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Archive for January, 2015|Monthly archive page

Why I’m smiling

In Economy on 31/01/2015 at 4:39 am

As the charts below show, real interest rates here are still +ve (juz), and deflation is a’coming. Retirees should love a bit of deflation. But if got mortgage https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/why-oil-price-falls-bad-for-mortgagees/

Trillion dollars bonanza: falling oil prices

In Energy on 30/01/2015 at 3:22 pm

Goldman Executive Sees Opportunity in Falling Oil Prices Goldman Sachs has calculated that falling oil prices will push well over a trillion dollars into other industries around the world, said Gary D. Cohn, the investment bank’s president and chief operating officer.

How drinking survey was “fixed”

In Humour, Political governance on 30/01/2015 at 5:31 am

Not very long ST reported that a survey showed that the majority of respondents tot that proposed ban on drinking alcohol aftar 10.30 pm in public places (say at barbecue pits) was not on: so another survey was commissioned and it came out with the “right” result. S’poreans wanted it by a huge margin.

What an idiotic survey:

“Respondents were also asked if they felt public drunkenness was a serious issue that required addressing. Eight in 10 agreed the issue needed to be tackled, and a similar proportion believed the regulations would be able to clamp down on cases of public drunkenness.”

It’s like asking if people thought shoplifting was a serious issue that needed addressing; and if chopping off the hands of those caught would reduce shoplifting; then concluding that people supported such upper limb amputation.

Above appeared on Facebook from someone that the unwashed mob (think TRE ranters and other anti-PAP irrational loonies) think of as a member of the elitist class that they are entitled to be members of, but are not.

Seriously, what the survey shows is that the

— PAP administration has not changed its attitude in thinking that S’poreans can and must be manipulated; and

— the complicity of the constructive, nation-building media, and other fellow travellers…

Most importantly, the restrictions show that administration’s panic over a little riot two years ago is not over yet. Come on, get over it. No-one died and it did show that the police hadn’t a clue what to do.

I’m sure a bit of work experience in India, China would help solve the lack of practical experience. Got to prepare for the time when the young hooligans (Roy and New Citizen H3) and Mad Dog Chee decide to call street protests.

And here’s a clueless MP asking a really dumb question:

Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs whether the Ministry will consider allowing alcohol sold in residential areas to be contained in only plastic or tin containers as a safety measure in the event of unruly behaviour or fights in the neighbourhood.

But let’s be fair to him, he’s the very same MP that had to step down from the PAP’s politburo because his CEC position conflicted with the day job’s internal rules. If he doesn’t know the job’s rules, what does he know? But let’s be fair again, he may have tot as a PAP MP, he was above mere, petty rules?

 

Banksters live up to their name/ Finance start-ups courting anti-fat cat crowd

In Banks on 29/01/2015 at 1:26 pm

“They rigged the money market, they rigged the mortgage market, they rigged the precious metals market, they rigged the foreign exchange market. Only a couple more markets to go and we’re in danger someone might have to ask if these banks are fit for purpose,” FT reader.

“Industries tend to attract people who have personalities that fit the industry norm. For decades petroleum engineers were alcoholics; police officers were people who needed the imprimatur of authority over others; and bankers were basically con artists making their living through deceit.”—on “Lying, cheating bankers”, November 22nd 2014

So not surprising

FINANCE START-UPS COURTING AN ANTI-FINANCE CROWD: Profit is usually a top priority on Wall Street, but some of the latest ventures into finance by start-ups seem to be inspired more by Karl Marx than John Pierpont Morgan. A number of new financial start-ups are trying to reach younger and middle-class Americans by upending the customary fee structure of traditional brokerage firms and money managers. They are backed by deep-pocketed venture capital investors – and even celebrities like the rapper Snoop Dogg – who are wagering that these upstarts can challenge the Wall Street establishment.

Aspiration, a start-up wealth manager in Los Angeles, which had its official debut last month, is asking customers to pay whatever they think is “fair.” That can be as much as 2 percent of their assets, or as low as zero. Reflecting its high-minded goals, the company has also pledged to donate 10 percent of its revenue to charity. Robinhood, a new brokerage firm based in Palo Alto, Calif., whose founders were inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, introduced an app this month that lets customers trade stocks without paying commissions. But for all their slick technology and fresh ideas, start-ups like Aspiration and Robinhood face considerable challenges, not least of which is figuring out how to turn a profit.

NYT Dealbook

Explaining “I’m Charlie” issues to fellow Muslims

In Uncategorized on 29/01/2015 at 4:56 am

Here are three examples of Muslims who go beyond the platitudes of those like our Malay minister (Worth his salary? Or negative demonstation?) in trying ease tensions and prevent radicalisation.

A M’sian who was a highly respected law minister tells Muslims that the West puts freedom of speech above blasphemy:

“Muslims have a choice: to respond to these insults the way Christians, Jews and people of other faiths do—which is to ignore them or to litigate—or they can follow Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram and go all out to kill and destroy.”
He blamed Muslim leaders and preachers for conditioning the minds of other Muslims with “outdated teachings” that emphasised on “killling and defending their faith” rather than of living with others of different religions and values, in peace and harmony.
“Muslims must remember they live in a world that allows freedom of expression for individuals.
“In the West, they take personal freedom seriously, just as PAS leaders in Kelantan take hudud seriously,” Zaid said, adding, “…the West has this crazy belief about freedom of expression and individual rights” that Muslims must learn how to handle with a degree of calm and not by committing atrocities such as they did in Paris, Africa and Pakistan.http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/…/zaid-instead-of…/

He’s got it about right. I mean even the PAP administration thinks that “freedom of expression and individual rights” is a crazy belief of the West despite it being a core belief of the Economist, their bible”. Bit like the Jihadist ignoring the bits of the Koran that tell them not to murder.

Another is Ahmed Aboutaleb, the mayor of Rotterdam who tells Muslims that their freedom of worship in the Netherlands is linked to the freedom of expression:

The sharp-tongued Dutch-Moroccan mayor was an alderman in Amsterdam in 2004, when an Islamist extremist murdered the Dutch television satirist Theo van Gogh, and he has long called on Muslims to actively repudiate fundamentalism. But his words on the night of the attack were blunt even for him. “If you don’t like the freedom [we enjoy in the Netherlands], for heaven’s sake, pack your suitcase and leave,” he said in an interview with the Dutch television news broadcaster NOS. “If you can’t handle it here, because you can’t handle humorists who put out a newspaper—well, let me put it this way: piss off.”

And finally, in a:15-minute film, called Think for Yourself, being shown to the pupils at George Green’s School this morning, is a collaboration between the 29-year-old comedian and the police.

In one of the scenes, in a park, Arshad tries to stop his disillusioned cousin from being brainwashed by extremists using the teachings of Islam. “Brother, you’re changing,” he says. “Islam is about peace, if you want to stand up for something, then do so, but not with anger and violence.”

The aim of the film is to educate students about the dangers of being groomed into extremist ideology. Arshad says he agreed to work with the police to do something constructive, using his popularity among young British Muslims.

‘I’m a comedian, I’m not a politician. I’m just trying to do something positive. Muslims are portrayed in a negative light because of the actions of some extremists. It’s really important for me, as a British Muslim, to step up and tell young people their actions are wrong.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31004012

They worth a lot more peanuts that our Malay minister?

 

STI will close lower this yr?

In Financial competency on 28/01/2015 at 1:09 pm

As James Mackintosh points out in the FT, there is a remarkable relationship between the first day’s trading in a calendar year and the returns for the whole 12 months. 

Religious harmony: PAP’s, Putin’s way

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 28/01/2015 at 5:11 am

Mr Putin said Russia had been far ahead of its European rivals in establishing a model for co-existence between faiths. In a way, that is true. But co-existence under a common, imperial regime – one that punishes “blasphemers” of all kinds, including those who challenge the regime itself, and colludes with religious authorities to maintain social control – is different from the liberal model of co-existence, where no religion is protected and each must argue its case in an open market-place of ideas.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2015/01/empire-islam-and-russia

Now doesn’t the Russian way sound very much like the S’porean way? Interestingly both are the products of 19th century European imperialism. In the case of Russia, the imperialism of the tsars. In the case of S’pore, British colonalism.

The British and the Russian tsars ruled multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural empires and needed to keep the natives from killing one another or their masters.

So when Harry the ax man became PM, the laws he (and we) inherited from the British suited him to the T: in response to this on the murder of cartoonists in Paris, a reader pointed out rightly in my view,

During LKY’s time he will come out on TV to gloat that this is why we have sedition act and ISD and why he will string you up by the balls anyone who breaks his hard truths and make you wish you had been just simply killed by terrorists.

Well we should be grateful that AhLoong and gang don’t do such things. He juz sent a letter of condolences which had the young hooligans (Roy and New Citizen H3), s/o JBJ and Martyn See screaming their heads off. It seems they were so emotional that somehow M Ravi’s name got attached to the letter they sent to ang moh media that are no friends of the PAP administration or Harry, that the ang mohs tot Ravi signed it. He had to disassociate himself to avoid serious trouble.

Anyway, while I’m not surprised to see the young hooligans and s/o JBJ working together (the former love to tell lies and scream at the function of others, while the latter was happy to compete against another oppo party in Punggol East), I was surprised to see a responsible person like Martyn See associating himself with them.

I do hope he realises that it isn’t good for his reputation among those of us who keep an open mind.

 

 

Sentosa Cove: God tells Khong to wait 5 yrs?

In Property on 27/01/2015 at 2:19 pm

(Update on 2 July at 1.30pm: He and an Indon millionaire sugar daddy are asking S$10 million for the duplex unit, more than the S$9.33 million they paid in 2007. Based on recent sales, he’s expecting a miracle. If they they get the price, they’ll have lost money on the loan servicing. Devil !, Peosperity Gospel Nil.)

Can Sun Ho wait that long? Prosperity gospel? What prosperity gospel?

Those were my tots my I read yesterday that Khong’s trial was resuming. I then tot of last week’s

— URA reports that for the whole of 2014, private property prices fell by 4% – the first year of overall price decline since 2008; and

— prices of resale flats fell by 6 per cent in 2014 – the second straight year of decline – while the number of resale transactions declined 4.3%, according to the HDB.

All this led me to remember some reports I read about Sentisa Cove a month ago.

Condominium prices in Sentosa are close to their lowest level since the end of 2006, according to Maybank Kim Eng Securities in mid December. Some house prices on the island have halved since 2012.

Remember Prosperity gospel pastor and wife promoter Khong has a Sentosa penthouse that is underwater and causing him S$17,000 a month.

But God has given him a break: only five yrs more of suffering. It was reported on 19th December last yr: Blackstone Group LP, which is taking part in the refinancing of luxury Singapore properties, is prepared to wait as long as five years for a turnaround in residential prices to see higher returns on the transaction.

Blackstone and Malaysia’s CIMB Bank Bhd. agreed to take part in a financing for a luxury hotel, retail and residential development, owned by City Developments Ltd. (CIT), Singapore’s second-largest developer, on Sentosa island.

“We have a positive long term view of Singapore,” said Singapore-based Kishore Moorjani, a managing director who oversees Blackstone’s Tactical Opportunities Group. Blackstone wouldn’t be satisfied with just a 5 percent return on its Sentosa investment and is eyeing the long-term potential of the residential properties, he said. “We will do very well on this in the long term. We will be better off in five years than we are today,” he said.

Both Blackstone and CIMB said they are willing to wait several years before selling to give prices time to recover.

Under the terms of the refinancing agreement, City Developments has to achieve a price of at least S$2,400 per square foot before it can sell the residential properties.

City Developments has sold only 25 of the 228 apartments in the Sentosa development and has leased about half of the rest.

The refinancing, announced Dec. 16, involves Blackstone, CIMB and City Developments investing a total S$750 million in a capital instrument called a profit-participation security. Separately, DBS Bank Ltd. and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. will provide S$750 million in loans.

Don’t Sell

City Developments will receive about S$1.2 billion from the transaction. That will allow the company to reduce debt and gives it a freer hand for overseas acquisitions, Chief Executive Officer Grant Kelley said.

The developer is looking for purchases in China and Australia, after spending $1 billion on overseas investments this year, he said. The company will also focus on Japan, the U.S. and the U.K.

Kelley said it will take time for Sentosa residential property prices to recover, though he expressed confidence that prices will rise well above the minimum S$2,400 per square foot within five years.

“Now is not the time to be selling,” Kelley said. “The base case assumption of S$2,400, there is an ultra high probability, almost a certainty, of achieving that. We expect it to be significantly beyond that by the time 2018-2019 comes around.”

CIMB also said it expects to wait to realize a return on the residential properties included in the transaction.

“This gives us a fixed income and also an equity kicker at the end of the five years,” Carol Fong, country chief executive officer, investment banking, for Singapore at CIMB Securities (Singapore) Pte said.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-19/blackstone-ready-to-wait-5-years-for-singapore-property-recovery.html

PAP that incompetent meh? WP trying to match it?

In Uncategorized on 27/01/2015 at 6:49 am

Barely 3 weeks after being co-opted into the PAP’s main decision-making body, MP for Chua Chu Kang steps down, citing “a conflict of interest” with his personal employment position at Ernst and Young which is the PAP’s auditor. (TOC on Saturday)

The PAP’s main decision-making body (the CEC) is the equivalent of a listco’s board of directors.

If a listco appointed someone a director and then found out that he couldn’t be a director, questions would be rightl asked about the competence of the board, the person.in question and the management, and the compliance procedures of the listco.

Is the PAP administration totally confused? I tot PM said elect good people? How can good people make this kind of balls-up? An honest mistake?

Happily for the PAP, the WP decided to match the PAP’s incompetence. It told us that AHPETC lacks is a fully operational computer system to assist AHPETC to do aggregated S&CC arrears reporting in the format required by the Ministry of National Development (MND). In the absence of such a system, all reports submitted to MND before this were prepared by staff based on data generated by AHPETC’s IT system and extracted through manual sorting and counting*.

So this was right https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/does-ahpetc-have-a-21st-century-it-system/. Trumpets and rose pretals pls, from those TRE born-losers who curse me as a PAPpy. And PAP Internet SWAT team (headed by above MP), pls send cheque and retainer contract. I’m a lot better than yr Fabrications about PAP team. I appear regularly in TRE.

——

*But the great news is that WP doesn’t have a 30% arrears problem: AHPETC wishes to announce that its S&CC arrears rate (for 3 months and above) for residential units as of 30 September 2014 is 5.66% of households. The corresponding arrears rate for commercial units for the same period is 7.24%.

We wish to explain that we are sharing the information now rather than earlier, as time was needed to have the data and process reviewed both internally and also by our consultants before release. AHPETC had also undertaken to explain further its arrears situation and management, which we now do.

Our review has found that the above S&CC arrears rates are generated from valid S&CC records that are maintained in the AHPETC’s financial system.

So don’t vote WP if you think they are going to be as heartless as the Pay And pay gang. They juz don’t have a first world IT system.

Change a’coming at StanChart

In Corporate governance, Hong Kong, Temasek, Uncategorized on 26/01/2015 at 3:07 pm

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Temasek and Aberdeen (between them they hold 30% of StanChart) had told chairman Sir John Peace that he must find a replacement for Mr Sands within months or stand down himself.

FT reports the bank is looking to replace Peter Sands this year and has hired a headhunter to look for a successor ASAP. It says that Temasek and Aberdeen hold him responsible for not responding fast enough to a reversal of StanChart’s fortunes.

Fare reduction in 2016? Dream on?

In Infrastructure on 26/01/2015 at 4:45 am

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said last Monday that commuters could see fares fall by about 1% in 2016 because of a drop in energy prices last year.

Three amber signs that this will not happen? Or should that be three straws in the wind? Constructive nation-building CNA carried three stories on 22 January and 23 January that could indicate that even if oil prices remain at the US$50 level (or even below US$100), public transport fares will rise.

Fare review formula review : PTC

The overhaul of the bus industry would require the fare review formula to be relooked, with the Public Transport Council (PTC) having to consider, among other things, whether to apply different sets of fares for a period of at least a few months in 2016 when some bus routes would be under the new bus contracting model while others would not.

The bus contracting model – under which the Government will own all bus operating assets and collect the fares, while operators run the services – will be implemented in phases, starting from the middle of 2016.

Three packages of routes, making up about 20 per cent of routes, will be tendered out first. The remaining 80 per cent will be grouped into nine packages, which will be run by incumbents SMRT and SBS Transit on negotiated contracts under the contracting model, for about five years after their Bus Service Operating Licences expire on Aug 31 next year. After the negotiated contracts expire, more bus services will be gradually tendered out.* (CNA)

“Energy costs are not the biggest contributor to fare rises”

So said Nanyang Technological University transport economist Walter Theseira in another article

SIM University’s urban transport management expert Park Byung Joon said bus and trains operations are not making “huge money”. “We are not in the government contracting model (for buses) yet, we are still in the operating mode (where) the expenditure has to be recovered from fares,” he added.

Dr Theseira said a large part of the increase year to year is usually due to the rise in labour cost and other operating expenses, while fuel cost is not a “large explanation” for the increase in prices over time.

While energy prices have been high over the past few years, they have also been stable. “Usually, year on year, public transport becomes more efficient, so the fuel cost component will be dropping over time,” he said.

National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der Horng said while no one likes to see a hike, there is a price to pay if Singaporeans want to see a better public-transport system. “And I think the key thing in this whole exercise is that the authority or Government must make sure fares are affordable, especially to low-wage workers, minority groups, senior citizens and students>”

Fares not tied closely to changes in oil price.

That is a key finding of a study by Boston Consulting Group, which shared the report exclusively with Channel NewsAsia.

Boston Consulting tracked changes over the past 17 years and it found that bus and MRT fares increased at a much slower pace than oil prices.

[W]ages rose steadily between 1997 and 2014 – the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose at a slower pace for the first 10 years, before picking up pace from 2008. …fare increases have lagged behind wages and consumer prices … fare increases kept pace with CPI for about the first 10 years, before slowing down. It added that Singapore is one of few cities in the world that keeps its transport costs low.

“The state actually invests in majority of the infrastructure – so the MRT, LRT lines, the bus interchanges, they have been built by the state there is an expectation that the public transport operators should achieve efficiency and productivity improvements every year,” said Partner and Managing Director of Boston Consulting Group Singapore Dinesh Khanna.

“So even if you are expecting inflation to go up, fares should be growing at rates lower than inflation. Over the past few years, the state has also subsidised and put in place more concession fares for the senior citizens and other important interest groups.”

So are we screwed yet again?

Maybe an election in 2016 will stay the instincts of the Pay And Pay administration?

Finally MPs who can afford not to take public transport (think monthly allowance of S$15,000 each which makes them outearn president Xi: they each earn in two months whay he earns in one yr) pontificate

MP Seng Han Thong, who is deputy chair of the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for transport, said the middle-income group would be most affected by the fare hike. However, as buses and trains improve connectivity, it would benefit this group.

GPC chairman Cedric Foo (Pioneer) added that those who “fall between the cracks”, such as the jobless, could apply for public-transport vouchers.

MP Lim Biow Chuan noted that a person who takes two public-transport trips a day would see increases of about S$1 a month. “It’s still bearable.”

What are you waiting for? Go buy SBS, ComfortDelgro and SMRT.

————————–

*Rest of article

RELOOKING THE FARE REVIEW FORMULA

The existing fare review formula is valid from 2013 to 2017, but PTC Chairman Richard Magnus said it could be relooked before the new model is implemented. He added that it would be a challenge to review fares for the routes under the existing and new models, as well as those in transition. “We will need to begin to rethink how fares will be then,” he said.

On whether there would be different sets of fares, he cited social equity and distribution as factors for consideration.

Nanyang Technological University transport economist Walter Theseira said that under the new model, the Government could keep fares down, “effectively throwing money into a loss-making operation”. “It changes the nature of how subsidies are provided to the system,” he said.

National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der Horng said there was also room for the PTC to make the formula more responsive to inflation, wage levels and energy prices, though he acknowledged that it takes time for the relevant data to be available. Under the existing formula, there is a one-year lag in the indices used for computation.

SIM University urban transport management expert Park Byung Joon saw the merits of the current approach. “The whole idea … is that we want to avoid a situation (where there is) see-sawing (of fares) every time fuel prices go up and down.”

 

Peanuts Goh wrong about monkeys

In Humour, Political governance on 25/01/2015 at 4:35 am

Mr Goh Chok Tong in 1993 said: ‘If we do not pay ministers adequately, we will get inadequate ministers. If you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys for your ministers …”. Apart from the the implication that other than our very own AhLoong, all the world leaders including Obama and Xi are monkeys, the assumption is that monkeys are stupid.

Well, A recent study from Yale University shows that capuchin monkeys, unlike humans, aren’t fooled into thinking that higher price automatically implies better quality (these were experimental monkeys who did have to pay for some of their food).

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30655616

If he can get the intelligence of monkeys so very wrong, what else can he get wrong?

Btw, the following reflects badly on people like Grace Fu, Jos Teo and Hen, The study of our primate relatives may help us understand happiness. We know, for example, that sharing of food and favours takes place amongst primates and assumptions have been made that this was always about a clear exchange of one favour for another. But a recent study from the Yerkes National Primate Research Center has noted that monkeys exchange reciprocal favours without necessarily keeping track of who did what for whom. 

Don’t they talk of the need for serious money to get gd ministers? Well monkeys do things for others without calculating the cost, so why can’t Jos, Grace and Fu?.They not as unselfish as monkeys?

Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/assumption-behind-reasonable-pay-for-ministers-badly-flawed-whats-reasonable-pay-for-this-civic-service/

Local tech start-ups ang moh banks like

In Internet on 24/01/2015 at 1:46 pm

UBS uses S’pore developed AI

Sqreem Technologies Pte. Ltd. beat some 80 teams competing in the Innovation Challenge, a contest organized by Switzerland’s biggest bank that offered S$40,000 ($30,000) and a potential contract to the winner. Their task: Extract the information most relevant to an individual client from an explosion of data and deliver this tailored content to clients’ mobile phones, iPads and other digital devices.

“Banking is one of the most rudimentary industries when it comes to digitalization,” Dirk Klee, chief operating officer for UBS wealth management and responsible for digital initiatives, said in an interview. “
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-07/ubs-turns-to-artificial-intelligence-to-advise-wealthy-clients.html

Big data co here 

Goldman Invests in Big Data in Asia Goldman Sachs has invested the bulk of a $56 million round of financing for Antuit, a data analytics start-up in Singapore, in a move that indicates Goldman’s interest in new big data technologies in Asia, The Financial Times reports.

How many Waterfront cities will eventually be built?

In Malaysia on 24/01/2015 at 4:44 am

After all neither the PRC developers nor their M’sian partners have good reputations for reliability. And then there is the issue of escalating tolls. I heard an interesting story that M’sia raised its tolls (which led S’pore to follow) because the federal govt wanted to send a message to the sultan of Johor to behave. Remember the row when there was an attempt to extend his executive powers? There was a plan to allow him personally senior officials of a Johor state agency invvolved in land development.

The latest is on the east side of Causeway http://business.asiaone.com/news/new-jb-waterfront-city-facing-spore

Here’s a good ST graphic of the various projects

All built on sand: an interesting take on the importance of sand http://www.harvarddesignmagazine.org/issues/39/built-on-sand-singapore-and-the-new-state-of-risk

Financial markets reflect economic fundamentals this time round

In Commodities, Currencies, Energy, Financial competency on 23/01/2015 at 12:59 pm

This is the view of FT columnist and hedgie Gavyn Davies last week

Brave, honourable local Muslims

In Uncategorized on 23/01/2015 at 4:45 am

Singapore Muslims for Secular democracy reflects on the Charlie Hebdo shooting.
“We affirm the right of every citizen to live a fulfilling life, regardless of race, language, religion or non-religion, origin, gender, and sexual orientation. Singapore Muslims for Secular Democracy calls for a broad-base alliance – Muslims and non-Muslims – to take a stand against attempts to undermine the secular basis of Singapore society.
We call for values of freedom and choice, equality and justice to be the basis of interactions. We call for reason to triumph over unreason, and for diversity to prevail.”

http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2015/01/call-for-secularism-to-prevail-in-singapore/

This appeared shortly after news of the Paris murders broke.

There were some on Facebook who were not happy, nit-pricking the above

— I was happy when I read the headlines. But then I read this bit “..but being a minority religious community, the realisation of an Islamic state or the full implementation of Shari’a will be impossible…” It implied that the call for secularism is a mere expediency. There is no giving up of the idea that Shar’ia law is the better than secular laws. It undo the rest of the article, and left me a little disappointed because there is no effort to confront the seed of extremism.

— It does seem predicated on the reality of islam being a minority here which makes one think whether the entire statement would be otherwise if social conditions were different. I have no problems with a majority regime diametrically opposed to one’s belief system except where any social movement or religion practises low tolerance for others through death, imprisonment or forced conversion. It has little to do with respect, responsibility or conformity than it is to do with tyranny, subjugation and bullying because you can and can’t stand having around people who walk, talk and think differently than you.

Usually I would agree with this kind of nit-pricking but here I won’t. Instead I appreciate their willingness to say such things especially after reading reaction on Facebook by a Muslim to someone (non -Muslim) who said,”I’m Charlie”.

The Muslim, who once held a very senior post of a liberal oppo party, denounced in very strong language his Facebook friend. This Muslim had once-upon-a-time been denounced by the PAP administration as an “extremist”. Based on his public statements, I never believed the PAP administration’s accusation: it seemed the typical PAP mud-slinging. But having read his views on Facebook, I now admit that the accusation was at the very least seems reasonable.

Coming back to the statement of the Singapore Muslims for Secular Democracy, I agree with the sentiments expressed by the person who said: The paragraph can also be read objectively – it is factually (almost) impossible for the minority to set up the law around a single religion, whether or not the intention to do so is present if said group becomes the majority in another scenario.

How AhLoong’s salary compares to that of ord S’porean

In China, Political governance on 21/01/2015 at 4:24 pm

Yesterday I blogged that despite President Xi getting a 62% pay rise his pay was peanuts when compared to our very own AhLoong  despite AhLoong taking a pay cut in 2012 (US$22,256 a year versus US$1.8m a yr).

Mr Xi’s monthly base income is roughly twice the average annual income of a registered Beijing city-dweller according to the FT relying on official Chinese data.

Using Mom data, for the monthly median salary of an  ordinary S’porean (employer CPF included), it seems PM’s monthly salary is 4 times that of an ordinary S’porean’s median annual income in 2013. In the late 60s , LKY’s monthly salary was about four times that of my dad’s monthly salary.

No need to wonder why there is a growing income gap between the rich and poor here, is there?*

Which reminds me: “If the annual salary of the Minister of Information, Communication and Arts is only $500,000, it may pose some problems when he discuss policies with media CEOs who earn millions of dollars because they need not listen to the minister’s ideas and proposals, hence a reasonable payout will help to maintain a bit of dignity.”

– Dr Lim Wee Kiat, PAP MP for Nee Soon GRC, 24 May 2011 in Lianhe Wanbao.

So when Ahloong meets Xi or the Obama, he will not respect them, their views or their countries despite the US being the hegemon and China a wannabe?

*Readers might like to know that the PAP’s bible has been going on recently about inequality: inequality and the travails of the middle-classes are America’s (and the West’s) biggest problem, has been gaining currency for some time now. So has the idea that one of the better fixes is to begin to overhaul America’s dysfunctional tax code. Indeed, one publication in particular has been saying precisely that for quite a while.

 

Xi gets 62% pay rise, but still paid “peanuts” by AhLoong’s standard

In China, Political governance on 21/01/2015 at 10:06 am

The Chinese president’s new base salary is equivalent to US$22,256 a year, despite a pay rise of 62%.

FT points out that he and Obama are outearned by Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, the world’s highest-paid prime minister, who took a pay cut to S$2.2m ($1.8m), beginning in 2012.

As the PAP likes to say that “Pay peanuts, get monkeys”, so the PAP thinks Obama, Xi and other leaders are monkeys? What do you think?

Relevant posts:

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

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/05/26/with-mps-like-these-pap-does-not-need-enemies/

And from FT too

What countries pay their leaders (annually/$ excluding benefits)
Singapore 1.8m
Russia 1.76m
US 400,000
European Commission 372,000
Germany 290,000
South Africa 224,000
UK 215,000
France 208,000
Indonesia 64,000
Poland 64,00

Can the PAP get away with annulling an unfavourable GE

In Political governance on 21/01/2015 at 4:58 am

Going by the Sri Lankan experience it all depends on whether a few good men are willing to stand in his way if the PAP PM of the day wants to declare a state-of-emergency if the PAP loses a general election..

Sri Lankan voters ejected Mr Rajapaksa in a presidential election on January 8th. Mr Rajapaksa was dismayed: according to Mangala Samaraweera, Sri Lanka’s new foreign minister, as the results became clear the soon-to-be former president discussed whether he could call a state-of-emergency and scrap the election. The attorney-general, the head of police and the army commander all refused, and thus “saved the country”, he says. By contrast, suggests Mr Samaraweera, the chief justice was ready to co-operate with the scheme to suspend democracy. (Mr Samaraweera should know what he is talking about: some years ago he was himself closely associated with Mr Rajapaksa’s camp.) 

In S’pore, the president should be added to the list of the chief justice, attorney-general, the head of police and the armed forces commander: people who will have to agree with the PM if he wants to call a state-of-emergency.

The President under Article 150 of the Constitution can call for a state-of-emergency. And if the cabinet advises him to do so, he legally has no choice.  But a president who flatly refuses to sign, and emails TRE of his decision can cause a train wreck in the PM’s plans.

Even if he agrees, the police and armed forces chiefs have to agree because the police and armed forces are needed to enforce the state-of-emergency: “Might is right”.

The chief justice’s and attorney-general’s support is needed to give a veneer of legality to the state-of-emergency.

A few good men can thwart any attempt to call a state-of-emergency: “Might is not always right”.

 

Christian saint on how to react to blasphemy

In Uncategorized on 20/01/2015 at 2:27 pm

Saint Porphyrios, who worked for much of his life as chaplain to a medical clinic in a rough area of Athens. People asked Father Porphyrios how they should react when somebody behaved blasphemously, for example by insulting an image of Jesus Christ. Should they take the law into their hands and wreak physical revenge? … the teacher’s reply was that people should bite their lips and do nothing at all; their Lord, who willingly endured mockery during his earthly life, was more than capable of looking after himself. 

http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2015/01/blasphemy-law-and-greece

BG Yeo once said,”Christians don’t riot”: with people like this saint advising, you know the reason why. .

PM’s memory is not working

In Political governance on 20/01/2015 at 5:27 am

In what many would consider PM’s opening salvo in the GE campaign (though not me for the reasons stated here, I’ve changed my mind and think an election will be held next yr), our constructive, nation-building media, over the week end, carried reports of an iaudience  PM gave them.

Don’t know about you but lots of his comments upset me because they are self-serving rubbish that flies against the facts. As even thinking a lot  about them now gets my blood pressure into stroke territory, I’ll confine myself to commenting on a few of his commentss every day.

How not to depend on govt? 

PM said that S’poreans should only rely on the govt as a last resort: they should do things for themselves and not rely on govt.

Well when 37% of an ordinary working S’poreans’s monthly salary goes into his or hers CPF account, and the uses that the money, can be used is dictated by the govt, how not to depend on the govt?

And the high prices of private residential property (remember the state controls the supply of land) means that “affordable” public housing is the only option for S’poreans resulting in about 82% of S’poreans living in HDB flats. Again how not to depend on govt?

The govt designs the CPF system so that most S’poreans are dependent on the govt. So PM is at best being disengenous..

Electing gd MPs?

He should the best check and balance to his govt is to elect gd MPs.

Seems he has forgotten that the GRC system forces us to select a team of MPs some of whom are problematic: think the eye doctor who looks down on people that are not paid well and Kate Spade Tin.

His advice is only applicable in SMCs., not GRCs. where voters have to take a team, and where one or two ministers always head the team.

Immigration woes our fault?

PM said he regrets the fact that “Singapore did not build up its infrastructure quickly enough in anticipation of a population growth driven mainly by an influx of foreign workers”

This is what someone posted on Facebook

Come on PM, It is NOT Spore..it is the Govt U led that COCK up..after all WHO approves the policies and are decision makers that allows foreign workers to “tsunami” in here..Sporeans arh? …so let call a spade a spade….Your Cabinet Team LOST the PLOT, so imo, the BUCK stops with U, PM. U cock up BIG TIME. Period.

If this is the opening barrage of the GE, PM is firing blanks, not facts.

 

 

Only in America: HACKERS FOR HIRE

In Uncategorized on 19/01/2015 at 5:40 pm

The business of hacking, once thought to be the domain of intelligence agencies and international criminal gangs, is an increasingly personal enterprise, Matthew Goldstein reports in DealBook. While big attacks on companies like Sony and JPMorgan Chase grab headlines, less noticed is a growing cottage industry of ordinary people hiring hackers for smaller acts of espionage.

One new website, Hacker’s List, shows just how commonplace low-profile hacking has become and the challenge facing law enforcement. The site seeks to match hackers with people looking to gain access to email accounts, take down unflattering photos from a website or gain access to a company’s database. More than 500 hacking jobs have been put out to bid on the site in just three months of operation.

NYT Dealbook

Will M Ravi’s barrage of constitutional challenges change anything?

In Political governance on 19/01/2015 at 4:49 am

Ravi’s latest antics (see below) reminded me that I couldn’t stop laughing when the the go-to, kick-ass, take-no-prisoners constitutional lawyer for a drug mule who think the world owes him a living, hooligans who think it is a human right to disrupt YMCA activities and tell lies, and a gay (Tan Eng Hong) that homely gays don’t want to be associated with (some other gays, see below, didn’t want their case heard with his), said that S’pore is a “democratic society”.

No I’m not joking, M Ravi said, “We are instructed to place on notice our client’s profound sense of regret that in a democratic society like Singapore, her Constitutional rights and freedoms have been curtailed so drastically on a premise that in her submission is flawed, and all her rights are reserved.”

Now I’m not that looney (OK, OK, idealistic or naive) as his client  to think S’pore is a democratic society. It is an authoritarian, de-facto one-party society that allows free, peaceful, intimidation free but “unfair” (here meaning a tilted field where the odds and rules favour the continued dominance of the PAP) elections to choose the next dictator for the next few yrs. And since 1959  by very big or at least decent majorities (save in 1963), the voters have chosen the PAP to rule.

There are some who want to change this state of affairs, not via the ballot box but by getting the courts to reinterpret the constitution. So far they too like Oppo politicans have been banging their heads against a steel door.

Alex Au, a social advocate for change, said, at the end of last yr, on the con-job constitution, “If you sit back and take in the bigger picture, you’ll see that basically our constitution, as long interpreted, offers no protection for civil liberties or human rights: not freedom of speech, not freedom of assembly, not a right to transparent and accountable government, nor even a fair electoral process. The questions rush in. Is there something wrong with the constitution, the interpretation, or both?”

Well I’ve got news for Alex Au, rational activists, and anti-PAP paper activists, whether rational, or irrational and deluded, our constitution was drafted by ang mohs and locals steeped in the tradition that the ruling elite know best, certainly not the demos or mob or masses or ordinary people.

The drafters probably had liberal instincts but were elitists having gone to elite schools here or in the UK, and then to Oxbridge colleges. The mob are only allowed a choice of their dictator every 4-5 yrs. To further ensure the mob doesn’t get ideas beyond their station, it was drafted in such a way that all the colonial-era laws still applied and were “deemed” constitutionally legal.

Suited one LKY to a T when he came to power.

And here’s where the de-facto one-party state problem makes things more difficult. Think of China where the issue is how to use the law to help the party rule the country. The party sees the law as one of its tools; an instrument meant to help strengthen, rather than check, the power of one-party leadership.

True, we are not China, but the temptation is there.

Coming back to S’pore,then there is the judicial presumption that government actions are constitutional:

The court itself, both in oral arguments last summer and in this ruling, repeatedly expresses unwillingness to consider “extra-legal” and “emotional” arguments, which have their place in the legislative rather than the judicial process. The court’s role, the ruling said, was to be “independent, neutral and objective”, though in the early, throat-clearing section of this ruling, the court noted that it grants the government a “presumption of constitutionality”, because “our legislature is presumed not to enact legislation which is inconsistent with the Singapore Constitution.” In other words, the court will neutrally and objectively weigh the arguments presented by each side, though one side (the government’s) enters with the wind at its back.

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

I can’t argue against the decision because there are good precedents (no not from China or the USSR or North Korea, but from “white” Commonwealth countries) that lead to this conclusion.

Those who want peaceful change, have to go down the political route, not the constitutional road, in a parliamentary system. Even though the political road is very tough (think GRCs, campaigning rules, funding rules etc), the constitutional road is tougher because of the way the Constitution was drafted and judges’ view that the court “grants the government a “presumption of constitutionality”, because “our legislature is presumed not to enact legislation which is inconsistent with the Singapore Constitution.” In other words, the court will neutrally and objectively weigh the arguments presented by each side, though one side (the government’s) enters with the wind at its back.

Coming back to M Ravi. Every few months, this tot crosses my mind,”M Ravi thinks his grandfather wrote our laws? With JBJ assisting in the drafting?”

The latest occasion was on Friday, when I read that Ravi was escalating his row with PM’s press secretary (Background). He said, “Even as a trainee lawyer, I could understand that the PM’s press secretary was in breach of Section 44 of the Code of Conduct for Civil Servants and the PM is in breach of the same section being subject to the same guidelines of the Public Service Commission. A declaration will be sought in the High Court subsequently to determine the ambit of the said Section 44 and if both the PM and his Press Secretary are in breach of this code the PSC should investigate this matter and dismiss both of them.”

Well I never. Let’s see if Ravi wins (his record is lousy: no outright victories, one score draw: the need to call a by-election). From what my contacts in the Legal Service tell me about the code, he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

The same tots on his grandfather and JBJ drafting the law crossed my mind in late October 2014  when Mr Ravi said (in an interview with TOC [Link]) that NParks had no authority to govern the expression of free speech and had overstepped its powers*.

M Ravi also said he may be taking an application to mount a constitutional challenge against Regulation 23(2)(b) of the Parks and Trees Act on behalf of those celebrity hooligans, Roy and New Citizen Hui Hui.

(For the record, he sent H3’s appeal to the wrong minister and had to resent the BS missive. For the record too, Roy has recently blogged on the latest developments.)

Btw, he added to my merriment when a few days later, he decried the Court of Appeal’s decision when on Oct 29 it ruled that a law (399A of the Penal Code) that criminalises sex between men is constitutional. The ruling covered two cases contesting the law, one brought by two graphic designers who have been in loving relationship for 16 years, and the other by an artistic therapist (whatever that means) who had been arrested for a sordid, quickie sexual act in a public toilet. No need to guess who he represented: the artistic therapist Tan Eng Hong.

Related articles on the Constitution: Gd stuff even though Alex au is not a lawyer

http://yawningbread.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/rule-of-law-in-singapore-is-so-thin-it-holds-no-more-meaning/

http://yawningbread.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/book-authoritarian-rule-of-law-by-jothie-rajah/

—-

*“It is apparent in the Act that the object of Parks and Trees Act is specifically for purposes of regulating the park, example prevent anyone from endangering the park.

No where in the act, the minister has been conferred with any authority to make regulations in relation to speech and assembly.

The Public Order Act has clearly exempted any requirement for permit for speech or demonstration. Therefore the charging of Ms Han and Roy under the Parks and Trees Act is ultra vires the Public Order Act and Public Entertainment and Meetings Act (PEMA).

The regulation in this regard, also violates article 9 of the Singapore Constitution that says that no one shall be deprived of his or her liberty, save in accordance with law.

Therefore the enactment of Parks and Trees regulation under Section 23(2) (b) in relation to speech and assembly are promulgated not in accordance with law.”

 

2.5%, 4% not enough for retirees?

In Financial competency on 18/01/2015 at 9:53 am

Roy Ngerng (the anti-PAP mob’s Xiaxue) had alleged that the govt criminally misappropriated our CPF monies, and denounced the rates paid. Well, UK over-65s rush for 2.8%; 4% retirement bonds.

More than £1 billion of government pensioner bonds have been sold in the first two days after they went on sale.

The one-year bond pays an annual interest rate of 2.8% before tax, and the three-year bonds pays 4% before tax. Interest will be added on each anniversary after investment.

… the best one-year bond on the open market was currently paying 1.85% interest and the best three-year bond was paying 2.5%.

Investment is limited to £10,000 in each bond, making a maximum of £20,000 per individual.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-30862028

Other problems for M’sia, Thailand/ Bull pt for Indons, Pinoys and Viets

In Indonesia, Malaysia on 18/01/2015 at 4:24 am

Malaysia … have to cope with lower tax revenue from energy, minerals and other commodities. In Thailand, the central bank is hoping for a lift in public spending to revive growth; but the military-backed government is finding it hard to spend the 2015 budget.

Thailand will need monetary stimulus this year. 

—–

Relatively young countries like Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines drag down the average age.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2015/01/16/asias-big-demons-debt-deflation-demographics/

 

I’m holding onto Ascendas India units.

In India on 17/01/2015 at 10:16 am

,

Decent yield too.

Also A Singapore consortium of two firms has been appointed as master planners for the new capital city of Andhra Pradesh state in India.

Singapore is assisting with the development of the city and its surrounding areas. Surbana International Consultants and Jurong International will be the firms responsible for how the capital will shape up. Second Trade and Industry Minister S Iswaran announced this on Monday (Jan 12) during a trade mission to India. CNA

 

Debt + deflation: Problems for S’pore, M’sia Thailand

In Economy on 17/01/2015 at 6:07 am

[T]he private sector in Asia-Pacific now owes 1.5 times the region’s combined annual output, according to the Bank for International Settlements. As a big chunk of the borrowing is in the opaque shadow banking system, particularly in China, the debt could be even larger. Either way, servicing the loans requires incomes to increase quickly. Yet, real GDP growth is slowing almost everywhere in the region.

AM1.jpg

The threat of slowly rising consumer prices slipping into outright deflation is making things worse. Producer prices are sliding across Asia-Pacific. Falling energy costs provide a convenient excuse for margin-starved employers to skimp on pay hikes, just as they did in the late 1980s. That makes the situation harder for borrowers in Malaysia, Korea, Thailand and Singapore, all of which have high household leverage. Persistent lowflation will leave borrowers with higher debt burdens than they expected.

L

Demographics aren’t helping. Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand are ageing rapidly.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2015/01/16/asias-big-demons-debt-deflation-demographics/

 

Oil at US$5–60 for next few yrs?

In Energy on 16/01/2015 at 2:04 pm

“The oil price has dropped around 60% since June, to $48 a barrel, and I understand that BP expects that it will stay in the range of $50 to $60 for two to three years.

Although no oil company has a crystal ball, this matters – especially since it has a big impact on its investment and staffing ambitions,” BBC’s Robert Preston

Bukit Batok rat and his Aljunied cousin compare TCs

In Humour on 16/01/2015 at 4:30 am

The rat infestation episode at Bukit Batok seems to be over – according to Star Pest Control, which carried out the extermination process. (CNA 6 Jan)

But not all the rats were killed. One managed to escape and is staying with his cousin in Aljunied. Here’s a conversation they had after it became public knowledge that AHPETC had sent lawyers’ letters to those in S&C arrears.

———————–

Bukit Batok rat: Wah see you also got problem here. Town Council cracking down on delinquent S&C accounts.

Aljunied rat: No sweat brudder. Plenty of time before people like the owner of this dump has to pay up

BB rat: What you mean? Took PAP guys less than a month after residents complained to clean us out. Surely yr town council as efficient?

A rat: This town council is WP town council. Takes time to do anything.S’preans still waiting for 2013 arrears data. Town Council had said in November 2014 that it was processing the data.

My owner has not been paying his bills since 2011. Why you think there’s so much food around. Life is gd here for us rats.

BB rat: Wah so would have been good for us rats if WP had run Bukit Batok.

A rat: Err wait a minute. [Dials his handphone] Hello, Victor, A rat here. My Bukit Batok cousin says that voting for WP is gd for us rats. Didn’t you tell us at the last PA meeting that PAP is good for us rats?

OK will wait for you to call PAP HQ to find out how to rebut my cousin’s logic.

Thanks.

—————

I’ll keep readers posted of what PAP HQ’s answer is.

 

Heard? Jihadists’ lawyers demand share of profits

In Humour on 15/01/2015 at 5:31 pm

Apparently, the lawyers for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Islamic State (who both claim they were behind the murders.of 17 people in Paris last week) have written to the publisher of Charlie Hebdo to demand a share of the profits of the sale of the “survival” special edition. This will have a print run of five million issues this week (3 miilion copies have already been sold). The normal circulation is about 60,000.

The lawyers point out that it was their clients that were responsible for the additional sales, and should therefore share in the profits, adding, “mounting these kind of operations is not cheap.”

If the publisher refuses, the lawyers say, “our clients will not be responsible for the consequences.”

LOL.

Update at 5.45 pm

Muslims react to new Charlie Hebdo cover

Marine Parade Polyclinic sees consequences of Pioneer ‘benefits’

In Uncategorized on 15/01/2015 at 4:51 am

My friend (a retiree but not a pioneer) who has diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol (Yup, he lived off the hog) told me of a recent visit (I’ve had to do a lot of editing, even if I report it as if he were talking):

Every four months, I go to the Marine Parade Polyclinic for my blood test, checkup and medicine.

I usually go around 11 am on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thurday or Friday because there is no crowd at the blood testing laboratory at this time. There is no waiting time at the lab at that time unlike at between 8-10 am.Also the waiting period to see a doctor is usually only about an hour.

On Tuesday I was there at about 10.45 am and the crowd at the lab was big, as was the crowd waiting to see the doctors. It was like 8 am on Tuedays to Fridays.

There were 20 people ahead of me at the lab. So I went to register to see a doctor (within the usual ten minutes) and then waited to take the test. I waited for about 40 minutes before I could be tested.

I then waited to see the doctor and after waiting an hour (the average waiting time), I was examined by the doctor. I told her that the size of the crowd at 11 am surprised me. She said it was the pioneers coming forward to use SingHealth. I asked if it was less crowded in the aftrenoon. She said no.

I said, “Looks as though before the ‘benefits’, many of the Pioneer Generation found it too expensive* to use the SingHealth system: only using it when they die-die needed medical care.” The doctor didn’t saying anything. She just smiled.

If the Marine Parade Polyclinic can be so crowded, places at Sengkang must be just about coping. A doctor who is usually based at Sengkang once told me that comingto work at Marine Parade is a bit of a holiday for her: less people. A doctor in private practice told me that the Marine Parade Polyclinic is a gd one to use because many in the catchment area prefer to visit the private doctors. in the area.

*Actually it could be juz stinginess. My mum has always talked of making a new set of dentures. But never got round to do so because it was ‘so expensive” even though she has plenty of $ in the bank. But now, she is planning to make a set.

The Xiaxue of the anti-PAP cyber masses/ Uncle Leong is well

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 14/01/2015 at 6:06 am

Roy, celebrity and irrationality

So Roy and his lawyer M Ravi are back in the headlines KPKBing their rotine lines: Roy (“Juz want a debate on CPF but persecution contines”), M Ravi (“I’m always right because it’s my grandfather’s law”)

Why is Roy such a celebrity while Uncle Leong (Leong Sze Hian) his si fu* is a relative unknown. After all all the best bits of Roy’s CPF “research” are things Uncle Leong (and, to be fair, others) has been talking about and highlighting over the years.

The only thing that was new was the accusation that the PAP administration criminally misappropriated the CPF moneys. Even then he quickly said this allegation is false and completely without foundation. when PM threatened legal action*.

Despite this recantation, Roy remains a hero to the anti-PAP cyber masses.

This, from an Economist blog, explains his appeal: As Drew Westen argued a few years ago in his book “The Political Mind”, political persuasion is all about moving people emotionally, not appealing to their rational faculties.

Roy dared, at no small cost to himself, in public to say what anti-PAP coffee shop and cyber warriors are whispering. .For that act of courage, they are to willing to suspend their critical faculties, if they had any. He is right because he is saying publicly what they don’t dare say. They support him unthinkingly because he validates their view of the way CPF works.

And for that very reason, the PM felt it necessary to sue him even if it annoys many people who think Roy is talking rubbish, and even though suing goes against the kinder, gentler, more liberal view of the PAP administration that he is trying to project. Btw, one of these days, I’ll go into the steel trap that the PAP have set for themselves in the litigation game: they are damned whether they sue or don’t sue.

Uncle Leong is alive and well, and is still rocking

The last piece Uncle Leong wrote was at the end of November. Since then he has been silent causing me and others to wonder or worry what has happened to him. Not like him to remain quiet for even three days.

But read these two pieces that appeared in TRE on Jan 10 and 11

Recently, one of our public hospitals became famous for the action which they took (compared to the immediate sacking of Roy Ngerng citing his defamation of the prime minister as one of the reasons, despite the court hearing had not even commenced yet) in regard to their foreign employee’s Facebook posting against Singaporeans.

There have also been reports claiming that the hospital employs about 70 to 80 per cent of its staff from one foreign country. Actually, some people say that about 80 per cent of their staff are non-Singaporeans (work permits, S-pass, employment pass, PRs, foreign spouses on letter of consent, foreign interns, trainees, etc).

According to the MOH’s web site – this public hospital had the highest total hospitalisation billing for citizens (among all public hospitals excluding the National Heart Centre) for all ward classes (Class C, B2, B1 and A) at the 90th and 95th percentile in 2013.

For example, it was $8,071 at the 95th percentile, against just $4,758 at the lowest public hospital in Class C.

At the 90th percentile – it was $5,220 against $2,901.

Why?

Why is it that this particular public hospital has the highest billing sizes across all ward classes?

Could it be that they employ more non-Singaporeans than other public hospitals?

Win battles lose war

* Submitted by TRE reader.

“Uphold values of respect, professionalism, integrity and social responsibility”

According to the Straits Times report “Health-care workers must ‘uphold values of respect’: Health Ministry” (Jan 10) – “Public health-care professionals, both local and foreign, are expected to uphold values of respect, professionalism, integrity and social responsibility, said the Health Ministry (MOH).”

Got “respect” for Roy Ngerng?

Where was “respect” in the sacking of Roy Ngerng when one of the reasons cited for his sacking was his defamation suit when the hearing had not even commenced yet?

Got “professionalism” in the way Roy Ngerng was sacked?

Where was the “professionalism” in giving Roy Ngerng just hours to leave his job, without any prior notice?

Got “integrity” – no fairness and natural justice?

Where was the “integrity” in not giving Roy Ngerng any opportunity to defend himself against the allegations made against him? Where was the principle of fairness and natural justice in the case of Roy Ngerng?

“Social responsibility” in employing 80% foreigners?

Where is “social responsibility” if it is true that about 80 per cent of the employees are non-Singaporeans (work permits, S-pass, employment pass, PRs, foreign spouses on letter of consent, foreign interns, trainees, etc)?

Hypocrisy and double standards?

Don’t you feel that MOH’s statement reeks of hypocrisy and double standards?

Win battles lose war

* Submitted by TRE reader.

Sounds familiar?

For the record, I’m no Sherlock Holmes. A prominent civic activists drew my retention to one of these pieces.

—————–

*Roy helped co-write Uncle Leong’s pieces for several yrs.

** 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.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/roys-defence-has-me-confused/

 

Election in 2016 not 2015

In Economy, Political governance, Uncategorized on 13/01/2015 at 4:36 am

(Or “New Citizen tells us the truth about the economy” or “Funny time for PAP to call a yr-long party” )

I didn’t realise the double burden S’pore (and the PAP administration) is facing economically in 2015 until I read this (emphasis mine):

Speaking at a DBS Private Bank event, DBS’ chief executive officer, Mr Piyush Gupta, said the credit cycle in Asia is turning and Singapore will be affected by higher rates and falling oil prices. Domestically, restructuring would pose further challenges.

… “I really think that 2015 is a very important year for our country. It is important because this whole scope of transitioning the economy and restructuring the economy is very sensitively-poised.”

… “Fundamentally, we are trying to do two things at the same time – restructure the manufacturing sector to be productivity-driven and more technology efficient, and at the same time, slow down the asset prize inflation, particularly in the property market.

“Both of these have deflationary drives and to be able to balance this and nuance these two deflationary engines at the same time is not an easy job.”

CNA 7 January 2015

Not gd news for mortgagees what with rising rates. Maybe taz why Frenvale Lea buyers are trying to rat out of their flats: they are not NIMBYS, juz opportunists. Remember they’d have bot their flats in 2012.

Related article: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/why-oil-price-falls-bad-for-mortgagees/

But oil prices at around these levels or even at US$60 — 80 will help us and the PAP administration. It’s like a tax cut or bonus payment.

All of which means that even though I was one of the few who had suggested (before it became conventional wisdom and at a time when oil was around US$85 having slipped from above 100) that an election could be held in 2015 before National Day, I now predict that PM will delay calling an election until June or August 2016. Lower inflation, more $ to spend and more goodies in 2016 Budget could shore up his support: people are less too lan with him and his party because they got more to spend i.e they’ll be more forgiving because life is more comfortable even if it wasn’t the PAP can’t take credit for the comfort.

Btw, Gupta is the kind of FT (he is now a citizen), we should welcome (Juz like O’Connor, ex CEO of OCBC and this guy). We should boot out Trashes like the CEO, president and head of IT at SGX, and the president of NTU over his use use of the term “academic decision” when talking of NTU’s refusal  to give Cherian George tenure caused a smoldering volcano to erupt.

Police, warriors or social workers?

In Uncategorized on 12/01/2015 at 4:05 am

Officers are also trained to understand they are guardians, not warriors. “They are far more like a social worker than they are a crime fighter,” Scott Thomson, Camden’s police chief, the Economist reported.

I have a social activist friend whose son is in U training to be one of Kee Chui’s elite social workers. Wonder how father and son will feel if he ends up in SPF, instead of being in the social welfare department?

Murder of cartoonists: Hypocrisy in our MSM and new media coverage

In Media on 11/01/2015 at 9:56 am

What does it tell us about ourselves that in all the MSM and new media coverage there is only one tua kee blogger who points out that many of the cartoons in  Charlie Hebdo would be banned in S’pore because they are not”right”*.

I’ll put it this way: many of its cartoons would be banned for being “obscene”, while many of its anti-religious cartoons would be banned for being “offensive” to religions; some of which might be seditious to boot.

S’poreans are not willing to see this pink elefant in the cubicle, yet there are S’poreans pontificating in abstract on freedom of expression and its limits, sometimes to the point of rubbishy, meaningless nonsense. Like this very offensive, “My take is that free speech is only laudable when used well. And despicable when abused. It is worth having, but not worth having at all costs.”

My Facebook avatar pointed out

—  “Call to account”. Well the guys who killed the cartoonists can be considered “calling to account” the abusers of free speech by that definition.

— “only laudable when used well. And despicable when abused”. Who defines “laudable”, “despicable”, “used well”, “abused”? Western liberal values? Wahhabi values? Western right wing values? LKY? Those who rule?As … rightly points out, the ruling elites try to impose their definitions in their own interests.

He wasn’t the only one upset with this rubbish:

— We got to grow up and deal with some noise and mess. You don’t have to agree 100% of Charlie Hebdo’s work; but the principle of free speech, as long as it does not explicitly incite violence against its targets, has to be defended. You can’t expect to live perpetually in some kind of kindergarten. There is a cost to everything. You pay some social cost for the free speech so that you reserve the right to lampoon, criticize and call out elites, the rich and powerful when it is necessary to do so. When you are willing to circumscribe your rights for minor annoyances and offenses, you start to erode that right and you may not be able to control how far that censorship can go.

— Do you realize how much of important history consist of words written that were offensive to the church, Kings and all manner of groups that would gladly keep the status quo. Have some ‘respect’ they say. The church wasn’t very nice when it was strong and able to impose its own form of inquisition. It took years and bloody revolutions to overthrow kings. ‘Disrespect’ that led to things like the Magna Carta, French Revolution, the formation of America and the overthrow of the Qing dynasty. Boy, that’s a lot of offensive ink spilt.

*Even then this retired Imperial Storm Trooper (paper division) general puts it down to the wisdom of the MSM, not giving credit to Harry the Axe man. I’d rather give credit to Harry.

 

Only in S’pore: Parents kanna streamed

In Uncategorized on 11/01/2015 at 5:23 am

Parents take tuition in maths to teach kids to score

Parents in Singapore are taking primary school maths classes in order to understand what their children go through, it’s been reported.

Adults are signing up for tuition so they can be helpful when their children have questions, the My Paper website reports. Parents at a “mastery workshop” run by one tuition centre pay $700 (£463) to spend eight hours learning how to solve maths problems, the website says. It’s part of a growing trend in Singapore, where extra tuition for children is a booming business worth more then $1bn (£660m).

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-30744853

And they too kanna streamed: Parents are divided into ability groups depending on their existing knowledge and ability, just like in schools. “Some parents come to the workshop with zero maths knowledge, so we have to go very slowly.” 

But can cheat (OK can team work but isn’t cheating often team work?): Maruwi attended a class with his wife, and found the first question “so difficult”, he says. “Luckily, my wife could understand what was going on.”

Only in M’sia?

In Malaysia, Uncategorized on 10/01/2015 at 3:37 pm

Homeless people who attended a government-run event in Malaysia were given household appliances as gifts, it’s reported.

Munirah Abdul Hamid, founder of the Pertiwi Soup Kitchen in Kuala Lumpur, …”Some of them came up to me and asked if I would like to buy the appliances as money would have been more valuable to them,” she says, adding that food or clothing would have made better gifts. The federal territories minister, Tengku Adnan, concedes the event wasn’t perfect, describing it as a “trial-and-error experience”, and doesn’t mind if people sell the gifts for money. “They can do as they please,” he says. “Next year, we will improve and give something else to the homeless.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-30727794

M’sia, Thailand among 7 best places to retire

In Malaysia, Uncategorized on 10/01/2015 at 4:24 am

http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20141231-the-worlds-best-places-to-retire

(Panama sounds interesting)

And given the strong S$ and the value of property here*, we S’poreans got options to move on and yet remain nearby. Yet people like Goh Meng Seng and Andrew Loh die die want S’poreans to live and die here. They should let S’poreans decide, not insist that real s’poreans sgould stay home.

—–

*Surely the PAP administration has shumething to do with these?

Banality of analysts’ talk about 2015

In Uncategorized on 09/01/2015 at 11:59 am

How about telling us something we don’t already know?

From CNA report dated 29 Dec 2014

Despite a year of volatility, the Singapore market has emerged relatively unscathed. The Straits Times Index (STI) is now standing at about 6 per cent higher than where it started the year. However, market watchers are warning of further volatility in 2015, as global interest rates start to normalise.

Several challenges lie ahead for the Singapore stock market, as companies contend with rising domestic costs and uncertain external growth. Some market watchers said it may be some time before the market fully recovers.

Said Ms Madeleine Lee, managing director of AZ Athenaeum: “2015 is a continuation of consolidation for the local economy and companies. We had GDP being revised downward. We had rising business costs, by way of higher labour costs and persistently high rentals.

“The top line will be affected by unsure OECD growth, Europe shock and Japan shock. So I think it will be a year of consolidation and we need returns on equities components to come back to normal. I think it will be 2016 before we see economies and markets recovering.”

Low trading volumes and liquidity has been an on-going concern for Singapore’s equity markets. Market watchers attribute this to a lack of positive investor sentiment.

Said Voyage Research’s CEO, Mr Roger Tan: “The unfortunate thing about the Singapore stock market now is that we seem to be lacking that kind of excitement, from the exchange viewpoint, from the regulation viewpoint. I think there is a lot of emphasis and a lot of focus on mitigating and reducing risk, reducing volatility, and unfortunately at the same time, the excitement of momentum is taken out of the whole picture.”

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) continue to be the backbone of Singapore equities, taking up about 25 per cent of listings this year and raising almost S$2 billion. However, the expected rise in interest rates could impact the REIT market and other property-related counters.

On the other hand, banks could benefit from rising interest rates. Analysts also cited the telecom sector as another area for growth, given its stability and good yields.

Said DBS’ head of equity research, Ms Janice Chua: “We like the banks mainly because it is one of the key earnings growth driver for next year. For the overall market, we are looking at 8 per cent. Banks, we are looking for a growth of 12 per cent.

“We also expect a stable net interest margin, with the potential for upside when interest rates go up. At the same time, loan growth is still quite steady and about 8 to 9 per cent.”

She added: “The other sectors that we like are those that are stable, in terms of generating steady earnings stream, with growth as well as good dividend yield, and net cash companies. These are typically the telecoms companies, where growth is spurred by the rising usage of the tiered-data plans. This sector itself generates about 5 per cent dividend yield.”

Analysts said sectors which could be facing some pressure next year include oil and gas, and shipping. Typically highly-geared, these industries could face a double whammy next year of softening oil prices and a rise in interest costs.

With interest rates set to normalise in 2015, market watchers have said it may be time for investors to rebalance their portfolios.

Amid a low interest rate environment, investors have been drawn to high dividend counters. Among the 30 stocks which constitute the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI), Hutchison Port Holdings Trust paid the highest dividends this year, at 7.9 per cent.

With ongoing economic restructuring in Singapore and slowing GDP growth, analysts said small-to-medium cap stocks could provide more value for investors in 2015.

Said Voyage Research CEO Mr Roger Tan: “Look at the Singapore stock market – we are going through some structural issues with lower volume and lower momentum. So I think if you are looking at blue-chip stocks, maybe you want to look at the small-to-mid caps where you will be able to find more value, and more upside potential in the mid to long term.”

Sector-wise, investment bank UBS said the telecoms sector may provide safe returns in the near term, but banks’ earnings may come under pressure in the second half of 2015.

“In terms of earnings resilience, the telcos will probably still benefit from the fact that there is 4G migration and greater data usage. The banks may benefit in the very near term because of the rise in short-term interest rates,” said UBS managing director Ms Tan Min Lan. “But bear in mind that the U-curve is also flattening, and the loans growths are rolling over, so that is a drag on the banks beyond the next six months.”

Still, corporate earnings in Singapore are not just dependent on the domestic economy. With a growing international exposure, external factors play a key role.

Singapore Exchange’s director of market strategy, Mr Geoff Howie, said: “Much of the internationality that we have here in Singapore does transcend very much into the stock market. So our big blue-chip players are not necessarily 100 per cent Singapore players.

“Hence, the returns and the factors that are driving the performance of these stocks cannot just be dependent on Singapore, but very much what is happening in the region. In fact, if you look at the 30 STI stocks, half of the revenues that come from the STI stocks are regenerated from overseas.”

With heightened uncertainty in the global outlook, some experts said investors should strike a balance between dividend payouts and growth potential of companies.

“2015 is a murky year,” said Mr Tan. “If you are going after momentum and the quick buck, be prepared for the volatility. But volatility is in your favour if you are looking for value and have some companies in mind. The potential of buying them cheap is very high.”

The five STI constituent stocks with the highest dividend yields this year are Hutchison Port Holdings Trust, Ascendas REIT, SIA Engineering, CapitaMall Trust and Sembcorp Industries.

Pinoy and PRC diplomatic behaviour contrasted

In Uncategorized on 09/01/2015 at 4:58 am

(Or “Pinoy Pride at work: OK for Pinoys to threaten, insult S’poreans but not vice versa)

The Filipino embassy told a Filipino nurse to be “extra careful with his social media usage”*, days after the nurse, Edz Ello, made some insulting and threatening comments about S’porean on social media. He has alleged that he did not post the comments, alleging that he was hacked.

An intelligent TRE poster (glad to see more of them posting: too many fools talking cock posting rubbish) pointed out the difference between the official Pinoy response and the official Chinese response when a PRC juz flamed S’poreans:

Sunny Day: During dog incident, one of PRC embassy staff Madam Zhou gave stern rebuke to Sun Xu, had asked him to apologize to Singaporeans, NUS, his teachers and friends and everybody. So contrary to Pinoy govt response. You can be sure that Filipino govt soft action means they don’t disagree with ezo ello totally.

I’d add that China is a regional power and is seen by the US as threatening its regional and global hegemony; yet its officials knows how to behave towards a host country. So unlike the Pinoy officals here, whose country has to run crying and grovelling to the US whenever the Pinoy govt threaten China and get kicked in the face by China for their threats against China. And they still wanted in 2012 Chinese tourists to come gamble in Manila?  Btw, Chinese said the country is not safe.

What accounts for the arrogance of the diplomats and Ello here? They think they own the place juz because they think the first “P” in the “PAP” stands for “Pinoy”?

Whatever it is, we know where people like Ello get their inspiration: their diplomata, who refuse to condemn threatening and insulting behaviour when made by Pinoys but are quick to KPKB about“the few Singaporeans” who have lashed out, and condemned the blog that suggested abusing Filipinos.

“I think it was unfair and racist and discriminatory,” he said, adding that the blogger had still not been identified.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28953147

(My take on the interview https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/pinoy-tua-kee-gives-the-finger-to-govt-meng-seng-2/)

Well shouldn’t he condemn the language used in Ello’s Facebook (even if Ello alleged it wasn’t him), by saying that guests must respect their hosts? Instead the embassy merely tells Ello to be “extra careful with his social media usage”: this could simply mean “keep yr threats and insults about S’poreans among the Pinoy community”?

Maybe the diplomats are like this

We Filipinos are famous for being onion-skinned or easily slighted at perceived insults. While it’s perfectly normal for us to taunt and criticize others, we can’t handle the same when it’s being hurled back at us. Incidents showcasing our extra-sensitivity to insults usually involve a foreigner making either a bonafide racist remark or a humorous jab at us Filipinos. True to form, our reactions would range from righteous indignation to excessive grandstanding. While it is alright to feel incensed, throwing a fit in front of the world would inevitably do us no good at all.

http://www.filipiknow.net/negative-traits-of-filipinos/

—-

*The Philippine embassy in Singapore has told a Filipino nurse to be “extra careful with his social media usage”, days after disparaging remarks about Singaporeans appeared on his Facebook account, which he said was hacked.

The Facebook post called Singaporeans “loosers” (losers) and expressed hope that “disators (disasters) will strike Singapore”. The Tan Tock Seng Hospital nurse has reported to the police that his account was hacked.

The Philippine embassy added that it has reiterated its previous advisories on the use of social media.

“Since the matter is under police investigation, the embassy advised the person concerned to cooperate fully with the SPF (Singapore Police Force).”

Tan Tock Seng Hospital has said it is working with the police on the investigation.

ziliang@sph.com.sg

– See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/philippine-embassy-reminds-tan-tock-seng-nurse-watch-his#xtor=CS1-10

 

US$: Huat Ah

In Currencies on 08/01/2015 at 1:40 pm

EURO FALLS LOWER Down the euro goes. On Friday, Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, said in an interview with a German newspaper that the threat of deflation might force his bank to take more aggressive stimulus measures, which could include buying eurozone bonds in bulk, Landon Thomas Jr. and Jack Ewing report in DealBook. His comments prompted the euro to fall to $1.20, a four-and-a-half year low against the dollar.

The dollar also hit a multiyear high against the Japanese yen, and it was also gaining on the fragile currencies in Brazil, Turkey and Russia.

What does it all mean? The moves highlighted a new trend in world currency markets: Global central banks ‒ along with investors also wary of the low returns that their euros have been delivering ‒ have increasingly been switching into dollars and out of euros, Mr. Thomas and Mr. Ewing write. “The expectation is that a rapidly recovering United States economy will push the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates this year, making dollar-based assets more attractive than those denominated in euros, Japanese yen and emerging market currencies,” they write.

The weakness in the euro on Friday came after Mr. Draghi, in an interview in Handelsblatt of Germany, said, “The risks of not fulfilling our mandate of price stability are in any case higher than they were six months ago.” Investors interpreted Mr. Draghi’s comments to mean that the central bank was moving closer to broad-based purchases of government bonds, possibly as soon as its next monetary policy meeting, on Jan. 22.

Great riposte to Yaacob’s comment that “IS actions are unIslamic”

In Uncategorized on 08/01/2015 at 5:09 am

In November 2014, Yaacob said “”Mufti, Pergas and RRG (The Religious and Rehabilitation Group) have joined international Muslim scholars and leaders in condemning ISIS unequivocally,” he added. “They have all declared that ISIS’ radical teachings and actions have nothing to do with Islam. Islam upholds peace, the preservation of human life and its sanctity, and it is thus forbidden in Islam to wage war wantonly on others.” (CNA)

Recently, I came across a great riposte to the above and all similar comments. I reproduce it because of the murder* of French cartoonists and others in Paris.

It is understandable why the vast majority of Muslims who have rejected this brand of extremism want to say it is un-Islamic.

It is equally obvious why politicians in the West want to agree with them, to draw a very clear distinction between murderous fanatics and the religion of law-abiding millions.

But it is a bit like saying the Inquisition or those Protestants who burnt Catholics at the stake (or vice versa) were not Christian**.

For theologians, this may make sense. “Would Jesus want this?” might be their question.

But for the rest of us it is claptrap – these killers were not motivated by Buddhism, or Marxism or vegetarianism, but by their own interpretation of Christianity.

So with IS – it is the current apex of a century or more trend towards ever more violent jihadist movements with deep religious and historical roots.

Over the years, not only has the brutality of such movements grown, but their definition of legitimate targets has also ballooned.

From warily deciding that conspicuously secular rulers of Muslim populations could be overthrown by violence, it has grown to include terrorist attacks on security forces, to any servants of the state, to any citizen who doesn’t oppose their own rulers, and now to any Muslim anywhere who doesn’t join the struggle.

The definition of “takfir” – declaring someone a heretic – has grown exponentially …

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-30409764

Update at 5.45am

Islam does not forbid mention of God or the prophet—indeed, the declaration of the faith, the shahadah, requires both. Instead, the taboo is displaced to the visual world: God and Muhammad may not be depicted in art. This was probably originally intended to prevent idol-worship. (As, indeed, was another of the ten commandments of Judaism and Christianity: “You shall make no idols or graven images.”)  But taboos grow and shift by their nature: today, even harmless images no one would worship as an idol are taboo. The Danish cartoon crisis came after a left-wing writer struggled to find anyone who would illustrate his children’s book about the life of Muhammad. Jyllands Posten’s cartoons came as a direct response.

So the difference between the Abrahamic religions is not the existence of taboos around the deity, incarnations and prophets. It is the violence with which the taboo is enforced. The American State Department has found only one conviction for blasphemy in Christian countries, in Greece (which establishes the Greek Orthodox church). The perpetrator is likely to get off lightly for insulting a popular monk. By contrast the same report found 14 alleged blasphemers sentenced to death in Pakistan, and 19 given life sentences.

The belief that casual, satirical or profane mention of the divine is a grievous sin belongs to prehistory. It has roots in all three Abrahamic religions. But to live in 2015 requires bringing ancient beliefs into consonance with modern values. Sensible Muslims know that freedom of expression protects them, too, in places like Europe. (After all, an Islamophobic Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, wants to ban the Koran.) That means letting journalists and cartoonists be rude about their beliefs.

Writers and artists are often quite proud of their power to unsettle the powerful, but they are also usually the last people to believe literally in “word magic”, the ability to attract divine attention by mere irreverent mention. They were shocked back to reality today by the flood of blood and tears in Paris. The question is not whether the divine cares about blasphemy. All it takes is a few maniacal followers on Earth.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2015/01/johnson-blasphemy

——————————–

Update at 5.30 am

*Hassen Chalghoumi, the imam of Drancy and a Muslim moderate, said of the killers that “their barbary has nothing to do with Islam.”

**”Christians don’t riot,” George Yeo once said.

Jan- Jun 2015: Hibernate unless mortgaged to eyeballs

In Economy, Financial competency, Financial planning, Property on 07/01/2015 at 11:40 am

(Updated on 9 January 2015 to include bit about clueless “consultant”.)

2015 is likely to begin in a merited atmosphere of gloom …

“Lowflation”, basically stable prices, is set to make everything worse. The already heavy debt loads of both consumers and governments will become more burdensome as nominal GDP growth slows down. The sharp fall in commodity prices may increase spending power in some countries, but it could turn lowflation into outright deflation.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2014/12/16/this-is-as-good-as-global-recovery-gets/

But if mortgaged yr eyeballs …. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/why-oil-price-falls-bad-for-mortgagees/ and

A key interest rate that housing loans in Singapore are pegged to rose sharply for a second day, indicating home owners may face higher mortgage payments.

Bloomberg data showed the three-month Singapore Interbank Offered Rate (Sibor) was fixed at 0.62052 per cent at 11.30am on Tuesday (Jan 6), up from 0.57762 per cent on Monday.

Sibor is the rate at which banks lend to one another and is a widely used measure of the cost of funds. The three-month Sibor had been creeping up previously, rising from around 0.4 per cent in October to around 0.45 per cent at the end of last week.

Many housing loans are pegged to three-month Sibor. Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC), for example, is currently offering home loans at three-month Sibor plus 0.85 percentage points for the first three years, according to its website.

The lending rate is reviewed every three months.

Assuming mortgage rates in Singapore rise to 2 per cent from around 1.5 per cent currently, a home buyer with an outstanding loan of S$500,000 and 20 years remaining will need to pay around S$2,530 a month, up from S$2,410. Should the rate rise to 3 per cent, the monthly payment will increase to S$2,770.

(CNA yesterday)

But here’s one mortgagee who lives in lala land. She obviously is not into finance.

New home owner Huang Sijia, 26, who took out a Sibor floating loan last year, is sticking to her package for now. “I am not too worried because the interest rates have been quite stable for the past three years,” said the consultant.

http://business.asiaone.com/property/news/mortgage-payment-hike-likely-key-rate-rises

S’pore’s prospects

3% this yr 3.1% next yr from 3.3% and 3.7% respectively say the worse than fortune tellers forecasters

Private sector economists are less upbeat about the growth outlook for the Singapore economy this year, and have moderated their growth expectations for almost all sectors, according to a quarterly survey released by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Wednesday (Dec 17).

The economists polled in the survey said they expect Singapore’s economy to grow by 3 per cent this year, down from their median forecast of 3.3 per cent in the previous survey in September.

The latest estimates are in line with the official growth forecast of 2.5 to 3.5 per cent, which was announced in August.

The lower forecast comes after gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the third quarter was weaker than expected. The economy expanded by 2.8 per cent during the quarter, lower than the median forecast of 3.2 per cent in the previous survey.

Manufacturing is now expected to grow by 3.5 per cent this year, down from the 4.2 per cent in the previous survey. Construction is now expected to grow by 3.4 per cent, down from 4.7 per cent. The forecast for wholesale and retail trade has been revised to 2.4 per cent from 2.6 per cent, while the forecast for accommodation and food services has been revised to 1.2 per cent from 1.5 per cent.

Finance and insurance was the only sector that had its forecast revised upwards. The sector is now expected to expand by 7.3 per cent, up from the 5.5 per cent in the previous survey.

INFLATION LIKELY TO SLOW

Inflation is expected to slow, with the economists forecasting the consumer price index (CPI) to come in at 1.1 per cent for the full year, down from the 1.8 per cent forecast in September. Core inflation – which excludes accommodation and car prices – is expected at 2 per cent, down from 2.2 per cent in the previous survey.

Looking ahead, economists expect GDP will expand by 3.1 per cent in 2015, down from the 3.7 per cent in the September survey. Headline inflation and MAS core inflation are forecast to be 1.1 per cent and 1.9 per cent, respectively.

The MAS Survey of Professional Forecasters is conducted every quarter after the release of detailed economic data for the preceding three months. The median forecasts in the latest report were based on the estimates of 22 economists

(CNA late last yr)

The final sign of winter: lemmings have made M&A deals

 Michael J. de la Merced writes in DealBook. Some 40,298 transactions ‒ worth nearly $3.5 trillion ‒ were announced worldwide in 2014, according to Thomson Reuters. It was the biggest year in deals since 2007. Goldman Sachs and the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom led the global M.&A. tables for financial and legal advising.

Sure, debt financing was cheap and stock prices were climbing. But perhaps the biggest change, deal makers say, is that corporate boards and management teams realized that their ability to expand their companies on their own had become more difficult. And with some semblance of predictability in the markets, boards now feel more comfortable taking the plunge, Mr. de la Merced writes. The busiest sectors for the year have been the oil and gas industry and the pharmaceuticals industry. But the biggest deals of the year, including the assumption of debt, have been takeovers in the telecommunications industry, including Comcast’s $45 billion proposal to buy Time Warner Cable.

“The question now is whether the confluence of factors that enabled the merger revival will carry over into 2015,” Mr. de la Merced writes.

Much ado about urns/ Where to buy in NE

In Property on 07/01/2015 at 4:27 am

Three pieces follow.

The first is from those KPKBing about the urns. My comments are interspersed. The other is a response from an intelligent TRE poster (Yup they do exist, though they are jeered by the rabble). The third tells of a better buy in the NE (Thanks for telling me about the area).

It’s all about “living environment”?/ Talking self-serving cock

The Singapore Mass Media has put up very negative report on us trying to portray us as some petty people who only care about our flat value and that is why we reject the columbarium. That is far from the truth.[Will say that wouldn’t they?]

I hereby represent the hundreds of affected stakeholders to put up the following statement:

1) We are unhappy and felt aggrieved by HDB’s misrepresentation by way of omission of material fact in their sale brochures. We reiterate that there was absolutely NO MENTION of columbarium in the sale brochures while the stated “Ancillary Service” phrase is so general that anyone who read that would have misconstrued as something else. Such definition can only be found in URA website and not HDB website at all. Any ordinary man would not have known how to get access to the details at all.

2) We are against such sales tactic as we should be treated fairly to be given FULL DISCLOSURE of information by the seller, HDB before we chose to buy the flat. We should have the right to make INFORMED choices and not short-changed with such omission of critical material information by HDB.

3) We are also very concerned about how HDB allowing a private commercial entity owned by a foreign public listed company to bid for the land gazetted for religious purposes. It is totally inappropriate for a commercial entity to make money out of any religion.

[Come on , tell us something new.]

4) According to High Court ruling, any entity that advance religion cause, should be subjected to Charity Act and put under the supervision of Commissioner of Charities. Apparently HDB has not made appropriate screening prior to the award of this land, which is meant for religious use, to a commercial entity.[What has this to do with the price of eggs?]

5) Commercial business should be restricted to land meant for commercial purposes, like industrial park. Land meant for religious purposes should be reserved to religious organizations registered in Singapore. This is to protect the interests of religious organizations as commercial entities would have more financial muscles to outbid them. It is totally unfair to these religious organizations which are Non-Profit Organizations to compete with Profit-oriented commercial entities in bidding for such limited land slated for religious purposes. [Gd point except that in traditional Chinese religion, there is no governing religious authority.]

6) Most of us are buying a flat as a HOME, not for property speculation. Thus, property resale value is least of our concern. Our main concern is the conduciveness of our living environment for our families. Thus the Main Stream Media has put up a totally misrepresentation of our plight and this is really a double whammy to us.[Come on, tell the truth. You are concerned about resale because a high-rise block containing urns does not affect the “living environment”. And you guys objected to a kindergarten. And are likely to object to an old folks recreation centre according to yr MP. You people think you are scholae Eng is it?] What we want is just a fair deal for our choice of home and we plead to the Main Stream Media not to put a double stabbing into our hearts and dignity by such grossly misreporting. [Nope MSM is right to slime you guys]

7) We are all law abiding citizens and we expect the Rule of Law to be adhered by the very institutions which are supposedly tasked to uphold the law and justice for citizens.

8) We sincerely hope that the relevant authorities, including the Ministry of Development, HDB and URA to look into the matter as soon as possible.

Thank you.

On Behalf of
Stakeholders, BTO Buyers.

An intelligent TRE poster responds

fernfoliage:

Addressing the points raised by the original poster.

1) You should have read the fine prints and clarify whatever you are not sure. Ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law.

2) What “such sales tactic”? You were INFORMED but when did not understand the information, you did not seek clarifications.

3) to 5)
Remember those days when the govt was in charge of everything and took care of everyone from cradle to grave? Well, you guys complained, criticised, condemned, cursed and swore at the govt at the slightest mistake it made. Now that the govt passes everything to the private sector, you guys complain about profit-making, commercialization. If the govt does not do it, the private sector also not allowed to do it, who will? Will you?

6) and 7) If you sincerely believe in what you have written, then just let the columbarium be. It is for the good of everyone, living and dead. Not only the healthy living but the sicked, the aged and the dead too have their rightful places in this country.

Rating: -70 (from 80 votes)
Best place in NE
Soccerbetting2:

Give up the Sengkang west way BTO flat loh . Buy the resale HDB nearest at Punggol loh .

Punggol going to have some more amenities coming up like all the coney island supposed to opened up this year . Wonder what is taking so long for them to open up Coney island situated at end of Punggol Road . A big shopping centre will opened by year 2017 at Punggol Central near the waterway . Another Safra will be opening think between year 2016/17 . Punggol has other facilities like golf driving range , supermarkets, a small Punggol Plaza, restaurants dining ,yacht club area …..etc. With a seaside view to provide for , certainly can consider .

 Rating: +22 (from 22 votes)

Oil bulls extinct; Only vultures left

In Energy on 06/01/2015 at 1:59 pm

The US oil price fell below the symbolic threshold of US$50 a barrel for the first time since April 2009, before finishing the day at US$50.05: NY last night.

This report appeared on I Jan

Hedge funds finally pulled back from bets on higher oil prices as the market faced its worst year since 2008.

Speculators reduced their net-long position in West Texas Intermediate crude for the first time in four weeks, cutting their holdings by 5 percent in the week ended Dec. 23, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed yesterday. Long wagers dropped the most since August.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-31/hedge-funds-surrender-to-oil-rout-as-bullish-bets-drop.html

Meanwhile junk energy bonds keep on tanking. The vultures are circling.

high yield bonds

Ello Ello: Pinoy ambassador has nothing to say?

In Uncategorized on 06/01/2015 at 5:31 am

Double standards of the Pinoy leader in S’pore?

The Philippines ambassador to Singapore, Antonio A Morales … expressed concern about “the few Singaporeans” who have lashed out, and condemned the blog that suggested abusing Filipinos.

“I think it was unfair and racist and discriminatory,” he said, adding that the blogger had still not been identified.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28953147

(My take on the interview https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/pinoy-tua-kee-gives-the-finger-to-govt-meng-seng-2/)

Well, how about the ambasador expressing concern and condemning the fact that Pinoy Ello Ello wants to drive out S’poreans from S’pore and replace them with Pinoys? Or at least since Ello Ello is alleging he was hacked, to remind Pinoys here that they are guests here, not the governing master race, and behave appropriately.  The fuuny thing is that in their home country, the American military are the governing master race: their dollars talk.

But let’s not be too unkind to the Pinoy leader here, when we have someone like William Wan:

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/no-nmp-for-600000-sporeans/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/wah-lan-fts-getting-their-very-own-nmp/

Given the PAP administration love of FTs, one wonders why he never was made NMP. Maybe PAP found his love of FTs over S’poreans a tad too much with an election pending?

A Pioneer Generation Foreign Talent

In Uncategorized on 05/01/2015 at 3:00 pm

We need FTs like Krystyn Olszewski, not like the Trashes like the CEO, COO and head of IT at SGX or Pinoy Ello who has problems spelling but can get a job as FT at a local hospital.  .

Krystyn Olszewski was a town planner that played an important part in the development of S’pore’s urban landscape.

This appeared in ST 27/12/2014.

In recognition of their role in the success of Singapore, special tribute is paid to the pioneer generation who contributed to Singapore’s achievements since the early days.
One individual who played a less-known role in Singapore’s early development is my compatriot, Krystyn Olszewski.
He was a Polish architect and town planner who contributed with his craft and expertise to building modern Singapore in its initial years as an independent state.
He was a Pole by birth but Singaporean at heart. He spent here in Singapore a total of 15 active years of his professional career and contributed to the current design of the Lion City in many ways: from the comprehensive long-term city plan for the island’s development to the local project of the Singapore Science Park and the design details of the first MRT stations.
A Pole among Singapore’s pioneers, one may say.
A graduate from the department of architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology, with extensive international experience in regional, urban and transport planning, Mr Olszewski first came to Singapore in 1968 at the invitation of Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
He was a member of a United Nations team of consultants to the State and City Planning Office and was appointed chief designer of Singapore’s Comprehensive Long-Term Concept Plan. The plan was officially announced in 1971 and most of its fundamental proposals have since been successfully implemented, leading to Singapore as we know it now.
It envisaged the development of new townships in a ring formation around the central water catchment area, a network of expressways and a mass rapid transit system to provide islandwide interconnectivity, and a new international airport to be located in Changi. The main features of the plan can already be found on the map drawn and signed by Mr Olszewski in 1969.
On April 9, 1971, The Straits Times quoted Mr Olszewski as a stern advocate of moving the international airport to Changi, in expectation of rapid development of air traffic and the airport’s growth.
In the article, Mr Olszewski also suggested a new traffic arrangement in the city centre, with different levels of pedestrian and motor traffic, special pedestrian lanes and areas as well as a rail-based MRT system. At the same time, appreciating the beauty of Singapore’s central area, he urged for preservation and rehabilitation of parts of Chinatown, retaining the liveliness of the Singapore River and controlling the height of buildings around.
Subsequently, Mr Olszewski acted as UN planning consultant to the Urban Renewal and Development Sub-project when he originated the concept of Marina City. He was also a planning consultant with Jurong Town Corporation and designed the masterplan of the Singapore Science Park in Kent Ridge. He also did pioneering studies on the environmental impact of industrial development.
In 1984, he assumed the position of senior architect with the Mass Rapid Transit Corporation and was responsible for the architectural design and implementation of seven of the elevated MRT stations. It was with great satisfaction that he could witness in 1987 the commencement of MRT system operations – the idea he had helped to put on paper 17 years earlier.
Singapore’s 50th anniversary is an excellent opportunity to celebrate Singapore’s planners and builders. I would like to express a deep hope that Mr Olszewski, whose ideas and designs helped to shape some of the most successful urban features of Singapore, will not be forgotten on that occasion.
I believe that, for example, a street in the city centre that he helped to reshape – or one of the MRT stations that he designed – could be named after him, even if his Polish surname seems difficult to pronounce.
To make it easier, I can suggest a simple method that Mr Olszewski came up with to help his Singaporean friends remember and pronounce his name: He would tell them, all you need to remember is just three English words and say it as if it was one word: “All-chefs-ski”.
stopinion@sph.com.sg
The writer is Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Singapore.
– See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/archive/saturday/premium/opinion/story/the-story-polish-architect-singapore-20141227#sthash.bK3zUhFB.dpuf

Ello, Ello thinks we are stupid?

In Uncategorized on 05/01/2015 at 4:57 am

When S’poreans complained to Tan Tock Seng Hospital that a Pinoy radiologist there had ranted about S’poreans on his Facebook page, the hospital reported on Facebook, “Dear all, the staff concerned is one of our nurses. He has reported to the police that his Facebook account has been hacked. We are cooperating with the police on the investigation. Thank you for the alerts and concern.”

Three points about the alleged hacking:

— So easy to hack Facebook meh? My understanding is that Facebook’s defences against hacking are pretty robust and only sophisticated hackers could do such a hacking.

— So why would a sophisticated hacker waste his or her time on an unknown Pinoy FT? Making it seem as though he was insulting S’poreans?

— Seems that anti-S’porean comments have been posted on the now “hacked” FB page in the past. You mean Ello the Pinoy never reads his own FB page? So page has been “hacked” and Ello only juz realised it. He is as clueless as a certain drum-major* from Cathoic High, whose band is alleged to have ignored him because they knew he was wrong, not them?

Seems to me that Ello the Pinoy would be more believable if he had claimed, “Not my page. I’m being fixed.”

Seems to me the Pinoy ambassador who talks provocatively of Filipinos … moving into more sectors of employment at a time when there is mounting concerned that FTs are favoured over locals in the job market has a lot to answer for: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/pinoy-tua-kee-gives-the-finger-to-govt-meng-seng-2/

Pinoys will undoubtedly play the victim, citing fear. Let me remind these professional victims and theit allies like Kirsten Han: there are no goons with guns here. That is the Pinoy way, not the S’porean way.

2015: FT thinks PinoyLand safe haven

In Emerging markets on 04/01/2015 at 9:55 am

An Indian FT loves PinoyLand. Why doesn’t he relocate to Manila instead of living here? Maybe no goons with guns here, no traffic jams?

Where can investors hide if emerging markets get into trouble? 

In Asia, the country that comes closest to a sanctuary is the Philippines. Growth is rapid, and government finances are in much better shape than before. In a 2015 beauty pageant, the Philippines might lose out to some larger economies which could reap a reform-led bounty. Still, India and Indonesia are risky bets, while South Korea is flirting with deflation.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2014/12/30/where-to-hide-in-an-emerging-market-rout/

But he has a point: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/three-asean-mkts-in-top-10-performing-mkts-of-2014/

More on why emerging markets can get into trouble in 2015

Emerging markets follow the biblical rule of seven lean years followed by seven rich ones, according to Harvard University economist Jeffrey Frankel. Every fifteen years, a crisis erupts.

By that measure, a rout is almost due. Developing economies have seen six years of brisk credit growth, fuelled by cheap global money. Private and public debt has ballooned. Since the end of 2007, the surge has been 90 percent of GDP in China, 30 percent in Brazil, and 40 percent in the Czech Republic.

These types of excesses typically stop abruptly. Seven years of frenzied petrodollar recycling in Latin America ended with a debt debacle in 1982. A seven-year boom preceded the 1997 Asian crisis. The trigger for the next rout could be an uncontrolled rise in U.S. bond yields, leading to an exodus of capital from developing nations.

 

New Yr fishy tale

In Uncategorized on 04/01/2015 at 4:12 am

A goldfish lover in the UK paid hundreds of pounds in vets’ fees when his pet became constipated.

And no it wasn’t caused by overindulgence over the hols. Fish “was constipated because he had a lump blocking his bottom, rather than because of his diet or any other reason,” said the operating vet.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-norfolk-30655444

 

Why we have so few world class GLCs

In Corporate governance, S'pore Inc, Temasek on 03/01/2015 at 5:39 am

We only have three, Keppel, SembCorp and SIA.

Here’s a possible reason from the letters page of the PAP’s bible, the Economist:

State-owned failings

* SIR – No long analysis is needed to understand why state-owned firms underperform (“State capitalism in the dock”, November 22nd). Two main mechanisms exist for accountability in modern society: market pressure and political control. State-owned firms fall between the two. They lack the degree of competition that private firms typically face but also do not have the direct political control that applies in conventional government.

Lack of accountability means lack of performance. Effectiveness is best secured by either keeping ventures with classic government agencies, instead of with state-owned firms, or by placing ventures in fully privatised companies with full market exposure, whichever best suits the activities in question. A bit of each is not enough, but instead creates a grey zone with grey results, which is what we see for state-owned firms.

Bent Flyvbjerg
Said Business School
University of Oxford

 

Three Asean mkts in top 10 performing mkts of 2014

In Indonesia on 03/01/2015 at 4:40 am

Global markets 1

The Pinoys should go home if they really are proud of their country. Maybe coups are gd for the stock market (Egypt, Thailand)

Productivity: What PM doesn’t tell S’poreans

In Economy on 02/01/2015 at 2:30 pm

PM Lee warned Singaporeans of the economy’s weak productivity after registering a negative 0.5 per cent performance for the third straight year.

Mr Lee reiterated that economic growth remains important for Singapore. While it is “not the be-all and end-all”, growth helps provide resources to improve on social well-being and social safety nets for citizens. (CNA a few days ago).

Well productivity has been a problem here since the days when he became DPM in 1990.

He has tried all the Hard Truths to improve it and failed.

Productivity: The New Age way

Less fear (including fear of losing job to cheaper FTs) and shorter working hours are the key to increased productivity

Life@Work: Why Fear Kills Productivity It’s in any company’s self-interest to create a culture that minimizes fear, Tony Schwartz writes in the Life@Work column.

As the productivity expert Edward Deming once put it: “Drive out fear, so that everyone may work more effectively and productively.” It’s in any company’s self-interest to create a culture that minimizes fear. Obvious as that seems, it isn’t always the intuitive move.

In the endless quest to minimize costs and maximize efficiency, companies demand more of us than ever. But the fatigue and feelings of being overwhelmed that result often push us into survival mode, bring out our worst instincts, and actually diminish our capacity and effectiveness.

Trauma theory has applicability here. “A continuum exists between mental health and mental illness related to the degree of stress a person is forced to endure,” writes Sandra L. Bloom,a psychiatrist and leading thinker in the field of trauma. “To develop normally, children require environmental stress sufficient to promote skills development and mastery experiences (positive stress) combined with sufficient buffering to prevent them from being overwhelmed.”

Adults are no different. The enemy of sustainable productivity is not stress. Rather, it’s the absence of intermittent rest and renewal — and not just physically.

At the emotional level, the most powerful source of renewal is the experience of feeling valued and appreciated, which explains why studies consistently show that the most engaged employees are those who answer “yes” to the survey question “My boss genuinely cares about my well-being.” When leaders deeply care, it serves their own interests as well as their employees.

Conversely, leaders who express anger, frustration and impatience – even in relatively small doses – may prompt action, but those emotions also drive their employees into states of fear and survival. People perform best when they feel best. Leaders’ negative emotions not only leave a long tail, but also progressively deplete the reservoir of capacity and motivation their employees bring to the table.

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/12/05/reduce-fear-to-create-a-calmer-productive-workplace/

Reducing hours

Reducing hours, say, from 55 to 50 hours a week, would have had only small effects on output. The results are even starker when we are talking about very long working hours. Output at 70 hours of work differed little from output at 56 hours. That extra 14 hours was a waste of time.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2014/12/working-hours

“Of course longer hours reduce productivity. As an employer I am certainly under no illusions about that. Above a certain threshold, longer hours ultimately reduce output and increase employee churn. But my experience is that the threshold is well above 40 hours per week.”—on “Proof that you should get a life”, December 9th 2014

 

The Japanese story PM didn’t tell us

In Corporate governance, Political governance on 02/01/2015 at 5:17 am

For some reason, AhLoong is such an easy person for me to get annoyed with.

Juz as I was thinking that I was going too far in making fun* of a basically decent chap trying to live up to dad’s expectations while trying to make life more comfortable for us (OK so that he can continue drawing his salary), he has to put up a story about Japan inter-generational strife (http://blogging4myself.blogspot.sg/2014/12/pm-shares-article-from-japan-times.html) to shore up one or several of dad’s Hard Truths.

Well given the performance of his tpt ministers (2.8% rise in public tpt fares instead of 3.4%** despite oil prices falling 49%, and pipes bursting and other problems at Changi Airport), VivianB (rats), and Yaacob (cont’d cluelessness), he doesn’t  follow the Japanese practice of solving managerial problems.

Let me explain.

The president of Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata is to step down, amid widespread criticism of how the company handled recent safety crises.

Stefan Stocker presided over the firm during a period in which Takata airbags were linked to the deaths of five people.

Additionally, concerns that some of Takata’s designs may be defective have led to widespread recalls: more than 24 million vehicles globally since 2008.

Under certain conditions, Takata airbags can be set off with too much explosive force and potentially fire out metallic shrapnel.

The company has been heavily criticised by regulators in the United States for its slow response to the problems, which first came to light six years ago.

Stefan Stocker’s role will be taken over by the current chairman, Shigehisa Takada.the 48-year-old grandson of Takata’s founder. Shigehisa Takada.will take a 50% t pay cut for four months in response to the safety crisis.

Related article: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/learn-from-japanese-set-example-leh-elites/

——-

Since when has AhLoong taken a pay cut in response to ministerial failure?

*https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/ahloong-should-ask-this-tourist-for-advice/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/ahloong-needs-his-very-own-superheloo-costume/

**The last review done by PTC in Jan this year resulted in a fare increase of 6.6%, to be adjusted in two steps. A 3.2 per cent hike was implemented in Apr, and the remaining 3.4 per cent carried forward to the current review.

The fare formula is based on four components:

Core CPI inflation: This currently stands at 1.7 per cent, and excludes home and car prices.
Average wage increase, at 4.3 per cent
Energy index: This registered -12.6 per cent, due to a drop in energy costs in 2013
Productivity index at 0.5 per cent, where operators share productivity gains with commuters

Based on this formula, this year’s fare adjustment quantum is -0.6%. But because of the “roll-over” of 3.4% from Jan’s review, it resulted in 2.8%.

Mr Lui said, “Here we are using 2013, for this fare formula. We know that energy costs have come down, as compared to 2012, which is why for the most recent year, the index was actually -0.6.”

“You may recall that it was 6.6 per cent, of which the most recent fare increase gave an upward revision of 3.2 per cent. So there was a 3.4 per cent that was carried over, and now taken together with the -0.6 per cent, which was derived using all the numbers in 2013, the maximum that is allowed for this particular fare increase will be 2.8 per cent.”

Pinoy tua kee gives the finger to govt & Meng Seng

In Economy on 01/01/2015 at 5:49 am

Remember earlier this yr, when GMS, Gilbert Goh and various anti-PAP paper warriors were proclaiming victory when the Pinoys called off their “trespass” (taz how GMS spun a Pinoy plan to hold a party at a public space in Orchard Rd)?

They were cock-a-hoop, trumpeting their “victory”. Pinoy pride was badly hurt.

Very recently, the Philippines’ ambassador to Singapore Antonio A Morales says that Filipinos are moving into more sectors of employment

The estimated number of Filipinos working in Singapore tripled in the past decade to about 167,000 as of 2013, according to Philippines census data.

,,,

Filipinos are willing to take on jobs for lower salaries, with working conditions unacceptable to Singaporeans.

The trend has made Filipinos “easier to exploit”, disadvantaging both them and Singaporeans, said migrant rights activist Jolovan Wham.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28953147

And this at a time when the PAP adminitrastion is saying that it,s tightening FT employment rules. If so how come Pinoys are are moving into more sectors of employment

So it seems the Pinoy colomisation of S’pore continues despite what the PAP administration and Meng Seng says.

What do you think?

Btw here’s more about the PAP administration love of FTs, and Pinoys sliming us. I wrote this in July 2014 but decided not to publish it as I didn’t want to come across as anti-Pinoy (I like being served by Pinoy service staff), nor did I want to be associated a man who helped ensure the PAP’s preferred candidate won the presidential election (I had no issues with the Pinoys partying at Orchard Rd if they could meet the requirements).

But since the ambassador is raising the temperature with his comments (the embassy has form in this respect), I’ll add my my two-pence worth on the issue of Pinoys sliming us and the PAP’s administration love of FTs.

Pinoys vilify us

The education minister said last week [week before 26 July] it is important to go beyond understanding the “main races”.in embracing diversity.

“Singapore has thrived because of our openness to international trade flow, knowledge and cultures, all of which have brought us opportunities and progress. As Singapore moves towards a more diverse landscape, it is important that we continue to embrace diversity,” said Mr Heng.

“We also need to go beyond understanding the main races to respecting all people regardless of race, language or religion, who live and work in Singapore – for the happiness, prosperity and progress of our nation.”

Given that there are about 200,000 Pinoys working here, the largest group outside the “main races”, one can only assume, he is trying to tell us to be nice to the Pinoys.

No wonder there are Pinoys who think that the PAP stands for “Pinoy Action Party”.

It’s the Pinoys in PinoyLand who should learn to understand S’poreans.

Two recent examples of Pinoys defaming us.

Singaporean officials* has assured the Philippines their government is taking steps to address the hate campaign on Filipinos working there.

The assurance was made by the Singapore delegation who participated in Informal Consultations on the Philippines-Singapore Action Plan (PSAP).

[Source via TRE]: http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/world/item/1432-singapore-vows-to-address-hate-campaign-on-filipinos]

Hate campaign against Pinoys meh?

So how come they were laughing and chatting away last week-end at Lucky Plaza. And Goh Meng Seng is still in HK, and quiet? Juz like Gilbert Goh. Surely if there is a hate campaign, these two men would be shouting themselves hoarse?

What more Pinoys in PinoyLand want? An excuse to burn our flag in PinoyLand and then give us two fingers? They not happy no get visas to come here to earn money and live in a place without fearing goons with guns. Are they being stirred by Pinoys here unhappy that what they tot were the Pinoy Action Party, Pinoy Minister, Pinoy Minister’s Office and Pinoy Police Force they make sure that Pinoys could party in a busy shopping area on a Saturday afternoon. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/pinoys-still-ng-kum-guan-about-8-june-fiasco/

And this vilification of us is only the latest. A few weeks ago, former ambassador Roy Seneres said the OFW Family party-list will file a protest with the International Labor Organization for violations of relevant ILO conventions relative to the right of workers to decent work and to be treated as human beings not as slaves and/or chattels.

Seneres, founder of the party-list, was reacting to reports that Filipino service workers in Singapore are being put on display in malls in the city-state to attract prospective employers.

Singapore must come out with a clear-cut statement that they have stopped the despicable practice or else the OFW Family party-List will file a protest with the [ILO]” on the matter.

http://www.manilatimes.net/singapores-treatment-of-filipina-workers-hit/109168/

He obviously doesn’t read the newspapers or if he does, doesn’t trust what a S’pore-based diplomat said, or the S’pore govt.

This report appeared a day earlier in the same newpaper.

The Singaporean Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said a Filipino diplomat in Singapore cast doubt on an online news report that Filipina household workers were being displayed for sale at some of the city-state’s malls.

In a statement, MOM responded “to recent Filipino media reports, based on an online Al Jazeera story, about the treatment of Filipino foreign domestic workers (FDWs) while they are placed with employment agencies (EAs) in Singapore.”

The statement said “we note that when contacted by The Straits Times, the Filipino labor attaché in Singapore, Mr. Vicente Cabe, was quoted as saying that based on his observations, the online article ‘doesn’t seem to have basis’ and that while he saw some FDWs sitting on one side of a room at some agencies, waiting to be interviewed by clients, “ . . . it seems a bit exaggerated to say that there is anything wrong with that.”

The MOM said it visited the EAs in the two shopping centers concerned and did not find any inappropriate “displays of FDWs.”

Its statement added that “the Al Jazeera story also mentioned that some FDWs could be seen demonstrating household or care giving chores within the premises of EAs. As some EAs have training facilities in the same premises as their front offices, it is not unreasonable for FWDs to be performing such chores at the EA’s premises.”

Furthermore, “the same story also suggested that some FDWs were not treated well while in their EA’s care. MOM’s rules are clear that EAs have to ensure the well-being of FDWs in their case.”

The ministry said “inappropriate display of FDWs” at EAs’ premises or advertising them as being “available for hire at cheap or discounted prices” are unacceptable practices. MOM requires EAs to be responsible and accord basic respect in their practices to both their clients—the employer and the FDW—and expects them to exercise sensitivity when marketing their fees or services.”

http://www.manilatimes.net/singapore-ph-attache-denies-maids-sold-in-malls/108832/

Btw,  S’poreans don’t go round decribing mixed-parentage S’poreans as mongrels. Pinoys call mixed race Pinoys “mongrels”.

http://www.interaksyon.com/article/27168/this-azkal-barks-i-am-100-percent-pinoy

Juz go home pls: Bank president Jim Yong Kim has described the Philippines as the next “Asian miracle” and a global model in fighting corruption, as it emerges from decades as a regional economic laggard.

Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/event-planning-pinoy-style/

*I pass no comment on whether our officials agreed there was a hate campaign. I sincerely hope that our officials will always defend S’pore and S’poreans against such comments.