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Archive for September, 2015|Monthly archive page

Bro, S’poreans not Temasek, GIC

In Financial competency on 30/09/2015 at 11:56 am

No got so much money, unlike you.

I tot the above when I read this [T]hose with a bigger appetite for risk can consider picking up counters selectively, said Mr Roger Tan, chief executive of Voyage Research.

“Investing is about taking risk and individual stock picking, whether based on fundamentals or technicals, is a risky business. I would say that if they have kept sufficient cash in their bank account, that is their insurance,” he said.

“The market is actually offering brave investors a good deal. At current prices, the price-to-earnings ratio is 12.6 and price-to-book ratio is 1.12. If investors have excess funds, they can consider buying into the market, but do it slowly. Cost average downwards,” he added.

Today

In this type of market, what I want to know is yield.

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Social media & politics

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 30/09/2015 at 4:50 am

The Indian PM, a big fan and user of social media, said in California during his recent visit there:

— “When I came to government, I saw that one of the problems that governments have is that there is a big gap between the government and the people,” he said. “But with social media we have daily bonding.”

— “The strength of social media today is that it can tell governments where they are wrong and can stop them from moving in the wrong direction.”

I can imagine our PM* or some other PAP minister using the same language to explain to S’poreans and ang mohs why S’pore doesn’t need any Opposition in parly, and why S’poreans should treasure the unicorn of being a de-facto one-party state.

And I’m sure the Chinese Communist Party would say the same things in China.

But. Modi also said

“We used to have elections every five years and now we can have them every five minutes.”

Somehow I don’t think PM or the CCP would ever say this.

I’ll leave the final word on social media and politics to a disillusioned anti-PAP cyber warrior who I respect. He says social media is ineffective against claims made by the govt.
Looks like he’s still upset with the GE result. But he, unlike the cybernuts and Dr Chee, accept and respect the results.
——-
*Maybe PM should tell Tharman to stop cracking jokes about politics:

“He told reporters that the opposition plays a critical role in advancing the country. “It is important for the opposition to reflect on what happened – not just in terms of whether the electorate didn’t know better or the electorate made a mistake – but how they could have done better in their strategies,” he said.
“We need a more reflective attitude after each election, and on how the opposition can continue to play a constructive and positive role in Singapore politics, as they must.
Mr Tharman also acknowledged the presence of several new opposition candidates who failed to get elected, and hoped they would continue to be active in public life.
It is very good that we saw some new faces in the elections. Several very interesting new faces,” he said.
“I hope they continue to contribute to Singapore – even though they didn’t win – whether in politics or outside.”

But Tharman loves cracking jokes

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/property-tharman-trying-to-crack-jokes-again/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/tharman-trying-to-tell-jokes-again/

 

 

StanChart: Did you know?/ Glencore: Sinking fast

In Banks, China, Commodities, GIC, Temasek on 29/09/2015 at 1:06 pm

It was reported last week in the FT that Standard Chartered awarded Bill Winters, its CEO, shares worth more than 6 million pounds, or about $9 million, to compensate the bank’s new CEO for income he forfeited by leaving the hedge fund he founded. The upfront payment comes as the shares have hit new six-year lows.

Meanwhile GIC must be ruing not selling out of Glencore because on Monday in London

Shares in commodity giant Glencore plunged 30% after analysts raised fears about lower metal prices.

The company’s shares dropped to a new record low of 69p on Monday, helping push the FTSE 100 down 2%.

Analysts warned slumping metal prices could leave Glencore shares almost worthless because of its heavy debts.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34380490

Why did everything go wrong for Glencore? 

Whatever both StanChart and Glencore are suffering from China’s slowdown. And HoHOHO is still betting big on China (see previous story)?

Temasek, DBS buying into Chinese PosBank?

In Banks, China, Temasek on 29/09/2015 at 4:32 am

China’s Postal Savings Bank Said to Be Near $6.5 Billion Sale. Postal Savings Bank of China, which has the most outlets of any lender in the nation, is nearing an agreement to raise more than $6.5 billion from investors including UBS Group and Temasek Holdings ahead of a planned initial public offering, Bloomberg News reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

(NYT Dealbook last Thursday)

The story also says that DBS will buy a stake.

HohoHo still bullish on China it seems and doubling her bets down. The problem for us is that these stakes cannot be divested completely without upsetting the Chinese. The ang moh banks were able to divest their cornerstone stakes in Chinese banks. They like Temasek got their stakes at “special” prices, but unlike them Temasek is stuck with these stakes, only able to add or decrease at the margins.

Meanwhile rights issues are expected necause of expected bad loans.

Who are attracted by buy-backs, dividends?

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

Here’s something interesting from Fidelty on the share buyback versus dividend debate. (Via FT):

The two are often treated as if they were the same thing, when there are quite different financial transactions.

Share buybacks are an acquisition of an asset, with a price to earnings multiple. They are not a risk-free investment, indeed they are very risky. A dividend is a long-term commitment to shareholders to distribute excess returns. It is not an acquisition.

Therefore, a company will attract very different shareholders depending upon which route it takes. Buybacks will attract activist and event-driven shareholders, while dividends will attract a more stable shareholder base.

Dominic Rossi is global chief investment officer of equities at Fidelity

 

Haze, 9/11 & TOC

In Indonesia, Political governance on 28/09/2015 at 5:18 am

PM got really lucky on 9/11? Or did the 9th Immortal* use his newly acquired powers to fix the weather?

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Imagine if 9/11 was as hazy as last Friday (Schools had to be closed and in the morning, the Pollutants Standards Index,PSI, hit 341- the highest level this year.). PM would most probably not have got the 10 point swing that had the anti-PAP cyberwarriors like Constance Singham choking on their venom from their fangs https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/social-activist-feminist-in-denial/. A five point swing would have been more likely, something which I tot probable based on my analysis that East Coast and Marine Parade would not fall, but Aljunied would repent

In the run up to 9/11, if the weather had been like that in the last week TOC (WP’s Hammer Online) would be pushing the line that the haze is almost all the fault of the PAP administration: like it did on Friday

The Singapore government has a duty to address the annual issue and to stop pushing the blame to “uneducated” villagers and companies that are almost never prosecuted in any way. The residents of Singapore deserves a better answer than being urged to bear with it and told that things are beyond our control.”

http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2015/09/is-spore-helpless-about-the-haze-not-really/

I’ll go into what the Hammer Online TOC wants the govt to do one of these days. But until then bear in mind that anti-PAP cyberwarriors accused the govt of using salt to induce rain juz before F1. When the govt denied this, TOC said the govt was being less than open because the M’sians and Indons might have used salt to induce rain (Wow everything blame PAP isit?). Btw, TOC and the anti-PAP cyberwarriors didn’t use the the word “salt”. They used the term “sodium chloride”. To make the seeding sound more “sinister”?

It’s stories like this that “double confirm” the PAP administration’s assertion that TOC is indeed “political” and worthy of being hantamed, left, right and in the balls. When it was “gazetted” yrs ago, I tot the action unfair: now I’m not so sure.(Disclosure: I helped out at TOC when Ravi was chief editor,)

TOC doesn’t respect the decision of 70% of voters to support the PAP? It like, Dr Chee, wants the 30% to rule over the 70% isit?

“At home, anger at the current political situation is palpable [Huh? OK on TRE] and some have resorted to action [TRE cybernuts are shoutong obscenities and cursing their fellow S’poreans? Nothing unusual there.] . If the PAP is content to label this group of citizens as the ‘noisy minority’, … For these people, the prospect of being unable to bring about political change through the ballot box* only makes the PAP’s claim of legitimate power sound dangerously vacuous.”

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/will-the-real-sdp-dr-chee-pls-stand-up/

(He forgot that over the years this 30% of voters have been able to get the support of swing voters in Hougang, Aljunied and Punggol East. Juz because the SDP can’t win, doesn’t mean that others can’t. Go ask the WP. Yes, it’s an uneven field, but winning is not impossible. Takes time, patience and maturity: virtues that Dr Chee may not have.

Yes the minority has rights, but so does the 70%. Democracy is not about majoritism, but neither is it about dictatorship by the minority.

Here’s an extract (emphasis mine) from a BBC article that Doc Chee and TOC should bear in mind when demanding that the views of the 30% must prevail (because the 30% agrees with their “right” views?)

Clem Attlee’s Labour government had a massive Commons majority and an undoubted mandate, but had only 16 peers in the Lords. Theoretically, their Lordships could have frustrated Attlee at every turn, throwing out or wrecking every bill in their programme, but that would have risked retaliation in the form of outright abolition – so, instead, a deal was struck.

Peers would not oppose measures promised – “foreshadowed” – in the government’s manifesto, and therefore assumed to have the endorsement of the electorate, at second or third Reading. In other words, the government would get the legislation it had promised to voters, and therefore would not have to get bogged down in an Asquith-style struggle with the Lords – Addison was a veteran of the Asquithian Liberal Party, and would doubtless have preferred not to repeat its epic battles with peers.

Cranborne spelled the new doctrine out in the debate on the King’s Speech in July 1945:

“Whatever our personal views, we should frankly recognise that these proposals were put before the country at the recent general election and the people of this country, with full knowledge of these proposals, returned the Labour Party to power. The government may, therefore, I think, fairly claim that they have a mandate to introduce these proposals. I believe it would be constitutionally wrong, when the country has so recently expressed its view, for this House to oppose proposals which have been definitely put before the electorate.”

He reserved “full liberty of action” on legislation not included in an election manifesto.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-34340715

———————————

*Funny that no-one has accused LKY of using his unearthly powers to transform Oppo votes into PAP votes. But Uncle Redbean comes close.

The final result was just too incredible and unbelievable. This must be the biggest mystery of this GE. It was like a strange event in the Bermuda Triangle that defied all logic and reasons. How could a SDP team that was technically superior or at worst equal to the PAP team lost so badly?

Call it a miraculous win for the PAP team. The other mystery must be the near loss of the WP team in Aljunied GRC. The voters could not switch camp just like that, and without a big crisis. The AHPETC was no crisis but a red herring. The voters of Aljunied were not so daft not to see it to affect their voting decision.

Yes, the truth is stranger than fiction.

http://mysingaporenews.blogspot.sg/2015/09/the-sdp-team-that-could-not-have-lost.html

I’m sure that he, like Goh Meng Seng, believes that UFOs are aliens visiting.

 

 

 

 

Celebrating the modern mooncake

In Holidays and Festivals on 27/09/2015 at 11:17 am

In recent years, a bevy of newer varieties have sprung up alongside the traditional nut- and bean-based ones. A saleswoman at one of Singapore’s luxury hotels says that their bestseller this year is a snowskin mooncake—which gets its name from the pounded-rice dough that must be kept either refrigerated or frozen—stuffed with a milk chocolate and Earl Grey tea filling dotted with chocolate pearls. Other filling flavours include durian, Irish whiskey and cognac; in China organic and vegan mooncakes are having a moment.

Tempting as it is to condemn these innovations as non-traditional, Fuchsia Dunlop, a British authority on Chinese food, notes that “cuisines are living cultural artefacts…they are a response to where we are now.” And where we are now is a world in which Chinese chefs often travel to the West, just as increasing numbers of Westerners seek their fortunes in the Sinosphere. Its cuisine reflects such interchanges.

http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21668354-celebrating-harvest-festival-chinese-diaspora-reinventing-classical-chinese-pastry-proves

M’sia: Why Cina & Kelang bitching

In Indonesia, Malaysia on 26/09/2015 at 1:02 pm

And why the Malay ultras think that they are ingrates.

BN wastes reserves defending ringgit

China really tua kee

In China, Commodities, Emerging markets, Energy, Hong Kong on 26/09/2015 at 7:20 am

China's imports

Related post: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34344926

 

Big Asean stk mkt falls

In Indonesia, Malaysia on 25/09/2015 at 1:15 pm

Global-stock-markets-chart

Remember MayBank Kim Eng says Thailand and S’pore mkts most resilient in region.

Png the troubleshooter

In Accounting, Corporate governance on 25/09/2015 at 4:43 am

But first: when I read the following extract http://m.todayonline.com/ge2015/wp-activists-help-party-grow-grassroots-network

“This is very much (Mr Low’s) style, he wants to give residents as much face time as possible, and they are also willing to wait to speak to him,” said Ms Ivy Tan, who has been helping out at the Bedok Reservoir-Punggol division since 2012. As such, their MPS often stretch past 11pm.

Mr Chen Show Mao (Paya Lebar) and Mr Muhamad Faisal Manap (Kaki Bukit), meanwhile, set up several stations at their MPS, which are manned by party activists who help to interview residents, transcribe their cases and draft relevant letters..

I couldn’t help but wonder about PritamS style of looking after his constituents. I read the article several times and couldn’t the answer.

Ah well.

Have you noticed that in the last few months, Png Eng Huat is the man beside Auntie, when it came to AHPETC matters? Before that it was always Auntie (chairperson) and Pritam (Both Png anf Pritam are vice-chairpersons). But ever since after the AGO’s report was published, it has been Png beside Auntie. Seems he has been tasked to sort out the mess created by the lack of oversight.

———————————————————————————————-

What did the Auditor-General’s report say?
The report found five key lapses in the AHPETC’s accounts:
1. Lack of governance over transactions with related parties;
2. Poor monitoring of S&CC arrears;
3. Poor record and accounting system;
4. Non-compliance with rules on sinking fund;
5. Insufficient internal controls

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-ahpetc-saga-070752226.html

—————————————————————————————-

The PAP had bayed and howled for the the WP to “come clean” (produce the documents), or if the WP was really concerned about its finances, it bring a forensic accountant to reconstruct the accounts. Pritam retorted that they needn’t answer to Parliament, but to residents.

There was  no production of the documents (AWOL? MIA?), and no forensic audit (Too expensive? Concerned about the probable findings?). Instead Png worked with the AHPETC’s auditors and another newly appointed accountant to sort out the mess. The end result was that Auntie could write in the report to the 2014/ 2015 report:

AHPETC has continued to improve its financial processes and management.

AHPETC has cleared most of the disclaimers from the previous annual audits. The remaining observations relate mainly to opening balance issues for which there are still information gaps and legacy issues. There are still areas to work on. AHPETC will continue to improve its financial management.

Still even by the WP’s admission, there’s plenty of work to be done. And the use of the word “mainly” gives the lie to the claim that it’s all the fault of the PAP and PA. Makes one wonder if the WP is afraid of what a forensic audit will uncover?

Never mind the PAP may still force one. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/wps-punngol-east-problem-paps-excuse-king/

China Contrarians

In Banks, China, Private Equity, Property on 24/09/2015 at 3:20 pm

HSBC to Add 4,000 Jobs in 4 Years in China HSBC is planning a 30 percent increase from 13,000 employees in the Pearl River Delta in spite of the bank’s three-year plan to cut global headcount by 50,000 and reduce annual costs by up to $5 billion. (NYT Dealbook)

HSBC has been given permission to issue a Panda bond (a first foe a foreign bank). The greater ability  to access to local fundraising bodes well for the bank’s Pearl Delta plans.

What is most striking about George Osborne’s Chinese tour is he is doubling his political and economic bet on the world’s number two economy at a time when that economy is looking its most fragile for 30 years.

His calculation is that China’s economy will slow in a relatively contained way to a more sustainable rate – perhaps 4% or 5% a year compared with the official target of 7% – without a devastating crash that would damage a large number of client economies and engender social unrest in China itself (in employing the great Goldman bull of China Jim O’Neill as his commercial minister, Osborne could hardly wager otherwise).

The chancellor’s calculation is that the Chinese will remember who stuck by them when the going got tougher.

And he is also presuming that as the returns from investing in China itself diminish, Chinese institutions – many of them still loaded – will increasingly think owning a bit of Britain isn’t such a crazy idea after all.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34311675

Blackstone Hunts for Property Opportunities in China “Volatility can be your friend if you have a medium-to long-term perspective,” said Christopher Heady, head of the private equity firm’s Asia real-estate business.

(NYT Dealbook)

Oppo areas are NOT slums

In Property on 24/09/2015 at 4:35 am

Private property and HDB prices are NOT better in PAP areas.

Research by property website 99.co shows, it doesn’t matter whether a property (HDB or private) is located in a constituency held by the PAP or the WP or the Chiams’ Party.

Today reported:

Amid perceptions that Opposition-held constituencies are not upgraded as much as ruling party wards and get fewer amenities, and thus may be seen as being less attractive as a residential area, 99.co studied housing price data from the past 10 years and laid to rest concerns among some residents of their homes being undervalued.

The first two graphs show how private housing prices in the four constituencies — Aljunied, Ang Mo Kio, Potong Pasir and West Coast — have changed from July 2006 to July this year.

Both Aljunied and Potong Pasir outperformed the Singapore average in terms of the property price appreciation, 99.co noted. In fact, both constituencies are among the best performing areas in Singapore, with its properties more than doubling in price on average over the last 10 years — a growth rate of over 100 per cent.

What about PAP territory?

Choosing Ang Mo Kio and West Coast … , 99.co noted that home prices in the former have performed just as well as those in Aljunied, but those in the latter lagged quite a bit behind the national average, growing only about 50 per cent in the last 10 years.

Importantly, the price movements and trend lines in the constituencies have remained in sync with the national average and other wards despite control of Aljunied and Potong Pasir changing hands in 2011.

“The rise or fall of property prices is not dependent on whether the property is in a PAP or an Opposition ward. Rather, the property prices are a factor of the location, and the corresponding supply and demand characteristics at the given point in time,” said Mr Eugene Lim, key executive officer of real estate agency ERA.

What about HDB flats?

99.co reported that over the last 10 years, HDB resale prices in almost all wards have appreciated 80 to 100 per cent. With the exception of the spike in Tanjong Pagar due to Pinnacle@Duxtonhaving matured for resale in 2014, the graph lines for all of the wards have been pretty much the same.

HDB resale prices show that whether an estate is in a PAP or Opposition ward doesn’t matter. Prices move in line throughout S’pore, unlike private housing, where the price appreciation has varied widely from 50 to 150%.  99.co explains: “The data from 99.co clearly indicates that there is no difference in the valuations of residences between neighbourhoods. This likely indicates that common areas such as pavements, drainages and landscaping are being managed to similar standards. Otherwise, over two to three years, the differences will show and valuations in badly managed districts would drop,” said Mr Ku Swee Yong, chief executive of property agency Century 21 Singapore.

http://m.todayonline.com/ge2015/pap-or-opposition-ward-no-difference-home-value

 

 

“Resilient”/ “Unresilient” stocks : MayBank Kim Eng

In Energy, Property on 23/09/2015 at 6:26 am

Under the worst test scenario – this assumes that a 10 per cent cut in revenue, 10 per cent foreign exchange depreciation and 100 basis-point hike in interest rates happen all at once next year – three sectors emerged as the most resilient: China water-utility stocks, healthcare and manufacturing. So says MayBank Kin Eng in a report in mid Sept.

Don’t know about the Chinese utlities but the rest of list (see below)l ooks about right.

Healthcare stocks such as Q&M and Raffles Medical: “buffered by the largely non-elective procedures they offer”: “Under (the worst scenario), their earnings could drop 12 to 16 per cent when revenue declines, while foreign exchange and interest rate changes do not really move the needle,” said the report.

It added that manufacturers such as Innovalues, Valuetronics Holdings and Venture Corporation – which earn the bulk of their revenues in US dollars – should benefit from the strengthening greenback as they reap cheaper production costs.

Unsafe 

Offshore and marine, property and banking sectors – already under pressure – which could be “severely tested” by falling oil prices, rising interest rates and depreciating currencies, noted the report.

In the event of a market shock, highly geared offshore and marine asset owners like Vard Holdings, Pacific Radiance and Swiber Holdings may need to “recapitalise their equity, restructure their debt or face consolidation”, it said.

Developers CapitaLand and OUE would also be at risk of cash-flow constraints as their earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) fall to “dangerous levels”, while the local banks could well see profits slump by up to 80 per cent.

S’pore along with Thailand and India, appears to be more resilient compared with others in the region, said Maybank Kim Eng.

China and Indonesia stood out as the most vulnerable, with China the only country to log a negative free cash flow in the stress test.

“This could be a consequence of excess capacity in China, meaning a shock has a greater impact on cash flows,” noted the report.

https://i0.wp.com/www.straitstimes.com/sites/default/files/st_20150918_jwstocks18nwr_1694488-page-001.jpg

Will the real SDP, Dr Chee pls stand up?

In Political governance on 23/09/2015 at 4:54 am

After the GE, it was heartening to read this

Paul Tambyah: “This election has confirmed how hard it is for opposition politicians in Singapore to get their message across. I would like to continue with this process unless the PAP adopts all our policies and moves towards social justice (!) because that is what is most important to me rather than who is in power. Singaporeans are not really a selfish people; we do believe in democracy, justice and equality as pre-requisites for peace and prosperity despite the cynicism and materialism around us.”

It was a sign that the SDP had matured.

But then, in a statement that was published on TRE (among other sites), Dr Chee wrote:

“At home, anger at the current political situation is palpable [Huh? OK on TRE] and some have resorted to action [TRE cybernuts are shoutong obscenities and cursing their fellow S’poreans? Nothing unusual there.] . If the PAP is content to label this group of citizens as the ‘noisy minority’, … For these people, the prospect of being unable to bring about political change through the ballot box only makes the PAP’s claim of legitimate power sound dangerously vacuous.”*

And then: ‘Speaking before a crowd that filled the SDP’s headquarters and spilled out the front door, SDP secretary-general Chee Soon Juan argued that the power imbalances in the system meant “elections in Singapore can have one, and only one, outcome… PAP victory.”

Control over the mainstream media, the use of the People’s Association for party purposes and the placing of the Elections Department under the purview of the Prime Minister’s Office have stacked the deck against opposition parties, assuring the continuance of PAP dominance in Singaporean politics, Chee said**.

(TOC)

Is Dr Chee reverting to  his Mad Dog persona? Is he Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? If so, Dr Chee needs to be forced to his medicine? Or should the dosage should increase?

These are questions that some of us that rooted for the SDP are asking ourselves.

All I can hope is that the new look SDP is not wayang, or will be discarded anytime soon. And that Dr Chee is juz venting his frustrations. Even that is putting a gloss on the situation as it shows that he’s an immature person despite his age, and undoubted intellectual powers, and charisma.

Time to write-off the SDP***? Until it gets a new leader that will take it along the paththat the SDP seemed to have gone down the last few yr until Dr Chee’s outbursts?

One can only watch and wait.

During the elections Paul joked about Tharman joining the SDP, if the PAP splits. Well it looks more likely that if the Mad Dog returns to form (Cannot teach old dog new tricks?) that Dr Paul will join the PAP. After all there are those in the SDP (think John Tan. Chee’s sister and the Old Guard) who never really bot into SDP Bahru. It was a means to get into Parly by appearing moderate.

Watch and wait.

But the election loss is not the only loss that Dr Chee has to grapple with. He has made headway intellectually here partly because of Piketty’s book on why inequality is growing in the UAS, Europe and globally (something Dr Chee has been talking about in the local context since the 1990s, stressing that the engines of social mobility here have stalled).

But now the backlash against Piketty is gathering momentum: Piketty wrong about the inevitability of inequality? http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34283764.

=======================

*I posted on TRE: Come on whatever the PAP does, s/o JBI brown noser Dosh (sun shines from s/o JBJ’s behind), grave dancing Oxygen etc will want the PAP out but do nothing about it. Should anyone really care about their views?

Seriously, does 30% constitute a majority, and 70% a minority? Dr Chee seems to imply so.

**In contrast to Doc Chee’s comments, here is what Dr Paul said on the same topic: the dominance of the PAP. Dr Paul was asked What are the lessons learnt from GE2015’s results?

The main lesson for me was in the structural obstacles which restrict democracy in Singapore. In particular, the billion dollar People’s Association (PA) which makes a mockery of the election process in that the losers of the election in Hougang and Aljunied get all the resources of the taxpayer funded agencies. In addition, the overwhelming power of the mainstream media and their online outlets is a huge obstacle to overcome — for example, the only debates that occurred in this campaign were on CNA and IQ and the IQ debates had a very small audience, less than 0.1% of the electorate.

http://six-six.com/article/post-ge-q-and-a-dr-paul-tambyah

A really fair, nuanced comment, that PAP apologists like Calvin Cheng cannot contradict without sounding stupid. I’m not saying that they are not stupid.

One could argue that in substance, it’s the same point Dr Chee was making. But in politics, prestation and perception are v.v. impt.

***Something to ponder though the maths could be shoddy.

Singapore Democratic Party

Average PAP vote: 68.71 per cent
Average PAP swing: 5.47 per cent

Exactly as predicted by the model, the PAP achieved the smallest national swing against the SDP, far smaller than the national average swing. The model explains that the SDP should be more resistant to national swings than other opposition parties because it has adopted the “clear water strategy”, putting a clear and coherent ideological distance from the dominant party. The model also predicts correctly that as a niche party, the SDP will never have the best performance at the polls.

http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2015/09/modelling-the-2015-general-election-numbers-outcomes-and-theory/

Do read above even if I told TOC It’s hard to take seriously anyone who claims to be conversant with maths and models that can write

Average 2015 PAP vote: 69.99 per cent
Average 2011 PAP vote: 60.12 per cent
Average PAP swing: 9.87 per cent
In the last line “per cent” should be percentage points or points.
And the Alex Au methology of counting the average vote is more nuanced and makes the WP’s loss smaller than the SDP’s loss, making the above analysis suspect. https://yawningbread.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/general-election-2015-looking-back-looking-forward-part-1/

But intuitively, the “clear water strategy” sounds correct.

HoHoHO: StanChart upsets US again

In Banks, Temasek on 22/09/2015 at 1:40 pm

Documents seen by the FT suggest that the bank continued to seek new business from Iranian and Iran-connected companies after it had committed to stop working with such clients in 2007.

The US authorities are looking into the matter.

Rogue bank strikes again? Think got Temasek as major shareholder can be as yaya papaya as Amos Yee?

Denial continues/ Swing voters not stupid, WP

In Economy, Political governance on 22/09/2015 at 5:14 am

Retired (axed?) FT MP, Irene Ho wrote on her Facebook

The “hot” topics at the election rallies that some opposition parties said they would champion are issues that many of us, including the PAP MPs, have raised before – the widening income gap, social mobility, help for single mothers, job opportunities for Singaporeans especially the middle-aged and above, helping the vulnerable groups, the cost of living, and improving public transport. Indeed, I have spoken on all these and more, and so have other PAP MPs. Here is a selection. The question is not how fiery the debate is in Parliament, but how effective is the MP in pushing for change.

Over the last 15 years as a backbencher, I do see change within the PAP – and it is not because of the opposition. It is because of your support for PAP MPs who speak up for you. I myself have benefitted from the support that you have given me, as it gave me the courage and confidence to fight for what is important to you and to the country. Please support the PAP so that it can be in a position of strength to serve you better. ‪#‎GE2015‬‪#‎PAP4SG‬

If she and other PAP MPs are so good at bending the administration’s ear, why did PAP administration after 2011 GE and PE

— stop being in denial that the public tpt system sucked;

— start that building more HDB flats raided the reserves;

— introduced the Pioneer Package etc;

— in the process spend more of our money on ourselves; and

— curb FT inflows.

If the PAP MPs were really being listened to, the first four measures would have been introduced in the early noughties, and the last after the 2006 GE.

The PAP listens to the swing voters not to its MPs.

But let’s be fair, the Oppo groupies are in denial too

Someone posted this on Facebook

How PAP won PE back in GE2015

http://anyhowhantam.blogspot.sg/…/the-punggol-east-fix-how-…

Why I am not even surprised? PAP is master at this fixing game by shifting the goal post whenever they stand to lose the election which they want to win badly.

However, PAP Mandarins do not understand this simple logic – by winning PE at all costs, they stand to get exposed even more in AHPETC-gate and AIM-gate.

Wait and watch – PAP will find more cow dung on their white attires in time to come. It is not a question of if but when.

I had told MP Tin Pei Ling on the counting day at Kong Hwa school that PAP’s #1 enemy is not WP but some hot headed brain swollen PAP Mandarins who do not understand this simple fact:

Karma is bitch – whether one is Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Taoist, Jew, Sikh, Jain, Atheist or Agnostic.

By the way, on the counting day, the only PAP MP I found very relaxed and self assured was Tin Pei Ling. She has long future in politics for sure because she is able to win without “help” (???) of out of date and out of tune GCT.

On 9 Sep, I had Polling agent duty (as WP volunteer) for 6 hours (2 to 8 PM). Later I followed the sealed ballot boxes (together with another WP volunteer) on the bus to Kong Hwa school counting center. I was at Kong Hwa counting center until midnight while counting was still on but the sample counting results were already announced by 9:30PM.

Around midnight, I left Kong Hwa counting center to go home – tired, exhausted and also disappointed with the results. A senior PAP Activist (PA) also left Kong Hwa school at the same time feeling satisfied with the results and sweeping victory for PAP.

I congratulated PA and we had nice chat on the way out. PA offered me ride in his car until Haig Road. I had left my car at HDB car park next to Haig Road Community Center. On the way home, I was surprised to hear that gentleman (PA) wondering whether the voting results will send wrong signals to PAP Mandarins and whether PAP will interpret the results as license to increase GST to 10%.

I was baffled. I asked PA why he thinks GST may have to go up to 10% when the Government has such huge reserves and all social spending is being spent from returns of Temasek / GIC etc. He just smiled at me.

I think that poor PA gentleman doesn’t understand the bigger problems PAP has on hand now.

Not only PAP’s bluff will be called out in AHPETC-gate / AIM-gate but now they have to deal with significant number of foreign born citizens who will also be interested in joining politics to run for political office and they will vote only for those party that protects its interests.

I am tempted to yet again share a Gujarati (my native Indian language) idiom which reads as “જે ખાડો ખોદે તે પડે” <– unreadable on Android (transliteration “je khaDo khode te paDe”) which means – the one who digs hole for others, will find himself falling in the same hole…

And that is THE problem for PAP…

My FB avarar posted: Someone still in denial. PE victory means that a forensic audit of AHPETC accounts will have to be done to determine PE’s fair share of assets and liabilities https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/wps-punngol-east-problem-paps-excuse-king/.

Let’s give three cheers for the swing voters. They balance things they admire* about the PAP against things they deplore** and voted accordingly. The PAP listens to the swing voter, not its MPs or to Oppo MPs and parties. The swing voters are not stupid and didn’t buy into WP’s self-serving message of voting in more WP MPs. They saw that Show Mao*** was taking the money and keeping quiet.

Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/the-great-wall-the-oppo-has-to-climb/

(When this was republished by TRE it attracted a lot of abuse.)

*Like its new-found willingness to spend S’poreans’ money on S’poreans. And it’s decent economic record.

**They don’t give a hoot that Amos kanna takan so hard that he had to beg foe mercy****; or that ang moh tua kees like Cherian George and Kirsten Han shout “repression” juz because some fourth rate trashy sites are forced to close. They notice that TRE is unmolested.

***I know he’s a good social welfare officer in his ward (like Kate Spade’s in hers) and I hear he’s being groomed to succeed Low. But that doesn’t make it any easier to accept that he’s doing bugger in making the case for WP, and in helping managing the town council.

****I’m sure many were cheering on the AG: quietly of course.

Fed is the real hegemon/ How Chinese problems impact the US

In China on 21/09/2015 at 1:07 pm

Officials in China and Indonesia criticised the Fed for keeping the world guessing about its next move after it delayed raising rates.

Fed juz showing China that it’s the world’s hegemon just before Xi visits the US:

NYT Dealbook reported that the Fed stressed that it needs a little more reassurance from the United States economy and “What we can’t know for sure is how much concerns about the global economic outlook are drivers of those developments,”

Janet L. Yellen, the Fed’s chairwoman, took care to point out that the Fed was not just responding to a few rough weeks for the stock market, Neil Irwin writes in The Upshot. It needs a little more reassurance from the United States economy. “What we can’t know for sure is how much concerns about the global economic outlook are drivers of those developments,” she said.

The challenge now is that 2015 may end without providing answers to the questions that the policy committee has. It can take many months for financial swings to ripple through the economy.

Stanley Fischer, the Fed vice chairman, said last month that if the Fed waits until it is absolutely certain it is time to raise rates, it will probably be too late. Fed officials will still have to make a decision based on their own forecasts, rather than hard evidence.

This is also from NYT Dealbook (some time) back explaining why problems in China affect the US.

FAULT LINES REACH THE U.S. ECONOMYAs investors scramble to make sense of these swings, financial experts said there have been signs of an equity crisis for more than a year now, Landon Thomas Jr. reports in DealBook. They argue that the United States would only be able to avoid for so long the deflationary forces that have taken root in China.

More and more analysts now see the problems in China and other markets as a real threat to the United States economy. The fears about the economy have some investors betting that the Federal Reserve will not raise rates this year, though that may well be premature, as Binyamin Appelbaum reports.

“The global G.D.P. pie is shrinking,” said Raoul Pal, who produces a monthly financial report catered to hedge funds and other sophisticated investors. The most crucial indicator, in his view, has been the surge of the dollar against emerging market currencies.

Historically, the party has ended when the dollar takes off against emerging market currencies, as it did in Latin American in the 1980s and Southeast Asia in the 1990s. Suddenly, loans in relatively cheap dollars that financed real estate and consumption booms were no longer available and theultimate result was always a growth slowdown.

Through the year ending on Aug. 19, some of the worst-performing investments in dollar terms were Brazilian equities, Russian bonds, Indonesian equities, and Turkish equities.

During the same period, United States equities returned 8.7 percent – the fourth best return delivered by any major class of assets. In effect,investors in the United States miscalculated, thinking that what happened in Russia, Turkey and Indonesia need not have any effect on stocks of companies based in the United States. The slowdown in China was driving weakness in these countries, as it bought less steel from Brazil, less mineral fuel and oil from Indonesia.

Albert Edwards, a strategist at Société Générale in London, said the government’s naked support of the stock market bubble was a clear sign for him. “One you encourage an equity bubble, it will collapse – and then you are really in trouble,” Mr. Edwards said. “This is utter madness.”

For Jeffrey Sherman, a portfolio manager at the bond investment firm DoubleLine, the correction in the high-yield corporate bond market was an alarm bell. In summer 2014, as stocks of United States companies continued to push upward, the yields on risky corporations started to spike. The fact that these bonds were entering their own bear market should have been seen by equity investors as a warning sign, Mr. Sherman said.

David A. Stockman, a former budget director under Ronald Reagan, has spent the last three years closely examining the excesses of the Chinese investment boom and warning of their consequences. He points out that in the late 1990s, China had the capacity to manufacture 100 million tons of steel. That figure today is 1.1 billion tons – almost twice the amount of annual demand for steel in China.

This steelmaking boom sent the price for iron ore shooting up. Like all commodity prices, it has fallen sharply, a correction that creates problems for iron ore-producing countries like Australia, which made huge investments to keep supplying these raw materials to China.

The bottom line though, is that investors in American stocks recognized too late in the game that a global contraction was sneaking up on them, Mr. Thomas writes.

WP’s Punngol East problem/ PAP’s excuse king

In Accounting, Corporate governance on 21/09/2015 at 5:08 am

Forensic audit of AHPETC accounts

As someone who wants S’pore to move from a de facto one-party state to something more pluralistic, I was glad that Aljunied remained WP territory. But I was sad that the WP had escaped a forensic audit of the AHPETC accounts. This would have happened if PAP had won.

But I forgot the Punggol East victory.

Independent auditors may be called in to verify the accounts of Punggol East Single Member Constituency (SMC) only if facts and figures are in dispute, said its newly-elected Member of Parliament (MP) Charles Chong.

How not to dispute? For one, Auntie and Low want a fight over Charlie Chong’s alleged statement of a $1m surplus. A lot of he said, she said, TOC said: so I’ll let it be.

More importantly, while the latest set of accounts are pretty decent, as Auntie has said

AHPETC has continued to improve its financial processes and management.

AHPETC has cleared most of the disclaimers from the previous annual audits. The remaining observations relate mainly to opening balance issues for which there are still information gaps and legacy issues. There are still areas to work on. AHPETC will continue to improve its financial management.,

there will be a need for the SMC to ensure that it is getting its fair share of the APPETC’s assets (and liabilities). Given that all the accounts of the AHPETC are qualified, it is reasonable and legitimate to ask for a forensic audit of the AHPETC accounts in order to calculate the SMC’s fair share of the assets and liabilities.

Three cheers for the swing voters in PE.

Illustration of Singapore 2015 general elections by A Good Citizen

Of course, Auntie and Low could agree to be so generous to the residents of PE (thereby short-changing Aljunied and Hougang) that Charlie would keep quiet.

Zorro Lim: excuse king?

When I read this some time back, I couldn’t help laughing at Zorro’s excuse and wondering why Auntie etc hadn’t used such a similar excuse: “We screwed up, but had good intentions.”

Arrogant meh?

Grassroots leaders involved in financial irregularities were only trying to help, said the deputy chairman of the People’s Association (PA), Lim Swee Say, in Parliament on Monday.

“We can fault (grassroots volunteers) for their non-compliance of financial procedures, but please do not doubt them in their passion and commitment in always doing their best for the community,” Mr Lim said*.

(CNA)

The problem is that while Zorro can get away with “I can say with confidence there is no irregularity at the system level”, the WP can’t, given the Auditor-General’s report and its own auditor’s qualifications. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/pap-wp-dont-do-accouting/

———

*More: He said the root cause of these lapses were the “good intentions” of the grassroots leaders.

He went on to tell grandfather stories, by raising various examples of how grassroots leaders were “actually doing their best to serve the interests of the residents and meet the urgent needs of the community.”

… related how grassroots leaders had gone “all around Singapore” to look for face masks when the haze hit the island in 2013.

This was after a community hospital had appealed to the GROs for air purifiers for patients who were being housed in the hospital’s non-airconditioned wards.

When they found a “small store which had limited stock”, the grassroots leaders decided to purchase the masks without first calling for three tenders, which is what is required by the rules.

“… is this a case of non-compliance of financial procedures and rules? The answer is yes,” Mr Lim said. “Is this a case of grassroots leaders and volunteers compromising the interests of the community? The answer is certainly no.”

Backgrounder: PA, where the AGO had conducted test-checks on about 115 grassroots organisations (GROs) under the PA umbrella.Out of the GROs test-checked by the AGO, 30 per cent were found to have financial or accounting irregularities.

VivianB’s other folly: F1

In Economy, Tourism on 20/09/2015 at 11:20 am

Dr Chee rightly put down the guy who sneered at the elderly poor (Pioneer Package was PM’s way of saying sorry?) by reminding everyone who was responsible for overspending on the Kiddie Games by S$300m. (Btw, we never got to find out about the truth about the food poisoning of volunteers as promised did we?)

But lest we forgot, F1 was VivuanB’s idea too.

And it’s been another folly. Worse, S’pore is still paying the costs of having F1.

Singapore pays US$65m (S$83.3m) a year to bring F1 here. Only Malaysia and Abu Dhabi pay more.(BBC report).

Monaco is the only place that doesn’t pay.

So our “iconic” race is not cheap. Remember this when you read how much money F1 brings here.

The cost for organizing each race is approximately S$150 million dollars, with the government paying about 60% of the costs. And the fee is 55.6% of the cost). The government claims that each race generates about S$150 million in tourism receipts. So sounds like breakeven to me only, without taking into account the inconvenience to commuters and the lost sales at Suntec*.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/f1-only-two-other-countries-pay-higher-fees/

And

It’s not as though there is a huge savings gap. In fact it’s more expensive to stage a street race, even without taking account of the economic losses.

However, the annual running costs of a street race are greater than those of one on a permanent circuit: temporary grandstands need to be built and the roads need to be upgraded to F1’s high safety standards. The biggest single expense for the operators is staffing (c£10m), followed by rental of grandstands (c£8m) and construction of safety barriers and fencing (c£5m). 

In total, the annual operating cost of an F1 street race is in the region of £36m. Then comes the hosting fee, which is paid to the F1 rights holder. The average hosting fee came to £17m in 2011 but the sting in the tail of the contracts is that the price accelerates by as much as 10 per cent every year. Most new F1 race contracts are for ten years, so by the end of the agreement the annual fee comes to around £40m thanks to the escalator clause in the contract. That means that over the ten-year duration the bill for hosting fees totals an estimated £272m (see below) with the cost of running the races coming to £360m. That makes a total over ten years of more than £600m.

With annual running costs that are far lower than those for a street race, the total cost of building a Grand Prix circuit and hosting an F1 race over a ten-year period comes in at around £560m. But promoters need to dig deep to fund that initial track construction… http://www.babusinesslife.com/Ideas/Features/The-cost-of-hosting-a-Formula-1-Grand-Prix.html … how much the key elements of a brand new Grand Prix circuit are likely to cost… [£164m]

So the difference is spending S$80m more over 10 yrs to “save” on the cost of building a permanent track. Of course, I ‘m assuming the cost of the circuit land is zero or nominal. But this being S’pore where giving away the land for public housing would be “raiding the reserves” (Mah Bow Tan), this is a non-starter. Anyway the usual suspects would shout “corruption” even if the govt was willing to lease land at a nominal price.

So, the end result is that the “little people” who have to commute by way of public transport, get screwed, So waz new?

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/cheaper-to-build-f1-track/

And in a meritocracy, he’s still a minister? Can sneer at the elderly poor, overspend, miscalculate badly benefits and still be a minister? Why liddat PM?

Btw, the people who come for F1 https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/msians-pinoys-indons-love-f1-spore/

*So how abt sharing the benefits with the losers?  Especially since F1 will bring S$1b “additional value-add” for economy, says Iswaran. (S’pore expects expenses to drop about 15% to 20%, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The cost of the race is about $150 million, with the government co-funding 6o% of the amount, reminded S. Iswaran, “Singapore’s second trade minister, who’s responsible for developing the tourism industry”. What he didn’t say is that hotels have to pay a special levy of 30% on room rates during F1 period, if they are “track-side” hotels and 20% for the others. )

Compensate the retailers at Suntec City  and those who work in the city? Tax rebates for them? If no such sharing of the benefits, then it’s some private profits, and big state windfall (via taxes and other levies), and public inconvenience and some private losses. Readers might also like to know that it costs at least US$120m to build a dedicated F1 circuit (excluding, it seems, land costs), so by inconveniencing commuters and some retailers, the government is passing on the one-off cost of building a F1 track to some S’poreans annually. Whoever said there isn’t a free lunch? More reason to offer compensation.  

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/f1-sharing-the-1bn-in-value-add-with-the-losers/

Salute these Oppo warriors

In Uncategorized on 20/09/2015 at 5:00 am

Unconquerable souls who took on the Empire. They were thrashed badly on 9/11

All hail, Dr Chee, Dr Paul. Dr Ang, P Ravi and Jeannette Chong, and their families. Hopefully,  the last three will retire from the fray for their own sakes and that of their families. They don’t the backup that Dr Chee and Dr Paul have: the SDP.

The SDP activists too should be saluted.

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

(by Henley)

 

Photoshopped movie poster on the Singapore 2015 election by PixelGod

 

 

 

 

Salute these cyberwarriors

In Uncategorized on 19/09/2015 at 7:25 am

Richard Wan (the public face of TRE) has RODed from TRE (see leeter below).

Salute him, Andrew the Techie and all the other members of TeamTRE who contributed time and money to provide S’poreans with alternative views and a platform to express themselves: The Voice of S’poreans for S’pore. Sadly their efforts were saboed by some really ungrateful S’poreans who overan the platform like the rats who overan Bukit Batok.

While the PAP administrations’s NEA cleared out the rats, TeamTRE and S’poreans who visited the platform had to live with the anti-PAP cyberrats (and nuts). Goh Meng Seng was their hero and now their hero is s/o JBJ. Btw, they think the PAP lost the election, S’poreans juz don’t realise it yet, because the New Citizens voted for the PAP, making victory possible for the PAP.

TeamTRE believes in freedom of expression, hence the presence of the cynerrats and cybernuts on the platform.

Makes one understand why the late LKY had such a low opinion of those who opposed him , and suppressed views that were not “right”.

Anyway back to Richard, Andrew and the others in TeamTRE

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

by Henley

Passing it on

It has been some 4 years since I volunteered to take up the position of an editor in TRE. Indeed, there have been many ups and downs along the way. Regardless, it has always been comforting to know that many netizens, including myself, are learning and benefiting from the many interactions with each other on TRE.

I volunteered simply because I felt there was a need to provide more alternative news and views, so as to add more media diversity into our society.

Certainly, with Singapore’s Press Freedom Index languishing at 150th position out of 180 [Link], it shows that there is much for Singapore to improve in terms of media control, if Singapore is to truly become a first world nation.

Indeed, society needs to have a diversity of views and ideas in order for it to progress and to grow. Without a free press and transparency, it’s hard for the people to make an informed choice or support the right decisions made by the country’s leaders.

Ultimately, freedom of the press forms the basis of democracies. Many leaders of the first world have acknowledged this:

http://www.warc.com/LatestNews/News/World_Press_Freedom_Day.news?ID=8710

“Democracy is impossible without freedom of the press, for freedom of the press is the basis of democracies. Complex controversies cannot be solved without freedom of the press, as questions must be aired. Freedom of the press is one of the major building blocks in a democracy.” – Gerhard Schröder, former Chancellor of Germany

“A free press will sometimes make uncomfortable reading for any politician. But any passing embarrassment or justified indignation must never blind us to its vital role in both the health and protection of democracy. Those who wish to destroy democracy and its freedoms know this well. It is why their first act is often to try to muzzle the media. It is also why we must all be vigilant in safeguarding the freedom of the press at home and abroad.” –Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of UK

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/leveson-inquiry/9630793/Britains-press-must-remain-free.html

“A free press is the unsleeping guardian of every other right that free men prize; it is the most dangerous foe of tyranny… Under dictatorship the press is bound to languish… But where free institutions are indigenous to the soil and men have the habit of liberty, the press will continue to be the Fourth Estate, the vigilant guardian of the rights of the ordinary citizen.” – Sir Winston Churchill

I’ve served the equivalent of 2 tours of National Service in TRE. It’s time for me to pass the baton to someone else. I’ll continue to write and contribute online but will probably write less now due to work commitments.

I hope that one day Singapore’s Press Freedom Index will rise to the same level as other first world nations. When that happens, Singapore can then be considered to have truly arrived as a first world nation.

God bless!

Yours sincerely,

Richard Wan
18 Sep 2015

M’sia’s not that bad, Worry about Indonesia

In Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam on 19/09/2015 at 4:37 am

Here’s another analysis coming to the same conclusion

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2015/09/capital-freeze-index

Idonesia is 4th after some real dogs Venezuela, Turkey and Ukraine. Yikes, it might be a another real dog.

M’sia is way down even below PinoyLand. Thailand is juz better than M’sia while Vietnam is really safe by the standards of the others. Safer than Saudi Arabia.

Keep keep on worrying

In Currencies, Economy on 18/09/2015 at 1:28 pm

So the Fed didn’t raise rates: Rather than looking simply at the domestic economy, the Fed is now taking notice of global developments. But that makes it harder for investors to assess which data to monitor and when the Fed will consider the global backdrop has improved. Further volatility is probably ahead.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/buttonwood/2015/09/markets-and-economics

The good news for mortgagees is that a weaker US$ against S$ may ease the pressure on interest rates. But don’t count on interest rates coming off significantly fast or soon. The trend for SIBOR etc is still upwards.

A hike is still on the table before the end of the year. Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said that was still the majority view of the Federal Open Market Committee members – the group responsible for setting US interest rates.

WP faces early test: tiger or mouse?

In Political governance on 18/09/2015 at 4:16 am

WP may soon have the chance to walk the talk of being a check on the PAP administration. But will it take it? Or prove that it’s the Worthless Party?

Let me explain.

Ms Lee Li Lian, Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong and Mr Leon Perera from the Workers’ Party have been elected as Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMP), the Elections Department (ELD) announced on Wednesday (Sep 16). (CNA).

We know Ms Lee will not take her seat. She has said that she won’t because she as an incumbent was rejected by the voters. (Btw,makes Lina Chiam look opportunistic, in accepting the post after GE 2011, given that her husband, the MP before the election, wanted her as his successor?)

The WP said that should Parliament resolve to fill the vacated NCMP seat left by Ms Lee’s decision not to accept the NMP Post, that Associate Professor Daniel Goh would fill that seat.

The ELD  said: “The Attorney General is of the view that if any NCMP declared to be elected under Section 52 of the Parliamentary Elections Act fails to take and subscribe before Parliament the Oath of Allegiance under Article 61 of the Constitution at the first or second sitting of Parliament during its first session after the General Election, then Parliament may at its discretion declare that seat vacant. Parliament is not thereafter obliged to declare that seat be filled by the next succeeding candidate.”

The AG’s view is supported by Dr. Jack Lee who argues that if an opposition candidate declines to take up an NCMP seat, the parly may not be obliged to offer that seat to the next eligible opposition candidate.

This has thrown up a very interesting debate as to the legal obligations of Parliament to fill the NCMP seats. Besides Dr Jack Lee, Professor Thio Li-ann has also been reported as taking the position that there is no legal obligation on Parliament to offer the seat to the next eligible candidate. In contrast, Professor Kevin Tan argues that article 39 of the Constitution, read with section 52 of the Parliamentary Elections Act obliges Parliament to offer the seat. He is quoted as saying that “The seat cannot be left vacant. A combined reading of both provisions makes it clear that Parliament must have nine members who do not form the government.”

http://singaporepubliclaw.com/2015/09/16/must-an-ncmp-seat-be-filled/

If parly refuses to fill the seat, surely the Wayang Party should ask the court to decide if the AG’s interpretation of the law is the correct one. True the WP left it to  a part-time cleaner to ask the court to decide on whether the PM had the unfettered discretion in calling a by-election when it (the WP) would have been the beneficiary of such an action (Think Yaw’s vacating his MP’s post). M Ravi the lawyer who argued that the PM didn’t have unfettered discretion, said that the WP’s MP lawyers were “cow dung” for not supporting him.

Maybe that was WP Low practising non-action? https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/low-shows-the-usefulness-of-non-action/

But since then, the WP has been going to court to row with the government on the need to get a licence from NEA to hold a trade fair, and with the MDA on whether an independent accountant should be appointed to supervise the disbursement of monies to the AHPETC.

And should the WP go to court, it has a good lawyer. Peter Low, WP’s go-to lawyer, is a highly respected lawyer in legal circles (unlike M Ravi: Ravi’s understanding of the law is problematic to many lawters, though not his bravery). Peter Low like Ravi works almost for free.

When Fed raises rates, regional currencies will tank

In Currencies, Indonesia, Malaysia on 17/09/2015 at 2:00 pm

 

Will mortgagees be repenting? Property prices will fall further

In Economy, Property on 17/09/2015 at 4:55 am

On Monday SIBOR rate was up to 1.131%, a seven yr high, up 5.3%  up on the week before abd 147% since 2 January before.

Rising borrowing costs and a weaker currency bode ill for Singapore’s home prices amid their longest slide in more than a decade.

The three-month Singapore interbank offered rate has more than doubled in a year to the highest since 2008. The main benchmark for housing loans is seen rising further as it narrows the gap with the swap offer rate, a measure of borrowing costs influenced mainly by exchange-rate expectations. The spread reached the widest since 2009 as the Singapore dollar slumped 6.3 percent this year.

“If the Sibor catches up with the SOR in the next three to six months, that premium may be eroded and we will get further softening in property prices,” said Vishnu Varathan, a Singapore-based economist at Mizuho Bank Ltd. “Buyers are going to factor in rate increases, so a further price correction is difficult to avoid.”

House prices may drop as much as 5 percent this year, set for the biggest decline since 2001, according to brokerage Knight Frank LLP. Developers are already grappling with falling values and lower sales after the government began introducing curbs on residential transactions as low rates and demand from foreigners prompted concerns that the property market was overheating.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-08/no-end-in-sight-for-slide-in-singapore-home-prices-as-rates-rise (Note the Bloomberg report was last week  but the analysis for property prices and interest rates still stands.

SOR which is used for commerial property loans was up to 1,561% also the highest since lat 2008; 108% up since 2 Jan 2008.

Pricier money could also be bad both for indebted companies, Reits (they are leveraged more than the average cat,  and stocks in general.

And this is all because there’s a 28% chance the Fed will raise rates later today.
So if the Fed raises rates there could be serious problems as a probability becomes a fact:

Even if the Fed has been shouting to the world that rates will rise soon, it cannot be certain that evasive prophylactic action has been taken from Brazil, to Turkey, South Africa and Malaysia. Accidents will happen on the fateful day that the target for Fed Funds rate is lifted, if only by a smidgeon.

And there is no market oracle who can be wholly confident these accidents will be small whoopsies rather than clanging calamities.

One more thing – psychology matters.

As Haldane of the Bank of England has pointed out, we all still bear the emotional scars of the 2008 financial and economic catastrophe.

Who knows quite how anxious we will feel when confronted with the harsh reality that interest rates can rise as well as fall?

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34256651

Why these fears of accidents, psychological damage?

.. a huge amount of cheap credit poured into economies all over the world. It has fuelled investment by businesses. It has been used to buy properties and shares. And it has spurred growth and significant – perhaps excessive – rises in the price of assets.
And of this $9.6tn, more than $3tn had been borrowed by companies and other institutions in emerging economies.

So here is the vice squeezing the half of the global economy represented by emerging economies.

On the one hand, the fall in commodity prices and the slowdown in China is undermining their growth. On the other, the cost of servicing their dollar-denominated debts is rising, because the dollar is strengthening on the expectation that interest rates will rise.

And more than that, the tap of cheap dollar funding is gradually being turned off, which means that the flow of money to these economies has been cut – and by more than just the value of reduced dollar lending, because dollar loans often sit on balance sheets and in banks, and are used to make additional local-currency loans.

But even if the Fed doesn’t raise rates, interest rates will trend higher because the Fed wants to raise rates. Come Nov, Dec, we will have the same uncertainity. Best if it raises rates, and tells us that it’s all over for the time being?

Note this post has been edited since first posting.

Why a Fed rate hike tom is so feared

In Currencies, Economy, ETFs on 16/09/2015 at 10:27 am

The rise in inter-bank rates (which impacts mortgage rates) here is part of the chain effect of fear of a Fed hike. The mkt believes that there is a 28% chance that the Fed rate will go up i.e, 70%8 believes it won’t be raised tom. So if it goes up and markets tank read this

Why financial markets are nervous about Fed’s decision tom (from NYT Dealbook).

INVESTORS HOPE FOR SMALL RIPPLES AHEAD OF FED RATE DECISION On Thursday, the Federal Reserve could increase interest rates for the first time in more than nine years. It may still hold after a violent downturn in global stock markets last month, but this moment has long been dreaded on Wall Street, and investors are hoping it won’t unleash too much turmoil, Peter Eavis writes in DealBook.

History shows that booms financed with cheap money often leave the financial system weaker, not stronger, and the fault lines become obvious when the Fed starts to tighten monetary policy.

In theory, a small increase in interest rates should not be enough to wreak havoc, but some analysts have a darker view of the weak links in the system. They say financial markets have funneled trillions of dollars intoinvestments that will prove unsustainable when interest rates go up.

And the signs of excess are everywhere. Technology companies have been able to raise huge sums even before they tap into the public markets. Debt markets have appeared overly eager to lend. Low interest rates mean investors more willing to buy stocks at historically high valuations and companies are able to borrow money cheaply to buy back their own shares and bolster earnings.

Doomsayers think these activities have continued for so long that companies are more vulnerable to a slight increase in interest rates.

However, even gloomier analysts have predicted a great reckoning for years and it has not yet happened, Mr. Eavis notes. The new restraints on Wall Street and the housing market have so far prevented a resurgence in the toxic real estate lending that occurred a decade ago.

Corporations’ borrowing costs are no cheaper when accounting for inflation. Since the end of 2008, the average, inflation-adjusted yield on corporate bonds of moderate credit risk has been 4.1 percent, compared with 3.94 percent for most of the postwar period.

The Fed’s policies also appear to have prompted a surge in lending that is more stable than the securities markets under higher interest rates. Buybacks are not certain to become less attractive, but if they do, it might prompt executives to invest spare capital in operations in an effort to increase productivity.

Yet fears about the markets themselves remain. High-frequency trading has ballooned over the last decade. Firms using automated trading account for about half of all trades in the market for Treasury Securities. Exchange-traded funds are a major force in the stock market.

E.T.F.s, whose shares are supposed to be closely tied to the value of their underlying assets, have created concerns recently. On Aug. 24, shares in some funds briefly fell to prices well below the value that they would have commanded had they stayed in line with the fund’s underlying holdings. An investor selling at that discount might take an unnecessary loss.

If heavy selling is widespread across many markets, the smooth functioning of these products and markets may be tested.

Social activist, feminist in denial

In Political governance on 16/09/2015 at 5:13 am

Sorry for the extensive quote but I tot it impt to give a flavour of the rubbish that an otherwise rational person (even if she’s one of those who believe that ang moh values are always best and whose organisation, AWARE, said anal sex is normal) is prepare to believe when the facts go against her prejudices. My comments are bracketed and in are not in italics. 

I ask myself, as many netizens are also doing this morning, a series of questions: Why did the majority of Singaporeans vote for the PAP? Why did they reject some very capable and good people in the opposition parties? Why did we have such high expectations of more opposition parties winning this election?

The problem is I, and many others like me, talk to other people who share the same views and concerns, an example of ‘confirmation bias.’. Hence, the high expectations.
But the reality is quite different as a study of the history of Singapore elections will show: Fear tactics work. Governance based on a philosophy of threats of impending crisis works.

 
In this election, PAP distinguished itself by stoking negative emotions, with threats and fear-mongering: The opposition cannot be trusted; the opposition will squander the reserves; the opposition doesn’t even know how to manage town councils; Singapore will be in serious trouble if you don’t vote for the PAP. [True, but she left out what Tharman said about the need for an Oppo and what the Oppo said that made the PAP’s fear mongering plausible)

… the opposition parties were offering positive outcomes: If they got elected, they would fight for a better life, for a more compassionate society, and work towards a change in policies that currently support the excesses of a capitalist market economy. They were offering to put Singaporean’s welfare and wellbeing above the demands of the capitalist economy. [They were also campaigning negatively: that the PAP’s hegemony was bad and needed checking to prevent it going rogue. Isn’t that negative campaigning? Btw, I’ hope to comment on what the Oppo needs do now that opposing the PAP per se no longer is enough.]
 
http://www.inconvenientquestions.sg/Archive/2015/9/pap-must-return-to-roots
 
She concludes:

There is one certainty though. The PAP will change. They have to change to stay in power. [Why? Juz because you hate them? Didn’t you juz wrote, they did things the traditional PAP way and were rewarded handsomely?]
 
 
I voted for the PAP in the 1960s when they were a progressive party rooted in social, democratic ideology. I will vote for them again if they return to their roots.
 
 
But at this juncture in our history, I think we need diverse views, and diverse representation in parliamentto compel the PAP government to change.
 
 
My Facebook Avatar posted in response to the above tots:

Another one in denial. I’d put it this way. PE 2011 showed that 35% will vote PAP, 35% will vote for a more compassionate PAP person or policies. This election shows that the PAP are a lot smarter than the average cat and went after those who voted for Dr Tan but not for the PAP in 2011 GE. Btw, those who know me [my other Avatar, real life] know I predicted … in 2012 after PM’s May Day rally speech.

(Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/spot-on-my-2012-prediction/)

He went on: Pls leh in 60s, given the rhetoric of BarisanSoc, and their Chinese educated supporters, the English-educated (like my parents and Constance Singham) had no choice but to vote PAP. They were afraid to Cultural Revolution coming here. ))))

Here’s advice that all of us (especially those who like her in denial over the PAP’s huge victory) should heed:

— “Better keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it and remove all doubt.” This was said by the husband of Margaret Thatcher (remember her?), Dennis Thatcher.

— Boyzone’s Ronan Keating: “You say it best — when you say nothing at all.”

I’m thinking particularly of TOC’s “Savvy Artist” who tells us working adults constitute 30% of the voters (the data shows that there are a lot more of them as % of the voters) and implies that the anti-PAP voters iare entitled to lord it over the other voters.  I kid you not, go google “How PAP did not have the people’s mandate despite landslide victory”

 

 

Why M$ fall should worry

In Currencies, Emerging markets, Malaysia on 15/09/2015 at 1:35 pm

FX reserves

The ringgit lost 20% (ine of the worse performing currencies) of its value against the dollar this year despite Bank Negara spending 29% of its FX reserves to slow the fall. If it had spent less, rinngit would have fallen a lot more.

 

Cybernuts: “Walk the Talk”

In Uncategorized on 15/09/2015 at 1:18 am
 On cooling off-day, this appeared on TRE
….

I believe it is time to show our appreciation to the team at TRE for the 4 years of their lives which could have been used for more meaningful purposes, but they choose to keep us company.

Other than Richard Wan, I do not know who the rest are, but here’s a big thank you from the bottom of my heart to all those who made TRE possible.

And for those of you who feels that TRE has done a good job, please do make a token donation towards their cause so that TRE can continue to carry the Voice of Singaporeans for Singapore.

Touched

Note that the person is silent about making a donation. We can assume that he’s the usual born loser, TRE cheapskate https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/why-pay-and-pay-party-has-a-point-about-scroungers/

Earlier this month, this appeared

Tuck Wan:

@ THE SOLIDITORY COMMENTATOR.
I am not resident of AMK GRC but I am willing to donate $600 (GST voucher) to help him pay the damages awarded to Pinky. Like wise many
Blue blooded Singaporeans will do their bits.
Talking about gambling chips is only chips. We
are talking about our future generations.

I got a better suggestion for him and others.

Donate the money to TRE.

Too many TRE cybernuts are freeloading making Richard, Andrew and the rest of TeamTRE pay-and-pay to fight the PAP.

I think based on the postings on TRE,  the majority of TRE posters would seem fall into the “Hard-pressed Anxiety” and “Long-term Despair” (i.e. into the losers) even though TeamTRE belongs in the “Calm Persistence” and “Hard-pressed Anxiety”  categories: the only people who would spend time and money on doing what they believe is right, even if the losers are freeloading on their efforts.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/which-voter-are-you/

What do you think?

HoHoHo: Temasek & GIC China plays

In Banks, China, Commodities, Emerging markets, GIC, Temasek on 14/09/2015 at 11:03 am

Reason for Glencore (GIC) and StanChart (HoHoHo back at work at Temasek soon) on the chart

Glencore

Even small changes in demand from China’s vast economy can have a knock-on effect on prices.

As Glencore has found out to its cost.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34208070

StanChart

FT reports that according to Nomura, half of StanChart’s Asian revenue in the first half of 2015. More https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/09/10/hohoho-two-brokers-views-on-stanchart/

NYT Dealbook last Tuesday.

MORE SIGNS OF A SHARPER SLOWDOWN IN CHINA Once the world’s workshop, China’s exports are facing their most protracted declines since the global financial crisis, Neil Gough writes in The New York Times. China’s trade slump deepened in August – an indication of a sharper industrial slowdown at home and weaker demand from overseas. Exports fell 5.5 percent in August and 1.4 percent in dollar terms in the first eight months of the year.

The country’s manufacturing sector is losing competitiveness as labor costs rise and the renminbi remains relatively strong despite its devaluation, making Chinese goods more expensive for foreign buyers.

Imports are falling even more steeply. They fell for the 10th month in a row in August, recording a drop of 14 percent by value. Economists blame the rout in commodity prices, but imports have fallen in volume too. The falling imports of industrial raw materials point to weakening domestic demand, driven by a slump in manufacturing and new housing construction.

The weak trade data weighed on markets, with Japan’s main index, the Nikkei 225, closing 2.4 percent lower. In Shanghai, stocks initially fell when the trade figures were released, but heavy buying in the afternoon set off a rally. Shares closed 2.9 percent higher – a pattern seen often in recent weeks, as China’s government appears to continue its efforts to support the slumping stock markets.

China’s leadership made the surprise decision last month to devalue the currency by about 3 percent, the renminbi’s sharpest drop in two decades. But the central bank has since intervened in the markets on a massive scale, fighting pressure to weaken the currency further by selling dollars and buying renminbi.

As a result, China is burning through foreign exchange reserves at the fastest pace yet. Reserves fell by nearly $100 billion in August alone, though they are still huge at $3.56 trillion.

Still, analysts say that the recent devaluation was most likely too modest to give China’s exports much of a boost, and that the exchange rate is still stronger than China’s slowing economic growth would otherwise support.

Relax all, don’t panic, despair or gloat

In Political governance on 14/09/2015 at 4:53 am

PAPpies, anti-PAPpies, pro-Oppos and all cybernuts should chill out. The PAPies and their cybernuts should not gloat. The rest: don’t panic or despair or migrate..

As an ang moh expert* says

Singaporeans expected to be heard and felt at least in part they were reasonably so. The PAP’s optimal victory in swinging the pendulum in its favour was hard work in an intense contest. It will also require hard work ahead.

If anything the 2015 election shows is that the pendulum can indeed swing back.

But

The burden is now on the opposition to move beyond ‘walking the ground’ in specific constituencies and capitalising on anger, to developing a broader appeal that reaches those not politically active. Improving performance in parliament and focusing less on personality will be essential ingredients in this process.

 

http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala/2015/09/12/singapore-swing/

Maybe this is why the PM and other ministers and MPs are restraint in their reaction,

For the PAP, one of the biggest challenges will be complacency.

The effort that was invested in securing the outcome and the timing of the 2015 polls will not be replicable. The large margins in many seats – even mistakenly perceived close seats – and the almost 10 per cent swing toward the incumbent party should not be seen as an ‘easy win’.

Unlike their supporters like Calvin Cheng who are gloating on social media .

(But Calvin Cheng, who pays to have his rubbish pollute Facebook, has this cute pix on Facebook. Goh Meng Seng must be upset. His People’s Parachutist Party doesn’t feature, as does SDA.)

Which neatly brings me back to the swing of the pendulum. If people like Goh Meng Seng (Parachutist Extraordinaire: Three GEs, three different parties, three different GRCs and declining share of votes) and the other clowns (think the Chiams**, SDA, Sebastian Teo, s/o JBJ) believe in the pendelum swing, they’ll be back in next GE with their antics, diluting the Oppos’ message yet again, making the PAP really happy.

——–

*Bridget Welsh is a Senior Research Associate of the Center for East Asia Democratic Studies of the National Taiwan University where she conducts research on democracy and politics in Southeast Asia. She is also an Associate Fellow at The Habibie Center and University Fellow at Charles Darwin University. 

She lectured and researched at SMU before going to Taiwan. She went to school in KL and while a real ang moh, speaks with a Malayan accent. She’s a real expert on M’sian and S’porean affairs. She’s even stayed in Dayak longhouses in the course of her .

**Very sad to have to say this. He should have retired after GE 2011, if not before that GE.

Life on cruiser S’pore for next five yrs

In Uncategorized on 13/09/2015 at 4:37 am

So don’t KPKB those 70%ers that voted for cruise ship PAP (Related post https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/cruise-ship-pap-first-class-or-cattle-class/)

But let’s be fair, Even the Pioneer Generation in Hougang and Aljunied will get their benefits.

Illustration of Singapore 2015 general elections by A Good Citizen

 

MUST READ: JG explains the results

In Political governance on 12/09/2015 at 12:41 pm

A v.v. good explanation esp how the LKY effect works. Where I disagree with JG is that she leaves out the changes in PAP policy: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/spot-on-my-2012-prediction/. These to me played a big part. Since PAP has become PAP Lite, the WP can no longer pose as PAP Lite: It will show that its strategy of being PAP Lite doesn’t work anymore.

Because PAP has become the real PAP Lite by moving left a little? What with all the spending of our money on ourselves, making life more comfortable https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/wps-landmark-election/.

Dear TRE readers and CI (this letter sent to both sites),

During the GE hustings, I previously posted 2 articles (http://www.tremeritus.com/2015/08/16/pap-will-do-very-well-this-election/ andhttp://www.tremeritus.com/2015/08/22/pap-will-do-very-well-this-election-part-2/) warning that PAP will do very well this election. These 2 letters attracted almost 200 comments in TRE with many deriding its prediction and even slamming me for being a PAP IB.

Unfortunately, many of my predictions materialized :
a) GE2015 is a pro-PAP wave,
b) GE 2015 is to PM LHL what GE 2001 was to GCT (as I correctly compared both), both of which was an unexpected +10% swing and major PAP landslide,
c) WP lost Punggol East SMC and was not even close to capturing East Coast GRC.

The knee-jerk reaction from the online community is to blame this on the increase in foreigners. Yes, maybe a 2-3% swing can be accounted for by this one factor, but a 10% swing cannot. With the benefit of hindsight and having observed all the hustings during the campaign period, these are my explanation for what accounted for the PAP landslide. I also have encouraging words to us opposition supporters at the end of this piece.

When a +10% swing happens, or when a huge wave happens, there can usually be only 1 major strategic explanation. In this case, to me, its undoubtedly LKY factor. But not in the way that you may think. The average voter didn’t go to the polls still mourning for LKY and feeling sympathetic enough to cast his/her vote for PAP. No, Singaporeans are much more sophisticated than that.

Instead, LKY’s death and week of mourning totally transformed today’s electorate : The Silent Majority Woke Up. Half a million people bonded in silence as they queued for hours at the Padang. Feeling united as Singaporeans. Millions more were similarly touched during the funeral procession and in that week of mourning. These observations are nothing new and naturally, emotions have also cooled with time.

But what has lasted is that the death of LKY had re-focussed Singaporeans, in a way no other event can, on what a rare gem they have in the Singapore they live in. A united people. A stable economy. A peaceful country. Strong leaders even though they did make mistakes prior to GE2011. These sentiments were reinforced by external events – 1MDB saga in Malaysia (making S’poreans appreciative of their clean govt), the plunge of the Ringgit to S$1=Rgt$3 (making S’poreans appreciative of their strong economy). During my conversations on the elections during the GE, not a few people mentioned about the Ringgit plunge and how “heng” they feel. Even the big haze on Cooling Off day did not elicit the usual complaints from S’poreans – if anything, it reinforced the Govt’s message that Sgp is a little red dot, vulnerable, and therefore needs a uniquely strong govt to paddle the ship. And this appreciative spirit (ie. looking back at the past with gratefulness), which was initially triggered by LKY’s death, had persisted and permeated the Sgp psyche going into GE2015.
As I wrote in my earlier pieces, as long as the electorate look back, PAP will win; if they look forward, the Opposition has a better chance.

To me, there were also indications that the Silent Majority is not only awakened to be grateful quietly, but has become more vocal in their rebuttal to the Vocal Minority. I follow a couple of other non-political blogs and I noticed this awakening. For eg, this stay-at-home-mum blogged about how she’s not only grateful during this National Day but resolved to teach her children about how far Singapore had come (http://4malmal.com/2015/08/14/thoughts-on-nation-building-from-a-singaporean-mom/). Even middle-of-the-road Instagram personalities like limjenjen (genre = food & cooking) and jwphay (genre = metrosexual male) were unabashedly demonstrating their support for today’s govt. These are people leading ordinary lives, not following all the ins and outs of politics. And the commonality is that all of them only started becoming more vocal of their support after LKY’s death.

That to me, is the single biggest factor.

Yes, there are other factors at play too but none of them qualify as a good-enough rationale to trigger a +10% swing in PAP’s support :
a) AHPETC : On balance, I think this is neutral. Some are put off by PAP’s constant barrage on this issue while some are put off that WP can’t seem to keep its house in order.
b) WP was a tad over-confident towards the last few days of the GE campaign. They started talking about what they will or will not do, if they form an alternative govt, never mind that they did qualify that this is not for the forseeable future and that they’re only contesting 28 seats. The average voter is no mood to contemplate an alternative govt.
c) NSP, RP, SDA, PP etc parties and campaign remain a joke.
d) SPP : The message from voters is that you can only play the CST sympathy card once (GE2011) and after that, it backfires.
e) SDP : Yes, the re-surgence of CSJ has excited some people but just those on the far left. You can’t win an election with just 30% of votes. SDP has yet to find a way to appeal to the centre in GE2011 and similarly in GE2015.

Finally, I want to end with some encouraging words to the opposition camp, particularly to WP :

1) I once again commend LTK for helping sense the change in wind conditions correctly and put his A-team to defend Aljunied GRC. Many were surprised when he announced very early that the Aljunied team is staying in tact. Many asked why he’s not deploying heavyweights into other GRCs. I argued then, that this is because LTK had lived through many elections, including GE2001 and knows only too well how if you read the wind conditions wrongly, you can get wiped out, as SDP’s 4-seats did during the pro-PAP GE2001 wave.

2) PE SMC won by Li Lian during the BE was a special case and not indicative of any change in trend, as LTK himself pointed out after the BE. PAP fielded a weak candidate in KPK and had been neglecting the SMC during Palmer’s time. Once PAP fielded a stronger candidate in Charles Chong, together with that wave, inevitably Li Lian lost her seat. So neither was the BE win nor this GE2015 loss any special indication of trend.

3) On balance, I think WP got the best result they possibly could, given this wave election. Think about it : Now WP got 1+5=6 MPs. And since Li Lian had indicated she’s not interested in the NCMP post, this means that Dennis Tan and 2 of the 4 (ie. Gerald Giam and either A/P Daniel Goh or Leon Pereira) East Coast GRC blue team now get to enter into Parliament. The latter 3 now have 4-5 years to make their mark on the national stage and arguably, strengthen WP’s ability to debate robustly in Parliament.

4) Finally, the most important message is this : Waves come and waves go. Nothing is permanent. Just as GE2001 was a singularly high point for PAP, GE2011 just 10 years later became a singularly low point. Indira Gandhi’s death in 1984 swept the Congress party to a 76% seat super-majority in Parliament; by 2014 Congress was swept out of power.

In the long term, WP’s message is correct : Today’s PAP is no longer the same as the old PAP and for long term stability, strong checks and balance is required. But political change takes time and first and foremost, the alternative has got to prove himself/herself. For India, it took 30 years from Congress’ high point to losing control. For Singapore, it will easily take a generation. None of these can be rushed.

In that sense, I applaud the sophistication of today’s Singapore electorate. They got 9 WP members into Parliament, including 3 of the most promising young turks. At the same time, it sends a clear message to the other opposition parties to present credible candidates or risk getting totally marginalized. Forget about “chopping as many seats as possible” in the next GE (what? you think its like choping hawker centre seats with tissue paper?). Its better to contest less seats but put all your firepower in walking the ground, again and again. And it allows the PAP the chance to prove that indeed it has truly changed and will not become more arrogant. Remember : the electorate can exalt you (as it did in GE2001) and it can also punish you (as it did in GE2011). Everyone, please buck up and work hard for the sake of Singapore. Isn’t that a good result ?

JG

Spot on: My 2012 prediction

In Political governance on 12/09/2015 at 5:32 am

Oppo parties fought the wrong battle as I predicted in 2012 SIGH

The point I’m trying to make is that the governing PAP seems to have ditched the sacred cow (no longer a Hard Truth) of being mean to S’poreans despite extracting money from S’poreans via all kinds of levies and imposts: it is now willing to spend S’poreans’ money on making things better for S’poreans.

If it spends our money on S’poreans, the Opposition should rethink their assumptions and premises, and the messages they want to send to voters. If not, come the next GE (which could be held before 2016, if the PAP senses that S’poreans have been won over by the spending), the Opposition will be repenting, not the PAP. The ground may be shifting.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/time-for-opposition-to-rethink-assumptions-lest-it-repents-after-next-ge/

And

One could argue that its recent changes in its public housing and tpt policies and its seeming change in FT PMET policy is geared at winning the “Calm Persistent” voters over and moving “Hard Pressed Anxiety” voters into the “Calm Persistent” group; and the “Calm Persistent” voters into the “Optimistic Contentment’ category. It’s also trying to show S’poreans that the gd life can still be found here.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/which-voter-are-you/

Which type of voter were you on 9/11?

In Uncategorized on 12/09/2015 at 3:11 am

1. Comfortable Nostalgia: “They tend to be older, more traditional voters who dislike the social and cultural changes they see as altering [country] for the worse.”

2. Optimistic Contentment: “Confident, comfortable & usually on higher incomes they are prudent & tolerant but think [country] is a soft touch.”

3. Calm Persistence: “Often coping rather than comfortable, they hope rather than expect things to get better.”

4. Hard-pressed Anxiety: “Pessimistic & insecure, these people want more help from government and resent competition for that help particularly from new-comers.”

5. Long-term Despair: “Many are serial strugglers; angry & alienated they feel little or no stake in the country or that anyone stands up for them.”

6. Cosmopolitan Critics: “Generally younger, more secular and urban-based, worried about growing inequality & the general direction the country is going in.”

Go to https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/which-voter-are-you/  to see how I tot those who vote for the PAP, or Oppo can be categorised.

Calling JG

In Uncategorized on 12/09/2015 at 2:25 am

When you are ready with yr tots, send it and I’ll publish.

WP’s “landmark election”

In Uncategorized on 11/09/2015 at 4:34 pm

This election will be landmark election,” says Workers’ Party secretary general, Low Thia Khiang, in the party’s video featuring its candidates for the upcoming elections.

“It marks a new phase for Singapore after 50 years of independence, and your vote will set the direction for the future of Singapore.”

He is right. This will be a landmark election for S’pore, and for the WP whether

— it wins East Coast or Marine Parade or both (all three possibilities unlikely in my opinion); and retains Aljunied*;

— doesn’t win another GRC but retains Aljunied*; or

— lose Aljunied (possible see earlier link) and ends up with only Hougang*,

because advance, draw or defeat has serious consequences for the WP and S’poreans who want plurality in politics i.e. an end to a de facto one party state.

If it wins another GRC or more, we’d have more oppo MPs in parly showing that more S’poreans have bot into the argument that the WP needs more MPs in parly before it can be a slapping co-driver. But will the swing voters be happy if the WP keeps its present stance of “being a constructive opposition” (Its definition. My take. Another take of mine. And remember even if it wins both East Coast and Marine Parade, it will still have less than the 20 it says it needs to be effective, so it may continue avoiding confronting the PAP. It may juz take the money and carry on keeping quiet.)? Or will they expect more than what WP delivered in the last parly?

If WP turns out to be the Worthless Party, the SDP may decide to challenge the WP in its territory. Remember that the WP wins seats because it can take for granted the hard core anti-PAP vote (anything up to 30% of the voters); thereby allowing itself to appeal to the swing voters as PAP Lite.

If it retains Aljunied, it will have shown that it can fight its corner, but the message from the rest of the seats contested will be that swing voters don’t buy its message that it needs more MPs before it can open its mouth. They also don’t buy into its PAP Lite message.

If the PAP regains Aljunied, WP better do some serious rethinking. It will show that its strategy of being PAP Lite doesn’t work anymore.

Because PAP has become the real PAP Lite by moving left a little? What with all the spending of our money on ourselves, making life more comfortable.

And it could be because swing voters that want plurality prefer a stronger brew?

Btw, the experts are more optimistic than I am about the WP’s prospects.

“It is my expectation that WP will pick up support and has a well-crafted campaign focusing on gradual gains and appealing to concerns of ordinary citizens,” said Bridget Welsh from the Center for East Asia Democratic Studies at National Taiwan University. Yahoo

“It is not only curiosity. One could interpret the large turnouts — by some accounts larger than 2011 — as pointing to WP’s message gaining traction,” said political analyst Eugene Tan, an associate law professor at the Singapore Management University.

“Voters are reciprocating by turning up in full force,” he told AFP.

Watch and wait,

———————————————–

*Hougang is safe. Punggol East, Feng Shan and Sengkang West are the icing on the cake if Aljunied holds firm, or another GRC or more is won but totally irrelevant if Aljunied repents.

 

Reality dawns: Voter’s lamentation/ Great spoofs

In Uncategorized on 11/09/2015 at 5:59 am

Saw this on Facebook:

My wish for 2015

1. That WP retains Aljunied with an increased vote share. Show the pap that the people disapprove of its dirty tactics of using govt agencies for its own political purposes.

2. That the babe of Marine Parade gets elected.

3. That Lawrence Wong gets kicked out of Parliament. What a mudslinger!

4. That Chee gets elected. I’m pretty sure he won’t be a mouse in Parliament. And we could do with some fiery debates in the House. The type that jbj used to have with lky.

5. That lhl gets ousted in a party coup. None of this grooming crap.

6. That nsp collapses after this election.

7. That the bo liau independent candidates lose their deposits.

But the reality is…

The hdb situation is better than it was 4 years ago.

The immigration situation is better than it was 4 years ago.

The transport situation is better than it was 4 years ago.

The minister pay is lesser than it was 4 years ago.

And WP is bogged down by ahpetc unlike four years ago.

Etc.

And so, it’s questionable whether pap will lose more seats than it did four years ago.

Sigh.

Above appeared on the wall of a middle-pf-the-road Facebook group, many of whom are likely to have voted for Dr Tan Cheng Bock. The poster usually is pro-Oppo, or anti-PAP.

Could be worse brudder, Aljunied could repent, and Chee and Paul find that 20 points gap is a moat they couldn’t fill in.

Btw, rumoured that Goh Meng Seng AWOL or MIA or jetted off to HK. The truth is more prosaic. He parachuted into Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and after nearly being sucked into a mud hole, is trying to navigate his way out of the swamp. Clueless as usual. He’ll be back campaigning after polling day.

Fact: today’s ST has reports from the leaders or spokesperson of all the parties, bar two, spelling out their parties’ positions. Goh Meng Seng’s People Parachutist Party did not feature. ST see him no ak? Or he forgot to send in a piece?

Same for the Chia,s’ Party. Will P Ravi be grumbling again about media coverage? He’s done this twice before.

 

Illustration of Singapore 2015 general elections by A Good Citizen

Photoshopped movie poster on the Singapore 2015 election by PixelGodIllustration of Singapore 2015 general elections by A Good Citizen

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34171284

HoHoHo: Two brokers’ views on StanChart

In China, Emerging markets, Temasek on 10/09/2015 at 12:48 pm

From today’s FT (apologies for lifting)

With StanChart shares down 40 per cent in a year, investors are pricing in a replay of the Asian financial crisis, said Sanford Bernstein. That looks too pessimistic, the broker said, arguing that, whereas the 1997 crisis arrived suddenly, StanChart has had three years’ warning to shrink its current loan book and protect capital.

A FTSE 100 rebound helped lift Standard Chartered away from its six-year low on Wednesday.

With StanChart shares down 40 per cent in a year, investors are pricing in a replay of the Asian financial crisis, said Sanford Bernstein. That looks too pessimistic, the broker said, arguing that, whereas the 1997 crisis arrived suddenly, StanChart has had three years’ warning to shrink its current loan book and protect capital.

“The faster you drive into a crisis, the more you will get hit,” Bernstein said. “The speed at which the bank is hitting turbulence is dramatically different between the last crisis and this one.”

Bernstein added that, while StanChart does not need to raise cash, new chief executive Bill Winters may want to top up capital buffers by $3bn-$4bn “to give it significant leverage when the cycle turns next year”.

StanChart rose 3.2 per cent to 744p as the wider market extended its rally into a third day.

Monday’s FT (Again apologies for lifting. Promise no more after this)

shares hit a six-year low on Monday as worries grew over the depth of restructuring required under new chief executive Bill Winters.

The Asia-focused lender slid 1.7 per cent to 701.4p on reports it may cut a quarter of senior banking roles as part of a new business plan expected within the next few months.

Funding a deep restructuring would put further pressure on StanChart’s cash flow and capital ratios, which already include $49bn of commodities exposure and a further $43bn of risky Chinese and Indian debt, said analysts.

StanChart might need to raise as much as $5bn to cover bad loans, in addition to between $3bn and $4bn to boost its capital buffer to peer levels, forecast Morgan Stanley.

While the broker did not assume StanChart will need to launch a cash call, it put a one-in-five chance on China causing an Asian slowdown economic equivalent to the 1997 crisis, under which it said the shares would be worth 410p.

 

 

Lui not the only ex SAF underperformer

In Shipping, Temasek on 10/09/2015 at 4:39 am

“It’s almost like obituaries and eulogies without the flowers,” Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew’s response to the flood of e-mail he has received since he said he was leaving politics.

He’s not the only ex-SAFer that consistently outperforms:

In July

Maersk Shares Jump on Strong Results and Share Buy-BackShares in Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk jumped as much as 8.6 percent on Thursday after the shipping and oil group reported second-quarter profits ahead of forecasts and started a $1 billion share buy-back program.

But NOL made only a tiny net profit in April-June after six straight quarters of losses.

NOL Group today reported a 2Q 2015 net profit of US$890 million. Excluding the US$887 million gain on the sale of its supply chain management business, NOL achieved a net profit of US$3 million in the second quarter of 2015, compared to a net loss of US$54 million in 2Q 2014.

(Update at 10am) Can we really be a meritocracy if Lui lasted so long in his post as minister of tpt and the CEO of NOL continues to run NOL?

Chee: Mad Dog morphs into Loong

In Uncategorized on 09/09/2015 at 5:47 pm

From a TRE reader, which about sums up what I feel about Chee

Anon:
September 9, 2015 at 1:33 am (Quote)
Like many of our older generation, I have always had doubts about CSJ. In the early years he appeared rash and even arrogant and brash especially armed with, I believe, his PhD in neuroscience.
Since then he has gone through hell and back and some of us thought he deserved what he got because he gave the impression of being manipulative and hence could not be trusted. Even today, he somehow does not seem to be able to naturally endear himself easily. There is something still too deliberate and even contrived about him. Spontaneity does not come easily. Yet, amidst all this one can still catch bits of the real man underneath his various personas. He has mellowed and with that allowed us glimpses of his true self and his sincerity.
I watched his lunchtime speech yesterday and was deeply moved by his words and his candid sharing. My tacitly negative image of him now no longer hold sway. Here was someone who had endured gross mistreatment and yet he did not allow bitterness to cloud the singularity of his focus. Much to admire, yet at the same time I wished he wouldn’t occasionally flash his ‘overdone’ broad smile; something that feels more like a cover for all he has been through.
CSJ now displays a degree of wisdom that was not evident before. He grasps the problems and concerns of ordinary people and addresses them with conviction and constructive proposals. He has become worldly wise. He speaks with passion and compassion. He is the change Singapore needs. Vote him and Paul in to Parliament. They will do the country a powerful world of good.
Majullah Singapura!

He’s got this guy to thank

And his family:

PM commending Oppo candidates? Or he’s an alien?

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 09/09/2015 at 1:13 pm

Facebook exchange on PM’s call to judge “fairly and dispassionately” the character and intentions of General Election candidates come Polling Day on Sep 11:

A: PAP has no lack of quality? I struggle to find any of their new candidates or even their past ‘airborne’ brigade worth listening to seriously.can you? : )

B: The better oppo candidates this round : Daniel Goh, Paul Tambyah, Leon Pererira, He Ting Rui seem to be better, fresher and more in touch than the top PAP new entrants

Hence the need for stronger effective political competition ..

C: PM agrees that should vote for best candidates. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called on voters to judge “fairly and dispassionately” the character and intentions of General Election candidates come Polling Day on Sep 11.

“Compare the candidates on their quality of character, their integrity, their commitment to serve. Then cast your vote in good conscience on what you believe will secure a good future for your children,” said Mr Lee

C: He juz from another planet (Bizarro*?) on the quality of his gang.

And another thing. PM talks of getting the politics right. Well in 2006, he got a big vote of confidence and in 2011, even though he got a yellow card, he got a good win.

So why didn’t he get the right policies after we got the politics rihgt? He didn’t did he on public transport? (Minister commit hari kiri but PAP pretended he didn’t?) And on immigration? Remember the White Paper? Maybe he did get these policies right in Bizarro S’pore, not in the S’pore I live.

———————————————

*Backgrounder from Wikipedia: The Bizarro World (also known as htraE, which is “Earth” spelled backwards) is a fictional planet appearing in American comic books published by DC comics. Introduced in the early 1960s, htraE is a cube-shaped planet, home to Bizarro and companions, all of whom were initially Bizarro versions of Superman, Lois Lane and their children and, later, other Bizarros including Batzarro, the World’s Worst Detective.

In popular culture “Bizarro World” has come to mean a situation or setting which is weirdly inverted or opposite to expectations.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/pm-visiting-from-bizarro-spore/

 

Not a PAPpy poll: Govt satisfaction

In Political governance on 09/09/2015 at 4:32 am

Banging their balls, the cybernuts must be. Though they may take satisfaction that the trend is reversing steeply.

Lifted from yesterday’s FT

And read this

http://www.blackbox.com.sg/wp_new/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/YKA-July-2015.pdf

This is what a survey conducted by the constructive, nation-building media came up with (from CNA in recent past)

Are Singaporeans happy with life as a whole now – and do they feel confident about the next 10 years?

According to a survey commissioned by MediaCorp’s Current Affairs Unit, 66 per cent of residents said they are happy while 14 per cent said they are not. Asked whether life is close to ideal, five in 10 said yes.

Many expressed concerns over issues ranging from transport to housing and security. But even more people said they expected to be more worried about these issues 10 years down the road, reflecting a sense of uncertainty about the future.

Overall, six in 10 residents think economic conditions here will allow them to reach their personal goals.

CONCERNS OVER NEXT 10 YEARS

With the buzz of a General Election in the air, what weighs heaviest on the minds of Singaporeans?

The affordability of healthcare, availability of affordable housing, and the loss of potential jobs to foreigners were the top three concerns of respondents. All three were hot-button issues in the last General Election in 2011.

Concerns about elderly needs and the availability of integrated healthcare came in fourth and fifth, respectively.

The survey involved 2,000 citizens and permanent residents from the ages of 18 to 65, across all races and income groups. Half were surveyed via email while the rest were interviewed face to face.

HEALTHCARE

Despite more state funds being pumped into healthcare and subsidies such as the Pioneer Generation Scheme, as well as Medishield Life starting on Nov 1, healthcare affordability topped the list of respondents’ concerns, with 83 per cent saying they were worried about increasing healthcare costs.

Low-to-middle income workers (earning S$3,000 to S$5,000) were more worried about rising healthcare costs than low-income earners, who are on the receiving end of heavier subsidies and aid.

One respondent said: “Healthcare costs have increased exponentially over the years, notwithstanding the increase in subsidies.”

Associate Professor Paulin Straughan of the National University of Singapore’s sociology department said these are real concerns as life expectancy increases. “This quote sums it all. When you ask an individual to project their anxieties to the next 10 years, the only thing they can think of is the trend,” she said.

“This is one area we’ve been worried about because of the rise in costs. We are living much longer now, and we anticipate that we will be spending a significant portion of our life living with disabilities.

“And there’s nothing more worrisome than being ill when you don’t have an income any more.”

HOUSING

Despite HDB resale and private housing prices falling since early 2014, 78 per cent of respondents said they were concerned about the affordability of housing, with 47 per cent “extremely concerned”. The concern was greater among those aged 18 to 24.

Mr James Chia, a financial educator from Innervative Learning, said: “Ultimately you expect the trend to go up, especially with population increasing. It’s demand and supply, so the concern will always be there.”

Respondents, especially the younger generation, expressed worries about the difficulties of buying their own home.

Miss Rebekah Lin, co-founder of 50 For 50, a social enterprise, said: “The prices of property have risen much faster than an increase in salary. It is increasingly harder for young couples and singles to afford.”

Mr Chia said: “Housing is the biggest ticket item you’re going to buy in your life, so there will always be a concern.”

LOSS OF POTENTIAL JOBS TO FOREIGNERS 

Since the 2011 General Election, the Government has scaled back foreign worker numbers and employment passes. It has also introduced initiatives such as the Jobs Bank, closer scrutiny of companies’ hiring practices, and even a wage subsidy if companies hire unemployed Singaporean professionals, managers and executives aged 40 and above for mid-level jobs.

But respondents said they are still worried that they will lose out on potential jobs to foreigners over the next five to 10 years.

Said Assoc Prof Straughan: “I’m not denying the fact that there are tension spots, but certainly we shouldn’t accept these as broad strokes to describe the implications of having immigration.

“Because truth of the matter is we don’t have enough of ourselves with a sustained low-fertility rate, (and) we’re not able to maintain the kind of buzz in our labour market.”

Mr Chia noted: “I think the concern runs deeper than the issue of foreigners.”

He said foreigners may be an easy target in terms of loss of jobs, but innovation, too, has the potential to displace jobs as Singapore gears towards being a smart nation.

Agreeing, Assoc Prof Straughan said that this boils down to being “future ready”.

She said: “You need to be able to future-proof your skill set so that you will always remain relevant no matter who is with you in the competitive arena.”

“The real issue (concerning foreigners) is really about a disparity that people perceive,” said Dr Nazry Bahrawi, humanities lecturer at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).

“I guess the PMETs are probably the ones that feel these most. And some find a bogeyman that is easy to seek,” Dr Nazry added.

“What we should do then is to look at how we can develop the groups that are caught up in this disparity rather than shape the discourse towards blaming a certain group that may not be the real concern here.”

Another Oppo slate and candidate that deserve to win

In Uncategorized on 08/09/2015 at 9:54 am

Singaporeans First (SingFirst) believe they have a fighting chance of overturning the People Action’s Party (PAP) in Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency (GRC) in the upcoming general elections.

SingFirst secretary-general Tan Jee Say and led psychiatrist Dr. Ang Yong Guan, 60, sales executive Melvyn Chiu Weng Hoe, 36, media consultant Fahmi Rais, 48, and market risk manager Chirag Desai, 38, to file nomination papers at Bendemeer Primary School on Tuesday morning. The latter three are first-time candidates.L-R: Chirag Desai, Fahmi Rais, Tan Jee Say, Dr. Ang Yong Guan and Melvyn Chiu from the SingFirst team contesting Tanjong Pagar GRC.

Given there are two RI boys, I can only wish the team well.even if one of them is TJS who can come across as an opportunist, and entitled aristocrat (he’s from a poor family but was a scholar) embittered that he isn’t feasting at the same high table as Ah Loong

Seriously, if PM and S’poreans want Oppo Tigers not mice, Dr Ang and TJS should fit the bill, alongside Dr Chee and Dr Paul. Juz because Dr Chee and TJS are flawed characters doesn’t mean that they’ll be ineffective in Parly. Saint Show Mao did bugger all in parly, other than affirming the status of the PAP as “emperor’ https://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/bad-analogy-chen-show-mao-2/.

At this stage of our political development, we need demagogues like Chee and TJS and good wingmen like Ang and Paul. The inbuilt majority of the PAP protects us from the what the lazy, cybernuts from TRELand want: everything free.

As both Dr Ang and TJS are around my age (60), its nice to see that there are oldies who still want to change the world.

And SingFirst has some interesting policy ideas https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/spending-more-on-poor-middle-class-not-juz-cause-ge-coming/

I took this survey prepared by some Yale-NUS students on which parties think like the voter in question ushttp://www.electionaire.info/SDP%20(Singapore%20Democratic%20Party)/91.14/RP%20(Reform%20Party)/82.9/WP%20(Worker’s%20Party)/80.67

My score
SingFirst 72.5
WP 72
SDP70.5
Not a big surprise in my case, but which maybe explains why I’m so offended by the WP’s defence on its monitoring of AHPETC’s managing agent and standing up on the issues in parly.

So I wish these guys well.

And let’s not forget this feisty lady battling the odds in Mountbatten when she could be taking things easy. Three of her four kids are working, hubbie’s got money and she’s a lawyer. If I were her, I’d be spending my days playing mahjong and shopping.

Cruise ship PAP: First class or cattle class?

In Uncategorized on 08/09/2015 at 4:31 am

Goh Chok Tong at Aljunied GRC – “If you go with the PAP, you are actually embarking on a cruise ship with a definite destination.”

Problem Mr Goh is that many S’poreans are in steerage

or think that they are by Swiss standards.

Steerage is the lower deck of a ship, where the cargo was stored above the open hold. During the early 1900s many immigrants were too poor to travel on the upper decks, with wealthy passengers, so they were cramped in converted cargo spaces which provided the lowest cost and lowest class of travel. The living conditions on the steerage deck were often horrible, with no bathroom facilities besides pots and pans. These horrible conditions caused many deaths due to unsanitary and cramped quarters. Gradual improvements to steerage class after the arrival of ocean liners led to its replacement by Third Class cabins.

(Wikipedia)

Still as the film “Titanic” reminds us that third class passengers were left to drown. The truth is they were evacuated more slowly,  and there were anyway not enough life boats.

In first class over a third of the men, almost all of the women and all the children survived. In second it was less than 10 per cent of the men, 84 per cent of the women and all the children. But in steerage 12 per cent of the men, 55 per cent of the women and less than one in three of the children survived. Interrogating the figures shows that – despite the strict “women and children first” policy – a greater proportion of first class men survived, than of third class children.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/did-the-third-class-passengers-on-the-titanic-have-a-fair-chance-1155678.html

Remember the perception that PAP says,”You die, yr problem”?

Btw, where GCT, Ah Loong and the other aristocrats (natural, unnatural or whatever) lounge.

FT flood will resume?

In Economy on 07/09/2015 at 12:12 pm

[A]ccording to the MOM’s findings (see excerpt in Figure C), their conclusion is that overall labour force growth will slow down significantly by the end of the decade. Therefore, it is not unrealistic to interpret this to mean that the current tightening of foreign labour influx might be just a short term solution for the next few years, before the ‘unsustainable slow growth’ is used as a reason to open up the landscape to more foreign labour. Clearer indication as to the government’s plan for the labour force direction for the next five to 10 years is therefore necessary at this point in order for the citizens of Singapore to better weigh their future.

http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2015/09/the-labour-force-game/

The above gives the numbers to the feeling I’ve always had: that there’s a lot of wayang and smoke and mirrors about the FT policies. And that the PAP administration is itching to open the floodgates again. And that the current FT restrictions are aimed to show that we need more New Citizens like Raj who are out to screw us.

To be absolutely fair to the PAP, at the end of this article there are three extracts quoting PM and Zorro on immigration.

But this is the reality: SDP’s Dr Paul Tambyah said something recently that deserves to be very widely known. At a recent forum organised by the National University of Singapore Society where representatives from nine opposition parties and the ruling PAP were present, Dr Paul Tambyah said that young local doctors complaining about the hours and working conditions in hospitals, were told that the hospitals could always employ FTs at lower salaries. If our brightest citizens (even straight As can’t get into the local medical schools)  are threatened with FT replacements, what about the Vocational Institutes’ grads?

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/zorro-sotong-or-trying-to-sotong-us-over-ft-local-numbers/

What the PM, Zorro say (from CNA)

— Speaking at the National Day Rally on Sunday (Aug 23), PM Lee acknowledged that the Singapore’s immigration policy will remain an issue for a long time.

“It is a very sensitive matter and not an easy thing to talk about, even at NDR,” he said. ” Singaporeans understandably have strong views on it. The Government has heard them, but on this matter, there are no easy choices. Every option has a downside.”

He cited policy changes that had been made. The Government has upgraded infrastructure, slowed down the inflow of foreign workers, tightened up on the approval of permanent residency and citizenship applications, and made sure that Singaporeans are fairly treated at work.

He noted that if the Government is too liberal with its immigration policy, then society can come undone. Singaporeans would be crowded out, workplaces would feel foreign and our identity would be diluted.

“If we close our doors to foreign workers, our economy will tank,” he said.

Companies would not have enough workers and some would close, meaning jobs lost. Foreign workers are also needed to build homes, he said.

So, we have to find something in between, he said. Companies would still find costs going up and would have to pass some of this on to consumers; they would also have to pass up opportunities because they can’t find the workers.

Yet, because some foreign workers would still be coming in, “some Singaporeans would still feel that Singapore is changing too fast, and would still resent having to compete with non-Singaporeans. Whichever option we choose will involve some pain,” said Mr Lee.

“Yet, I believe that I am doing what Singapore needs and what best safeguards your interest. If I did not believe that, I would not be doing it. It is my responsibility to make this judgment and act on your behalf. And having acted, I owe it to you to account to you for my decisions, for doing what I did.”

— It is the Government’s duty to grapple with the “very difficult issue” of getting the inflow of foreign labour right – and at the same time maintaining the unique identity of the nation, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

“It is an issue where honestly speaking, there are no easy choices. There are trade-offs,” said Mr Lee, speaking on Friday (Jul 31) in a television interview with Ambassador-at-Large Chan Heng Chee, chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities.

“I would like to keep this a Singapore-Singapore … it has to maintain that Singapore character.”

— The Manpower Ministry is looking at ways to help companies transfer expertise and know-how from foreign professionals to the local workforce, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say, as he spelt out what the ministry is doing to help strengthen the Singaporean core in the workplace.

Mr Lim said in Parliament on Monday (Jul 13) that his ministry is doing a closer analysis of the national Jobs Bank, including the number of jobs that are eventually taken up by Singaporean Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs).

The process, he said, will help authorities identify early signs of skills deficit among the local workforce. The information would be shared with sectoral tripartite partners to look into manpower development plans.

Lightning Kills

In Uncategorized on 07/09/2015 at 4:14 am

Just had to steal to share this image. Saw it on Facebook.

Didn’t PM’s dad dad say we were daft?

In Political governance on 06/09/2015 at 12:45 pm

“Absurd logic that when PAP did good people should still vote opposition,” said PM.

PM. should realise, even ignoring his dad’s comments about daft S’poreans, S’poreans are not good at logical thinking. In 2011, still 60% of S’poreans voted for the PAP despite the PAP ignoring the signals S’poreans were sending in 2006 GE and thereafter. We were told we were delusional, unreasonable, yet 60% of S’poreans voted for the PAP. Now that’s absurd.

Seriously, PM should be a lot less arrogant, even if he is an aristocrat: natural or unnatural or self-nominated or just born into an atas family.

He may have been spending a lot more of our money on making life more comfortable on ourselves since 2012, and a bit less in paying himself, his ministers etc: but there’s plenty more that needs to be done. He owns most of problems that S’poreans are unhappy about because he was DPM from 1990 (when the rot set in) till 2004 when he became PM. In investment banking in the olden days, a deal maker owned the dud deals that he did. He had to turn them round.

And how is “good” defined? By the PAP or us the voters? And there’s always room for improvement?

Let me end with this piece from a Facebook poster (I agree with the sentiments in the first two paras):

For 10-days, yaya-PAPayas will be running & begging. For after that, the people will be doing the running & the begging.

For me, it is unnatural to see the PAP do that, because they are treated like royalties by their entourage. The minions are the real people doing all the dirty work the rest of the time, writing letters for the MPs to sign. Many-a-times, minions are also the ones with a closed mind, doing the rejections in the MTP sessions.

The whole system of patronage has to go, and bringing in new MPs is the way to wipe the slate clean. Change has to come from outside, like FIFA.

Uncharacteristic of Low/ Low rattled?

In Accounting, Malaysia on 06/09/2015 at 5:26 am

To be fair, Low said

“In Singapore, if we had committed any criminal offence, we would already been thrown in jail!

“If there were any corruption, would they still leave you alone?”

Seriously, I always tot that a lot of the ministers’ attacks on AHPTEC’s accounts and affairs were over the top and were actually damaging the PAP rather than WP: own goals.

But perhaps the PAP were trying to goad the WP into remarks like what Low did above. I personally find Low’s comments offensive because I know that if proper records were not kept*, it’s impossible to find out if crimes were committed. Low’s “But the most important is after the inspection of the accounts, they found no criminal offence,” is absurd. There may be none. But the only way to find out is to reconstruct the accounts using forensic analysis.

Here two comments by the Pet Minister are relevant: “Another observation the High Court made was that if this kind of conduct had taken place in a public company, it probably would attract criminal sanctions,” the Pet Minister said.

And, “The High Court said Ms Lim misled Parliament, was dishonest. She has not responded to that.”

Only a PAP victory in Aljunied will reveal if the WP leaders can be charged in court.

Low used to be known to use silence or non-action as a weapon effectively. Not anymore?

Take his comments on GST

I’m suggesting that we have enough representation in Parliament,” Mr Low said. “So that after the elections, they have to think twice if they want to do anything, including the GST hike.”

“From past experience, it shows that the PAP is always capable of doing something, revising policies which will affect the lives of people after the general election,” Mr Low said on Saturday.

 He forgot this?

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) says there is “no basis” to claims made by some online websites that the Government will raise the Goods and Services Tax (GST) after the upcoming General Election (GE).

In a post on the gov.sg website on Thursday (Aug 6), the MOF said that online chatter, which claimed that GST would be increased to 10 per cent, were “inconsistent with what the Government has recently stated”.

“In the 2015 Budget Statement in February, DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam stated that the revenue measures the Government had already undertaken will provide sufficiently for the increased spending planned for the rest of this decade,” the MOF noted.

Among the measures is the inclusion of Temasek Holdings in the Government’s Net Investment Returns (NIR) framework from 2016, and the increase in the top marginal rates for personal income tax from Year of Assessment 2017. The statement added: “These measures came after moves in recent years to make Singapore’s property tax rates more progressive, with significantly increased tax rates for high value residential properties, offsetting reduced tax rates for lower value homes.”

Related posts:

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/11/20/why-wp-low-is-silent-about-almost-everything-silence-is-no-longer-golden/

— https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/budget-ask-in-a-very-loud-voice/

—————————————–

*When the AGO auditors went in to do a special audit of the TC , they were horrified to find that the TC’s archival and record system consisted of a room full of piled up boxes overflowing with documents.  No proper record keeping and many missing records, some conveniently so for FMSS as related third party transactions were found to be an issue by the AGO and even later by the TC’s own auditors. What was Sylvia and her MPs doing during all this time?  To be blunt, they had been sleeping on the job, underestimated the challenge of running a GRC TC and trusted the wrong people to do it but who screwed them. The only problem is because the monies are all residents’ monies, the ones who got royally screwed are the residents of AHPETC and many of them till today don’t even know it.

http://sggeneralelections2016.blogspot.sg/2015/09/the-story-of-fmss-ahpetc-more-than-meets-eye.html

Warning, blogger is pro-PAP.

 

 

 

VivianB peeing in his pants?

In Uncategorized on 05/09/2015 at 10:28 am

Surely this handshake should narrow for the SDP the 20 points gap in Holland Bukit Timah (based on last GE) to a winnable 10 points?.

 

If only Dr Chee and him shook hands, it’ll be a level playing field. And SDP has been taking Dr Tan’s advice* that they didn’t walk the ground enough prior to last GE.

“How do I vote” by Dr Tan Cheng Bock

https://www.facebook.com/TanChengBock/posts/882555261819010

—–

*I was told juz after last GE, that before results came out, Dr Ang Yong Guan (then a SDP paratroop candidate asked Dr Tan (they know one another, if not friends) if SDP could win. Dr Tan asked for details of SDP’s out-reach and concluded that SDP didn’t walk the ground enough.

Ah Loong that popular meh?

In Uncategorized on 05/09/2015 at 4:12 am

withyouforyou

Dr Ang Yong Guan,  “Is the Prime Minister so insecure that he must be everywhere?” (referring to the election posters)

No lah,  PAP’s PR team  (remember Mr Selfie* is unemployed having left a PR firm a few yrs ago) must have conducted studies , for this poster to appear all over S’pore. First time since the 60s. It seems LKY’s mug was used in the 60s once. It got defaceded badly and the PM’s photo was never used nation-wide again, until now.

——

*Remember he got a “Juz for MP special” meal that “bankrupted” stall holder after it became public knowledge, and brown noser had to do NS by making the MP meal available for charity?

 

Train breakdown on NEL this evening?

In Uncategorized on 04/09/2015 at 2:57 pm

I tot the above when I read

“If you are going to the WP rally, take the NEL Line (Purple Line) to Boon Keng Station.

The rally site is right at its doorsteps.”

(TOC)

The real Ravi Superhero

In Uncategorized on 04/09/2015 at 4:35 am

 

Not that Ravi standing for RP in AMK but telling people to vote for the PAP but this Ravi (I know him)

I come from a disadvantaged family and went to work after completing my GCE ‘O’ Level, at the age of 16, despite qualifying for higher education. I worked as a store-hand making just $300 so that I can help my mother. With an absent father in my life, my mother was my hero, and being the eldest child, my sense of duty compelled and pushed me into the adult world.

Even then, I knew that education was the great leveller. I pushed myself and completed the GCE ‘A’ Level and other diploma courses while working. Today I hold a Bachelor of Arts (Management) from Heriot-Watt University.

The Singapore back then, the political leaders and policies back then, provided various opportunities for me and allowed me to dream.  With hard work and perseverance, I rose from being a store-hand to be the Director of a welfare agency.

Our children and their children must not lose this ability to dream. Our leaders today are telling them that they don’t need a degree, that you can be a hawker, or a crane operator – that good qualifications no longer guarantee a good job. While saying all these, they are granting S-Passes, employment passes and permanent residency to foreigners with degrees.

With this being the situation now, what is the kind of a future that awaits our children? Will there be enough opportunities for them in their own country? Or will they be subordinate to better-qualified foreigners?

http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2015/08/why-i-have-come-forward/

When someone who benefited from the way LKY and his gang did things, now is concerned about his children’s future under a PAP administration led by LKY’s son, the PAP today is not the same PAP that LKY and the old guard founded and ran, and something is wrong, very wrong.

And he needs the MP allowance. He had to resign from his job to contest. If he loses, he still has got HDB mortgage to pay and family yo support.

Don’t laugh at M’sians

In Currencies, Malaysia on 03/09/2015 at 4:18 pm

Markets EM currenciesRinggit has fallen 18% more or less but 11.6% ain;t that great

Oppo slate that deserves to win/ PM rooting for them?

In Uncategorized on 03/09/2015 at 5:01 am

SDP team will be lead by Dr Chee Soon Juan. Other members in his line-up include National University of Singapore Yong Yoo Lin School of Medicine Professor Paul Tambyah, compliance auditor Sidek Mallek, and healthcare administrator Chong Wai Fung.

This team deserves to get in because of

Someone who thinks (like me) but who acts (unlike me).

Update at 2.45pm: Yahoo! talks to him https://sg.news.yahoo.com/ge2015–paul-tambyah-of-the-singapore-democratic-party-092334114.html

Secondly, the SDP has a comprehensive list of alternative policies that challenges the PAP’s Hard Truths.

Now if the SDP gets into power there is a chance that these policies may be a danger: The People’s Action Party’s (PAP) Dr Vivian Balakrishnan had harsh words for the policies proposed by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), saying that they are “tax and spend” programmes that will ultimately lead the country to bankruptcy.

He may be right (if the SDP wins a GE) but the SDP is not coming into power anytime soon, so why not let it’s ideas be tested in parly and see if they are found wanting?

(Btw, bit rich to talk of overspending. Didn’t he overspend on the Youth Olympics? $60 million to $300m? So who remembers anything of it and what was the net impact?

And this is not all, he sneered at the elderly poor, making fun of them. The same people the PAP is now honouring because it needs their votes: votes lost by the sneerer.

Whatever it is, the SDP is planning to spend our noney on ourselves, unlike VivianB who spent our money oney on fat cat foreigners from the Int’l Olympic Council. And to whose gain?)

Sorry for digression. After all the SDP has been right (sort of)

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/pap-listening-to-sdp/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/back-to-the-future-lky-dr-chee-the-sdp-agree-on/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/sdp-right-about-psle-streaming-what-works-in-education/

And as I’ve said before, Dr  Chee in his 1990s articulated a vision of S’pore today is closer to the reality than that of the PAP or mine (and I was a lot more pessimistic than the PAP).

Finally the SDP has proven that it can change. A bunch of nutters have changed their thinking, that even someone like me thinks SDP Bahru has some good ideas that deserve consideration.

Fyi, I plan to go buy the book “Men In White” to compare in detail the ideas of the PAP in 1959 and the ideas of the SDP today. I don’t think the PAP then would have been happy to have someone who sneered at the elderly poor in its ranks.

Update at 5.12 pm

Seems PM wants Dr Chee and Paul in parly. From this we can infer he wants Oppo tigers in Patly

Pointing to the Opposition’s “disappointing” performance in Parliament, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday that they were voted in to be a tiger in a chamber, but ended up being a “mouse in the House”.

Going by Paul’s and Dr Chee (remember I called him Mad Dog) one can assume that he wants them to beat the sneerer and an MP banker who disagrees with Tharman

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/08/10/pm-aiming-left-to-hit-the-centre-axed-pap-mps-who-dont-get-it/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/08/15/wah-lan-pap-mp-is-more-stupid-than-i-tot-haw-par/

China: Bull rides bear

In China on 02/09/2015 at 2:30 pm

Bull statue in Xiamen (25 Aug 2015)

A curious sculpture of a bull riding a bear in the southeastern port city of Xiamen has also struck a chord with Chinese netizens.

Bulls are considered the symbols of confident economy, the opposite totem – when the economy is retreating – being a bear.

Some have described the 3.4m-high (11ft), three-tonne statue, sitting outside an art museum, as an unofficial “symbol of hope”.

“Let’s hope this bull can bear the stock market pressure,” commented one Weibo user.

Another user said: “After all the turmoil, looking at it gives me strength.”

Visitors have also been flocking to Xiamen to catch a glimpse of the copper statue, with some even making offerings by placing joss sticks and food around its feet.

The owner of the statue also told Chinese state broadcaster CCTV News that it was indeed “related to the current stock market“.

BBC report

In S’pore the bull and the bear lie side by side (Re SGX sculptures). In the US 

 

The China Securities Regulatory Commission has asked 36 schools in one of the country’s richest provinces to teach upper primary school students “how to manage money and trade stocks”, according to the Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper. This will involve about 10,000 students in a pilot programme, beginning next month. If successful, the new curriculum will expand to the rest of the province, the paper says.

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-34107231

Why I won’t be voting for the PAP

In Uncategorized on 02/09/2015 at 4:34 am

Readers will know that I won’t be voting for the WP (first time ever) but that I wouln’t be voting for the PAP. But until GCT opened his mouth, I was thinking of voting for the PAP, juz this once. LKY would have liked it and whatever he did to others, his regime allowed me to stop working in my mid 40s. It would be a good gesture I tot.

 

Couple that with “Don’t chase after bits of meat thrown by the opposition,” which is extremely disrespectful, likening S’poreans to animals, or dogs. And there was the “nomads” “plundering”.

Here are other reasons for not voting for the PAP.

 

The PAP’s strategy is sad because the PAP could have made the theme of the election, “We listen. And we hear yr call for spending more of yr money on making life more comfortable for yrself.”

It could have been a celebration of sorts, not mud slinging and invoking Harry.

HoHoHo: Heads or tails, StanChart can’t win/ China banks

In Temasek on 01/09/2015 at 1:26 pm

Standard Chartered’s Puzzling Currency Questions The more dollar loans it has made in emerging markets, the more bad debts it will face as the renminbi, ringgit or rupiah fall. However, if it has lent widely in local currency instead, credit quality may remain stronger, but good loans will still produce weaker revenues in dollars, the bank’s reporting currency.

(NYT Dealbook)

The three major Chinese banks that Temasek invested in ICBC, BoC and CCB  reported only marginal gains in net profit for the first half of the year, while official measures of non-performing loans surged.

Bad debts are already eating into profitability. Increased provisions are the main reason why China’s big four banks reported little or no growth in pre-tax profit in the first half. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Bank of China now classify more than 1.4 percent of their loans as non-performing. Eighteen months ago, the ratio was around 1 percent.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2015/08/31/slowing-growth-exposes-chinese-banks-debt-debris/

 

Perils of only reading TOC/ Will Ravi change mind again?

In Humour on 01/09/2015 at 4:45 am

A little light entertainment with a nasty dig at the NSP and its president.

Must skim MSM, cannot rely on New Media

Reading only TOC and other anti-PAP new media outlets can make an otherwise intelligent person look silly.

Mrs Chong-Aruldoss (I know her) representing the Chiams’ Party (Yip it’s her blood, and that of P Ravi,that the Chiams are feasting on to keep alive) questioned why the findings of the AGO’s annual audit on public agencies were “met with muted responses” from the Government.

Huh? The constructive, nation-building media* were full of reports. And from personal experience, I know, govt bodies work themselves into a frenzy whenever the AGO criticises them, unlike the WP who are as yaya papayas as Amos Yee, when the AGO ticks it off; saying  it accepts that the AGO is professional and independent. but then gives it the finger by ignoring it. In govt departments and agencies, not being mentioned by the AGO is an impt KPI for senior officers.

Ms Sim from the PAP rightly pointed out that the agencies’ reactions have been swift after the report was released. They have owned up to lapses and cases of non-compliance, and have taken action to rectify the lapses. All the monies were accounted for and no public funds were lost. 

(CNA)

*Here’s a story about that parachutist extraordinaire (Three GEs, three GRCS, three different parties): A few yrs ago he criticised the mainstream media for biased news reporting of a non-political story. I emailed him, saying that actually the ST carried a very fair report, it was MediaCorp that didn’t. He emailed back saying he only read the free stuff. And blogged on that basis.

I lost all respect for his views after that.

Will M Ravi change mind again?

Later today, we’ll know if he will really be standing in GE 2015.

When I read that M Ravi was in the RP’s line-up for AMK, I couldn’t help but think that he joined the wrong party. Given the flip flops (think the decision to stand in Fortress Kate Spade and the strange issue of rowing over a permit  http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2015/03/nsps-back-track-on-presidential-appeal-in-need-of-reason/) of the No Subtance Party, he’d be really suitable to be a candidate for the National Stupid Party whose president claims that it was the fault of his lawyer and banker that he once a upon pleaded guilty to charges of corruption.

However as a young man with no legal experience, I took the professional advice of both my lawyer and bankers, who explained that as this was a technical breach of the law, it was far simpler to plead guilty, pay the fine and move on with life.

I remember clearly the urge to stand up and clear my name in court, as the charges not only frightened me but also went against every grain of what I stood and stand for morally. However, I deferred to the advice of my legal and financial advisors. In hindsight, I wish I had not done so.

Sorry for the digression. Back to M Ravi. Earlier on 12 August M Ravi had said he wasn’t standing as a RP candidate in AMK*.

And earlier this year, Ravi announced that he planned to stand in AMK, fielding a team of independents including New Citizen Han Hui Hui.

He then said he had allocated $1m to fund the campaign, will this money be available for RP’s fight in AMK?

In February this year M Ravi, publicly said ” he has set aside $1 million, saved over the years, for his campaign” – See more at:http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/opposition-veteran-lawyer-take-polls-position#sthash.ox58eIpv.dpuf. He planned to take on the PM in AMK GRC in the next GE, if the s/o JBJ’s party didn’t contest AMK.

Let’s put this $1m fighting fund into perspective:

— The 170 candidates who took part in the General Election 2011 spent some $5.5 million on the polls: so Ravi is planning to spend 18% of that amount in just one GRC;

— PM’s AMK team team spent $340,905 in that yr (second highest*), so Ravi is planning to spend 3 times more than PM’s team (he has to be careful not to run run foul of the $4.00 per voter that any party is allowed to spend); and

–. surely his relatives will vote for him? “He said he picked the six-MP constituency because 25 per cent of its residents are his relatives, saying he has Chinese and Indian roots. The GRC had about 179,000 voters in the last polls. – See more at:http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/opposition-veteran-lawyer-take-polls-position#sthash.ox58eIpv.dpuf  It seems Ravi has a low opinion of his many AMK relatives seeing that he plans to spend so much money. Surely, they’ll vote for “kaki lang”, “countryman” for free?

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/analysing-ravis-1m-amk-election-fund/

*Statement on Candidacy

Following my presence in a recent walkabout in AMK GRC with the Reform Party (RP) and a short interview I gave, speculation has been rife that I will run as a candidate for the RP.

I knew Mr J B Jeyaretnam, the founder of the RP, both as a friend and a colleague at the Bar. He was a man who always fought for the common man and dedicated a life of service to his fellow man. I am indeed honoured to have worked with him. He set up the Reform Party before his passing and it’s indeed wonderful to see his work and vision carried on by Kenneth in trying circumstances.

I am grateful that Kenneth allowed me to volunteer my services in some small way. I have seen his dedication and commitment to the people of AMK GRC. I see the same spirit in Roy Ngerng in wanting to serve the people and being the voice for the under-privileged in society.

I have been a lawyer for 18 years and I have always tried to serve my clients to the best of my ability. It’s a calling I take very seriously.

These few days, I have given considerable thought as to what my role and service to society must be. It is to the calling of service to the legal and judicial system but most of all a calling of service to my clients who depend on me to fight for them.

It is therefore prudent and crucial that I continue to maintain my focus on this and serve my clients diligently when I resume my legal practice shortly.  It is here that my focus and service must lie.

Accordingly I have decided that my service now is best rendered in this role.

I thank the Reform Party for allowing me to witness its work and outreach up close.

I wish them, and Roy Ngerng, well in their service to the public.

Thank You,