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Archive for May, 2014|Monthly archive page

Event planning Pinoy style?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Not having a plan B.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Xenophobia”, “your money” and Humpty Dumpty

In CPF on 30/05/2014 at 4:39 am

In response to questions by the media of the possibility of sounding xenophobic due to the use of the words in the party’s name, “Singaporeans First”, Mr Tan Jee Say said that the words were not meant to disservice foreigners or put locals at the forefront. Rather, it was meant to signify the intention to treat all Singaporeans as equal and to bring back their dignity and self-esteem.

http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2014/05/new-political-party-sfp-made-up-of-mainly-former-civil-servants/

So SPH and MediaCorp journalists think that “S’poreans First” carries tones of “xenophobia”.? So do they think that the “P” in the SPF, PAP and PM stands for “Pinoy”, something the Pinoy Pride organisers seemed to have assumed wrongly. The hacks should like MoM Tan, Amy Khor and other PAPpies realise that people who raise concerns about immigration are not always prejudiced, let alone “xenophobia.

But then to be fair they are not alone in looking down on ordinary S’poreans. So too do middle class and elite kay pohs like Kirsten Han and Constance Singham http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2014/05/civil-society-statement-on-racism-and-xenophobia/, who likewise equate concern about immigration with “xenophobia. And then go on to blame the PAP govt. But then they are in the main anti-PAP paper warriors (with some anti-PAP real-world warriors). And being upper crusts are used to having their cake and eating it.

Calling S’poreans concerned about immigration names just shows that the govt, media and these upper crust kay pohs fail to understand S’poreans’ (self included even though the pro FT policies are gd for me, by keeping inflation in check) concerns on the issue.

Let me be clear, there are some extremists and real loonies on the issue of FTs, but most of those concerned about immigration are juz normal S’poreans who happen not to agree with AWARE (who diss NS and NSmen), Kirsten Han, Mom Tan, Constance Singham, Amy Khor etc.

(BTW great riposte to these FT loving upper crust kay pohs http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2014/05/racism-xenophobia-statement-by-civil-society-groups-disappointing/ from a professor no less)

Money in your CPF account is your money

This is what MoM Tan, a paper general, blogged, inter alia, recently.

Best riposte I’ve come across.

 

http://singaporedaily.net/2014/05/26/daily-sg-26-may-2014/

Come on Baey, surely you can help him come up with better lines? https://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/05/28/pap-needs-a-public-communications-swat-team/. Or maybe you can’t? You no longer the CEO of an int’l PR firm’s S’pore office.

The use of  “xenophobia”and “your money” reminds me of, “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.” *

Have a gd weekend.

————————————————–

*“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
    “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”    Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. “They’ve a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they’re the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”(Thru the Looking-Glass)

Analysts too agree we need FTs

In Economy on 29/05/2014 at 4:53 am

So TRE readers and other anti-PAP paper activists, are the analysts mentioned in u/m Bloomberg articles (and the many others who hold these views)  PAPpy moles?

My point is that on the issue of FTs (esp in the manufacturing sector), the govt ‘s pro FT stance has the support of conventional wisdom.

One striking fact is that even among the best performing metropolitan areas, overall increases in output per capita have been hard to come by. They have been limited to a handful of very brainy cities, especially West Coast tech centres. In general, growth has been a product of population increase large enough to offset falling output per person.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2013/05/migration

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/us-experience-on-growing-gdp-via-productivity/

That the conventional wisdom may be flawed is another issue though.

But those of us who don’t want FTs by the container or cattle truck load or even by the 747 or A380 cattle class, must recognise that the govt’s view is that of conventional wisdom.

—-

“This manufacturing recovery that we’re all hoping for seems to be sputtering again,” said Chua Hak Bin, a Singapore- based Bank of America Corp. economist who worked at the country’s central bank for six years. “Foreign-worker restrictions will be tightened further in July. We think Singapore may not be able to fully capitalize on a global demand upswing because of these constraints.”

Singapore in February said it will tighten rules for companies hiring foreign workers for a fourth straight year, with the next round of measures scheduled to take effect July 1. Manufacturers including Western Digital Corp. have moved operations to other Southeast Asian nations, as employers on the island grappled with the restrictions that raised costs and helped push unemployment to a five-year low in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Singapore’s exports declined in nine out of 11 months last year, faring worse than neighbors from South Korea to Malaysia. Manufacturing output shrank in the fourth quarter from the previous three months, and has grown at about 60 percent the pace of the services industry in the past two years as companies struggled to expand, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“The restructuring has diluted our overall competitiveness,” said Irvin Seah, an economist at DBS Group Holdings Ltd. in Singapore. “It’s not just higher labor costs but it’s also the labor crunch, because when you don’t have enough workers, how are you going to meet that order?”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-12/singapore-exports-recovery-seen-limited-as-worker-shortage-bites.html

CPF: Answering TRE poster & supporters/ NMP on inconvenient CPF truths

In CPF, Economy, Political governance on 28/05/2014 at 4:09 am
Toast Bread:

Will LHL answer just one question please?
Did any Singaporean authorize or consent to CPF locking up our CPF retirement money at 55 ?

Rating: +34 (from 34 votes)

 (On TRE)
Person seems to have forgotten that ever since the PAP introduced the Minimum Sum, PAP keeps getting re-elected. Ever heard of implicit consent? Last election the PAP got 60% of the votes. Still some way to go.
Seriously, elected govts round the world run on their record and the promises they make. By re-electing a govt, the majority of voters accept the entire package.
 …..
Never tot much of this NMP who uses a lot of mascara, was a PAP member (expectations were that she would be a PaPpy MP. But she surprised with her frank remarks on inflation (domestic pressures) and CPF rates( lower than inflation will erode our CPF savings):

Nominated MP Tan Su Shan said that it was probable that Singaporeans had to factor in a higher rate of inflation when calculating their retirement adequacy.

This, given the fact that CPF members enjoy a risk-free interest rate of 2.5 per cent per annum on their Ordinary Account savings, but bearing in mind that inflation in Singapore has averaged 4.1 per cent over the last three years since the economic restructuring journey began.

“This is double the historic average inflation rate of about 2 per cent and will erode our CPF savings,” she said, adding that it would be “useful” for the government to provide a medium-term projection of the country’s inflation rate.

Ms Tan … noted that since the Monetary Authority of Singapore had chosen to maintain a strong and stable Singapore dollar, it was likely that most inflation costs could come from domestic pressures.

“Being able to project the growth rate of our cost of living expenses will help us make the right choices, outside of parking our surplus funds in cash deposits,” she said. (Yesterday’s BT)

Ms Tan is the head of private banking at DBS Bank and is considered to be a possible future CEO, by no less than the chairman. She is a S’porean birther, not a new citizen.

Invest with the Hong Leong gp in contrarian play

In China, Property on 27/05/2014 at 4:49 am

First Sponsor Group Ltd, a real estate group whose controlling shareholders are Hong Leong Group S’pore and Tai Tak Group S’pore, is looking to raise up to $102.1 million, through an IPO and a sale of shares to cornerstone investors.

First Sponsor, whose focus is on residential and commercial properties in tier-two China cities, said it plans to make a share offer of 54.05 million shares at between $1.50 and $1.60 per share. This includes 49.05 million placement shares for institutional investors and high net worth investors, and a public offer of five million shares.

The data from China on property is gloomy. Example:http://pdf.reuters.com/pdfnews/pdfnews.asp?i=43059c3bf0e37541&u=2014_05_20_08_46_baf327d0669d4ae5bc33702b274e2271_PRIMARY.jpg

So the Hong Leong group offering investors to join it in investing in China property is intriguing. The group is a shrewd property investor and so may know something that the ang mohs don’t know. Hitch a ride with First Sponsor and find out?

No NMP for 600,000 S’poreans?

In Humour, Political governance on 26/05/2014 at 5:11 am

(Or “Roy Ngerng for NMP”)

Based on the last presidential election 30% of the voters, 600,000 citizens, will never ever vote for anyone who does not denounce the PAP. Surely, they deserve an NMP of their very own? If the artistic and sports communities (size unknown but surely less than 6000,000 each) can have their very own NMPs, why not these 600,000? They too are a community. But another community of pariahs, like us, heterosexual singletons? But then us, heterosexual singletons, are loners? So not having a NMP doesn’t matter.

That these 600,000 S’poreans have no NMP they can call their own shows the absurdity of appointing NMPs to represent communities. I mean even the LGBTs want an NMP to represent their interests, and I suspect are likely to get one before us singletons and the rabid, anti-PAP voters. Meanwhile NTUC will have its PAP MPs and an NMP, though one a few yrs ago went AWOL or MIA.

If as expected William Wan becomes an NMP, then the FTs will have a vocal, powerful champion. But then there are 2.1m FTs (including PRs), 39% of the total population, and since S’pore is supposed to be “FT paradise”, they surely should get more NMPs?

So all things considered, even though this blog is no friend of Roy Ngerng (even before he got sued, I blogged that he was accusing accused the govt of stealing our CPF money, despite acknowledging him as as a tua kee blogger), the PAP should be gracious to vote him in as NMP to show that the 30% of votersw who vote for any donkey except a PAP ass have a right to representation**. The light blue clones of the MIW are the closest they can get to a real representative.

Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/roys-a-real-sporean/

——————-

*Once upon a time, there was an NMP, Siow Kum Hong, who although no anti-PAPpist, spoke out on things that resonated with this 30%, and other S’poreans. 

**I’m assuming PM wouldn’t make him a bankrupt. Better not say more than that. LOL

One ranking PAP govt and media will never publicise

In Uncategorized on 25/05/2014 at 4:42 am

One ranking PAP govt will not be proud of: see where we stand in diabetes ranjing 11in world. But S’poreans have to take responsibility for diabetes, can’t rely on govt. Govt has never explained why basic diabetes medication can be bot in JB at close to polyclinic charges. Subsidy? What subsidy? It’s a subsidy only to what the private sector charges.

Graphic truncated for those above us. For full pix http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2014/04/daily-chart-15

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

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

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

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

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

https://i2.wp.com/im.ft-static.com/content/images/88906250-b9cc-11e3-957a-00144feabdc0.img

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

 

Send a strong, polite, non-threatening message to the Pinoy party organisers

In Uncategorized on 23/05/2014 at 4:51 am

while helping Team@TRE (the reincarnation of the PAP old guard?) help S’poreans

I recently blogged that the Pinoy organisers had applied for a permit to party at Orchard Party, following the advice of one Goh Meng Seng.  He had called the party a “trespass” on our sovereignty.

Gilbert Goh had said our sovereignty is being threatened and had called for a silent protest if the Pinoy party went ahead.

Here’s my constructive, nation-building suggestion on how those who don’t want the Pinoys to party at Orchard Rd can send a strong, non-violent, non-threatening, polite message to the Pinoy community*, our govt, and other FT lovers, before said party to show their anger.

They should donate money to TRE to fund its plan to increase its servers.

TRE recently asked for more donations* after the latest attack on its website. I’ll let it explain:

Our provider has also suggested that we revert to our original 4 servers setup which is more robust with different servers handling different aspects of the website.
After carefully weighing the options, we have decided to adopt the recommendations and proceed with the implementation of advanced filtering capabilities and deployment of an additional server. Considering that the next general election may be called in the next 12 months or so, it is vital for TRE to be prepared for the worst and to remain online when it is much needed.
The new server setup and add-on advanced filtering capabilities will add an approximately US$1000 per month or US$12,000 a year to our existing operating expenses, which is beyond our budget.
Although the Team@TRE is prepared to fork out and share the additional expenses to the best of our abilities, we would greatly appreciate it if willing and able readers are able to help us defray part of the cost by making a donation.
We are hoping that our kind readers will help us cover at least 50% of the cost if possible, as US$12,000 a year is a huge amount for the team considering most of us are retired.

(Emphasis mine)

Donate $, so that Team@TRE doesn’t have to come out with their own money to serve S’poreans, OK a section of S’poreans. They are serving their readers, and paying for the service.To Team@TRE, being the people’s servant is no motherhood statement.

So Gilbert Goh, or  Goh Meng Seng (or both), start a petition asking people to donate to TRE to show their anger at the Pinoy organisers for organising a party in downtown Orchard Rd.

Coming back to being the people’s servant, can you imagine PM and his ministers working for free, and donating their savings to help S’poreans? They tell us (think Ng, Grace Fu) that taking big discount to what they say is their market worth is already a big sacrifice.

Team@TRE resembles the PAP old guard more than the present cabinet does? When LKY became PM, he cut his pay by half to $4,000**, and also cut his ministers’ and civil servants’ pay too. Devan Nair had said of the old guard:

It is important to appreciate, however, that Lee Kuan Yew and Co. belong to a freak generation. In fact, as individuals, they were quite unrepresentative of the great majority of their social class, the members of which were brought up and educated in the colonial era, and whose major preoccupation was to fend for themselves and feather their own nests … But because the present generation of leaders exceeded their class characteristics and loyalties, and developed a creative vision of a better society, they were able to establish themselves as the modern leaders of Singapore. In more senses than one, this freak generation are the creators of the vibrant and bustling Republic we know today.

(https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/in-1973-devan-nair-foresaw-todays-income-inequality/)

*Doubtless there will be Pinoys who will claim that they feel threatened by these donations. Other examples of Pinoys feeling “threatened”. Funny how easily Pinoys feel threatened when S’poreans, unlike Pinoys at home, don’t carry or use guns. (https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/tightening-ft-immigration-helps-sporeans-pmes/)

**Remember that David Marshall as chief minister was paid $8,000 a month (he said so himself). (https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/what-grace-fu-cant-afford/)

 

Roy’s a real S’porean

In Political governance on 22/05/2014 at 10:22 am

Update on 24 May at 9.15am: PM is not happy with Roy’s apology because Roy has not offered to pay costs and damages. If I were PM’s lawyer, I’d be offended by Roy’s lawyer’s comments on my professional integrity and competency on the issue of costs.  I’d complain to to Law Society. M Ravi forgot to take his pills?

Let’s see if Roy continues to be garang. He’s made his bed, he has to lie in it.

—————–

I’ve heard from several usually reliable sources that Roy Ngerng is holding out on the issue of paying damages. He is willing to apologise to PM but not willing to be saddled with a huge debt (based on the precedents set by the cases lost by Dr Chee and JBJ) the amount can run to millions of $).

Well so Roy is a true-blue S’porean. Words are cheap, but money is a serious matter.

Well at least, we wouldn’t have to bear him pontificating on sacrifice. His willingness to apologise shows his mettle. JBJ or Chee would not apologise.

Actually PM’s been a patient man. I blogged this weeks ago saying Roy must be an alien for blogging

On govt stealing interest from CPF http://sonofadud.com/2014/04/04/cpf-and-hdb-10-real-dirty-tricks/

And on CPF contributions being a tax and CPF being theft despite this study ranking S’pore’s CPF system as the  7th best out of 20 pension systems analysed http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/042914/top-pension-systems-world.asp?utm_source=newstouse&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=NTU-4/30/2014

(https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/pm-police-chief-kirsten-hanheart-truths-are-aliens/)

PM needn’t have waited until Roy decided to compare the CPF system to criminal misappropriation. Roy had been making that point for a long time. Maybe PM was kooning and juz woke up? Or was working so hard trying to find answers to govt policy failures that have upset S’poreans? Think the tpt revamp.

What do you think?

Even rich face non-transparency when buying bonds

In CPF, Financial competency on 22/05/2014 at 4:18 am

(Yes, I’m taking a break from posting on FT-related topics. Normal FT ranting will resume tomorrow.)

ST recently pontificated on the need to make it easier for the “little people” to buy bonds (where in theory only $250,000 is needed for a minimum trade, though the usual dealing size is millions of $). Shortly thereafter, this letter appeared in Forum (BTW, I worked with him when we were both in the central bank. Glad to see that that he is still filthy rich. He went into stockbroking and ran into a rough patch here during the mid 1980s, but recouped his fortune in Perth, I was told).

But before I reproduce the letter, those anti-PAP paper activists who hate the CPF scheme (I’m thinking of you Half Heart Truths) should tell the truth on  CPF returns vis–a-vis govt bonds.  My Facebook Avatar posted this on Siow Kum Hong’s Facebook page (He had praised the 4% but not the 2.5% interest rate)

Don’t be greedy. 10 yr govt paper is less than 2.4%, while 15 yr is 2.7%. Of course investing in Reits a lot higher 5%+. But gd chance of having to retyrn it all via rights issue when there is a recession.

There was once a time when CPF acct holders were screwed (about the time Half Truths was saying rates were 7%). But now it’s a different story. GE coming )))

Now back to the problems very rich face when trying to buy S$ bonds:

Opaque fee structure for secondary bond market
Published on May 13, 2014

I recently bought a sizeable amount of Olam bonds and perpetual notes.

I discovered that bonds in Singapore and abroad are traded over the counter and was shocked by what I learnt about pricing in the secondary market.

While the direction of Olam bond prices was in line with my expectations, the quotations of bid and offer prices were extremely wide. Different banks and stockbroking houses also quoted different bid-offer spreads ranging from 0.75 per cent to 1.25 per cent over a 10-minute period.

Also, these institutions had opaque fee structures. Some banks incorporate their fees in the bid and offer prices, while others charge an additional fee of 0.25 per cent to 3 per cent over and above the spread.

Dealers told me of wealth management and advisory firms charging unsuspecting retail clients up to 3 per cent transaction fees on bonds.

Over one morning, I was given differing quotes from the various departments of a principal bank.

Comparing quotes between major investment banks is another nightmare.

If the Singapore Exchange and investment service practitioners wish to further develop the bond markets here and in Asia, they must come up with a more transparent system of secondary market pricing for retail investors.

The current structure lacks transparent guidelines and uniform fee structures.

Chua Wee Meng (Dr)

– See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/archive/tuesday/premium/forum-letters/story/opaque-fee-structure-secondary-bond-market-20140513#sthash.ihCRqFWc.dpuf

Wah lan, FTs getting their very own NMP?

In Political governance on 21/05/2014 at 4:53 am

This tot crossed my mind when I read that the general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM), Dr William Wan, is applying for the post of Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP). He told the media that his nomination papers were submitted yesterday (14 May).

SKM’s mission is to inspire graciousness through spontaneous acts of kindness, thus making life more pleasant for everyone [Link]. The patron of SKM is PM Lee Hsien Loong and its adviser is Minister Lawrence Wong.

As to why he could be a Trojan Horse (albeit an unwitting and unintended one) for FTs, here is the evidence that made me conclude (reasonably I hope) that he believes,  “In S’pore, FTs are more equal than S’poreans”.

— Dr Wan came out to defend Anton Casey (‘SKM condemns ‘online lynching’ of Anton Casey‘).

The Straits Times then carried an article by Dr Wan in which he condemned the online behaviour of Singaporeans. He felt that Singaporeans had shown a lack of empathy towards Anton Casey.

Casey had described Singapore MRT commuters as “poor people”. He said, “Normal service (after getting his Porsche back from the workshop) can resume, once I have washed the stench of public transport off me FFS!” (FFS is an acronym for “for f**k’s sake”.)

In his article, Dr Wan lamented that “something has gone wrong with us Singaporeans”. He said incidents like Anton Casey “reiterate the need for us to reassess our social media habits”. Defending Casey, Dr Wan surmised that he was perhaps “simply being thoughtless and careless” when he posted the offensive remarks … (TRE)

— He ignored suggestions to show that he cared for S’poreans down on their luck by doing for them a totful, gracious act that he did for FTs.

[T]o show empathy for foreign workers, SKM and Coca-Cola Singapore delivered free cans of Coke to foreign construction workers at a high-rise work site via drones [Link].

Dr Wan said, “What we hope to do is to encourage Singaporeans to make showing appreciation to foreign workers part of our daily lives.” (TRE).

I applaud him (and Coke) for providing the foreign manual workers with cold drinks. It was a totful, gracious gesture.

But I find it strange that he then ignored suggestions that he should arrange for some drinks for S’poreans too. I’ll let TRE tell the story:

TRE has suggested that perhaps he should show empathy for his displaced fellow Singaporeans too (‘How about showing empathy for displaced SG workers?‘).

One suggestion would be to get his volunteers to hand out cans of Coke to Singaporeans seeking employment help at the Workforce Development Agency. There is no need to use any high-tech flying drones in this case – his volunteers just need to stand at the door and give out canned drinks to our fellow Singaporeans who need help and comfort.

He does totful, gracious gestures only for FTs? Doesn’t charity begin at home?

When it was reported that PM got flak for saying on the occasion of an Indian festival: “Singapore belongs to all of us, Singaporeans, new arrivals, people who are on permanent residence here, people who are on employment pass here.”*, I tot that the complainants were going too far. I tot they read too much in the word “belonging” and were being extremely petty and mean.

But, if as it is likely, William Wan, gets to be an NMP, I now can understand and even sympathise with those S’poreans unhappy with the PM’s comments, even if I disagree with their views and pettiness.

BTW, wonder why PM left out those on S Passes and work permits, many of whom are Pinoys, and Indians when he said, “Singapore belongs to all of us, Singaporeans, new arrivals, people who are on permanent residence here, people who are on employment pass here.”? Very strange given that he was talking on the occasion of an Indian festival and given the data

[T]here has been a significant increase for S Pass holders between Dec 2011 to Dec 2013.

47,000 to be exact.

This is 15,900 or 51% more, as compared to the period of Dec 2009 to Dec 2011.

Work permit holders increase substantially too, by 77,000 during the period of Dec 2011 and Dec 2013. It’s a 47% or 24,700 increase from previous 2 years.

Our total foreign workforce increased by 123,700 between Dec 2011 to Dec 2013 – that’s more than 60,000 each year.

(http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2014/05/foreign-workforce-numbers-moderating-or-increasing/)

An honest mistake by PM? Or should we read something in his omission of S Pass and Work Permit holders? What do you think?

——-

*At a grassroots event in Ang Mo Kio to celebrate the Indian New Year, Mr Lee was reported to have said that “the event was an embodiment of the theme as well as on a larger scale where everyone participates as one big Singapore family” and that Singapore was a place “where we all celebrate one another’s festivals and happy events together.”

He added that “Singapore belongs to all of us”, which he said included “Singaporeans, new arrivals, people who are on permanent residence here, people who are on employment pass here.”

Tightening FT immigration helps S’poreans PMEs

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

Al least for finance and accounting professionals.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Pinoy organisers give the finger to GMS, GG and friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——

*“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
    “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”    Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. “They’ve a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they’re the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”(Thru the Looking-Glass)
https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/05/17/our-flag-kanna-burn-blame-pro-prc-ft-policies/
**Correct as of few yrs back. Don’t have the latest figure.

 

PRC workers: Hard working but willing to strike and riot

In Uncategorized on 18/05/2014 at 4:59 am

This is Ibaraki, the garden of Japan. The deep alluvial soils can produce up to five vegetable crops a year if properly looked after … a line of young men are bent double, a knife in one hand a basket in the other. They are rapidly cutting the tall, green spinach and placing each bunch carefully in a basket. The only Japanese man working here is Yoshinori Kitajima, the farm’s owner. All of the others are Chinese.

For the last 10 years Mr Kitajima has been hiring Chinese “trainees” to work on his farm. He admits his business would not survive without them. Young Japanese simply would not do this sort of work anymore.

Working side by side with the young men from poor villages in central China has given Mr Kitajima a new regard for his Chinese neighbours.

“When I work with these trainees, I can feel they are pure and genuine,” he said.

“They remind me of Japanese people from a previous generation. They still have the spirit of working together. This is something we in Japan have lost.”

He calls them trainees because officially they are here to study and can only stay three years. But across the country, there are now at least 100,000 Chinese “students” working on Japan’s farms and in Japanese factories.

(Apologies no attribution for this. Forgot to record at time of cutting and pasting, many moons ago: sorry leh, lazy to google. Suspect was Economist)

Well one LKY would agree with him.

They should remember that PRC workers while no slouchers are quite happy to riot (overturn police cars, damage private property) and strike. They are not docile sheep, unlike Japa and S’poreans.

BTW, these trainees remind me of the use of Pinoys, PRCs etc in our super markets once upon a time: on training in S’pore meh. Now no need such excuse. when these practice returns, I’m willing to believe govt that it ‘s tightening FT inflow

 

Our flag kanna burn, blame pro PRC FT policies?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 “I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
    “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

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

(Thru the Looking-Glass)

Have a gd weekend.

—-

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

 

No security breach, but “secured” premises vandalised?

In Political governance, Public Administration on 16/05/2014 at 4:45 am

(Or “PR spinning goes mad” or “‘Ponding’ revisited”)

There was “no breach of security measures” by the Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council in relation to the vandalism case in Toa Payoh … said Dr Teo Ho Pin* (CNA).  Graffiti was found along the rooftop of Block 85A at Toa Payoh Lorong 4. on 8 May and five 17-year-olds have been charged with vandalism.

Earlier, on 5 May, a train at the Bishan depot was spray-painted with graffiti. This is the third time vandals have struck a key transport facility in four years, and the second time a train in Bishan depot has been vandalised . In the latest case, reports said the depot’s perimeter fence was intact, and SMRT has yet to confirm any security breach, CNA reported.

So how did the vandals get in undetected to deface the property and then get out again undetected? Goh Meng Sen** allowed the vandals to use his UFO’s  teleporting machine to get in and in and out of the secured premises, is it?

Come on SMRT and Dr Teo, if vandals can get in and out of secured premises, then there were breaches of security. Let’s not indulge in word games to try look gd. These semantics only make you look stupid, and remind S’poreans that only the PM has cockles with a certain dish.

Dr VivianB put an end to claims by his officials that Orchard Rd wasn’t flooded, it was juz “ponded”. He sneered at their claims of “ponding”. Much credit we netizens gave him, showing how much he is disliked in cyberspace.

Mr Teo Chee Hean should show SMRT and Dr Teo why he was brought in as Home Minister. It had become a sex holiday camp during Wong Kan Seng’s long tenure there and Mr Teo made it fit for purpose again, looney M’sians braching borders excepted.

He should publicly  take SMRT and Dr Teo to task for trying to PR their way out of security failures that could have jeopardise lives, and further damage the PAP govt. If terrorists had breached these premises, and people had died, S’poreans would know that the PAP govt is a paper tiger when it comes to protecting S’poreans against terrorists.

Worse, imagine if the terrorists were the people Gilbert Goh or Goh Meng Seng love to trash, and MoM Tan, PM and his ministers, Kirsten Han and Maruah love to embrace: FTs?

All hell would break lose, and rightly so given that the PAP govt prides itself on keeping S’pore safe and on its love of FTs. S’poreans would be rational in thinking that when security and FT policies contradict one another, the security of S’pore and S’poreans suffer.

So pls Me Teo, pls wake up and go wake up Dr Teo’s and General Kuek’s. ideas. It’s OK to sleep in Parly (white elephant only) but not on the day-job of keeping S’pore safe.

—–

*CNA tells us how the vandals got in:.

Channel NewsAsia has been trying to figure out how the vandals could have reached the rooftop without using the trap door.

Looking at the place, one can see a small opening which leads to the roof. There are also stains on the walls, which could mean that the vandals could have placed a ladder against the walls to get to the opening.

If allowing a small opening to remain is not a security breach, what is, Dr Teo?

Dr Teo stressed that the PAP town councils take a serious view of the security and safety of roofs and water tanks at HDB blocks.

He said that over the last three years, the town councils have set up a security protocol on rooftop access.

Dr Teo said: “The town councils have set up three lines of defence to make sure that (only) authorised personnel can go up to the rooftop of our HDB flats.

“So we have, first of all, secured locks to make sure that all the trap doors and all the doors are properly locked using a very robust lock system.

“We also make sure that our water tanks are all with brackets — they are all bolted down to make sure that nobody can vandalise (them).

“At the same time, we have an authorised access system where only authorised persons can go up the roof.”

The town councils believe the present security system is adequate to prevent any unauthorised access to the roofs. However, they will need to evaluate if the breach is caused by other factors.

How can measures be adequate, yet there is a breach, causing a need to evaluate if the breach is caused by other factors.

**Maybe taz why GMS is AWOL or MIA yet again. He was leading the charge against the Pinoys’ party but has gone quiet. Maybe modifying his teleporter (with the help of Tan kin Lian) to zap Pinoys who party at his sacred spot and transfere to Filipino Lucky Plaza, where the Pinoys have de-facto sovereignty?

Have a gd weekend. Tune in next week. Plenty on garang Pinoys planning on taking on GG and GMS.

 

 

Why Alex Fergurson is a financial genius

In Financial competency on 15/05/2014 at 4:16 am

Sir Alex Ferguson, who retired as Manchester United’s manager last year, was remarkable in his outperformance: over 19 seasons his teams gained 15 points more on average than would have been expected given the amount the club spent on wages. These margins matter. Had he been an average manager, he would have won just one title. Instead, he won eleven. 

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2014/05/daily-chart-6

No wonder the Jewish owners worshiped him enough to allow him to choose his successor, another thrifty Scots who did better than the stats would predict. Too bad the successor was promoted beyond his ability and failed to win games.

What I don’t understand is why he changed MU’s training regime, annoying players and staff. It was a well oiled machine.

 

People that the PAP fear?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

———–

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

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

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

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

 

When do you need to use financial adviser that charges fees

In Financial competency, Financial planning on 13/05/2014 at 4:50 am

The UK has a regime whereby advisers are charged a fee for financial advice from investment advisers: no more commission-based income.

Fidelity caculated that sterling 61,000 was the minimum amount when it made sense to use fin adviser. This works out to about S$128,000.

Anything less, it is cheaper to take the risk of getting taken for a ride by yr insurance agent or financial planner who gets commissions from the manufacturers of the products that he or pushes?

Thinking of London property? Think Hwa Hong?

In Property on 12/05/2014 at 4:43 am

Singaporeans are the biggest overseas force in the British capital. The Chinese are a’coming though:

It takes a long trip on the London underground to get to the Aura housing development. From Waterloo Station, 42 minutes tick by until you pull into Edgware, the stop nearest to the half-completed apartment blocks being built on land formerly occupied by a now-bankrupt football club. Attempt the journey at the weekend, when large swathes of the tube are typically shut, and you must make a detour to nearby Canon’s Park station. From there, you face a 15-minute trek taking in a boarded-up pub, a Lidl supermarket and a municipal office block with smashed ground-floor windows. In every sense, you are a long way from what estate agents like to call “prime central London.”

Yet projects like Aura say a lot about how London’s property bubble is changing. Six thousand miles away, on the thirteenth floor of Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental hotel, a host of investors cluster around a scale model of this latest addition to northwest London’s housing stock. Some are affluent middle-class Hong Kong couples looking to invest a couple of hundred thousand pounds for the long term. Others are looking for a quick flip. They plan to put down 10 percent of the purchase price now, wait for values to rise, and sell for a tidy profit before the development opens to residents next year.

The smarter Chinese investors think differently from the average Russian oligarch billionaire seeking a London pad. Both like London’s stable politics. But many Chinese buyers are seeking the 5 percent-plus rental yields that can now only be found far from London’s over-inflated centre, where sub-3 percent yields are common.

There’s also plenty of less clever Chinese money, though. Three years ago, mainland China hosted just seven international property exhibitions, according to a person familiar with the situation. Now there are 200 filling huge halls with eager would-be property investors who neither speak English nor know where they are buying. Unscrupulous developers retouch sales images so that Canary Wharf appears to be right next to Tower Bridge, rather than three miles further down the Thames. One unfortunate investor in search of a London address wound up with a property in Lincolnshire.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2014/04/14/how-china-is-stoking-londons-housing-bubble/

Why think Hwa Hong?

Hwa Hong Corporation is the latest local developer to set its sights on the vibrant London property market. The listed company recently bought a stake in a residential building in the posh neighbourhood of Kensington. The deal was transacted via a wholly-owned unit which bought a 19% stake in an investment vehicle for $9.9 million. The six-storey freehold property is on Allen Street, which is within 100m from Kensington High Street.

Hwa Hong’s portfolio of properties in London includes freehold residential developments in Queensgate and Hornton Street. At the same time, it also has stakes in office buildings in Central London, Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield. In the local scene, Hwa Hong has jointly developed the 545-unit freehold condominium RiverGate in Robertson Quay with CapitaLand.

According to Mr Ong Eng Yaw, investment manager of Hwa Hong, he said the firm has always viewed investing in Britain as a means to diversity its property portfolio. He added that Hwa Hong has been able to make sound returns from the investments in the UK and will continue to leverage their knowledge on the market there to explore further opportunities.

http://www.iproperty.com.sg/news/7861/-Local-developer-Hwa-Hong-buys-into-upscale-London-area

FTR, I’m a v.v. contented long-term shareholder in Hwa Hong, once a grab-bag of investments, now a property-owner in S’pore and the UK. The CEO, a Mr Ong Choo Eng, studied at Queen Mary college, London, and has over many yrs dabbled via Hwa Hong in the London property market. His family is the controlling shareholder and the co is like its investment trust, family office. I’m not complaining though. If anything I’d want it to increase its gearing to o.46 (in 2009) from o,22, (albeit an increase since 2010). Interest cover is now a whooping 39.85. Lots of room to expand borrowing.

Every few yrs, co makes a huge special bonus dividend. Its yearly dividend yield of 3% is nothing to sneer at.

Check out the annual report esp the list of its London and other UK properties, and its UK income and non-current assets ( I’m assuming that these are property related). And draw yr own conclusions. I’m juz a gundog, you the reader have to decide whether there’s a bird in the bush, and whether to pull the trigger. BTW, I added a few more Hwa Hong shares to my portfolio recently.

Why global education league rankings are meaningless

In Hong Kong, Uncategorized on 11/05/2014 at 4:27 am

South Korea is rated number one according to this ranking* by Pearson and the EIU. And other education league tables also rank it highly.

But we know that over 200 Southern Korean students obeyed orders, and drowned as a result.They behaved like sheep rather than intelligent human beings.They were not sceptical enough. Is this what education all about? Behaving like sheep?

BTW, we are third and I’m sure our students would have obeyed orders too, like the Japs (second), and drowned. (Can’t be sure about the Hongkies 4th.  (http://www.bbc.com/news/business-27314075). I suspect the Hongkie kids would have disobeyed orders, HK’s that kind of place, Hongkies not afraid to protest. Power to them)

If behaving like sheep is the result of the best education system in the world, I’d rather be an American kid ( USranked 14th)

— it’s an American teenager from Hicksville USA (actually Mississippi) who started a campaign that made Coke and Pepsi drop an ingredient in their sports drinks. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27300185

— And remember this 5-yr-0ld American boy who is a Microsoft recognised security researcher for spotting an Xbox flaw? https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/v-v-good-at-solving-paper-problems-so-what-more-peanuts/

When the PAP govt and its trumpeters and drummers in our constructive, nation-building media laud our education system citing these int’l league tables, remember the Korean kids who drowned. My test would be, “Which countries’ kids are least likely to have drowned?”

—-

*These rankings are based upon an amalgamation of international tests and education data – including the OECD’s Pisa tests, and two major US-based studies, Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (Timss) and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (Pirls).

They also include higher-education graduation rates, which helped the UK to a much higher position than in Pisa tests,

Dr Doom buys into Asean

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

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

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

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

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

As usual he is a super bear over the US.

 

Waz so special about downtown Orchard Rd, GG?

In Humour on 09/05/2014 at 5:23 am

I can’t stop laughing at Gilbert Goh’s assertion that downtown Orchard Rd and in particular Civil Plaza Ngee Ann City is so sovereign a place that by partying there our sovereignty is being threatened.

Civil Plaza Ngee Ann City.is sacred soil.

The Filipinos can celebrate it in the embassy ground, hotel ballroom or even in a park but doing it in downtown Orchard Road is a slap to our face and more importantly give us the feeling that our sovereignty is being threatened.

We also guard our independence zealously and would not want to share it with any other nationality.
– See more at: http://www.transitioning.org/2014/05/07/protest-against-philippines-independence-celebration-on-8-june-11am-at-civil-plaza-ngee-ann-city/#sthash.hX4eH8rC.dpuf

Somehow  GG, I don’t think the Filipinos are claiming sovereignty, de jure or de facto, over sowntown Orchard Rd, even though I’m sure that if they wanted to they could claim de jure sovereignty over Filipino Lucky Plaza. But the Pinoys have two fights with the Chinese (Chinese giving pinoys the bird) over rocks in the South China Sea and are begging Uncle Sam to help them. Taz Pinoy Pride for you: always relying on white elder brudder.

I can understand (though not agree with) the call to make the Pinoy event on 8 June a private affair on embassy grounds, or a hotel ballroom. But why is it OK to hold it in a public park (last yr) but not in downtown Orchard Rd? Waz so special about downtown Orchard Rd, that a party there means our sovereignty is being threatened.

Does GG understand the meaning of “sovereignty” as it is understood in public int’l law? From those who know this topic, apparently not.

BTW, GMS in a comment here promised a thesis on how our sovereignty is violated by Pinoy partying in Civil Plaza. Still waiting lor. Suspect that by the time GMS stands in in next GE, he still wouldn’t have delivered his analysis. It’s a shame as I  didn’t do public int’l law at law school and had looked forward to GMS analysis.

Maybe they are mixing up sovereignty with our national religion and our nation ideology, crass materialism? Downtown Orchard Rd is our temple of materialism, our sacred soil, our Holy of Holies. If then say so.

Oh but then maybe GG is another alien brought here in UFO Goh Meng Seng. He like PM, the police chief, Kirsten Hanand Heart Truths are aliens. In GG’s S’pore in another time and space downtown Orchard Rd is disputed sovereign territory juz like the rocks in the South Chins Sea are in this world.

Double confirm he’s an alien here via Goh Meng Seng’s UFO. He asks the Pinoys, Moreover, will you be happy if we celebrate our national day in a downtown shopping belt in Manila by the thousands openly waving our flag and signing our national anthem?

Having lived in Manila, I’m sure the Filipinos wouldn’t mind, though they would ask us to also fly the Filipino flag and sing their nation anthem. But most probably thaz not the case in GG’s Philippines in another space and time.

My serious point is that the antics of GG, Goh Meng Seng and friends make it easier for the likes of PM and his Pappies and  Kirsten Han to paint tar people like me who oppose the PAP govt’s policy of “FTS all the way” as irrational.

And I resent that GG uses “We” to include me. I’ve not given him my permission to include me among his nutters.

The Filipinos can celebrate it in the embassy ground, hotel ballroom or even in a park but doing it in downtown Orchard Road is a slap to our face and more importantly give us the feeling that our sovereignty is being threatened.

We also guard our independence zealously and would not want to share it with any other nationality.

– See more at: http://www.transitioning.org/2014/05/07/protest-against-philippines-independence-celebration-on-8-june-11am-at-civil-plaza-ngee-ann-city/#sthash.hX4eH8rC.dpuf

Asiasons: Hero to Zero to …

In Financial competency, Private Equity on 08/05/2014 at 5:13 am

I looked at it when it fell to 40cents. But decided to give it a miss as its financial statements didn’t help me understand the company. A few weeks ago, I tot of buying a few hundred thousand shares at 5 cents on the premise that nothing could go wrong given that chairman and one of the controlling shareholders  Mohammed Azlan Hashimwho is also a director of Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah. Mohammad Azlan is also the former executive chairman of the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange*.

I also had a lot of respect for the guys behind the co based on their actions: see above link.

But I was in no hurry: didn’t see the stock going anywhere. I’ll let yesterday’s BT take up the story:

Asiasons Capital shares have suffered much pain but, unlike many of its penny stock cohorts, the private-equity firm and its top executives are not being investigated by Singapore’s white-collar crime buster for possible breaches of securities laws.

After getting battered to a low of 3.8 cents on Monday, Asiasons shares gained some ground yesterday, ending the day some 5 per cent higher at four cents, still a far cry from the high of $2.83 it hit last October days before the stock came crashing down.

Amid the penny stock controversy surrounding trading in its shares and investigations into several firms linked to it by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), one of Asiasons’ founders and chairman, Mohammed Azlan Hashim, has called it a day at the firm.

On April 28, the firm said the 57-year-old, a prominent corporate figure in Malaysia, had volunteered to retire as non-independent and non-executive chairman, a post he had held for seven years.

He now only has a 3.8%  direct interest in Asiasons. Previous in addition to this he had deemed interests of 50% (along with others) via other vehicles. Ng Teck Wah,  one of the joint MDs too is resigning, though he retains his deemed interests.

This leaves only Datuk Jared Lim Chih Li is a co-founder and Joint Managing
Director of Asiasons Capital Limited and also a director of
Chaswood Resources Holdings Ltd. Datuk Jared was formerly
a Non-Executive Director of ISR Capital Limited and he
retired on 25 April 2013.
Datuk Jared is the visionary behind the setting up of an
Asian-owned and Locally-grown private equity fund and
conceptualized Asiasons’ investment model of combining
traditional value enhancing exercises with branding, design
and online strategies.
Prior to the formation of the Asiasons Group in 2007, Datuk
Jared was an investment banker with Avenue Securities and
was responsible for the setting up of the corporate finance
unit, eventually building it up to a 40 man strong unit with a
strong track record in Equity offerings, Restructurings, M&A
and Bond Issues. Datuk Jared built a niche in Malaysia in cross
border equity offerings involving PRC enterprises, which
eventually led to his conviction that it was timely to start an
Emerging East Asian private equity model.
Datuk Jared is also a successful entrepreneur and is the
Chairman of the privately owned Be Group in Malaysia. The
Be Group is a boutique style Property and Lifestyle Group
comprising award winning properties and award winning
lifestyle brands in food and beverages and Wellness.
Datuk Jared has a Bachelors degree in Economics and
Accounting from the University of Bristol and obtained a First
Class in Masters of Finance from the University of Hull and
the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualification.
(From 2013 annual report)

Is he worth a punt?

——

*Dato’ Mohammed Azlan is the co-founder and Chairman of
Asiasons Capital Limited and also the Chairman of Chaswood
Resources Holdings Ltd. He is the senior statesman in the
Asiasons Group and is an established corporate figure with
interests in Malaysia and Singapore. He is instrumental in
building Asiasons’ relationships with government authorities
and large corporates across the region and provides Asiasons
with strong governance credibility given his previous tenure
as Executive Chairman of Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange and
current quasi governmental roles.
He has extensive experience in the corporate sector
especially in financial services and investment management.
Aside from his tenure as Chairman of the Stock Exchange
in Malaysia, he also served as Group Chief Executive of
Bumiputra Merchant Bankers, Group Managing Director of
Amanah Capital Malaysia Berhad.
Dato’ Azlan is currently a Board Member of various
government and government related organizations including,
Labuan Financial Services Authority, Khazanah Nasional
Berhad (the investment arm of the Government of Malaysia).
He also serves on the Investment Panels of Employees
Provident Fund of Malaysia and the Malaysian Government
Retirement Fund Incorporated. He is also currently Chairman
of various public listed entities in Singapore, Malaysia, and
United Kingdom, including D&O Green Technologies Berhad,
SILK Holdings Berhad, Aseana Properties Limited, Scomi
Group Bhd and Deputy Chairman, IHH Healthcare Berhad.
A Chartered Accountant by profession, Dato’ Azlan
graduated with a Bachelor of Economics from Monash
University, Australia. He is a Fellow Member of the Institute
of Chartered Accountants, Australia, Malaysian Institute
of Directors, Institute of Chartered Secretaries and
Administrators, Member of Malaysian Institute of Accountants,
and Honorary Member of Institute of Internal Auditors
Malaysia.

 

PM’s idea of saving our lunch

In Economy, Malaysia, Public Administration on 07/05/2014 at 4:54 am

Is to let FTs come in and eat it? And our dinner, supper and breakfast too.

“We can’t tell our competition to go away. They want to eat our lunch, we know that. They want to eat our dinner, we suspect that. We can’t stop them from wanting, but we can make sure we can hold our own, and we can eat our own lunch.” (PM’s May Day speech)

So long as the govt allows PMET FTs in by cattle-class on A380s and 747s (an improvement from the container load, I must admit), taz the effect even if  as PM cont’d*, “We can provide you the resources and the means to stay one step ahead of the competition, and we will have a Singapore system which we can work together to build, to maximise your potential, maximise your contributions.”

From this week’s Economist, “Bill Martin and Robert Rowthorn, economists at Cambridge University, argue that one reason for Britain’s poor post-crisis productivity is that low wages encouraged firms to rely on human labour for low-skilled work, rather than investing in machines and software. Wage rises should start to reverse that trend, boosting investment and workers’ productivity.” Emphasis mine

This stands the Hard Truth that productivity must come before wage rises on its head.

But maybe this Hard Truth will be ditched before the next GE, even if LKY hasn’t “moved on” by then?”

Yesterday, ST reported, Singapore cannot be a First World economy with Third World costs, said Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang yesterday at a lunch dialogue with prominent European diplomats and business leaders based here.

But he also assured them that Singapore will stay competitive and business-friendly even as it restructures the economy to achieve quality growth.

Responding to a question from the floor on rising business costs, Mr Lim said: “We have to acknowledge that, over time, Singapore cannot be a First World economy with Third World costs.”

Actually the only thing here about “third world” costs is that our PMETs and other true blue S’porean workers are paid “peanuts”. Other costs like property rentals, petrol, utility bills are among the highest in the world. and the cost of cars are out of this world. Remember the govt tried to debunk a UBS survey of cities which showed that KL had a better ranking because the cost of living there was more in line with wage levels than S’pore? Though to be fair, public tpt fares are reasonable by NY, or London standards, or even that of Brisbane.And healthcare is reasonably priced if one uses the public healthcare system.

So oldies like me who are not 110% behind the PAP had better watch out: wage repression has been gd for us. We are like suckling pigs voting for CNY, sheep for Ramadan or turkeys for Christmas. If LKY calls me “daft”, he is right as usual.

Coming back to PM, and saving our lunch while continuing the “FTs are best” policy, PM should remember what an American officer asked,during the battle of Huế**,“Did we have to destroy the town in order to save it?”.

He should be asking himself if Hard Truths require that FTs eat locals’ lunch and more so that S’pore’s GDP can continue to grow?

——-

*[Update at 1.33pm} I juz read that PM said yesterday that “the number of foreign workers in the country is still growing, though not as fast as before.” (CNA). It was so fast, that if it had cont’d at the rate between 2006- 2011, we’d be having serious overcrowding problems.

** The Battle of Huế during 1968 (also called the Siege of Huế), was one of the bloodiest and longest battles of the Vietnam War (1959–1975). Battalions of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), two U.S. Army battalions, and three understrength U.S. Marine Corps battalions defeated 10 battalions of the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN or NVA) and the Viet Cong (Việt Cộng or VC, also known as National Liberation Front or NLF).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Hu%E1%BA%BF

Citi prefers M’sian equities to S’porean ones

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

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

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

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

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

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

(BT 2 May 2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jokes about aliens and GMS aside, maybe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“But that’s 20-20 hindsight.”

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

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

CNA extract

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author is hubby of  ST’s editor.

Exotic world of US-listed EFTs — What S’poreans are missing

In ETFs, Financial competency, Financial planning on 04/05/2014 at 10:29 am

Of course Mah Bow Tan http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/05/01/netizens-agog-at-mah-bow-tans-fortune/and other millionaire ministers (present and retired) are not among these ‘lesser mortals”..

EFTs are created in the US to enable individual retail investors the ability to access hedge funds, long-short strategies and other areas of the market previously off limits. Here are some of the best picks.

The $700 million IQ Hedge Multi-Strategy Tracker ETF (NYSE:QAI) could be an interesting starting point. As one of the oldest alts ETFs, the fund is basically a hedge fund in one ticker. QAI hopes to replicate risk-adjusted returns of hedge funds using various hedge fund investment styles. It does this by using other liquid ETFs. Current top holdings include the Vanguard Total Bond Market (NYSE:BND) and PowerShares Senior Loan (Nasdaq:BKLN). So far, QAI has managed to provide consistent returns since its inception. Another broad hedge fund style ETF choice could be the ProShares Hedge Replication ETF (NYSE:HDG).

The biggest category of alts fall under the managed futures banner. These strategies take advantage of price trends across different futures contracts including commodities, currencies and stock index derivatives. The WisdomTree Managed Futures Strategy (Nasdaq:WDTI) tracks the Diversified Trends Indicator- which is the benchmark managed futures index. So far, performance for WDTI has been pretty poor as commodities have fallen by the wayside and stocks have rallied. However, that highlights WDTI’s non-correlated status.

Finally, market neutral or absolute return strategies could be winners as volatility returns to the market. The new First Trust High Yield Long/Short ETF (Nasdaq:HYLS) goes long on junk bonds while shorting treasury bonds to profit from the spread and reduce interest rate risk, while the Credit Suisse Merger Arbitrage ETN (Nasdaq:CSMA) uses M&A to profit. CSMA seeks to gain from the spread between when an acquisition is announced and the final purchase price is made. Both funds won’t “hit it out of the park,” but will deliver consistent returns for portfolios.

http://www.investopedia.com/stock-analysis/040714/dose-alternatives-may-do-your-portfolio-some-good-qai-hdg-wdti-rly.aspx?utm_source=basics&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Basics-4/11/2014

Buying dividend stocks: downsides

In Financial competency on 03/05/2014 at 9:19 am

From FT

However, fund managers warn against simply picking stocks with the highest dividends.

“High dividend yields are a factor when picking stocks,” says Romain Boscher, head of equities at Amundi. But there are other important reasons for choosing a company, such as cash flows, to check the sustainability of a high dividend.”

Dividend cover, which calculates the ratio of earnings to dividends, has been improving as although companies have been increasing dividend payouts, earnings have been growing faster.

Even so, Mr Stout points out that some pension funds are reluctant buyers of equity. “It is a Hobson’s choice. Equities offering relatively high dividend yields are not necessarily investable for funds governed by perceived low-risk criteria. They do not have a proper choice as buying gilts offers a negative real return.”

Will Low, head of equity at Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, warns that shares are still considered risk assets and may not provide the answer in a worst-case scenario of a reversing, deflationary world economy.

He says: “We do not expect deflation, but it is a possibility. In such a scenario, the safest assets are government bonds. Equity income funds and companies offering high dividends are a better bet in equities, but they are not a guaranteed bet, particularly given this is now a more widespread consensus view.”

If Mr Rockefeller was alive today, he would no doubt, like some asset managers, draw hope from rising equity dividends. However, he would also likely be one of the first to admit that they are not necessarily the panacea in an uncertain world.

Investment myths or facts?

In Financial competency on 02/05/2014 at 9:12 am

(On auto-pilot until Monday. Financial competency stuff in the meantime)

Exposed: Wall St’s secret 18.79% investment plan

http://www.moneynews.com/MKTNews/wall-street-secret-calendar-investments/2014/01/08/id/546008/?PROMO_CODE=16366-1

Wimmin are not better investors than men

Indeed the notion that risky behaviour is a particularly male trait is quite new, as Josephine Maltby and Janette Rutterford argue in “The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Finance”. In the eighteenth century speculation was considered an inherently feminine indulgence. Financial markets, from the time of the South Sea Bubble, were compared to female flightiness, unpredictability and dependence on “self-generated hysteria”. This changed in the nineteenth century, as investment came to be seen as a masculine, rational activity, of which whimsical women were incapable. Since then the view has prevailed that women are naturally wary.

The Merrill Lynch report found that both men and women are subject to strong emotional influences that can affect their investing habits for good or ill. Such influences do not in themselves predict failure or success …

Unsurprisingly, the bank suggests that a good way to do that is to seek help from a financial adviser.

Expenses matter

men and women make similar investment decisions, but that women’s returns are better because they don’t buy and sell shares as often, so incur fewer fees.

Related posts:

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/costs-savings-in-airlines-every-little-bit-counts/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/still-relevant-today/

PM, police chief, Kirsten Han, Heart Truths are aliens?

In Economy, Financial competency, Humour on 01/05/2014 at 5:07 am

Here via UFO Meng Seng?

This funny take on a recent scientific finding* http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/04/11/pap-makes-use-of-oxytocin-to-manipulate-us/ provoked the usual “PAP will be defeated in the next GE” BS.

Well after the next GE, when the PAP wins (albeit hopefully with only 51% of the popular vote, and a GRC or two falls to the SDP, and the WP retains their seats), I wonder if the same TRE posters who proclaims victory in the next GE will blame the PAP for for putting oxytocin into the water supply? They might as well start blaming VivianB now?

After all these TRE posters who say the PAP will be defeated in the next GE belong on the same planet as the PM**, police commissioner (he excluded NS men from his calculations of police to people ratio http://trulysingapore.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/inaccurate-police-force-to-resident-ratio-figure/)***, Kirsten Han (who thinks that S’poreans can have a dialogue with the govt on its pro-FT policies) and Heart Truths ****.

Their reality of S’pore is different from that of mine, and I suspect of most ordinary S’poreans (esp the 35% whose minds can be changed by rational arguments), Their reality is only slightly different; but juz enough to tell us that they are aliens from an alternate S’pore, in a different time and space, who came here on a UFO piloted by one Goh Meng Seng, assisted by his buddy Tan Kin Lian.

My serious point is that no-one group has a monopoly of saying or thinking irrational, stupid things. We are all stupid. It’s juz that are more stupid than others, and don’t realise their stupidity.

Good long weekend.

————————————————

*Members of a group are more likely to lie after they inhale the “love hormone” oxytocin, a study has found.

This hormone is known to be released during close bonding between groups, and mothers also release it during childbirth and breastfeeding.

The results suggest that individuals in closely bonded groups are more likely to lie when it benefits the group than when it only benefits the individual. http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26771703

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“But that’s 20-20 hindsight.”

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

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

CNA extract

Success what success? Real wages grew by only 0.4% while GDP grew by 5.9% . while the prices of public housing apartments went up in a recession.

And belonging? What belonging? When FTs can hold events in public spaces, and S’poreans are ghettorised in Hong Lim?

***Wonder what the ratio would be like if  Cisco officers are included (they still wear uniforms that look like police uniforms) are included. I tot of calculating the ratio but there doesn’t seem to be any information available via a google search.

****On govt stealing interest from CPF http://sonofadud.com/2014/04/04/cpf-and-hdb-10-real-dirty-tricks/

And on CPF contributions being a tax and CPF being theft despite this study ranking S’pore’s CPF system as the  7th best out of 20 pension systems analysed http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/042914/top-pension-systems-world.asp?utm_source=newstouse&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=NTU-4/30/2014