atans1

Archive for March, 2016|Monthly archive page

The Lion roars

In Political governance, Public Administration on 31/03/2016 at 2:11 pm

On 21 March. Leon the Lion reported on his Facebook page Today I filed this Parliamentary Question for oral answer at the next available sitting:

“To ask the Minister for Health (a) what are the names of the SGH and Ministry staff who have been disciplined in connection with the Hepatitis C hospital infection cluster in 2015; (b) what are the penalties and/or warnings that they individually received; and (c) for what reasons have these penalties and/or warnings been given in each case.”

[Readers will know I have problems with the naming of so many people, but I agree with his two other points about the details of their “honest mistakes”. Related post.

The Hepatitis C infection cluster in 2015 was a tragedy that led to seven lives being lost. With confidence in our healthcare system at stake, Singaporeans deserve to know who was held to account and in what way. After all, when doctors are sanctioned by the Singapore Medical Council, they are publicly named. I hope that Parliament will be able to debate this matter of grave public concern. 

[Looks like the beast in him wants blood via a cyberspace lynching. I think a deep bow and apology from the CEO of SGH is sufficient.]

Leon the Lion is no duckweed. Neither is he a highly paid social worker like the elected WP MPs. And he like the rest of the WP East Coast team (bar Gerald Giam, I hear) is walking the ground there. After GE2011 GG went AWOL, though to be fair that team broke up after GE 2011.

I’ll end with a question a reader asked about how infection is controlled in public hospitals

What I really like to know is what actions have been taken to control infection/cross-infection in every conceivable medical situation or protocol. It is the renal ward today. It can be another specialty/ward tomorrow. Granted that this is highly specialised and technical work requiring a very keen sense of awareness and detailed knowledge of procedures, (and detective work, perhaps?) etc. The best and onerous way about it is to embark on a very thorough and detailed audit of every pertinent and relevant medical/clinical/ward area/activity. Is this now being done?

As an example, MRSA infection, nowadays a rather common infection acquired by patients as a result of hospital stay. What is actively and effectively being done to monitor and control it? Are patients aware of the steps he/she has to take to protect himself/herself and for those who have been infected/acquired MRSA, how can they protect themselves and their family members, relatives and friends whom they come into contact with during hospital visits and upon discharge from hospital? What medical procedure and control measures have been formalized and implemented by the MOH across the board not only for SGH, but ALL private/public/restructured Singapore hospitals? At the moment, it seems very much like a ‘see no evil, say no evil and hear no evil’ situation of pretense and hoping that nothing worse would/can happen even when it can be a very serious infection for one who had contacted it and there is no available more powerful antibiotic to fight it.

Can someone who knows any good PAP MP (think Lily Neo or Puthu son of Coldstore detainee) or any of the three WP NMPs pass this on to them and ask them to raise this issue. Don’t bother with any of elected MPs of the Wankers’ WP: they are Tin Pei Lin clones. Highly paid social workers who only “Talk cock, sing song” in Parly when they are not silent.

 

Value in dog sectors?

In Financial competency on 31/03/2016 at 10:55 am

Banks, oil & gas and basic resources are currently trading at unusually large discounts to book value

But could get cheaper  another way looking at a low price-to-book ratio, is that the market does not see something as being under valued, rather that the company and its sector face bigger problems

 

Dr Chee imitating Tharman?

In Political governance on 30/03/2016 at 1:46 pm

Can’t stop laughing at this nonsensense:

My priority as MP of Bukit Batok (BB), should I be fortunate enough to be elected, will be to ensure the efficient and productive management of the BB Town Council. The SDP’s goal is to surpass current levels of performance of PAP-run town councils. We will set new standards for transparency and accountability in estate governance.

The SDP also looks forward to pioneering a new model of town council management where residents are involved in the planning and running of their community*.(Dr Chee)

Looks like he’s trying to tell jokes like failed stand-up (but still rich) stand-up comics Tharman and Hng Kiang . (Even PM tried telling jokes.)

Better still, it really got me laughing.

I mean what experience do the SDP have in running anything major? When it wanted to contest Punggol East, it wanted to sub-contract the management of the ward to the WP run town council. We know that, at the very least, the WP TC can’t keep proper records. So much so that HDB is using public funds to pay KPMG to help the WP town council fix its accounts.

AIM can learn from WP and its ex-mamaging agent on how to screw money from the public.

And  Bukit Batok is managed by the Jurong Town Council, helmed by DPM Tharman. A resident (now living in another area) and grassroot leader (ex) in Tarman Jurong once told me that when Tharman became a minister, his requests for help from govt departments were promptly acted upon. Now he’s DPM things can only get better.

And Mad Dog wants Bukit Batok residents to give up their “white horse” status for pariah status?

Come on, S’poreans are not that daft.

So why would Dr Chee want to run on a platform that the SDP can manage the area better than the PAP? RI doctors, Paul and Wee Nam, time to increase his dosage if sanity pills?

But maybe, he’s thinking of a “Heads I win, tails PAP loses” scenario? I’ll speculate tom or next week on this. Stay in touch. He could be Coyote not mad dog

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The coyote features prominently as a trickster figure in the folktales of America’s indigenous peoples, alternately assuming the form of an actual coyote or a man. As with other trickster figures, the coyote acts as a hero which rebels against social convention through deception and humor. The coyote was likely given its trickster role in light of the actual animal’s intelligence and adaptability; pre-Columbian American people observed its behavior, and their folkloric representations reflected its attributes. (Wikipedia)

Coyote does “mad” things for a reason.

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*He goes on Our first objective is to ensure a seamless takeover of the town council management. To do this, we will establish a Transition Team within three working days following the election to handle the transfer.

The BBTC will not engage a managing agent. Instead, we will employ qualified and experienced professionals as part of the management team, and I will personally see to the effective running of the TC and to attend to the residents’ concerns.

Who would work for him?

Big China deal here

In China, Commodities on 30/03/2016 at 10:20 am

Sinochem Plans to Create World’s Largest Listed Rubber Company here in S’pore. In the latest example of China’s hunt for global commodities assets, the state-owned Sinochem International made an offer to buy Halcyon Agri that valued the Singapore-based company at 450 million Singapore dollars, or about US$328.4 million. NYT Dealbook

Reuters reports

Sinochem International Corp said late Sunday (March 27) that it has offered to acquire a 30.07 per cent stake in Halcyon Agri for S$0.75 a share. The all-cash deal will be worth at least S$240 million.

 Sinochem International will also make a mandatory general offer at the same price to all Halcyon shareholders.

Subsequently, Halcyon will make an offer for Singapore-based natural rubber producer GMG Global Ltd — in which Sinochem International has a 51 per cent stake — at an exchange ratio of 0.9333 Halcyon share for each GMG Global share.

Halcyon Agri will also buy Sinochem’s natural rubber processing assets in China and Malaysia and trading businesses, the companies said in a joint statement on Monday.

After the transactions are complete, Sinochem will become the majority shareholder of Halcyon Agri, which will be the holding company of the expanded group.

The deals are expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2016.

The companies said the deal would create the world’s largest natural rubber supply chain manager with combined revenue exceeding US$2.3 billion (S$3.2 billion).

The companies said in January that they had been in talks over the potential deal.

Trading was halted in shares of Halcyon, which has a market value of US$320 million, and in GMG, valued at US$345 million.

Halcyon, which requested on Monday for the trading halt to lifted, last traded at S$0.73, while GMG was at S$0.615.

NIR, Budget untruths, & the President

In GIC, Temasek on 29/03/2016 at 1:22 pm

This (on Ong Teng Cheong possibly wanting to screw S’poreans like, as perceived,the workers were screwed when he was NTUC chief) got the a reader, Wil, asking

A Qn: The NIR used for the budget is projected returns. If the projected returns did not materialize, then how? It seemed like insurance agent selling us a policy on projected returns which never materialize.

Am I comprehending the NIR correctly? Because this seemed to me that there might be hefty tax increase down the road if the projected returns did not materialize. This will also affect all the social spending currently on Singaporeans

I asked Chris K to answer and he gave the following reply

Reply to Wil as request by atans1.

Your reading of the Constitutional NIR rule is correct – the NIR Contribution is calculated on the expected long term real rate of return (LTROR) on the government’s net assets (assets in excess of its liabilities). Pls note it is REAL returns we are talking about – that is the actual dividends and market valuation of the net assets minus the inflation rate. Therefore not all returns are spent. Then the rule limits the spent to 50% – therefore more than half of the actual or nominal returns are re-invested. Again pls note this is nothing unusual, Norway’s GPF and university endowments permit up to 100% of the returns to be spent.

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[Side box comment]

Own President Check Ownself

Chris later added this further explanation which helps explains why the PAP administration wants to fix things so that when it’s in power, the president is its preferred candidate for the post.. Imagine if Tan Jee Say was the president.

I should mention that there is a certain ownself check ownself in how they determine the NIR contribution. The asset managers in GIC, MAS and Temasek make an assessment of the expected real LTROR which the government submits to the President for his approval. It begs the question how the President is able to come to a decision to approve the expected real LTROR without referring the matter back to the government if he disputes the assessment. So the issue goes back to the asset managers who indirectly works for the government. Conflict of interest is obvious. Should no agreement with the President is attained, the NIR rule permit the use of the reported real LTROR instead of the expected real LTROR.

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Certainly on a year to year basis, GIC, MAS and Temasek may suffer losses or as you say the returns do not materialise. But again pls note we are talking of long term returns of 20 years or more – an occasional bad year like 2015 is not going to cause a significant dip in the LTROR and we must also be mindful that inflation has fallen thus increasing the real LTROR or offsetting any fall in real LTROR. Besides a dip in the reported real LTROR simply means the expected LTROR will be revised downwards for subsequent budgets. So there is a buffer built into the NIR framework which means the available amount of spent will fall.

As for tax increases, I do not see any reasons based on the NIR alone (although I see very good reasons for further tax increases on the top 1% to 5%). Any fall in the real LTROR may decrease the NIR Contribution but this decrease is offset by the fact that more than 50% of the LTROR is reinvested, increasing the reserves and offsetting the fall in the NIR Contribution.

Most importantly that the Budget as presented to the public is not IMF compliant – that is to say the true fiscal position is obscured from the public (but not to the IMF since Singapore is subject to the assessments required under Article IV of the IMF constitution). The actual fiscal position are far more in surplus than the government revealed. in 2015, the government presented a budget deficit equal to 1.2% of GDP but the true fiscal position is a surplus of a surplus of 1.7% of GDP. In 2014, the government reports a surplus of 0.1% of GDP while true position is a surplus of 3.9% of GDP. There has been huge differences between the two sets of numbers simply because the government do not reveal “net acquisition of non financial assets” or simply revenues from net sale of land.

This is the reason why the NIR contribution kept increasing despite generally poor global investment returns.

Atans1: apols for mouthful but this is as layman as I can manage. Will write a piece on the budget being non IMF compliant after I read the MPs falling over themselves to debate fiscal sustainability and the likes without knowing what they are talking about

Israeli policy shows up PAP govt

In Economy on 29/03/2016 at 10:05 am

Because Israel puts strict limits on hiring skilled non-Jewish foreign workers, tech companies find it easier to recruit in the under-tapped minority Arab and ultra-Orthodox communities. (FT)

Well here, the immigration policy here is still lax enough for employers to prefer FTs because they come wothout the 17% CPF contribution (the imposts on using FT is less than this) ….

A better candidate than Dr Chee?

In Uncategorized on 28/03/2016 at 2:21 pm

Jeremy Chen*, no friend of Dr Chee, came out on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/convexset/posts/10153905970941335 criticising Dr Chee’s decision to stand: Paul Ananth Tambyah would be a better candidate . He would say that wouldn’t he given that he has a real problem with Dr Chee**. When TRE republished his rant***, it received this totful response

Anon:

I am not privy to the inside story as to why CSJ has put himself forward instead of PAT.

But let me use some speculative reason to see if we might arrive at a less SINISTER reason for why CSJ might still be the better candidate.

To start with PAT being a very respected professional could have gone and joined any opposition party and I dare say they would have welcomed him with open arms as a quality candidate. I dare say that, if he had tried, he might even have become a PAP candidate, could he not? Yet who did he decide to join? CSJ with all his ‘tarnished’ reputation. Was it poor judgement on his part, or is there something more to it.

During the election hustings, I listened to his recorded speeches. It is clear he has a deep compassion for the plight of the ordinary person in the street and the downtrodden; a good man with a conscience who wants to make society fairer and more caring. I speculate that he decided to join CSJ precisely because he saw these same concerns, convictions and qualities in the latter. He saw CSJ’s conviction and leadership as someone he could align himself with.

Now, for all his qualities, he is not as vocal and as much a conviction politician as CSJ. He probably knows this himself. For all the accolades and credits given to *KY he was certainly not the smartest in the team he was fortunate to assemble. So the lesson in this is that the figurehead for a cause does not have to be the brainiest (Ronald Regan comes to mind). SHould he be elected CSJ will have a higher profile than PAT and create greater controversy. At this point in time that is what Singapore and Singaporeans need; a loud voice championing the cause of those marginalised and overlooked.

(Don’t you like those initials? Doesn’t PAT just convey a friendly gentle touch?)

Br Chee thinks he can convince the swing voter to vote for him? Because his prophecy of S.pore today is more accurate than that of the PAP (and self) 30 yrs ago? Somehow I doubt it. His mistakes (civil disobedience, looney erratic behaviour) linger in the memory. As do his demonisation by the PAP and its allies in the constructive, nation-building media.

Whatever PAT better watch his legs. Mad Dog has bitten quite a few people who he saw as a threat to him: Jeremy Chen can testify to this . And so it seems can Danny the SDP Bear: when was the last time u saw a pix of him? Nowadays it’s always the Chees being featured. Never mind, I’m sure Tharman will welcome PAT to his team.

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*Jeremy Chen was a scholar and was working in MINDEF in the division where Ho Ching was once working. He left and went to do a PhD in NUS biz School. But he can be a bit dumb. He got into a row with self and others when he accused SIA of “fixing” the results of its investment in Virgin Airlines where it lost money but wrote-back a profit. We explained to him that SIA had already progressive written off the investment and had overprovided, hence the write-back. He yelled that he “didn’t do accounting”. I asked how come can do PhD without knowledge of accounting and how come SDP can accept him as member

**He claims to have single-handedly written most of SDP’s policy papers. He left SDP after a row with Had Dog.

***On the whole Bukit Batok by-election thing… It is well known that Paul Ananth Tambyah is more electable in each and every constituency imaginable in almost every demographic (except old racist Chinese people). How then is the SDP not fielding him? The answer is, CSJ doesn’t want to take the risk that PAT will be elected as it would effectively mean relinquishing the Secretary General position to PAT.

Why is he holding on so firmly to it and, in doing so, acting against the interests of the SDP? Being able to position oneself to international organizations as the leader of the “only democratic hope” in Singapore brings with it “resources”. I have not seen such resources in the context of the SDP, but on a global scale it is well known that such “grants” exist.

So until nomination day, I propose that anyone with an interest in seeing a sensible opposition voice in Parliament voice their support for Paul Ananth Tambyah.

Paul Ananth Tambyah for Bukit Batok!!

 

High flyer takes pay cut

In Banks on 28/03/2016 at 10:21 am

CEO of a big UK insurer left to head a big Swiss bank: more prestigious.

He gives  the lie the to Hard Truth that got to pay big bucks to attract talent to be minister. Either that or being minister is not a pretigious job. Btw, I once remarked that ministers needed “danger” money what with LKY’s “Off with his head” attitude even after he moved to the shadows.

FT reported last week:

Credit Suisse’s new chief executive Tidjane Thiam took a big pay cut to join the Swiss bank.

The bank’s annual report shows he was paid SFr1.58m for the six months he worked last year as well as a bonus of SFr2.86m, a package roughly in line with his predecessor Brady Dougan writes the FT’s Laura Noonan.

It annualises to SFr4.57m, a lot less than the £11.8m – or around SFr16.5m – Mr Thiam got for his last year at insurer Prudential. Credit Suisse paid SFr14.3m to buy Thiam out of his Prudential shares, the report showed.

Mr Thiam asked the board to cut his first bonus by 40 percent to reflect the challenging environment the bank was facing, and in solidarity with colleagues including those in global markets where the 2015 bonus pool was cut by 36 percent.

Ong Teng Cheong & the Budget

In Economy, GIC on 27/03/2016 at 2:31 pm

Sometime back I said that I would blog in greater detail about Ong Teng Cheong’s unhealthy obsession about locking up the reserves. This is as good a time as any to write about the matter because of the Budget and because recently I read this: http://singaporedaily.net/2016/02/11/daily-sg-11-feb-2016/ which left out not so friendly details about the People’s President.

Ong Teng Cheong wanted to lock-up reserves forever and a day. He wanted future generations to press their noses at the blast-proof windows protecting the reserves. They would be able salivate at the reserves but despite their distended, empty bellies, not able to have access to the reserves until the president gave access.

He made this very, very clear when as DPM, he didn’t want any of the interest or capital gains from the reserves to be used by the govt of the day. He wanted the constitution changed for these to locked-up too arguing that the value of the reserves must be preserved. The only way of doing this was to lock up the interest and capital gains. Taz the People’s President for you.

It was one Ah Loong that wanted a more flexible regime of using the returns for the present generations. Ah Loong, of course, got his way and the over the years more and interest and capital gains have been allowed to be used.  The returns on the reserves are being used as an endowment, with the Budget as the immediate beneficiary.

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Related article: The theory and practice of an endowment fund

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jan/01/wellcome-trust-investment-chief-plays-long-game

“I think is predominately a mindset,” says Truell*. “It is a mindset that believes that compounding cash flows over time is the most effective form of investment. It is partly also the mindset of the organisation. I have a board that consists mainly of very eminent scientists who are very empathetic to the view that you make progress over years and decades, not over the next quarter.” Truell is CIO of the Wellcome Trust

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This yr, the net investment returns contribution, S$14.7 billion, means that overall Budget position is  S$3.45 billion “surplus”*, amounting to 0.8% of nominal GDP. Economists say this overall surplus position will give the Government the fiscal space to enact off-Budget measures, should the economic outlook deteriorate significantly.

“Without the contributions from GIC and Temasek, there would have been a primary deficit* of almost S$5 billion. This is bigger than the S$2.3 billion deficit* in the post-financial crisis Budget in 2009, and the S$4.25 billion deficit* last year,” said Mr Ng. (CNA)

(*As defined by the S’pore govt, not the IMF. By IMF standards, S’pore’s surpluses from its Budgets amounting to 7% of GDP: not peanuts.)

Net investment returns contribution over the years. (Source: Ministry of Finance; Infographic: Linette Lim) CNA

All these monies would have been denied to S’poreans by the People’s President. No wonder the nuts in TRELand adore and worship him: he’d have screwed their handworking fellow S’poreans.

Finally, readers may be interested in these excerpts about GIC’s mgt of the reserves from a Bloomberg article that appeared in 2014

GIC has moved away from the endowment model of strategic asset allocation it had followed for a decade. In the process, it’s become one of the world’s most aggressive sovereign wealth funds.

As the new strategy came into effect in April 2013, GIC shifted away from its traditional asset-allocation strategy to a more active approach. Its fund managers can now deviate from GIC’s portfolio if there’s an opportunity to beat the market.

“The way of generating returns through holding diversified assets and just kind of waiting would not work well anymore,” CIO Lim says.

In GIC’s early years, the government ran it as a rainy-day fund.

“My cardinal objective for GIC was not to maximize returns but to protect the value of our savings and earn a fair return on capital,” Lee said on the occasion of GIC’s 25th anniversary in 2006.

Five years later, on GIC’s 30th anniversary, in his last public speech as GIC chairman, Lee urged the fund to take bold, strategic and forward-looking decisions.

“As GIC grows larger and more established, the impetus to follow conventional practices will grow stronger,” he said at an anniversary dinner. “This could lead to mediocrity.”

In 2012, GIC began a major review of its investment strategy — only the second such examination since the fund’s inception.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-12-08/singapore-sovereign-fund-bets-big-on-trophy-real-estate

 

 

 

 

 

LKY, Amos & mother Mary

In Uncategorized on 27/03/2016 at 10:37 am

Lest we forget, let’s remember that LKY’s death changed two lives forever and a day.

I have been too sad to speak up ever since Amos left for the past 3 months but I’m feeling more and more helpless now. I need help, but I think Amos definitely needs more help than me.

So many people have been asking me where Amos is, expecting me to know. Same as all of you, I would like to know where he is. I wonder who would be the lucky one. Is he on the run? Is he safe?

Does he have enough money for food and lodging? How can he survive on his own without any help? Why has he been quiet online for so long? These are the questions that follow after 12th Dec 2015 which was the last day I saw him. He disappeared after receiving the police letter handed to him personally at our doorstep. Afterwards, he just kept quiet, and paced furiously around the house. I went to sleep at night and the next morning, he was gone.

A few days after Amos ran away, the police came over to my house and I thought that they were going to say that they had found Amos. However, they didn’t. Instead, they just asked me if I knew where he was, which I did not, and said that Amos needed to go for a rescheduled investigation on 22nd Dec 2015. Adding on to my anxiety, an inspector called me when Amos didn’t turn up for the health check-up he had to attend for National Service.

Obviously he did not attend, otherwise he would have been arrested on the spot for his previous offence.

We all know that Amos was arrested not because he offended religious groups, but for political reasons, making fun of Lee Kuan Yew when he had just died. After Amos was released from jail, he continued to make videos which became very popular, condemning the PAP government, and saying that Amos had offended Islam was just another excuse to arrest and silence him. Although he wasn’t charged and was only asked to show up for an investigation, he knew that if the investigation continued, he would definitely be charged and sentenced, and this time since it was a repeated offence, probably sent to 3 years of RTC, which is why he chose to run away from home.

I remember he wrote in his blog that he only has enough money to survive for another 3 months from the crowdfunding of his court case. That was in January, it has almost been 3 months since. * account information removed *

Knowing Amos has never been good at handling money because seeing how fast he spends money from his bank account, I think he has no money anymore and I’m very fearful he hasn’t been able to eat. Maybe he ran out of money and needed to sell his laptop which is why he hasn’t posted anything for the past 2 months. I really don’t know and I am very confused and sad.

I think that Amos’ words are disrespectful and rude, but I don’t ever think that Amos should have been sentenced or put to jail because of it. Amos is a boy with very strong views and will pursue them, so I understand why he went on the run, but because of that I worry about him every day. People keep on telling me stories like why Amos has kept quiet for so long was because the government has secretly captured him, or that he has been drugged or killed. Thinking about the things that could be happening to Amos, I am unable to sleep well at night and I’m very worried about him.

If anyone knows where Amos is, please tell me, and if he insists on keeping it confidential, please help him to the best that you can. As a mother who has taken care of him for the past 17 years, I am really very worried. He doesn’t have any life skills, doesn’t know how to clean or sweep or cook. Either the grandparents’ maid or I have been doing things for him most of the time, and now that he suddenly has to live without my help, I’m really feeling very frightened. [Time for him to learn. LOL]

Please, if anyone knows where Amos is or can offer him help or help me get in touch with him, please private message me here on Facebook. I don’t know what is happening to Amos, I hope Amos is alright, I hope my dear son is safe … …

Facebook post by Mary Toh, Amos’s mother Mary.

Ever tot of asking police to help find her son? Don’t give me the BS about she being afraid. If really concerned about waz happening to her Boy Fantastic, she should report to the police that her son ran away from home. The penalties for not attending a police interview,and NS medical checkop are peanuts compared to the relief she should feel at finding him. WAYANG by publicity seeker.

And another thing. Where are those who egged him on? But failed to stand bail for him and denied him when he righly denounced them for their hypocrisy.

This TRE reader* has it about right

[T]he point I’m trying to make here is, you should know what the outcome will be if you do something wrong (in the eyes of Singaporeans, like insulting gahmen/insulting lky), so don’t expect any sympathy since you know very well you’ll get into trouble for making that video.

I won’t condemn Amos Yee, but I won’t pity him, he’s the one who destroyed his life when he had a potentially bright future, he could avoid the politics and just focus on what he’s doing (making entertaining videos not related to politics.. film making).

Update at 2.15pm:

She and Amos made the bed that they now must lie in. In simple English, “Accept the consequences of yr actions: pointless to cry and complain.”

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*No, I do not support LKY, in fact I’m not even offended by his LKY video since I didn’t even feel sad when he died.

Bloomberg agreed with Roy in 2014

In CPF, GIC on 26/03/2016 at 1:00 pm

[Update on 27 March at 6.20am: A reader has given the new link http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-12-08/singapore-sovereign-fund-bets-big-on-trophy-real-estate so I’ve amended the article accordingly. ]

We know that Roy Ngerng talks cock about GIC managing CPF monies. Govt says so and so do independent experts like Chris K (once a TRE:and super hero and financial gguru, now demoted to PAP IB member).

But this is what Bloomberg wrote in 2014 when Roy was KPKBing about PM stealing our CPF monies

Like investors of all stripes, GIC is fighting against the tide of slowing global growth and low interest rates.

The city-state’s citizen population of 3.3 million is aging fast; the median age will rise to 47 years by 2030 from 39 in 2011, according to the government’s National Population and Talent Division

What’s more, GIC is under demographic pressure as manager of part of the Central Provident Fund, the savings plan that is meant to provide retirement income for Singaporeans.

Now this is the strange thing. The link to the article http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-12-08/singapore-sovereign-fund-bets-big-on-trophy-real-estate#p1  goes somewhere else, not to the article. Wonder why?

 

Muslims: Fun Fact cont’d/ What Americans can teach Saudis

In Uncategorized on 26/03/2016 at 6:55 am

In an article on the dangers of being an atheist in the Gulf region, The Economist writes: Despite the great risks associated with religious doubt in the Islamic world, curiosity about atheism seems to thrive. According to Google Trends, all of the seven countries most interested in the term “atheism” are in the Middle East. Still, a survey by WIN/Gallup International in 2012 suggested that Brazilians were more religious than Afghans and Armenians more zealous than Iraqis. Perhaps not wholly surprisingly, the proportion of Saudis reporting themselves to be “convinced atheists” was about the same as for Americans.

Saudis should learn from the US on how to persecute atheists without killing them or harming them physically: intimidate psychologically. And all under the banner of “Freedom of speech and religion”.

Muslims: Fun fact

In Uncategorized on 25/03/2016 at 1:44 pm

:

Did you know that Muslims form a bigger percentage of the population of Brussels (25% according to the FT), than that of S’pore with around 12%?

Paris (including its metropolitan areas has between 10-15% it seems while London has around 10%, though some areas are 30%

 

 

HoHoHo: StanChart gives more pain

In Emerging markets, Temasek on 25/03/2016 at 6:39 am

In London, StanChart fell 7.8% after after Australian peer ANZ warned of a further deterioration in credit quality.

FT reports

“Whilst we believe to some extent ANZ’s issues are company specific, ongoing commodity price weakness is likely to translate into higher losses for the sector,” said Macquarie. Oil and metals producers account for about 6 per cent of StanChart’s lending book.

More bad news

Separately, Morgan Stanley advised clients to sell into StanChart’s 25 per cent rally from February lows.

Lower-for-longer interest rates, contracting Asian export volumes and pressure on Hong Kong mortgages as lenders compete for low-risk assets make StanChart’s long-term targets look “heroic”, Morgan Stanley said, adding: “We see revenue as the next challenge and without deeper cost cutting we struggle to see how the 8 per cent 2018 return-on-equity guidance can be met.”

LKY & Aslan the Lion

In Uncategorized on 24/03/2016 at 1:55 pm

Is he telling Aslan the Lion that S’pore’s the real Narnia? Or that Aslan should F!@k-off because he’ll protect S’pore: For those not familiar with the Chronicles of Narnia, Aslan is the protector of Narnia against the forces of evil. He’s a Christ-like figure.

 

HoHoHo: Next bet for value investor

In Energy, Temasek on 24/03/2016 at 10:03 am

Will Temasek try its luck and put our chips here? What will Buffett do?

One reason why the coal industry is in such a bad shape is that US utilities are using more natural gas which is cheaper than thermal coa.

NYT Dealbook on the coal industry:

BANKS PULL FINANCING FROM COAL INDUSTRY Wall Street’s retreat from the coal industry is an ominous sign for a sector already in decline, Michael Corkery writes in DealBook. JPMorgan Chase said it would no longer finance new coal-fired power plants in the United States or other wealthy nations. Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley have made similar decisions. At the same time, Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private-sector coal company, said it might have to follow three other large coal companies into bankruptcy.

Coal has had periods of boom and bust before, but some say this may be a permanent shift for the industry that helped drive Wall Street profits during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Banks say they are trying to do their part against climate change, but the retreat is driven by a more basic reason: Lending to coal companies is risky and could prove unprofitable. Coal companies are under pressure from less expensive energy sources and tougher regulations. As a result, even the most secure loans are off limits for many banks.

Even hedge funds and private equity firms, usually eager to pounce on companies in distress, do not have the stomach for the coal industry.

In the oil industry, however, investors are snapping up debt and equity from troubled companies, in expectation of a rebound.

Roy’s case Four questions

In CPF, Financial competency on 23/03/2016 at 2:17 pm

And possible answers

Since Roy had further bouts of verbal diarrhea, after a long spell of good health the noise from cyberspace was supportive of his verbal diarrhea.

Here are four questions that I’ve not heard any anti-PAP warrior, nut or rational ask.

— Why has PM given Roy until 2033 to pay up?

— If PM had not sued, what would have happened in GE?

— If PM had not asked for damages, what would happen in future?

— Why are S’poreans only aroused  when there are allegations of wrong-doing?

Why has PM given Roy until 2033 to pay up?Why has PM given Roy until 2033 to pay up?

In other words, why is PM making payments affordable?

To pay the S$150,000 in damages owed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for defamation, blogger Roy Ngerng will start with payments of S$100 a month for five years, his lawyer said on Monday (Mar 14).

These instalments will start from Apr 1, 2016. After five years – from Apr 1, 2021 – Ngerng will have to pay S$1,000 a month until the full sum is paid, lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam said.

In addition, Ngerng will have to pay S$30,000 by Wednesday, Mar 16 for the costs of the Assessment of Damages hearing.

If he pays all the instalments on time, Ngerng will complete paying by 2033.

Why is PM liddat? Answers please given that the “noise” is not giving him any credit for putting Roy on a “never-never: payment scheme, because to give him credit for making defamation ‘affordable” would imply that Ah Loong’s a really nice guy.

If PM had not sued, what would have happened in GE?

If PM had not sued, Roy and M Ravi, as Oppo candidates in AMK GRC would have been entitled to claim that PM did not sue because Roy’s allegations that he stole our CPF money were true.  And this was a good reason as any other not to vote for PM.

And the other Oppo candidates in other wards could also claim that the allegations “must be true” otherwise PM would sue. And this would be a good reason to vote Oppo, even if that Oppo were members of the NSP, a party led by someone who never told us about his criminal conviction and bankrupty.

As it is, almost as soon as PM sued, Roy apologised to PM, claiming that the allegations were untrue giving the lie that he had done research in the issue. Research? What research?

Related post: In 1959, the PAP alleged wrongdoing by a minister. He sat down and kept quiet. He lost his seat and the PAP thrashed his party.

If PM had not asked for damages, what would happen in future?

“… The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) reiterates that we deplore this practice by the Singapore government of using exorbitant and punitive civil defamation suits to silence its critics”

The problem with not pressing for damages is that it than makes defaming the PM a cheap, effective way of becoming a political “celebrity”. Today, Roy, tom Goh Meng Seng, then New Citizen Han Hui Hui, then s/o JBJ. There’ll be no end of those lining up to defame PM or other ministers because there’s no cost to defaming them. And we know how S’poreans love free things, don’t we?

Why are S’poreans only aroused  when there are allegations of wrong-doing?

Seriously, I think that there’s a more important issue than whether PM should have sued or the quantum of damages.

We all know that people* like Uncle Leong etc (self included) have been posting on the relationship of CPF funds and the monies managed by GIC etc for a long time. But the public never took an interest on a matter that should concern them :their retirement and mortgage payment money.

It took Roy’s allegations that PM stole the CPF monies that made the public aware that they could and should better returns than the average of about 3.3% on their balances**.

Surely shumething is wrong, very wrong with the way S’poreans behave? Only when there is an allegation of wrong-doing, do people get aroused and interested.

When my Facebook avatar posted something like the above, he received this totful response from a leading economist and critic of many a govt policy:

What this indicates is that first there is widespread public confusion and mistrust about the CPF, second the CPF system needs careful examination and reform and third until Roy made crazy allegations the government has not seen fit to respond adequately to these issues

I think it’s not just something wrong with Singaporeans but that it shows poor management of policy and public opinion by the government.

More importantly it indicates that in our polity, there are insufficient real channels of feedback on key areas of policy concern that government is genuinely responsive to.

————————————–

*Even one Harry Lee talked about it in the early noughties when he explained that the govt issued a special bond to CPF and the proceeds of the bond went into the govt’s Consolidated Fund.

*You know when an issue is safe to talk about when an NUS academic is reported in the constructive, nation building ST talking about a topic. Such a topic is the link between our CPF monies and the monies managed by GIC.

As the report on 12 January 2016 is pretty short, here’s almost the full monty from BT:

The government can consider partially pegging returns on the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Ordinary Account (OA) to returns generated by sovereign wealth fund GIC, suggested an academic.

National University of Singapore (NUS) economics professor Chia Ngee Choon acknowledged that GIC returns are already distributed to Singaporeans indirectly through, for example, Budget top-ups to CPF accounts.

But linking GIC to the CPF OA interest rate allows for a more direct channel for Singaporeans to enjoy GIC returns should it do well, she noted. “We don’t want to miss the opportunity of having a higher rate.”

Assoc Prof Chia made the suggestion at an academic symposium on social security at NUS on Tuesday.

——————————

Reminders

OA monies earn either the legislated minimum interest of 2.%  per annum, or the three-month average of major local banks’ interest rates, whichever is higher. 2.5% is currently paid out as bank interest rates have been “peanuts”, with the relevant three-month average at 0.21% from August to October 2015.

An extra 1% is payable on the first S$60,000 of a member’s combined balances, with up to S$20,000 from the OA able to attract the extra interest.
GIC achieved a 20-year annualised real rate of return of 4.9 per cent for the financial year ended March 31, 2015. In US dollar terms, including the effect of inflation, GIC’s portfolio generated an annualised return of 6.1 per cent over the 20 years ended March 31, 2015.

——————————————-

To get higher returns on CPF, Assoc Prof Chia also suggested that Singaporeans can transfer excess money from the OA, which is used for housing, to the Special Account (SA), which is used for retirement and which generally pays a higher interest rate of 4-5 per cent a year. The CPF Board can encourage Singaporeans to monitor their OA and SA account balances more actively through sending text message or e-mail reminders, she pointed out.

However, people mightbe wary of transferring OA monies to SA, because the transfer is irreversible. Those who transferred might want to use the money to purchase a more expensive house, she added. She suggested an option to transfer money from the SA back to the OA, perhaps with a penalty or administrative fee.

 

 

When China went to the Fed for help

In Uncategorized on 23/03/2016 at 10:24 am

Goh Meng Seng and Uncle Redbean will never tell u this: even China needs the Fed’s help.

NYT Dealbook reports

How China Asked the Fed for Its Stock Crash Playbook Confronted with a plunge in its stock markets last year, China’s central bank reached out to the Federal Reserve, asking it to share its playbook for dealing with Wall Street’s “Black Monday” crash of 1987.

S’pore expensive only for expats

In Economy on 22/03/2016 at 4:16 pm

A Facebook friend (no supporter of Mad Dog Chee or WP) has had it with the views of the PAP administration, its alliies in the constructive, nation-building media and various assotrted PAPPy vermin on Facebook spinning to us that life is cheap for S’poreans here, esp when it comes to food and public tpt and “affordable” housing.

They were responding to the EIU’s survey that S’pore was the most expensive city for expats three yrs in a row: http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2016/03/daily-chart-4

My FB pal grumbled:

I don’t see why must Singaporeans be happy with daily meals of little nutritional value* like lots of simple carbs in white rice, a tiny amount of meat or fish and some vegetables.

Even Asian diets can be have more nutrition like cut down on the simple carbs unless you work in a menial job and add more fruits and vegetables and lean meat.

All these healthier choice will be more costly even if eat at coffeeshop or buy from NTUC and not fine dining or buy from gourmet grocers.

EIU overexagerate the costs of living, even expats eat and live healthy.

While the local media and the Prime Minister Office’s DOS [ I think he means the Department of Statistics] under estimates the cost of living using lowest baseline instead of median expenses.

Our forefathers worked hard so we can have a better life and we continue to work hard so our children can continue to progress.

Please don’t bullshit and tell me I have to work extra hard so that the landlords can huat on rental while my children have to eat less healthier and less nutritious food which affect them vs their peers who are feed better. (not more which leads to obesity)

Someone else added: U should add “Ordinary S’poreans cannot own cars isit?” Only expats and elites can isit?

I agree with them. The PAP administration want us all to live in affordable HDB flats, don’t drive cars, take public transport only and only eat rice, cheap vegerables and cheap cuts of meet. Err what about ministers?

—-

*One PAPpy lady was trying hard to explain that if we eat simple, cheap food, S’pore is a “cheap” city to live in.

What Peenoys are best at

In Uncategorized on 22/03/2016 at 12:05 pm

Laundering money.

NYT Dealbook reports

FOCUS FALLS ON THE PHILIPPINES AFTER BRAZEN HEISTThe search for more than $80 million of Bangladesh’s money that vanished from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has placed a spotlight on the murky banking system of the Philippines, Floyd Whaley and Neil Gough write in DealBook.

The investigation of how the money came to be transferred to the Philippines and what happened to it afterward has touched on how vulnerable the Pacific nation is to corruption and money-laundering.

The casino industry in the Philippines is exempt from many anti-money-laundering requirements. The country also has some of the world’s toughest bank secrecy laws – a legacy of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who hoped they would turn the Philippines into a financial hub.

“They picked us to launder this money because our system is full of loopholes,” said Sergio R. Osmeña III, a Philippine senator who leads a committee on banks and financial institutions. Lawmakers this week questioned employees of the local banks that had processed the transfers, and were frustrated that some declined to answer questions and cited their rights against self-incrimination.

The people behind the theft had tripped up while trying to request the transfer of more than $100 million that Bangladesh keeps in the New York Fed. A misspelling halted the transfer of about $20 million to Sri Lanka, but the culprits had already shifted $81 million to the Philippines. The money in the Philippines was transferred to Solaire, one of the newer casinos. Silverio Benny Tan, the corporate secretary of Bloomberry Resorts, Solaire’s parent company, said about $29 million was transferred to accounts at the casino held by a junket operator named Weikang Xu.

The casinos here in the Philippines are a black hole,” Mr. Osmeña said. “Once the money goes in there, it is gone.”

What really went wrong at SGH?

In Public Administration on 21/03/2016 at 1:57 pm

And why the reluctance to do more than issue letters of warning?

A regular reader and commenter of this blog who seems to have been  a medical doctor and administrator has an explanation.

Note he had already raised the issue of the use of shared vials here before the internal report came out. He goes further below presumably having read the internal report.

This WAS a systems failure whereby the major gap was allowing same vial of insulin for multiple patients i.e. shared vials, although supposedly using fresh, sterile needles & syringes. By using shared vials, this created a single point of failure if any of the 1,001 aspects of infection control was not strictly adhered to. E.g. lack of hand disinfection — between patients, before drug preparation, before administering insulin, after administering insulin; not disinfecting the rubber bung of the shared vial adequately before use; not using new sterile needles/syringes; using new sterile needles/syringes but leaving them exposed for too long or mishandling them thus rendering them no longer sterile; etc etc. The possibilities are endless.

And then the pathogen being introduced into the shared vial and subsequently being re-transmitted, even though subsequent usage all followed 100% infection control — the bug is already in the insulin/vial, no matter how solid & how sterile you prepare the subsequent insulin administrations for other patients, you’re simply injecting them with already contaminated insulin.

Who’s responsible?!?! The senior doctors, medical directors who came up with this protocol in the 1st place??? The CEO or chief medical officer who approved & signed off on this protocol?!?!? The infection control team & educators who didn’t educate the ground staff enough, and weren’t vigilant enough in their audits & random spot checks?!?!?! The external audit teams who couldn’t detect any shortcomings & signed off that the staff are following protocol?!?!? The actual ground staff/staff nurses who got careless or bochap or simply burnt out to overlook 100% of the by-the-book steps?!??! How many of these staff nurses??? 1, 2 or the whole lot of them?!?!?

Going by what he says maybe the Health Minister must commit hari-kiti? No wonder only warning letters were issued? And ST is wayanging?

(Related post: GCT believes in Jap values. But not for the elites.)

Seems I was right to ask if ST’s call for a public cyber-lynching of “responsible” staff is a lot of wayang aimed at distracting attention away from those that must take responsibility: the CEO of SGH and athe MoH senior officer that delayed reporting the matter to the minister.

“Where does a wise man hide a leaf? In the forest. But what does he do if there is no forest? He grows a forest to hide it in.”― G.K. Chesterton, The Innocence of Father Brown

FED SLOWS PLANS FOR INTEREST RATE INCREASES

In Uncategorized on 21/03/2016 at 9:55 am

According to NYT Dearbook only 0.5% on the cars, not 1%. Mortgagors and property developers can relax. Interest rates will remain lowish.

The Federal Reserve voted not to raise its benchmark interest rate because weakness in the global economy could affect domestic growth, Binyamin Appelbaum reports in DealBook.

It had been expected to increase this month, but instead pulled away from its December prediction that the rate would go up by one percentage point this year. Fed officials now expect to raise rates by just half a percentage point this year.

Janet L. Yellen, the Fed’s chairwoman, maintained that the central bank remained relatively optimistic about the economy, in which there were no signs of damage from the wobbles of financial markets in the rest of that world.

Ms. Yellen did note that continued weakness in global growth and aggressivestimulus campaigns from other central banks could weigh on domestic growth, for example by strengthening the dollar. She added that financial markets are doing some of the Fed’s work, with tighter financial conditions like increased borrowing costs for corporations.

ST wants cyberspace lynching? Waz its agenda?

In Public Administration on 20/03/2016 at 1:53 pm

Name those responsible for Hep C infections at SGH

Staff confidentiality has no part to play when there is a serious breach of patient care

 

No the above did not appear in TRE or TOC or any other anti-PAP blog. It appeared in the constructive, nation-building ST and was written by its long-time health reporter, a usually reliable ally of MoH. She was ranting like any cybernut rat from TRELand, The findings should have gone a long way towards restoring the badly dented reputation of SGH, which describes itself on its website as “Singapore’s flagship tertiary hospital with a history and tradition of medical excellence spanning two centuries”.

Instead, all we were told this week was that disciplinary action has been taken against 16 (unidentified) senior-level people, and that the action included “warnings, stern warnings and financial penalties”.

The public had expected transparency and accountability*.

Well the TRE rats would agree with her.

What she’s missing is that where there is a systems failure where no-one person or group persons are primarily responsible, in management or organisation theory, it’s wrong to name and shame all of them publicly. This is especially true in  the age of social media. The cybermob can bully and intimidate. Is this what a responsible reporter and the nation-building ST want? Cybermobs running riot in cyberspace, bullying and intimidating.

Coming back to mgt theory, the CEO of SGH is the one that has to accept public responsibility for the failure of procedures that resulted deaths and someone at MoH has to accept the responsibility of not informing the minister earlier.

The reporter and ST should have asked for a Japanese style apology from the CEO of SGH and the senior MoH officer responsible for the delay in reporting the problem. GCT was keen to stress Jap values so long as they didn’t apply to the PAP administrationKhaw when it applied to the WP.

Where’s GCT’s and Khaw’s Jap style of responsibility from the head of SGH and the senior official in MoH**?

Actually is this the kind of Jap behaviour the PAP administration prefers? CEO takes cover.

Coming back to the ST article, could the call for the naming and shaming of staff be a smoke screen to avoid the real issue of who should take responsibility for the deaths, and the late reporting of the problem? Is it to avoid the CEO of SGH being made to accept public responsibility for the failure of procedures that resulted deaths? Is it to protect someone at MoH who would have otherwise had to accept the responsibility of not informing the minister earlier?

What do you think?

“Where does a wise man hide a leaf? In the forest. But what does he do if there is no forest? He grows a forest to hide it in.”― G.K. Chesterton, The Innocence of Father Brown

In this story, Father Brown, an amateur detective, deducted that a commanding officer hid his murder of a fellow-officer by sending his soldiers into battle in the area where the body lay. The dead bodies of the soldiers “covered up” the murder.

Is ST and the reporter growing a forest to help their ally, the PAP administration, avoid the issue of mgt responsibility for the deaths and the late reporting?

What do you think?

——–

*But it does not tell us who these people were, how they were at fault, and what disciplinary action has been taken against each of them.

When asked for details, the MOH spokesman said: “Adhering to staff and patient confidentiality norms, we would like to assure the public that the staff who were involved in the incident have been disciplined accordingly.

“The disciplinary actions were decided based on the specific roles, responsibilities and job nature of the officers, as well as the nature of the incident and the impact of their actions in this episode.”

Sounding like one of those anti_PAP warriors she cont’d

Patient confidentiality, one can understand. But staff confidentiality?

The public had expected transparency and accountability.

Instead, what it got was roughly: “We’ve looked into it and taken action. You don’t need to know anything more. Just trust us to do the right thing.”

Staff confidentiality has no place when people have died because of something those 16 people did or failed to do.

Patients go to a hospital to be cured, not to get an avoidable infection because staff were cavalier, or negligent, or inept.

Yes, hospital-acquired infections are unfortunately common, and people do catch them and die as a result. But this was not a case of an airborne bug which spreads easily.

This, according to the Independent Review Committee set up by the MOH, was likely due to “gaps in infection prevention and control practices”.

Doesn’the above sound like something from an anti-PAP blogger, not from a responsible reporter from the nation-building, constructive ST?

**She pointed out:

It bears repeating: 25 people were infected and seven deaths were possibly caused by the outbreak.

Tell us, was it caused by laziness, negligence or ineptitude – or something else altogether. Tell us also that this incident is viewed seriously by spelling out the actions taken.

If people are left with the impression that doctors and ministry officials get special protection no matter what they do, then confidence in the system will be badly eroded.

Can’t argue with her and her cyber-rat fans cheering her on.

 

 

 

Treatment of Roy and MoH, SGH staff

In Public Administration on 20/03/2016 at 7:05 am

 

The above has been making the rounds in cyberspace. And even some usual rational people say that it has a point.

A super troll points out that it’s comparing rambutans to durians: Big difference. The latter made “honest mistakes” in the cause of their duties that sadly resulted in deaths. Roy was skivving while at work.

Update at 7.10am

Lest one forgets, being given a”warning” letter are usually career-damaging in the public sector. The anti-PAP waeeiors don’t point out/.

Update at 10,15am: PAPpy pointed out in a FB post: Prior to his dismissal, two warnings were served and all these were in black and white and communicated professionally in the best relationship between an employer and employee.

And

He was caught red handed because the PC n mailbox are the property of the company. He was caught red handed. Prior to this, the whole company knows that he was not using the working hours constructively liao. Not only that, he was consulted by his superior many times until TTSH had to serve him warning letters to communicate the process leading to his termination officially. So in which way u don’t understand, please feel free to check with TTSH.

Keep calm, juz carry on masturbating mentally

In Political governance on 19/03/2016 at 10:45 am

A wannabe politican and interner celebrity recently poated on FB:

We need to be alive to the dangers of allowing our political leaders to have too much power. We are asking for trouble if we do not have in place sufficient checks, balances and curbs on executive powers. Writer Catherine Lim outlines the dangers in her recent blogpost*

http://catherinelim.sg/2016/02/28/the-next-pap-leadership-more-of-the-same-or-a-whole-new-game/   A super troll posted: Too late. They already have too much power. And how to claw back when they have 70% of the popular vote?

The super troll has a valid point.

Waz the point of KPKBing about the bloody obvious? Really people like these two wimmin and the cybernuts from TRELand give the lie to what this good-hearted kay poh (Btw her son did time for drugs: Doesn’t charity begin at home?) said recently

Former NMP and founding member of AWARE Dr Kanwaljit Soin talked to 938LIVE’s Bharati Jagdish about her peeves: biases and meritocracy in Singapore, and dealing with OB markers.

Kanwaljit Soin: Well, first of all, whenever you express something is not right in Singapore, the first response of the Government is, “Oh, being critical is not good enough. Give us a better answer.” A citizen, who expresses his or her view about something that he or she feels is not right in Singapore is taking the time and trouble to do that. So we have to listen to them respectfully instead of saying, “Oh, don’t be confrontational. Don’t criticise. Be glad that you are in a safe country and all that.” Because what is the role of a citizen? The role of a citizen is to speak up for his or her country. And whether the establishment agrees with that person is another matter.

As long as we don’t break any laws in speaking up against what we feel is not right in the country, we should be allowed to do that. But, to be dismissed with “Oh, you’re being confrontational. Oh, what better ideas do you have than that”…

You don’t necessarily need to give a better idea. I mean, if you have it, you can. The first thing is to express that things are not doing well here.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/ex-nmp-dr-kanwaljit-soin/2595546.html

With people like these wimmin and TRE rats as enemies, the PAP doesn’t need friends.

 

 

 

Pinoys big time money launderers

In Banks, Casinos on 19/03/2016 at 5:39 am

Brazen Heist of Millions Puts Focus on the PhilippinesThe country’s lightly regulated casinos and tough bank secrecy laws had prompted warnings from the United States and money-laundering experts before the theft.

The Philippine authorities cannot say what happened to the $81m sent to their country. Much of the money disappeared in its opaque casinos, which they say are not covered by rules to prevent money laundering (a worry in itself). The CCTV system at a bank branch where some of the money was withdrawn was not working.

(Economist)

DBS, OCBC, UOB: peanuts

In Banks on 18/03/2016 at 2:51 pm

They are tiny in private banking, not only globally but refionally too.

In October lat yr, it was reported by CBA DBS’ private banking arm is now the eighth largest in the Asia Pacific, according to a widely followed industry ranking released on Friday (Oct 16), after assets under management (AUM) grew by by 35 per cent last year.

Private Banker International (PBI), an industry journal, said DBS’s AUM for high-net-worth clients rose 35 per cent to US$73 billion last year, helped by the Singapore lender’s acquisition of Societe Generale’s Asian private banking business.

No where near the global giants

Global wealth

See if you can spot OCBC or UOB.

 

Cina president: Fixed our minorities?

In Political governance on 18/03/2016 at 5:36 am

When TRE republished this piece on the Malay PAPPy that can thrash Dr Tan Cheng Bock (I called him “Chin Bock” in the piece: can’t remember why, “An honest mistake?”), it provoked the usual nuts. But there was a totful response which contains an explanation of the “unwritten understanding” between the natural aristocracy and the serfs from the minority races, which really I should have blogged about.

harold:
March 18, 2016 at 12:53 am (Quote)
Singaporeans need to get this clear.

At Independence, the leaders then came to the agreement that the President shall always be appointed from a minority group, because it was assumed – and not wrongly – that the Prime Minister, being an elected position, would more likely than not be a Chinese.

So far, all Prime Ministers have indeed been Chinese.

That alone shows that given the opportunity to vote for their leader, Singaporeans do in fact vote along racial lines.

The elected presidency reneged on the promise made at Independence. Thus if the rules are changed so as to allow for minorities as president – and by that I mean QUALIFIED – minorities, and I say this because it is more often than not assumed that minorities are NEVER AS QUALIFIED as any Chinese, which is RACISM – then all the government would be doing is returning to the promise made at Independence.

To the poster who made the claim that Halimah Yaacob is not even qualified for the presidency (see what I mean about the racism?): She is.

The Speaker is equivalent to a cabinet minister, which then qualifies her as President.

I would fully support a President Halimah Yaacob.

Two good insights on the PAP’s “divide and rule” the races:

dusky landspace lordess:

Change We Must:
PAP is a divisive party, why brought up the issue of races. We are all Singaporeans.

Always felt the policies were along racial lines. The help groups are also along racial lines. Hiring policies are also along racial lines. Political candidates are also along racial lines etc …

But must put me at the top of the list when wealth distribution is done.

It cannot be along racial lines as fancied.

I will come and take my rightful share.

And here’s a good dig about that opportunist extraordinaire, TJS,

jojo:

TCB would be the current President had it not for the stupid Tan Jee Say. He was a bloody spoiler. He doesn’t know what he wants in Politics. Where is he and what is he doing now, by the way?

Have a good weekend.

1% get poorer

In Uncategorized on 17/03/2016 at 3:08 pm

James B. Stewart: The Assets of the Ultrarich Come Closer to Earth That real estate, art and luxury cars do not command the prices of 2015 may say something about the fortunes of those at the top of the wealth scale.

NYT Dealbook

HEDGE FUNDS MAKE A POOR START TO THE YEAR

In Uncategorized on 17/03/2016 at 11:08 am

From NYT Dealbook

Last year was tough for hedge fund managers, but this year is starting to look just as bad and investors are finding it hard to stomach, Matthew Goldstein and Alexandra Stevenson report in DealBook.

The University of California’s endowment fund said it would cut the number of hedge funds in which it invests to about 10 from 32. Some brand-name managers who have recorded big losses for months are facing pressure from investors to redeem their money. The industry’s underperformance has also raised questions about what investors are getting in return for the hefty fees they pay.

Investors are expected to withdraw $25 billion from hedge funds in the first three months of this year, according to a Goldman Sachs Prime Brokerage Services survey of hedge fund investors representing about $425 billion in investments. More than three-quarters of those who planned to redeem money said they would reinvest in other hedge funds.

Well-known firms that bucked the negative trend last year are getting punished this year. Some of this is because of the underwhelming performance in stocks. The basket of 50 stocks, including Apple and Valeant, that Goldman Sachs says hedge funds like most is down 5.6 percent as of March 4.

Some people running funds, like Larry Robbins and William A. Ackman, have fared worse. Positions in companies like Teva Pharmaceuticals and Monsanto have created headaches for Mr. Robbins, while Mr. Ackman is bedeviled by his bet against Herbalife.

Still, it’s not all red ink. Greenlight Capital is up 3.3 percent after losing 20.4 percent. Horseman Capital Management, based in London, is up 9.7 percent this year. And Saba Capital Management is up a little more than 14 percent so far this year.

Paying to be a servant

In Uncategorized on 16/03/2016 at 3:45 pm
  • £2,500 for day as a Downton servant Wealthy Americans influenced by the ITV period drama are paying handsomely to act as skivvies at a historic Scottish home – Times

Downtown Abbey was a popular UK-made tv series that was popular in the US. It was about how the aristocracts in UK lived at the beginning of 20th century. Rumoured to be compulsory viewing for the natutal aristocrats in the PAP. LOL

HoHoHo: Chinese banks have more problems

In Banks, China, Temasek on 16/03/2016 at 9:29 am

Funny that we don’t hear much in ST nowadays that Temasek has big, big stakes in Chinese banks. http://www.temasek.com.sg/portfolio/portfolio_highlights/majorportfoliocompanies.

Last yr, ST was boasting

http://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/temasek-raises-stake-in-chinese-bank-icbc

http://www.straitstimes.com/business/temasek-raises-stake-in-icbc-in-vote-of-confidence-after-rout

But maybe, ST’s cottoned on that Chinese banks have problems, big problems

NYT Dealbook reports

“CHINESE BANKS SWAP DEBT FOR EQUITY A new approach to managing China’s corporate debt burden offers temporary relief for banks, but spells difficulties for the country’s economy, Keith Bradsher reports in DealBook.

Deeply troubled companies are using stock to pay for overdue loans. On Thursday, a heavily indebted Chinese shipbuilder disclosed that it would issue equity to its creditors, instead of repaying $2.17 billion in bank loans.

Banks with stakes in indebted companies are likely to be even more reluctant to shut them down, leaving China with enormous overcapacity in sectors like shipbuilding, steel and cement, hampering growth for years to come.

The strategy has advantages – it would allow companies to cut their debt loads. This could help their credit profiles and keep their businesses running. Bank loan books will also appear healthier, since they can reduce the amount of past-due loans.

However, it could make problems more pernicious as the companies are putting off hard choices like laying off employees or closing operations.

It is still unclear how widespread the strategy has come. The shipbuilder, China Huarong Energy Company, had to disclose the move only because it is listed on the Hong Kong stock market. It is one of dozens of Chinese shipbuilders in financial distress as prices for new ships worldwide have halved in the last two years.”

And there’s another related problem

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2016/03/11/china-debt-swap-could-leave-banks-in-capital-hole/

Why Dr Chee should not stand in Bukit Batok

In Political governance on 15/03/2016 at 12:43 pm

But first, looks like the NEA did a lousy job of exterminating the Bukit Batok rats and other vermin (remember that there was also a bug infestation). I mean although the SDP contested the ward in the last GE, almost all the zombie parties* (bar the Chiams’ Party) are talking of thinking of standing: NSP, Goh Meng Seng, Ben Pwee, s/o JBJ and Desmond Lim are all pretending that they matter.

Back to the SDP and Dr Chee

When I saw this, I totally agreed with the points raised.

The SDP knows S’poreans’ concerns and has policies to address these concerns; policies that are in the main pretty decent**. And the Wankers Wayang Worthless Party’s  elected MPs showed in the last Parly that all they wanted to be was high paid social workers like PAP MP Kate Spade Tin. She’s their idea of  what an MP should do: keep quiet in Parly, talking cock when opening mouth; the focus is being a $15,000 a month social worker. They are not interested in representing our views. I still have high hopes for Lion Man and his fellow NCMPs.

The problem with the SDP is Dr Chee and his old guard. Through a foul-smelling, poisonous mixture of their own actions (civil disobedience antics, defenestrating Mr Chiam) and their demonisation by the PAP administration and its media allies, Dr Chee and his old guard are not trusted by the swing voters (those who voted for Dr Tan Cheng Bock: The Malay PAPpy that can thrash Dr Tan). Worse, in the eyes of the swing voters, Dr Chee and gang are the SDP. They don’t see that there are now professionals like Dr Tambyah, Chong Wai Fung in the party; professionals that in an early era would have joined the PAP, if they wanted to serve the public. 

But Dr Chee and the old guard control the party, and there is no sign that he or they want to move on. Ah Loong is already talking of a handover and it’s clear that he’s walking the talk, not like dad who talked the talk but didn’t walk the talk, but Ah Loong made him walk the walk in 2011.

It’s clear that Dr Chee sees Bukit Batok as his way into parly, forgetting that in the last GE the SDP in Bukit Batok and other wards had only the support of the  super core anti-PAP vote. Though to be fair other than the WP, all the other Oppo parties had only the vote of nuts who scream “Any donkey so long as not a PAPPy”.

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A dogmatic anti-PAP person

He so hates the PAP that even when he uses SingHealth, he KPKBs that he must wait: he expects no waiting at polyclinic. I asked him why he uses SingHealth given his KPKBing and hatred of the PAP administration. He says thru gritted teeth, “Cheap” but quickly adds that PAP made him poor so he kanna use SingHealth. Ftr, he owns a landed property and drives a car: poor indeed.

—–

Uncle Redbean thinks Dr Chee must stand: The SDP has been rewarded with a penalty to convert. Send in the best forward to do a clean job with this gift from heaven. Heaven has finally smiled at Chee Soon Juan, the man that deserves more than anyone to be in Parliament.

Uncle Redbean and Dr Chee will be depending on the “by-election” effect for victory. But I doubt the swing voters (those who voted for Dr Tan Chin Bock in 2011) would vote for him. He’s not an Ah Lian swing voters are willing to trust, nor is the SDP the WP.

Hopefully the SDP will choose someone who doesn’t have the baggage that Dr Chee has; someone who the swing voter can relate to. But don’t hold your breath. Pigs will fly first before Dr Chee sets his ego aside.

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*Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chief Benjamin Pwee also told Channel NewsAsia he will be contesting the by-election. In GE2015, he ran for a seat in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC under the banner of the Singapore People’s Party but said he would represent DPP in vying for the SMC seat.

Noting that the electoral boundaries of Bukit Batok SMC lie next to Chua Chu Kang GRC, People’s Power Party’s (PPP) Goh Meng Seng said he will discuss with the SDP if the PPP should run for a Bukit Batok seat when the by-election takes place.

“We will respect SDP’s decision first before we make any decision,” the opposition veteran added.

Singapore Democratic Alliance chairman Desmond Lim said his party would have to meet first to decide on the matter. “We need to call for a CEC meeting to discuss among the members before we are able to make an announcement,” Mr Lim said.

He added that there was “no hurry” to make a decision, as PM Lee has not yet decided when the by-election will be held.

Similarly, National Solidarity Party Secretary-General Lim Tean said:  “We are studying the situation carefully and will make an announcement in due course as to whether we will be contesting the by-election.”

The Reform Party’s Secretary-General Kenneth Jeyaretnam said its Central Executive Committee will meet and decide “in due course”. “We are not ruling out contesting, but it’s too early to make a decision,” he stated.

And “Yes”, that opportunist extraordinaire Tan Jee Say has not yet marked his scent.

**But it wants us to trust our neighbours despite their track record of trying to fix us. And I think its cost estimates of its healthcare system is optimistic.

 

S’pore: Back to 2008/2009 growth?

In Economy on 15/03/2016 at 7:31 am

DBS, and Credit Suisse have cut S’pore’s GDP) growth forecast or 2016.

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GDP growth and debts

Any country with a serious debt problem cannot afford the risk of letting GDP fall. For us and the Japa that problem is not acute because of low interest rates and because ownself own self.

But running deficits is not an option when high interest rates mean the cost of servicing government debt is prohibitive. Think Brazil.

———————————————

According to DBS forecasts released on Mar 11, the bank cut its GDP growth forecast for the country to 1.5% for the year, down from an earlier projection of 2.1%.  That’s a whooping change.

This will be the slowest pace of expansion since the global financial crisis in 2008/09.

Credit Suisse now expects GDP to come in at 1.7% this year, down from its earlier forecast of 1.9%.

DBS said the manufacturing sector is in recession and the outlook is not improving. Electronics, is facing a cyclical downturn, while the oil and gas-related sector, which is undergoing a “drastic consolidation”.

Services such as banking could slow down as well, noting that loans growth fell year-on-year in January. Financial services had accounted for about 34% of overall GDP growth in the last three years. Ftr, the economy expanded by 2.0 per cent in 2015.

And this guy who was one of the few leading economistss who waened of the 2008/2009 crisis is more gloomy than most of the world’s prospects in 2016 http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/031016/economist-roubini-sees-trouble-ahead.asp?article=1&utm_campaign=www.investopedia.com&utm_source=news-to-use&utm_term=6270104&utm_medium=email

 

Indian talk up Indian isit?/ Social activist talks sense

In Uncategorized on 14/03/2016 at 1:56 pm

Former NMP and founding member of AWARE Dr Kanwaljit Soin talks to 938LIVE’s Bharati Jagdish about biases and meritocracy in Singapore 

On the idea of a non- Chinese PM she said

“For example, we talk of being a meritocratic society, but why has nobody said that Minister Tharman (Shanmugaratnam) can be the next Prime Minister. Why does the Government say the population is not ready for an Indian Prime Minister?

What do you mean by “we’re not ready for it?” We’re a meritocratic society, interracial, inter-religious, inter-cultural. So if you look at ability alone, why is Minister Tharman not considered? He’s Prime Ministerial material. Why is there a fear that the population will not accept an Indian as a Prime Minister? What gives people the right to assume?”

Bit like ownself check ownself isn’t it? Why liddat?

Seriously read http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/ex-nmp-dr-kanwaljit-soin/2595546.html if you want an insight into how a rational (OK most of the time) social activist thinks.

She makes good points on the folowing issues

On population policy

…”Not enough collaboration was done before those steps were taken. When were we ever told that we are going to increase our population of foreigners by this amount? Who becomes a citizen? How do we know? We need to know why some people become citizens earlier than others. We need to have an input. We can say, “Nobody can be citizen unless they’ve lived in Singapore for 10 years.”

This is our country. Surely we have a right to give our input. We need to know the rules of the game better, so we can play the game better. Without the rules, we don’t know. When the referee blows the whistle, we are completely astounded.”

On being critical of the status quo

…”but why can’t you be ambitious for your own country. We keep on comparing ourselves to countries that are not so successful and say we are better than that. Then why don’t we compare ourselves to countries that, in some ways, have an edge over us, and try to aspire to that?”

On an Upper House

…”If we have two houses of Parliament, because their terms will be staggered, their terms of office, even if there is an election outcome that is completely unexpected, you have an upper house which is there, so there will be some continuity. It’s a much more evolving system, and also, it represents the interest of diverse groups much better.”

She explains “social activism’ or as she calls it “advocacy”:

“And advocacy, because you feel that something is not fair in society, then you have to advocate for change. You first have to get information. You must have a little bit of outrage…so, to my mind, you must have the information and knowledge, a bit of outrage, and then you go ahead and take some action. And part of that action is advocacy, talking to the powers that be. They’re all part of the advocacy plan.”

AlphaGo’s S’pore connection/ How to create creative S’poreans

In Uncategorized on 14/03/2016 at 7:08 am

A computer program has beaten a master Go player 3-0 in a best-of-five competition, in what is seen as a landmark moment for artificial intelligence.

Google’s AlphaGo program was playing against Lee Se-dol in Seoul, in South Korea. (BBC report)

Did you know the mum of the guy behind AlphaGo is S’porean?

The London-born son of a Chinese-Singaporean mother and a father of Greek-Cypriot descent, Mr Hassabis is a modern polymath whose career path has seen him become a chess prodigy, master computer programmer, video games designer and neuroscientist.

These experiences led him to create DeepMind in 2010, alongside Mustafa Suleyman, a technologist and childhood friend of Mr Hassabis, and Shane Legg, whom he met when they were postgraduates studying neuroscience at University College London. The artificial intelligence group was acquired by Google for £400m in 2014. (Report in FT)

Maybe the best way to create creative S’poreans is to get S’porean women to migrate to creative hotspots (think London, NY, Silicon Valley, anywhere but S’pore) and partner talents?

Malay PAPpy that can thrash Chin Bock

In Political governance on 13/03/2016 at 4:15 pm

So Dr Tan Chin Bock wants to be president (For the record, Ftr, I voted for him in 2011.). He obviously hasn’t been reading PM’s lips: that the next president will be a Malay and that the choice of candidates for president will be limited to Malays.

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Yes, yes, I know a nine-member Constitutional Commission led by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon is reviewing eligibility criteria for candidates, the role of the Council of Presidential Advisers, and steps to ensure minority candidates have a chance to be elected from time to time. Still hasn’t PM stated his govt’s preferences? And for the commission to go against the elected govt’s mandate (more than two-thirds of voters)  is to show disrespect to the govt and the voters.

——————————————–

Fair is fair as there has been no Malay PM since the first president (Ftr again, his widow lives a few houses down the street). Btw, wonder if PM means Malay-Muslim or juz Malay? Unlike in M’sia there is no legal requirement for a Malay to be a Muslim in S’pore.

The thinking behind any restriction is that us Cina would prefer any Chinese to any Malay or Indian, even if it’s someone like Tan Kin Lian who lost his deposit at the last PE. And if the Chinese man is Dr Chin Bock (a compassionate, intelligent,  generous, gentleman) even Indians and Malays will vote for him.

But this Hard Truth is false because there’s one Malay who can beat Dr Chin Bock. with very little effort.

Last December, an anti-PAP paper warrior and I discussed who could beat Dr Tan.

————————–

He so hates the PAP that even when he uses SingHealth, he KPKBs that he must wait: he expects no waiting at polyclinic. I asked him why he uses SingHealth given his KPKBing and hatred of the PAP administration. He says thru gritted teeth, “Cheap” but quickly adds that PAP made him poor so he kanna use SingHealth. Ftr, he owns a landed property and drives a car: poor indeed.

—————————

He of course said, “No-one”. I pointed out that there was one Malay PAPpy who could thrash Dr Tan and that he and I would vote for that person: he had commended her in the past.

Yes the person in Halimah Yacob. Going by her credentials, she’d sew up the union, core PAP vote (“Any donkey so long as he or she is a PAP preferred donkey”) and wimmin vote. And because she’s such an intelligent nice, no-airs, capable and compassionate person, she’d get a big share of the swing vote. Ftr, we attended the same law postgraduate class in 1978.

My friend could only sputter, “Malay men won’t vote for her.” I said, “So what? The Malay wimmin, all wimmin, NTUC members, hard-core PAPPy voters and many swing voters will.” I added that I tot she could get more than 59% of the popular vote (i.e. more than Ong Teng Cheong in 1993)

He kept quiet. Or rather he switched topics: to the persecution of Amos the Fantastic.

But as elections are no sure things, I doubt that we’d get the chance to vote in a Halimah Yacob versus Dr Tan fight. Sad because if I’m right and she wins, it’d  kill forever the Hard Truth that Chinese will only vote Chinese even if the better candidate is non-Chinese. But maybe the PAP doesnt want to show that this Hard Truth has feet of clay?

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Origin of “feet of clay”

Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. (Daniel 2:31-33)

And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.
And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. (Daniel 2:41-43)

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Better for the PAP to play games on racial, cultural matters with the aim of perpetuating its hegemonic rule.

I end by commending this post where a law professor points out that Nathan was never elected” he was an unelected president, same like Devan Nair etc. Only Ong Teng Cheong was the real deal.

The truth about Nathan’s presidency

In Political governance on 13/03/2016 at 4:23 am

He was never elected.

“Tan also argued that in the case of SR Nathan’s Presidency, he had absolutely no moral mandate as he ran uncontested. An exercise of public affirmation was not undertaken either. Tan shared with the audience about a conversation he once had with SR Nathan at the Istana.

SR Nathan: This man (Kevin Tan) says that I wasn’t properly elected.

Prof Kevin: Sir, I never did say that you were not properly elected. I only said that you were not elected”

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCqlTuqdj6k&feature=youtu.be&t=29m45s
Embedded inside http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2016/03/highlights-forum-elected-presidency/

Miss targets, get bonus

In Corporate governance, Uncategorized on 12/03/2016 at 12:49 pm

No not PAP ministers, senior civil servants or managers at GLCs; it’s an American listco and once tech giant founded by Hewlett and Packard. No wonder angry Americans want a billionaire outsider to be president. He hates corporate bureaucracy. He runs his biz with the help of family members.

During HP’s last year as a single company, it missed every financial target set by the compensation committee. But the board gave CEO Meg Whitman and her most senior lieutenants got most of their bonus. Discretion loh.

Don’t make typo mistakes

In Uncategorized on 12/03/2016 at 5:54 am

U could lose serious money.

Cyberthieves who targeted Bangladesh’s central bank tried to get away with $1bn (£700m), reports Reuters.

However, said Reuters, the sheer number of transactions and a spelling mistake helped alert bank staff to the theft.

The spelling mistake in the name of one recipient of funds led Deutsche Bank, which was helping route the cash, to ask for clarification from the central bank, which then stopped the transaction.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-35773061

“A high yield often indicates operating problems”

In Financial competency, Financial planning on 11/03/2016 at 1:42 pm

“A high yield often indicates operating problems. One should look for companies that have a long record of dividend growth, but which at the same time have reinvested into their businesses. This is essential for growth in earnings,” fund mgr quoted in FT.

Remember Reits are different, They are leveraged and must pay out most of their profits. If you own Reits like me, you’ll have to pay the devil’s price eventually: rights issues. And thaz assuming things go well.

What regions have outperformed

In Emerging markets, Financial competency on 11/03/2016 at 6:41 am

Chart: stock market returns data

FT reports

Capital Economics notes the recent outperformance of EM equities in Latin America and in emerging Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and expects emerging Asia to join the party soon. Valuations there are not high, it notes, and many economies in the region have relatively bright growth prospects.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BULL MARKET!

In Uncategorized on 10/03/2016 at 2:38 pm

From NYT Dealbook: Wednesday is was the seventh anniversary of the start of the current bull market for stocks in the United States, Reuters reports. This bull market has been notable more for its duration than its intensity.

Although it is the third-longest on record, its gains are less impressive. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index is up 193 percent – the average bull market climb is 167 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average has grown 159 percent since bottoming out on March 9, 2009, while the Nasdaq composite is up 266 percent.

Birthday celebrations might be moot, however, as the S.&P. peaked on May 21 and has yet to go above that. Should it fall more than 20 percent below that high of 2,130.82, this would technically become a bear market.

It also looks far from certain that stocks will confirm the bull market – stocks have struggled this year and the S.&P. is off 3.2 percent for the year.

Temasek right to sell NOL

In Logistics, Shipping, Temasek on 10/03/2016 at 10:08 am

FT reported sometime in January

it was widely assumed that global trade would keep expanding. Until recently, this assumption did not seem unreasonable. In the decade before 2008, global trade rose by an average of 7 per cent a year, faster than global GDP growth, because countries such as China were booming and western businesses were creating a web of cross-border supply chains.

History, however, does not unfold in predictable ways. As the World Bank described in a sobering report last week, global trade growth has slowed down sharply in recent years to around 3 per cent, or roughly the pace of global GDP expansion, and it is slowing further now.

Attend C after taking anti-malaria tablets

In Public Administration on 09/03/2016 at 2:38 pm

There is an article on TRE My son nearly died from SAF issued Anti-Malaria drug. The writer claims that it was his wife that “convinced”. medical experts that the boy’s problems could be due to the malaria pills. Whatever, it would seem that SAF was failing in its duty of care in the initial treatment of the case.

Here’s a story from a fellow member of a closed Facebook discussion group. The SAF’s bo chap attitude is clear from the bits I bolded.

“Just to share my personal experience during BMT:

1. When given malaria pills we were asked if anyone has G6PD*, but allergies are hard to detect because nobody will take such pills before going to NS.

2. I contracted the “Tekong Cough” which lead to high fever and bronchitis , I was “awarded” attend C and expected to make my way home all the way from Tekong to my home in Jurong West. It was a long and painful journey on train, almost pass out near Clementi, and I alighted and took a taxi home. I saw the GP as the medication from the MO was just panadol and cough mixture and I spent an entire week bed ridden due to lack of proper medical attention while in camp. I don’t really blame the Medical Centre seeing the daily horde of “patients” they have to handle in the morning and some of the MOs are fresh grads from med school with hardly any practising experience.

3. Be smart if you feel taking the malaria pills are hurting your body just pretend to swallow and spit out later. No point dying for your country this way.”

And really given that anti-malaeia pills can cause nasty problems, there should be doctors in Tekong Medical Centre that can detect possible cases of the nasty side effects of taking the pills. As the writer points out if one hasn’t taken the pills before, how to know know if got allergy to it? Catch 22.

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*Should be termed “G6PD Deficiency”. People with this tend to have red blood cells that self-destruct easily. 1 of my ex-platoon guys has this disorder.

Quite a number of Asian males have this recessive genetic disorder. Usually asymptomatic but can flare up in serious illness due to adverse drug interactions, infection, or certain foods especially broad beans.

Serious illness can be hemolytic crisis (severe anemia & jaundice), DKA or ARF, and can result in death.

The most famous drug allergy for G6PD deficiency people are: anti-malarial drugs, sulfa-antibiotics (usually older 1st-generation-type antibiotics), and Aspirin.

(A regular reader who is very knowlegable on medical matters. I suspect he has medical qualifications.)

How Maersk ate NOL’s lunch

In Logistics, Shipping, Temasek on 09/03/2016 at 11:36 am

It kept ordering bigger ships. These ships when operated drove down operating costs, allowing Maersk to undercut NOL and orher shipping cos. Bit like employers using FTs.

IT: FTs verseus locals

In Economy on 08/03/2016 at 2:44 pm

Talking about the infocomm industry Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim on Friday (Mar 4) said the industrt needs to fill as many as 30,000 new positions by 2020. He said “some companies today still want to recruit only university graduates. We know from assessments that our polytechnic graduates can hold their own against university graduates when they are judged by competencies, not qualifications. Companies who ignore this will miss out on a well-qualified pool of talent.”

The part about employing poly grads and not grads sounds sick in the light of what a reader responding to this (on the terrible prospects of getting a job in our neighbourhood) said

Singapore is really a city paved with gold for foreigners with degrees but coming from smaller cities and towns. My job sometimes involves overseas mass recruitment and interview exercises (largely paid for by S’pore tax payers, haha). These foreigner profiles typically get imported into Singapore on S-Pass getting about $2,300-$2,500 per month. Essentially these foreigners are direct competition against local fresh diploma grads or even the lousier degree holders e.g. private uni, or lousy grades etc.

Comparing the pay of most of these foreign graduates in their home towns, the $2,300 they’re getting here is equivalent to at least 1 year’s pay in their home towns/smaller cities.

Imagine your monthly salary is $100K or whatever your annual remuneration is, and you get some idea of what motivates these foreigners.

Well so long as employers can recruit FT grads why will they bother about local diploma holders and inexperienced local grads?

But Yaacob also said the infocomm talent pool can be grown through skills conversion and upgrading*, and that companies must look beyond the traditional sources of manpower.

Could the bit I bolded be a code to employers: No more FT Indians? A few years ago, a social activist who works in the IT sector told me that until the 1998 regional crisis, local PMETs in this industry had a great time because there was little competition from FTs: govt was strict on employment passes. Then, the govt allowed in FTs (primarily from India) to help companies cut costs and also to encourage banks to set-uop their regional, global back-office hubds here.

That he said screwed our locals.

So could the govt really be reversing this “FTs first and foremost” policy? What do you think?

——

*He said:

— the Government will also introduce new programmes in April to help the industry; and

—  there is a need for companies to review their HR (human resources) to meet the needs for the future.

 

Trump’s really a wimp

In Uncategorized on 08/03/2016 at 7:16 am

Sorry, moderate.

Don’t believe me. See his views on domestic and foreign policy issues http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-35703300

He juz likes to talk cock to get the adulation of the mob.

Will they be surprised when he turns out be like Obama: talk cock sing song.

Think about it, Obama talks cock but the kind of cock that liberals and blacl Americans like. Trump’s audience is different, taz all.

Not impressed by Sham

In Uncategorized on 07/03/2016 at 1:25 pm

“My ministry has the responsibility to ensure that protocols are in place… If there are questions about the protocol, I will answer, as I am doing now… The responsibility is mine. Let’s not attack the police officers, who cannot defend themselves. They are doing their job, every day, in difficult circumstances.” says minister Shamugam.

Well cyberspace (OK “cowboy town”) was not impressed by what he said but neither it seems is one PAPpy.

I came across a PAPpy who said that the boy was guilty of molesting a girl. When my Facebook avater asked for evidence, he referenced the newspaper articles that reported Sham’s parly comments, and then Sham’s presentation material. I’m sure Sham would have something to say to this PAPpy about what he said.

Back to cyberspace.

A life has been taken unjustly but all I hear is accusations by the government on others. Please be open and fair to the citizens.

Another person posted

[S]o we come to the crux of the problem. Trust in the police and the integrity of the institution versus the death of yes an innocent 14 year old. If ever there was a david versus goliath scenario this i would suppose be it.

Public pressure and outrage serves a purpose in my view , it keeps the issue in the lime light and serves to keep pressure on the issue of minors in detention and the non existent rights they have.

But please understand this and this is the implausible scenario which does not fit. The police were cuddly and nice and told Benjamin and his parents they would recommend a warning and it would be probably be OK, on hearing that he went home decided it was the end of the world when he could not go to a school camp and decided to Jump.

Any tragedy disaster is a chain of interlocking events so you are right in a need to seriously look at the protocols.

Perhaps the police were “nice” , perhaps his words as quoted , I said what the police told me to say, well were reflective of the police just well not doing anything or not being threatening in any way but again we will never know because no adults nor recordings are allowed, and that is what the Minister defends the notion of total absolute trust in the SPF with its vast powers even against minors and that the exercise of said power was not abusive in any way . Trust us he says , trust us even when an innocent 14 year old HAS KILLED himself.

He had earlier posted:

The criticism some well informed , some just pure anger is a given in this age of instant communication and instant opinions. By nature of it being timely and being driven by individuals some of it will be more accurate and some of it less so but I would ask without the public questioning however wild, would we be able to get the disclosure that we have had thus far ?

The honourable minister is clearly defending the police whilst allowing for “change in the protocols. ” and while the criticisms are harsh some of it seems warranted.

For example the outrage at the utter waste of life because in Essence Benjamin killed himself over an act which on AGCs review would have merited a “warning” a f******* warning. In essence he DIED innocent and thats not without going into that whole legal debate because of another activists the “legality of a warning”.

To not put to fine a point of it and what I have said to detractors ,there is room and allowance for a 14 year old minor which will not exists for an adult because simply as a minot he should be given the benefit of the doubt.

The very fact that CCTV catches him following the girl and touching the girl , the very fact that the Home Minister states that he admitted to “intentionally” molested/touching the girl cast not one iota of light onto his actual intent.

He might have liked the girl and though it a way to get her attention, He might have been trying to steal a kiss, or being playful etc etc . There are many variations which can and will be played out but we need a better nuanced understanding of “intentionally” above the simple one provided.

His last paragraph is a gem because it points out that CCTV is not evidence of a crime. It was only evidence that the boy needed to be interviewed by the police.

The CCTV was a record but a record of what ? There was no report or allegations of force, use of threats, criminal intimidation, robbery etc etc etc NONE. so how did such naughty at best behavior end in such a tragedy……

 

On the contrary, TOC Terry had a great week

In Media on 06/03/2016 at 4:42 pm

The Middle Ground couldn’t resist aniping at TOC aka Terry Xu

THE Online Citizen (TOC) has had a bad week, having had to endure a salvo of fire coming from different sides. First, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam chastised the site for propagating “falsehoods” with regard to the death of 14-year-old Benjamin Lim. Second, The Straits Times ran a story highlighting that the site was now a one-man-show. The third and latest blow dealt to the site comes in the form of a Media Development Authority (MDA) order for The Opinion Collaborative Ltd (TOC Ltd), to return its revenues to a foreign advertiser.

My friend replied:

I tot Terry Xu (aka TOC) had a great week. Get great publicity thanks to minister (eyeballs that TMG, Indi and mothership would kill for), show S’poreans that one man get make a difference* (get minister upset), and best of all fix the “bad” side of TOC. All hail Terry. Btw, I edited his first pieces for TOC. After each rewrite, I mean rewrite, I’d say to Ravi, “Pls ask him to juz take photos.” It was clear from his sentence structures he was thinking in Chinese, then translating into English. He’s come a long way.

Terry posted this recently on what makes him run (Btw, he left out what he told me last year: his feeling that there are injustices that have to made tight or at least publicised.):

I was talking to one of my friends this afternoon and the point about “journalism standards” came out.

My point is this. I don’t call myself as a journalist. It would be an insult to the term if I am titled as one. I am trained as a electronic technician at school and worked as an engineer so I would introduce myself as either of that as my core profession and engineering to me remains as my passion in life. I call myself as a reporter or whatever, solely for the sake of convenience in doing my work.

So whenever anyone from the journalistic community talks about journalism standards** to me, I don’t feel insulted nor disheartened. I just learn whatever I can from the comments and feedback to improve the stuff that I do.

The reason why I am doing what I am doing now is because the people who are trained in their job are not doing their god-given duties/profession properly with pride and integrity. If Singapore had real journalists who covered stories truthfully to the best of their ability, there would be no place for a person like me, someone who is terrible in English and ill-trained in “journalistic practices” doing what is essentially a one-man show.

So Singapore reporters or journalists or whatever, think about the reason why you took up the course and subsequently the job. Is your monthly salary the reason why you decided to work as a reporter or because you had a greater calling in this profession.

Singapore can never change for the better without the media professionals doing their job right.

Additional note – Some have talked about the difficulties that reporters have when facing their editors who are put in place for their pro-government stance. While not dismissing their attempts to push the boundaries, I still note that reporters (of course, grudgingly due the editors) is responsible for the poor literacy of this country. Because, ultimately, the half truths are written and signed in the name of the reporters.

On another point of securing the job as a reporter, a simple point for such reporters to consider, while it is unfair, but wouldn’t they be just perpetuating the whole system that brought about this unfair situation by conforming to the system; giving an impression to the public that nothing is being hidden from their eyes and everything is dandy. That because one needs to be paid, then submit articles so as to support a media outlet to allows the editor to bully the reporters into submission? To me as a layman, it seems just illogical especially when they know exactly who and what is creating this non-conducive environment for their work.

I made a small donation to TOC. I hope readers do too https://www.patreon.com/tocsg?ty=h.

Btw, my dogs are thinking about my suggestion that I stop donating to the RSPCA and to donate instead to TOC. I told them there’s a minister looking out for dogs and cats etc, but there’s no minister to help people like the Lims.

—-

*Those who applied to be NMPs, wanting to make a difference, should take up blogging. Has any NMP in recent memory got a minister so annoyed? I rest my case.

**A tua kee media figure criticised Terry recently in an article in Yahoo. Funny he didn’t tell us that he is a shareholder of the Indian and has some management role there. But this guy has form in not disclosing interests http://www.stockbank.com.sg/news/2412 and http://exchersonesusaurea.blogspot.sg/2011/06/pn-balji-formerly-of-st-paid-spin.html

Anyway what can one expect from someone who bites the hand that fed him well?

 

HDB policy makes life harder for single mums

In Public Administration on 06/03/2016 at 7:00 am

“One single mother said she was regarded by HDB as “too well-off to qualify for a rental flat, but too poor to buy a flat.” Many are forced to rent in the open market, depleting what assets or savings they have left. By the time the 30-month debarment period is over, even if they did not start out poor, they have become poor. It is thus rental access rather than home ownership which needs attention.

The limitations of Fresh Start

Emphasis mine.

This is how a rental flat family lives

Nurhaida Binte Jantan is making dinner. She is roasting otah-otah, a Malay dish of fish paste wrapped in banana leaves, over a portable stove.

She is a 29-year-old unemployed single mother with six children from five to 13 years old. She lives in a tiny flat, just 30 square metres, with little furnishing.

There is no dining table, so the children eat their otah-otah with rice and chillies crouched on the floor.

The children share the single bedroom – their only bedding is mattresses and thick blankets. Nurhaida sleeps on the sofa in the living room.

She receives weekly groceries from charities, as well as about S$600 ($474, £262) a month in government aid and money from a boyfriend. But she admits that it is difficult to make ends meet. She has not been able to afford asthma medicine for her second daughter for months.

“No one can afford to get sick in this house because our finances are too tight. It’s quite tough and a struggle for me to be raising them up,” she said.

“I have to look after this house 24/7… so for me if I were to find a job, it would have to be a night job, so that once they are in bed, I can go out and the older kids can watch the young ones.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26349689

 

Why suspects need quick access to lawyers

In Uncategorized on 05/03/2016 at 12:56 pm

Writing in the society’s Singapore Law Gazette for February,the president of the Law Society questioned the manner of the Benjamin Lim’s arrest. He said, “early access to counsel is a necessity in ensuring sustainable confidence in our criminal justice system”.     b

This is something that M Ravi and Ms Teo Soh Lung (Remember them? One’s a bi-polar sufferer who is not allowed to practice law until he gets bette; the other  was detained under the ISA in the 80s and who is a retired lawyer.) have been going on for years: why an accused person should be entitled to legal counsel in a fairly short period of time from the time of arrest.

Ms Teo wrote this several yrs ago:

On 7 May 2014, the Court of Appeal in James Raj s/o Arokiasamy v PP delivered a very disappointing judgement. It ruled that an accused person is not entitled to counsel within 48 hours. It effectively ruled that it is perfectly in order for the police to deprive an accused person of a lawyer of his choice for 29 days. That is a very long time. Unless a person is deranged, confessions would have been obtained by the dozens and no lawyer will be able to assist his client in proving that those confessions were involuntarily given.

The Court of Appeal affirmed the decision in Jasbir Singh made in 1994. In Jasbir’s case it was decided that an accused person is entitled to counsel within a reasonable time. Two weeks was considered reasonable.

The right to legal counsel

Read http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/2014/newsspec_7617/index.html (Watning very long) and one can understand the importance of access to legal counsel.

In a case in Iceland, where a group of suspects had no access to legal advice, innocent people pleaded guilty to murder.

The methods of the Icelandic police weren’t unique. They convinced themselves that a group of petty criminals on the fringes of society were a gang of hardened killers. But they didn’t find the evidence to back up their hunch, they were left with just the confessions that were extracted after months of solitude and mental torture.

But this isn’t just a tale of forced confessions or police brutality. It’s still not known why the people who found themselves in the cells could not decide if they did or didn’t commit the crimes. The effects still linger.

And remember this happened in a liberal, democtatic Nordic state, not a de-facto one party state, where so long as the police are following “protocol” nothing they do is wrong and web should not question their actions.  “My ministry has the responsibility to ensure that protocols are in place… If there are questions about the protocol, I will answer, as I am doing now… The responsibility is mine. Let’s not attack the police officers, who cannot defend themselves. They are doing their job, every day, in difficult circumstances.” says minister Shamugam.

Here’s another case

Ugandan schoolboy Tumusiime Henry was 15 when he was accused of murder the first time. While he waited almost two years for the trial to begin he was accused of a second murder. But then he met an American lawyer who slowly realised it was up to him to come to the rescue of an innocent teenager.

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35106294

 

 

 

Grass is greener here for Asean FTs?

In Economy, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam on 05/03/2016 at 9:53 am

Look at the ptoblems they have getting jobs ar home.

In Asean, S’pore, M’sia are creditor friendly

In Indonesia, Malaysia on 04/03/2016 at 2:30 pm

Relax World, All be be revealed on Sat

In China on 04/03/2016 at 6:31 am

The government is trying to use fiscal stimulus to bridge a gap in economic growth as China’s manufacturing and export sectors cool and consumer spending has not yet caught up to replace them. The big question about the stimulus program is whether it will involve building more steel mills and coal-fired power plants, which are already in surplus but are part of politically powerful industries, or whether the government will take steps to help consumer spending, like lowering value-added taxes. – Keith Bradsher

NYT Dealbook

Background

China’s annual work report and the finance ministry’s draft budget will be presented in Beijing. Prime Minister Li Keqiang of China is scheduled to present his government’s annual work report to the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Saturday. The report will be accompanied by a draft budget from the finance ministry. Zhu Guangyao, a vice minister of finance, said on Thursday that the budget would call for a widening of the deficit from 2.3 percent last year.

 

The silence of Sham

In Uncategorized on 03/03/2016 at 2:57 pm

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.

“Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.

“Holmes: “That was the curious incident.

I tot of the above extract from a Sherlock Holmes story, when I spotted a curious gap in Shammugan’s narrative about how Benjamin was treated,

The minister went into great deal of what the police did at the school and after they left the school. We are even told one of the officers in the car that Ben was in alighted before reaching the police station (Day off isit: Shopping?). But he left out telling us how they escorted Benjamin Lim from the principal’s office to the police car. We are just told: Benjamin was then brought back to the Station in an unmarked car, with three officers. One of the officers alighted along the way. That left two officers in the car – one to drive and the other to look out for Benjamin.

This is what I wrote earlier

And while, we don’t know how Benjamin Lim was escorted out, we can guess based on pictures from ST etc on how suspects are escorted by the police. There’ll be one person in front, one on each side of the suspect and one behind.

Students would say, “Double confirm! Ben’s in big, big trouble!”

My point is that students are very observant, can put “two and two together”, gossip a lot and love teasing (I can imagine the teasing he’d face). This is something that the police and the school officials couldn’t be bothered to think about when they did what they did.

So it would have been good to know how Benjamin Lim was escorted out of the office and into a car. Was it done in a discreet manner, or done in a manner that draws attention to the fact that someone is being detained for questioning ie in big trouble.

Whatever, we know that he got into a car with three policemen in mufti. That in itself would have got students talking, “OMG, Ben’s in trouble”.

A school is a kampung so why did the police commander send in five policemen in plainclothes (with some allegedly wearing tee-shirts with the word “POLICE”, which if true defeats the purpose of wearing mufti) in two unmarked cars? Two cars with five persons coming into the school compound during recess is sure to attract attention. And more when all or most of them head for principal’s office. Furthermore remember that students are observant and will notice the guns being carried under mufti.

Dr Paul Thamby and the other SDP Young Turks should note the silence of Sham on the SDP’s KBKPing on the issue. He castigated the LawSoc and TOC but not the SDP. The SDP had to crow about itself: If not for TOC’s and the Law Society’s statements – the SDP had also issued a statement (here) – the pressure for the government to address the matter would not have been as intense.

Maybe he left out the SDP because it is like Voldemort: “You-Know-Who”, “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” and “He Who Cannot Be Named”.

But most probably, he left out naming the SDP because he knows that the SDP under the leadership of Dr Chee has very little cred with the 35% of the voters that constitute the swing vote. Maybe Dr Paul and the other Young Turks, idealists all, should hedge their bets and spend time and money helping TOC? Of course if they are convinced that the SDP Old Guard will handover power soon then they are right to work inside the SDP. If not time to hedge their bets: work with TOC to try to effect change.

Update on 4 March at 7.00 am: This comment appeared in response to above. Spot on.

Shan said a lot but answered none of the most obvious and vexatious questions. The procedures/protocol he took pains to spell out told us nothing about what took place. He made it sound like a routine walk in the park by the policemen. The fact that they thought fit to send FIVE grown up policemen to ‘fetch’ a 14-year old from school revealed a lot about the mentality of the police. DON’T FORGET THAT BY THEN THEY HAVE ALREADY VIEWED THE HDB CCTV CLIPS AND KNEW EXACTLY WHAT TO EXPECT AND HOW BENJAMIN LIM LOOKED LIKE. SO ANY SUGGESTION THAT THE POLICE HAS TO ‘INVADE’ THE SCHOOL IN FORCE IN CASE OF AN AGGRESSIVE BENJAMIN WILL BE PURE BS. Even from the pictures on social media we can see how average and geeky the student looked like. It is not as if Benjamin Lim had a punk hairstyle (i.e. bald headed) and had tattoo on his arm and legs!!!

Minister Shan tried to play down the ‘number’ game when he said only one policeman had accompanied Benjamin to the AMK police station. I am unconvinced and would rebut this by pointing out that at least three of them could had easily left earlier in one of the two unmarked police cars that they drove to the school in without waiting for the officer questioning Benjamin in the principal office. Why were they idling in the school’s premises, unless they were there to pre-empt the student from making a possible run for it! This says quite a lot about the kiasuness of the police or perhaps it exposed their lack of confidence or competence. God knows what sort of internal police guidelines they have to comply with which perhaps could have been issued after a couple of past cases where adult prisoners had escaped from custody! This raises questions about the competency of at least some of our policemen or their (kiasu) superiors.

CPF Life: Don’t choose at 55, wait and analyse

In CPF on 03/03/2016 at 7:28 am

A friend Martin Lee https://www.martinlee.sg/ (He has an MA in a science subject and he’s no second-hand car salesman or insurance agent masquerading as a personal financial expert or planner: he’s the real deal) sent me this, written by Wilfred Ling, his boss, another “real” expert in personal finance matters.

Before the CPF Life change

At age 55, the CPF Member has to choose whether he or she wish to enrol in the CPF Life Standard Plan or CPF Life Basic Plan.

After the Change

With effect from 1 January 2016, the CPF Member does not need to select his CPF Life plan until the payout age.

So when should you select the CPF Life plan?

After going thru the maths, the writer concludes

[Y]ou should NOT select a CPF Life plan when you turn 55. Let the money in the CPF-RA earn interest. You can select the CPF Life plan when you wish to start receiving the payout The minimum payout age is 65.

In defence of TOC

In Uncategorized on 02/03/2016 at 1:04 pm

No I’m not defending TOC against the accusations of the Minister for Pets because a Facebook comment says it all:

By hitting out at TOC, Shanmugan completely avoids discussing issues such as the management of police investigations involving minors.
TOC asked many pertinent questions. Asking questions is not same as spreading falsehood.
BTW it is a FACT, not falsehood, that the ministers and police did not respond till now.*

No, I refer to this https://www.facebook.com/notes/karen-chua/tocs-downfall-and-the-unfortunate-case-of-benjamin-lim/1694464534128520?__mref=message_bubble which laments that TOC has fallen from the standards set by people like  Siow Kum Hong and P Ravi and is now in the gutter alongside ASS and TRE.

Speaking as someone who was involved with TOC in those glory days (juz ask Ravi or KH), I think the lady is talking rubbish. TOC is evolving. Under Terry Xu it’s trying to move beyond BS commentary.

Once upon a time, commentary criticising the PAP administration was cutting edge stuff..

Now when there are publications like The Middle Ground*, mothership*** and the Indian doing criticising the pAP administration it’s time to move on from this stuff. It’s no longer edgy to criticise the PAP administration.

TOC may succeed or it may fail but it’s trying to be on the cutting edge in its 10th yr of operation. It got lost when it became Hammer–on -Line. The WP took the publicity and its MPs kept their wallets and purses closed. One of the co-founders never became a WP candidate in GE 2015,

TOC may get lost again, but it’s trying ti remain relevant and edgy.

As for her praise of the Indian Independent, what can I say? If any website needs adult supervision it’s this website. It’s run, I’m told,  by two interns, both with links to the NTU School of Journalism, and their inexperience shows.

— Earlier this yr it carried a glowing story about WP’s Leon the Lion Man. Trouble was theIndian didn’t tell readers that he was a shareholder. A good, reputable publication should have highlighted the fact, to avoid accusations of biasness. 

— And it took a long time for it to correct a mistake (weeks in fact) after it was pointed out to the Indi that it linked to the wrong article.

Coming back to TOC, the fact that the Indian, and mothership are gleefully repeating the remarks of the Minister For Pets show how much they hate and want to dethrone TOC. Power to it. As for TMG, I respect its coverage of its remarks of the Minister For Pets.

TOC must be doing shumething right, attracting the wrath of Shanmugan and his new media pets allies.

Update at 4.30am on 3 March: A great comment by a co-founder (not the wannabe Sith Lord) of TMG on the realese of TMG of a very long document released by the Minister for Pets to Parly on TOC’s falsehoods: “Look, a boy has just died but we really want everyone to know that TOC misreported us.”

At this rate, I’ll have to stop making snide remarks about She who wanted to be a Sith Lord. Keep up the good work TMG.

———

*My Facebook avatar replied: Last para: Sub judice lah. The British have moved on from the sub judice conventions that they passed down to us.

I’ll be doing a piece explaining what he meant.

**Establishment figures set it up: two Paper Imperial Stormtroopers , one of which tot she could be ST editor. This is a Sith Lord post.

***Rumoured to have been funded to the tune of $1m by Philip Yeo (Remember him?) after lobbying by one George Yeo (Heard of him?). The way it has been buying eyeballs indicates that it has serious money to burn.

S’poeans will love this

In Economy, Uncategorized on 02/03/2016 at 9:06 am

If rates go so low as to become negative, borrowers are actually paid to go into debt.  If, for example, SIBOR becomes sufficiently negative, it is certainly possible that mortgages could eventually carry negative yields as well. This is bound to hurt profitability for lenders; however, they could still earn a credit spread if the bank borrows from the central bank. For example, the bank could take out a central bank loan at -4% on a mortgage issued at -1%. Here, the “borrower” is still credited 1%, but the bank is able to lock in a 3-point spread.

Read more: Negative Interest Rates: 4 Unintended Consequences | Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/022616/negative-interest-rates-4-unintended-consequences.asp#ixzz41hd2vl1o
Follow us: Investopedia on Facebook

Related post: Mortgaged to our eyebrows

TOXIC LOANS WEIGH ON GLOBAL GROWTH

In China, Uncategorized on 01/03/2016 at 1:40 pm

Recently, I posted this on how S’poreans’ debt and leverage compared to their counterparts in region. All the countries look bad but Some look worse than others: S’pore falls into the latter sadly with the serious possibility of loans turning toxic i.e. bad.

Globally NYT’s Dealbook explains why toxic loans are bad news

Beneath the surface of the global financial system lurks a multitrillion-dollar problem that could sap the strength of economies for years to come, Peter Eavis reports in DealBook.

Bad debts have been a drag on economic activity since 2008, but the threat they pose has worsened in recent months. China is the biggest concern, with analysts estimating that its troubled credit could exceed $5 trillion – equivalent to half the country’s annual economic output.

If Chinese banks continue to pull back on lending, the economy may slow even more, further harming countries that have relied on China for growth.

Toxic debt also hangs over countries where governments and central banks have unleashed aggressive stimulus policies in recent years. In the United States, energy companies are struggling to pay off the cheap money that they borrowed to pile into the shale boom.

In Europe, analysts say bad loans total more than $1 trillion and banks are still burdened with defaulted loans. Bad loans are also on the rise at Brazil’s biggest banks.

The looming question for the global economy is how China might deal with its pool of bad debts. After a previous credit boom in the 1990s, the Chinese government provided financial support to help clean up the country’s banks, but the cost of a similar operation today would be dauntingly high.

“My sense is that the Chinese policy makers seem like deer in the headlights,” said Christopher Balding, an associate professor at the HSBC School of Business at Peking University. “They really don’t know what to do.”

Rev Ponniah is being deceitful?

In Uncategorized on 01/03/2016 at 7:31 am

Or juz as disingenuous as any PAPpy eg Kee Chiu who tries to pull up the drawbridge after him by chiding S’poreans for  trying to strive for academic excellence: something he did when he pulled himself into the upper echelons of the establishment.

Readers will know that I’ve not commented on the row between the anticlerical* and the Catholic Archbishop of S’pore and his gang. Bit like Oscar’s Wilde definition of fox-hunting , “The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable!”: “A plague on both your houses” and may both burn down.

But I don’t think a religious leader should resort to misleading statements that while technically correct misrepresent the truth of what he and others like him were up to.

The Anglican Bishop of Singapore has weighed in on American singer Madonna’s concert scheduled for Sunday, saying that the Church is not forcing its views on non-believers in asking Christians not to attend the concert.

He said the Church is only calling on Christians to make choices that “decisively show” their love for God.

“In taking a position on the Madonna concert, the Church can be cast as being moralistic or arrogantly prescriptive for everybody else. That is not our intention or motivation,” said Rev Rennis Ponniah in a pastoral letter put on the Diocese of Singapore’s website on Friday.

“The Church is not simply anti-this or anti-that. Rather, we have a God-given role to bear witness to the values that make for life – values that undergird peoples’ choices.”

(SunT report)

A bishop setting an example of how to be economical with the truth?

Remember he and other religious leaders went to the authorities to try, it’s alleged, to get the show banned because it was offensive to the religious beliefs of some Christians. They argued that such offence should not be allowed in a public space.” If that is not not forcing its views on non-believers, pray tell what is it?

This is another case of reservation:

“The practice of “reservation” — giving answers that are technically accurate but tactically misleading — was honed by medieval Jesuits ….

‘There is a problem with Jesuitical equivocation, as select committee hearings may show. It makes exponents look shifty if they are rumbled.” In the age of the internet the PAP govt should be learning new tricks, not try to use old tricks that no longer work.giving answers that are technically accurate but tactically misleading.

More on the PAP and reservation.

As for me, next time I hear Pooniah or his buddies talking about loving LGBTs (Love the sinners, condemn the sin), I’ll know that they mean them harm. They are likw Harman: He plotted to kill all of the Jews of ancient Persia. Haman attempts to convince Ahasuerus to order the killing of Mordecai and all the Jews of the lands he ruled. The plot is foiled by Queen Esther, the king’s recent wife, who is herself a Jew. Haman is hanged from the gallows that had originally been built to hang Mordecai. (Wikipedia)

They must be related to Herod Cheng: the wannable baby-killer. Wouldsn’t be surptised if they too, like him, are PAPpy rats.

—–

*I’s rather not call them “secular” because while they hold secular beliefs, they also are rapid, anti-religion. One can be secular, without being anti-religion. I’m thinking of self: Live and let live.