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Archive for November, 2014|Monthly archive page

Ang Moh longs for Chinatown slums and polluted river ’cause they got character?

In Environment on 30/11/2014 at 4:28 am

This appeared in the favourite reading material of people with leftish leanings in the UK and elsewhere in response to a very banal, rubbishy piece on the S’pore arts scene http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/nov/17/top-10-galleries-art-studios-design-shops-singapore

Singapore is a considerable economic success, largely thanks to the iron control, long term planning and discipline of the People’s Action Party government over the decades, but this has been achieved at the cost of an almost robotic society, continually told what how to behave by Big Brother campaigns run by a government which feels the need to micro-manage everything. If this obsessive control has marginally improved in the past decade, it remains generally true.

The country’s historic Chinatown survived Japanese bombing but didn’t survive the People’s Action Party, nor did the character of the Singapore River – once bustling with traditional boats but now clinically empty. A vast swathe of tradition and history was scythed down in the name of progress and modernization, producing one of the blandest cities in the world. Malaysians may be envious of Singapore’s economic success but their nickname of Singabore is not without substance.

It is thus understandable that the SIngapore Tourist Board should wish to recreate something culturally distinctive and appealing, but these new galleries appear to share the same ethos and attraction as the profusion of unoriginal corporate-brand shops which choke Orchard Road, and the very spirit of what used to be a fascinating country – half a century ago. Mammon is the God of Singapore, and there’s little room for any Art which does not bow down before it.

I don’t dispute that much character and history has been erased, with sterility and blandness replacing them . I personally miss the boats in S’pore River that serviced passing ships. Some even provided aunties for the sailors.

But I remember the river as a dirty, oily place too. And some of the buildings on its banks, as filthy rat-infested places, even within walking distance of the AG’s Chambers.

And Chinatown while colourful and full of character was a horrible place for many who lived there. If anyone thinks the dorms of FTs are bad, the living quarters of elderly folks were terrible.

It would be nice if we could have retained the colour and character but got rid of the squalor. But we could argue endlessly on whether this is ever possible in practice.

But rather than moaning and fighting past battles, let’s try to remove the blandness from the present scene, rather than long for a past that never was: a past dominated by the memories and views of ang mohs.

The great thing is there are people who are trying. There is a lovely park situated between two urban areas.

It’s empty most of the time despite its position. It could be like London’s Hyde Park, but it isn’t. Someone is trying to change this: Founder and chairman of Waterways Watch Society (WWS) Eugene Heng has dreamt up an ecovillage on a 400m stretch of the park to ignite a green spark in park users.

The environmental group is the first non-governmental organisation to sign an agreement with the National Parks Board (NParks) to organise and run activities in a park.

– See more at: http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/eco-village-take-root-kallang-park#sthash.qLKJRtX5.dpuf

I hope the ang moh tua kees who are grumbling about the loss of colour, and the sterlity of modern S’pore follow Mr Heng’s example, and do something about it. But I’m sure they prefer to moan and groan. It’s the ang moh (pleb version) way after all.

 

 

 

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StanChart credit rating downgraded! First time in 20 years!

In Banks, India, Indonesia, Temasek on 29/11/2014 at 10:20 am

But no need to panic or curse Temasek*: Standard & Poor’s says bank is going through times but it still among world’s most creditworthy commercial lenders.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/nov/28/standard-chartered-credit-rating-downgraded

It has some big exposures to heavily indebted clients, such as India’s Ruia brothers, who control the Essar Group, and Indonesian billionaire Samin Tan.

Honest mistakes.

—-

But the facts won’t stop Philip Ang, TOC’s and TRE’s star analyst, from cursing and ranting: he’s so bad that in a piece on a GIC, London investment, he left out the rental yields out of his calculation because he said that the income was “peanuts” (my word, not his). Well commercial property yields are a gd 6%, and have been as high as 8% in some yrs recently.

 

Lesson for paper generals: How an economy fares after a coup

In Economy, Uncategorized on 29/11/2014 at 4:14 am

OK it’s Thailand but given the performance of ex-genewrals like BG Yeo, NOL’s CEO and SMRT’s CEO (still can’t fix security issues, let alone get the trains to run on time), if SAF stages a coup after a freak election, we’ll be like Thailand in no time..

Six months after the military coup in Thailand

The latest GDP figures have eked out small increases, leading the government’s economic forecasting agency to predict growth of just 1% this year.

Worryingly, since the coup, tourist numbers have fallen by 20% as travel warnings issued by governments have deterred some visitors.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30225826

SAF’s Aerostat System can gather data from mobile phones?

In Uncategorized on 28/11/2014 at 4:23 am

There was a lot of noise from the usual rabid anti-PAP cyber-warriors that the SAF’s aerostat system* was a waste of $ and that it would used to spy on us (Well how can it be a waste of money, if it’s used for internal surveillance? I wish these cybernuts would think before they type.), without telling us how this will happen. But because the PAP IB were rubbishing their opposing cybernuts, this made me suspect the anti-PAP paper warriors had a valid point, even if they had no idea what it was. .

Well this is how the blimp could be used to spy on us: it could carry devices that gather data from mobile phones.

Devices that gather data from millions of mobile phones are being flown over the US by the government, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The “dirtbox” devices mimic mobile phone tower transmissions, and handsets transmit back their location and unique identity data, the report claims.

While they are used to track specific suspects, all mobile devices in the area will respond to the signal.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30054137

This being S’pore there is nothing to prevent the PAP administration from using these devices to gather info indiscriminately. I know, I know: M Ravi will say that such gathering of data is against the constitution. but since when has he won any constitutional challenge? Zero is the answer. But maybe in a galaxy in another universe, his grandfather drafted S’pore’s constitution, assisted by one JBJ, Ravi the Jedi is slaying the PAP dragon, constitution and all.

What such info can be used for:

“destroy, deny, degrade, disrupt enemies by discrediting them”

Nadia Kayyali, writing for the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s blog, Deeplinks, says the King letter could be a page out of the handbook of the British online intelligence unit dubbed the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group – a group whose mission is to “destroy, deny, degrade [and] disrupt enemies by discrediting them”.

Today, she writes, that translates into rummaging through Facebook chats, embarrassing internet browsing history and emails in order to discredit any leader who threatens the status quo or to blackmail someone into becoming an informant.

Salon’s Marcy Wheeler writes that there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to the intelligence community – including who today’s targets are, if they are at the same level of importance as King or how exactly the National Security Agency or the FBI is getting information about them.

“These are not far-fetched ideas,” she says. “They are the reality of what happens when the surveillance state is allowed to grow out of control, and the full King letter, as well as current intelligence community practices, illustrate that reality richly.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-30108043

— ———

*What CNA reported on the Aerostat System in Octber 2014

The Republic will soon have an extra pair of eyes in the sky to look out for aerial and maritime threats. The Aerostat System – a tethered balloon that uses low-level radar to detect threats as far as 200km away – will be deployed early next year.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced this on Tuesday (Oct 28)…

… with the Aerostat System, the Singapore Armed Forces will save nearly S$30 million in operating costs a year.

The system will complement the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s current suite of airborne and ground-based radars. “Our ground-based radar systems can only operate above high-rise buildings,” Dr Ng said, adding that the urban landscape in Singapore is changing, and more tall buildings are coming up.

“For a small island-state like Singapore, surveillance and early warning to give us sufficient reaction time to respond will always be a challenge but the Aerostat will improve our surveillance capabilities significantly,” he said.

SingTel: Free lunch from S’poreans?

In Infrastructure, Internet on 27/11/2014 at 4:28 am

And this after screwing us, itself and shareholders (us again) on footie*. WTF!

In mid May it was reported that

SingTel customers will be able to access a new high-speed WiFi network that is being progressively rolled out at popular shopping malls and underground MRT stations.

According to a statement by the telco, SingTel’s WiFi network average typical speed will range from 4 to 10Mbps, which is five times faster than typical free public WiFi services. More details below**.

I was surprised given that SingTel is cannibalisling its 3G and 4G networks with this rol out. No free lunch in S’pore esp for the public where TLCs, TLCs and the PAP admin is concerned. it’s pay and pay.

Recently, I came across the u/m which seems to explain why SingTel is rolling out wifi:

Once viewed as a threat to their precious 3G/4G services, Wi-Fi is now seen as the most cost-effective way of helping mobile-phone companies meet their customers’ insatiable demand for bandwidth. The recent explosion in data traffic—especially among mobile users viewing video on their smartphones and tablets from websites such as YouTube, Netflix and Hulu or using popular messaging apps like Vine and Snapchat—has forced mobile carriers to start building their own Wi-Fi networks.

One reason they are doing so is to prevent the rapidly expanding number of public hotspots—in cafes, stores and other places—from hogging too much of the traffic and threatening their cellular revenues. Another is to offload as much of the video streaming as possible from their congested cellular networks to Wi-Fi’s unlicensed public bands. Doing so not only helps them maintain the quality of service for cell-phone customers trying to send text messages or make phone calls, but it also reduces their capital-investment requirements. Installing Wi-Fi hotspots is easier and cheaper than erecting cell towers—or, indeed, having to bid for more wireless spectrum.

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21632739-wi-fi-hotspots-become-ubiquitous-who-needs-cellular-wireless-when-wireless-worlds.

And it’s a free lunch for SingTel

Besides, public hotspots can be made to piggyback, at minimal cost, on broadband routers installed in people’s homes***.

——-

*It’s unlikely to have made money on its footie rights given the small market here.

**Coverage is currently available at more than 100 hotspots at 11 locations such as Raffles City and Plaza Singapura. SingTel said that it will progressively roll out the network to all CapitaMall shopping centres.

Hotspots will also be available at Orchard, City Hall and Raffles Place stations from Aug 22 onwards.

The service will be progressively rolled out to 16 MRT stations on the North-East Line, as well as eight other stations with high commuter traffic over the next nine months.

This new WiFi service is part of SingTel’s new Combo plans, which offers high-speed WiFi usage in addition to 4G data bundles.

From Aug 19, the Combo plans will replace SingTel’s existing plans for customers who renew their contracts or subscribe to new lines.

Customers will enjoy unlimited WiFi usage until 31 July 2015 as part of its launch promotion. Subsequently WiFi data allowance will be capped at 2GB.

Combo plan customers will be able to switch automatically between the 3G, 4G and SingTel WiFi network without a manual password login.

SingTel hopes to set up 1,000 hotspots at more than 100 locations across Singapore by March 2015. It said that the numbers are expected to double by March 2016.

For the full list of SingTel WiFi hotspot locations, please visit www.singtel.com/stwifi.

grongloh@sph.com.sg

See more at: http://digital.asiaone.com/digital/news/singtel-unveils-new-wifi-network-overhauls-data-plans#sthash.mXwHeMGb.dpuf

***And offices and shops.

 

Roy’s latest research finding?

In Uncategorized on 26/11/2014 at 5:26 am

On Saturday, I walked past the offices of the Elections Department near Middle Road, and seeing the nameplate reminded me of Roy Ngerng and something he wrote in early November.

In a really extremely case of verbal diarrhea where he poured out all his feelings yet again, he wrote: “You really think 60% of Singaporeans voted for the PAP? I reckon it is much lesser. Or would have been.”

At the time, I emailed a few social activists some of whom are close to Roy and highlighted the defamatory nature of these words. I then forgot all about the passage until Saturday.

Yesterday, I saw that Roy had another disvharge of verbal  diarrhea and this morning got round to checking whether the early November post still contained, “You really think 60% of Singaporeans voted for the PAP? I reckon it is much lesser. Or would have been.”

Is this allegation, that in reality less than 60% of voters voted for the PAP and that this fact was kept from S’poreans the result of through research and analysis? As thorough as his research and analysis about our CPF? Remember:

1.On or around 15 May 2014, I, Roy Ngerng Yi Ling, published on my blog (at http://thehearttruths.com/), an article entitled “Where your CPF Money Is Going: Learning From The City Harvest Trial” (the “Article”). I also published links to the Article on my Facebook page (at https://www.facebook.com/sexiespider) and on The Heart Truths’ Facebook page (at https://www.facebook.com/pages/I-want-the-government-and-people-to-work-together-for-Singapores-future/185331834935656).

2.I recognise that the Article means and is understood to mean that Mr Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore and Chairman of GIC, is guilty of criminal misappropriation of the monies paid by Singaporeans to the Central Provident Fund.

3.I admit and acknowledge that this allegation is false and completely without foundation.

4.I unreservedly apologise to Mr Lee Hsien Loong for the distress and embarrassment caused to him by this allegation.

5.I have removed the Article and the links to the Article and undertake not to make any further allegations to the same or similar effect.

Or is Roy emulating JBJ and Dr Chee? They were serial defamers of the leaders of the PAP administration. and suffered the consequences, and benefits (not all benefits are monetary). Is Roy trying to follow in their foot-steps?

Well even JBJ and Dr Chee, never ever questioned the integrity of the vote-counting in elections. But here is Roy Ngerng making a statement that any reasonable person can conclude as calling into question the process of vote counting, implying that the the results of elections were fixed* and that this fixing was kept from S’poreans.. Surely this is defaming the PM to whom the Elections Department reports?

What do you think?

Was the defamation “an honest mistake” resulting from said diarrhea discharge? Or the result of solid research, as solid as his CPF findings? Or an attempt to goad the PM into suing him again?

What do you think?

Whatever the case may be, unlike Dr Chee and JBJ, he can use new media to raise funds and gauge his support. Maybe taz why he’s so garang and quai lan. He’s using Other People’s Money.

One Tan Kin Lian tried to do the same by asking S’poreans 100% fund his presidential campaign (including his deposit). But most S’poreans refused to help out someone who was animism for S$1m a yr (he promised to keep only half of the then presidential salary, donating $1m to charity), but didn’t want to put up his own money. Unfortunately for him, S’poreans refused to give him a free ride. He lost his deposit, incidentally.

Details of PE2011 expenses: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/the-financially-savviest-pe-candidate-of-them-all/

Well let’s see how much longer S’poreans are willing to let Roy get a free lunch. Btw, tomorrow, I’ll post on how SingTel is helping itself to a free lunch.

*I think George Yeo and his ladies from Hell wished it were so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scholar, ex-general still cannot stop NOL from sinking

In Logistics, S'pore Inc, Shipping, Temasek on 25/11/2014 at 4:41 am

At the end of October, NOL announced: that losses continued in the third quarter with the company $23m in the red compared to a net profit of $20m a year earlier, hit by port congestion in Southern California.

“We see a slowdown in emerging markets, partly driven by a lower need for raw materials from China. Europe – it’s very slow growth, if any, at the moment, and there’s no reason to expect a big change here,” said Nils Andersen,Maersk’s chief executive.

Revenues for the third quarter were flat at $2.06bn. For the first nine months of 2014 NOL lost $174m, compared to a $61m profit in the same period last year that included a one time gain from the sale of its headquarters building.

NOL claimed cost savings of $290m so far this year but these had been “largely offset” by lower rates, lower volumes and increased costs for port congestion.

http://www.seatrade-global.com/news/americas/nol-stays-in-the-red-port-congestion-hits-liner-arm-apl.html

But about a week later, FT carried this report: Denmark’s largest company by sales reported better than expected profits in the third quarter and lifted its profit outlook for Maersk Line, its container shipping business.

Maersk has bucked the trend in a container shipping industry dogged by overcapacity, losses and weak demand. Thanks to aggressive cost cutting and lower use of fuel, Maersk Line is by far the most profitable container group.

Maersk Line estimates its operating margin, which was 8.2 per cent in the second quarter, was 8.5 percentage points higher than the average of its rivals.

It lifted it again in the third quarter, posting an operating margin of 10.5 per cent, and leading Maersk Line to boost its guidance for the year for net profits to more than $2bn compared with $1.5bn previously. Net profit in the third quarter rose by a quarter to $685m.

“The days of rapid growth in containerised trade are over. We have to be happy as an industry that we are still growing . . . But we can still make good business,” said Mr Andersen.

But Maersk is more than just a container shipping group as the conglomerate has sought to emphasise its other businesses in recent years including oil exploration and production, port terminals and drilling rigs.

….

AP Møller-Maersk lowered its forecast for growth in global trade as the owner of the world’s largest container shipping line said a slowdown in emerging markets and Europe was weighing on demand.

The Danish group, seen as a bellwether for global trade as it carries 15 per cent of all seaborne freight, said demand had slipped in the third quarter compared with the start of the year and was now expected to increase by 3-5 per cent this year, down from 4-5 per cent.

So having a scholar, ex-SAF general and ex Temasek MD hasn’t done any favours for NOL, or S’pore Inc. On his watch (to be fair in really bad weather, he crashed NOL onto the rocks. Still in charge despite that , he has repeadely failed to stop the water from coming in.

The red ink continues to flow with plans to sell its APL Logistics unit in a sale that could fetch at least US$1 billion (S$1.27 billion).

Btw, local broker calls NOL a buy: http://www.ihsmaritime360.com/article/15494/neptune-orient-lines-gets-buy-rating-on-cheap-valuation.

Below shows trade flows across the Pacific. Maersk btw is based in Denmark and its traditional strength is the Asia, Europe trade. But it still dominates global shipping.

 

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2014/11/daily-chart-9

Worthless Party living up to its name?

In Uncategorized on 24/11/2014 at 12:38 pm

TOC, the  ‘defacto” Petir and ST of the WP, carried the following announcement this morning

Taking a break, looking for money

Starting this week, expect less content to be posted on The Online Citizen, as the directors of The Opinion Collaborative Ltd focus our attention on securing funding for the website.

Our funds are extremely low, as subscriptions have not been forthcoming and donations have dwindled. Whatever funds we have left now would be directed towards maintaining our web server, to keep the website online.

The budget crunch has affected the editorial operations in TOC. The full-time editorial team is living on fumes and passion to keep the website operational. While we attempt to secure the budget required for the smooth continuation and maintenance of an efficient news outfit, you may see a reduction of postings in the coming weeks.

Please bear with us with the slow down in content production.

Well despite all the help TOC has been providing WP in disseminating the truth (three cheers) and, sadly, para truths about the  AHPeTC saga, WP senior cadres are not stepping in in their personal capacity to help a friend in need?

Can those of us who voted for WP expect any better from WP in future, given how they treat an active ally and friend.

What do you think?

——

*Meanwhile, you can help us by:

1) Subscribing to TOC – by downloading the form, here, completing it and sending it to us; or

2) Donating to TOC by cheque – made payable to “The Opinion Collaborative Ltd” and sent to The Online Citizen, 20 Maxwell Road #09-17, Maxwell House, Singapore 069113; or

3) Donating to TOC by bank or ATM transfer – to DBS current account, bank code 7171, account number 04890-4435-7.

Please note that, under the Media Development Authority’s regulations for TOC Ltd, all donations to TOC must be accompanied by your name and identification number. Donations without these details will be reserved for TOC Ltd’s future projects.

Shrimp, prawns & salmon will cost more/ Discrimination

In Economy on 24/11/2014 at 8:29 am

Diners could soon be paying more for their plate of sushi as the price of fishmeal, the crucial feed for shrimp, prawns and salmon leaps to an all-time high.
The commodity has surged to a record [US]$2,400 a tonne, as rising sea temperatures have led to a sharp drop in anchovy catches in Peru, the world’s largest exporter. Prices have surged fourfold in the last decade as supplies have been affected by a change in climate as well as demand increases.

The increase in fishmeal costs comes as seafood prices reach historical highs.

(FT report last week)

Beautiful painting to cheer you

Jimson Weed/White Flower No 1 by Georgia O'Keefe

 

A floral painting by the late US artist Georgia O’Keeffe was sold for US$44.4m at auction recently, setting a record for an artwork by a female artist. Works by great male artists command higher prices.

AHPeTC: Sadly PAP IB gets it right

In Political governance on 23/11/2014 at 9:35 am

It’s with sadness and sorrow that I have to agree with The Fabrications about the PAP, the purveyor of night-soil and other garbage about the WP, other oppo parties and anyone who disagrees with the PAP*. This was posted late yesterday on facebook:

Today Pritam Singh & Png Eng Huat issue a statement saying nothing meaningful, repeating the same line that they “are looking into the S&CC arrears data”. What it means is AHPeTC are still taking its time to manually sort and count the data from the 55000 households.

They said they “will respond to the query on the financial and arrears situation in due course.” Well, the 70% residents still paying to subsidise the non-paying ones, Why Pay? AHPeTC can expect to get your payment in “due course” too.

Meanwhile, all tax-payers are paying to cover the shortfall in AHPeTC through the MND S&CC grant and S&CC GST Subvention grant, why should we pay if AHPeTC can manage with 30% less collection.

2012, Sylvia Lim said WP will pay special attention to address arrears problem.

April 2013, they report sudden spike in arrears, then immediately stop reporting.

Oct 2014, arrears red flag again. They now say “let us check, let us check”, “be patient”

WTF!!???

The fact that the WP cannot assure that the arrears position has improved since March last year is worrying.

And having to take so long to give an answer to the allegation of a collection problem in the first quarter of last yr is doubly worrying. My Facebook avater (now barred from commenting on TOC’s Facebook again) posted (Apologies for his bad grammar) on Soul of S’pore

Having been an Hon Treasurer of members club where members bills were between $600-1,000 monthly, with only a full time accounts clerk and outsourced accounting systems supporting the GM, I always got an explanation for the arrears position as a matter of routine. That WP TC has to look into the details before answering is itself worrying. Whatever happened to the routine mgt accounting systems? Three months and more arrears should be routinely flagged and monitored.

Btw, readers might like to know that the chairman of the club then was a PAP MP. He never bothered me with financial queries. He left me to do my job and I didn’t let the members down. Maybe the WP left everything to Tai Vie Shun (alleged to be FT from M’sia)? Cze and Alex Au fingered him in HawkerGate. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/will-tai-do-a-yaw-cut-run/

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*PAP denies anything to do with FATPAP but https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/a-pap-mp-and-the-internet-brigade/

PAPpies like this breed of pig?

In Humour on 23/11/2014 at 4:48 am

Full of fat

Seriously, nice video on Mangalica – famed as the “Kobe beef of the pork world”. It was bred for emperors. Nearly went extinctwhen the communists ruled Hungary, but made a come-back when the fat cats (or should it be Fat pigs? returned.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30042761

 

Haze: VivianB has the luck of the devil

In Environment, Indonesia on 22/11/2014 at 7:57 am

Despite, me being able to smell the haze almost every evening* for the last few days, the anti-PAP paper warriors and do usual do-gooders have been quiet. The air pollution readings must be OK even if the haze is present. I don’t usually bother to check the readings because high levels are a health hazard only if there is “prolonged exposure”, something which the PAP administration refuses to highlight. Kinda dumb I think to let the usual suspects to get away with propogating rubbish. wake up Yaacob and earn yr salary.

For that I suspect the wet weather (usual around this time of the yr) has a lot to do with the lack of noise.

—–

*And this morning too. Update at 8.12am.

India: Back in fashion/ Ascendas India

In India, Property, Reits on 22/11/2014 at 5:25 am

Since the start of last year emerging-market stocks have trailed their rich-world peers. Currencies are falling. Worst-hit is the Russian rouble, which has fallen by 30% against the dollar this year. The currencies of other biggish emerging markets, such as Brazil, Turkey and South Africa, have also weakened. For such economies growth is harder to come by. The IMF recently cut its forecasts for emerging markets by more than for rich countries. But India is a notable exception to the general pessimism. Its stockmarket has touched new highs. The rupee is stable. And the IMF nudged up its 2014 growth forecast for India to 5.8%. That figure is still quite low: growth rates of 8-9% have been more typical. But in comparison with others it is almost a boom. Why is India doing better than most emerging markets?

In part optimism about India owes to its newish government.

The other reason is that The currents that sway the global economy presently—the dollar’s strength; slowdown in China; aggressive money-printing in Japan; stagnation in the euro zone and falling oil prices—are less harmful to India than to most emerging markets.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/11/economist-explains-11

I’ve had exposure to India via the Ascendas India biz trust since 2008. It’s been a ride but the payouts are very decent. Chk it out as you too may like it. http://aitrust.listedcompany.com/newsroom/20140710_170824_CY6U_ANGLIE824Z3T5WVH.1.pdf

Note that some results have been annced since the above presentation.

 

PAP voter refusing to pay S&C cont’d

In Political governance on 21/11/2014 at 4:55 am
TRE republished this and below are three great responses to the PAppy’s reasoning on why he refuses to pay S&C charges: he didn’t vote for the WP and he and other PA PAP supporters want to use non-payment to force the WP out of Aljunied GRC.
Wolaiye:

WP should send people to scout the homes that don’t pay their S&CC. If homes are well furnished and no sign of poverty, must be PAP supporters who deliberately refuse to pay. After a month or two, cut of their power and water supply and charge them extra admin and penalty cost. No need for lawyer letter and waste money paying the lawyer fee like what pap town councils do.

RedHot:

This Idiot words:
” I am an Aljunied resident living with my parents. Lately, due to some disagreements I had with the TC, I have been asking my parents not to pay the S&C fees. My reasoning is simple. Why should we pay to an administration body that we did NOT vote for??? Let those people who voted for them pay for them.

I can only imagine the sheer number of people who feels the same way. I hope these people continue to withhold payment and hopefully we can shame the Workers Party out of parliament.

Why can’t Aljunied have a “normal” and competent town council like other constituencies??”

I can say that he should eat the rubbish in his mouth. National Processed Bills are to be observed whether in opposition or ruling party ward. It must be some uneducated bums who made this statement and a shame to the country.

It has been suggested that the writer is a member of the anti-PAP cyber warriors brigade, pretending to be a PAPpy. He could be but I think not because, Why can’t Aljunied have a “normal” and competent town council like other constituencies??, seems to have a ring of authenticity about it. Normality and competency is equated with PAP rule by die-die PAPpiess.. Anything else is abnormal and incompetent. It could be the PM speaking at a PAP election rally, or Temasek’s chairman at a PAP PA organised function in Aljunied.

Finally, while the WP’s cont’d silence on explaining the arrears is worrying (PritamS deleted the files? An “honest mistake”?*) so is Khaw’s and other ministers’ silence on the PAPpy’s rationale for not paying:

Samuel S:

Can PAP ministers, especially KBW, please comment if it is right for those pro-PAP not paying S&C. This is important and must quickly communicate to all citizens in this Singapore.

—-

*Seriously as the Honorary Secretary of a club, that only had one full time accounts clerk and a part-time accountant, I could easily access financial data such as arrears collection. The delay in explaining what happened could be because the records are in a mess, or that mgt wasn’t reading the reports produced.

As to the deficit, I await the WP’s comments. TOC’s piece on the deficit sounds like Roy’s research on CPF, full of para-facts. Standards have dropped at TOC, I’ve informed TOC. Since the return of a co-founder, TOC has become to the WP what Patir and Fabs about the PAP are to the PAP administration.

 

Dutch Pension Plan

In CPF, Financial competency on 20/11/2014 at 1:49 pm

LESSONS FROM THE DUTCH PENSION PLAN “Imagine a place where pensions were not an ever-deepening quagmire, where the numbers told the whole story and where workers could count on a decent retirement,” Mary Williams Walsh writes in The New York Times. “Imagine a place where regulators existed to make sure everyone followed the rules,” she adds. “That place might just be the Netherlands …”. The Dutch system rests on the idea that each generation should pay its own costs ‒ and that the costs must be measured accurately if that is to happen.

Going Dutch isn’t easy, and it is quite expensive. There are also elements of the plan that may seem too socialist for American tastes.

Why WP Low is silent about almost everything/ Silence is no longer golden

In Political governance on 20/11/2014 at 4:18 am

Amended on 21 November 6.40pm to reflect MND’s explanation of the law. My “honest mistake”).

“[I]t is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood: there will always be some who misunderstand you”, Karl Popper*, an influential philosopher of the 2oth century said.

PAP’s ministers (think Desmond Lee**) and elders (think Temasek’s chairman**, and ex-minister and ex-NTUC leader), Roy Ngerng and Goh Meng Seng should memorise Karl Popper’s words because they talk too much cock. .

It’s obvious that WP Low, the man of Tao, takes these words to heart and opts to remain silent most of the time: he cannot be misunderstood because there is nothing to misunderstand seems to be his reasoning.

Trouble is that the silence of Low (and by extension that of the WP because it too practices silence, even PritamS) nowadays is itself is now being interpreted, given its number of MPs and NCMPS it has; often in ways that don’t flatter. Example from TRE sometime back

ake the AIMgate for example. They knew of AIM but kept quiet until they were given bad report. Then started to talk of AIM in disjointed way. Took netizens in particular Alex Au and Voiddecker and Lucky Tan to marshall the arguments. If this my watch-dog, I’d put it down for not doing its job. If this my jaga, I’d sack him, suspecting he bakat-bakat with robbers. Choice of term co-driver is apt. He is part of team: Team PAP that is.

“I am pleased that all the Prime Minister has to say about the WP is to lament that we have not done enough in Parliament.” ~WP chief Low Thia Khiang telling us he pleased with KPI that PM and him agreed behind “closed doors”****

So I hope the WP will soon explain why arrears collection in its area is so bad***. It’s taking too long time to get the facts, something Auntie is saying WP will do before commenting. PritamS deleted the relevant files? An honest mistake, or  the usual incompetency from Mr Singh?

——-

*Another saying, one that encapsulates his contribution to intellectual thought, particularly the philosophy of science, “No number of sightings of white swans can prove the theory that all swans are white. The sighting of just one black one may disprove it.”

Scientists now look for black swans and if they cannot find any, they can feel reasonably confident that their theory is right, although not yet proved. It is, in the present state of knowledge, the best approximation to the truth.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2002/apr/27/artsandhumanities.highereducation1

**”Before merger, Aljunied had an operating surplus of $3.3m. Within two years, the merged AHPETC’s financial position has deteriorated rapidly. The operating surplus of $3.3m Aljunied had in FY10 had turned into an operating deficit of $734,000 in FY12, ” Desmond Lee.

Temasek’s chairman said the same thing. Mr Lim Boon Heng said that the WP-run town council’s (AHPETC) swing from an operating surplus to a deficit in the short span of 3 years is worrying. “It begs many questions,” he told reporters.

Well they ignored the fact that the WP did not inherit any surplus. Rightly, the surplus after an election has been locked up to ensure prudence. .

According to the Town Council  Act if after an election, the new MPs are from the same political party as those of the previous town council, then 80% of its surpluses shall be transferred to the sinking fund.

If, however, as in the case of Aljunied, the new MPs elected are from a different political party, then “all its surpluses” – ie, 100% of the surpluses – “shall be transferred to the prescribed sinking funds of the Town Council.”, Section 34 (4) of the act, should the area of a town be changed due to electoral boundary changes, the 80% and not 100% figure applies.

Under the Act, it states: “Where the boundaries of any constituency within a Town are altered under the Parliamentary Elections Act and there is an election in any or every new constituency so formed …  the Town Council shall transfer 80% of its surpluses to the prescribed sinking funds of the Town Council.”

***The charge by MND is that the “sharp decline” in the S&CC arrears situation in AHPETC as being “of grave public concern”. Aljunied’s S&CC arrears rate rose from 2.6% in FY10 to 8.4% in FY11 and FY12, after Aljunied merged with Hougang. This was significantly above the national norm of about 3%, the MND noted.

The arrears rate rose further to 29.4% at the end of April 2013. “From May 2013, the TC stopped submitting its monthly S&CC arrears report altogether, despite repeated reminders.”

To me as an honorary club treasurer, once upon a time, this doesn’t look gd. But the devil is in the details. So I’ll not pass judgement on the WP until I hear its side of the story. But its silence is deafening.

****He goes on, A good guard dog need not be the loudest barker. Most loud barkers are mad dogs and will either give you rabies or get put down if the neighbours don’t call the police or poison the dog first. If I want to have a good guard dog guarding my home and family, I’d get one that is smart and sensitive and knows how to protect my family best. That said, I certainly won’t vote in anyone I deem as volatile to represent me in parliament and to run my country. I will vote in someone with heart and think for the country while having a rational, guided and dignified approach. In any debates and arguments, the one who loses the temper first loses his audience. WP is matured and rational. They bid their time proper. If they eventually have to run the country, that’s how the people can trust them to do so.

What Scrooge McDuck can teach PAP ministers, TRE born losers etc

In Financial competency on 19/11/2014 at 4:05 am

In the 60s and the 70s, I loved getting my hair cut once a month in the Arcade at Clifford Pier. One LKY had his hair there too but the reason why I loved going to the the barber was the comics the shop had. A particular favourite comic hero was Scrooge McDuck, the maternal uncle of Donald Duck, and the grand-uncle of Huey, Dewey and Louie, Donald’s nephews.

Recently, I learnt that he and Warren Buffett are connected.

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/103014/what-can-investor-learn-ducktales.asp?utm_source=coattail-buffett&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=WBW-11/6/2014

The PAP administration and all managers (TLCs, GLCs, SMEs and MNCs) can learn from this story

In “The Curse of Castle McDuck” Uncle Scrooge and his nephews make a trip to Scotland to visit his birthplace. Along the way Uncle Scrooge finds his first piggy bank, and says “my life of thrift began with this very bank.” When our adventurers get to Castle McDuck, they discover the old pile is haunted by a glowing hound that terrorizes the locals, and at night druids perform secret rites within the castle walls.

Uncle Scrooge and the nephews trap the druids and their magical hound (which is, in fact, just a dog), and ask them why they drove the McDucks from Castle McDuck after it was built. It turns out that Silas McDuck, who first built Castle McDuck, did it on top of the druids’ stone circle “to cut costs.” Uncle Scrooge blushingly acknowledges that cost-cutting runs in the family. 

Realizing that the McDuck clan has been in error for centuries, Scrooge McDuck offers to share the site with the druids. During the day it will be a tourist site to make money, and at night the druids can perform their ceremonies. In the end, everybody wins.

Scrooge likes to say there is “always another rainbow”, something the born-loser rabid anti-PAP paper warriors should take to heart: stop KPKBing and start working, not skivving at work, or if enemployed, looking for work.

Perhaps PAP ministers can learn from him that money is not the most important thing in life.

Ordinary S’poreans can learn

— “Work smarter, not harder” (so can the PAP administration in its productivity drive)

— “Family is the most important thing”

A gd, disorganised entry from Wikipedia on him

Ang mohs rioted meh? Not South Asians? Workers’ orms are multi-racial?

In Economy on 18/11/2014 at 5:14 am

Racist joint-exercise at dormitory? 

Khaw Boon Wan had said the exercise was to “test our response capability” so that when “quarrels erupt, leading to fights or worse” the police will know what to do. it was not that obvious that they knew what to do in Little India.

Going by the KPKBing by people like Kirsten Han*, Alex Au** and Andrew Loh***, accusing the National Development Minister and the police of “racism” after he posted photos of a police training exercise involving a staged riot of South Asian workers, http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201411111855-0024331, I can only conclude that some people don’t know the facts about the Little India riot, and who lives in the dormitories.

I didn’t realise until I read the trio that there was doubt on the identity of the Little India rioters. Everything I read said that it was the South Asians that did it.

On the racial mix in dorms, all the evidence that I have heard is that the dorms in the main (if not only) house people from the Indian sub-continent. Evidence:

— The supermarkets serving the dorms sell extra-strength imported beers from India. They don’t carry imported beers from PRC or Thailand or elsewhere.

— Someone who visited a dorm or two only saw only people from the Indian sub-continent.

So if the purpose of the exercise was to “test our response capability”, waz wrong with using people who reside in the dorms?

Why must the “fake rioters” include other races?

Let me be clear: if the dorms are not predominantly (if not exclusively) used to house South Asian workers, and the Little India rioters were multi-racial or from another ethnic group, I would agree with the criticism especially that of Alex Au cited below. But they ain’t. (Now attacking the racial composition of the dorms might be a better bet, depending on the mix of FTs here).

Sometimes I wonder if the diabolical trio so hate the PAP administration and its works that when it comes to analysing the administration’s actions, they resemble the looney TRE ranters who scream,”PAP is always wrong” whatever the facts.

As the UK’s Guardian (I assume this left-wing paper is their favourite newspaper) says, “Facts are scared”. It also says “Comment is free”.

The diabolical trio should leave bad analysis and mis representations to the ex-minister, now chairman of Temasek who lamented how a surplus of millions turned into a deficit of hundreds of thousands when the WP took over the running of Aljunied, conveniently forgetting that the surplus was “locked away” when Aljunied voters liberated themselves.

——————

*The racist prejudices on display in the exercise are so stark that I’m  surprised Khaw has failed to recognise them, let alone be bold enough to share the photo on social media. 

In the aftermath of the Little India riot the government was quick to reassure Singaporeans that this was a “one-off” incident (although their actions – and the coverage of the mainstream media – repeatedly suggested that the whole issue was being treated otherwise). 

Yet Khaw has now centred the issue of violence and unruly conduct on migrant workers, linking the “possible scenario” of “fights or worse” to the “concentration of foreign workers in one locality”.

As the exercise showed only South Asian-looking men, it doesn’t take a very deep reading to get the message: when there are many foreign workers of a certain race in one area, violent clashes are more likely to happen. 

It’s a sentiment built upon prejudice and ignorance. It completely fails to take into consideration context, or acknowledge the double standards that we so openly practise. The South Asian men who work in the construction and marine industries in Singapore endure conditions that no Singaporean will tolerate. Their wages are embarrassingly low for the responsibilities they have and the hours they work. Overtime is a staple of their working lives, because their basic salary is so meagre. Dormitories are sometimes cramped, their whole lives crammed into the size of a bunk bed. I’ve met men who told me about sharing a bathroom with a hundred others, making a simple task like taking a shower require an hour of standing in line to achieve. Sleep is sometimes hard to come by if you’re sleeping in a large room with about 80 others – there’s always someone going in or out, or talking on the phone.

In this environment, is it still so surprising that nerves fray and tempers flare, resulting in occasional clashes? Yet we would rather carry out simulation exercises that allow the state to triumph over these men than to address roots causes of animosity and anger.

The assumption that South Asian migrant workers are more prone to violence is itself problematic. Fights don’t only break out among these workers. The same goes for drunkenness and disorderly behaviour. Yet we don’t see law enforcement carrying out simulation exercises with Caucasian expats or white-collar workers – or God forbid, Singaporeans — hanging out in Clarke Quay or any watering hole downtown.

A lot of high faluting words and sentiments from this ang moh tua kee lady (even though she fingers them for hooliganish behaviour). But she forgets two things:

— the people who rioted were not ang mohs but from the Indian sub-continent; and

— where got riots in Clarke Quay or any watering hole downtown? The riot was in Little India.

So spare us the sanctimonious BS. They reveal her prejudices and hang-ups more than enlighten us on the misdeeds of the wicked PAP administration.

**Significant numbers of Singaporeans just feel it to be wrong to single out any group by race or nationality in a way that casts aspersions on them. This is a morally illegitimate approach, they were saying. It indicates a much more acute sensitivity in the post-independence generation to using race and nationality categorisation thoughtlessly. It may also indicate a resistance to drawing a distinction between migrant workers and ourselves, such that targetting migrant workers in this way struck them as unacceptable.

Maybe “significant numbers” (though I doubt it unless it means significant numbers of ang moh tua kees or anti-PAP paper warriors) but I don’t think the majority has an issue here. Minorities do not rule OK. Being in the majority has its privileges.

But Alex makes serious and valid points when he says a much more acute sensitivity in the post-independence generation to using race and nationality categorisation thoughtlessly. It may also indicate a resistance to drawing a distinction between migrant workers and ourselves.

It’s juz that, given the facts, using the photos and the exercise is a lousy example of casual, unthinking racism and class distinction .

***And here perhaps is why asking both Indian and Bangladeshi “ambassadors”, as Mr Khaw described them, to participate in the drill held at a dormitory where they stay, is offensive to some.

The insinuation is that these – Indians and Bangladeshis – are more prone to rioting or causing unrest.

It feeds into the misrepresentation that South-asians are more susceptible to violent means than others – although evidence does not support such a claim.

And here perhaps is why asking both Indian and Bangladeshi “ambassadors”, as Mr Khaw described them, to participate in the drill held at a dormitory where they stay, is offensive to some.

The insinuation is that these – Indians and Bangladeshis – are more prone to rioting or causing unrest.

It feeds into the misrepresentation that South-asians are more susceptible to violent means than others – although evidence does not support such a claim.

Clarke Quay, where Caucasian expats and Singaporean executives spend their time when away from work.

Just one and a half years ago, the Chinese newspaper Shin Min reported a rather alarming statistic:

It said that “each year, an average of 170 fights or violent acts break out in the Clarke Quay area.”

Read that again – “170 fights or violent acts”.

In the Clarke Quay area.

That’s an average of one fight or violent act every other day.

Is there any foreign workers dormitory which comes close to such a situation in comparison?

Isn’t this missing the point? Who rioted in Little India? The first riot since 1965. Ang mohs and theie SPGs? Where got riot in Clark Quay?

Come on. pill the other leg. It’s got bells on it.

 

Reits and other high yielders fit narrative for the “New Neutral”

In Financial competency, Property, Reits on 17/11/2014 at 1:58 pm

BOND KING’S MANTRA LIVES ON William H. Gross may have departed Pimco, but executives at the bond giant have embraced his view that a stagnating global economy will force central banks to keep interest rates low, Landon Thomas Jr. writes in DealBook. …

Before he left the firm, Mr. Gross called his insight the “new neutral,” and Pimco is showing no signs of abandoning its departed leader’s mantra. In so doing, the firm’s executives are making the case that the Pimco bond funds that have made investments based on this economic approach will not soon change their strategy. Daniel Ivascyn, who was appointed to succeed Mr. Gross as group chief investment officer, took pains to point out that this new investment tack had many fathers, and emerged from a Pimco-wide brainstorming session this spring. But it is also true that the notion never really took off until Mr. Gross pitched it at an investor conference while wearing sunglasses, Mr. Thomas writes.

Mr. Gross’s economic predictions have failed in the past, but Pimco looks to be on firmer ground this time around. Like Mr. Gross, a number of economists believe that a mix of high debt, low growth and disinflation will force central banks around the world to keep rates from rising. Before he left Pimco, Mr. Gross had begun to invest in riskier, higher-yielding securities like government bonds in Italy and Spain and corporate bonds in Brazil, a strategy that the firm is still following. …

NYT’s Dealbook

Well the equivalent of these in equities would be Reits and other high yielders. Interestingly, FT reports that the fund mgr of Schroders flagship UK fund thinks there is value in income producing equities.

And an alternative view: We are doomed, doomed. Central banks cannot prevent deflation of everything including assets.

 http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2014/10/06/asset-price-disinflation-may-be-next-big-thing/

The Dark Side of vigilantism

In Uncategorized on 17/11/2014 at 4:27 am

My Facebook avater posted something on FB to the effect that “It waz vigilantism that won the Wild West. Without concerned, fed-up citizens taking action, the US wouldn’t have had the rule of law.” Of course, he was talking rubbish.

It’s well documented that innocent people were killed by posses of outraged citizens because they just happened to be “outsiders” like blacks, Jews or atheists.

And here are two examples of the Dark Side of vigilantism here

Whatever happened to due process and sub judice for FTs?

Let’s castrate Yang Yin, now that rabid anti-PAP paper warriors and other cyber-nuts, have found Yang Yin guilty of being a scheming, cheating PRC FT.

I tot of the above when I saw this

Banksy mural showing pigeons in Clacton

(A stencil showing a group of pigeons holding anti-immigration banners towards an exotic-looking bird appeared in Clacton-on-Sea in England in October. But it was quickly removed by Tendring District Council, which said someone had complained it was “racist”. Turned out it was by Banksy, a famous UK street artist who is no racist).

Funnily these same people are demanding justice for Roy Ngerng and New Citizen H3, and insisting that the MSM is not observing sub judice rules regarding them.

Even a rational, thinking anti-PAP warrior, Ms Teo Soh Lung (human rights campaigner, among other things,  who had been KPKBed that the govt had broken sub judice rules in Roy’s case (Many other legally trained people disagree, including me).is silent when it comes to Yang. He hasn’t been found guilty of anything yet Unless being a PRC FT is a crime?

Btw, Goh Meng Seng seems to have gone AWOL in Yang Yin’s case? He usually leads from the front where FTs are concerned. Going by his choice of words on Facebook, I get the impression that he takes pride in being called a xenophobe. But then he is now busy on Facebook battling for justice Roy, New Citizen H3 and the other hooligans.

Btw, Gilbert Goh is busy with humanitarian work. Gd for him.

Uniquely S’porean

But returning to this

Banksy mural showing pigeons in Clacton

In the u/m from TRE, the vigilantes would seem to be Pinoy FTs, and a Singapore the outsider: and in our own country too: Uniquely S’porean. Sigh.

S’porean fights for his rights when bullied by FTs

A brave Singaporean, Mohd Bin Japar, decided to tell his story to Gilbert Goh, the founder of transitioning.org, after 7 of his Filipino colleagues at the Great World City branch of Cold Storage allegedly ganged up to bully him.

Gilbert posted the following video interview with Mohd on his Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10153374054958975

Mr Mohd Bin Japar – a department manger with Cold Storage spoke to us about the tussle with his Filipino staff at Great World City supermarket outlet.

He called the police on 5 Nov when 7 Filipino staff surrounded him during a work dispute.

The police came and the matter has been referred to the MOM for investigation.

He just started his stint as department manager on 25 Oct and is still undergoing training.

The whole video interview lasted ten minutes.

Mr Japar is aware that he will face the sack after the release of this video online.

Despite the possibility of being sacked by Cold Storage after going public with his story, Mohd felt that it was necessary to let Singaporeans know they need to stand up for their rights in the face of the huge influx of foreign workers into Singapore.

In the video interview, Mohd said that he works as a department manager at the Great World City branch of Cold Storage.

While undergoing his managerial training at Great World City on 5 November 2014, he had a dispute with one of the Filipino cashiers. For some reason, the Filipino cashier then shouted at him.

Afterwards, Mohd reported her to his training manager, who is also a Filipino. However, instead of reprimanding the cashier for insubordination, the training manager sided with her. Mohd’s complaint had sadly fallen on deaf ears.

Mohd said that the other Filipino staff then joined in the dispute and surrounded him. Altogether, 7 Filipinos – 4 women and 3 men – surrounded him. They were all speaking in Tagalog, supposedly talking about Mohd.

Feeling threatened, he immediately called the police.

When the police came, it was determined that Mohd was not harmed physically. The police advised Mohd to lodge a report with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), which he did.

MOM is reportedly investigating the matter.

Mohd shared with Gilbert that many of his colleagues in Cold Storage are foreigners and at least one came to Singapore on a tourist visa before securing employment at Cold Storage.

Apparently, this Filipino woman came to Singapore as a tourist and went to an agency in Lucky Plaza to help get her a job. Not long after, she got a job and is currently said to be working as a manager at the Jelita branch of Cold Storage in Holland Road. Mohd said that she had to pay some money to the agency to get the job.

“This is happening in Singapore right now under our nose – how Singaporean jobs get robbed by foreigners… don’t tell me the govt doesn’t know this is happening,” Mohd said in the interview.

Mohd also revealed that he was spoken to by the GM of Cold Storage and was told that he should not have called the police.

Mohd expects to be terminated by Cold Storage for his decision to bring the matter to public attention through Gilbert.

He said he is not afraid to be sacked because he feels he is doing the right thing by bringing the matter to the attention of Singaporeans – that foreign workers in a workplace can actually gang up to bully Singaporeans, who are increasingly becoming a minority in their own country.

More

Editor’s note: There is this thing called “Filipino pride”. Filipinos, in general, are proud of being Filipinos. As such, they are quite united. There are even articles on how not to offend their pride, which may get a visitor to their country in trouble: tenminutes.ph/ndy-10-ways-offend-filipino-pride

Meng Seng would be KPKBing if this happened here

In Hong Kong on 16/11/2014 at 5:03 am

Seriously, I doubt S’poreans would be so tolerant of the u/m. GG would go red in the face and GMS would call this a trespass on our sovereignty. Well at least we know that GMS’s sojourn in HK hasn’t made him as friendly to the Pinoys as the Hongkies he so admires.

A COMMUNAL sit-in of sorts blocks the streets of Central, the main financial district of Hong Kong. The assembled crowd is peaceful. Some play cards or paw at their smartphones. Others lie under umbrellas, catching up on sleep. While the world in recent weeks has come to know the alliance of electoral-reform advocates who call themselves Occupy Central, this is something different. And it has been going on for years.

These participants are foreign domestic helpers, called “amahs” locally. There are about 320,000 of them in Hong Kong, almost exclusively female and mainly from the Philippines and Indonesia. Many spend their single day off each week sitting on flattened-out cardboard boxes, acquired from trolley carts pulled around by local entrepreneurs. Some build elaborate temporary houses with room partitions and outer walls. Anywhere else in the world this cardboard city would raise eyebrows, but not in Hong Kong.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/analects/2014/11/hong-kongs-domestic-helpers

Education, NS: Korea versus S’pore

In Uncategorized on 15/11/2014 at 6:50 am

Where got liddat here? Even rabid ant-PAP cyber warriors don’t describe such things happening here.

The dark side of South Korea’s education model – Although South Korea is renowned for its education system, the consequences of its success should not be overlooked, writes Se-Woong Koo for the New York Times.

“Dominated by Tiger Moms, cram schools and highly authoritarian teachers, South Korean education produces ranks of overachieving students who pay a stiff price in health and happiness,” he writes. “The entire program amounts to child abuse. It should be reformed and restructured without delay.”

Because of the emphasis on success, many South Korean students experience physical symptoms from the academic stress, Se-Woong says.

“Before South Korea can be seen as a model for the 21st century, it must end this age-old feudal system that passes for education and reflect on what the country’s most vulnerable citizens might themselves want,” he writes.

(BBC)

Or our NS men killing themselves like S Korean conscripts.

Two more conscripts have been found dead in apparent suicides in South Korea, amid an ongoing debate over the culture in the nation’s military.

The two were found hanged at one of their homes in Seoul, Yonhap news agency reported.

Both had been on the military’s list of conscripts in need of extra care.

In recent months concern has risen over life in the military for vulnerable young men, following several high-profile incidents.

In June a soldier shot himself, but survived, after killing five members of his unit.

A month later, two young conscripts died in apparent suicides. All three were on the watch list of individuals who were having trouble adapting to military life.

In recent days the case of a young soldier who died in April after abuse by fellow soldiers has also sparked soul-searching in South Korea.

(BBC)

 

Latest US investment philosophy

In Financial competency on 14/11/2014 at 2:58 pm

“Buy & hold” is history. “Trading” is in. Locals (before FTs took over SGX and made contra trading even more difficult) and Hongkies have been doing this since time immemorial.

The new investors’ philosophy seems to be, rather than pay a financial adviser to let their stocks languish in a buy-and-hold paralysis as the market falls, a potentially more profitable move is to pay advisers to protect and increase a portfolio’s bottom line by actively trading.

A perfect example of the vulnerability of the buy-and-hold strategy is the technology stock boom followed by the tech stock bust. Tech stocks in general soared in price during the bull market of the late 1990s. Sun Microsystems whihc is now owned by Oracle Corporation (Nasdaq:ORCL), made software and Internet hardware for a burgeoning World Wide Web. All indicators, technical and fundamental both, pointed toward continued growth and profitability of the company.

Yet despite Sun Microsystems’ bright prospects, other tech firms were moving up fast to challenge Sun Micro’s market dominance. The stock fell in the face of competition from IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPQ), and other tech competitors and its price has declined some 85% since its high. Obviously, Buy-And-Hold would not have worked in this instance, and there are numerous other examples of once-high-flying equities which have fallen on hard times and low stock prices.

ST’s writer suggests a trading tactic any investor, who is confronted with a dilemma over taking profit on his winning bet or cutting loss on a plunging stock, is to sell half of it.

Selling half of the investment will release the psychological logjam that comes from trying to decide whether to keep the investment or get rid of it completely. He can then analyse why he bought the stock in the first place, and whether to hold the remaining shares, sell them or buy more.

This ploy is especially useful to a trader who is facing losses on his bets. What should he do if he keeps losing money even though he believes he is right and that the market would see sense eventually?

http://www.cpf.gov.sg/imsavvy/infohub_article.asp?readid=835928295-20153-5633595585

Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/long-term-investor-while-trading-a-stock/

http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0611/why-buffetts-buy-and-hold-strategy-is-losing-its-appeal.aspx?utm_source=coattail-buffett&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=WBW-5/22/2014

PAP voter stops paying S&C charges to force out WP/ Oppo supporters shld imitate?

In Uncategorized on 14/11/2014 at 4:16 am

In response to this, the following was posted by someone who it seems voted for the PAP in Aljunied and who refuses to accept the election result and refuses to pay his S&C fees:

I am an Aljunied resident living with my parents. Lately, due to some disagreements I had with the TC, I have been asking my parents not to pay the S&C fees. My reasoning is simple. Why should we pay to an administration body that we did NOT vote for??? Let those people who voted for them pay for them.

I can only imagine the sheer number of people who feels the same way. I hope these people continue to withhold payment and hopefully we can shame the Workers Party out of parliament.

Why can’t Aljunied have a “normal” and competent town council like other constituencies??

Someone responded

‘why should I pay for a TC that I did not pay for?”

Wow..by that very same logic, then 40% of us can also stop paying for all our taxes to a govt that we didn’t vote for lah! Apparently PAP voters are even more nincompoop.

By the way, SMRT during Saw Phiak Hwa’s time also boasted a good corporate governance. What shit does that do for the consumers in terms of service and safety delivery?

But I’ll leave the last word to the PAP voter.

Don’t be stupid. When did I say you can don’t pay your taxes? I’m talking about S&C charges, paid to a party-run town council. NOT taxes, which is paid to IRAS, a non-partisan statutory board. The two are DIFFERENT things. IRAS will always be around, regardless of who governs. PAP does not own IRAS. But AHPETC (what a stupid acronym) will be gone once Worker’s Party is voted out. Please don’t compare apples and oranges. Clear??

Wonder if he has cleared this with the chairman of the PAP, who is also the MND minister. Or is he like Jason Chua of Fabrications about the PAP, both disowned by the PAP yet where a PAP MP has “pull”.

I reproduce the MND grading so that readers can decide if the WP estate is as well run or worse than a PAP one.

 

 

StanChart bosses apologise to shareholders

In Banks, Temasek on 13/11/2014 at 1:48 pm

Top bosses at Standard Chartered admitted the bank’s performance had been disappointing as they announced plans to close 100 branches in a $400m (£250m) cost-cutting drive to win back support from disgruntled investors.

The admission was made as the bank’s top management team began three days of presentations to investors, who have endured a 30% drop in share values. There are also concerns about whether the bank has enough capital.

At the start of the three-day presentation, the new finance director, Andy Halford, said: “We recognise our recent performance has been disappointing and are determined to get back on to a trajectory of sustainable, profitable growth, delivering returns above our cost of capital.”

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/nov/11/standard-chartered-bosses-bid-calm-investor-fears

LKY: Why liddat PAP?

In Uncategorized on 13/11/2014 at 4:38 am

I was sadden* when I saw the above. Was it necessary to take photos of LKY standing? When he had to be propped up in such an obvious matter. No-one should be treated like a prop, especially not LKY.

There were ways to make sure he could have stood in dignity, if it was tot necessary, for him to stand beside his son, and between his son and GCT. Why couldn’t the photos be taken sitting down?

LKY was very protective of Rajaratnam (Remember him? LKY’s Goebbels) in his later yrs (He had dementia ). When he was Senior Minister, he reprimanded privately a local newspaper to a local rag when it published a photo of Rajaratnam. He said it was undignified to show an ill man. One may disagree with LKY on the photo (the editor did not think it was an undignified photo) but one can understand the sentiment behind the reprimand.

I think the photos were an honest mistake. I don’t think the PAP wanted to treat him like a stuffed trophy.

But conspiracy theorists may hink otherwise: the photos were intended to send S’poreans a message? Waz the message then? What do you think is the message?

*From his expression,. I don’t think he was insisting on standing. What do you think?

 

 

Describes two generations of PAP leaders to the T

In Economy, Political governance on 12/11/2014 at 4:53 am

I came across the u/m in FT. It was a reader’s comment on the UK political scene. But it applies here too.

“The current generation of politicians understand two things: how to attain power and to use the powers of office to retain power. There is very little evidence that they understand how government might be used for the public good, or the underlying mechanics of the economy and society that they are supposed to be governing.”

GCT and LHL (and their gangs) knew that to get into positions of power and retain the posts, they had to get top grades from one LKY. To do this end they applied his Hard Truths.

But they didn’t understand (like he and the Old Guard did) “how government might be used for the public good, or the underlying mechanics of the economy and society that they are supposed to be governing.”

So Hard Truths were applied mechanically as a way to pass their exams and earn the “reasonable” mega-salaries

Take the issue of globalisation and the rise of income inequality. The PAP administration until recently, did not really acknowledge inequality as a problem that merited serious policy action; simply blaming globalisation for the growing wealthy disparity here. It only started doing something because the voters were unhappy.

If it had not applied LKY’s Hard Truths mechanically, it could have realised, that the world has experienced two great eras of globalisation. The first combined minimal redistribution with minimal political power for non-elites. The second combined universal suffrage with substantial redistribution. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to conclude that redistribution is the price democracies pay for globalisation. – See more at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2014/07/inequality#sthash.7O8p4Lrl.dpuf. Emphasis mine.

In an essay in “Governing Asia: Reflections on a Research Journey” by Donald Low, author of “Hard Choices”, Donald Low wrote,That Goh Keng Swee was so ready and willing to question not just the country’s growth model but also its population strategy in 1972 – seven years after Singapore’s independence – speaks volumes about the state of the policy discourse in Singapore today. Goh’s remarks also hint at the fact that we have many more policy options than subsequent generations of government leaders have presented to Singaporeans, that our economic choices are not as stark and binary as they are made out to be, and that we are better off – as a society and economy – to have a robust and vigorous debate on these issues.

In 1972, there were no Hard Truths, juz pragmatic ideas to solve real and serious problems. Hard Truths hadn’t chiseled into tablets of stone to be memorised and deified by succeeding generations of PAP leaders.

 

 

CEO of Norwegian GLC was paid “peanuts”

In S'pore Inc on 11/11/2014 at 1:53 pm

PM said recently said it is not about high salaries, but ones that are “realistic and correct”, in order to find the right people who are “most capable”, and “most trustworthy”.

Well, the new CEO of BG, a UK energy group,  will earn 10 times his Statoil salary even though  BG has only a fifth of the Norwegian company’s revenue. His replacement will not be paid substantially more. Even though listed, Statoil, is controlled by the Norwegian state.

PM and PAP ministers, and S’poreans should take note.

Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/hen-jost-gracef-money-money-money/

PAP administration scores own goal?

In Financial competency, Political governance on 11/11/2014 at 5:03 am

(Update on 12 november 2014 at 4.30am; U/m makes a mistake (“an honest mistake”) in assuming that “yellow” in the table means “gold” or “best”. It actually is an “amber” sign”. Hence the amendments shown.)

Don’t the MND KPIs show WP has a “heart of gold” and competency while proving that the competent PAP town councils have hearts of granite?

This is a plausible reasonable view despite the framing by wannabe Sith Lord turned wannabe Jedi Knight as“I wonder what is more important to the Aljunied/Hougang voter : the need for a contrarian voice in Parliament or a well-run housing estate.”. She is ignoring the fact that the one and only WP estate is as well run as any PAP estate by the three KPIs that should matter to residents: even better than some including the PM’s very own estate. But then she was once upon a time a serious contender to be ST’s editor.

First a reminder of waz the issue is all about.

The bureaucrats in a ministry (MND) in the PAP administration failed the one and only WP town council on two KPIs out of  five  devised by said bureaucrats and the governing party: arrears collection and governance.

Methinks, that the WP’s results will make voters reflect hard on whether

— “The PAP will always be on Singapore and Singaporeans’ side.”

— “The PAP will always do its best for Singapore and Singaporeans.”

(PM on 7 November)

As far as governance, the issue is a very technical accounting issue (which may or may not have financial implications, that may be serious or not) and the WP is playing hard ball. But then wimps* too sometimes have their boiling points. And whatever the PAP and stooges allies may say, this “red” card doesn’t affect the daily lives of residents.

As to the issue of arrears collection, the charge by MND is that the “sharp decline” in the S&CC arrears situation in AHPETC as being “of grave public concern”. Aljunied’s S&CC arrears rate rose from 2.6% in FY10 to 8.4% in FY11 and FY12, after Aljunied merged with Hougang. This was significantly above the national norm of about 3%, the MND noted.

The arrears rate rose further to 29.4% at the end of April 2013. “From May 2013, the TC stopped submitting its monthly S&CC arrears report altogether, despite repeated reminders.”

To me as an honrary club treasurer, once upon a time, this doesn’t look gd. But the devil is in the details. So I’ll not pass judgement on the WP until I hear its side of the story. But its silence is deafening.

Here’s what the PAP should be afraid of: what if LKY’s “daft” S’poreans decide

Those running AHPETC must have hearts of gold to hold back from driving those unable to pay to the wall. Thus demonstrating a caring spirit that others only mouth.?

And not the right views of

Would this seeming inability to collect what is due to the AHPETC make them shake their heads and vow never should this brand of incompetency be allowed to run our country?

Or would the revelations make some among the discerning voters think one or all of the following:

1) There must be a concentration of poor people in AHPETC

2) There must be a concentration of canny skivvers in AHPETC who are able to keep delaying paying what they owe

3) Those who want to be successful should move far away from AHPETC for poverty and dishonest skivving could be as infectious as SARS

http://singaporegirl.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/red-for-mnd-town-council-press-release/

On the KPIs of cleanliness and lift performance it was second to none: being equal to PAP estates. In estate maintenance it was better than five PAP managed councils, including PM’s very own AMK.

So based on MND’s KPIs, one can reasonably conclude that

Those running AHPETC must have hearts of gold to hold back from driving those unable to pay to the wall. Thus demonstrating a caring spirit that others only mouth; and

— The WP is juz as competent, if not better, than any PAP town council in providing services.

Oh what a tangle web we weave …

Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/arrears-collection-governance-aljunied-voters-will-decide/

 

What LTA, SMRT & SBS CEOs, senior mgrs must do

In Infrastructure on 10/11/2014 at 1:52 pm

Commute to work using their very own system. The head of Moscow’s Metro explains why

Dmitry Pegov, head of the city’s metro, has signed an order obliging his own deputies and heads of departments to use the underground to reach the office “just like ordinary passengers”, the state-owned TASS news agency reports. “One should personally see and understand what is going on in the department that they oversee, how the work is being conducted, and what should be improved or changed,” Mr Pegov says. “I go to work on the metro, every day I get down to the station and travel for nearly 35 minutes, and even have to change lines,” he tells the agency. One of the perks of his job means Mr Pegov could travel up front with the driver, but he says he prefers to be in the carriage with the masses.

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-29954523

Well for starters, SMRT will step up the security of its depots as its CEO and senior managers won’t want to get blown up. At present, it’s our problem, not theirs if a bomb explodes.

Seriously, investors should sell SBS, ComfortDelgro and SMRT shares if the mgrs have to use their transport systems to commute. Expenses will balloon.

PAP like StanChart not broken, just in for 10-year service?

In Political governance, Temasek on 10/11/2014 at 4:26 am

The chairman of StanChart said to 300 of the bank’s senior managers in Singapore last week, “We’re making changes. But all you have to do is go out in the field, go out into our markets, and you very quickly realise that it’s not broken. It just needs to go in for its 10-year service and we are in there for that 10-year service now … it’s a question of going through this difficult period, gritting our teeth”.

He said: “Humility is a very important word. It’s very important that we recognise we make mistakes”.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/nov/07/standard-chartered-chairman-john-peace-bank-humility.

(And Chairman Sir John Peace was in Singapore last week insisting the bank is not ‘broken’. Three profit warnings say otherwise  http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/nov/09/standard-chartereds-charm-offensive-may-not-save-sands)

Well the PAP has been making changes, gritting fangs and sheathing claws since 20111: spending more of our money to make life more comfortable for ourselves.

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

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/trust-has-to-regained-pm/

But it doesn’t ever do humility (OK PM did apologise once during a 2011 GE rally speech, but hey he had an election to win). It won’t even admit that the PAP’s Hard Truths need servicing every now and then. It’s all a question of new blood to uphold Hard Truths.

Taz the impression I get after this

— “Today is the time to re-dedicate ourselves to the party and to Singapore. In the next 60 years, the path ahead will be different.”

— “One thing has not and will not change, that is the need for good leadership. The PAP commits to provide the leadership and serve Singaporeans better…The PAP will always be on Singapore and Singaporeans’ side.”

— “The PAP will always do its best for Singapore and Singaporeans.”

PM made these statement at the Victoria Concert Hall on 7 Nov in celebration of PAP’s 60th anniversary.Victoria Concert Hall was the venue because this was where the PAP launched way back in 21 November 1954, with its inaugural political meeting held there.

So because the PAP is not prepared to service its Hard Truths to see if they need throwing out, we are stuck with

—  a CPF annuity where the Standard Plan is lousy, really lousy https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/will-pm-tonite-give-peace-of-mind-on-cpf-life-standard/

And where it’s our money but CPF Life solvency is our problem –https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/will-pm-tonite-give-peace-of-mind-on-cpf-life-standard/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/will-pm-tonite-give-peace-of-mind-on-cpf-life-standard/

— Medisave’s incentive to spend on medical insurance that may not be needed

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/daft-sinkies-dishonest-insc-agents-or-medisave-sucks/

— MediShield being probably not a value proposition

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/medishield-totful-tots-on-loss-ratio-to-determine-premiums/

— Medishield’s lifetime limit [This item added at 7.00am]

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/no-needed-three-fixes-to-show-the-pap-really-cares/

— immigration

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/population-white-paper-2030-will-resemble-1959/

The Hard Truths behind immigration:

— more people means better growth; and

— S’poreans are daft and lazy.

The Hard Truth behind the other difficulties S’poreans face listed above is that govt should not spend tax-payers money on “welfare”, only on toys for the military and govt running expenses (which includes ministers’ and civil servants salaries).

 

 

S’pore property more expensive than Swiss city/ What Goh Meng Seng doesn’t tell us about HK

In Hong Kong, Property on 09/11/2014 at 6:41 am

Prime International Residential Index – Square meters US$1m will buy

  • Monaco 15
  • Hong Kong 21
  • London 25
  • Singapore 33
  • Geneva 35
  • New York 40
  • Sydney 41
  • Paris 42
  • Moscow 43
  • Shanghai 46

Source: Knight Frank

Related posts:

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/swiss-cost-of-living-in-s-terms/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/spore-despite-fts-an-expensive-place-to-make-pancakes/

GMS likes to tell us online the ways in which HK is a better place than S’pore. It’s gd to get the perspective of someone who jets between HK and S’ore and who is raising a family there while working there.

But he never tells us this

Housing chart

We are not among these cities ’cause of our “affordable” public housing that is causing debt problems for younger S’poreans. It’s so affordable that GMS sold his flat to help fund his bid for a S$15,000 monthly salary. He knew he could get a second bite at the cherry if he needed to?

Whatever it is, we do know that GMS has the money to raise a family in a city where housing is very “unafforable”. He FT in HK?

HORRORS: S’pore next to bottom in Asean ranking?

In Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam on 08/11/2014 at 7:18 am

 

Real GDP growth forecasts

 

The Thais can blame the political problems there. Govt here blames the “deft” locals for insisting that govt cuts back on its uber liberal immigration policy? To be fair, we’ve the only developed country in Asean, so lower growth rates are par for the course. Tell that to TRE ranters and other anti-PAP paper warriors: they blame the PAP for everything that isn’t “right” here. .

 

Asian economies GDP chart

Things go better with Coke in Indonesia

In Indonesia on 08/11/2014 at 4:44 am

Coca-Cola to Buy Stake in Indonesian Unit for $500 Million. Coca-Cola will come to the aid of its Australian affiliate Coca-Cola Amatil by taking a 29 percent stake in a struggling Indonesian business for $500 million, Reuters reports. The deal effectively values the Indonesian unit at $1.7 billion.

Chart: Quenching Indonesia's thirst

PAP govt should do what UK govt is doing

In Economy, Political economy, Political governance on 07/11/2014 at 5:10 am

Telling oil cos that the oil price falls MUST be passed on to motorists.

And to other users of oil-based products.

But as this is S’pore, pigs will fly first. PAP doesn’t do populism even when its the right thing to do economically and popularly. The Hardest of Hard Truth is “Be popular by being unpopular”.

Pump prices

The Daily Telegraph’s front page story focuses on a Treasury warning to petrol companies and supermarkets that oil price cuts must be passed on to motorists.

Petrol pump

The main UK fuel suppliers and distributors have denied pump prices have not been reflecting recent falls in the price of oil but Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, is to write to them.

The Daily Mail suggests critics are likely to say that Mr Alexander should be proposing further cuts to fuel duty rather than just pleading with the petrol giants.

And the Sun concurs. Its leader column also says there is “plainly scope for more cuts” from the fuel companies and wonders about the “crippling fuel surcharges airlines slapped on flights” when the wholesale prices soared.

BBC Online

line

If 377A were abolished, this could happen here

In Uncategorized on 06/11/2014 at 5:07 pm

A watchdog has confirmed it is taking legal action against a Christian-run bakery firm over its refusal to bake a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan.

The Equality Commission wrote to Ashers Baking Company earlier this year, after it declined a customer’s order.

The commission supported the customer’s claim for compensation, but lawyers for the County Antrim firm do not accept the bakery owners acted unlawfully.

In a statement, the Equality Commission said it is to begin civil proceedings.

The row hit the headlines in July, when the baking company revealed it was facing possible legal action over its decision to decline the customer’s request.

Ashers Baking Company said it had declined the request because it was “at odds” with its Christian beliefs.

At the time, the firm’s 24-year-old general manager, Daniel McArthur, said marriage in Northern Ireland “still is defined as being a union between one man and one woman” and said his company was taking “a stand”.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-29926372

It’s something like this that plays into the hands of those who want 377A to remain.

Arrears collection, governance: Aljunied voters will decide

In Political governance on 06/11/2014 at 5:59 am

So, the bureaucrats in a ministry (MND) in the PAP administration failed the one and WP town council in two KPIs devised by said bureaucrats and the governing party: arrears collection and governance.

As far as governance, the issue is a very technical accounting issue (which may or may not have financial implications, that may be serious or not)  and the WP is playing hard ball. But then wimps* too sometimes have their boiling points. And whatever the PAP and stooges allies may say, this “red” card doesn’t affect the daily lives of residents.

As to the issue of arrears collection, the charge by MND is that the “sharp decline” in the S&CC arrears situation in AHPETC as being “of grave public concern”. Aljunied’s S&CC arrears rate rose from 2.6% in FY10 to 8.4% in FY11 and FY12, after Aljunied merged with Hougang. This was significantly above the national norm of about 3%, the MND noted.

The arrears rate rose further to 29.4% at the end of April 2013. “From May 2013, the TC stopped submitting its monthly S&CC arrears report altogether, despite repeated reminders.”

Well going by the figures, there seems to a serious arrears problem. The issues are is it a serious problem and if so why has it arisen, are steps necessary to bring it down, and are they being taken. The WP should explain and not simply repeat a variation of Low famous saying, by asking “Problem? What Problem?”

But at the end of the day, if the people the GRC, especially those who are paying their bills regularly, are willing for the community to bear the costs resulting from a 30% arrears situation so be it. After all, the people in Hougang have had to put up with the financial costs of voting WP despite paying their fair share of national taxes.

Maybe on this issue, the residents may not to be like the residents of Potong Pasir, MND also indicated that Potong Pasir Town Council, which reverted back to PAP control after 2011 GE, has improved its S&CC collections. Its arrears management improved from 4.2% last year to 3.7% this year. That means presently, a smaller number of households in Potong Pasir are owing conservancy charges to the town council.

——–

*TRE post

sr:

We as paymasters elected WP mps to represent n voice our daily concerns in parliament

When WP has 1 or 2 mps we have charitably forgive their failures year I year out

No more excuses when they have close to 10 MPs

Either they perform or we as their paymaster boot them out with another opposition team

How many more years we can wait WP provide real check n balance or instal new govt to steer Singapore back to right direction to SERVE Govern in best interest of all Singaporean

COEs are really worth it?

In Economy, Humour on 05/11/2014 at 6:01 am

We’ve been told that COEs is the price we pay to keep our streets free of traffic jams.

So it was great interest that I read that a recent study calculated that the cost of traffic jams in the UK, USA, France and Germany was 0.8% of the GDP. http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/11/economist-explains-1

Translating it into the S’pore context via back of envelope calculations and Google searches:i n 2011, S’pore.s GDP’s was S$326.1bn. 0.8% amounted to S$2.6bn. CoEs cost S’poreans around S$2bn. So the cost of CoEs seems worth it that yr to avoid jams.

Interesting. Maybe Roy Ngerng or Uncle Leong might want to do more research? I chose 2011 because Google searches had the data for these yrs most easily available. Maybe other yrs, more precise numbers, more precise calculations might throw up  different results. Hint using GDP at 2005 prices gives a figure of $2.4bn as 0.8% of the 2011 GDP.

On the face of it, CoEs are gd for the economy and those who can afford to own motor vehicles (including motor bikes and trucks).

Private vehicle owners should be voting for the PAP to thank the govt for making travel jam free.

Update at 6.00pm

So LKY was right on CoEs and Ngiam Tong Dow was wrong. Were GCT and LHL as smart as LKY.

 

Tiger: When to buy?

In Airlines on 04/11/2014 at 6:37 am

This dog has fleas on its fleas. But it bears keeping track of if it cuts its prices steeply relative to the airlines, and complaints pile up. This may never happen given that SIA is it’s parent and may not want to have its reputation for service being tarnished, albeit at a distance.

AMERICANS claim they loathe Spirit Airlines, the discount carrier that earned the worst possible scores in all six of Consumer Reports’ airline-ranking subcategories last year. But the company’s financials show that people, mystifyingly, keep flying on Spirit.

The customers we seek to attract overwhelmingly ranked total price as the most important variable when choosing an airline,” Ben Baldanza, Spirit’s boss told investors earlier this week. Given its abysmal customer-satisfaction scores, some of the customers it attracts probably never fly it again. But some do—and as long as the company can keep prices low (in part by charging added fees for just about everything), it can keep attracting new customers who feel compelled to save money.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2014/11/spirit-airlines

M Ravi’s grandfather’s parliament, is it?

In Uncategorized on 03/11/2014 at 1:39 pm

Update at 4.30am on 4 November 2014: I’ve been told I’m wrong because Parly listened to Ravi. My point is that the Speaker and Minister involved know more about sub judice than M Ravi credits them for. And publicly telling the Speaker how to suck eggs, is unseemly and distasteful from someone who has admitted (see below) that his behaviour has caused problems, in another case, in the administration for justice. As I wrote below, Bit like the lunatics of Arkham Asylum trying to tell Batman how to rid Gotham City of criminals, it seems to me.

Update at 5.20 pm: Minister and Speaker behave properly, a lesson M Ravi will hopefully will follow in his practice of the law, though I doubt it very much.

In Parliament today, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan commented that he will not be commenting on the Hong Lim Park incident, as police investigations and legal proceedings are ongoing.

“It is not appropriate to comment on the incident or to give a view on what could or could not have prevented such an incident,” Mr Khaw said, responding to MPs Denise Phua and Zainal Sapari’s questions on the incident. NParks is a statutory board under the purview of the Ministry of National Development.

Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob also warned the MPs that as the case was before the courts, comments which fell foul of sub judice laws would not be allowed in the House.)

MP Zainal Sapari (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) and MP Denise Phua (Moulmein-Kallang GRC) will later today raise questions in Parliament about the incident at Hong Lim Park on 27 September 2014 when some of #ReturnOurCPF protestors KPKBed at a YMCA event, disrupting it.  Charges have been made against six alleged hooligans participants of the #ReturnOurCPF event. The details of the MPs questions are given at the end of this post.

In response to the move by the two PAP MPs to ask questions about the incident, M Ravi, who is representing the six persons charged, has written to the Speaker of Parliament, Halimah Yacob, to highlight his concerns about the questions and issues raised by the MPs.

In particular, Mr Ravi is concerned that since the case against his 6 clients is sub judice, any discussions by the MPs on the matter may impede or prejudice the course of justice in the relevant proceedings of the case.

Mr Ravi wrote that he has been instructed to make a constitutional challenge on the Parks and Trees Act, and a formal letter to the Minister for National Development has also expressly reserved the right to make the constitutional challenge. His grandfather wrote the constitution, with one JBJ assisting is it?

“It will no doubt be your view, very properly, that Members will not need to be reminded that they should not utter anything on the floor of the House which would affect the evaluation of the merits of proceedings which are imminent or before the courts, or influence the result of proceedings, in particular the likelihood of an acquittal,” Mr Ravi wrote to the Speaker of Parliament asking for Mdm Halimah to be discrete.

He thinks he knows better than the Speaker? His grandfather owns parly, is it? What I find extremely funny and distasteful is that here is someone who effectively pleaded guilty to a complaint by the AG in respect of his conduct in another case, trying to  tell the Speaker of her duties, when he couldn’t conduct himself properly in the other case? Bit rich ain’t it?

Bit like the lunatics of Arkham Asylum trying to tell Batman how to rid Gotham City of criminals, it seems to me. For those who don’t know Gotham City, Arkham Asylum is home to some of the criminals he brought to justice. They were found to be looney.

M Ravi goes on, “It would be a dereliction of our duty as Advocates not to do everything lawfully and appropriately to uphold the rule of law and thereby protect our clients’ legal rights  by deferentially drawing attention to details of the pending charges for your proper consideration.”

The letter has been copied to the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Minister for National Development and the Commissioner of Police: so that they too can have a laugh?

—–

MP Zainal Sapari has filed the following question for National Development Minister to answer:

To ask the Minister for National Development:

  • (a) if he can give a full account of the incident that happened at Hong Lim Park on 27 September 2014;
  • (b) whether there has been any non-compliance by the organisers of both events in ensuring public peace; and
  • (c) whether there is any follow-up action to ensure that such incidents will not happen again.

MP Denise Phua is asking about the use of Speakers’ Corner and the Telok Ayer Hong Lim Green Community Centre:

To ask the Minister for National Development:

  • (a) whether Hong Lim Park is for the sole use of Speakers’ Corner participants;
  • (b) what designated spots in Hong Lim Park are meant for Speakers’ Corner activities;
  • (c) what is the list of activities permitted for Hong Lim Park;
  • (d) when and for what activities can the adjacent Telok Ayer Hong Lim Green Community Centre facilities such as the stage be allowed for use by Hong Lim Park users;
  • (e) what standard operating procedures pertain to the use of Hong Lim Park and the adjacent Telok Ayer Hong Lim Green Community Centre’s facilities; and
  • (f) how the recent incident pertaining to the use of the same ground by YMCA and advocates of the Return-My-CPF group can be avoided.

 

 

Male gays here: On “permanent” parole

In Economy, Public Administration on 03/11/2014 at 5:48 am

Gay rights in Singapore

On permanent parole

(http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2014/10/gay-rights-singapore)

The above headlines encapsulate the issue male gays face more than TOC’s and M Ravi’s pontificating, sanctimonious, self-serving anti-PAP rubbish. Their comments are more aimed at sliming the PAP govt, than advancing the cause of gay men.

I was a supporter of the govt’s studied ambiguity on the issue. And that the gay community in pressing for abolition were pushing their luck.

But the Economist’s headline made me realise the problem that male gays faced. The repeal of 377A is necessary to ensure that male gays can come out to play, hold hands or kiss publicly without the fear of the govt of the day deciding that it, after all,  wants to enforce 377A: not enforcing it was an “honest mistake”. Remember the decision not to use 377A is by way of administrative fiat. What is decided by administrative fiat one day, can be changed without warning another day without public debate.

Accepting LGBTs doesn’t harm society, could even be beneficial as LT’s Lombard points out: The coming out of Apple’s Tim Cook is a chance to remind readers of Tomkins’ Rule. This proposes a nation is civilised in proportion to its tolerance of gays, because they are distinctly different in a way that does not harm others and are always in a minority. Works for a big company too.

Btw, ever wondered like I did about why gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals are lumped together? Here’s the reason, The term LGBT, representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, has been in widespread use since the early 1990s. Recent additions – queer, “questioning” and intersex – have seen the term expand to LGBTQQI in many places. But do lesbians and gay men, let alone the others on the list, share the same issues, values and goals?

Anthony Lorenzo, a young gay journalist, says the list has become so long, “We’ve had to start using Sanskrit because we’ve run out of letters.”

Bisexuals have argued that they are disliked and mistrusted by both straight and gay people. Trans people say they should be included because they experience hatred and discrimination, and thereby are campaigning along similar lines as the gay community for equality.

But what about those who wish to add asexual to the pot? Are asexual people facing the same category of discrimination. And “polyamorous”? Would it end at LGBTQQIAP?

There is scepticism from some activists. Paul Burston, long-time gay rights campaigner, suggests that one could even take a longer formulation and add NQBHTHOWTB (Not Queer But Happy To Help Out When They’re Busy). Or it could be shortened to GLW (Gay, Lesbian or Whatever).

An event in Canada is currently advertising itself as an “annual festival of LGBTTIQQ2SA culture and human rights”, with LGBTTIQQ2SA representing “a broad array of identities such as, but not limited to, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, two-spirited, and allies”. Two-spirited is a term used by Native Americans to describe more than one gender identity.

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-28130472

 

 

Taiwanese offer prizes not fines in dengue fight

In Uncategorized on 02/11/2014 at 4:25 am

People in a southern Taiwanese city have been offered prizes for catching mosquitoes.

The contest, announced by the Kaohsiung city health department, is aimed at tackling an outbreak of the mosquito-borne dengue fever in the region. Residents are being asked to catch as many mosquitoes as they can, dead or alive. Whoever captures – or squashes – the greatest number will be rewarded with NT$3,000 (US$100; £62), the health department says. Runners-up will be given free insect repellent and mosquito nets.

People will have to either trap the insects securely or hold on to their remains, because they’ll need to be presented to officials for counting. “Instead of fining people who fail to remove standing water and other breeding sites around their homes, we think this program could raise greater community participation,” Ho Hui-ping of the city’s health department tells the Focus Taiwan website.

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-29850539

Did our scholar minister and civil servants think of this?

Maybe they tot about it but that concluded S’poreans think US$100 is “peanuts”? Juz like our ministers seem to think their salaries are “peanuts”?

StanChart directors to push for chief’s succession plan

In Banks, China, Corporate governance, Emerging markets, Hong Kong, Temasek on 01/11/2014 at 11:06 am

Above is FT’s headline for today.

Ho, Aberdeen, Blackrock and L&G baring their fangs? TRE ranters and other anti-PAP paper activists, pls note that Temasek has been pushing for a succession plan for some time.

Standard Chartered data

But they can rejoice ’cause  sharesclosed at £9.39 on Friday – down from £18 less than two years ago.

They will be celebrating.

Related:

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/lousy-set-of-results-from-stanchart/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/stanchart-gives-ho-more-problems/

 

Sentosa: Better value in Asean/ Bali sounds value for $

In Uncategorized on 01/11/2014 at 5:20 am

Last Saturday, Today triumphantly proclaimed

For the second year running, Sentosa has been named Southeast Asia’s most expensive island destination by TripAdvisor in a cost comparison report.

The TripIndex Island Sun Report 2014 by the world’s largest travel site looked at the cost of an overnight stay in a four-star hotel, dinner for two, beers, a one-hour massage for two, and bicycle and kayak rentals at 16 popular island destinations across South-east Asia in its study.

 In comparison with Bintan, the second-most expensive island on the index, a day out for two on Sentosa island would set visitors back by S$1,005.53, almost twice the amount it would cost in Bintan, which totalled S$694.70.

 A massage for two costs S$315.33 on Sentosa, three times more than Boracay in the Philippines (S$93.11) and six times more than Phu Quoc, Vietnam, where it costs S$50.67. Bicycle rental on Sentosa for two costs S$90, but only costs S$10.94 in Lombok and S$5.29 in Bali.

Hotels were the most expensive item on the list, making up about half of the total cost for most islands.

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It then realised that this wasn’t putting Sentosa in a gd light and swerved, as bwfits a constructive, nation-building newspaper, The Singapore island had a very different value proposition from the other South-east Asian islands and that TripAdvisor’s findings did not give a full and accurate representation of its value-for-money offerings.

“A two-course meal for two with drinks can be had for less than S$50 at some of the dining venues on the island. Guests to Sentosa can also enjoy good value through our PlayPass, which gives them the flexibility to choose from various attractions on the island at affordable rates,” he said.

“Locals who sign up for our Islander membership programme also get to enjoy unlimited entry to Sentosa all year round, in addition to many other discounts and privileges.”

And spun on, TripAdvisor also noted in its report that Sentosa offered world-class attractions, despite the higher cost in comparison with the other more affordable islands, and that it was home to a diverse selection of themed attractions and leisure experiences that appeal to guests with different interests and of any age group.

Those attractions included Singapore’s first integrated resort, Resorts World Sentosa, which operates South-east Asia’s first Universal Studios theme park, the S.E.A. Aquarium, Maritime Experiential Museum and the Adventure Cove Waterpark, said the travel site.

Universal Studios Singapore and the S.E.A. Aquarium were also given 2014 Travellers’ Choice awards.

The value propositions are, At the other end of the spectrum were Gili Trawangan (Indonesia), Bali (Indonesia) and Koh Samui (Thailand) — the three most affordable islands in the region. Gili Trawangan offered the best value for money, costing travellers no more than S$300 for a day on the island.

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