You’ll learn that there are reasons to trust the wisdom of crowds in most cases. Remember only at turning points is the crowd wrong.
You’ll learn that there are reasons to trust the wisdom of crowds in most cases. Remember only at turning points is the crowd wrong.
Initially, the big nests of rats in a PAP ward were blamed on stray dogs. After the dogs* fought back (Remember the de facto dog (OK pet minister) has real teeth unlike the ministers for Malays, Indians and Eurasians), the PAP administration via a PAP MP reverted to form by blaming daft S’poreans** living in the area:
Member of Parliament Lim Biow Chuan on Saturday (Dec 27) weighed in on the rat problem at Bukit Batok. He said many do not understand that stray dogs may not finish the food left for them, allowing rats and other pests to flourish.
Mr Lim, member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for National Development and Environment, said: “We should go on an outreach programme to reach out to coffeeshop owners and people living in the area, to say that if they see anyone trying to feed stray dogs, tell them to please make sure that they clear up the food after they have fed the animals. Of course, it’s best if you don’t even feed the animals, because you’re just leaving food around in an unhygienic manner.” (CNA)
I’m sure if the rats’ nests had been in AHPETC, the PAP administration, and its media and NEA allies would be blaming Auntie and her Singh for running the place badly, not daft S’poreans.
But do you think if the problem had arisen in AHPETC, it would have been tackled so speedily and efficently? Remember, ‘We are looking into the arrears data, and will respond to the query on the financial and arrears situation in due course’. Not once, not twice but several times; since a month before Christmas.
What do you think?
*Stray dogs are not to blame for the rat infestation at Bukit Batok, said the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Singapore, pointing instead to members of the public who feed the dogs without cleaning up the leftover food.
In a letter sent to TODAY on Thursday (Dec 25), the SPCA’s executive director Ms Corinne Fong responded to media reports on the cause of the rodent infestation, calling for greater tolerance towards community animals.
She said: “SPCA wishes to dispute the notion that the community dogs are ultimately responsible for the rodent infestation in the area. Many a time, it has been observed that members of the public have been casually feeding the dogs, without actually cleaning up leftover food.”
She added that there is “already a core group of community feeders (and caregivers tending to the dogs’ basic nutritional needs and care) who would be happy to help in resolving any issue concerning the dogs”.
**Actually thinking about it, the PAP did blame S’poreans from the beginning: the dogs are born-and bred here.
I doubt they would support Evacomics (if they ever did) after this.
Growth accelerated in America, after a slow start to the year, and in India, after decisive elections. But China plateaued, Europe languished and Japan swooned (chart 1).
One study says top corporate salaries are a scam game, another that “executive managers’ pay is still determined by simplistic measures of performance that bear little relation to long-term drivers of companies’ value, according to an analysis of pay at FTSE 100 companies over the past decade”.
If so so how can our ministers’ salaries that are pegged to private sector pay be “reasonable”? Private sector salaries are “rigged”, not the result of rationality or even supply and demand..
How the salaries of top corporate executives are calculated is a scam according to the Economist, citing an academic study. (The Economist advocates things like GST, low income and corporate taxes, minimal welfare and charging owners who use their cars. All very PAP. I’ve called it the PAP’s bible.)
So the u/m is relevant in the light of PM’s comments about “reasonable”* salaries for ministers. (What do you think?)
You will be shocked, shocked to learn that your worst suspicions are confirmed. Yes, firms that hire pay consultants pay their executives 7.5% more than those who don’t. Yes, companies that hung on to their multi-service consultants paid their executives 10% less than those that switched to specialist consultants. Executives who work at firms where the board hired the consultants earned 13% less than when the consultants were hired by the management themselves. When executives get a big pay rise, their companies are less likely to replace their consultants in the following year.
The authors conclude that
our study finds strong empirical evidence for the hiring of compensation consultants as a justification device for higher executive pay.
So, be very suspicious of arguments that higher executive pay is the result of the “war for talent”, the unique importance of the CEO in a globalised world, or whatever. If such arguments were true, it should make no difference whether consultants are hired or not. This smacks more of the famous lickspittle courtier of Louis XIV, the Sun King, who, when asked the time, replied “It is whatever time your majesty pleases”. “Whatever pay your majesty pleases” is the modern equivalent.
The FT reports: Research from CFA UK and Lancaster Business School, which examined executive remuneration over the 10 years from 2003-2013 at 30 FTSE 100 companies, found there was scant correlation between the key performance indicators that companies highlighted to shareholders and the measures used to incentivise and reward senior staff.
Btw, Waz reasonable pay for this free civic service
Golfing while his country is flooding: PM Najib was criticised as photos emerged of him playing golf with President Obama on Christmas Eve.
Our PM and Najib are sons of PMs who are highly regarded as effective, strong leaders. But, they bit like this guy? The grandson of another effective, strong leader?
In a BBC Online piece dated 24 December, the writer said that Zimbabwe’s president Mugabe and his family “[are] holidaying in Singapore this Christmas.”
Well as Mugabe doesn’t brook any checkers to his power, maybe our PM should ask him for advice since PM grumbles that too many checkers results in him and the PAP administration being unable to get things done: “You will have a lot of checkers, you have no workers… There will be gridlock, like in other countries,” he said. – See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/too-many-checks-will-lead-checkmate-20141208#sthash.m4oKYKQZ.dpuf
Well there is no-one to check Mugabe who has been PM since 1987. The country is a mess http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30578027 while Robert Mugabe and his ministers in the Office of the President and Cabinet are living large despite a stubborn economic crisis at a time government revenues are dwindling due to a shrinking tax base. – See more at: http://nehandaradio.com/2014/12/28/mugabe-spends-big-amid-poverty/#sthash.FmNmxOnn.dpuf
I don’t think PM wants this outcome here. What do you think?
Free tickets to movies and a a free vet’s appointment once a month for pets with four legs
Pensioners in Italy will get free trips to the cinema if Silvio Berlusconi’s party is returned to power, the former prime minister has reportedly said.
Berlusconi, who famously owns two fluffy white poodles called Dudu and Dudina, has one final sweetener to persuade those older people who share his love of pets: “A free vet’s appointment once a month for your four-legged friends”.
Well given the PAP’s attempts to make sure pet owners and lovers vote for it:
— got de-facto Pet minister who is a damned more effective minister when it comes to looking after pet owners’ interests than the ministers designated as ministers for the Indians, Malays and Eurasians; and
— a PAP MP introduces bill on tightening law on animal abuse: and this from a NTUC MP who many perceive as ignoring the plight of workers); and free dental treatment for pioneers, why not free vet visits for pioneers’ pets?
Seriously, a good perk for Chinese among the pioneers would be the return of dialect on tv and radio.
Abyssinians, also known as Habshis in India, mostly came from the Horn of Africa to the subcontinent. Dr Sylviane A Diouf of the Schomburg Center says Africans were successful in India because of their military prowess and administrative skills.
“African men were employed in very specialised jobs, as soldiers, palace guards, or bodyguards; they were able to rise through the ranks becoming generals, admirals, and administrators,” she says.
“Africans sometimes did seize power for their group like they did in Bengal – where they were known as the Abyssinian Party – in the 1480s; or in Janjira and Sachin (on the western coast of India) where they established African dynasties. They also took power on an individual basis, as Sidi Masud did in Adoni (in southern India) or Malik Ambar in Ahmadnagar (in western India),” she adds.
We’ll have a Pinoy cabinet and S’pore will be like Manila, full of goons with guns, corruption and filth.
And I’m sure we’ll soon see a local version of this
The Pinoys got it right when exporting. it exports people, not exhaustible resources. For full-year 2014, total remittances are likely to hit a record-high USD 23bn. – See more at: http://sbr.com.sg/economy/asia/philippines%E2%80%99-overseas-foreign-workers%E2%80%99-remittances-reach-79#sthash.bKDMWDaQ.dpuf
Ellesmere Island is one of the most remote and beautiful places on Earth. This is the only place in the world where wolves are naive to man and have no fear. It allowed wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan and scientists an unparalleled opportunity to form bonds with a wild wolf family, revealing the remarkable story of their relationships and behaviour.
“The past is never dead. It’s not even past,” William Faulkner remarked,
Why make things complicated by KPKBing that the Barisan Sosialis detainees were not communists* and that the detainees were unjustly arrested. Is the hatred of the detainees, and their fellow travelers hatred of the PAP clouding their judgement? Making them stupid?
Why don’t they juz tell or remind S’poreans that the Barisan Sosialis were right to say that S’pore could be independent and prosperous without merging with Malaysia and the Borneo territories. Heck even LKY’s merger talks makes the point that the BSoc tot that S’pore could go it alone.
That S’pore will be celebrating SG50 and 50 yrs ++ of the PAP’s hegemony shows that LKY and gang were wrong to insist in 1963 that S’pore needed merger to thrive.
Juz as the PAP administration comes out with a lot of propaganda, so does the other side. It’s interesting that the historian championing their cause calls them “progressives”. He has said that he tot long and hard about what to call them and decided to use what they called themselves. I pointed out to him that, in that case, I hope he would use the term “socialists” to describe LKY and gang. After all that was what they called themselves. He called them “conservatives”.
Here are two posts that reflect my views (more or less):
Maybe the detention Barisan Sosialis should be justified on the ground that they were (and are) really stupid people? Then to associate themselves with the wrong people, and today missing an open goal to discredit the PAP administration on the eve of their Party.
*Many members were not communists. But unless one doubts the memois of the “Plen” and Chin Peng , the party’s formation was part of the plan to by the communists to seize power. http://thelastlibertybroadcast.blogspot.sg/2014/12/pj-thum-repeats-old-claims-as.html
The Bear and the Hare tells the tale of how a hare is upset because his best friend the bear has never seen Christmas as he always hibernates. To help him out, the hare drops off a gift at the bear’s cave.
One thing great about Wikipedia is that it helps me track down stories that I once read. Many yrs ago, I read in a pre-war book of children’s stories about “The Fourth Wise Man”.
There was a “fourth” wise man, a priest of the Magi named Artaban, one of the Medes from Persia. Like the other Magi, he sees signs in the heavens proclaiming that a King had been born among the Jews. Like them, he sets out to see the newborn ruler, carrying treasures to give as gifts to the child – a sapphire, a ruby, and a pearl of great price. However, he stops along the way to help a dying man, which makes him late to meet with the caravan of the other three wise men. Since he missed the caravan, and he can’t cross the desert with only a horse, he is forced to sell one of his treasures in order to buy the camels and supplies necessary for the trip. He then commences his journey but arrives in Bethlehem too late to see the child, whose parents have fled to Egypt. He saves the life of a child at the price of another of his treasures. He then travels to Egypt and to many other countries, searching for Jesus for many years and performing acts of charity along the way. After thirty-three years, Artaban is still a pilgrim, and a seeker after light. Artaban arrives in Jerusalem just in time for the crucifixion of Jesus. He spends his last treasure, the pearl, to ransom a young woman from being sold into slavery. He is then struck in the temple by a falling roof tile and is about to die, having failed in his quest to find Jesus, but having done much good through charitable works. A voice tells him “Verily I say unto thee, Inasmuch as thou hast done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, thou hast done it unto me.”(Matthew 25:40) He dies in a calm radiance of wonder and joy. His treasures were accepted, and the Other Wise Man found his King.
Further to this, another measure that the govt could consider is rental rebates for conceiving couples renting HDB flats. More temporary flats will be set aside for couples waiting for their new Housing Board flats under a rental programme which, as National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan put it, has been “delivering results, and babies”.
Under the rental programme, called the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS), more than 100 babies were born to those living in 1,000 or so flats – a hit rate of 10 per cent.
Better still do things the Hard Truth way: no conceive, rents doubled?.
This appeared in Forum on 17 December
Act on rising cost of raising children in Singapore
I am a parent of three children, two of whom are attending pre-school. It disturbs me that their fees are rising yet again next year – by a significant 20 per cent.
I tried to look for another pre-school that was near my home, and found out that those that had not raised their fees were planning to do so.
It was reported in September that three of five major pre-school chains – which are required to keep fees affordable in return for regular government grants – will increase their prices next year (“3 major pre-school chains raising fees next year”; Sept 27).
This comes after the median monthly fee for full-day childcare rose in a year by $80 – the biggest increment in at least eight years – to reach $830 last year.
The other two pre-school chains are not raising their fees because their current fees have hit the maximum allowed for anchor operators.
What is the Ministry of Social and Family Development doing to stem the fee increases?
More families have parents who are both working and have no choice but to enrol their children in pre-schools. Moreover, a cheaper school may not be an option as there may be no vacancies, or the family may live too far away.
The article (“It costs twice as much to feed your baby today”; Monday) reported that the average price of baby milk has more than doubled in the past decade.
Clearly, the cost of raising children has risen exponentially over the years.
While the Government may be powerless to stop milk powder prices from rising, it should step in where it can exert control, such as childcare costs, especially since it aims to get Singaporeans to have more children.
Ng Keng Nam
And the really Hard Truth way to make sure couples conceive during sex:
Update at 6.40am: Just read in ST that some lovely old flats (in a shady area) in Tiong Bahru have been assigned as “love nests”. The govt should do the same for the flats in the Old Airporty Road area that it’s taking back. Another romantic spot.
As someone I know wrote in FT recently, the worrying thing is that the u/m only happened seven yrs after the banks promised to clean up theur act.
10 Wall Street Firms Fined Over Conflicts in Toys ‘R’ Us I.P.O. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority fined the 10 firms $43.5 million, saying they implicitly or explicitly offered favorable research coverage in return for a role in a planned I.P.O. of Toys “R” Us.
Recently, I met someone who gave me the best reason why PM was wrong to sue Roy Ngerng. (Btw, the guy is as anti-PAP as Dr Chee and Roy and New Citizen H3 combined, but he isn’t that mad as to believe that Roy’s research and writings bears any semblance to the truth.)
He said that in his opinion, PM sued Roy to show S’poreans that he too was a tough guy like his dad: “Don’t play play with me,” was the message PM wanted to send.
Trouble my friend says is that AhLoong looks and sound like a SuperWimp. Suing Roy to show us he as tough and nasty and mean as dad, juz shows us the difference between him and his dad. He is not the man, for gppd or ill, his dad.
And this does not reflect well on AhLoong: it makes us realise that dad’s SuperThug costume doesn’t fit AhLoong. AhLoong needs his own superhero costume but can’t seem able to afford one despite the millions he’s earned. .
What do you think should be his costume?
Update at 5.30am
Thinking further about it, the PM should have done what he did after dad went off the rails at GE 2011, threatening the Aljunied voters. LKY was seen and heard no more and PM said that things were different now. On the Roy issue, he could have ended the matter after Roy chickened out, admitting
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.
by demanding that Roy pays his legal costs, waiving his rights for damages.
This would send the message that the PM wasn’t in the business of bankrupting people fo protect his reputation, but that defaming him wasn’t cost-free publicity for wanna-be celebrities. They’d have to pay his legal fees.
Despite aging body etc.
No not Auntie Sylvia (Quah Kim Song finds her a stunner) but S’pore Auntie: she’s still there in top 10 as is her rival Cathay. Keep on cursing anti-PAP paper warriors.
Maybe he is even clueless about his own cabinet. I mean it is sheer political idiocy for his transport minister to sanction a rise in fares in face of a collapse in oil prices. Even if there are legimitate reasons (whatever they are) to hike fares, this is patently not the time to do it. The last thing a real political party would do is to piss off the voters in a run up to elections.
This is the problem with the PAP cabinet: it is full of technocrats who are clueless about political implications of their actions regardless whether those actions are right or wrong. Look at Ah Loong himself. Perhaps Roy got his foot in his mouth and there is a case for libel but given the simmering discontent over the minimum sum and lousy returns, it is political idiocy to actually go ahead with the libel suit.
I view the situation slightly different. There are 2 things operating beneath the surface.
One, PAP has always prided themselves and sold the need to make tough decisions which are, to their minds, for the longer good. Another ‘value’ they treasure is to their reputation of integrity (or so they claim).
Hence, they cannot find a way to climb down now from those ‘ideals & values’ that have defined them, or so they think tt some of these minor issues actually hurt those ideals & values.
Therefore, Liu has to volunteer a brave face to talk about raising fares even if he looks truly dumb under current voters’ ire and, yes, declining and declined oil prices.
And LHL just has to sue Roy. That, accdg to Goh CT is the standing order for ministers in the cabinet. (The interesting thing as I noted to Rich is tt Tharman’s face also appeared in Roy’s ‘offensive’ blog but he ain’t suing. Interesting, no?)
Two, I think the PAP knows that the tide is so strong agst them. They are not only desperate for non-deg candidates, animal, arts, environmental lovers etc to fill up the numbers, they look for half the chance to wayang things to their election advantage…if only to secure that one more vote.
So, Liu is deliberately implying tt fare increase is in the works (per reason 1 above), hoping tt tt sets up the expectation in the FMMs’ voter mind.
My dollar is on the Public Transport Council announcing later that no increases for next year. Then, PAP scores, the PTC appointees scores and the PTC’s reputation (independence as a govt-appt committee) scores as well…and, hopefully, voters vote for the PAP…but who knows, the same voters may also end up thinking, ‘woah, with oppo MPs in parliament and voices in the social media, can keep PAP in check, man!)
(I can only urge Oppo parties to speak up and TRE readers to kbkp more on the fare review issue to help sway the FMMs to this line of thinking.)
Change we Must.
End PAP’s dominance.
Getting cheaper by the day: both prices and M$*.
Soon Fandi will beable to afford to retire in M’sia. But he might find the tolls too expensive: S$13.10 to JB and S$12.40 at Tuas, and another S$7.70 (M$20) from next yr according to M’sian govt.
*Updated at 5.45pm
The Singapore dollar continued to weaken against the US dollar on Friday (Dec 19). While currency strategists are anticipating the downward trend to continue – with the US Federal Reserve expected to hike interest rates – they also see the Singapore dollar maintaining a strong position against some of its regional counterparts.
The US economy is showing strong signs of recovery as indicators like growth and jobs continue to gather momentum – that is helping to drive up the greenback as the US Federal Reserve tightens its monetary policy.
The Singapore dollar has been on a steady downward slide in recent months and currency strategists expect it to end the year fairly stable at around S$1.31.
Mr Khoon Goh, a senior FX strategist with ANZ, said: “For the Singapore dollar, we are expecting it to be fairly stable going into the year-end. Based on current levels, it will probably end at around the S$1.31 level. Heading into the next year, we are expecting a further depreciation of the Singapore dollar. We are forecasting a year-end 2015 target of 1.33.
“This is a fairly modest depreciation against the US dollar, and that is partly because we expect the Monetary Authority of Singapore to continue to maintain its policy of a modest and gradual appreciation of the SGD NEER basket. Against other regional currencies, however, I think that is where the SGD is set to outperform.”
Against regional currencies, the Singapore dollar has hit historical highs against the Malaysian ringgit and Indonesian rupiah. It has also gained ground on the yen due to monetary easing by the Bank of Japan.
“In that sense, the Singapore dollar has held up quite well against these currencies, but the Singapore dollar has also underperformed against the likes of the Thai baht, Philippine peso and Chinese currency,” said Mr Sim Moh Siong, director and FX strategist at the Bank of Singapore.
“The ‘middle of the pack’ ranking will likely stick as we head into next year. If you look at the Singapore dollar relative to its basket, it has been pretty stable, even amidst the emerging market turbulence led by the big drop in the Russian rouble and oil price decline,” he added.
Amid current volatility linked to oil price declines, the Singapore dollar has been relatively stable compared to currencies of oil exporting economies. With its strong fundamentals, it is being seen as a safe haven among regional and emerging market currencies. Therefore, market watchers said that it remains attractive to investors in times of financial market uncertainty.
President Xi “only mentions reform, not democracy,” Ms Gao told the BBC in an interview in March 2013.
“This is his political blueprint – to build a highly efficient and clean government, but whether this goal can be reached without democracy, constitution, multiple parties or press freedom is a question.”Gao Yu faces trial for leaking state secrets.
Sounds like LKY can soon boast Xi is following: again like what Deng did.
In November this yr, mgr was quoted as saying the fund was looking expensive.
TEST FOR POST-CRISIS BANKING SYSTEM The market turmoil this week will test Washington’s efforts over the last five years to bolster the financial system, Peter Eavis reports in DealBook. Investors are stampeding out of risky markets, dumping junk bonds issued by American energy companies that have borrowed heavily to exploit the shale oil boom. A steep slide in the price of oil could now cause some of the companies to default, analysts say. But the most dangerous pain is occurring abroad, particularly in Russia, which is dealing with a currency crisis.
“Such difficulties echo the crisis that buffeted markets in the developing world in 1998, when Russia actually defaulted on debt denominated in rubles,” Mr. Eavis writes. Back then, contagion made its way onto Wall Street through an enormous hedge fund called Long-Term Capital Management that nearly collapsed after making bets way beyond its means. “The parallels with 1998 have led investors and regulators to ask if any similarly dangerous weak points exist today. And if they do, the question is whether the big banks are sturdy enough to bear the shocks,” Mr. Eavis writes.
For the moment, many specialists say the system is sufficiently girded. For one, the big banks today rely less on borrowed money to finance their trading and lending. And the Wall Street banks are not lending as much money to hedge funds and other investors to make highly speculative bets. Still, the big banks continue to rely on billions of dollars in short-term loans that could dry up in a panic. And some investors are concerned about geopolitical risks undermining economic confidence. The plunging oil price, for instance, could create even harder economic times for countries like Russia and Iran. But low oil prices might also constrain governments that have stoked instability.
BOND INVESTORS SKITTISH OVER EMERGING MARKETS The biggest energy companies in some of the biggest emerging markets ‒ Petrobras in Brazil, Pemex in Mexico, Gazprom in Russia ‒ sold billions of dollars of bonds to investors eager to capitalize on the high interest rates. But as the price of oil tumbles and local currencies plunge in value, those bonds are looking shaky, Landon Thomas Jr. writes in DealBook. Concerns are now mounting that their troubles will unleash a new wave of market contagion as big funds unload their stocks, bonds and other investments in these countries, Mr. Thomas writes.
The steep slide in the Russian ruble ‒ and the collapse of the country’s bond and stock markets ‒ has already rattled investors, driving a sell-off in Mexico and Brazil. Like Russia, these countries also relied on cheap money to bankroll their energy investments and fund their growth. Economists have also warned of broader economic ripples if big, state-run companies like Petrobras and Gazprom are cut off from the bond market and lack alternative financing options. The bond yields of all three companies, which move in the opposite direction of their underlying price, have surged in recent days.
The debt issued by Petrobras, Pemex and Gazprom can be found in the portfolios of bond investors worldwide, including BlackRock, Pimco and Franklin Templeton. Now investors are realizing just how risky these bonds are. Pimco’s Emerging Market Corporate Bond Fund, for instance, has seen its performance sag and investors withdraw their cash. The fund’s assets now stand at $496 million, compared with $1.5 billion in late 2013, suggesting it can’t weather too much more.
After the PLSE results came out, I tot Mad Dog Chee had a relapse, when the SDP came out against streaming. I mean what could be a no-brainer than streaming? Don’t students learn faster when students of similar ability are taught in a group.
Seems that SDP is right: Dividing pupils into classes of different abilities is a popular approach to improving standards, but research suggests that it leaves students a month behind those in mixed groups. BBC report
This is a the one finding (see below for other findings) of intensive analysis of data from across the world, part-funded by the Department for Education as part of the What Works Network, and recently published by the British government.
And Dr Chee has form in calling things right. In the 1990s, Dr Chee articulateda dystopian vision of S’pore. sadly the prophesy is more accurate then the than PAP’s administration or my views of how S’pore would look like today.
Too bad, SDP went AWOL under Dr Chee’s leadership. If only he had WP Low’s patience and wisdom to build up a grass-roots based organisation**. The PAP is always lucky in its enemies. JBJ and Dr Chee then. And Low today.
What works in education
Schools that don’t force pupils into blazers and ties are almost unheard of these days. But the best evidence is that a uniform policy makes no difference to attainment. If anything, it holds students back.
Setting and streaming?
Dividing pupils into classes of different abilities is a popular approach to improving standards, but research suggests that it leaves students a month behind those in mixed groups.
Research suggests students in a class with a TA do not, on average, perform better than those in a class with only a teacher.
Longer lessons (block scheduling, in the jargon )?
The evidence is double-chemistry and triple-maths don’t make for more accomplished chemists and mathematicians.
Repeating a year?
Giving pupils a chance to repeat a year if they are struggling is not only very expensive – on average, it leaves children four months behind.
So what does work?
Meta-cognition and self-regulation? YES.
… that phrase reflects the most effective way to improve educational outcomes, according to the evidence.
Meta-cognition is often described as “learning to learn” and what it means is giving children a range of strategies they can use to monitor and improve their own academic development. Self-regulation is developing the ability to motivate oneself to learn.
On average, introducing meta-cognition and self-regulation into the classroom has a high impact, with pupils making an average of eight months’ additional progress. That is a phenomenal improvement.
Feedback is information given to pupils about how they are doing against their learning goals. In the workplace it might be part of an appraisal, and the evidence is that a similar approach works wonders in the classroom, increasing educational attainment by around eight months.
If pupils work together in pairs or small groups to give each other explicit teaching support, the results can be dramatic – particularly with youngsters who struggle the most. This isn’t about doing away with teachers, but it seems when working with their peers, children tend to take real responsibility for their teaching and their own learning.
Sometimes the tutoring can be reciprocal, with pupils alternating as tutor and tutee. Cross-age tutoring also has advantages for older and younger participants, it turns out. This intervention, on average, improves student performance by a GCSE grade.
One-to-one adult tutoring is, counter-intuitively, less effective and much more expensive than peer tutoring.
Homework in primary school doesn’t make a lot of difference, nor does mentoring, performance pay for teachers, or the physical environment of the school.
**To be fair, Low had the experience and help of the Barisan Socialists’ activists. BSoc diissolved itself in 1988 and its activists joined WP .https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/strong-legacy-of-forgotten-dissident-party/. They put up with the antics of one JBJ until there was an opportunity to defenestrate him in 2001.
TRE should be commended for telling us that Victor Lye who is really work hard for PAP in Aljunied
is the Chief Executive of Shenton Insurance Pte Ltd [Link].
He must be a very lucky CEO to be given 1.5 years leave by his company, so as to enable him to “focus on his grassroots work”.
According to information from ACRA, Shenton Insurance is owned by Parkway Holdings. In other words, it is a subsidiary of Parkway Holdings:
If Mr Lye were to be an opposition member, would he have been given 1.5 years leave to do “grassroots work” by Shenton Insurance too?
What do you think?
And telling us that
While Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee is busy trying to “fix” opposition town council AHPETC, his own Jurong Town Council appears to be clueless in stopping rats running wild in his GRC.
A Facebook user uploaded videos and photos on his page yesterday (16 Dec) of what appeared to be rats scurrying around a grass patch:
Gd investigative work using Google. If only TOC would do this too rather than behaving like the WP’s version of the PAP’s ST. But then TRE’s public face is an IT scholar, and elite school-boy that does credit to Catholic High (unlike a certain blur drum major)..
This is what they said:
“Despite all our precautions, we can never completely rule out such an incident here. If it ever happens, we need the cohesion and resilience to deal with it calmly and as one united people, and not let it divide or destroy our society,” PM wrote in a Facebook post.
“This incident teaches us to keep up our guard.”
In a Facebook post on early Tuesday morning (Dec 16), Mr Teo said the incident shows that terrorist attacks by individuals can take place even when there is heightened security.
Err, how come they no say he was FT that became Oz citizen because of very liberal immigration policies? Or that he professed to be a Muslim.
Let me be very clear, I’m not saying or implying that
— the less FTs, the less the chances of terrorist attacks; or
— every killed or apprehended “terrorist” recently in the West professes to be a Muslim.
I’m ranting about the PAP’s administration very lazy attempt to communicate (or is it miscommunicate) Hard Truths by using inappropriate or “unright” examples. The classic case was GCT telling us to learn lessons from the Japanese earthquake of a few yrs ago, when he should have addressed his comments to the elites, not us peasants.
This is a tragedy, leave it at that. Don’t try to draw inappropriate, insensitive lessons from the tragedy.
FT columnist John Lee wrote: had dinner with Anpario chief executive David Bullen and finance director Karen Prior. This £55m capitalised Aim-quoted company, a favourite of mine and quite highly rated, produces natural feed additives mainly for pig and poultry producers. They export 80 per cent of production to 60 countries from their Worksop base, particularly focusing on the big three meat-producing countries — the US, Brazil and China.
Debt-free and with £5m in the bank it is difficult to see anything but a longer term success story here: it is a conservative business being driven by world population growth, rising living standards and legislation increasingly favouring natural rather than chemical products.
Must find out how to buy this share.
Will PTC mandate a price rise (even the deferred bit from last yr) given that the price of oil has fallen to near US$60 from almost US$115 a barrel in June
Public transport operators may submit their applications for fare review to the PTC for consideration by Dec 19. The decision will be announced in the first quarter of 2015, according to the press release.
To evaluate applications robustly, the PTC will take guidance from the fare review mechanism and fare adjustment formula recommended by the Fare Review Mechanism Committee and accepted by the Government in Nov 2013. (CNA)
If there is no price increase, then surely an early GE is on the horizon (First school holidays of of 2015: Saturday 14th March to Sunday 22nd March).given that a very major issue is the pay-and-pay attitude of the PAP administration when it comes to public transport and the related issue of overcrowding on public tpt which has been improving since the govt threw our money at the problem: the government is putting back all the dividends it received from these two companies and then adding 35% more. So it’s wrong to say that the SMRT and ComfortDelgro are getting free lunches. At most the government is subsidising their lunches by 35%.
Why only yesterday CNA reported
Five new Peak Period Short Services (PPSS), designed to alleviate crowding, reduce waiting times and improve the reliability of feeder services during peak hours, will begin operating in the next two months, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Tuesday (Dec 16).
The five new services and their launch dates are:
Service 285P in Clementi: Dec 30, 2014
Service 265P in Ang Mo Kio: Jan 6, 2015
Service 903P in Woodlands: Jan 13, 2015
Service 811P in Yishun: Jan 20, 2015
Service 812P in Yishun: Jan 20, 2015
(Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/want-to-win-big-pm-juz-do-the-right-things/
But even if there is a price rise, PM may be juz as clueless as he was in school and 2005 and hold an election. Actually he might not be that clueless because the world economy might take a turn for the worse. Lower oil ptrces might not solve the world’s economic problems because weak economic growth in Europe and China is one reason for the weak oil price. .
Oil price-led disinflation is desirable as it helps competitiveness gains by reducing cost and price differentials analyst at Lombard Street Research quoted by FT. So gd for economic growth and property prices?
True but then:
Household debt in Korea, Malaysia and Thailand is now in excess of 80 percent of GDP; it’s 76 percent in Singapore. When borrowers loaded up on debt, they expected three things: Money-printing in rich nations would keep borrowing costs low for an extended period; domestic property prices would keep rising; and steady inflation would boost wages, reducing the real household debt burden.
The third part of this equation has buckled. Inflation is low – and slowing – across Asia. As oil prices fall, the slide will accelerate. In Korea, China and Singapore, deflation is now a real threat.
Deflation means real interest rates go up.
The born losers who read TRE will be happy to see their fellow S’poreans go bust. Uniquely S’porean.
Let alone a world-class town council town council management software package?
–Auntie’s repeated comments that ‘we are looking into the arrears data, and will respond to the query on the financial and arrears situation in due course’;
— TOC trying to confuse the issue with PAP’s TCs arrears position (TOC talks of arrears but not the time period: going by TOC’s report I suspect it’s one month, which is like comparing TOC to Petir); and
— TRE blaming AIM for depriving AHPETC of a world-class town council management software package,
triple confirms my suspicions that AHPETC does not a proper third-world IT system: there are allegations that some residents have never been billed since WP took over the running of Aljunied. I’ve heard whispers for over a year now that the AHPETC’s managing agent screwed up big time in attempting to scale up the existing Hougang IT system. Notice that the present agent is not offering to provide services under the latest tender. No-one is.
Auntie and Pritam Singh going to do the garbage collection and road sweeping themselves? Btw, heard her boyfriend Quah Kim Song is seeing very little of Auntie these days. He is not a happy man.
*Here I set out my views on arrears collection data as ex-Hon Treasurer of the Saddle Club.
Her replies have not only annoyed me but another blogger who is usually Oppo friendly:
And, pray tell me, Chairwoman Sylvia, how are all your fine legalistic semantics and arguments proof of your party’s idea of First World Parliamentarians in action? Honestly, unless you can come up with a good reason or two, I am actually appalled your party could only blurt out, ‘we are looking into the arrears data, and will respond to the query on the financial and arrears situation in due course’. Not once, not twice but several times. Does it not beg the question what with WP’s credibility at stake, you can’t, don’t want to get additional resources to come up with a credible answer pronto, if not settle the issue and clear any doubts? Pathetic.
Hello, even when yours truly was managing my annual expense budget of less than S$1 million p.a., I have already in place on a quarterly, if not monthly, basis small signposts to flag potential concerns or complications that my boss will want an explanation, if not a resolution to – yeah, BEFORE the issue is raised to me. And here WP is, only ‘looking into the arrears data’ when called to account and after giving your greatest political foes all the right reasons to kick you in the teeth?
Do read the post as the author also castigates PM for using million-dollar ministers to beat-up WP, when they should be serving S’poreans, who pay their salaries,not the PAP.
**TRE forgot to mention that Auntie said it was the plan all along to develop its own system. And AIM had specifically said that if WP had wanted to continue with the AIM system, it was willing to allow it. Err wondering if WP promised TRE a big donation to keep the site going. TOC no longer complains of insufficient money ever since it became more WP than the WP. I make no allegations, juz pointing out two facts that may or may not be related.
I received two interesting allegations in response to https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/12/what-pm-can-learn-from-two-other-privileged-kids/#comments
Our PM was going right-left-right while the rest of his band was left-right-left and nobody bothered to correct him except us bunch of kids who were shouting “Botak kayu”, to have his bodyguards come after us from across the school field.
[Er, I tot drum-major is always right, juz like the RSM on the parade square. Bte, anyone knows if SAF still has RSMs?]
Well, his kayu days are still very much with him. Like the occasion when inspecting a German guard of honour during a visit to Germany, our sissy PM walked on oblivious to the fact that his escort, German Chancellor Angela Mekel, had stopped and turned to salute her country’s flag as was their country’s protocol! An aide had to fetch him back! That was a prized video clip. I wonder if it is somewhere in the Youtube. I would not rule out the possibility that Lee’s followers must have BOUGHT it off the TV station that owns it to prevent even more Singaporeans from watching it.
Here is a forum comment at that time: http://sgforums.com/forums/8/topics/166923
SIR – Lexington attributed the rise of public doubts about government in Western democracies to globalisation and the economic wrench it has produced (November 15th). Undoubtedly globalisation has created new strains. However, the erosion of trust dates back earlier than implied. An article in The Economist in 1999 (“Is there a crisis?”, July 17th 1999) described the erosion of trust beginning in the 1960s in America and Sweden. Western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand followed in the 1970s or 1980s. This downward trend continues to the present.
Research suggests that the changes in the values and norms of the public, a shift in the style of interest-group politics and the norms of media reporting have contributed to a secular shift towards a more assertive and sceptical public. The deferential citizen is becoming an endangered species, which is a benefit to democracy.
Centre for the Study of Democracy
University of California, Irvine
Finally, FT reported last week, talking about president Xi and the communist part: “On the whole they are nervous. There is a lack of confidence. They know the one-party state is an exception to [global] trends,” say Jean-Pierre Cabestan, head of the government and international studies department at Hong Kong Baptist University. “One of the weaknesses in the party state is the lack of checks and balances . . . Zhou Yongkang clearly enjoyed a huge level of impunity. How do you control that?”
Zhou Yongkang was the security chief under the previous president and was recently arrested, accused of corruption etc.
This appeared in TRE somretime ago. I was reminded of it when VivianB failed to get elected (yet again) to the PAP’s politburo.
Please don’t blame us. We were busy on the most trivial squabble with WP.
This was in response to TRE’s report that Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng has been warded in hospital since yesterday (30 Nov) for dengue fever. He made the same announcement on Instagram.
Mr Baey said his platelet count had fallen below the recommended threshold for dengue patients, and he was warded as a result.
Btw, this coming GE will see VivianB moving on. With him gone, Khaw is the only guy from TeamGCT left. Good riddance to bad rubbish. With the exception of Khaw (I disagree that he is useless), they were all awfully bad. Think Mah, Yeo Cheow Tong, Raymond Lim, Balaji and White Horse Cedric. At least TeamLoong got two super Indians.
Gd week ahead. Happy feasting.
The recent comment that “D” in “MDA” ahould be replaced by “R” for R”Regulatory” to better reflect its role reminded me that in August in Russia, laws were enacted forcing bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers to register with the mass media regulator.
With most bloggers being friendly to the Oppo, if not cheering them on, maybe time for MDA to follow suit to make sure
SuperWimp AhLoong and the MIW beats theBlueClones and the Mad Dog gang. .
DBS, UOB and MayBank are reported as interested in the intl side of Coutts Bank, while is for sale.
Hope they realise that the Queen of England banks with Coutts Bank, UK, which is not for sale.
Here’s an extract from the Observer that puts the point of independent directors, members of commissions and NMPs into some perspective:
Shortly after commodity trading firm Glencore floated on the London Stock Exchange, its chief executive (and largest shareholder) Ivan Glasenberg addressed an industry dinner in London. During his speech he told a story about his company’s search for the independent directors needed to represent external shareholders once the company had gone public, which involved an adviser presenting him with a list of potential names for chairman.
“I read them and I said to him, ‘I don’t know any of these people’,” Glasenberg recalled. “To which the adviser replied, ‘That’s kind of the point’.”
With PM’s demanding a blank cheque in the coming GE, he’s obviously belongs to the Glasenberg school of tot. But Glasenberg led a team that made money for investors in Glencore, before and after it floated. Can PM say of the same of S’poreans who for voted the PAP? Excluding his ministerial team of course.
Here are what two leaders can teach our PM:who like him they came from privileged backgrounds. In fact they came from even more privileged backgrounds of wealth, where their fathers were very indulgent, at least a lot more than LKY.
One is the ruler of Dubai: For a man who does not need to go through that laborious indignity of seeking election or re-election, he is a brilliant “retail politician”. He posed for photos, shook hands with all and sundry, and deployed a warmth and easy charm that many a western politician could only dream of.
But then he didn’t get a double first at Cambridge. He too went to Cambridge but spent most of his time at the race track. He now owns the leading racing stable in the world.
Despite being a hereditary ruler, and a serious player in racing, the sport of kings, he has the common touch, which our PM lacks.
The common, or popular, touch is very important as is shown by India’s PM. He can enthuse the people to vote for him and his party. The common touch is also important when it comes to getting people to forget inconvenient facts. Boris Johnson is the mayor of London. He is a Tory mayor in a city whose voters tend to the left. He is also a rogue (he has a record of fibbing and philandering) and buffon. And he comes from a rich family. But because he has the common touch (takes MRT when here), the voters in London adore him. He might even become PM.
The other is the PM of the UK. His grandfather was a director of HSBC while his maternal grandfather was a director of Chartered Bank (now StanChart). His father and grandfather were the senior partners in a leading City firm of stockbrokers. He went to Eton and Oxford (As did Boris Johnson).
But he knows what matters and how to say it.
“LEADERSHIP,” declared David Cameron, in announcing a series of proposals to curb immigration on November 28th, “means dealing with the frustrations” that millions of Britons to feel on this issue. “Not turning a deaf ear to it,” Economist few months back
Taz about right. Leadership is not about the application of Hard Truths and being vaguely dismissively about our concerns about their application to our daily lives, while asking for “blank cheques” despite not doing the right things by us.
And leadership is also about admitting screw-ups and correcting them. This extract appeared two yrs ago
Cameron, speaking on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, said it took courage for an administration to admit it was “ploughing into the brick wall” and change course on unpopular policies.
[Earlier in the week the chancellor had tom perform three u-turns in a row]
Cameron said, “… Nobody thinks this government lacks resolve, strength and grit.”
“It has all of those things and it also has the courage to say, ‘Look, if we’ve got something wrong, let’s change it; let’s not keep ploughing into the brick wall.'”
He added: “There have been difficulties in the budget and we’ve had to make some changes.
“When you’ve got something wrong, there are two things you can do in government: you can plough on regardless, or you can say, ‘No, we’re going to listen, we’re going to change it, we’re going to get it right.’ And that’s what we’ve done and I think that’s the right thing to do.”
A final tot. “The British prime minister has four distinct jobs: running the government, leading his party in parliament, leading the national party and being a constituency Member of Parliament,” wrote Sir John Major in his memoirs.
In his recent speech to the party cadres, PM seems to have forgotten that we too would know what he said by way of the constructive, nation-building media. What works for an audience of
pigs cadres, doesn’t necessarily work for a audience of sheep voters, 40% of which are not happy with him or the PAP.
But most probably, he tot
the sheep S’poreans would respond to the same message as the pigs cadres in a similar way (enthusiastically) because he knew that the media would report the speech.
And he wants “blank cheques”? How to give them to him? When he doesn’t understand that the PAP and the people are not one? Oh I forgot, it’s a Hard Truth that the PAP and S’poreans are one.
What a Brazilian interrogator sent to the UK learnt:
“The best thing … was psychological torture*. When a person was in a secret place, it was faster to obtain information. He also studied in other places but he said England was the best place to learn.”
Prof Glaucio Soares interviewed more than a dozen of Brazil’s top generals back in the 1990s. Several of them told him they sent officers to Germany, France, Panama and the US to learn about interrogation but they praised the UK as having the best method.
“The Americans teach, but the English are the masters in teaching how to wrench confessions under pressure, by torture, in all ways. England is the model of democracy. They give courses for their friends,” he was told by Gen Ivan de Souza Mendes – an interview recounted in the book Years of Lead which he co-authored with two other Brazilian academics.
Gen Aoyr Fiuza de Castro said the British recommend interrogating a prisoner when he was naked as it left him anguished and depressed, “a state favourable to the interrogator”.
The UK was apparently seen as having effective practices as it had faced a serious insurgency in Malaya up until 1960 and had latterly honed its techniques in Northern Ireland.
The method, using sensory deprivation coupled with high stress, has come to be known as the “Five Techniques”. These were:
standing against a wall for hours
subjection to noise
very little food and drink.
Blog E-Jay* posted this on Facebook to prove point that “PAP, will be voting against you again in 2015/2016. Thank you for making my life difficult.”
Well, there are other, reasonable legtimate ways of looking at the chart:
— Wah flat owners got windfall if they willing to retire to Batam or M’sia
— I should have used bonus for one yr to buy 3-room HDB flat for cash in early 90s . Only thing allowed for us oppressed singletons then: maybe taz why I’m so hard on those who KPKB about being discriminated for trivial things like being gay. Only a real sleaze bas got prosecuted by AGC under 377A. Had to client of M Ravi.
— HDB owners so ungrateful: property worth so much all ’cause of SuperLoong and sidekick Mah. Instead of being grateful, HDB owners fret for their children’s inability to afford “affordable” housing. PAP makes them rich, must also make their kids reach. WTF!
Seriously, what the chart tells us is that Ah Loong allowed Mah Bow Tan to screw S’poreans. And he wants us to vote for him? And not to have better checkers than the Worthless Party is now providing. One of these days, I’ll blog on why PM is behaving like scholar Eng, and how two really rich and privileged kids, to the manor born, so to speak, can teach him some humility and common sense. Then maybe, he doesn’t need checkers. In the meantime, we need better checkers than the Worthless Party’s MPs.
But we got to play our party, deprive the PAP of its two-thirds majority.
*Actually, a revised Magnificent 7 list should include him and Uncle Leong [Added at 11.00am]
Remember a “PAP is always right” man KPKBing when StanChart was charged that the reulator was a “rogue regulator”. StanChart then made the dean of LKY School look dumb, really dumb, by pleading guilty.
Double confirm that StanChart is a rogue bank and the PAP apologist is a fool because now: The management of Standard Chartered is facing renewed pressure after being placed under fresh scrutiny by US regulators.
Two years after being fined more than £400m for breaching US sanctions towards Iran, the bank revealed that a two-year deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) that was imposed at the time was being extended for three years.
The US authorities are now investigating whether Standard Chartered breached its sanctions rules beyond 2007, the period when the previous offences for which the bank was penalised took place.
Looks like Santa didn’t bring Ho a nice Christmas present, giving her a turd instead. Juz look at share price chart from FT. [Chart added at 11.30 am]
But bear with me first on the LTA and Uber and other taxi apps.
The PAP administrationis afraid of losingrevenue from CoEs is the reason why LTA is creating its own taxi apps and making life difficult for Uber etc?
Because of Uber and other such apps, “Millions of people may decide that they no longer need to own a car because using Uber will be cheaper than owning one.”? This was said by Travis Kalanick, chief executive of Uber, on a new round of financing which values Uber at US$40m.
For “Uber” read “Uber and rival apps”
(A reminder of what LTA has done.
[A]nnounced plans to put its own taxi app into the growing market just after it announced regulations for the existing players in the industry.
The app, Taxi-Taxi.SG, will launch in mid-December, and will show commuters the number of available taxis near them, as well as signalling to taxi drivers the locations of potential customers. No details on app charges have yet emerged.
The Singaporean market already has t… Uber, local competitor Grab Taxi, and a number of apps from the individual taxi firms and smaller companies. These apps are free, but charge customers a cut of the taxi fare.
The plan comes as Singapore announced a new regulatory framework for private sector taxi apps, which are transforming an old-fashioned industry into a fiercely competitive and lucrative marketplace.
The regulations mean that all booking services must be registered with the LTA, specify their fees upfront, provide customer support services and prevent bidding on nearby taxis.
Somewhere in the mix of measures, the govt commended the LTA for its use of big data analytics to monitor travelling patterns and demand from commuters.“With this insight, LTA was able to perform targeted injection of bus capacity, which saw a 60 per cent reduction in the number of bus services with persistent crowding in spite of year-on-year increase in average daily bus ridership,” LTA.
Well if the data had been publicly available (and not confined to LTA, the transport regulator), perhaps the public good would be better served.
PM talks big about the use of big data analytics in developing S’pore. But my impression is that in S’pore, unlike in the UK, the data is only available to the right people: govt, state agencies and GLCs. In the UK and the West, big data is publicly available so that anyone can access the data to make sense of it, or develop apps, or both.
But if that happens here, the PAP administration will no longer have the monopoly of the data that is needed to formulate policy. Oppo parties like the SDP, NSP can come up with detailed policies based on the data. Now that would be a problem for the PM who has said the opposition have not articulated a vision for Singapore.
The SDP says:
This is untrue. The SDP published Dare To Change: An Alternative Vision for Singapore in 1994.
Dr Chee had also recently described a new vision for Singapore in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal. Mr Lee ignores these and claims that the opposition has not articulated one.
But more than just a vision, the SDP has laid out concrete and comprehensive alternative policies in key areas such as housing, healthcare, population, the Malay community, education, Ministerial salaries, and (soon-to-be launched) the economy. The SDP’s campaign for the next GE will focus on these alternative policies.
The SDP, NSP and TJS’s gang have come up with policies: the problem is that lackof access to basic data (something often available in the West but not here despite S’pore being a first-world state) makes their policy papers little more than motherhood statements.
Thinking about it, the PAP should treasure the Worthless Party, not rubbish or fix it. All it wants is to check the PAP administration, something where the WP talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk, and hopes that the PAP needs it as coalition partner.
If the PM can’t live with this, what does he want? A PAP dictatorship? Even LKY never went that far. He juz he made sure he won big in elections, something son has a problem doing.
Do you, as a pension-fund manager, or rich individual investor, think that you have an above-average ability to pick out the non-superstar hedge funds that will outperform in the future? And if so, why? Also, is your superior fund-picking ability worth the average hedge-fund fee?
If you decide the answer is “no,” then you should consider investing in an index such as the HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index, which replicates hedge-fund returns net of fees — so it helps with portfolio diversification but not fee reduction.
Being, a budding dramatist (albeit in physical theatre) she could have constructed via her blog a compelling narrative that makes us root for her, or at least feel or share her sorrow. Instead by allowing her petulance (low EQ?) to show she behaved like a spoiled* grandchild**.despite not being funded by her grandfather.
The greatest novelists (like Tolstoy, Dickens, and Jane Austen and dramatists (Shakespeare ) of Western literature could have provided her with compelling narratives.
Take Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina”. “Anna Karenina” is the tragic story of an upper crust married Russian lady and her affair with Count Vronsky. After much agonising, she leaves her husband and children and lives openly with the count. She is ostracised by society. Anna becomes increasingly jealous and irrational towards Vronsky. They have a bitter row and Anna commits suicide by throwing herself under a passing train.
The narrative of “Hamlet” could also have provided a compelling narrative. Should the prince do his duty to his dead father by murdering his uncle. His dad’s ghost had alleged that his uncle murdered dad and demanded Hamlet avenge the murder.
Well, Dr Eng could have constructed a narrative of someone torn between a “passion” she discovered she only had after getting her doctorate (or that she had suppressed), and her duty to the society that funded her studies, in the hope that she could be a scientist that does good scientific work that benefits said society.
The narrative could have included a constructive, nation-building decision to make the best of a bad situation, by burning the candle at both ends for the next few yrs (until she finishes serving her bond) by trying her best in both her day job (scientist) and her passion (dance theatre).
Whatever it is, Tolstoy or Shakesheapre could have taught her how to construct a narrative that shows S’poreans the tragic circumstances she finds herself in.
Instead she and her artycrafty friends makes it clear that she is so very unhappy: she “is not interested in science at all, but has to serve her bond or pay, as of 30 September 2014, around $741,657.37. .
She has amplified her bad decision [getting science scholarships] by using a public platform to vent her frustration. Everybody makes bad decisions from time to time. We accept the consequences of our actions and do not whine and moan in public. That is what she has done and she is blaming society and everyone else but herself for her bad decisions. Absolutely no personal accountability here
Btw, I’m sure she’d have advised Anna to bitch publicly about her lover, the husband she abandoned, and her children; and not kill herself.
Btw2, photos of her and her artycrafy friends who must have advised her on how to project herself. http://substation.org/directorslab/eng-kai-er.php
*I speak from personal experience. No lomger spoilt but smug.
**But from the way she describes herself, you cannot help but to feel that she is terribly unhappy with the situation that she is in now. She certainly sounded like someone who is oppressed by a bigger force, which in this case happened to A*Star, the institute that granted Dr Eng her scholarship. According to other sites, Eng Kai Er wrote that she “is not interested in science at all, but has to serve her bond or pay, as of 30 September 2014, around $741,657.37 in order to quit her job. Since she understands the pain of having a paid job that is not aligned with her interests, she wishes to change the world by having more instances of paid jobs aligned with people’s interest.”
Sure he underperforms S&P but it’s like being paid by an insurance co. to buy life insurance.
BEARISH FUND VS. THE BULLS STILL PROFITS The stock market has been rising for years, but Universa Investments, one of Wall Street’s most bearish investors, has found a way to make money anyway, Peter Eavis writes in DealBook. The hedge fund, founded by Mark Spitznagel, is set up with the aim of making money in an economic and financial collapse. Big pessimistic bets usually lose a lot of money when stocks are rising, as they have since 2009. But Universa is saying that its investment strategy has been able to produce consistent gains since then, including a 30 percent return last year, according to firm materials that were reviewed by The New York Times. The benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index in 2013 had a return of 32 percent with dividends reinvested.
Mr. Spitznagel’s strategy stems from his skepticism toward government efforts to revive the economy. He acknowledges that the stimulus policies of the Federal Reserve and other central banks have the power to drive stocks higher. But they will ultimately be self-defeating, he contends. This theory holds that another crash will occur when the Fed stops being able to stoke the economy. Universa’s strategy seeks to profit when confidence in the central banks is strong ‒ and when it evaporates. “The Fed has created a trap in this yield-chasing environment,” Mr. Spitznagel said in an interview. The Universa strategy has produced gains of 10 percent this year, slightly less than the stock market overall. It’s been up every year since 2008, according to the materials.
Universa is not alone in saying that it can make money in good times and bad. Other firms also offer bearish bets that clients can use to hedge their stock portfolios. Such bets often cost so much that they have to be used sparingly. Yet Universa seems to be saying that its catastrophe insurance is comparatively cheap. The Universa marketing materials say that its strategy would theoretically result in a 16 percent gain if the S.&P. 500 fell 30 percent. For his part, Mr. Spitznagel is certain that another collapse will come.
Singapore’s next General Election will be a “deadly serious” fight between the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) and the opposition … every seat, GRC and SMC will be a national contest, and not just a local one … every seat will be a General Election, not a by-election. (CNA)
Ah yah, why PM like to talk big and cock? Juz do the right, fair things by S’poreans and trust S’poreans to be fair-minded. After all, daddy, for all his bullying and intellectual thuggery, made sure public housing was really, really affordable. and the heartlanders willingly gave the PAP their votes. Earlier, he made sure that the streets were kept clean, portholes mended, and clean water, electricity and sanitation provided at affordable prices.provided. And the votes followed. (and taz why I don’t begrudge him the office that many say he has in the Istana.)
An example comes to mind where PM can ensure that his administration does what’s fair and reasonable and that will benefit most S’poreans.
The price of oil has fallen from almost US$115 a barrel in June to around US$70.
This fall in oil prices makes it a no-brainer for a fair, reasonable govt, with a GE coming, and S’poreans unhappy with stagnant real wages for the PAP administration to make sure that public transport fares don’t rise in 2015*, and if oil remains near US$70, in 2016.
After all, SMRT’s Vice-President for Corporate Information and Communications Patrick Nathan said in November: “We seek a better alignment of fares and operating costs, and will be submitting our application for a fare review in the coming weeks.”
Well with oil at US$70, one of the two major component for operating costs, is dropping rapidly. The other,btw, is wages.
So is there a need for fares to rise in 2015? Bet you when fares are raised, as they are likely to, the excuse will be that fares were held down when the price of oil was above US$100. So only fair to raise them now.
Let’s see if the PAP administration is smart enough to deviate from the Hard Truth of “Always make S’poreans pay and pay”, what with a GE coming and S’poreans facing stagnant real wages. Anti-PAP born-losers should be hoping that the PAP sticks to its hardest of Hard Truths.
*The Public Transport Council (PTC) on Wednesday (Nov 19) announced it has started the annual fare review exercise.
Public transport operators may submit their applications for fare review to the PTC for consideration by Dec 19. The decision will be announced in the first quarter of 2015, according to the press release.
To evaluate applications robustly, the PTC will take guidance from the fare review mechanism and fare adjustment formula recommended by the Fare Review Mechanism Committee and accepted by the Government in Nov 2013. (CNA)
The new fare adjustment formula is now based on core inflation (excluding property and car prices), average wage increase and an energy component.
1 Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has received a “clean bill of health” from his doctor after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer, and is now back at work. (CNA)
You mean he working? Doing what? Talking cock is work?
2 Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng told CNA that even though he gives people the impression that he is a very active and sociable person, he is actually an introvert.
“I think I give people the impression that I’m a very active, sociable person… doing a lot of things. But I’m actually quite an introvert. Really! It’s just that I’m active online so there are certain posts people remember and they form certain impressions about me,” said Mr Baey chuckling.
As TRE pointed out, netizens have nicknamed him “Selfie King” because of his penchant for taking photos of himself at various events and at every opportunity, posting them online. He frequently makes postings of himself on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, sometimes multiple times a day.
3 Bit rich, what coming from a M’sian publication that is in same group as NST which promote special rights for the “right” race:.
“What does this policy say to us? That Filipinos can be maids but not servers? Indians are good for being construction coolies but we don’t want to see them as hotel staff? This is why you see Mandarin-speaking servers struggling to pronounce Palak Paneer across the curry houses of Singapore.”
I was juz talking to a retired Bumi financier and he was musing that Bank Negara has never had a Chinese governor, despite many capable deputy Chinese governors.
4 In an interview, PM Lee said that his children “have not yet” expressed an interest to enter politics.
When asked if he would influence or encourage his children to join politics, Mr Lee said, “They will have to make choices.”
“Every child is different. Of course parents would wish for their children to be successful but they all have different natures. Some may be more interested in arts while others could be keen on computing or science. This is something that will have to be developed based on their preferences.” (PM Lee was interviewed by Yang Lan on Beijing Satellite TV while he was in Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit last month but aired here last Sunday)
So he telling us that he trying to persuade one of his sons to go go into politics? Like the way LKY persuaded him to get into politics? To be fair to him, the rumours are that that his wife has political ambitions for one of her sons. It’s also rumoured that his bro’s wife has political ambitions for one of her sons. Rumours also say that the bros are really relaxed about their sons not wanting to S’pore.
The absence of reports on the following is
Last Saturday was another Return Our CPF gig at Hong Lim Green. The MSM didn’t report it. But neither did TOC, ot TRE or Roy and New Citizen H3. So did anyone turn up?
And still no word from the WP on the arrears issue. Mgt systems must really be lousy.
And I’m surprised Goh Meng Seng is not attacking WP on this issue. But then maybe he focuses only on of inconsequential matters, not serious issues.
Now this had me smiling: Roy says he is stopping blogging. His verbal diarrhea finally sucumbed to SingHeath’s tablets. (subsidised)?
But then Roy talks cock? Remember his research that PM stole our CPF money? Then he said he was talking rubbish and that the allegation wasn’t true?
Have a gd week.
Btw, if this post sounds familiar it’s ’cause I first posted something similar on Friday. Something went wrong and it disappeared. It ended up between two posts, days ago. So I reposted it with some amendments.
Unlike me, a friend’s friend has done his research on retiring in M’sia. Renting a place is the biggest expense (like me he doesn’t believe in buying in M’sia*) and the cheapest place to rent in a near-to-S’pore urban environment is Malacca or Penang.
This is because S’poreans who invested in apartments there have serious problems renting them out. They forgot that land is plentiful even in Malacca and Penang.
So do yr fellow S’poreans and yrself a favour, go retire in Penang or Malacca. And there is the added advantage of easy access to first-world medical treatment at M’sian prices.
Btw, he calculates that a couple can live in Penang or Malacca very comfortably at S$2,500 a month. To retire to Cameron Highlands (my fav) is more expensive (S$3,500). Rent is expensive there as development is controlled.
Singapore took a tumble on the list of 50 Most Inspiring Cities in the World, down from number two last year to number 21 this year.
The GOOD City Index describe itself as a celebration of the 50 cities around the world that best capture the elusive quality of possibility.
The index looked at eight areas; hub for progress, civic engagement, street life, defining moment, connectivity, green life, diversity, and work/life balance.
Hong Kong took the top spot on the list this year, climbing up from the 24th position last year.
Other regonal cities on the top 50 list include Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei, and Tokyo.
*latest example of capriciousness of M’sia’s rulers: the Malacca state govt is planning to seize property that the Portuguese, Dutch and British handed out.
PAP administration must always ensure that they make good money or can screw the taxpayers to indulge themselves (Btw, one of these days, when I really make up on the wrong side of the bed, remind me to blog on why Dr Eng’s actions show that while she may have a passion for the arts — like she had — when was interviewed for her scholarship, she had a passion for scientific research, she doesn’t have a clue about the way to craft a narrative that pleases the audience. She must belong to the school that believes in upsetting the audience, unlike Stanley Kulbrick, John Ford or even Shakespeare who entertained while provoking them)
Sorry, for the digression. I got the impression that property developers think that they like GLCs and Dr Eng can screw the public when I read that REDAS president Chia Boon Kuah said at the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore’s (REDAS) 55th anniversary dinner at the Ritz-Carlton on 26 Nov, that the real estate industry could be heading for major trouble unless the government takes “supportive measures” to help property developers.
“[The slowdown and added pressures in the residential market] pose significant challenges to the property sector, and there could be wider impact on the economy,” he said.
Mr Chia is worried that the looming supply of 68,000 completed new residential units in the next few years is likely to cause home vacancy rates to head towards 10%. Presently, the private home vacancy rate is estimated to be at 7.1% in the 3Q of this year.
“This will add even more pressure on the residential market,” Mr Chia said.
“Developers are concerned. Genuine home buyers from the Singapore market have adopted a wait-and-see attitude. The situation poses significant challenges to the property sector, and there could be wider impact. It is in no one’s interests to witness unintended outcomes.”
“We urge the Government to stand ready, to take supportive measures to prevent a tipping point, should the market turn volatile and worsen further.”
With National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan present at the dinner as REDAS’ guest-of-honour.Mr Chia took the opportunity to KPKB that the government’s cooling measures continue to bite and dampen property buying sentiment.
“The data and facts truly speak for themselves,” pointing out the falling transaction volume and declining prices or properties. Private home prices have declined in the last 4 consecutive quarters, while transaction volume has also dipped 50% from 18,000 last year to less than 9,000 expected this year.
Mr Chia also highlighted the importance of the property sector to the Singapore’s economy, “Real estate accounts for about half of the total fixed capital formation. One in 5 people in the workforce is employed by the real estate and construction industry.”
As usual our local media did not criticise the self-seving nature of his comments*. But let’s be thankful. Once upon a time, MediaCorp’s ace columnist (now reired. Wonder how many houses he got at big discounts?) would have come out in support of the developers.
So it was with great pleasure that I read this in Forum a few days ago.
Where was Redas when home prices were rising?
Published on Dec 1, 2014 12:47 AM
LAST Thursday’s report (“Property sector ‘needs govt support'”) reads like a case of the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (Redas) wanting to have its cake and eat it, too.
Redas president Chia Boon Kuah warned of grave consequences for the country, noting how property prices have declined amid falling sales in the last four consecutive quarters.
Did Redas make any such warning when property prices ran ahead of the growth in household incomes, and did it ask the Government to take action then?
It was only last year that we saw the second-quarter private residential property price index hitting an all-time high despite a few rounds of cooling measures.
Did Redas not realise that rising property prices caused the public to fear that homes would be beyond their reach, and that many have bought property even though they may not be able to service the housing loans?
The supply of 68,000 completed residential units over the next few years will be built by the association’s members.
More properties may have been put on the block due to mortgage defaults (“More homes go under the hammer in weak market”; Nov 21), if not for the cooling measures and the total debt servicing ratio framework.
Khong Kiong Seng
Developers must long for the days when Mah was the property minister
*But ST said that if the restrictions were not lifted, developers will make less than usual profit margins, and some may lose money: as though making huge profits is the natural state of things, like scholars entitled to indulge their fantasies? [Update at 10 am)
It has three FTs in the most impt areas:
— CEO is ang moh FT, brought in for his tech expertise;
— president (COO) is Indian FT (Anyone knows his background?); and
— Chief Operations and Technology Officer is Indon FT (Brought in for his financial expertise*?)
Btw, when the first computer cock-up happened and TRE KPKBed about the Chief Operations and Technology Officer’s lack of hands-on IT experience, I pointed out to Richard Wan that by that line of reasoning, Richard, an IT scholar, shouldn’t be handling editorial matters at TRE.
At the National Youth Integration Forum on 22 November, Social and Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing spoke to some 300 local and foreign tertiary students at the ITE College East, urging them (and other S’poreans) to embrace the opportunity to learn from foreigners, “They can share different perspectives and provide new ideas. The interplay of those ideas with our ideas will help Singapore stand out as a global city.”
So S’poreans can learn from these three-highly paid Foreign Trashes that its OK to balls-up** continuously and still not get the sack?
Bet you some true-blue S’porean manager will be held responsible for the IT cock-ups. Taz why SGX still has Singkies, need scapegoats for FTs. FTs can do no wrong.
Pmk should say to these three FTs:
We command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place.
Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! … lock up the doors.
In the name of God, go!
*Going by his CV (courtesy of TRE)
In September 2012, SGX announced the appointment of Timothy Utama as its Chief Operations and Technology Officer, effective 1 December 2012 [Link]. Mr Utama joined SGX’s senior management team and reported to the Chief Executive, Magnus Bocker.
“We are pleased to welcome Mr Utama to our management team. His diverse and global experience and knowledge will help further improve our operations and technology capabilities,” Mr Bocker then said.
Mr Utama actually started his career in banking with Bank of Trade (LippoBank) as Senior Credit Analyst/Account Executive in Los Angeles from 1989 to 1991 [Link].
In 1991, he joined Standard Chartered. For the next 13 years, he held various positions there:
He then moved to ANZ Bank in 2004 for the next 4 years:
He rejoined Standard Chartered in 2008 as the Head of Wholesale Banking Operation of Standard Chartered India based in Chennai.
After his stint with Standard Chartered, he joined Indonesian bank PT Bank Permata Tbk in 2010. There, he was on its Executive Board of Directors as their Technology and Operations Director from 2010 to 2012. In December 2012, he jumped ship to SGX where he now serves as its Chief Operations and Technology Officer.
Mr Utama holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accountancy and Finance from Texas A&M University, College Station, USA.
**Partial list of balls-up
— attempted takeover of ASX
— Thai exchange now biggest exchange in SE Asia
— penny stock fiasco
— not many major IPOs
— two computer failures in two months
“GDP is growing, but you can’t eat GDP. You can’t even eat employment. Incomes you can eat, if you spend them,” says the Economist, the PAP’s bible, in a post on the US economy, two days ago.
Well going by this tot, the PAP should be afraid, very afraid going into 2015 and a probable election before 2016. The recent data released by MoM. S’porans have no growth in real income to eat. And if they don’t have real growth in income before next GE, 60% mark may not hold.
Because going by MoM’s data, S’poreans are seeing “peanuts” real growth in wages in 2014.
S’pore’s real median income (i.e, income after adjusting for inflation) growth is at its slowest pace since 2009 with the real median earnings rising to just 0.4%, inclusive of the employer CPF contributions.
A DBS economist said that the real income growth of 0.4% for this year is disappointing, compared with 4% last year. “Should the trend continue, it will raise questions over whether the policies made so far to boost productivity, and real median incomes, are working.”
A Barclays Capital economist blamed the slowdown in growth and the property sector as the main reasons for median incomes stagnating. “There are a lot of professionals in the sector, such as lawyers and bankers. When property slowed down, companies were not able to pay good raises since the profit margins were constrained at the top.”
Worse, the “exceptional” 4% in 2013 was partly pulled up by the initial effect of the Wage Credit Scheme launched last year, whereby the Government co-funds the wage increases given to Singaporean employees.
Good piece from TRE (it’s editorial stuff is usually very decent: taz the adv of having a scholar, unlike TOC which has no scholars, only anti-PAP fruscos) dated 29th November.
*MOM said, “The employment rate rose to a new high, as more women and older residents were in the labour force amid a tight labour market and low unemployment. There was sustained growth in incomes in the recent five years, with the income growth of lower income earners keeping pace with that at the middle.”
However, upon reviewing the data, it was observed that Singapore’s real median income (i.e, income after adjusting for inflation) growth is actually at its slowest pace since 2009 with the real median earnings rising to just 0.4%. This is inclusive of the employer CPF contributions.
A DBS economist said that the real income growth of 0.4% for this year is disappointing, noting that it was 4% last year. He said, “Should the trend continue, it will raise questions over whether the policies made so far to boost productivity, and real median incomes, are working.”
A Barclays Capital economist blamed the slowdown in growth and the property sector as the main reasons for median incomes stagnating. He explained, “There are a lot of professionals in the sector, such as lawyers and bankers. When property slowed down, companies were not able to pay good raises since the profit margins were constrained at the top.”
However, the “exceptional” 4% in 2013 was partly pulled up by the initial effect of the Wage Credit Scheme launched last year. Under the scheme, the Government co-funds the wage increases given to Singaporean employees.
The following table was drawn up by ST in its news report today (29 Nov) quoting figures from MOM’s Singapore Workforce report:
Notice that MOM did not report the figure for the real median income growth if the employer CPF contributions were excluded (i.e, employees’ take-home pay does not include employer CPF. It’s locked inside the CPF till old age). ST reported it simply as “n.a.” or “not available”.
However, thanks to a TRE reader, Win battles lose war, he was able to work out that the real median income growth excluding employer CPF contributions is actually -0.6% for this year.
The reader said:
“Actually, you can calculate this missing statistic from the data in the table.
Since nominal and real income growth (including employer CPF) was 1.8 and 0.4% respectively – doesn’t it mean that inflation was 1.4% (1.8 – 0.4%)?
Therefore, with nominal income growth (excluding employer CPF) at 0.8% – doesn’t it mean that the real income growth was -0.6% (0.8 – 1.4%)?”
“What is the reason for this statistics becoming ‘n.a.’ (disappeared)?” he asked.
“Could it be because it may be embarrassing for real income growth to be negative, despite inflation being at around a 6-year low?”
The reader further illustrated that the real income growth is getting worse for Singaporeans in the past 5 years (2009 to 2014) compared to the previous 5 (2004 to 2009):
With this missing statistic, and the real income growth (excluding employer CPF) at -0.1, 1.3, 2.6, -1.9 and 5.8% from 2009 to 2013, we can calculate the annualized real income growth from 2009 to 2014 as 1.4%, compared to the 1.9% (including employer CPF) in media reports.
Even so, with this 1.9% annualized real income growth (including employer CPF) in this past 5 years (2009 to 2014), it is worse when compared to that of the previous 5 years of 2.5% (2004 to 2009).
And these numbers would even be worse for the corresponding figures of real income growth (excluding employer CPF)!
Note that the salary figures in the table above only reflected the incomes of full-time workers. Those of part-time workers were not included.
The reader asked a pertinent question – are the policies of PAP government working? Whatever happened to the following usual rhetoric from the government?
Life getting tougher for Singaporeans
Retiree Michael Ng, 67, reportedly told a Financial Times reporter that life has become “more stressful” of late [Link].
Mr Ng said, “My children have to work very long hours. People have to work hard to maintain their lifestyles, transport costs have already increased these past two years and housing has gone up a lot.”
Indeed, the Public Transport Council (PTC) announced this month that it has started the annual fare review exercise. Public transport operators may submit their applications for fare review to the PTC for consideration by Dec 19.
SMRT’s Vice-President Patrick Nathan told the media, “We seek a better alignment of fares and operating costs, and will be submitting our application for a fare review in the coming weeks.”
Public transport fares were only last adjusted in Apr this year. There was a fare increase of 3.2% – just half of the total fare cap of 6.6%. It means the remaining 3.4% will be brought forward to this year’s fare review exercise.
And MOE has just announced that students entering polytechnics and the ITE next year will have to pay more school fees, with tuition fees raised by 2 to 5%.
Locals enrolling in the polytechnics next year will pay $2,500 in tuition fees per year, up from the current $2,400. For ITE, students will have to pay about $17 and $13 more for the Nitec and Higher Nitec courses respectively. But those hoping to enrol in the ITE’s technical diploma course will have to pay $106 more annually.
Middle-income Singaporeans losing sense of belonging to Singapore
Even the academics noted that the sense of security typically associated with being middle-class has given way to anxiety among such Singaporeans.
“When we think about the middle class, we think of security, comfort and social mobility. But all these are sort of in decline,” said NUS sociologist Tan Ern Ser at a recent forum, which focused on the state of Singapore’s middle class.
Exacerbating the anxiety is the rise in living costs, which has led to many middle-income Singaporeans no longer being able to afford what they think they deserve.
“If the middle class itself is facing threats of long-term unemployment and socioeconomic insecurity, then its value as an aspirational category becomes open to question,” said Dr Lionel Wee, the vice-dean of NUS’ Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
SMU economics professor Ho Kong Weng also noted that middle-class Singaporeans now feel less proud about their national identity. Prof Ho said they felt a weaker sense of belonging to the country. And unlike the more mobile rich, they may not have the option to leave the country, Prof Ho said.
Meanwhile, the MOM report also mentioned that unemployment for Singapore residents in their late 20s stood at 5.8% this year, the highest since 2009. For those under 24, the rate was 8.8 per cent.
Below is a piece from a broker on smaller cap O&M plays.. My view is don’t play, play. Buy two of Temasek’s Fab 5 and ride the upswing and sleep peacefully if oil prices remain low for a long time.
according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sembcorp Marine Ltd. (SMM), the world’s second-biggest oil-rig maker, is down 29 percent this year, the index’s worst-performing stock.
Keppel Corp. Ltd. (KEP), which earned 69 percent of its revenues from the offshore and marine sectors in the quarter through September, is down 20 percent, the third-worst performer.
Many of the stocks in report posted by a friend on Facebook cannot survive prolonged period of oil at present levels.
OFFSHORE & MARINE (OVERWEIGHT)
Could Yesterday Be Capitulation?
Singapore oil and gas (O&G) stocks dropped 5-16% yesterday when Brent crude
fell 2% intra-day to USD67.50/bbl. A capitulation? We see at worst a 10-15%
short-term oil price downside from here before bumping up against marginal
deepwater costs, which form the oil price floor from a fundamental
perspective. The market’s fear is palpable, creating a positive environment
for mid-term returns for investors who can ride out the volatility.
What’s the downside? Today, global oil production stands at c.92m
barrels/day, c.70% onshore, c.20% shallow water and c.10% deepwater. Oil
demand is still growing 1.5% annually, while US shale supply has exceeded
forecasts. To maintain this production level to meet demand, deepwater
sources with marginal costs at USD40-80/barrel (bbl) must remain
profitable. Using the range’s mid-point, prices could go 10-15% lower in
the short term before a physical supply crunch. Oil traders know this and
will likely not extend shorts beyond USD60/bbl.
The oil market is heavily-speculated, too. Investors tend to forget that
the oil market is a human one too, prone to overreaction to peaks and lows.
Oil-related stocks now appear to be swinging in response to oil traders’
moves, which completely ignore company fundamentals.
What is made can be unmade. Cheerful media articles are now talking about
oil going to the USD36/bbl range (financial crisis low) or the USD12/bbl
range (in the 1980s when Saudi Arabia last defended market share). They
ignore the fact that the financial crisis low was caused by a global credit
crunch, forcing traders to take liquidity out from any source. The 1980s
environment was that of a global recession when oil demand fell 10%
cumulatively and when 90% of the oil was produced onshore. Such conditions
do not exist today. The recent price fall was more or less engineered by
the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) decision to
maintain production, which takes a simple production cut to undo.
Our Top Picks at USD70/bbl oil. Oil prices at this level will hit
ultra-deepwater hard, but shallow-water fields (at USD25-50/bbl) remain
strongly profitable and production-related work are unlikely to be
significantly affected. We continue to like selected Singapore O&G stocks
that entered this correction with starting valuations already low, which
have since become 35% lower. Our Top Picks are Giken Sakata (GSS SP, BUY,
TP: SGD0.65), Ezion (EZI SP, BUY, TP: SGD2.65), Nam Cheong (NCL SP, BUY,
TP: SGD0.61), Pacific Radiance (PACRA SP, BUY, TP: SGD1.55) and Marco Polo
Marine (MPM SP, BUY, TP: SGD0.60). They have strong 12-month earnings
growth and low valuations, unique industry positions and a focus on
shallow-water operations that can lead to a strong re-rating when the
market stabilises. We are negative on Vard (VARD SP, SELL, TP: SGD0.57) and
PACC Offshore Services (POSH SP, NR) for their deepwater exposure.
And watch out.
Swiber and Ezra Holdings Ltd. are scheduled to repay S$720 million ($552 million) of notes within the next two years, or three-quarters of the borrowers’ market value, after funding expansion.
Swiber, with a market value of about $150 million, has raised the equivalent of $289 million in four bond sales this year, three in Singapore dollars and one in offshore yuan. The October 2016 notes issued at par in April traded at 92.99 cents Nov. 27, while the June 2016 bonds sold in May were at 94.65.
Swiber had negative operating cash flow of $5.3 million in the quarter through September, according to its latest results, and total bonds and loans climbed to $1.23 billion at Sept. 30 from $837.7 million at the end of 2013.
“The company is aware of current market concerns surrounding the oilfield services sector as a result of the recent weakness in oil prices,” a Swiber spokesman said in an e-mailed statement. “Swiber has developed good longstanding and supportive relationships with its banks, and is confident of its ability to meet existing debt obligations when these come due.”
Ezra Holdings’ total liabilities were $2.2 billion at the end of August, a 22 percent leap from a year earlier. Its 2016 bonds issued in March dropped more than two cents in as many months, Bloomberg compiled prices show.
Oil’s correction should be temporary as a lack of substitutes will ensure strong demand, said Eugene Cheng Chee Mun, chief financial officer of Ezra Holdings.
“We are proactively looking at refinancing options,” said Cheng Chee Mun. The company is at the peak of the capital expenditure cycle and should start increasing free cash flow next year and hence start to deleverage, he said.
Backgrounder from NYT’s DealBook dated Monday
Oil prices have come under pressure as global output of crude oil exceeded demand this year. In particular, domestic oil production has soared more 70 percent over the last six years, to roughly nine million barrels a day. The country is still a net importer, but with production growing by more than a million barrels a day every year, it is importing less and less almost every month. Imports from OPEC producers have been cut by more than a half in recent years, forcing increasing competition among Saudi Arabia and other exporting countries seeking to replace the American market with Chinese and other Asian markets. The tumbling price in oil has produced economic hardship and potential political problems for OPEC producers like Venezuela and Iran.
How low can oil prices go? Tony Roth, chief investment officer at Wilmington Trust, told Reuters, “Crude seems to have no floor right now, and we could easily see the price drop into the low $60s.” Ed Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup, told The Wall Street Journal, “There’s lower prices ahead.” On Monday morning, benchmark futures in New York and London slumped as much as 3.7 percent, before making up some of those losses. “It’s clear that a production war is on and it will be survival of the fittest,” Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago, said in an email to Bloomberg News.
Yesterday, I read that Goh Meng Seng (Remember him? Ex-NSP secretary-general and adviser to presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian, who lost his deposit, but in so doing allowed the preferred PAP candidate to win by three hundred odd votes) had come out fighting defending “cartoonist” Leslie Chew’s comments about the Worthless Party. Trust GMS to attack the WP at any opportunity*. He even used the news that Auntie and Quah Kim Song were dating to attack her and WP.
This reminded me that in the recent past he had blogged on voting for the right oppo party.
For the coming GE, opposition supporters should ask the various opposition parties on their positions on vital importance:
1) What do they think about current political system and do they think we need to improve the Checks and Balances of the whole system?
2) Do they believe in Separation of Powers as the main pillar of Democratic system? If so, what do they suggest to enhance the Separation of Powers in our current political system?
3) Do they believe in Freedom of Speech? If so, what do they suggest to change from status quo?
4) Do they believe in Social Justice? If so, what do they suggest to enhance it?
5) Do they believe in Rule of Law? Are they satisfied with the current system? If not, what do they suggest to enhance it?
If any opposition party refuse or try to shy away from answering all these basic questions, you should beware of their TRUE COLORS.
If I go thru the publicly professed beliefs of the WP, SDP, NSP and the Chiams (the rest of the oppo parties don’t matter), I don’t think any party lives to GMS’s high standards: not even the NSP when he was sec-gen.
So I’m hoping that this isn’t a sign of his intention to start another party. Do we need another? One with him and possibly Tan Kin Lian at the helm?
I also hope that if he sets up a new party, he isn’t planning to sabo anyone or some or all of the WP, SDP, NSP and the Chiams by forcing three-way fights..
To be constructive towards GMS, here’s a map for GMS (and also s/o JBJ, SDA, Pwee’s lot and Tan Jee Say’s gang). to show where they should feel free to contest each other and the PAP. The areas to contest are where s/o JBJ and followers, SDA (Except Punggol East where the WP won a subsequent by-election and where the SDA candidate and s/o JBJ lost their deposits), stood in 2011, where the SPP fielded a non-Chiam in a SMC, and Tanjong Pagar.
They should feel free to fight three-corner or four-corner contests, because the SDA and s/o JBJ have broken the ‘no” third party pact that the Oppo parties have traditionally adhered too.
Leave the other areas to whoever contested in 2011.
Readrs will know I’ve expressed my fear that in next GE, it’ll be 1963 all over again.
We [Barisan Socialists] won thirteen seats at the elections, averaging 15.000 votes to each seat. The PAP won thirty- seven seats, averaging 7,000 votes to each seat. The United People’s Party, whose function was to split the left-wing votes, campaigned on a programme that was somewhat similar to ours but more extremely put. Only their leader, Mr. Ong Eng Guan, was elected. We received 201,000 votes (35 per cent) and the PAP 272,000 votes (47 per cent). The difference is only 70,000 votes out of a total electorate of nearly 500,000. The UPP took away 49,000 votes (8 per cent), causing us the loss of seven constituencies (apart from Mr. Ong’s), and saved four PAP Ministers from defeat.
As to SatuSingapura? Taz the handle that GMS adds to his Facebook wall.
*He also attacked the NSP when giving “advice” to Nicole Seah (Remember her? The People’s Princess?)
The second biggest shareholder in Standard Chartered (after Temasek with around 27%) is standing by the embattled Asia-focused bank, continuing to buy the stock and insisting that nothing is “fundamentally wrong” with the company.
Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, said that funds run by his company have been “buyers of the stock in a fairly modest way,” despite a series of profit warnings that have sent Standard Chartered’s share price down 33% this year.
“We do not think there is anything fundamentally wrong with the bank,” said Mr. Gilbert, during a call to discuss Aberdeen’s results. He said that revenue growth had slowed but added that he would prefer the bank’s existing management team, headed by chief executive Peter Sands, to “sort it out” rather than looking for a replacement: “They have to really get on with it, I would say, and have a look at the costs.”
Aberdeen owns 7% of the bank, according to Factset, and, as of Oct. 31 2014, that had not changed since last year. Some Aberdeen funds have “topped up” their positions this month however, according to an Aberdeen spokesman.
The value of Standard Chartered shares held by the emerging markets-focused fund manager slid from a peak of $5.1 billion in February last year to $2.6 billion in October, according to Factset data. Part of that was due to an 8% reduction in the size of Aberdeen’s stake at the end of last year, but most was due to the bank’s falling share price.
Temasek is one of the shareholders pressing for a change of mgt, other reports claim.
[Updated at 6.20 am to include a v.v. gd Forum letter on the issue]
Eng Kai Er and her friends in the artistic community elitist sense of entitlement is amazing: The scientist and dancer who is protesting against her six-year scholarship bond, because she is in a job “not aligned with her interests”, received funding for two university stints – and could have turned down the second if she was not keen on research.
I can understand if she had qualms about being a scientist after her first degree. I moved from law into dealing, sales and arbitraging equities by way of corporate finance and fund mgt. So I do know a little about moving into unplanned areas.
But then I wasn’t funded by the tax-payer. My parents funded me. So while can I understand her change of mind, I do not sympathise with her.
The really annoying bit is that after her first degree she came back to work here and then applied for post-grad studies. When she applied for post grad work, she already had four years of experience in her field of study. She was’t an 18-yr old gal.
And now after spending tax-payers’ money, and depriving someone else of the opportunity to do what she did, she wants to do something she could have gone into after A-levels, at zero expense to us.
As someone on Facebook pointed out: It doesn’t make sense for Singapore to invest money on her to groom her in field A of work and she claims No passion and asks to transfer bond to Field B. If not interested, why apply scholarship in field A in the first place? She deprived another person of the scholarship to fulfill her own gains and then claims no passion and wants out? Everything is about her own selfish agenda.
Want to follow that star, then get family or self to fund. Don’t take tax-payers’ money and then insist on the right to follow the star. And bitch publicly when thwarted.
Even now, she’s got a way out: juz pay the S$750,000 and be free to do what she wants to do. Her parents can sell their property and downgrade.
Or is this juz too much of a sacrifice? Everything must be done for her to follow her star but not when this entails personal sacrifice on the part of her and her family.
As my female dog says, “Eng Kai Er, gives us [ ]itches a bad name.”
I’ll leave the final word to this
A scholarship programme is not about the recipients, their careers, their earnings or their ever-changing interests; it is about the maximisation of our national intellectual capital for the benefit of society.
LET me disabuse all scholarship holders, past and present, of the notion that they are special people who in some way deserve to be provided with an expensive free education in prestigious foreign universities (“Drop ungrateful scholarship holders” by Ms Estella Young and “How successful have programmes been?” by Mr Justin Wang Qi Wei; last Friday).
Scholarship holders are very fortunate people who were given financial support by their fellow citizens to further their studies, in view of their desire, commitment and potential capability to serve as leaders in specific fields, either in public service or in the private sector.
Scholarships are awarded because there has been a meeting of minds and a common purpose between the recipients and society.
Those who harbour grandiose illusions about their own talents and a matching false sense of entitlement should never apply for a scholarship. Those who treat scholarships solely as opportunities to secure fame, prestige and an easy road to self-serving ends should abstain, lest they waste everybody’s time.
Those who, at the end of their studies, did a cost-benefit analysis of bond-breaking should ask for moral guidance.
Not keeping their end of the bargain after successfully completing their studies is not merely a breakdown of a transaction between the scholarship holder and the Government, but also a grave affront to the trust, honour and respect that we normally reserve for recipients who served our society humbly and dutifully.
Lee Hock Seng (Dr)
*The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) has revealed that Dr Eng Kai Er spent three years studying as an undergraduate at Britain’s prestigious Cambridge University before returning here to do a one-year research stint at A*Star in 2006.
At the end of that, she took up a second scholarship to study for a PhD in infection biology at Swedish medical university Karolinska Institute. She completed this at the end of 2012 and now works in an A*Star research institute studying infectious diseases.
However, last week, Dr Eng, 30, criticised the bond in a blog and set up a “No Star Arts Grant” in protest – pledging to give $1,000 a month from her salary to support arts projects for a year.
“Eng Kai Er is not interested in science at all, but has to serve her bond or pay, as of 30 September 2014, around $741,657.37 in order to quit her job,” she wrote.
“Since she understands the pain of having a paid job that is not aligned with her interests, she wishes to change the world by having more instances of paid jobs aligned with people’s interest.”
It is believed she tried to transfer her bond to the National Arts Council but was unsuccessful.
Going by recent form, not very long because the previous one lasted all of 8 months and the one before that 30 months*.. The new CFO assumed the post last Saturday. He was previously SMRT’s head of its strategic finance and business structuring advisory office. He only joined SMRT in October 2013.
If SMRT had been an ordinary listco, the share price would have plunged when the previous CFO resigned because when a new CFO resigns (especiallt when the CFO is from outside the organisation) so quickly after starting work, investors worry about financial irregularities. More so given that the previous CFO lasted 30 months.
But the market took the resignation in its stride because SMRT is a TLC and TLCs (and other GLCs) don’t do financial irregularities despite what the anti-PAP cybernuts say. Even TRE (no cybernut) didn’t bother, implying that the CEO and other ex-SAF senior mgrs wanted to bring in another ewx-SAFer.
What is worrying is that despite all the ex-SAFers, SMRT’s security is still so lousy in a region where there are Muslims willing to die for Jihad. :
The two Germans charged for their alleged involvement in a case of vandalism of an SMRT train at Bishan Depot have been slapped with two additional charges each on Friday (Nov 28).
Andreas Von Knorre and Elton Hinz, both aged 21, are accused of entering the depot without authorisation on two other occasions – once on Nov 6 at about 2.43am and another on Nov 7 at about 2.20am.
The two men were first charged on Nov 22 at the State Courts. They each faced two charges of entering the depot without authorisation on Nov 8 between 2.48am and 3.29am, and using spray paint to paint graffiti on the left exterior cabin of an SMRT train at the depot. (CNA)
Taz right, they broke in three times in three days, implying that the first two times their entries went undetected.
In any organisation such a lapse of security is unforgivable; more so here where commuters lives can be dangered and the economy wrecked by such break-ins (if bombs had been planted …), and where the senior managers are all military men.
LTA and DPM Teo should be puttingb some serious pressure on SMRT to improve its security before a bomb explodes on the MRT, killing S’poreans and the PAP’s much loved FTs., and wrecking the economy.
*SMRT has lost 3 CFOs since 2011 when SMRT trains started breaking down regularly (The CEO CEO Saw Phaik Hwa “resigned” in January 2012 after one P Ravi .) .
In September 2011, CFO Lim Cheng Cheng left and was replaced by Catherine Lee Khia Yee.
In January this year, SMRT announced that Ms Lee had resigned from the company to “pursue other career opportunities”. The same announcement said that Sam Ong, Hyflux’s Group Senior EVP and Group Deputy CEO, would take over from her on 1 March as SMRT’s new CFO. Ms Lee left SMRT after 2.5 years there. She is currently CFO at Clifford Capital.
Just 8 months later, Mr Ong has also left.
SMRT says in its statement to the stock exchange, saying that Mr Ong left to “pursue philanthropic interests and business prospects”.