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Archive for September, 2014|Monthly archive page

True blue oldies will save economy, not FTs

In Economy on 30/09/2014 at 5:07 am

Especially not FTs like Hui Hui.

Government figures released by the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD — the same people who came up with the population White Paper that was rubbished by scholars) last Thursday show that the total population grew at its slowest pace in 10 years, expanding just 1.3% to 5.47m  as of June this year and generally painted a picture of doom and gloom.with have negative repercussions on the economy.

But according to the unhelpful, not constructive BT (26 September), * some economists say the situation may not be as dire as generally predicted, since more older citizens are opting to work past retirement age.

Said UOB economist Francis Tan: “The support ratio worsening is just one side of things. Other factors are also at play here: the government is incentivising older workers to stay employed; people are questioning whether their retirement savings are enough so they’re continuing to work; the government’s foreign worker quotas are forcing companies to provide higher wages and that has enticed more elderly people at the margins to join the job market.

“Taken together, these conditions should make us less worried about this scary 5.2 old-age support ratio. I’m not saying the downward trend is not a concern, but I think we can’t look at population numbers purely on their own – we need to look at labour market trends too.”

Indeed, according to figures from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the total labour force participation rate of residents aged 65-69 have increased dramatically from a decade ago. While this stood at 19.5 per cent in 2003, it climbed to 27.5 per cent five years later in 2008, before spiking up to 40.2 per cent in 2013.

After all despite or because of the tight labour market, MOM said in January this year that the labour force participation rate rose to a new high in 2013, driven by women and older residents, BT pointed out.

Noted OCBC economist Selena Ling: “If the retirement age changes to 67, that will skew the ratio for sure as more elderly (persons) rejoin the workforce. Then the reality may not be as bad as what the (population) numbers suggest.”

Whatever it is Mr Tan, Ms Ling, and other economists are concerned about the nation’s lacklustre fertility rate and swiftly ageing population.

Said DBS economist Irvin Seah: “This demographic shift is perhaps the biggest challenge facing Singapore… The situation isn’t easy to reverse, and it will take more than conventional economic policy to resolve. Mindsets will have to change.”

On this they are right

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/a-ghost-city-state-or-why-fts-are-needed/

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*http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/archive/friday/premium/top-stories/population-grows-547m-slowest-pace-10-years-20140926

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ComCare aiding owners of landed property

In Economy, Political governance, Public Administration on 29/09/2014 at 4:19 am

We are told that this will happen here if we have ang moh welfare type system

It’s not easy being overweight and on benefits, says 25 stone mother-of-two who wants MORE money from the government to help her diet: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2768442/It-s-not-easy-overweight-benefits-says-25-stone-mother-two-wants-MORE-money-government-help-diet.html

So, I was surprised to read in ST last week, that there are five cases of ComCare giving financial aid to elderly residents in Opera Estate. Now the houses in Opera Estate are going for a over $1m each, so really there is no excuse for ComCare to help these people.

Now I understand the emotional attachment of living in the same place for many yrs and preferring not to move, or renting a room out despite oddles of soace (I’m one of those people) but no-one is entitled to welfare when they own a multi-million dollar houses.  Owning such a property is blessing. And yet the heartlanders are subsidising the people living in a landed property? Not right, ever. I mean elderly residents at Tanglin Halt have to move on. [Last sentence added at 5.47am]

That ComCare is helping them with financial aid is a worrying sign for two reasons. One is Opera Estate voted for the WP in the last GE, helping JJ to almost win Joo Chiat SMC. Could it mean the PAP govt is indulging in vote buying.

It’s also a sign that more and more S’poreans are thinking that they are entitled to feed at the trough of public money, even if they are very well-off. But are they wrong to do so, when minsters despite their above average salaries, insist on constantly reminding us that they could be making more outside govt? https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/hen-jost-gracef-money-money-money/

(Btw, I juz came across this quote while reading FT, “money is by far the least [important factor]” when choosing where to work. At this level it can’t be painful, right? The job we’re doing is a vocation. All of us like to be paid whatever is deemed competitive in the market, but it’s not the main driver.”” said the CEO of Switzerland’s third largest bank who has had to cut his pay by 12% because shareholders were unhappy. [Added at 6am])

The govt can do a lot more to help the elderly poor, the children of the less well-off to get better education, and in healthcare for those without million-dollar salaries, given that we got the money, but let’s be careful of indulging the lazy and the greedy.

I’ll say no more because I read yesterday that, “A household that earns less than S$1,900 will get basic computing devices such as a tablet, and subsidised fibre broadband internet access for the next four years, from the Digital Inclusion Fund.”

Hmm a gd deal and my hsehold income is below S$1,900. The word is “earns”: dividends, rental income, interest or pension payment doesn’t count.

 

Uniquely PRC, paving the streets with gold & voluntary compulsion

In China on 28/09/2014 at 5:33 am

NUS has set up China Business Centre to among other things deepen the understanding of China’s business environment.

I hope that lacing noodles with opium to attract repeat customers will be on the curriculum. This is after all a variation of what the Brits did in China in the 19th century, selling opium to the Chinese. Out of that trade grew Jardine Matheson, Swire, HSBC and StandChart.

Or this: The walk at the indoor precinct in Yichang, in Hubei province, consists of 606 shiny yellow bricks, worth $32m (£20m) in total, the Chinanews.com website reports. The bricks weigh 1kg (2.2lb) each, and are covered with a glass pane. The lavish attraction was created to celebrate the shopping centre’s 18th anniversary – and to attract customers during the upcoming “Golden Week” national holiday, after which it’ll be dismantled. Shoppers have been eager to use the walkway, as it’s apparently believed in China that walking on gold brings luck, according to the Shanghaiist blog.

Or thisBaoji city in China is on a blood donation drive, and has caused a stir in social media by saying people should give blood if they want to go to college, learn to drive or even marry.

Background info on NUS’ China Business Centre:

The China Business Centre launched on Wednesday (Sep 24). The centre is helmed by the National University of Singapore’s Business School and is the first China business-centric outfit set up by a local university. 

It will serve as a resource and research platform to deepen the understanding of China’s business environment. The centre will also advance research in management challenges in China, as well as develop leaders with a China-focused business education.

Some of the centre’s upcoming projects include training programmes for business leaders and studies on management challenges and issues faced by businesses in China.

The centre will also organise research symposiums and workshops to promote understanding of China’s business landscape. It is expected to bring industry leaders from Singapore and China together for deeper dialogue. (CNA earlier this week)

 

Jidhadist beheading: Spreading to the US

In Uncategorized on 27/09/2014 at 1:44 pm

A man in Oklahoma has beheaded one woman and wounded another after being fired from his job, police have said.

Alton Nolen, 30, attacked the two women at Vaughan Foods distribution plant in Moore, Oklahoma, on Thursday afternoon.

A manager who is also a reserve police officer stopped the attack by shooting and injuring Mr Nolen.

A police spokesman said the FBI was investigating Mr Nolen’s background, after colleagues said he had recently tried to convert them to Islam.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-29381980

‘Cause of FTs, Thailand pips us

In Uncategorized on 27/09/2014 at 6:10 am

When I started work in broking in the late 80s, ex-Japan, HK and S’pore were the leading stock mkts. Today, we are not even the leading exchange in SE Asia. Thailand has a bigger exchange despite its political, economic woes.

I note SGX is led by two FTs, an ang moh and and Indian Indian. any surprise if “S’poreans hate Foreign Trashes to pieces”.

Why TRE can’t raise $/ Only rich S’poreans are optimistic

In Economy on 26/09/2014 at 4:37 am

TRE ranters really have no money to fund TRE

In its report on the  ANZ-Roy Morgan Singapore Consumer Confidence Index*, ANZ said

–[T]he confidence from the poorest in Singapore appears to have stagnated …one possible reason is that most of the wealth of the lower income earners is tied to their houses, and property prices have softened.

[S]ome 44 per cent of respondents – down two percentage points from a month ago – expect Singapore to have “good times” economically over the next 12 months.

“The fact that less than half of respondents expect Singapore to have ‘good times’ economically over the next 12 months, is perhaps the strongest economic indicator of how average Singaporeans are reacting to the myriad challenges of current policies aimed at restructuring and reinvigorating the Singaporean economy.” 

— The supply-side restructuring of the economy may be hurting some of the lowest income households as productivity isreplacing manpower.”  (BT report 25 September)

So I was most probably wrong when I accused TRE  ranters of being talk cock, sing song free-loading cheap-skates, refusing to fund their favourite site and their heloo Roy; they really have no money to help anyone because most of the wealth of the lower income earners is tied to their houses, and property prices have softened. But are too proud to admit it, because if they do, they’ll be asked, “If so smart to criticise people who make money i.e. PAP ministers), how come you so poor?”

No wonder they hate the PAP, and the S’poreans (Kong Hee, Sun Ho) and FTs who lead the gd life. Maybe they should spend less time ranting on TRE, working harder to improve their skills and wages. Or juz have this hobby http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28810578. Oh forgot, they have no money. Their birds will die of malnutrition.

Seriously, this survey does confirm two things thing that the TRE ranters and other anti-PAP activists (and others, though nor PAPpies and their allies in the constructive, nation-building media) have been saying, many S’poreans don’t expect Singapore to have ‘good times’ economically and most of the wealth of the lower income earners is tied to their houses, and property prices have softened.

—-

More on the Index and ANZ Bank’s commentary:

[The Index] released on Wednesday, rose slightly in September from a month ago to 120.7 points.

The slight bump in confidence over the month – up just 1.7 points – showed more hopeful assessment of the financial situations of those polled.

This contrasts with a sharp 16.9-point dive in the index in August compared to a month ago.

The index reading now sits just below the 2014 year-to-date average of 121.1 points, with the report made public early this month.

Notably, 27 per cent of respondents said that their families are better off financially than a year ago – this is up seven percentage points from a month ago.

More respondents also think financial prospects will improve for their families in a year’s time, with 33 per cent of those polled seeing the glass as half full, up five percentage points from a month ago.

But a closer look at the numbers showed that the gains in the perception of current household income from a year ago are concentrated in the highest income quintiles, ANZ said.

Daniel Wilson, an ANZ economist who co-authored the report, pointed out separately that while income growth here was stronger on a percentage basis for the lower income, compared to the top earners – at about 35 per cent versus about 25 per cent over the past five years – the dollar gains translate to S$556 and S$5,033 respectively.

The disparity is less stark with their views of the economy over the next 12 months, though there remains a small skew towards high-income households.

 

 

 

 

 

“From JB with Love”

In Uncategorized on 25/09/2014 at 5:48 am

Taz what I tot when I was surprised that the hundreds of S’poreans who braved JB to watch the film were not robbed at the screening of “To S’pore With Love”. I had tot that given the crime there (It’s bad, I saw a daylight heist in JB, something I’ve not seen despite having lived in London and Manila. Very disconcerting as it’s out of the blue and over in minutes with the robbers fleeing with the loot).

I had expected the JB robbers to form a syndicate (like banksters forming a loan syndicate or underwriting syndicate), bribe the police, and come in with knives etc and offering “Your money, jewelry or watches or yr life”.

But maybe the robbers did their home work and concluded that only anti-PAP people and students would be attending. Not rich enough pickings?

And that they were not robbed shows how useless Jason Chua and his FPAP team are: they are the equivalent of the TRE ranters who can’t even be bothered to help fund TRE. A gd black ops would have been to arrange for JB gangsters to stage a raid on the audience. But then maybe the JB gangsters are anti-PAP. If so they should remember that the party they support, the DAP, was founded as the PAP’s M’sian Trojan horse and that after Penang fell to the DAP, the chief minister and his dad came down here to brief one LKY in his office in the Istana. The Chief minister said so at a seminar I attended.

Now to a serious matter.

Yale-NUS College has shelved its plan to screen To Singapore, With Love after a request to screen the documentary in a class was rejected by film-maker Tan Pin Pin.

The liberal arts college had managed to get the green light from the Media Development Authority (MDA) because the screening was for educational purposes. Last week, the MDA had given the film a Not Allowed for All Ratings (NAR) classification, which means the film is barred from being exhibited or distributed here.

Responding to TODAY’s queries, a Yale-NUS College spokesperson said it had planned to show the 70-minute film in its documentary film course. “(Ms Tan) has indicated that she will not be holding any screenings in Singapore at this time. 

So is Ms Tan outdoing James* and the MDA at their game? Not allowing S’poreans in S’pore to watch her film?

Hopefully not because

Ms Tan revealed that since the MDA’s classification, she had received several requests to screen her documentary in Singapore, but that she had not agreed to any.

“No more screenings (in Singapore) while I figure out my next step. Overseas screenings that started last year will continue,” she said.

I hope she allows private screenings if the authorities don’t impose absurd conditions. Or allow it on YouTube.

If she doesn’t allow private screenings, then it shows the PAP has won. Even a brave, dissident, independent thinker like her accepts the PAP’s premise that S’poreans are always second class, FTs tua kee.

Btw, if she allows it on YouTube, I hope activists can help older, lessy interne4t savvy S’poreans access the film.

——-

*Jacobus is the Latinised form of James, while Yaacob is Muslim variant of Jacob.

Shumething gd (finally) from SGX for retail investors/ SGX thinks Chinese leopards can change spots

In China on 24/09/2014 at 6:47 am

(Or “Why hate Foreign Trashes to pieces”)

StockFacts allows investors to screen for stocks based on 20 different criteria, including market capitalisation and revenue. The product will also incorporate information from S&P Capital IQ like analysts’ consensus estimates and recommendations.

“Before StockFacts was launched, investors who wanted to do research on SGX-listed companies had to use various different sources of varying credibility to access the information,” said SGX head of retail investors Lynn Gaspar to BT on Monday. “This was a gap that we identified through retail investor feedback.”

Why took so long Foreign Trashies? CEO and COO are FTs but people pushing for StockFacts are locals. Taz why

So, SGX is now hoping S-Chips will start coming here. and that Sinkies will forget that they were fleeced in the past? To remind

In the case of FerroChina, which had a market value of more than S$2 billion in 2007, shareholders lost their entire investment when the steelmaker was forced to delist in March 2010. Other stocks that have been suspended include Sino Techfibre, which said a fire destroyed its financial records after reporting accounting flaws, and China Sun Bio-Chem Technology Group Co., which said a truck transporting its accounting records was stolen.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-21/singapore-exchange-sees-end-to-two-year-hiatus-for-china-ipos.html

Here’s more fleecing (in Germany)

The chief executive of Chinese footwear firm Ultrasonic, who was reported missing last week along with most of the firm’s cash, has spoken to Chinese media and denied wrongdoing.

Last week, Ultrasonic said it had dismissed him from his post.

The firm said he and his son, who is chief operating officer, had vanished.

The firm, which is listed in Germany, said that both the men, Qingyong Wu and Minghong Wu, had “apparently left their homes and are not traceable”.

Earlier this year, another Germany-listed Chinese manufacturer, Youbisheng Green Paper, said its chief executive had gone missing without explanation. It later initiated insolvency proceedings.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-29306957

“Wages will not rise until employers have to compete for talent”

In Economy on 23/09/2014 at 10:54 am

The above was the headline by a Guardian (a UK newspaper whose views would chime with the SDP, NSP, AWARE, Maruah, Alex Au, TOC and the other usual suspects) journalist on a blog piece on the UK economy: economy growing, property prices flying, FTs flooding in, but real wages stagnant. Sounds familiar?

The statement is very true here here as the following excerpts from BT (16 Sept) quoting the govt (who incidentally still denies that FTs don’t affect the real wages of S’poreans: cognitive dissonance or is it double-speak?)

The tight labour market in Singapore has resulted in more jobs and higher salaries for locals, while the growth in foreign worker employment fell to its slowest quarterly pace since 2009.

So less FTs result in higher wages for local talents, and more jobs: “noise” correct.

Here comes the spin:

But productivity gains saw a reversal in the second quarter of 2014 with negative growth of 1.3 per cent, bringing to an end a run of three straight quarters of positive growth.

Local employment growth remained strong at 41,000 (4.2 per cent year-on-year growth in June), with the services sector accounting for nearly 90 per cent of the jobs created, said the Manpower Ministry (MOM) on Monday.

More spin:

Last year, the real median gross monthly income for full-time citizen workers went up by 4.6 per cent, the ministry said as it released details of Singapore’s labour market situation for the first half of 2014.

The seasonally adjusted citizen unemployment rate was stable at 2.9 per cent in June, while the resident long-term unemployment rate remained among the lowest in the world at 0.6 per cent.

Total employment grew by 27,700 in the second quarter of 2014, moderating from the growth of 33,700 in the same quarter last year, but comparable to the 28,300 in the first quarter of the year. This brought total employment to 3.55 million in June 2014, 3.8 per cent higher than a year ago.

The spin continues:

The latest numbers are indicative of the government’s ongoing push to progressively raise the quality of the foreign workforce [Govt admitting we have Trash like the SGX CEO and the president?] and reduce the reliance on foreign labour.

This, said MOM, is in line with national efforts to achieve quality economic growth driven by sustained productivity improvements … the ministry said that it expects the strong hiring of Singaporean workers to continue for the rest of this year.

This is due to a confluence of foreign workforce constraints [And govt still saying FT influx doesn’t affect locals’ wages?] , higher wages, and employers adopting flexible work arrangements to attract more women and older workers into the labour force.

MOM … wages are expected to continue moving up, but these increases could only be sustained over the long term by improving productivity.

As for foreign …, MOM said that their total employment growth slowed to 11,200 for the first six months of 2014, which was less than half compared to the same period in 2013 … foreign employment growth in the second quarter of 2014 came in at just 3,800 … lowest quarterly expansion since the third quarter of 2009 during the global financial crisis, when only 700 foreign worker jobs were created.

[700 seems about right, though to Goh Meng Seng and Gilbert Goh, even one is one too many.]

OCBC economist Selena Ling said that foreign employment growth was at a low as firms continue to adjust to manpower policy constraints, although the transition process for selected labour-intensive services and construction sectors was “probably more accentuated”.

“The consolidation process for firms will likely continue in the interim as the productivity performance of these few sectors are still falling short of targets,” she said.

The productivity push, meanwhile, hit a roadblock in Q22014 with negative growth of 1.3 per cent. This ended a period of three straight quarters of positive gains.

[Post next GE, this will be excuse to lewt the FTs in]

“Overall productivity growth is expected to remain uneven,” said MOM in its outlook for the rest of the year.

Michael Smith … employment services provider Randstad, said that, in order to maintain productivity, employers should continue to offer workforce-relevant upskilling and career growth opportunities to help fill the gaps for skills that are in demand.

Ho hum, this makes it clear that the FT influx made this upgrading of skills unnecessary.

On the whole, MOM said that the current manpower-lean environment in Singapore will continue to be a feature of the economy in the coming years.

Come on, after next GE, the floodgates will open. Remember the population White Paper of 6m people?

“As the economy restructures, some consolidation and exit of less-productive businesses are expected. MOM and the Workforce Development Agency stand ready to help displaced local workers re-skill and upgrade so that they are positioned to take on the new jobs created.”

So long as FTs are allowed in by the A380 or 747 cattle-class load, this won’t help.

Giants that will slay Jack (Ma)?

In Banks, China, Internet on 23/09/2014 at 4:25 am

Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder, is a hero. He slew eBay in China. Now he is going up against new giants by shaking up China’s state-dominated finance industry. His business, the Zhejiang Ant Small and Micro Financial Services Group, processes payments, sells insurance and runs one of the world’s largest money market funds, placing it in competition with banks controlled by the Chinese government. It is a precarious position.

http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2014/03/26/chinas-largest-bank-declares-war-on-alibaba/

What the SA elections teach us

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

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

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

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

The result is proof of the power of incumbency …

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

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

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

We might not be so lucky after the next GE.

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

 

 

 

 

And we foodie, innovative nation?

In Uncategorized on 21/09/2014 at 4:16 am

We love food, eat exotic stuff (think fried grass-hoppers, ants, intestines, poultry feet), have a VC industry (or so I’m told), and a govt that says it is committed to innovation and out-of-box thinking. Yet ang mohs in Iceland came up with “insect energy bars”. S’pore’s entrepreneurial, innovative ecosystem failed to produce this here.

Insects are a staple food in parts of the developing world, but two businessmen from the unlikely location of Iceland are proposing to use them to make energy bars.

Bui Adalsteinsson and Stefan Thoroddsen say on their website they got the idea from a UN report suggesting the western world could benefit from using this abundant source of protein, and formed a company to make bars with ground-up bugs. They got funding from the Startup Reykjavik programme earlier this year, and have just announced the second prototype of their Crowbar on Twitter.

They tell the Nutiminn news site the insect “superfood” breaks down into amino acids that the body needs, and is also rich in calcium and vitamins. Crowbars “provide a realistic, sustainable choice of excellent nutrition in your pocket, whether you’re taking a two-minute break from a challenging hike or need a boost between work meetings,” the pair insist.

BBC

Don’t overlook these high SGX highish yielders

In Indonesia, Japan, Reits on 20/09/2014 at 6:28 am

LMIR Trust to acquire Jakarta mall for 3.6 trillion rupiah

Lippo Malls Indonesia Retail Trust (LMIR Trust) plans to bulk up its portfolio by acquiring a five-storey shopping centre in southern Jakarta, Indonesia, for 3.6 trillion rupiah (S$385.7 million) which it plans to pay with cash and new units.

The acquisition of Lippo Mall Kemang (LMK) from PT Almaron Perkasa – a company incorporated in Indonesia which is 92 per cent indirectly owned by the trust’s sponsor PT Lippo Karawaci – could potentially raise the trust’s portfolio by 27 per cent from S$1.42 billion as at end-June to S$1.8 billion.

LMIR Trust’s manager, LMIRT Management, has proposed to issue up to 301.37 million new units to PT Almaron Perkasa, which under the conditional sale and purchase agreement signed on Sept 14 will receive 3.18 trillion rupiah in cash and 420 billion rupiah in units for LMK.

The firm deemed the deal to buy LMK, which enjoyed a high occupancy rate of 93 per cent as at June this year, a “strategic acquisition of a prominent retail mall” located close to residential apartments, a hotel, a wedding chapel, a school and a country club. LMK also serves as the podium of the proposed JW Marriott Hotel, Pelita Harapan school campus, a planned hospital and three condominium towers. (BT this week)

And

From now till end-March 2017, acquisition strategies will be executed in full swing by Accordia Golf Trust (AGT).

The first Singapore-listed business trust with golf course assets in Japan, and also Asia’s first golf trust, AGT currently manages 89 golf courses in Japan, with a combined value of about 160 billion yen (S$1.89 billion).

Together with its sponsor company, Tokyo-listed Accordia Golf, they own 133 golf courses in Japan, and they are the largest golf operator in Japan, with a 5.5 per cent share of the market.

In a media briefing on Monday, chief executive officer Yoshihiko Machida said the trust is now poised to acquire an additional 50 billion yen worth of golf assets, with a preference for 19 golf courses currently owned by Accordia Golf, of which AGT has the first call options right to purchase. (BT this week)

I own a bit of the former and and still thinking of the latter. The issue with these is the strong S$. (Yen was at an all time low against S$ this week).

Fear of Harry lingers?

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 19/09/2014 at 4:29 am

Like the smell of stale perfume? Or stale beer? Or tobacco? Or sweat?

I tot the above, when I read this on Facebook earlier this week

For those who are itching to see the move: To Singapore, with Love, but cannot make it to JB, you might want to pick up my book: Dissident Voices, on sale at Kino. Several of the personalities in To Singapore, with Love are featured in my book… Lim Chin Siong, Dr Lim Hock Siew (Operation Coldstore), Tan Wah Piow, Vincent Cheng (Marxist Conspiracy).
In my interview with The Independent Singapore, I said I did have some initial worry about writing about people who had incurred

See More

An interview with the author of Dissident Voices, Clement Mesenas How and why did you write the book? I was commissioned by the publishers, who told me that they had a grant for such a book. The idea was that that such a book would…
theindependent.sg

I reviewed the book here. Aimed at students, given that there is nothing not factual in the book, and that the author was a strike leader (he had balls despite being a ST journalist), I find it strange that he said he had some fear when he wrote the book. Either he was exaggerating, trying to puff his book or himself (ST journalists are very insecure), or the fear of one LKY was at the back of his mind. He became an adult at a time when the ISD was pretty busy*, and when LKY was intimidating and bullying, opponents and the voters. Only the Malayan ruling elite (Chinese and Malay) were not impressed by his behaviour: uncouth and unseemly. And S’pore got kicked out of M’sia, putting an end to his ambition of being PM of M’sia..

Seriously, given the way the govt is trying to ensure that only the “right” narrative is available for public consumption, we should only be interested in the “wrong” narratives, i.e. those banned by the “govt”.

Once upon a time, “banned” products were not easily accessible. But today there’s the internet (and YouTube).

Mind you, accessing the not “right” books are a bit more problematic than films. But alternative narrative authors should embrace e-publishing, Cheaper to produce and easier to access, if “banned’. And being “banned” is free, good publicity.

—–

*Another strike leader (another friend) had been “questioned” by the ISD because his dad was an oppo politician.

Why ISD detainees won’t be sending LKY birthday greetings any time soon

In Uncategorized on 18/09/2014 at 4:52 am

From the accounts of Dr Lim Hock Siew, Ms Teo Soh Lung, Francis Seow and others, the ISD used the following techniques

standing against a wall for hours
hooding
subjection to noise
sleep deprivation
very little food and drink.

These are rough, very rough, though to be fair not as rough as “waterboarding” (a US favourite) or electric pods on genitals a Latin American, Russian favourite).

The ISD methods are very British techniques. I’ll let what a Brazilian interrogator sent to the UK learnt:

“The best thing … was psychological torture*. When a person was in a secret place, it was faster to obtain information. He also studied in other places but he said England was the best place to learn.”

Prof Glaucio Soares interviewed more than a dozen of Brazil’s top generals back in the 1990s. Several of them told him they sent officers to Germany, France, Panama and the US to learn about interrogation but they praised the UK as having the best method.

“The Americans teach, but the English are the masters in teaching how to wrench confessions under pressure, by torture, in all ways. England is the model of democracy. They give courses for their friends,” he was told by Gen Ivan de Souza Mendes – an interview recounted in the book Years of Lead which he co-authored with two other Brazilian academics.

Gen Aoyr Fiuza de Castro said the British recommend interrogating a prisoner when he was naked as it left him anguished and depressed, “a state favourable to the interrogator”.

The UK was apparently seen as having effective practices as it had faced a serious insurgency in Malaya up until 1960 and had latterly honed its techniques in Northern Ireland.

The method, using sensory deprivation coupled with high stress, has come to be known as the “Five Techniques”. These were:
standing against a wall for hours
hooding
subjection to noise
sleep deprivation
very little food and drink.

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27625540

Maybe the most effective is isolation http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140514-how-extreme-isolation-warps-minds. Problem from perspective of interrogators is that this technique requires time, something they are often short off.

So can one really blame the ISD detainees, and the many S’poreans who refuse to wish LKY “Happy birthday”? Not that he would care. Like Darth Vader and his emperor, and other Sith Lords, LKY thrives on the hatred of those who hate him.

——

*O’Brien  in Orwell’s 1984 said

“By itself,” he said, “pain is not always enough. There are occasions when a human being will stand out against pain, even to the point of death. But for everyone there is something unendurable —  something that cannot be contemplated. Courage and cowardice are not involved. If you are falling from a height it is not cowardly to clutch at a rope. If you have come up from deep water it is not cowardly to fill your lungs with air. It is merely an instinct which cannot be destroyed. It is the same with the rats. For you, they are unendurable. They are a form of pressure that you cannot withstand, even if you wished to. You will do what is required of you.”

This could have been a British intelligence grandee or Special Brnch officer talking. Remember that Orwell was in the Burmese police force when Burma was British. And the British ruled an unruly empire, think Palestine, Egypt, India and Ireland.

Related highly commended video http://singaporerebel.blogspot.sg/2014/08/the-nature-of-paps-governance-is.html

“How’s Harry doing?”

In Economy, Political governance on 17/09/2014 at 4:26 am

Castro* was asking Xi Jinping, earlier this yr when Xi visited Cuba.

He went on,”S’pore’s an exemplar for our way of doing things, a one-party state that is economically successful. According to leading Cambridge economist, Ha-Joon ChangThe country is usually known for its free trade policy and welcoming attitude towards foreign investments, but it has the most heavily state-owned economy, except for some oil states. State-owned enterprises produce 22% of Singapore’s national output, operating in a whole range of industries – not just the “usual suspects” of airline, telecommunications and electricity, but also semiconductors, engineering and shipping; and its housing and development board supplies 85% of the country’s homes.

‘But I hear that being kinder, more compassionate, tolerant hasn’t worked for the PAP’s popularity. Can only get 60% of the votes. Harry got high 70%s votes by intimidating his opponents, and bullying, haranguing the voters . Still he couldn’t beat my 99.9%, or Mao’s, Deng’s and yr popularity.

‘Any idea why his son is called Pinkie? And can you bring back a box of Havanas for his birthday: S’pore’s juz a bit further South. Yes, I know he doesn’t smoke, but he should start. I smoke a Havana a day and I think I’m fitter than he is.”

Above waz what I tot when I saw the u/m caption, pix and remark.

Party time for the one-party survivors

Cuba's Fidel Castro, right, speaks with China's President Xi Jinping in Havana, Cuba on 22 July 2014Xi Jinping and Fidel Castro met in Havana on 22 July

Caption for this photo anyone? asks the BBC’s Carrie Gracie.

My way of sending one LKY a belated birthday greeting. I’m sure the curses of the TRE ranters and other born-loser anti-PAP activists will invigorate him. Sith lords thrive on being hated.

—————-

*Lest anyone forgets, Castro is LKY’s contemporary. Came into power the same yr as LKY did (1959) and is still the ultimate arbiter in Cuba, ruled by younger brudder. To be fair to LKY, he was a lot less brutal in dealing with dissidents than Castro was.

Not traumatic to see mum semi-naked on screen mei?

In Uncategorized on 16/09/2014 at 4:18 am

Can’t stop laughing at Kong Hee’s attempt to explain why why Sun Ho hadn’t returned to the US to minimise losses to the church:

City Harvest Church (CHC) founder Kong Hee choked up a few times on the stand on Thursday as he told the court how investigations into financial irregularities at the church had affected his young son.

The pastor and five others are on trial for allegedly misusing church funds to boost the music career of his wife Ho Yeow Sun and falsifying church accounts to cover the misuse. “The whole investigation was shocking and traumatic for my little boy,” he said of his son Dayan, who was 5 1/2 years old when the Commercial Affairs Department started probing the church’s financial affairs in 2010.

Kong said his son started to have panic attacks and was “hyperventilating on most days”. He and his wife had to bring the boy to see a psychiatrist, he said.

Kong spoke [on why] why Ms Ho did not return to the United States to complete her album after the investigations started …”Dayan needed his mum to be around,” Kong said.

The boy attended a Christian school and Kong said that the “young and innocent” children asked his son: “Is your Dad in jail already?”

He said his son had also asked him: “Dad, why were all the teachers and adults in school talking about you?”
– See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/courts-crime/story/kong-hee-chokes-court-he-talks-about-traumatic-time-young-son-2014#sthash.mnvDUhXU.dpuf

Wouldn’t son have been traumised by seeing mummy playing the slut in the videos? Wouldn’t everyone in the school be talking of her cavorting half naked in musical videos?

Oh I forgot, the videos were shown only to pagans and heathens.

But then, what about the photos of mum in a revealing red dress in ST? Wouldn’t that have got everyone in the school talking.

Come on pastor boy, You’re an RI boy. Think up a better idea to draw sympathy to yrself.

How about, “The publicity about the criminal charges brought about by the PAP govt would have made it impossible to market Sun Ho.” At the least the TRE posters will be cheering you on: they blame the govt for everything that does wrong in their lives, when they don’t hate those who have done well.

 

Thanks Yacoob, Ms Koh

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

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

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

Seriously, if this is the objection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

———

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PM talks cock about “private” sector

In China, Temasek on 14/09/2014 at 6:57 am

The private sector-led, Government backed Guangzhou Knowledge City (GKC)* is a good model for future Singapore-China projects, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday (Sep 12).

… Mr Lee said he was happy with the progress, six years after he first discussed the project with provincial leaders … the private sector-led GKC is a different model that Singapore is “trying out” after the Suzhou Industrial Park and Tianjin Eco-city, both government-to-government projects. (CNA on Friday)

Funnily the private sector leadership is provided by Temasek-owned company Singbridge who is in a j/v and the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.  Singbridge is 100% owned by Temasek, 100% owned by the Minister for Finance. Not even the fig-leaf of a SGX-listed TLC like Keppel or SIA.

And PM went to Catholic High and NJC? But then Yaacon was from RI (see tom)

—-

*”The hurdle for government-to-government projects like Suzhou and Tianjin will be higher in future, so I think this (GKC) is a good model that we should explore going forward,”

“But there has to be a balance between private sector leadership and government support, and there has to be market demand for what’s being offered by the project” …

Located 35 kilometres from Guangzhou city centre, work is underway to turn the Guangzhou Knowledge City, currently a 123 square-kilometre site into a future magnet for industries like pharmaceuticals and info-comm technology, part of local authorities push for so-called high end industry.

 

Hen, JosT, GraceF: Money, money, money

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

I tot of the three ministers when I read:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After tot (7 October 4.30 am)

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

 

Equity mkts: India, Indonesia & Pinoyland looking gd/ Don’t forget S’pore

In ETFs, India, Indonesia on 13/09/2014 at 4:34 am

Examining recent price trends, India has stabilized in dramatic fashion following its dismal performance in 2013.  With superior demographics, a skilled work force, and pro-business leadership, India could prove to be an excellent growth engine over the coming decade.  However, investors should also bemindful of the higher than normal price volatility and look to hold any new investment with a long-term viewpoint.

Circling the globe and focusing in on to the Pacific Rim, Indonesia has had a stellar year following a major decline of over 20% in 2013.  The Market Vectors Indonesia (IDX) is currently up 26.5%, yet appears to still have a lot of room to run to reach its all-time highs.  This ETF is weighted primarily towards large and mid-cap financials, consumer staples, and consumer discretionary stocks.

Indonesia stands to build on excellent GDP growth rates that exceed 5% on a year over year basis. Two thirds of their economy is driven by domestic consumption, which could continue to perform well given their stable democracy and large middle class.  Indonesia also boasts one of the lowest debt to GDP percentages in greater Asian region, which should allow the government to continue its key investments in infrastructure.

Finally, stocks in the Philippines are beginning to show signs of life, with a year to date return of 23.4%.  The iShares MSCI Philipines (EPHE) is dominated by 42 large cap stocks primarily centered around the financial, industrial, and telecom sectors.

Although the Thai protests last year pushed the region into a state of disarray, the Philippines has managed to overcome those fears and has held up relatively well.  The Filipino economy is poised to continue its 2014 run on the back of robust economic growth, increased tourism, and a strong fiscal balance sheet.

In addition, the Filipino peso has been very strong relative to the U.S. dollar and other emerging market currencies.  As a result, GDP growth has exceeded 6.5% over the last two years. These two factors bolster EPHE’s chances of trending higher in the near-term, even despite the country’s moderate levels of wage inequality and foreign investment restrictions.

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/082914/these-little-known-emerging-market-countries-are-star-performers.asp?utm_source=newstouse&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=NTU-9/5/2014

Three-month flows into Singapore exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are on course to reach the most since Markit Ltd began tracking the data in 2009. Investors took money out of the stock and bond funds for five straight quarters through June, the Markit data show. The benchmark Straits Times Index has rebounded 13 per cent from this year’s low on Feb 5 and Singapore’s sovereign debt returned 3 per cent this year.

Singapore shares are the most attractive among Asia ex-Japan and emerging-market equities, beating Hungary, Chile and China, according to a Morgan Stanley study using measures from earnings to corporate governance and technical indicators. The investment bank predicts companies in the South-east Asian city-state will beat consensus earnings forecasts after the economy expanded at a quicker-than-expected pace in the second quarter.

“The Singapore market is somewhat undervalued for a pretty strong growth environment with positive earnings revisions,” said Jonathan Garner, Hong Kong-based head of Asia and emerging-market strategy at Morgan Stanley. “We also like the fact that the market scores very highly in terms of our political risk and corporate governance model.” BT on Tuesday)

Roy Ngerng and the “swing voters”

In Uncategorized on 12/09/2014 at 5:02 am

Without agreeing that I’m a despicable worm (I readily admit I’m smug), this TRE’s poster goes on to explain why Roy is a dangerous distraction: swing voters will be turned off by his antics.

Market operator:
August 2, 2014 at 8:05 pm (Quote)
@trust et al @ rotten papayas
I agree with you guys – CI is a smug, despicable worm. But don’t let your emotions abt Roy get the better of you. We need to differentiate Roy the catalyst or beacon for rousing public sentiments over the CPF issue from Roy the loose cannon. He has done very well in the former, all kudos and deservedly so. But it is the latter that is undoing the former. Pat him on the shoulder for the “revelations” from the govt past few weeks but think carefully what has the govt really revealed. They r just throwing crumbs to assuage public emotions but has said nothing really important. They have been throwing smoke – we can see that but isn’t this what you would do if someone ask you a question lacking in substance. You just brush it off with a brief, nonsensical answer right?

Call me a PAP IB if you wish – that’s your right but I am not. However ask a lousy question, get a lousy answer. Bring foolish assertions like Roy’s 55k median CPF balance as evidence most members are so far from meeting the ms, you get no answer or worst show yourself to be lacking substance. Now think about those swing voters, I won’t be so arrogant to think them ignorant but they r not swayed by this kind of rhetoric. The last thing u want is to close your minds to alternative opinions even if they don’t fit into your existing beliefs.

Much gd it did him calling me a worm. Guy got cursed and reviled too.

Btw, TRE ranters who accuse me of character assassination of Roy point out that a lot more people read him that me. I happily concede that he has a lot more readers but they never stood up to be counted when he asked or $, unlike the members of CHC who happily funds the defence of those the state accuses of  stealing from them. On the issue of character assassination, all I did was to point things that Roy said that they didn’t want to hear or others said about him

Happily for the PAP and sadly for those of us who want an end to a de facto one-party state, ,Jeremiah 5:21 says it all, ‘Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not’

With people like Roy’s ultra supporters as opponents, the PAP’s hegemony is safe.  They only rant anonymously, not even bothering to turn up at his gigs, or even supporting TRE with funds (It has raised $17,000 out of the $50,000 it claims to need for 12 months; and $10,000 came from one donor). Let’s see how many turn up at his wake, memorial service candlelight vigil. on 17th September

“It is not through through fantasy, dreaming, imagining or studying that you learn but through observing, working and struggling” Luis de Camoens. Something that WP Low and his team are doing. And the SDP does fitfully.

 

Sun Ho: Why Hollywood, not Taiwan pop?/ Wrong Indon adviser or wrong god?

In Uncategorized on 11/09/2014 at 4:17 am

Why Hollywood, not Taiwan pop?

Kong Hee said the idea for using Sun Ho’s “talent” for singing to save souls arouse because she converted people in Taiwan through her singing. So why didn’t she launch a career based on the potential audience in Taiwan? Something that Stephanie Sun has done successfully. After all, as Stefanie has shown, the Taiwanese like skinny women.

Why did she have to go Hollywood to convert Asians? Waz the logic?

Nothing in the media reports of the trial indicate why the route to Chinese-speaking souls was via Hollywood. Or did I miss something?

Wrong Indon adviser or wrong god?

Taz what I tot when I read in BT that Indon tycoon and philanthropist Tahir is understood to be the buyer in the recent bulk transaction of 12 units at the completed, freehold Grange Infinite project. The transaction is said to have amounted to S$70-plus million.

The deal comprises 11 four-bedroom apartments ranging from around 2,560 sq ft to 2,700 sq ft each and a “junior penthouse” of 6,039 sq ft on the 20th level of the 36-storey freehold project.

The acquisition by Mr Tahir is said to price the apartments in the region of S$2,050 per square foot on average and the penthouse at around S$1,950 psf.

The 12 units were sold vacant. (BT recently)

This reminded me that while Orchard Rd area’s apartments had maintained their value, Sentosa Cove has gone the way of Auntie Ho’s Hollywood ambitions and lifestyle.

Or maybe his God did want him to get rich? Or his god was annoyed with Sun Ho’s Hollywood antics. Every god has standards on decency and taste.

“Are you satisfied with your government?” Juz do an indie survey leh

In Political governance on 10/09/2014 at 5:00 am

“The Ozymandias Parade”, by Edward Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, depicts the dehumanising effect of propaganda. A military president wears a mask that carries the answer to a poll carried out in whichever location the work is shown. “Are you satisfied with your government?” goes the question. 

http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2014/09/tenth-gwangju-biennale

Wonder what would be the answer here?*

Maybe the the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) Singapore** should bring this exhibit here and then conduct a poll

And talking of surveys or polls while I agree with

Donald Low, author of ‘Hard Choices: Challenging the Singapore Consensus’, a book recommending policy reforms in the tightly-controlled south-east Asian state,who  said he had pulled out of the Singapore Writers’ Festival in November to protest the decision, “I see no evidence of a significant segment of Singapore society objecting to these books being in our public libraries, even if the majority of Singaporeans are conservative,” Low said.

He objected to Yaacob’s comments, saying that “attitudes are more complex and nuanced than the reductionist view the minister has taken.

“I’ve always believed that Singapore society is generally tolerant, open and relaxed about people whose sexual orientations are different from ours even if we don’t agree with them,” Low said. [UK Guardian],

I wish the LGBT gang and friends would conduct a proper survey or poll on the attitudes of S’poreans towards LGBTs. They recently talked of a right- wing minority trying to subvert the will of the people towards LBGTs, implying that S’poreans approve of their  life-style. Remember? http://blogs.wsj.com/searealtime/2014/07/12/furor-erupts-as-singapore-library-pulls-childrens-books-over-family-values/

After all, money is no problem for the LGBT community. Plenty of ang moh sponsors willing to throw money at them. Ask the investment banks.

*I suspect that 60-70% woulds say “Yes”. Only 30% would say “No”. The 2011 GE and PE results would still be be accurate guides.

**CCA is a research centre of Nanyang Technological University, developed with support from the Economic Development Board, Singapore. Located in Gillman Barracks alongside a cluster of international galleries, the CCA is led by Founding Director Professor Ute Meta Bauer. The CCA takes a holistic approach towards art and culture, intertwining its three platforms: Exhibitions, Residencies and Research.

The CCA positions itself as a centre for critical discourse and experimental practices for Singapore, the region and beyond. It aims to play an active role within the local art scene, as well as being a part of the development of regional and international art infrastructures. (Website)

What the king of Morocco can teach our PM

In Political governance on 09/09/2014 at 4:36 am

Or “Why PM shld send PAP, civil servants study teams to Morocco”)

S’pore we have been told can learn from other cities, our very well paid ministers told us a few months ago when S’pore was hosting a global conference on cities..

Well maybe a visit to the capital of Morocco can teach them how to have the cake and eat it: allow a lively protest culture without changing the PAP’s hegemonic one-party rule.

Since 2011, Morocco has developed a thriving protest culture. Sit-ins and demonstrations are common, and not only in the big cities. There are up to 50 gatherings a day, according to people who have seen statistics kept by the government, though the number is down from its peak in 2011. Gripes range from unemployment and the environment to workers’ rights.

Moves to open up the political space in the 1990s helped produce today’s lively civil society without fundamentally weakening the largely-unreformed ruling monarchy. “

Thanks to some well-timed concessions, King Mohammed VI has escaped the fate of his fellow Arab autocrats. Yet little seems to have changed since a new constitution, purportedly enhancing the powers of parliament, was approved in 2011. Opposition activists complain that power is still held by the palace and that the mildly-Islamist government, elected in the same year, is merely executing the king’s will.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/pomegranate/2014/06/protest-culture-morocco

Things must change so that they remain the same*, is shumething the PAP must learn. Sticking to the tots of LKY Hard Truths is not an option for the PAP or PM.

Btw, the king inherited his title, doesn’t have a double first from a world class uni, and his advisers don’t have the papers of our ministers, generals and civil servants. But he and they have devised a system that produces a lively civil society without fundamentally weakening the largely-unreformed ruling monarchy. That’s a real achievement

Btw2, the Saudis are considering making couples attend mandatory “marriage training” before marrying, in order to get married to stem divorces. BBC More S’porean than S’pore. But if we followed their practice of driving licence before marriage …

—-

*The Leopard: The novel is the story of Don Fabrizio Corbera, Prince of Salina,[3] a 19th-century Sicilian nobleman caught in the midst of civil war and revolution. As a result of political upheaval, the prince’s position in the island’s class system is eroded by newly moneyed peasants and “shabby minor gentry.” As the novel progresses, the Prince is forced to choose between upholding the continuity of upper class values, and breaking tradition to secure continuity of his (nephew’s) family’s influence (“everything needs to change, so everything can stay the same”). A central theme of the story is the struggle between mortality and decay (death, fading of beauty, fading of memories, change of political system, false relics etc.), and abstraction and eternity** (the prince’s love for the stars and calculations, continuity and resilience to change of the Sicilian people). In a letter to a friend, the author notes: “Be careful: the dog Bendicò, is a very important character and is almost the key to the novel”. This heraldic emblem is the key to destruction, in the sense that ruin comes even to the dog.

Wikipedia

(**Think Hard Truths. Err, description seems to fit S’pore under Pinkie?)

Three well-off oldies demanding more

In Uncategorized on 08/09/2014 at 4:20 am

What more do they want? Free gourmet meals? Free maids?

There were three letters to the local, constructive media last week, that showed how greedy, self-centred well-off pioneers can be. One car owning pioneer wants the govt to give people like him almost free extension certs so he can continue driving. Why doesn’t he ask for free petrol and a driver too?

The other two want private property owners to be able to own both a HDB flat and private property. Next they will asking for no property tax on their private properties.

Their sense of entitlement is astounding. Taking their cue from PM and his ministers?

Extend pioneers’ car certificates of entitlement

 Published on Sep 1,

ON BEHALF of the pioneer generation, I extend our gratitude to the Government for taking care of our medical needs. [What a presumptios prick, claiming to speak on behalf of the pioneer generation. [Who elected him? Animal Farm Pigs’ appointee?]

At the risk of sounding greedy [Not sound “greedy”, you are juz putting yr snout in the trough for more], I would like to address another of my generation’s needs – transport. [Hello, how many of yr generation can still afford cars?]

The public transport system here is reasonably good, but not all seniors can easily access and travel by bus or MRT. Taking taxis is too expensive.

Many pioneers like me own cars with certificates of entitlement due to expire in the next few years, and we worry about what we will do when the 10 years are up. COE prices are now very high, so a new car is out of the question, but paying to extend the COE is also very costly.

Most seniors like me use our cars when we buy groceries. It is not practical for us to carry groceries and walk to the bus stop or MRT station.

I suggest that the Government allow a one-time extension of 10 years for pioneers’ old cars.

I have never understood the logic of paying again to retain our cars. After all, we are not adding to the car population. However, if we must pay a fee, it should be an administrative or re-registration fee of between $1,000 and $2,000, subject to these conditions: It should apply to Singaporeans aged 65 and older; there should be just one vehicle registered in the pioneer’s name; there should be only one car registered under the pioneer’s home address or company address.

Such conditions will prevent people from taking advantage of the concession.

Shankar Rajan

– See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/archive/monday/premium/forum-letters/story/extend-pioneers-car-certificates-entitlement-20140901#sthash.UWO9WjP2.dpuf

Bet you Shankar Rajan will ask for first class healthcare for free next. And free petrol for his Ferrari.

Then there are these two private property owners.

Let seniors buy HDB flat but keep private property

From Chan Kok Hong
Published: 7:04 AM, September 4, 2014
 I refer to the letter “Allow seniors to sell their private property after buying HDB flat” (Sept 2).

Many pioneers may have been fortunate to have bought a private property and resided in it for decades.

 Upon retirement, they may choose to rent out the property, which is too big to maintain for their use if their children are not residing there.

The Housing and Development Board could tweak the rules to allow seniors to buy a flat for themselves to retire in without having to sell their private property, which they could keep for passive income.

Let only elderly with little savings keep private home

 FROM FONG HANG YIN
PUBLISHED: 4:04 AM, SEPTEMBER 5, 2014
I agree with the writer of the letter “Let seniors buy HDB flat but keep private property” (Sept 4).

This could be allowed with conditions, so competition for public housing, which Singaporeans who do not own a home need, is minimised.

 The HDB could sell studio apartments to seniors with little or no Central Provident Fund savings and allow them to keep their private property for passive income.

Owners of private property with a high annual value or those who own more than one private property may not qualify.

A studio apartment is ideal for seniors to live in, as it is easy to maintain and is usually located in mature towns, with amenities and public transport nearby.

With a 30-year lease, it is also affordable for needy seniors.

Private property owners have always been in the minority. In the days before the HDB, there was very little public housing and most S’poreans rented from private landlords. And these private property owners want more.

The pigs of Animal Farm, and the PAP must be proud of Shankar Rajan, Chan Kok Hong and Fong Hang Yin: always asking for more food to put their snouts into.

Thinking about it, maybe new citizen Han Hui Hui has a point in not wanting to work but becoming a welfare queen after Roy becomes PM. People like Shankar Rajan, Chan Kok Hong and Fong Hang Yin deserve people like Roy, Hui Hui and

The brains of PAP ministers & anti-PAP cyber-warriors compared

In Humour on 07/09/2014 at 10:32 am

Monkeys at the top and bottom of the social pecking order have physically different brains, research has found.

A particular network of brain areas was bigger in dominant animals, while other regions were bigger in subordinates.

The study suggests that primate brains, including ours, can be specialised for life at either end of the hierarchy.

The differences might reflect inherited tendencies toward leading or following, or the brain adapting to an animal’s role in life – or a little of both.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29013592

Thai coup leader alleges black magic

In Uncategorized on 07/09/2014 at 4:17 am

Hmm maybe our anti-PAP cyber warriors should take a leaf from Thai oppo.

Thailand’s military leader and premier, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, has accused critics of using black magic against him, it’s reported … Prayuth addressed his critics: “If you still want to fight on and go underground, bring it on. If you resort to performing rituals, just bring it on.” … Magical symbolism has long played a role in Thai politics. During the last big wave of protests in 2010, anti-government demonstrators splattered buckets of their own blood outside the PM’s residence as priests cast a curse on the authorities. http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-29075681

Maybe anti-PAP cyber-warriors need to splatter their own blood, given that their curses posted on TRE etc don’t have any effect. But then they don’t even bother to turn up at their heloos’ rallies.

Thai’s expanding S’porean empire

In Reits on 06/09/2014 at 4:59 am

Charoen’s empire (Remember he is bidding to buy OCBC group’s shares in UE).

Those who own Frasers’ reits have to take account of the increased risk profile of the reits. There is no longer cash rich, conservative F&N as the fall back, indulgent parent (it rescued FCT by injecting a valuable asset in the 2007/ 2008crisis). There is a Thai billionaire who it seems is geared to his eye-balls and more. In the 1997/ 1998 crisis, he nearly went bust.

Precisely why many are concerned about immigration, Khaw

In Economy on 05/09/2014 at 4:33 am

“Against the many racial and religious conflicts elsewhere that we read about almost every day, the state of affairs here in Singapore is truly extraordinary. We must treasure it,” said Minister Khaw at a ceremony to hand out 194 citizenships to new arrivals. A total of about 3,150 new citizens were given their citizenship dog-tags slave collars papers in ceremonies across the island last weekend.

It’s precisely because we want to avoid racial and religious conflicts that we are concerned with the creation of new citizenas, the way we plant “instant” trees. The latter is good, while the former harks back to the bad old* days.

In 1959 (the 50s and early 60s* were according to the PAP and the constructive, nation-building media bad. (Actually they were paid bad according to my parents, only PJ Thum, TOC’s favourite authority on the period, seems to think that juz because S’pore was second biggest port in Asia, things were great then.). In 1959, only 270,00 out of the 600,000 voters were born here. When one LKY revealed the above fact in 1959, LKY also said,”we must go about our task (of building up a nation) with urgency … of integrating our people now and quickly”.

So waz his son doing? I tot it took the third generation to destroy the prosperity, fortune built up by the patriarch. Is Pinky trying to destroy dad’s legacy in the second generation, even if as it seems dad may have repented of his decision to integrate S’poreans?

(Relevant, related post )

So the PAP and other FT lovers like Kirsten Han and William Wan should stop calling those who are concerned about immigration, xenophobes. They should be talking about the unfairness of PRC thugs bullying old-age aunties trying to earn a living: the PRCs it seems came here to do what the old aunties were doing, scavenge for cardboard waste. Tot PM says S’pore imports FTs to do jobs S’poreans can’t, or wont do. So how come PAP govt allows these PR FTs to steal from aunties, the way Indian, Pinoy FTs steal jobs from local PMEs?

But being FT lovers, they won’t. Btw, be thank for small mercies: the FTs still don’t have their very own NMP since William Wan didn’t get to becpme NMP. Taz far, if the hard core anti-PAP voters didn’t get Roy Ngerng, FTs too shouldn’t get their very own MP.

—–

*Racial tensions, racial riots, political riots, massive unemployment.

 

StanChart’s looking dysfunctional/ Problem for ang moh banks

In Banks on 04/09/2014 at 4:41 am

One problem after another. Can’t do anything right. Please American regulators, upset an Arab one.

Standard Chartered Could Face U.A.E. Legal Action Standard Chartered’s unit in the United Arab Emirates may face legal challenges after the British bank agreed to close some accounts as part of a deal with New York State’s banking regulator. Standard Chartered agreed on Tuesday to pay a $300 million fine for running afoul of a 2012 settlement to resolve accusations that the bank processed transactions for Iran and other countries blacklisted by the United States.

Fine inflation

Star British fund manager Neil Woodford sold his fund’s stake in HSBC (HSBA.L) last month, citing concerns about the impact of potential fines from several industry-wide investigations on the banking group.

Banks in Europe and the United States have been fined for a variety of transgressions as regulators increase their scrutiny of financial institutions

“I am worried that the ongoing investigation into the historic manipulation of Libor and foreign exchange markets could expose HSBC to significant financial penalties,” Woodford said in a blog posting on his fund’s website.

“Not only are these potentially serious offences in the eyes of the regulator, but HSBC is very able to pay a substantial fine,”

For Woodford, who began building a stake in the UK’s biggest lender in 2013 after avoiding the sector since 2002, HSBC was “a different beast” to its peers, many of which still had problems over the quality of their loan books, capital adequacy and high leverage ratios.

In spite of the fact he considered HSBC a “conservatively-managed, well-capitalised business with a good spread of international assets”, Woodford said he had become concerned in recent weeks about the threat of “fine inflation”.

From the $1.9 billion paid by HSBC in 2012 over money laundering to the $16.7 billion set to be paid by Bank of America over its role in selling toxic mortgages, fines were increasing, Woodford said, and looked to be based on a company’s ability to pay “rather than the scale of the transgression”.

With the size of any potential fine “unquantifiable”, Woodford said he was concerned about HSBC’s dividend payouts. The stock currently yields 4.8 percent, against a FTSE100 average of 3.8 percent.

“A substantial fine could hamper HSBC’s ability to grow its dividend, in my view. I have therefore sold the fund’s position in HSBC, reinvesting the proceeds into parts of the portfolio in which I have greater conviction,” he said. Reuters

For the record, HSBC is trading at 1.1x book, its European peers are at 0.9, while StanChart is at 1.03. Our banks are at 1.3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 —-

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

New citizens: Why doesn’t PM, PAP condemn this behaviour, close NS loophole?

In Political governance, Public Administration on 02/09/2014 at 4:54 am

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has urged new citizens to engage in the community where they live and take part in community activities. Speaking at a citizenship ceremony at the Ang Mo Kio and Sengkang West constituencies on Saturday (Aug 30), Mr Lee said he hopes the new citizens will actively integrate into society and discover more about Singapore.

About 150 new Singaporeans from the constituencies received their citizenship certificates and identification cards at the ceremony in the afternoon*. (CNA on Sunday). (Context: A total of about 3,150 new citizens were given their citizenship tin ceremonies across the island last weekend.)

This reminded me of two-timing new citizen Raj and the inaction on a loophole he is using to ensure his son avoids NS.. I posted this last yr

We did NS to protect this new citizen? WTF!

In Public Administration on 03/07/2013 at 1:53 pm

I was shocked when I read this:

An Indian former FT who prefers international schools is new citizen, Raj, originally from India. During an interview with TOC [Link], Raj revealed that only he in the family has converted to Singapore citizenship. His wife and daughter remain PRs and his son is on a student pass.

Raj said that if his son was a PR, he would need to serve NS. He preferred to “let his son decide if he wanted to put his roots down in Singapore or go back to India when he turns 21″.

The benefit of having his son on a student pass is that his son can always work in Singapore later as a “foreign talent” and eventually become a PR himself. He will not be considered a second-generation PR since he was not sponsored by his parents in the first place. A second-generation PR who gives up his PR is barred from working in Singapore.(http://www.tremeritus.com/2013/07/03/st-report-reveals-indian-fts-prefer-to-send-their-kids-to-international-instead-of-local-schools/)

Why the loop-hole, and why hasn’t it been closed? It must be commonly used for this FT to talk publicly about it, is my guess

Now, I RODed in the 70s,  am a bachelor and I don’t have children, but I’m upset at this loop-hole. Imagine the anguish of a parent whose son died while doing NS if he finds out that its so easy for new citizens and PRs to avoid legally NS?

This loop-hole had better be closed, and fast.

Hopefully some MP will raise this issue in parly especially as most PAP and WP male MPs have done NS. I know Puthu (very proud of the fact it seems based on his own words) and one Malay MP did not do NS. I know that excluding Low, all the Chinese and the sole Indian male MPs have done NS. Not sure about the Malay WP MP.

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

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/new-citizens-is-the-govt-naive-or-cynical/(added in October 2013)

(Btw, no MP has raised this issue. The Worthless Party MPs have been mute on this issue, as on several other issues.)

And this

New citizens: Is the govt naive or cynical?

In Humour, Political governance on 09/08/2013 at 4:38 am

New citizen Raj may be attending something like this party (at tax-payers’ expense, but then he too pays tax) http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-07-31/other-news/40913953_1_singapore-island-indian-community-gala.

But I suspect, he and his family, are celebrating by desecrating our flag (the PRC flag “r” ours) in the most disgusting manner possible, while laughing at the PAP govt that gave him citizenship, and cooking a nasty smelling curry to upset their S.porean HDB neighbours. Lest readers forget, new citizen Raj boasted to TOC that his son was set to avoid NS while still being to then become a FT PR. I wish the defence minister would close this loop-hole. Instead he seems to prefer to play the DRUMS (Distortions, Rumours, Untruths, Misinformation and Smears) to the beat of RAVI (Recriminations, Accusations, Vilifications & Insinuations (or is it Insults?).

Come to think of it, if Raj is such a devious man, he could be avoiding or evading paying his taxes. Taz talent for you.

Seriously, a friend who has spent many, many yrs working overseas, returning home ten yrs ago with a family, is not surprised that new citizens will be loyal to their new country.

He said although he had worked for many yrs in a foreign country, he wouldn’t have had the slightest hesitation to leave that country if there were problems there. Why should the govt here expect FTs to behave any differently, juz because they get S’pore citizenship, he asks? He said even if he had been given foreign citizenship, he would have cut and run if there was trouble. He doesn’t expect our new FT citizens to behave any differently. More fool the govt if it believes that they will defend S’pore, he says.

He made these points loud and clear when attending a session organised by a govt related think-tank. He actually wasn’t invited because it was organised for FTs. But his wife, a FT, received an invitation, and suggested to him that the event was his kind of do, especially as he would know many of the S’poreans from the think-tank. He did, including the boss.

So is the govt naive when it believes and assures us that new citizens will do the right thing by S’pore? Or is it cynical, wanting them only because it hopes they will drive economic growth by providing competition to local PMETs thereby keeping a cap on wage costs? Even some PAP MPs seem to think that FT provide unfair competitionhttp://news.xin.msn.com/en/singapore/local-pmets-continued-to-face-unfair-foreign-competition-say-mps

BTW, my friend tells me that his son will do NS, after he finishes poly. I had told him I was disappointed to hear Yaacob, the Spin and Malay minister, say several yrs ago that he would encourage his son to do NS. His son, like my friend’s son, can opt out of being a citizen, thereby avoiding NS.

Have a gd day. And don’t curse the PAP and LKY  today. They too are S’poreans. And Cursing or being angry at the PAP and LKY, is like cursing or being angry at a Sith Lord. It only makes them stronger. They thrive on hatred.

Don’t feel guilty if you enjoy the spectacle. You paid for it. Don’t feel guilty too if you don’t go to Hong Lim to protest celebrate the people’s way. S’pore’s a broad church and the PAP govt ain’t that intolerant.

Majulah Singapura to you.

——-

*Speaking at the citizenship ceremony, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted that changing citizenship is a major decision. “It’s not just weighing up the benefits and the costs rationally and doing a spreadsheet and say ‘Okay, now cost-benefit breaks even’, but committing your heart – what identity do you adopt, what values will you make your own, where will your loyalty lie,” Mr Lee said.

Prime Minister Lee acknowledged there will be some adjustments new Singaporeans will have to make because they all come from different cultures. But he said he is confident that their roots will grow year by year, just as it was with the older generations of Singaporeans.

Mr Lee encouraged the new arrivals to serve the community alongside Singaporeans and to celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday next year with fellow citizens. He also urged residents to help the new citizens fit in on a more personal level – by inviting them for community events and for meals at their homes.

At an earlier ceremony in the morning, another 200 new Singaporeans living in the Ang Mo Kio and Sengkang West constituencies received their citizenship certificates. 

Kong & lieutenants: God’s fools or the Joker is God

In Humour, Property on 01/09/2014 at 4:46 am

Here’s the evidence that they’re fools. Or evidence that God’s the model for the Joker , Batman’s foe.

Penny wise, pound foolish? 

One thing has puzzled me about the management team’s actions.

It was obvious from the testimony so far that at least his lietenants knew that the way that Sun Ho’s carrer was being funded* could be an issue with the auditors. Hence they claimed they had disclosed everything to the auditors esp to Comrade Brother Foong Daw Ching the head of the audit firm, who they claimed knew everything and was their consultant. Daw and the auditors denied everything, but they would wouldn’t they? Their testimony reminded me of “I know nothing, nothing” German sergeant in Hogan’s Heroes (a tv comedy series in the 70s)

What puzzled me was the absence of lawyers’ advice.

Now we know that Kong and gang only sought legal advice after police questioning

“Shaken to the core” was how the founder of the City Harvest Church felt when he was told by lawyers in early June 2010 that he and his five deputies had been negligent and “had done wrong” in managing the church’s finances.

Recounting yesterday that he had met up with the other accused and two lawyers a day after he recorded his first statement to the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), Kong Hee, 49, said he had always consulted the lawyers and auditors on the church’s plans, be it bond investments or the financing of his singer-wife Sun Ho’s debut English album in the United States.

Taking the stand for the fourth day, he said: “I was shocked because I thought that all this while, we had relied on professionals to advise us; now one of the key professionals was saying we had done wrong.” (BT 15 August)

Were Kong and his lieutenants too mean to pay for legal advice. Every little penny for Auntie Ho and her Hollywoods friends?

Or did they have a suspicion that lawyers would advice against scheme? Too clever by half then?

Trusted that Kong had line to God

Xtron** had projected album sales of S$16 million in 2011, and S$23 million in 2012. A prosectuorpointed out that given there was neither a distribution contract nor an album contract, the figures were either “false, or at very best, purely speculative”.

John Lam, one of the defendants, said it was his belief in Kong Hee’s ability to make the Crossover Project a success which led to him supporting the church’s investment into the Xtron bonds, despite knowing that Xtron was not a profitable company, and that Sun Ho’s music albums were losing money.

We we now know based on the losses Kong is suffering as a result of his Sentosa Cove penthouse, that he doesn’t have a direct line the Fock Lok Siew God of Prosperity.

Dozens of houses – complete with their own private yacht berths and multiple swimming pools – sit empty while few lights are on in the apartment blocks overlooking the marina, a few kilometres away from Sentosa’s giant casino.

Prices in the gated community, where Australian mining tycoons Gina Rinehart and Nathan Tinkler bought properties, fell around 20 per cent in the past year as lending restrictions and taxes on foreign buyers burst a bubble in the South-east Asian financial hub’s luxury real estate market.

Investors could see the value of their assets fall even further with developers and investors still struggling to sell even after the recent price falls.(BT 29 August)

Earlier article on Sentosa and Kong.

So why does the congregation still trust that he has a private line to god? Time to sacrifice him to propitiate the prosperity god? Or is CHC the ship of fools?

Not trusting CHC members

If only Khong and gang had trusted the congregation, and raised funds for Sun Ho’s Hollywood lifestyle. It’s clear from their actions: supporting “Project Crossover” after being told how it had been funded, and funding the defence of most of the defendants). Oh ye people of little faith.

 

To end on a different note,

The court also heard that the money spent on Ms Ho’s US album went “down the drain” when she had to return to Singapore to assist with investigations into the alleged financial irregularities within the church.

It’s obvious that the anti-PAP cyber-warriors hate those who are more well-off than them. Shouldn’t they be cursing the govt for making Kong, Ho and gang lose money, and spoiling her career? Or are the most virulent anti-PAP ranters also envious born-losers?

——

*The prosecution alleges that payments between the church and Xtron was essentially moving money from one pocket to another. Its case is that the bonds were merely a device to funnel money from the church’s building fund into Xtron to be used for the church’s Crossover Project. Fronted by Ms Ho, the project was the church’s way of evangelising through pop music.

“The idea of using Xtron bonds was so it could be presented as an investment, and hide the fact that you were using building fund monies to fund Sun’s career,” said Lead Prosecutor Mavis Chionh, adding that there were telling signs that the bond investments were not genuine. For example, the church did not carry out due diligence on Xtron before subscribing to the bonds.

Money that went to Xtron was largely used to fund the church’s Crossover Project. In cross-examining former church board member John Lam, the prosecution pointed out that there was no basis for Xtron’s huge projected sales of Ms Ho’s then-delayed US album.

Church monies to the tune of S$4.79 million were used to meet expenses related to Sun Ho’s music albums, and this was something the church leaders had tried to hide, said the prosecution in the trial of City Harvest Church leaders on Tuesday (Aug 5)

**One of the companies the church invested in was Xtron, Ms Ho’s artiste management firm.