans by surprise.”  Channel News Asia

**How Today reported the situation

The underpass between Lucky Plaza and Ngee Ann City remained closed yesterday evening. Some shop owners at the ground floor of Lucky Plaza said that water levels were ankle-high, but the situation this time was better than during previous floods.

At retail store Giordano, store in-charge Lyn Molino estimated losses of up to S$7,000 and said that customers were not only deterred by the wet floors but also by the stench from yesterday’s floodwaters. “This is supposed to be a good opportunity for us to have extra earnings but it has all been affected,” she said.

The floodwaters also washed out business at Starbucks and fast-food restaurant Wendy’s, among other establishments, at Liat Towers. Wendy’s manager (marketing and branding) Seng Woon Fa estimated losses of about 60 per cent of the day’s earnings. “We are now just busy cleaning up and hope to resume business as soon as possible … we are still checking if any equipment is spoiled,” he said.

Taxi fare rises: Notice the attempt at emotional blackmail?

In Media on 13/12/2011 at 5:50 am

No-one believes Delgro’s and the National Taxi Association’s claims that the taxi fare increases are meant to help taxi drivers.  Stockbrokers are already factoring into their forecasts, the assumption that sometime soon, Delgro will increase the rentals it charges taxi drivers.

So it wasn’t that surprising that yesterday, the constructive, nation-building ST carried a big headlined article on the front of its “Home” section on how “peanutty” were the earnings of the average taxi driver.  Of course, it wasn’t written that way. The headline and story were about how an enterprising taxi driver can take home S$3,000 a month. The sub- text was, however, two-fold:

– S$3,000 wasn’t that much, taking into account the long hours, worked; and

– most tax- drivers took home S$1,500. “Peanuts” by any reasonable standard. But then how come taxi drivers “cheery pick” their customers? They can’t be that poorly paid? Read this on how they “cheery pick” customers by gaming the system.

The message at this time of the year, when charities round the world, resort to emotional blackmail to part consumers from their cash, is, “Spare the taxi drivers some money, don’t complain”.

This is a variant of the government’s much vaunted tripartitism at work. Usually the parties are the government, the employers and the NTUC. Here the parties are Delgro, SPH and the taxi drivers out to con the public.

No wonder SPH, and Delgro are good dividend-paying stocks.

Update on 12 December 2011 at 9.55am

Notice how the ST and other local media are playing down the drop in the number of people taking taxis? The cabbies they are quoting are talking rubbish. They notice the drop, blame it on the fare rises, but then say its the school hols. Sigh.

In defence of SPH

In Uncategorized on 25/11/2011 at 8:36 am

So SPH is suing Yahoo!. Doesn’t surprise me. I had seen various pieces in Yahoo! over the past 12 months that looked close, very close to pieces that had appeared in ST or Today.

Two weeks ago (before I knew of the existence of an issue between SPH and Yahoo!), I was telling my friends about one piece from Yahoo! that was in my view very, very close to a Today piece. I was speculating openly why Yahoo! was doing this.

Well should be gd for SPH if it wins. Might relook at my decision not to own the shares despite the gd dividend. 
 
Coming back to Yahoo!. Reuters is always quoting from WSJ and FT (behind pay walls), but it has yet to be sued.

“Our editorial business model of acquired, commissioned and original content proven,” says Yahoo!. What does “acquired” mean? It surely can’t mean taking out a subscription to ST or any other SPH publication,  then cutting and pasteing stuff, and then slapping Yahoo!’s name onto the rejigged artcles? Even such a dysfunctional organisation like Yahoo! would realise that it is so easy to be caught out. SPH can ask the court for Yahoo!’s Words docs and trace changes to the originals. If an original document was an ST article … Balls-up time at Yahoo! again.

HEHEHE. Nothing new there. Think the bid by Microsoft, the problems with Jack Ma or the sacking of its CEO. Only Yahoo! could do these things.

 

SPH: Worried investor grumbles

In Media on 26/07/2011 at 1:56 pm

A friend who is a long-term shareholder in SPH tells me that the lack of professionalism by SPH editors and reporters in covering the presidential elections is worrying him:

– a reporter who saw Tony Tan and Tan Cheng Bock at a football match (Tony Tan said he wasn’t there);

– yet the reporter didn’t see Tan Kin Lian who was there;

– a reporter who criticises Tan Lin Lian wrongly  for censoring comments addressed to “TKL for president FaceBook page” yet doesn’t do the same when TT’s team censors comments addressed to his FaceBook page;

– the coverage of TT’s speeches look like something from the Pyongyang Times;

– the TT helping boy photo and report made the incident sound contrived for the media; and

– the absence of stories on other examples of TT’s “independence” from the PAP. Surely he says SPH can find other examples.

He wonders if SPH reporters and editors want to make TT look bad.

My friend is worried that the government will be so disgusted by SPH’s unprofessional attempts in promoting TT that it find ways to curb SPH’s dominance in the print media here. And his investment suffers.

Judging SPH’s mall bid — CEO gives a hostage to Fortune

In Investments, Property on 23/11/2009 at 5:00 am

Last Wednesday, BT carried an article in which the CEO of SPH (its parent) explained the thinking behind an SPH-led consortium winning bid to build a mall in Clementi. Its partners with 20% each were NTUC Fair Price and NTUC Income.

BT giving the background said, “Its winning bid of $541.898 million was the highest of six offers that HDB received for the mall. The winning bid is nearly 42 per cent more than the next highest offer of $382 million.” Analysts were amazed at the price paid.

“Winning bidders looking ahead at rentals upon lease renewal” was the screaming headline. BT went on quoting SPH’s CEO, “‘[W]hen we do our calculations, we are not using the rentals when we start operations. We are actually using after rental renewal cycle, whether it is after three years or six years,’ said SPH chief executive officer Alan Chan.”

“Had SPH used the typical strategy of real estate investment trusts (Reits), which assume say a 5-6 per cent return based on rents when the mall starts operating, it would have led to bids in the $300 million range – where four of the six bids came in for the mall at the close of HDB’s tender last Tuesday,” BT continued.

What I liked about the CEO’s comments is that he gave analysts a time frame on which he can be judged. I’m surprised that the PR/ IR spin doctors allowed him to make these hostage to fortune statements. I hope he will continue making such statements, that help anlaysts.

The usual practice when the winning bid is way above the next bid (known as “winner’s curse”)  is for mangement to mumble something about corporate long term values without going into details.

Long-termism is often used as an excuse for avoiding tough but necessary short-term decisions, or for covering up mistakes.  Remember Temasek’s Merrill Lynch investment was “long term”

So it is refreshing to see a CEO give a time frame of 3-6 years on which analysts like me can judge the bid.

If you are wondering why this piece took so long to appear — I wanted to ensure that the article reflected correctly the CEO’s views: there would be no retraction, correction or clarification.

Remember the AWARE bun fight (where “Anal sex is normal” feminists fought “Crucify the weirdos” X’ians. OK I exaggerate wildly the positions)? There were a lot of ponticating nabobs in the MSM and online who rushed into “print” talking of the implications on civil society of the government’s non-intervention, allowing the analists to retake control of  AWARE  from the “family values” X’ians.

Well a few days later, the government stepped in and said that AWARE’s sex manual did not conform to society’s standards on anal sex and homosexualism, giving the X’ians a famous victory and making the pontificating nabobs who rushed to judgement looking decidely stupid.

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