Archive for June, 2013|Monthly archive page

SunT versus TRE coverage of LGBT party

In Media on 30/06/2013 at 5:40 am

On page 16 of SunT there is a small pix and a little accompanying text on yesterday’s LGBT massive  “finding partners/ dates” party (21,000 crowd) at Hong Lim Green. My Facebook wall is full of pixs of the gay event.

As at 5.33am. there is nothing in TRE on this massive gathering of S’poreans. I will update this post when I see reports on TRE of this social and HR events.( Update at 3.10pm:

)Site Under Maintenance

I’m putting up this post because there are allegations (PAP-inspired?) that TRE is juz as socially conservative as the PAP, WP and  NSP.

I doubt that these allegations are true, but let’s see. Members of the LGBT community here are S’poreans too. This too is their home. It’s sad that SPH (and presumably the PAP govt) doesn’t think so.

Any idea if MediaCorp covered the event on the news programme? Based on CNA website, doesn’t seem so. SIGH (

Update on ! july at 6.18 am TRE site is

Site Under Maintenance


China sneezes, effects on Asean vary

In Economy, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam on 29/06/2013 at 8:50 am

As these charts show, S’pore’s economy is more exposed to China than Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and M’sia. (BTW, no Asean round-up this week)

Why SIAS should sit down and shut up

In Corporate governance, Financial competency on 28/06/2013 at 7:04 am

So long as shares go up, investors don’t care about corporate governance

The Trade: In Shareholder Say-on-Pay Votes, More Whispers Than Shouts The Dodd-Frank Act required shareholder approval of executive pay packages, but investors don’t seem to care about pay if their stocks are up, says Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica.


“Stop-work” call wasn’t to be taken literally: Activist

In Humour on 28/06/2013 at 5:03 am

I don’t understand why the prevailing discourse surrounding the stop-work order is an immediate cessation of everything in Singapore, where all businesses have to close down. None of the activists I know are saying that. We are simply saying that in hazardous conditions, where PSI is well, hazardous, it would be humane, as well as being in line with the idea of workplace safety, for people who do strenuous work outdoors to take a break and seek shelter, so that they can avoid taking in higher amounts of pollutants, and also metabolise the pollutants currently in their body. Such industries include both the shipyard and construction industry. Seriously, stop making people who are concerned about migrant worker welfare to be idiots who want to “close hawker centres”: On Facebook on Monday.

My response (now hidden) was ” Taz NOT the impression, perception you “idiots” gave me. AND I waz reading yr words, not filtered thru ST etc etc … organise a course to teach yr friends how to communicate effectively. The CAUSE doesn’t need self-inflicted injuries.”

Seriously, the above justification sounds like shumething a PAPpy would make when cornered. Remember “Selling land cheap for HDB flats, steals from reserves”? Or Or

I tot I’d post the activist’s comments as my good deed for the month. The aim is to remind all activists and other kay pohs, that they have to ensure that they take care to communicate their messages in language that is clear, simple, concise and difficult to misunderstand.This is true especially when using Facebook: I got the impression that they wanted hawker centres to close based on comments made on FB.

They should not use the PAP govt as the gold standard when they communicate with the public, even though the PAP has been able since 1959 to communicate to S’poreans so effectively that the PAP has had overwhelming majorities since then (In the bad result GE2011, the PAP still ended up with 60% of the popular vote and more than two-thirds of the parly seats).

They should remember that the PAP’s track record since 1991 hasn’t been that great. The percentages of the popular vote climbed from 61% in 1991 only to drop to 60% in 2011. And look at the result of the 2011 PE. It’s preferred candidate only got 35%, and won by a short nose.

So maybe activists should take up the offer of Wonder Woman Wonder Gal’s or Supergirl’s Creatives For Causes? Hopefully, she can teach them to say what they mean, so that the “daft” public can understand their ‘chim” tots. They should not expect the public to be mind readers. Nor should they expect the constructive, nation-building local media to put the “right” spin on what they say. In fact, they should be prepared for the “wrong” spin.

Oh, and why is it the most ardent callers of the govt to allow freedom of expression such great censors? As I said, my comment was hidden. And another “Crier” of “Free speech”, unfriended me after I asked him how come his website was one of “S’pores major websites” that signed the internet petition? It was then carrying plenty of 2012 stuff on its front page, and still was as of yesterday.

I asked him if the definition of “S’pores major websites” included zombie or living dead.sites like his?

Have a gd weekend. School starts soon.

Economy weak? Investors keep on Cheonging!

In Uncategorized on 27/06/2013 at 10:22 am

The Reason:

Now you might think the announcement that the US economy grew much slower than was originally thought in the first three months of the year – at a sluggish annual rate of 1.8%, compared with the initial peppy estimate of 2.4% – was bad news.

Not however for investors.

Share and bond prices in the US and Europe rose sharply.

And what in recent days has been pulling down share and bond prices has been the public musings of Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Fed, that his alchemical creation of $85bn of new money every month might diminish later this year and terminate next year. (For more on this, see my previous blogs on Risks to financial system of interest rate rises and How the Fed bosses all.)

However, if the US economy is in fact weaker than Mr Bernanke and the Fed believe, then surely he will keep the cheap money tap gushing at full throttle for longer, or so investors reckon – which would then sustain the rising tide under stock and bond prices.

The point is that what has happened today confirms that there is a significant speculative element in stock and bond prices, disconnected from economic reality.

This will have been noted by central bankers, who will become more anxious about the dangers of keeping the price of financial assets pumped up on cheap-money dope.

The point is that the more that the price of these assets is dependent on this dope, the greater the risk of calamitous financial shock as and when the dope is withdrawn.


Haze: Is this allegation true?

In Public Administration on 27/06/2013 at 5:34 am

This caught my attention,”From Facebook posts, there were people who collapsed or died of heart attack or asthma attack.”; a sentence from a long piece by a reader to TOC and posted by TOC.

I’ve read similar allegations by TRE readers then who went on to castigate our govt for allowing these things to happen, and our”constructive”, “nation-building” media for not reporting these deaths etc.

My doctor friends tell me they have not seen an increase in such cases, and say that there are are no rumours floating around from doctors working in public hospitals on such increases.

What I would like to know:

— Are there postings of “people who collapsed or died of heart attack or asthma attack”. Asking as I’ve not seen any such, but then I’m not a big user of FB. This posting appeared on Tuesday evening, but I saw it only yesterday.

— Whether there has been any increase in “people who collapsed or died of heart attack or asthma attack”? Hope the govt can provide data and Uncle Leong can critique the info provided. Maybe some PAP MP or Lina Chiam will ask for the numbers if the govt doesn’t come forward?

BTW, three cheers for TOC. It has been trying to do something to help people during the haze: not juz talk cock, sing song and bitch. TOC is so unlike many other kay poh bloggers or FB “activists”.

And it gets “marked” by the govt? SIGH.

BTW2, Support the NEA’s website rebuking “wrong” facts. I’m surprised that a few of the “usual suspects” think that it is a waste of effort, with nEA having better things to do. ’cause their kakis kanna slime?

Why Plan “Suffocate S’poreans” failed?

In Humour, Indonesia, Malaysia on 26/06/2013 at 4:55 am

(Or “Why Indonesia apologised?”)

So the Indonesian presisent has apologised to M’sia and S’pore for the haze, despite an official earlier saying that Indonesia would not apologise to S’pore. And the president also admitted that his ministers were talking cock, while doing bugger-all.

So this has worked:

Seriously, why has Indonesia apologised to this  “little red dot” inhabited by “children”?

My friend in M’sia’s Special Branch told me the following story based on bugs placed in the cabinet room: nothing to do with us “children” it seems.

On Monday, the Indonesia cabinet was briefed on “Operation Smoke Out the Money”. The president and his ministers were told that S’pore was choking in the smoke from Riau and would be soon be very receptive to this call by a fair-minded S’porean-Canadian* to surrender all of its ill-gotten gains from Indonesia, especially as the article was republished in the widely read, influential patriotic and nationalistic TRE, and the very respected, influential SGDaily carried a link to the original article**. My source said that many ministers were heard groaning presumably because they had illicit money in S’pore.

Then an aide came in and said, “Mr President, the dad of S’pore’s PM wants to speak to you.” The ministers clapped.

Then another aide called, “Sir, Najib, Anwar and Tun M are calling, together”. The president said, “How do they know so fast Suharto’s buddy is repenting? And why a joint call?”.One minister said,”Sir, they came together to honour you, the MAN who brought S’pore to its knees!”

The aide said, “Sir, I doubt it. M’sia has declared an emergency in South Johor and schools in KL are closing; all because of the haze. Apparently, Superman*** is blowing the smoke away from S’pore, diverting the smoke into Malaya. S’pore is smoke free! The Malay media is asking, “Why are our Muslim brudders behaving like this? Screwing, smoking us and not the infidels in S’pore? S’pore took their money, not us!”

A third aide came in saying, “Sir, the plantation companies and APRIL are calling. They want to know how much more money yr ministers want them to deposit in the ministers’ S’pore bank accounts?”

The president went, “Oh Riau!”. My SB source says presumably because Riau is now hotter than hell.

And one Christian minister was heard sniggering, “Where are the Islamic superheroes when Muslims need them?”. Ash trays and wine glasses were thrown at him.

*Contrary to TRE posters, Special Branch does not believe he is an Indonesian Quisling, doing it for the money. He is an honest S’porean- Canadian. He sincerely believes that S’pore is screwing Indonesia.

**Only TOC didn’t carry the article.

***I reminded my SB contact of Superman’s Jewish origins: Kal-El (his Krypton name) sounds like the Jewish term for “Voice of God”. My contact laughingly said that LKY chose his friends better than M’sia’s rulers did. He chose Israel and the US to suck up to, M’sia chose Muslim countries and the US as friends.

Missed smartphone boom, planners thinking about 2025

In Economy, Public Administration on 25/06/2013 at 5:34 am

S’pore starts to chart great tech unknown of 2025 Media and infocomm convergence a key theme; meanwhile, business analytics gets a boost

Screamed BT last Wednesday.

As Singapore peers into a future where technology is indistinguishable from media, the government has set about arming itself with the new Infocomm Media Masterplan that will see it into 2025.

Yesterday, the 14 members of the committee tasked with developing the masterplan report were announced by Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim.

This committee, headed by veteran money man Koh Boon Hwee, will release its recommendations in mid-2015. The new 10-year masterplan will pick up where the existing Intelligent Nation 2015 masterplan – developed in 2005 – leaves off.

While the Intelligent Nation plan was preoccupied with keeping the infocomm technology field competitive, the new plan will take into account how media and infocomm interests have become intertwined in the intervening years.

But if our master planners got things so wrong over not moving into the Apple, Google ecosystems, how can be expect them to get this right?

Let me explain: Singapore’s exports fell more than economists estimated in May as manufacturers shipped fewer electronics after an uneven global recovery hurt demand.

Wai Ho Leong, a senior regional economist at Barclays Plc in Singapore said then , “The external outlook is still fragile, particularly when we’re not well tapped into the smartphone boom that’s going on in North Asia.”

As I’ve blogged before, a major issue for S’pore (and M’sia and Penang in particular) is the decline in PC sales. In April, IDC,  a research firm, said that in the first quarter of 2013 worldwide PC sales fell by 13.9% to 76.3m units, their steepest decline since 1994, when records began. People have been slow to buy PCs with Windows 8, Microsoft’s latest operating system, but they are still buying tablets or smartphones. S’pore and M’sia are major organisms in the PC ecosystem. They are for all intents and purposes non-existent in the Android (Google) and Apple smartphone ecosystems.

Related posts


WP & NEA deserve one another?

In Humour, Public Administration on 24/06/2013 at 6:03 pm

Given PM’s warning that the haze will last for weeks, and that this respite is temporary, I was surprised to read in yesterday’s ST that the WP town council was beginning  the cleaning yesterday of the two hawker centres (when PritamS had said needed only to be cleaned once a yr: despite them not being cleaned since 2011 according to a TOC report, I think). His remarks provoked a typhoon in an  expresso cup.

I mean with all the haze around, cleaning the ceilings now would be a waste of effort and money.

Wonder if the WP town council had consulted the hawkers and the NEA on whether it made sense in view of the haze to clean the ceilings now.

NEA should have stepped in to advise, “Wait awhile”. After all WP are novices when it comes to managing a GRC. Only had tiny Hougang before 2011.

The hawkers should have the final sale as their sales are affected when there is cleaning.

As it is, the hardworking hawkers will have to forgo sales yet again, and to what purpose? If the PM is right and the haze returns, and it seems to doing so, as I write, the ceilings will get dirty pretty fast.

Another Monday, another rocky day

In Financial competency on 24/06/2013 at 5:51 am

BIS’s weekend statement will spook mkts. It tells central banks to head for the exit and stop trying to spur a global economic recovery. They should focus on fighting inflation.

CENTRAL banks are unable to repair banks’ broken balance sheets, to put public finances back on a sustainable footing, to raise potential output through structural reform. What they can do is to buy time for those painful actions to be taken. But that time, provided through unprecedented programmes of monetary stimulus since the financial crisis of 2008, has been misspent. Neither the public nor the private sector has done enough to reduce debt and to press ahead with urgent reforms. Yet only a forceful programme of repair and reform will allow economies to return to strong and sustainable growth.

That is the message from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the closest that central bankers have to a clearing-house for their views. Based in Basel, the BIS can point to prescience before the financial crisis, when William White, then its chief economist, worried that excessive credit growth was generating bubbles that could burst in a messy fashion.

And SunT yesterday had an article “pushing” US junk bonds. SIGH

Haze: What Raffles would have done

In Indonesia on 24/06/2013 at 4:40 am

“Mr Shanmugam reiterated Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s position that it is not productive to trade accusations”, CNA reported. He was being asked about

— the recent comments of Indonesian Minister Agung Laksono chiding Singapore for behaving “like a child”; and

— Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa remarks that the Indonesian government would not issue an apology to Singapore for the haze crisis.

Bit rich this, given that it was our very own VivianB who, rightly, started the public naming and shaming of the Indonesian govt: in a strongly-worded statement on Facebook that “no country or corporation has the right to pollute the air at the expense of Singaporeans’ health and wellbeing”, in the early hours of 20th June.

The Indonesian govt lost face, as his remarks were reported in the West where the govt has been trying to show its green face with various announced policies (like reserving land as jungle), and where the govt is trying to investors to think of Indonesia as a BRICS nation (“I” for India and Indonesia, not juz India).

The govt started bitching against S’pore, but has done something (witness the clear skies on Saturday evening, Sunday, and so far today*) following VivianB’s, Shan’s and PM’s comments about Indon non-actions:

— At a late-night emergency meeting on 20th June , President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered disaster officials to “immediately mobilise all the country’s resources” to extinguish the fires on Sumatra island that have created vast palls of smoke. Why so late? Firefighters on the ground have struggled to put out the blazes, which are burning under the surface of the peat, for at least two weeks..

— Indonesia announced it has earmarked around 200 billion rupiah (US$20 million) to handle the disaster. No budget, before S’pore shamed Indonesia?

— Indonesia’s national disaster agency said that two helicopters with cloud-seeding equipment were sent early Friday from Jakarta and Borneo island to Riau province, where hundreds of hectares (acres) of carbon-rich peatland are ablaze. Again why so late?

— It  said water-bombing helicopters could be dispatched, although gave no timeframe. [Update

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia’s national disaster agency, said they had “carried out 14 water-bombings, dropping a total of 7,000 litres (1,820 gallons) of water onto the fires”.

He added that altogether, four helicopters had been deployed for water-bombing operations while two planes were conducting cloud-seeding, AFP news agency reported.

However, Indonesian disaster agency official Agus Wibowo told AFP that two cloud-seeding attempts tried in Riau province over the weekend were not successful.— BBC report]

— Two S’pore based companies controlled by Indonesians were named by the Indonesian authorities as partly responsible for the fires. They denied the name calling. Anyway, these are own goals because the owners are Indonesian, and the burning is in Indonesia. So why no action leh?

All in all, has VivianB’s screams of “Rape!”, got the Indonesian govt embarrassed enough to do something?

And the pressure continues:

— S’pore, by getting M’sia*** to agree to get the haze issue on the agenda at the coming Asean meeting in Brunei, has forced the Indons to talk about the issue in front of other Asean countries.

— S’pore is also rightly threatening to raise the cry of “Rape!” in other int’l public forums.

Gd for VivianB and gd for PM? No more “behind closed doors meetings” like what Auntie says WP MPs do with the S’pore govt to get things done? To be fair, even WP has now learnt that “closed doors” is for sex only.

Raffles must be laughing in his mansion in heaven. When he was ruling Java (see Raffles and the British Invasion of Java and here), he sent in the army to teach the sultans of Palembang (in Sumatra) and Yogyakarta (in Java) a lesson. The former had killed a few Europeans, while the latter was two-timing the British. The British stormed and looted the sultans’ palaces, and appointed new sultans. The new sultans and all the other sultans realised that the British were unruly, irrational and brutal, like children, and decided to behave. When the Dutch returned, they behaved like the British, seeing that the sultans were cowed by such thuggish behaviour. Being nice, didn’t pay, it seemed.

So the only way to get anything done by the Indonesian govt is to threaten disproportionate “punishment” if ministers are caught two-timing? Today, sending in the army is not acceptable behaviour (except for the hegemon and the wannabe hegemon). But maybe naming and shaming ministers, who value face (especially from ang mohs), is acceptable, and, more importantly, effective: juz as force* was in the 19th century, as Raffles showed.

The Indonesia govt and ruling elite want Indonesia to be perceived as a major player on the int’l stage. Showing that ministers are incompetent and dishonest affects the perception. Here’s how Shan showed up the incompetency or mendacity of an Indon minister More pls, Shan.

Raffles (and then the Dutch) “children” physically lashed the sultans until they cried “Uncle”***, and “behaved”; so shouldn’t S’pore lash the ministers verbally, until they stop “smoking” us?


*And it’s peace and quiet on Facebook as the anti-govt activists (esp those belonging to minor opposition parties) think of new reasons to bitch against the govt. Don’t worry guys. Yr silence only only shows yr lack of imagination.

**And  during Confrontation, a lot more Indon soldiers were killed than the Commonwealth, M’sian and S’porean (if any) soldiers defending M’sia and S’pore. Many were killed in Kalimantan by the SAS and Gurkhas. While the Indonesian elite forces were playing at being warriors, the SAS and Gurkhas attacked them when they tot they were safe in Indonesian territory. The Indonesian soldiers and ministers tot that only they were entitled to trespass. The SAS and Gurkhas tot otherwise.

*** TOC reported yesterday on FB, “What is seen from above for the region. Singapore is spared from much of the haze as more of it diverts towards north of Malaysia.”

Haze: Govt wasting money? Aided & abetted by anti-govt or kay poh activists!

In Economy, Political governance on 23/06/2013 at 4:30 am

The SAF distributed 1m free N95 masks meant for the poor yesterday to “grassroot” leaders. Today, these PAP people will distribute the masks. The anti-govt or kay poh activists stopped bitching against the govt for juz a second , then started bitching, “Why so late leh? People suffering for days.” Obviously nothing will satisfy them.

Actually, they should be bitching about the free masks.

The face masks which are in high demand in Singapore can protect against the worst of the smog.

But Dr Bhaskaran says they are unlikely to provide total protection.

“The masks may be sufficient to keep out some particles, but other gases would go straight through them.”

The British Lung Foundation agrees: “The use of masks is not recommended; they are often ineffective and may make breathing more difficult.”

As this foundation is non-political and is quasi-medical, I have to accept that its view is authoritative and founded on medical evidence, especially given that our govt is trying to bribe us with our money,  and that activists, whether anti-govt or juz plain kay pohs, don’t care if public funds are wasted’ so long as it suits their agendas, whatever that may be.

When anti-govt or kay poh activists, and the govt are on the same wave-length, we get screwed. SIGH.

Meanwhile, the cost of the current haze for Singapore could be hundreds of millions of dollars, brokerage CLSA said in a report.

It said that in 2006, when the pollution index reached 150, it was estimated the haze cost $50 million and in 1997 it was $300 million. CLSA said the 1997 and 2006 figures seemed low when considering the direct and indirect cost of prolonged haze.

And this is what Barclays says

Haze: Economy will slow

In Economy, Indonesia on 22/06/2013 at 10:35 am

Businesses and analysts have warned that the longer the problem persists, the higher the cost will be for the overall economy.

“Tourism-related sectors such as retails sales, hotels, food and beverage, and gaming, these will take a hit,” Joey Wong of Barclays told the BBC.

Tourism is a big revenue earner for Singapore and according to some estimates industries related to the sector account for between 5% and 6% of Singapore’s total economic output.

The last time the city-state was hit by such bad haze in 1997, tourist arrivals dropped by nearly 15% in a month.

According to a report by Barclays, there are indications that some tourists have already started to cut short their stay in Singapore and some have even cancelled their bookings.

Ms Wong said while it was too early to estimate the overall impact of the haze on the industry, the cost for the sector could be between $200m – $400m (£130m – £260m) if there was an 8% to 10% drop in arrivals.

However, she added that any drop would be temporary and the arrivals will pick up once the conditions improved.

Bad timing?

While a situation like the current one is never good for businesses, it is even worse if it happens during the peak annual period.

That is position that Singapore’s retailers find themselves in. The haze has hit during the annual “Great Singapore Sale”, one of the busiest shopping periods of the year … Singapore Retail Association, says that retailers are already experiencing a marked decline in traffic and sales are down by between 8% to 12%.

“If this continues, the industry – which is already faced with very high cost of operations – would certainly be badly hit and retailers, who are already struggling to hold on to their very slim margins, will see this being eroded further,” said Ms Wei.

Indons’ got problems

In Indonesia on 22/06/2013 at 7:16 am

A bigger problem than haze. Haze doesn’t affect the Javanese, the dominant group in Indonesia. This does.This problem (like the haze) also shows that the Indonesian elites try to avoid doing anything, unless they benefit personally.



No Asean round-up this week.

Time to panic? Everything, including sky, is falling

In Financial competency on 21/06/2013 at 6:15 am

Gd summary and explaination of day’s events

A cash crunch in China, the Fed, and Abenomics

Haze: S’poreans who are trying to help others

In Uncategorized on 21/06/2013 at 5:45 am

SGHazeRescue is a community of Singaporeans offering air-conditioned spaces to individuals and families without such privileges. You can offer anything from a sleeping bag, couch, to a guesthouse.

Hey peeps, we have been receiving an overwhelming response from many who wish to volunteer. This is how you can contribute 🙂

1. Identify a vulnerable group in sg. Leave a message here on what block and street, to prevent duplication. (we are trying to solve this duplication problem via a real time tracking platform).

2. Form a team and head down to your nearest neighbourhood. Be creative, from identifying the needs of people to showing them love with a cup of barley tea.

3. Match your needs by tapping on the google docs sheet and contact fellow singaporeans directly (

Let’s go, for a more spontaneous, loving and inspiring community.

And the pot stirrers I grumble about are missing from this wall. The wall is smoke free, and the air is cool, not hot.

Netizen activists, think of working S’porean and watch the blind side

In Political governance on 21/06/2013 at 5:29 am

I’m worried that netizen activists, whether aligned to an opposition party, or juz plain kay pohs, are increasingly losing touch with the facts on the ground.

Take two recent examples:

— While rightly warning that Yaacob’s internet regulations are a threat to the free flow of info, they have not been able to convince S’poreans of this threat. It was a cunning move by Yaacob the water engineer to use the principle of raisable dams to lull the public into complacency. Yes, yes I’m complacent but taz because I think that new media, like water, will find a way round barriers. But I could be wrong. Obviously, the activists disagree with me, but except for TOC, no-one has not tried to put their fears in a form that the masses can understand.

— Some (thankfully only a few, and one has “repented” to “repent” again) are using the haze situation to promote their agenda of “All PAP govt’s fault”. Again I doubt this is resonating with the public, who have more intelligence than these people think they have. The masses know that the Indons are at fault. Even TRE posters say so albeit there are more “It’s the fault of the PAP govt” posters.

While, the activists are navel-gazing and bitching to one another on the govt’s faults, and ignoring the masses;  the govt is quietly doing things to try to make sure that come the next GE, that its share of the popular vote will increase.

It has given:

— junior civil servants a bit more money (Singapore’s 80,000 civil servants will get a mid-year Annual Variable Component of 0.4-month. In addition, Division IV officers will receive a wage increase of $70 per month and Division III officers a pay rise of $40 per month.)

— NTUC is pushing for cleaning companies to give each of their workers $60 a month more.

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the government has taken steps to help low-income tenants of rental flats who see their pay rises eaten up by a rental increase.

Think about it.

The PAP govt doesn’t do compassion (ask VivianB about his sneers about the elderly poor, or his efforts on helping the homeless while throwing our money at the Kiddie Games), or popularity. All these schemes and others like the $1.1bn subsidy to listcos SMRT and SBS, the accelerated HDB building programme, and the purported curb of FT inflows, all have one over-riding aim: shoring up, and hopefully increasing, the vote in the next GE. The govt is throwing our money at ourselves to win the next GE.

I for one don’t mind this spending, but if I  were one of the usual suspects, I’d be worried that like in M’sia, the govt is using the voters’ money to “bribe” the voters. while the masses are not realising it.

Uncle Leong is the only activist out there consistently reminding the masses that it’s their money that the PAP govt is spending niggardly to get the masses out of a mess that the govt is largely responsible for getting them into in the first place.

Focus netizen activists, focus. Focus on the needs and aspirations of working S’poreans, not on esoteric topics like freedom of speech, the plight of animals, LGBT issues, exploitation of FTs etc. Yes, yes,  these are worthy causes, but they are not bread-and-butter S’porean issues.

Otherwise come next GE, and 2011 GE and PE will look like 1991 GE: another false dawn or wasted opportunity.Be like Low, not like JBJ, Chiam and the two SDP MPs. They didn’t focus and come 1996, it was back to the future. Yes, I know Chiam won.

BTW, the PAP might even win back Aljunied given the way Auntie and her Indian are behaving. They are behaving like Georgie and his gals from Hell. Thank God for Low, Show Mao and Faisal who do the unglamorous work of serving their constituents, while Auntie and her man grandstand and play to the “PAP are bastards” gallery. Punggol East is safe what with Ah Lian doing her thing, and Hougang is Low’s territory, and Ah Huat is doing a gd job keeping the constituents happy, unlike the Stag who focused on satisfying horny gals. But if Aljunied falls, it’s 1996 again.

the labour movement is proposing that cleaning companies agree to follow national wage guidelines before they can get a licence. – See more at:
the labour movement is proposing that cleaning companies agree to follow national wage guidelines before they can get a licence. – See more at:
the labour movement is proposing that cleaning companies agree to follow national wage guidelines before they can get a licence. – See more at:

The haze and regime change

In Indonesia on 20/06/2013 at 8:09 am

The haze illustrates one gd reason why S’poreans should be careful of regime change. It has unintended consequences.

Since the fall of S’pore’s very gd friend, Suharto, Indonesia has become a very decentralised country and decentralisation is at the root of the haze problem.

The local leaders are responsible for implementing the rules against burning. But they rely on the plantation cos and other businesses to fund their election campaigns. Jakarta and S’pore are faraway places. So burn baby burn.

And the attitude of the Javanese-centric national govt doesn’t help.

Hadi Daryanto attempted to shift some of the blame onto Malaysia and Singapore, saying their palm oil companies that had invested in Indonesia were also responsible.

“We hope the governments of Malaysia and Singapore will tell their investors to adopt proper measures so we can solve this problem together,” he said.

Yet when our ministers, Mr Shanmugam and Dr Balakrishnan, on Tuesday, asked Indonesia to share the names of errant companies involved in illegal burning, the response was a deafening silence.

And in the name of national sovereignty, Indonesia refuses all offers of help from M’sia and S’pore to fight the fires. It even refuses to ratify the 2002 Asean treaty on the matter.

And I’m a bull on Indonesia! There is a disconnect somewhere!

Coming back to regime change. Think carefully before voting for the co-driver (PritamS will be a minister) or Mad Dog (Free medical care). Actually free medical care is a great reason for the elderly to vote for the SDP!

China will eat & eat

In China on 20/06/2013 at 5:03 am

Or it’s all about pigs. Fishmeal is used to feed the pigs. Chart from Economist.

Made in US, not China

In Uncategorized on 19/06/2013 at 6:39 am

I’m sure you read that China has the fastest meanest, super computer, Tianhe-2,

But it’s largely made in the US, much of Tianhe-2’s gubbins, including many of its processors, come from Titan’s homeland. Only one in eight of its 3.2m processing cores is “made in China”, according to Jack Dongarra, an editor of TOP500, though that is a vast improvement from Tianhe-1, which carried no Chinese processors. Titan and its ilk may stand beneath the Milky Way. But without them, it seems, Tianhe would collapse.

Sifu slaps disciples for not caring

In Uncategorized on 19/06/2013 at 5:40 am

WP chief Low Thia Khiang has struck a conciliatory note, calling on all the parties embroiled in the AHPETC hawker centre cleaning dispute to move on and saying that the hawkers “need peace to do business”.

Mr Low said the WP-run AHPETC will continue to work with NEA “to solve problems on the ground and to address the issues”.

“We should move on from the current issue,” he told the media at his Meet-The-People Session in Aljunied GRC last night (12 Jun).

“I would expect the town council to continue to work with NEA for environmental issues on the ground, be it market hygiene, cleanliness, be it littering, be it the dengue fever issue, be it midges at Bedok Reservoir issues,” said Mr Low. (TRE).

As I see it, Low’s words are a rebuke (tight slap?) to Auntie and her favourite Indian man*, contrary to what most TRE readers think, that he was rebuking VivianB. His words echo that of VivianB: that the “hardworking” hawkers deserve better treatment**.

Did Auntie and her man ever show such concern? From a usually anti-PAP publication:

The hawkers’ comments (despite an attempt by a TRE reporter to educate them on the right facts) are not surprising. Those fair-minded and reasonable S’poreans that read what Singh and his Auntie Sylvia have been saying would have been struck that their emphasis was on that the WP town council was not at fault, and that NEA’s actions were all political. There wasn’t much (actually nothing) from Auntie and her man (juz read his or her media statements) about the plight of the hawkers***. They hadn’t yet arranged for the cleaning at the time of Low’s remarks. (And I for one have been avoiding hawker centres in the areas where the WP town council governs. I’ve even checked the boundary maps to make sure I eat in PAP areas.)

To show WP supporters that I’m not biased against Auntie and her man, I was going to do a summary of my understanding of the facts. Fortunately, I was saved by I agree with the summary, and interpretation of what was said , and the nasty but reasonable dig at PritamS, the SMU trained lawyer burok, Pritam Singh should have all his teeth knocked in and for the good of the WP, banned from future press events. That man has never failed to confound and obfuscate instead of clarify. Hear Hear. Maybe sewing his lips is more effective?

He could have added that Auntie’s man scored an own-goal with his lawyer buruk argument that the WP town council only needed to do ceiling-cleaning once a year.

And that Auntie’s. “the letter evidently shows MP Faisal’s awareness that it was not the policy of AHPETC not to clean the high areas of the market during annual cleaning, nor to collect any additional charges from the hawkers; otherwise, MP Faisal would not have written to AHPETC to look into Mr Chan Kheng Heng’s claim”, is the kind of language that trained lawyers use when they want to confuse matters (I speak as a trained lawyer.)

And this is the dog that didn’t bark, The WP TC’s property manager was aware of everything going on – he was CC-ed in emails and forwarded quotations. How could it have escaped him that everyone was pulling in different directions and essentially working against each other? Insidious or sloppy?

Auntie and PritamS have never explained his silence, or allowed him to speak to the public.

While there is no denying that the PAP took advantage of the situation to make the WP look bad (starting with the ST article****,: remember it?, it was PritamS’s response to the article that escalated the matter into a typhoon in an espresso cup. A typhoon that ended only when Sifu Low slapped stepped in. If only he had spoken like his Sifu later did about the hawkers.

Low got a lot of stick for saying WP wasn’t ready to form a govt. But going by what Auntie, Pritam and GG have been doing, he is being realistic. BTW, it’s interesting that it’s these three disciples who are alleged to be trying to get the WP to be a more aggressive co-driver, something I plan to explore in the near future. Watch this space.


*No not defamatory as there were several other Indians working hard in Aljunied, all trying hard to be the WP Indian candidate. Singh got it ’cause Auntie mentored him. It has been alleged that he made it clear that if he wasn’t chosen to stand in Aljunied, he wouldn’t stand elsewhere and would cut the time he spent on WP activities.

**Not that for a moment, do I think he cares about anyone “hardworking”, given his sneers about the elderly poor, while throwing serious money at the Kiddie Games?

***With enemies like these, VivianB doesn’t need friends.

****Whoever got the story into ST must be due for a merit bonus.

FAS, let Shakkir off lightly, quickly

In Footie on 18/06/2013 at 6:36 am

Without informing nor receiving permission from his superiors at the Singapore Police Force, the defender joined the LionsXII in Kuantan. He was punished by being put in detention for four days.

The FAS will convene a Disciplinary Committee hearing to discuss further sanctions on the player, though a time has yet to be set. In the meantime, Shakir is suspended from all football activities. His future with the LionsXII and national squad and his participation at this December’s South-east Asian Games are in doubt.

Stange, the Lions coach said, “(Shakir) is a very talented player and I have my eye on him and he will have my fullest support to learn from this. If you want to live in this beautiful country, with safety and all such things, you need National Service, and players have to learn they cannot make such mistakes. That is why I think he should be fined for what he did and that’s it.”

Hear! Hear! And make the fine a small one.

Don’t punish him because FAS lost face. The incident showed it has admin issues.


When QEIII slows

In Financial competency on 18/06/2013 at 5:45 am

“Defensive” stocks (those that do not move with the business cycle, like food) are the most vulnerable.

When investors began to expect there would be a reduction in the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing bond-buying programme towards the end of this year, from monthly purchases of $85bn a month to perhaps $65bn. the perception that the rate of money creation might fall by around a quarter has seen bond yields rise by more than a third and the US 10-year yield is now firmly lodged above 2% (circa 2.2% the last time I looked).

By historical standards 2% is still very low. But the yield shift from circa 1.5% to circa 2.2% is dramatic.

The best analogy is with an earthquake deep under the sea, which causes powerful waves in all the world’s oceans or, in this case, in all the world’s markets.

(BBC analyst)

When raising fares, SBS, SMRT & Govt don’t have this problem

In Infrastructure on 17/06/2013 at 5:33 am

SBS and SMRT are grumbling loudly that their present biz model (after delivering golden rivers of dividends for Temasek and the S’pore Labour Foundation) doesn’t work. SLF even sold 8% of SBS’s parent at a huge discount to the market price. Great move as this was done before market meltdown. (BTW, at current price, tempted to buy into ComfortDelgro. It closed last Friday at 1.755, up 3% from Thursday. The co’s fundamentals havenot changed since institutions bought SLF’s stake at 1.94. It is likely that when they bot from SLF, they would have been given assurances of the fundamentals at that price.)

And govt has been pouring our money ($1.1bn and counting) at the public the transport system. And the Wankers’ Party remains quiet* about its Manifesto call to nationalise the public transport system.

If the PAP govt weren’t concerned that it would lose votes if fares were raised without a marked improvement in service standards, fares would have gone up by now to keep the dividends flowing. Screwing the public (by making the public pay-and-pay) is the PAP way pre the 2011 GE and PE.

Anyway, SMRT, ComfortDelgro and the govt should be grateful that this doesn’t happen here when faresw are raised: Protests against bus and underground fare rises in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo have turned violent.

Police fired rubber-coated bullets and tear gas, and detained more than 200 people. Police say they seized petrol bombs, knives and drugs.

Violence has also been reported at protests in Rio de Janeiro.

Prices for a single ticket in Sao Paulo were raised on 2 June from 3 reals ($1.40, £0.90) to 3.20 reals ($1.50, £0.96).

For that, they have to thank people like this TRE reader

My Middle name is AhLong:

We need to organise a movement similar to BERSEH of Malaysia now to demand clean election. We need to ensure a proper way to secure and account for the ballot boxes en-route to the counting station …We must demand at the counting station, after all ballot boxes are accounted for and examined, all the ballot tickets should mixed into a single bunch and count from there. In this way, the sly election department will not be able to get the data for gerrymandering in the next election.

Finally, to have a level of playing field, election department should NOT be under PMO!

If he is serious, he should be trying to organise shumething, instead of juz bitching anon. His use of the word “We” is simply a way of saying “You”.He juz wants to let out hot air, like VivianB, Auntie and her favourite Singh, the M’sian gals from S’pore Writers, and the Nairs, Gopalan and Rajan. He doesn’t want to do the hard slog, like Low, Ah Huat, Ah Lian, the NSP’s Dynamic Duo, the Ravis (M and P) and Team SDP. If you’re wondering why Siow is not on the list, he’s away in the US until year-end. And no, he is not attending the CIA’s regime change course.

*To be fair, Low mentions it in passing, now and then.

NTUC’s silent walk: How apt

In Humour on 16/06/2013 at 5:01 am

Couldn’t stop laughing when I read: “Some 50 people took part in the labour movement’s Our Singapore Conversation session on Friday evening … it started with a silent walk along parts of Marina Bay.”

This silent walk is a metaphor of the many times since it’s founding where NTUC’s silence was deafening, like

— the strike by non-unionised PRC FT SMRT (where a union and NTUC leader was a director) bus drivers; or

— NTUC Income’s row with some union members,

to quote two recent examples.

Last December, I attended the launching of “The Last Great Striike” where I heard the sorry tale that in the 1980s, NTUC and union leaders did not know how to conduct a “work ro rule” protest against Qantas at Changi airport. It was meant to help SIA in one of its periodic rows with Qantas. Qantas didn’t even know that there was a “work ro rule” protest. Google the term to understand how effective a weapon it is

Related post:

Vietnam: Blogger is “abusing democratic freedoms”

In Vietnam on 15/06/2013 at 2:47 pm

Police in Vietnam have arrested a prominent blogger for anti-state activities, reports say.

Pham Viet Dao, 61, was arrested in Hanoi on Thursday for “abusing democratic freedoms”, the Ministry of Public Security said.

Mr Dao ran a blog critical of government leaders and policies, and discussed sensitive issues like the territorial row with China.

His arrest comes after another blogger was detained in May on similar charges.

Asean round-up

In China, Malaysia on 15/06/2013 at 6:59 am

1997/ 1998 all over again?

Asian manufacturers got no pricing power

Producer prices are sliding across the region – falling 8.5 percent even in the Philippines, where GDP grew 7.8 percent in the first quarter. Cheaper commodities are partly to blame, but the main culprit is sluggish demand from the United States. If companies can’t make up the difference, they may struggle to repay growing debts … On average, factory-gate prices in China, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines fell 3.5 percent in April, the eighth straight month of declines.

“Ugly prostitute”reported to police

In Uncategorized on 14/06/2013 at 5:39 am

West Midlands Police said the man had claimed he met the woman in a hotel car park.


“The caller claimed that the woman had made out she was better looking than she actually was and he wished to report her for breaching the Sale of Goods Act,” a spokesperson for the force said.


“When he raised this issue with the woman concerned, she allegedly took his car keys, ran away from the car and threw them back at him, prompting him to call police.” …

During the call, the man can be heard to say: “I’ve arranged a meeting with her, but beforehand I’ve asked her for an honest description, otherwise when I get there I’m not going to use her services.


“Basically she has misdescribed herself, misrepresented herself totally.


“She was angry because she obviously thinks I owe her a living or something.”

Agitated? Use of arbitrary power is the S’pore way leh!

In Political governance on 14/06/2013 at 5:28 am

Blogger Ravi Philemon addressed the rally: “The Media Development Authority should take its hands off the online world because it is the most open public space Singaporeans have right now,” he said. “The regulation will only give the government unlimited power to act arbitrarily against the interests of Singaporeans.”*

The other speakers also spoke along the same lines and the crowd there on 8 June cheered them on.

It’s precisely because the cyberspace is the most open public space Singaporeans have right now that the govt wants unlimited power over it, though the govt would disagree that it wants the power to act arbitrarily against the interests of Singaporeans: it would argue that it wants the power to protect us.

In the political sphere, there has been no open space since 1959: Nothing has changed. Opposition leader and secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party Chee Soon Juan expressed concerns that the government was trying to stifle political opponents online and said that there was a danger that the government could be seen as “trying to regulate the opposition’s means of communicating with voters before the next elections”.*

In the field of public social behaviour, S’pore has had “NO” spitting, littering, smoking and other such campaigns. While these attempts to curb uncivil and unhygienic public behaviour (a plus), they are the use of  arbitrary power.

There there have been the various social engineering projects (birth control, “graduate she-rabbits”, “Breed for S’pore”, “Speak Mandarin”, “Foreign Trash Talents Welcome”, the destruction of Chinese language education system etc etc) that are premised on the use of arbitrary power.

In S’pore, even nature is not allowed to run its course, land use is too precious to allow that. All our streams are improved with the addition of concrete banks to prevent soil erosion and ensure that they flow straight into the sea. There are sea walls all around the island to protect vulnerable spots from erosion.

The speakers and their audience may not realise it, but their call for “open public space” and the end to the use of arbitrary power is a challenge to the very foundations of the way S’pore has been governed since its founding, and especially since 1959.

It is akin to:

— the anti-colonial, anti-capitalist agitation of the communists and allies;

— Tan Wah Piow’s efforts; or

— the “Marxists’ conspiracy”.

In the days when one Harry was sheriff, judge and jury, the speakers and audience would be in “Cold Store”, and denounced publicly as subversives, running dogs and stooges of  fat capitalist cat Yahoo!

While the curbing of “public space” and the use of arbitrary power is still par for the course, Harry’s Law isn’t used nowadays. Some things have changed, and for the better.

Another example of change for the better is that the internet regulations are not imposed on the likes of TOC, TRE, yet. In the olden days, Harry wouldn’t want to waste a good law on juz Yahoo!


Hongkie FTs more classy cont’d

In Humour on 13/06/2013 at 6:48 am

Hong Kong has been engulfed in a doping scandal of its own after 15 horses tested positive for a prohibited substance resulting in mass scratchings from Sha Tin’s holiday meeting on Wednesday.

This could explain why HK FTs thrashed our FTs!
But then it raises the question why our doping procedures didn’t catch any sign of doping?.

Implications for S’pore’s port as Burma opens up

In Logistics, Malaysia on 13/06/2013 at 5:33 am

And M’sia’s ports too. All are major transshipment centres.

Thailand, for instance, the second biggest investor in Myanmar after China, is forging ahead with a bigger version of Thilawa [port Japanese are building] at Dawei, on Myanmar’s Tenasserim coast. The deep-water port, associated industrial zone and roads connecting them with Bangkok 300km away will cost about $8.5 billion. Thai rulers had for centuries been toying with the idea of building a canal across the Kra Isthmus, linking the Gulf of Thailand directly to the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean to avoid the journey round peninsular Malaysia through the Strait of Malacca (see map). Dawei will at last give Thailand that link.

Grand plans to improve roads all the way from Bangkok to Cambodia and Vietnam are also in hand to spare those countries the tedious rounding of Malaysia and allow them to ship their goods from Dawei directly to Europe. This could profoundly alter the economic geography of South-East Asia, much reducing the importance of Singapore’s and Malaysia’s container terminals as trans-shipment points. Thilawa will also provide companies like Famoso with more direct access to European markets.

China, long the biggest investor in Myanmar, has been toiling away at its own grands projets. The most important of these are the new oil and gas pipelines that crisscross the country, starting from a new terminus at Kyaukphyu, just below Sittwe, up to Mandalay and on to the Chinese border town of Ruili and then Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province (see map above). This will save China having to funnel oil from Africa and the Middle East through the bottleneck around Singapore.

Great video on Burma’s strategic position.

S’pore dissident and rebel suggests an easy, effective & lazy way of undermining PAP rule

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 12/06/2013 at 5:54 am

I had written that new media was like Lao Tzu’s description of water, “Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox:what is soft is strong.”

.Tan Wah Piow illustrates how the water analogy works (albeit without using the term).

This is how the real “S’pore Dissident* and “S’pore Rebel” defines what he calls “Virtual Movement for Democracy in Cyberspace (VMD)” : This force is far more radical, dynamic, reflective of the people’s mood, and certainly more threatening to the PAP than all the opposition parties combined … the “Virtual Movement for Democracy in Cyberspace (VMD)”

It is a movement without leaders, organisation, or membership. Yet it has a capacity to grow, and is already setting the political demands for change. The power of this virtual movement lies in its ability to synergise the individual desires for democratic changes in Singapore into real collective political actions. The energy within this virtual movement comes from the decades of pent up frustrations, as well as the feeling of betrayal of the Singapore cause … All of us are now part of this VMD.

It is this VMD which is now setting the political agenda in Singapore. The avalanche of criticisms against AIM, the Population White Paper, and now the control of the Internet are not led by any of the opposition party, but by the uncoordinated collective efforts of individuals in cyberspace. They include those who write articles, bloggers, those who make comments, those who distribute articles through facebook and social media. The VMD would not be a potent political force without a buoyant cyberspace. At the same time, the cyberspace in Singapore would be sterile without the VMD.

( I very strongly commend readers read it. It is the only piece from one of the “usual suspects” on Yaacob’s internet rules that is rational, unemotional, doesn’t tie itself up in contradictions; in short, no BS. The others are “noise”, cocks preening themselves for a Wayang.)

As usual, he calls for the PAP to be kicked out**. But, During the interim, we need more guerrilla-type bloggers and cyber-warriors to counter the current set of regulations. Each time we forward an article we like in cyberspace to our friends and acquaintances, we are actively undermining the legitimacy and dominance of the PAP.

Juz forward articles we like. So simple leh. But then the best strategies are often the simplest. Not the complicated ones.

So, while I don’t share his obsession with overthrowing the PAP (if the PAP does the right things by S’poreans, I’ll vote for it), I share his view on the Virtual Movement for Democracy in Cyberspace and how we can grow it the lazy way: juz forward articles we like.

No need to do blackouts or attend protests in the hot sun. Juz use the tools of the wired city-state that the PAP govt has created.

*No disrespect meant to Gopalan and Rajan Nair, the two self-styled S’pore Dissidents. I’m sure even they must concede that Tan has done more for the cause they and he believe in than their combined efforts, which objectively speaking amounts to little more than hot air.

**LKY’s disciple, Lim Kit Siang, had started calling for UMNO to be voted out at about the same time as Tan had started to call for the overthrow of the PAP: since the early 70s. UMNO and the PAP, like Johnnie Walker, are still going strong.

Govt does listen, at least PM’s wife does

In Temasek on 11/06/2013 at 5:53 am

New DBS-Fullerton fund targets small investors

SMALL investors with just $1,000 now have a chance to dabble in an investment fund linked to Temasek Holdings.

Temasek’s Fullerton Fund Management has tied up with DBS Bank to launch the new investment fund with a focus on Asian equities and fixed-income securities. ST

A few yrs back, netizens were screaming their heads off, cursing Temasek when it said it (via Fullerton) was planning to move into fund mgt: for foreigners. It was pointed out that this was unfair to S’poreans especially smaller investors who were getting “peanuts” 2.5% and 4% on their CPF monies.And that Temask’s staff were paid (indirectly) by the tax-payer but foreigners were getting the benefit of their expertise.

Funnily, these same netizens were bitching that Temasek was a lousy investor of S’pore’s money.

Anyway this new fund shows the govt (or at least Temask) does listen. LOL. Not that netizens care, ’cause thry’ve moved on to the next bitch LOL. Taz ’cause the internet is like water: always moving on.

ST’s bearish on reits! Time to buy?

In Financial competency, Property, Reits on 10/06/2013 at 5:08 am

Fee-fi-fo-fum; I smell the blood of reporters and analysts that were bullish on reits. Be they alive or be they dead, I’ll grind their bones to make my bread.

ST has finally given up promoting reits (something I’ve been bitching about recently here and here), reporting: MAYBANK Kim Eng Research has gone against the long-prevailing view and downgraded Singapore’s red-hot real estate investment trust (Reit) sector amid a period of increasing price volatility.

Reits have come under heavy selling pressure the past fortnight amid fears the golden days of low interest rates may be ending.

The FTSE ST Reit Index, which tracks the sector, dropped 1.68 per cent yesterday and is down 8.2 per cent since May 22, when the United States Federal Reserve’s chairman raised the possibility of ending its money-printing.

Gee, less than a month and two bullish stories, ST is now reporting bearish news on reits. Even when I waz an equities salesman, I didn’t change my views so fast. ST Money Desk practicing to be salespersons.

But before rushing into reits, think. The prices of reits were helped by institutional equity investors* buying them for the yield. Now those who chased yields in the equity markets may switch into cyclicals and defensives, if they think the yield party is over. If so buying into reits may face a stampede out of reits, and then relative underperformance.

*Remember, bond investors don’t buy reits. They stick to bonds, moving to junkier bonds for yield. When cautious, they sell the junk and buy US govt bonds.

SPH & MediaCorp agree with TOC on crowd size!

In Political governance on 09/06/2013 at 3:48 pm

And it’s a whooping 2,000++!

Wah lan! Pigs can fly!

I had predicted when I read that TOC reported “Over 2000 are at Hong Lim Park for the protest”, that, “SPH and MediaCorp will report, “Less than 500 turned up at Hong Lim protest”. Err I was wrong: CNA reported “Some 2,000 Singaporeans …”, while ST reported that between 2,000 and 2,500 people turned up.

So why did our constructive, nation-building media report numbers that tally with that of TOC’s, and not come lower? One would have tot that it was in the interest of the perceived PAP-sream media to downplay the extent of the unhappiness. Getting 2,000 to 2,500 S’poreans out at very short notice (less than a week) is a very good achievement, no a great feat, on the part of the organisers. And shows the extent of the unhappiness with Yaacob’s regulation to make sure S’poreans get the “right” facts.

Even the Pinkies only got out 10,000 people partying after a yr’s preparation, free buses, and the promise of the availability of hot, hotdates.

Sorry, back to the consensus (or “right”) numbers.

For starters, TOC really took the trouble to scientifically count the attendance (and not hazard a guess and spinning the issue as I tot it would). According to Ravi Philemon (via Facebook): [F]our people were placed at the four different entrances with people counters (device) to count the number of people streaming into the rally. The number from the four different people counters were tallied together at different times during the protest. According this people counters slightly over 2500 people attended the event, and at the peak, there were 2000 together at the rally.

Also, I’m sure SPH and MediaCorp reporters would have had the benefit of ISD’s or police intelligence’s similar accurate, methodical estimates.

Hence the consensus on the “right” number of attendees. No need to believe that there are journalists and editors sympathetic to the cause of internet freedom.

Wah lan! If pigs can fly, what next? S’poreans protest M’sian, Hongkie style? Or PritamS stops putting his foot in his mouth? After all Auntie is getting garang. No longer being contented to talk to the govt behind closed doors, like PAP MPs.

One thing’s sure, the MDA regulations will not be “tweaked”, in favour of freedom. This is S’pore where one of Harry’s Hard Truth is that the more unpopular a govt measure, the more brownie points a minister and his civil servants get. The more brownie points, the bigger the bonuses, and the ability to buy more $5m-$10m apartments from a TLC.

Spinning the attandance at “Free My Internet” rally

In Uncategorized on 08/06/2013 at 6:49 pm

(Opps I waz wrong about ST and MediaCorp, but maybe part of frame-up: see update)

As at 6.15pm, TOC posted, “Over 2000 are at Hong Lim Park for the protest.”

Bet you, SPH, MediaCorp will report, “Less than 500 turned up at Hong Lim protest.”

The issue is “How do they know”? Did anyone do a count? No, is the answer.

It’s a guess, a guess that depends on what the guesser wants others to perceive. Happens all over the world, juz read what the Turkish govt and protestors say about the crowds protesting in Istanbul.

Update on 9th June at 5.45 am: Wah man, pigs can fly! CNA reported “Some 2,000 Singaporeans …”, while ST reported that between 2,000 and 2500 people turned up.

Great to see PAP-stream media using TOC’s estimate. Err maybe cunning plot to turn TOC into a “news” site, not a “noise” commentary site.

Update Update: Reuters said,”More than 1ooo”, while Aljazeera wrote, “Close to 2,000”. Looking as though PAP-stream media out to fix TOC with “news” label.

Update Update Update: This is how Ravi Philemon described the counting method four people were placed at the four different entrances with people counters (device) to count the number of people streaming into the rally. The number from the four different people counters were tallied together at different times during the protest. According this people counters slightly over 2500 people attended the event, and at the peak, there were 2000 together at the rally.

Asean round-up

In Casinos, Temasek on 08/06/2013 at 9:27 am

Thais love debt: CP All, the Thai retailer controlled by tycoon Dhanin Chearavanont, borrowed $6 billion in May to fund a $6.6 billion takeover of Siam Makro, the Thai cash-and-carry group. Low interest rates and the hidden value in Siam Makro’s property portfolio mean the purchase can support hefty borrowing without any synergies. And in January another Thai tycoon, Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, won the battle for control of Fraser and Neave with a debt-heavy $11.2 billion offer based largely on breaking up the Singaporean conglomerate.

1997/1998 again? Both had problems then, esp the former.

Easy come, easy go:The main Philippines equity index has tumbled 11% and the Thai index 8.4%  since May 22 when the Fed’s chairman talked of restraining QEIII. Still up on the yr, unlike S’pore.

Convert to gambling and the Philippines? Fullerton Fund Management Company (FFMC), a subsidiary of Temasek Holdings, has bought a 5.02% stake in Melco Crown Philippines Resorts Corp.

FFMC has acquired 222.2 million Melco shares, according to the company, which is listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Melco is the Philippine unit of Nasdaq-listed Melco Crown Entertainment, which is backed by Lawrence Ho, a relative of Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho.

BBC discovers Burma

TRE still in blackout mode

In Uncategorized on 07/06/2013 at 6:36 am

I juz visited TRE’s site (6.30am). The blackout sign is still there.

Let’s see how long the sign remains. Maybe a member of the PAP IB brigade managed to “fix” the site so that the PAP and allies and slaves can have a bit less noise for a bit longer

Or maybe TRE decided to remain in the shadows ’cause it joined the Dark Side?

Or techie forgot to remove the sign? Most likely.

MoM’s g-string is showing

In Political governance on 07/06/2013 at 5:55 am

“The regulations deal with news sites. It doesn’t encompass blogs but would some blogs become news sites, and if they evolve to become news sites, I think that is something that we need to look at. As a broad principle, it is meant to cover those reporting news. Individual blogs, commentaries — that remains open,” Tan Chuan Jin.

Pooh Bear (“the bear with the little brain”, no, not Tin Peh Ling), and surely Bertha Henson and Arun Mahizhnan, or even me, can make out a intellectually honest and rational case in support of the distinction; a very traditional concept in the Anglo-American media world.

The Guardian newspaper in the UK (almost looney left: “Tories are evil and stupid” ) has two related mantras “Facts are sacred”, “Comment is free”, that encapsulate what the minister is saying: there is a distinction between news and commentary. The BBC and American media adhere almost religiously (in the case of the Americans) to this very traditional concept in their coverage. However, UK papers (even the Guardian) increasingly tend to mix facts with analysis and commentary: so does Fox News.

Problem with the distinction that Tan Chuan-Jin attempts to draw between blogs and news doesn’t take into account  Yaacob’s definition of a “Singapore news programme”, which is defined so widely as to cover any material to do with Singapore, not juz “newsa”. The definition of “Singapore news programmes” includes “any programme containing any news, intelligence, report of occurrence, or any matter of public interest, about any social, economic, political, cultural, artistic, sporting, scientific or any other aspect of Singapore,” though “does not include any programme produced by or on behalf of the government.”

So my blogging about gardens in the sky would meet the above definition of “Singapore news programme”, if the authorities wanted to include said article or topic under the definition.

It’s what they want to catch (at any one time) that matters, and should be of concern to every S’porean and FT.

Another way of putting it is that the “news” on S’pore that MoM is talking about is not the same as “Singapore news programme”. There is a serious disconnect between the two terms. And he should know it.

As MoM is the govt’s point man on presenting the “right”  perspective on controversial issues, and one of the next generation of potential PMs (eat yr heart out non-Chinese rooting for Tharman), why was he badly briefed by Yaacob & MDA? Could it be that the chairman and CEO of the MDA were distracted* by what is happening to interest rates and property prices in the light of weak equity and bond markets?

Or is MoM being saboed?


*They each bought $5-10m apartments recently

Two cheers for today’s S’pore Blackout

In Uncategorized on 06/06/2013 at 8:52 am

Only two cheers because the MDA, ISD, police intelligence unit and local media are giving three cheers for the blackout, they don’t have to monitor the usual suspects. In fact, they are taking the day off and taking their kids for an outing. And ministers too are toasting the blackout: they don’t have to listen to the noise the MDA etc report. They can remove the ear plugs and listen to the sounds of nature.

It’s a gd day to be on the Dark Side.

Sadly for the Dark Side, it only lasts a day, not forever and a day. Normal levels of service (noise to them) will resume tomorrow.

Update at 9.54am: Barrie has got it dead right on the blackout:

Why I am not blacking out

Blacking out your own site because you are against the govt blacking you out is akin to inflicting self-injury because your adversary wants to cause you harm. You are playing into his plan. Isn’t the govt’s intention is to black out non-mainstream media in the first place?

M’sia’s problems captured in one chart, still one broker’s bullish

In Malaysia on 06/06/2013 at 5:24 am

It’s exports of manufactured gds! Not more democracy, more respect of HR!

Pessimism has arisen in the wake of the release of the country’s first-quarter growth figure; in real gross domestic product terms, it declined to 4.1%, dipping below the consensus estimate of 5.5%.But Barclays does not see this as a sign of a slowing growth trend. In a recent report, the bank said: “Rather, we believe that with the election uncertainty out of the way, private and public investment projects should pick up pace.”

The bank was bullish enough to revise its growth targets for the country upwards, projecting 5.3% for this year, up from 5.1% previously. Its target for next year is 6.2% growth, up from 5.7%.

Answering the PAP’s cock & bull about the “long term”

In Political governance on 05/06/2013 at 5:08 am

The head of the civil service’s defence of the infamous population white paper and the long game the PAP govt is playing over how to control the new media ( reminded me that the PM, other PAPpies and their allies love to talk of the PAP (and allies)  being the only ones that think long term, and that only they can protect future generations, because only they dare take the unpopular decisions (Like allowing FTs to flood into S’pore while limiting the places in local unis for locals?).

No, the retort is not to say, like Lord Keynes,”In the long run we are all dead”.

No the retort is that long-term planning and decision-making must proceed with a clear understanding of the trade-offs between current and future generations. Thinking of the children does not spare one from considering the present needs of the hungry, sick and elderly.*

Let me explain what is meant.

Doesn’t: The Republican [looney right wing tea drinkers] line on fiscal policy is that it is unconscionable to saddle Americans’ children and grandchildren with a mountain of debt.

Only a gutsy, enlightened steward has the wisdom to thwart a future threat to the nation’s well-being by biting the bullet and calling for short-term pain to promote long-term gain. Only a statesman is equipped to make the tough decisions to set the country on a better course.

sound something that our PM or any PAPpy minister from our rational “left of centre” cabinet would say?

Here’s the crushing rejoinder:

But there are philosophical and empirical complexities at play in the “protect future generations!” line of reasoning. If we could avoid bigger trouble in the long run by assuming short-term hardships now, should we? Well, the answer depends on how dire things look in the long run, how much hardship is necessary to avert disaster, and how certain we are that the strategy will in fact work out in the nation’s favour. It would be irrational to opt for certain, indefinite-term pain now to purchase an unspecified amount of theoretical gain later. In any case, the moral calculation is quite a bit more involved than [what the PAP would say**] Government owes a duty to future generations, but it has a duty toward individuals living today as well: it would be perverse to aim to quell the indebtedness of Americans coming of age in 2050 by cutting food stamps for hungry children today.

The pursuit of solvency must proceed with a clear understanding of the trade-offs between current and future generations. Thinking of the children does not spare one from considering the present needs of the hungry, sick and elderly.[From Economist blog]

This idea of trade-offs is nothing new. When I studied the law on trusts, there were tomes of cases on the duties of trustees when deciding whether to cut trees belonging to a trust. The income beneficiaries wanted the trees cut so that they could get the income; against them were those who were not yet income beneficiaries. They didn’t want the trees cut, and the capital “squandered”: cutting the trees now would affect their income from the estate in the future. The trustees often found themselves in the Court of Chancery when one side or other was unhappy.


*As Uncle Leong could have pointed out here,  thinking. planning and implementing policies didn’t do much for the average S’porean: low growth, wages and productivity, with high household debt and inflation.

**My addition to make it easier to follow the reasoning.

LTA, SMRT: Learn from NY & Dubai pls

In Infrastructure on 04/06/2013 at 5:48 pm

“Sponsorship is already used on metro systems across the word in places like Madrid, Dubai and New York,” says a Tory party report, and it suggests “Sponsorship deals to rename London Underground lines and stations should be considered as a way to fund a freeze in fares, Tory politicians have said.”

A report by the Conservative Party on the London Assembly said if £136m was raised in sponsorship it could freeze fares for a year.And it claimed £204m would cap rises at inflation for the next three years.

“Transport for London (TfL) said the cost of of changing maps and signs made a deal of that kind unfeasible”, and bet you that LTA and SMRT would give the same excuse.

But here’s shumething that SMRT cannot say, “Every penny of this and our other revenue goes towards keeping fares as low as possible”,. because as a listco, controlled by Temasek, it got to pay dividends.

Quadruple confirm: Public servants don’t do cost-benefit analysis

In Financial competency, Humour, Public Administration on 04/06/2013 at 5:12 am

Former NUS law professor, Tey Tsun Hang, was sentenced to a 5 months’ jail term and ordered to pay a penalty of $514.80 by the court yesterday. He was convicted of corruptly obtaining gifts and sex from former student Darinne Ko.

Last week, the former chief of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), Peter Lim Sin Pang, was convicted by a District Court for corruption. He was on trial for abusing his position to obtain sexual favours from Ms Pang Chor Mui in return for favorable consideration of her company’s tender bid for business.

Also last week, the Ministry of Home Affairs said disciplinary proceedings against the former chief of the Central Narcotics Bureau Ng Boon Gay would remain suspended until a final outcome in the criminal proceedings. Mr Ng was acquitted of corruption charges in February. Mr Ng was accused of obtaining sexual favours from IT sales manager Ms Cecilia Sue in return for furthering the business interests of her two employers. The MHA spokesperson also said that the prosecution was studying  the written grounds of decision and assessing whether to file a Petition of Appeal.

Even though Gay was acquired, all three public servants paid a high price for being a bit (very cheap actually) cheap when it came to sex. In return for a few freebie trysts, they ended up spending very serious money on lawyers , and damaging their reputations and earning capabilities. I mean who will want to employ two soiled police scholars and an academic who proclaimed his academic integrity* when he was charged?

Then there was ex-Speaker of Parliament, “Mangoes for Laura” Palmer. True he wasn’t charged and never paid lawyers’ fees, but the guy was castrated in public: within a few hours he fell from “tua kee” to zero you-know-what.

Obviously, they didn’t do cost-benefit analysis. If they had been, they could have realised that the costs of being cheap on sex was higher than if they had paid for it. They would have realised that paying for sex was less risky for their careers and reputations. Based on legal fees of $500,000 a case (and I’m being conservative given the size of the legal teams), even if each man charged had sex 100 times (and the reports indicate that the frequency wasn’t that high), the cost would be $5,000 a session. And these were with aunties! Not slim, tall Vogue model-types.

If these senior public servants, didn’t use cost-benefit analysis on such an impt, personal matter, what are the chances that public servants use cost-benefit analysis when analysising or making decisions for us the masses? Yup, highly unlikely.

Anyway, these four cases illustrate the ancient Chinese saying of, “Kill a cock to frighten the monkeys”. Here four cocks were “killed’ to remind public servants that free sex is not a benefit of service. Never mind, public servants can afford to pay for sex, juz like they can afford to buy $5m to S10m apartments from a TLC, even when the TLC expresses concerns that it can sell some of these apartments. And if the MDA chairman and CEO may have problems with their personal cost-benefit analysis (what with QE possibly being reversed, with knock-on effects for S’pore property, and KepLand’s remarks on selling its apts), can ministers and the public trust that the MDA has done its cost-benefit analysis on its new media regulations? It could be telling that the Manpower minister replaced MDA’s CEO at a Talking Points programme on the issue of new media regulation? BTW, where was the water engineer**, Yaacob?

Note (Last three lines added two hrs after first publication, after reading FT etc)


*I tot he was going to deny that he ever had sex with his student. It has been part of Western academic tradition since the times of the Greeks that sex with students was taboo. There was a lewd Roman joke that Socrates never had sex with Plato despite both being gay because Plato was Socrates’ pupil. The Romans didn’t do gay sex.

**See the * at end in link on what I mean by “water engineer”.

Time for ST to stop promoting Reits

In Financial competency, Property, Reits on 03/06/2013 at 5:53 pm

Opps ST nearly did it again. On Saturday, an ST headline screamed: “Buying opportunity after Reits rout”.{498059457-17610-6138972043}. Market overall was off 24.6 points (0.74%), while the reits’ index was off a marginal 1.1 point.

Could have been worse. The last time ST promoted reits, ““It was no different in Singapore, where the benchmark Straits Times Index sank 61.2 points or 1.8 per cent to 3,393.17, its worst one-day plunge in percentage terms since its 2.2 per cent reverse on May 7 last year” (“Markets tumble amid US, China fears”: ST headline. Didn’t have the balls to tell us, reits here were off about 5%”

On a more serious note, ST shld not be promoting reits. True the yields are better than most plays, but reits are leveraged plays. Now is not the time to be bullish on reits.:

I’m still long but I got in in 2008 and 2010. I’ve been riding the run and collecting the payouts to pay for my expenses.


Swiss & S’poreans share a concern

In Economy, Political governance on 03/06/2013 at 5:51 am

The number of foreigners in Switzerland stands at almost 25%* … and while many Swiss accept their labour market needs foreign workers, they are unhappy about rising house prices or overcrowded schools.

Fee-fi-fo-fum, the Swiss sound like us S’poreans.

Are they xenophobic? I’m sure our constructive, nation-building media would say they are. Juz as the PAP-stream media would agree with Gordon  Brown, the then UK PM, that this lady’s a “bigot” for being concerned about immigration. He lost a general election and his party has apologised for its immigration policies.

As the above link shows, a Swiss opposition has gained votes by articulating the public’s concerns. Maybe an idea for our opposition parties. But then the Wayang Party wants to be a co-driver, the SDP doesn’t do xenophobe, and NSP stands for “No Substance Party”. Over to you Mrs Chiam.

She shows what an opposition party is meant to do.


*38% here including PRs. Remember PRs here are not “permanent”: renewable, like 99-leases and COEs.

While narcissistic netizens navel gaze, TLC pays $8m for FT’s housing

In Humour, Political governance on 02/06/2013 at 6:25 pm

On Thursday, ST published a front page headline that would have had “the usual suspects” bitching loudly at a TLC for wasting $ on an ang moh FT. The usual suspects ignored the issue because they were (and, sadly, still are) narcissistically looking at their reflections on their flat panel tv screens, while bawling, raving and ranting that Yaacob was (and still is) “snatching* their toys, when he did (does) no such thing*.

Back to the FT story: ST reported that a TLC had spent $8m on accommodation for an ang moh FT. Sometime back when the same TLC spent $1m on accommodating two PRC FT PRs, TRE readers and some prominent bloggers were screaming their heads off: these two PRC FT PRs getting the VIP treatment while S’poreans had to pay a few hundred thousand dollars for a three-room HDB flat.

When two pandas came here, the verbal knives of many netizens were out for the zoo for spending $1 million for their accommodation. But when ST announced that an ang moh polar bear, Inuka, had got a $8m play pen, no-one said anything.

Ang moh tua kee? Maybe, because the usual suspects buy into fashionable ang mog ideas, like freedom of the media, free speech, LGBT rights, anal sex, minimum wages, welfare, decent working conditions, free and fair and unrigged elections, accountability etc etc.

Or, as is more likely, they, like PM, but apparently unlike Auntie Sylvia, cannot multi-task?

The one that must be really feeling low and depressed must be Danny the teh-tarik loving SDP bear. He did his NS but unlike these FT bears, he has to borrow money to pay for his 99-yr “bare necessities, no-frills”cave in the sky, while they get VIP caves free.

I wish those calling for the blackout and protest the best of luck. Even though I disagree with them no the need of such actions for now, or even the need to kick up a fuss for now, if less than 5000 turn up at the protest, and only a few sites observe the blackout, the govt will think it has got the measure of the new media here: all noise and dogmatic, cannot organise an orgy in a brothel and popular support. This attitude will not be gd for S’pore. The new media, like water, should not be underestimated: it can be a raging torrent.

“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.” (Las Tzu)

Related Panda posts:


*He hasn’t, though he has created a framework that the govt thinks will enable the govt to control or channel new media. He is only warning them that he has the legal means of snatching their toys, so don’t be qua lan or garang like the M’sian FT protestors or PRC strikers.

One of these days, maybe, on the day of proposed blackout, I’ll blog on why Yaacob is an underrated water engineer, 50-year floods twice in two months, notwithstanding. Go to and click on the exhibit at the bottom of the page. It illustrates what the British will do when the Thames’ waters rise dangerously high: barriers rise from beneath the river’s surface. Likewise, Yaacob’s rules will do the same when the “noise” levels gets dangerously high. In the meantime, our internet flows on, like the Thames. The measures’ effectiveness are debatable given that the new media has been likened to water.

And maybe, I’ll blog on why the blackout and protests are rotten ideas: so PAPpish and old-fashioned. And I tot the usual suspects are anti-PAP and in the vanguard of doing things differently.

Understanding M Ravi’s bi-polar disorder

In Uncategorized on 02/06/2013 at 5:50 am

We know that lawyer Ravi suffers from bi-polar disorder, a mental illness, and suffers relapses every few years.

I had tot that his relapses were always his fault because he has admitted, after the event, that he failed to take his medicine, when he went weird.

When I came across the u/m article article, I learnt that it isn’t that simple. Taking medicine is only part of the treatment. It’s tough being bi-polar.

Holidays are supposed to be a time for relaxation, but not for Charlotte Walker, a mother and blogger with bipolar disorder. She values the opportunity to spend time with her children, but fears that a change from her routine may mess up the mental stability she works hard to achieve.

And Ravi’s passion (or is it madness?) for justice and fair play doesn’t help.

Finally if you appreciate what he is doing, buy his book.

Asean round-up

In Vietnam on 01/06/2013 at 1:40 pm
The Thai central bank by 25 basis points from 2.75 % to 2.5% a year, in an attempt to stem a rise in the baht, which hit a 16-year high last month. And the govt is considering capital controls. But a strong currency is gd for Thai. acquirers.
C.P. Foods of Thailand Looking for Acquisitions Charoen Pokphand Foods of Thailand wants to buy assets in the United States and Europe after it failed to acquire the American pork producer Smithfield Foods.

Warburg Pincus-Led Consortium Buys Stake in Vietnamese Retailer A consortium led by the private equity firm Warburg Pincus has agreed to buy a 20 percent stake in the Vietnamese retailer Vingroup Joint Stock Company for $200 million. REUTERS

The Philippines economy grew 7.8% (beating even China) in the first quarter from a revised 6.8% the previous quarter, beating analysts’ expectations of an increase of just 6%, as sharply higher investments and government spending offset the impact of faltering demand from China, America and Europe that slowed economies elsewhere in the region.

Peru’s Clown Day

In Uncategorized on 01/06/2013 at 10:49 am

These pics will bring a smile even to the most depressed netizen brought low by Yaacob’s alternative to Coc!