atans1

Archive for July, 2016|Monthly archive page

Expecting us to feel sorry for him?

In Financial competency, Financial planning on 31/07/2016 at 1:55 pm

Someone wrote to Gilbert Goh saying that he lost his 150k a year job to a FT prepared to accept 40% less. Losing my job was brutal for me financially since I am paying for 2 properties and a car.

I also have a S$100K unsecured loan debt which I took on to pay the deposit for my second home. My wife isn’t working and I have school going children. The first thing I did was to adjust my salary expectations up to 50%. Within 1 week I have applied to almost 500 jobs but none of them successful or called for an interview.

http://www.transitioning.org/2016/07/28/fourth-generation-singaporean-lost-his-150000-salary-job-to-his-foreign-subordinate/

Sorry leh. In my book. someone only earning $150,000 a year, whose wife is not working,, with a car loan (presumably), kids, and having to borrow to finance his second property deposit, should not be tempting fate by “owning” two properties. At the very least, his wife should be earning $75,000 a year, and the deposit financed by savings before he and his wife even think of a second property.

But I feel sorry for him for having a S’porean wife (I assume she’s not a FT). If she’s the typical S’porean woman, she’ll be telling the world that she has a useless husband. I’ve seen too many cases of unemployed husbands being dissed by their S’porean wives. It’s a blood sport.

 

 

Uncle Redbean: PRCs not FTs

In Uncategorized on 31/07/2016 at 4:54 am

Yes it’s another adverse  (Seems like “Stamp on a Redbean week”) comment about Uncle Redbean but this time from a reader. Commenting on this, he wrote:

Another common RedBean rant is about FTs. I wonder if he includes China FTs. Or maybe FTs to him are only Indians and Pinoys. Seems like to him, PRCs do not scam, steal jobs, freeload or create public nuisance? Even for the Yang Yin case it seems? Problem is, if RedBean wants to be pro-oppie here he has to realise that part of the FT problem which makes up the main immigration issue is also displeasure against Chinese FTs and what they do here. Of course, he doesn’t or pretends not to.

The truly noisy minority appear to be dominated by 2 bands of people here. One, the pro-China/Chinese tradition uncles like RedBean/Phillip Ang. And two, the ape the west, Ang Mo Tuah Kee liberals. Occasionally, these two groups may overlap such as when it comes to cases like Amos, because ultimately, they have one thing in agreement which is PAP is always wrong. They otherwise have little in common and its not surprising that while singing their own tunes in between elections they do little to be in sync with what the voting population really expects from an opposition.

This is why ultimately, these 2 groups do not do the main bulk of the 30% opposition voters any justice despite being the noisiest of the lot.

The last para is something for me to reflect about. I always tot the teo groups constitute the 30%. anti-PAP vote.

Up to a point Uncle Redbean

In China on 30/07/2016 at 1:23 pm

In another anti-US rant, he said:

How many more dumb Asians, Arabs and Africans are parking their money and assets in the US waiting to be seized and forfeited? This is not the first time it happened. It has happened many many times and dumb Asians, Arabs and Africans, 3A ratings, continue to repeat this silly mistake. He was talking about Najob’s funds.

He has a point but he should ask himself why dumb Asians, Arabs and Africans don’t make a beeline for his beloved China and why the Chinese are taking their money out of China. The US is their preferred market. .

And why he’s still living in S’pore? He should emigrate to China, and free his CPF. At least fellow traveller Goh Meng Seng is resident in HK.

 

Sure kanna cancel by MDA?

In Uncategorized on 30/07/2016 at 7:04 am

[NRD2016] In Conversation with Sonny Liew – Comics ≠ Reading?! As part of our programme for National Reading Day, join us in Geylang East Public Library for a chat with local veteran comic artist Sonny Liew as we learn how comics can be relevant to fostering a reading culture. For aspiring comic artists, Sonny will also be sharing his personal insights on illustrating for Marvel and DC!

Sonny Liew is a comics artist, painter, and illustrator whose work include the New York Times best sellers The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye and The Shadow Hero (with Gene Yang). He has also worked on Doctor Fate (with Paul Levitz), My Faith in Frankie (with Mike Carey) and Malinky Robot, as well as other titles for Marvel Comics, DC Vertigo, and Image Comics. He has been nominated for multiple Eisner Awards for his art, as well as for spearheading Liquid City, a multivolume comics anthology featuring creators from Southeast Asia. He lives and works in Singapore.

http://www.nlb.gov.sg/golibrary/Programmes/Read/69602/NRD2016_In_Conversation_with_Sonny_Liew__Comics__Reading.aspx

How can he be allowed to talk in a public linrary after having a grant withdrawn for “adversely affect[ing] the reputation of the National Arts Council, any government bodies, public institutions, national leaders or (the applicant’s) organisation”*.

Left hand don’t know what right handing is doing isit? Why Liddat?

 

OK, OK: it’s sour grapes on my part. I didn’t know about this event until this morning,  and sadly registration to the talk is closed.


*The National Arts Council (NAC) has withdrawn a publishing grant for the graphic novel The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye on the eve of its Singapore launch because of “sensitive content”.

The council declined to elaborate on the reasons behind the decision to revoke the S$8,000 grant.

The experimental graphic novel by artist-illustrator Sonny Liew follows the story of comic-book artist Charlie Chan during the formative years of Singapore’s modern history. It weaves together fictional and historical elements, with nods to events and personalities in the nation’s history, such as Singapore’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, opposition politician Lim Chin Siong and Operation Spectrum, the so-called Marxist Conspiracy, in 1987.

In a statement, NAC’s senior director of the literary arts sector Khor Kok Wah said: “We had to withdraw the grant when the book The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye came out because its sensitive content, depicted in visuals and text, did not meet our funding conditions. The Council will continue to support and work with Epigram, a leading publisher of Singapore literary works, on other projects.”

Application guidelines for the grant state that NAC reserves the right to withdraw funding for reasons such as “illegal or negligent acts that occur during any point of the funded project, which will adversely affect the reputation of the National Arts Council, any government bodies, public institutions, national leaders or (the applicant’s) organisation”.

CNA

1MDB: Bring on the clowns

In Accounting, Corporate governance, Malaysia on 29/07/2016 at 1:18 pm

1MDB had previously said that nothing was missing and pointed out that  the accounts were audited by the international firm Deloitte. After the DoJ’s action in freezing assets, 1MDB announced that their accounts audited by Deloitte for 2013 and 2014 cannot be relied upon.

Then Deloitte resigned.

Guardian account of the 1MDB sagahttps://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/28/1mdb-inside-story-worlds-biggest-financial-scandal-malaysia

The truth about a China apologist

In China on 29/07/2016 at 6:17 am

“The truth about the South China Sea issue” is the title of an article written by Uncle Redbean that TRE republished.

A TRE reader, Bernard K (Any relation of TRE hero Chris K?) commented on how Uncle Redbean misquoted a UN spokesperson, and twisted facts. As Uncle Redbean has not responded so far (Waiting for Beijing ro tell him what to say?), I produce the comments below this box.


No historical maps

But Bernard K was not the only person to diss Uncle Redbean and not get a response.

“Dinners are just dinners”, another TRE reader, is absolutely right about the origins of the “dashes in the sea”: it only originated in 1947 by of all people the KMT. It’s not based on any ancient Chinese map, something Uncle Redbean implies. A few years ago I flipped through a book of essays by HK academics on China’s maritime boundaries from ancient times to the Late Sung dynasty. The conclusion of the essays was that China in the period in question never had territorial claims to the South China Sea.

And given the expansionist maritime policies of the Yuan (invaded Java and Japan) and Ming dynasties (Cheng Ho’s voyages), that followed, there are no maps from that period laying claim to the South China Sea.

Dinners are just dinners:
July 27, 2016 at 10:15 pm (Quote)
Redbean is plain wrong. He describes some Proclamations and Declarations as Treaties when they are not. Proclamations and Declarations do not carry the same weight under International Law as Treaties.

The Qing Dynasty never had the 9 Dash Line nor the 11 Dash Line, so what weight does the claim hold? It would be different if you can find a genuine Qing Dynasty map showing the 9 Dash Line or the 11 Dash Line and Qing Dynasty records on a claim to these waters, reefs and shoals. Many historians know the KMT came up with the 11 Dash Line and the CCP came up with the 9 Dash Line – these boundary claims are modern inventions. It does not mean that they are recognised internationally or by the various claimants.

If a country starts drawing dashes on maps and claiming reefs and shoals, does that mean that they automatically belong to that country. It is leads to success in territorial claims, every country will be producing maps with lots of Dash Lines to claim islands, reefs and shoals at the expense of their neighbouring countries.

What is telling is the land reclamation works. If the claim was so strong, there would not be the need to carry out such extensive land reclamation works. These works are deliberately designed to strengthen the claim. The correct position is that PRC’s claim is weak at best and the reclamation works are illegal. The original position should be restored as should the destroyed coral reefs.

China has just lost a lot of international goodwill over the issue and will likely lose more.

Die-hard supporters of China will just spout or parrot their foreign affairs spokesman. Just rubbish without proper consideration of international law. Who can ever trust Beijing? Look at their human rights record.

Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)

I too never did get a reply when I asked Uncle Redbean why China so cock or why US so subtle?

————————————————–

Bernard K:

July 25, 2016 at 7:02 pm (Quote)
Tsk tsk Redbean. Talk about stubborn. Again, picking the words of the UN spokesman out of context is disingenuous. You have deliberately left out the first part of his answer and left out the latter part of the second part (after I have already given u the link). Context and link.

Question: Thank you, Stéphane. As you know, the court… the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled against China in the China Philippines dispute on the Law of the Sea. Do you think it has implications for other parties to similar disputes in the South China Seas?

Spokesman: Well, you know, we’re obviously aware of the decision rendered by the Tribunal, WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED under Annex VII of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Secretary General has consistently called on all parties to resolve their disputes in the South China Sea in a peaceful and amicable manner through dialogue and in conformity with international law, including the UN Charter. It remains important to avoid actions that would provoke or exacerbate those tensions. Yes?

Question: Following up on the South China Sea. Are every concerned countries advised to abide by the decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague?

Spokesman: You know, the UN doesn’t have a position on the legal and procedural merits of the case or on the disputed claims. And, you know, as for the details concerning the settlements of disputes mechanism under the Convention of the Law of the Sea that are set forth in paragraph… in Part XV and relevant annexes to that treaty; thus, the Secretary General does not have anything to add in this regard. Mr. Lee?

http://www.un.org/press/en/2016/db160712.doc.htm

The last para taking into context means that the Sec-Gen has nothing to add but that the settlements are in Part XV & relevant annexes of UNCLOS. Meaning that UN has no legal and procedural merits except as stated in Part XV & relevant annexes of UNCLOS. If this was not a UN backed Tribunal, why would he even answer much less refer time and again to various Annex and mechanisms of UNCLOS?

You have UNCLOS procedures adhered to, you have ITLOS selecting the Tribunal, you have UN spokesman…..if it looks like a duck, walks liked one, quacks liked one, but oh no, to you it is a chicken.

Rating: -13 (from 19 votes)

Bernard K:
July 25, 2016 at 7:09 pm (Quote)
Secondly, if you notice, Xinhua the MSM of China, had at no time make the claim that the tribunal is not UN backed up to the verdict on 12 Jul, and about 5 to 6 days after that then they came out with this new angle precisely to target gullible readers. Before that Xinhua had multiple interviews with ‘experts’ that disagree with the Tribunal but never a claim that it was not UN backed.

Thirdly, UNCLOS Annex VII cases arbitrated under the auspices of the PCA is not that novel. There were/are 12 cases using PCA under UNCLOS. Including one bwt Singapore and Malaysia: Malaysia v. Singapore, instituted in July 2003 and terminated by an award on agreed terms rendered on September 1, 2005 – Land Reclamation by Singapore in and around the Straits of Johor (Malaysia v. Singapore).

And if this is a US/Japan vs China saga, then don’t victimize Asean members, why don’t China go build something nearer America liked in the Hawaii Islands? Or even do it to Japan? And why don’t China sue Philippines using ICJ? Why asking only for bilateral talks only?

 

Obama plays out Asian allies

In China on 28/07/2016 at 2:04 pm

From NYT Dealbook

Why Dropping the Trans-Pacific Partnership May Be a Bad Idea

The pact has few friends left in Washington, but America’s Asian allies may see backing off as a betrayal of Washington’s commitment to the region.

What’s TPP about other than containing China?

It involves 12 countries: the US, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru.

The pact aims to deepen economic ties between these nations, slashing tariffs and fostering trade to boost growth.

Member countries are also hoping to foster a closer relationship on economic policies and regulation.

The agreement could create a new single market something like that of the EU.

Which goods and services are affected?

Most goods and services are involved, but not all tariffs – which are taxes on imports – are going to be removed and some will take longer than others. In all, some 18,000 tariffs are affected.

For example, the signatories have said they will either eliminate or reduce tariffs and other restrictive policies from agricultural products and industrial goods.

Tariffs on US manufactured goods and almost all US farm products will go almost immediately once the deal is ratified.

On textiles and clothing, they will be removing all tariffs, but while the US Trade Representative says most tariffs will be removed immediately after the deal is ratified, “tariffs on some sensitive products will be eliminated over longer timeframes as agreed by the TPP Parties”.

On trade in services, they have agreed that free trade would be quite a good thing, and in some areas, they are going to liberalise trade.

The full text of the TPP agreement – which runs to 30 chapters – has now been published and you can read it all here.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-32498715

 

AGO’s report: “Ownself can check ownself”

In Uncategorized on 28/07/2016 at 6:40 am

That’s what Terry’s Online Channel, TRE, other anti-PAP sites and their hard-core fans seem to telling other S’poreans: “Ownself can check ownself”,

This clearly is not something they really want to do.

After all, they have the motto, “The PAP is always wrong”. So they gleefully highlight the contents of the Auditor-General’s report into the many cock-ups that the PAP administration make. All good knocking fun, while hurting the PAP. as they see it.

But they promote the PAP’s self-serving idea, “Ownself can check ownself”all the same.

No-one can deny that the AGO’s report really does show that the MIW and their public service minions have feet of clay. They are not the super heroes they pretend to be.

But don’t Terry’s Online Channel, TRE, other anti-PAP sites and their hard-core fans realise that by praising the AGO’s report in order to validate their world view that “The PAP is always wrong”, they are in fact telling the 60-70% of S’poreans that consistently support the PAP that, “Ownself can check ownself”?

“Ownself can check ownself” is a unique selling point of the PAP. And Terry’s Online Channel, TRE, other anti-PAP site and their hard-core fans are double confirming that it works? With enemies like these, who needs friends?

I mean don’t Terry’s Online Channel, TRE etc realise the AGO is just another part of the PAP administration, juz like the much derided presidency, and the police they so love to hate?

In that light, isn;t the AGO showing “Ownself can check ownself” by criticising the other parts of the administration? Really one should rxpect better of Terry’s Online Channel etc than fall into the trap of promoting “Ownself can check ownself”.

And have they forgotten that they were rubbishing the AGO’s report on the then AHPETC town council, pointing on its “flaws”. (Btw, KPMG, has found even more problems, saying that another 18 months will be needed to fix the WP TC’s accounting system. But that’s material for another post.).

And now they are saying that the AGO’s report on the PAP administration is a good piece of work? Because the report whacks the PAP isit? Something doesn’t sound right does it? Shouldn’t they use the same logic to this report as they did to the report on the town council?

Yes I’m mocking and rubbishing Terry’s Online Channel, TRE, other anti-PAP sites and their hard-core fans for behaving like the constructive, nation-building legal media who also highlight and praise the AGO’s report. At least they get paid for their efforts.

But I’m constructive in my motive. How can they hope to convince the swing voter to swing away from the PAP with such flawed logic or assumptions? Or such inconsistency?

And a more subtle point I’m trying to make is that in a de-facto one-party state, it’s a mistake to unthinkingly use ang moh logic (based on the assumptions of living in a liberal democracy) to analyse any situation. They should “Seek truth from facts”, not from ang moh assumptions and logic.

As to the real worth of the AGO’s report, someone put this comment** on FB with which I concur:

Well its a good reminder that bureaucratic organisations will have some degree of inefficiencies, no matter how many brilliant people you hire inside, are sometimes antagonistic to the rules applied to them due to constraints of operations, and that sometimes they get overcharged or cannot solve certain otherwise easily resolvable corporate issues because well…some people are sometimes out of touch with the industries they dabble in.

… and of course proof that Singapore’s public sectors are not an exception to the existing theories in bureaucracy. Love this AGO report because its such great research evidence lol.

Nothing more, nothing less. Certainly not to prove that “The PAP is always wrong” or “AGO report blows gaping hole in PAP’s rhetoric of competent and efficient government”. At best, it shows that the bureaucracy here is like any other bureaucracy: flawed.

But course Terry’s Online Channel, TRE, other anti-PAP sites and their hard-core fans would not agree. The PAP is really lucky in having them as enemies.

——————–

*Andrew Loh of TOC (then The Online Citizen, not Terry’s Online Channel) was a real fan of the WP TC’s accounting practices. Nothing was wrong said TOC. Much good did it do TOC. The WP MPs never donated a cent to TO. It was a SDP member who made a big donation.

**This comment also gives the lie to the SDP’s charge that “AGO report blows gaping hole in PAP’s rhetoric of competent and efficient government”.

Why Dodge City’s marshall upset with HSBC

In Banks, Currencies on 27/07/2016 at 1:19 pm

From NYT Dealbook

How Traders Use Front-Running to Profit From Client Orders Federal prosecutors charged two HSBC employees on Wednesday with “front running.” But how do traders use this practice to maximize profits?

Rebranding of TOC and the Indian

In Uncategorized on 27/07/2016 at 6:10 am

TOC is the name by which The Online Citizen is more commonly known. There are rumours that “The Online Citizen” name is to be dropped, in favour of “Terry’s Online Channel”. This change is to reflect Terry Xu’s alleged role at TOC. TOC is alleged to be a one-man show.

I can confirm that TOC will not stand for “Terry’s Online Channel” even though Terry doesn’t even have a dog helping him at TOC. It’s really a one-activist show. It’ll soon see its 10th anniversary (if it not already has) and I, for one, hope that it’ll stagger on. Hopefully, it can reinvent itself.

Meanwhile at the Indian TISG, P Ravi, the newly appointed editor has said because the Indian has given up trying to  be a socio-political website, among the many other things it wanted to be.

— “We made certain deliberate choices and rebranded by changing our tagline from ‘Responsible, Intelligent, Robust’ to ‘News That You (our readers) Need;. That set the direction for us in the last 6-months.”

— “TISG is a news agency, not an institution which is entrusted to uphold democratic ideals.”

—  “TISG is positioned to be a tabloid/magazine and not a socio-political website.”

 

 

 

 

Global champs in maths & science; so what?

In Uncategorized on 26/07/2016 at 6:54 am

If young S’poreans end up as chumps? Or rather unemployed PMETs, with FTs, some with fake degrees, getting the jobs because they are cheaper to hire?

FT had a long article (Article is on SgDaily’s FB wall) on S’pore’s education system: all the usual clichéd stuff that lazy journalists put out. The journalist should have read this post of mind before spewing BS.

But here be some gems in the muck.

This chart from the article shows that Israeli students are way, way behind our kids in maths and science tests. But where are IT, cybersecurity experts and entrepreneurs coming from? Certain;y not from S’pore but from Israel. Btw, NS there helps develop the relevant skills, not like here.

Take another example. Estonia is just below us, behind us but it’s a high-tech nation full of tech entrepreneurs. And it has a tinier population: 1.2m.

 

And one reader asked a relevant question:

How does Singapore do when creating people who can apply the maths they are so good at to actual progress? Theoretical physics etc? Are there are lot of top Singaporean research scientists using this maths around the world in leading research centres, or financial centres etc? Would be interesting to know. Otherwise you are just training people to pass exams, which is not exactly something to envy or emulate.

Another reader made this snaeky comment:

Horses for courses! Singapore’s requirements of its future citizens differ from the UK. Strategically Singapore, small and without natural resource endowments, has to think about attracting FDI and providing educated manpower towards meeting that goal.

As many commentators have raised, the Singaporean education system has not translated into any discernible  advantages in the theoretical sciences. Singapore also lacks the military-industrial complex, that has always proved crucial in funding – throwing money, at ideas. So as a future competitor the rest of the world can rest easy.

They’ll make good obedient workers – and students, though!

Then there’s this:

I used to interview a lot of students for the global graduate recruitment programme at my bank.  I came across a fair few from Singapore and think your comment is spot on.  You can tell that they would be very diligent employees and they were generally very competent at maths and the usual maths puzzles, but once you asked a question about for example geopolitical risks, they would often really flounder.  Since we were looking to recruit traders and risk managers, this was a big issue.

I’ll end with two S’poreans the author quoted, an unhappy, unimpressed parent, and a local academic:

A Singaporean bank executive and father of three, who asked not to be named, criticised a narrow focus on achieving top grades, which he regarded as the product of hard work as much as intelligence. “It’s a system that really channels you through the network as they deem fit. It’s their criteria, which is grades,” he says. “There’s nothing else. My question is: is that a fair assessment of someone’s capability? I don’t know whether you associate top grades with high IQ. I don’t think so.”

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

One academic at a Singapore university said many of his students had been fashioned into ‘learning machines’

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

He praised the system for developing good “technical skills” in maths and imparting facts but said there was an unhealthy emphasis on drilling children according to an approved method. In his experience, children were marked down for using their own methods to solve maths puzzles, even if the answers were correct, he said. “When they’re given a set of [maths] problems … some children turn to their own logic. And the answer’s right, but they’re considered wrong. You’re stifling someone’s ability to think for themselves. You’re like robots. You can’t think out of the box.”

———

*Note I disagree with the parent on “using 0wnself logic” because it may not work. When I was in sec 1, we were taught a maths certain technique. I tot there was a short cut, and the teacher took the trouble of showing that while the short cut works most of the time (he had difficulty finding an example of where my trick didn’t work), it can lead to a serious miscalculation. `

 

 

 

 

 

Indons speaking with fork tongues again

In Environment, Internet on 25/07/2016 at 1:14 pm

Indon VP asking for neighbours’ help in fighting the fires. But he seems to have forgotten that Indon officials have said they don’t need help.

Worse, while complaining that S’pore was trying to punish Indon cos for the fires, it has stopped investigating them

Indonesia’s efforts in tackling forest fires came into question when 15 out of 18 companies suspected of being responsible for the forest fires last year got off the hook with the law.

On Thursday, detik.com reported that the district police in Riau will be stopping investigations on the 15 companies due to the lack of evidence.

“It does not fulfil the elements of intent nor negligence, so we decide to stop investigating the cases,” said Senior Commissioner Rivai Sinambela, Director for Special Criminal Investigation, Riau police district.

Commissioner Rival said that the fires happened on land which have conflicting ownership with the community, and not on areas belonging to the companies.

In 2015, police began investigations on 18 companies suspected of causing forest fires, but only three went to the courts. The three companies PT Langgam Inti Hibrindo, PT Palm Lestari Makmur and PT Wahana Subur Sawit were eventually acquitted.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/indonesia-calls-on/2980490.html

SMRT: Taxpayers get screwed

In Financial competency, Temasek on 25/07/2016 at 6:08 am

Temasek is offering $1.68 per share or $1.18bn to buy out the minority shareholders of SMRT, a 9% premium over the last traded share price of $1.545.

Usually an acquirer pays a premium of up to 30% to gain full control of the target. So the question is why just a 9% premium, shareholders and anti-PAP paper warriors are screaming? “Temasek trying screw minority shareholder isit?” screams Philip Ang financial guru to the cybernuts in TRELand, and Terry’s Online Channel (TOC). Shareholders are saying their shares are worth $2, a 30% premium to $1,545.

Good luck to these greedy people if the takeover is blocked by their greed. In few yrs time, they’ll be complaining of oppression of minorities if SMRT remains listed.

DBS put a value of $1,28 per SMRT share (albeit before the LTA deal but which value it later reiterated after the deal). So at $1.68 (31% premium), it would seem taxpayers are being screwed for the benefit of non-Temasek shareholders. And the greedy sods think they should screw more from us, the taxpayer. Who they think they are? PAP ministers isit?

It would have been better (not necessarily ethically or morally though and it may be illegal) if Temasek had let the market react to the deal before making a bid. As it is one can only look forward to the documents that will be sent to shareholders to see if the price of 1.68 makes sense from taxpayers’ point of view.

At the moment, this doesn’t seem to be the case. The greedy renters are getting 0,40 cents above $1.28, a 31% premium. $280m will be shelled out unnecessarily by Temasek to people who have enjoyed good dividends in times past. Taxpayers’ money is being wasted while the greedy shareholders scream for even more.

And note that the TRE cybernuts want $280m of taxpayers’ money to be wasted on greedy people? In fact they want even more money to be squandered who think they are more entitled than PAP ministers.

 

Brexiters and Aljunied residents

In Accounting on 24/07/2016 at 11:07 am

Brexiters (52% of Britons) and 51% of Aljunied GRC voters vote against their own economic interests.

On Friday, I read in the Economist that

58% of the North East voted for Brexit, the second-highest share of any region.

… places like Sunderland struggle. Unemployment there is the highest in Britain. And despite north-easterners’ enthusiasm for Brexit, it will do their economy little good: 60% of their exports go to the EU, a higher proportion than that of any other region. It also benefits from EU funds—soon to dry up—that have built much local infrastructure.

On Sunday I read

Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam on Saturday (Jul 23) said accounting firm KPMG’s fourth monthly report on the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) paints “a devastating account of the Workers’ Party’s mismanagement of its town council”.

In a Facebook post, Mr Shanmugam described the findings as “a damning litany of highly irregular and suspicious financial practices, poor governance structures and extensive leadership failures”.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/kpmg-report-on-ahtc/2981454.html?cid=FBcna

 

The voters in Aljunied already had the AGO’s report that the the WP couldn’t keep proper records. Yet 51% still wanted them to continue the town council.

 

 

DoJ connects 1MDB bonds’ proceeds to Najib personally

In Malaysia on 24/07/2016 at 5:12 am

[B]etween 2012 and 2013 Goldman helped 1MDB raise $6.5 billion by issuing three bonds. The Justice Department suggests that around 40 percent of that money was siphoned off, and indicates that $681 million ultimately found its way into Najib’s personal bank account, though the prime minister is not directly named.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2016/07/22/malaysia-fiasco-undercuts-goldmans-standards-push/

OK OK, The DoJ alleges thattransferred into an account belonging to a Malaysian official whose description matches that of Najib.

Seriously it’s either black comedy or farce when Switzerland, S’pore and the DoJ allege that monies was stolen from 1 MDB but “There has been no evidence from any investigation conducted by any law enforcement agencies in various jurisdictions which shows that money has been misappropriated from 1MDB,” says M’sia’s AG.

PAP got a point about election uncertainity

In Uncategorized on 23/07/2016 at 1:39 pm

Last GE was the only GE in which I don’t recall the PAP saying that a less than empathic victory would drive away foreign invrstors. I guess they realise that that line no longer works.

So it was interesting that I read the u/m in NYT Dealbook about the US markets and election uncertainity:

ELECTION YEARS ARE STEEPED IN MARKETS’ LEAST FAVORITE THING, UNCERTAINTY What explains the lack of deals and initial public offerings, the volatile stock markets, cuts in company spending and stalling gross domestic product? Perhaps it is Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Andrew Ross Sorkin writes in his DealBook column.

A growing body of research shows that during presidential election years industry becomes almost paralyzed. Big corporate investments are postponed and bid deals are put on the back burner. The research is even more persuasive for the final year of an eight-year presidential term, when a new candidate will inevitably become president.

Since 1928, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index has fallen an average of 2.8 percent during election years where the incumbent is not seeking re-election, according to research by Stephen Suttmeier, a technical analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research. The final year of an incumbent’s eight-year term was the only year that averaged negative returns.

“Election outcomes are relevant to corporate decisions, as they have implications for industry regulation, monetary and trade policy, taxation, and, in more extreme cases, the possible expropriation or nationalization of private firms,” Brandon Julio, a professor at the London Business School, wrote in the Journal of Finance. Mr. Julio and his co-author, Youngsuk Yook of the Federal Reserve, examined elections in 49 countries from 1980 to 2005. They found that during election years, firms reduced investment expenditures by an average of 4.8 percent relative to non-election years.

Mr. Suttmeier’s finding may also have an explanation, though it requires some conspiracy theorizing. “There has been much debate over whether incumbents manipulate fiscal and monetary policy instruments to influence the level of economic activity prior to an election in order to maximize the probability of re-election,” Mr. Julio said.

So it seems that the American stock market is likely to continue struggling, and companies are going to shy away from big deals. Deals that could face scrutiny for antitrust or tax reasons have particularly fallen out of favor. Both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump have talked about their ambitions for corporate tax reform.

The big question is whether the economy will pick up once the next president is decided. The data says it should, but in an increasingly polarized country, the pain of electoral strife could linger on Wall Street far longer than anyone would wish, Mr. Sorkin writes.

Feeling sorry for yrself Young Democrats?

In Uncategorized on 23/07/2016 at 5:47 am

This guy is more unlucky than u.

Mr Unlucky: “Think you’ve got problems?” the Sun asks, as it tells the story of a 26-year-old man who has had cancer, a heart attack, meningitis, MRSA, paralysis, lost half his thumb and had his wife leave him for his best man. “He’s still smiling,” it reports.

BBC

U juz got Mad Dog as leader and the PAP as opponents.

Why HSBC owed UK one cont’d

In Corporate governance, Hong Kong on 22/07/2016 at 2:30 pm

As I reported earlier many shareholders were disappointed that HSBC decide to remain HQed in the UK, and not retuen to HK.

Then it emerged that in 2012 Mr Osborne, the then UK Chancellorm interceded in the US Justice Department’s investigation into HSBC over money laundered through its American branches by Mexican drug lords. The DoJ was considering bringing charges on top of the fines it imposed on the bank, Britain’s biggest, but Mr Osborne argued that this would destabilise a “systemically important financial institution” and lead to “contagion”.

Now NYT Dealbook tells us more about how this intervention affected the DoJ’s decision to go easy on the maeco-bank

A BANK TOO BIG TO JAIL If you’ve ever wondered why the 2008 financial crisis generated almost no criminal prosecutions of large banks and their top executives, you should read the congressional report, “Too Big to Jail,” Gretchen Morgenson writes in Fair Game.

The report examines the Justice Department’s settlement with HSBC in 2012 after accusations that it laundered nearly $900 million for drug traffickers and processed transactions on behalf of countries subject to United States sanctions. It shows how regulators and prosecutors turned a potential criminal prosecution of HSBC into a watered-down settlement that insulated its executives and failed to take into account the full scope of the bank’s violations.

The bank and its American Subsidiary, HSBC Bank USA, agreed to pay almost $2 billion under the settlement, striking a deferred prosecution arrangement that remains in place. Under such deals, the government agrees to delay or forgo prosecution of a company if it promises to change its behavior.

The report concluded that the Justice Department’s leadership overruled an internal recommendation to prosecute HSBC, citing concerns “that prosecuting the bank ‘could result in a global financial disaster.'”

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said it was “committed to aggressively investigating allegations of wrongdoing at financial institutions, and, along with our law enforcement partners, holding individuals and corporations responsible for their conduct.”

The facts outlined by prosecutors were damning enough to raise questions about why the bank had not been subject to harsher treatment and fueled the view that large financial institutions are not only too big to fail, but also too significant to be prosecuted criminally.

“The fact that so many of these cases are settled rather than going to court means we don’t get an airing of facts and challenges of facts,” said Edward J. Kane, a professor of finance at Boston College and an authority on regulatory failures. The report should be viewed as “evidence of an abuse of the regulatory system,” he added. “And unless proven otherwise, this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

SGX: Disk FT isit? Prime terrorist target?

In Uncategorized on 22/07/2016 at 5:23 am

No lah in my opinion to the first question. The FT president is trying to throw smoke in blaming a faulty disk. It’s more serious.

SGX said that at 9.38am on the day of the trading halt, it detected input and output errors on a disk that runs the application to send out clearing messages to members. The application did not detect the disk failure, which it should have. Hence, the application did not automatically cutover to SGX’s backup secondary system.

Speaking to the press, SGX President Ramaswami Muthukrishnan said the hardware was supplied by HP. This issue was also the first known to be experienced by technology vendor NASDAQ, he said.

(CNA http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/sgx-trading-outage-caused/2967760.html)

Well sounds to me that two things went wrong, not one, as claimed by SGX. SGX blamed a faulty disc. Well err what about thisThe application did not detect the disk failure, which it should have?

So an app i.e. software was not doing what it was supposed to: report a faulty disk. Has anything been done to fix the app problem?

The disk has since been replaced, with “complete health checks” conducted, SGX said. The exchange operator also said it is working with member firms to review the order and trade reconciliation process, which took longer than expected on Thursday and prevented the reopening.

Err why nothing said about whether software can now detect disk problem? Because not fixed isit?

Finally, given that SGX’s IT team seems to be an all India affair and given the hatred of India and Indians among Pakistani militants*, a terrorist attack by Pakistani militants (think the Mumbai attack etc)  is a clear and present danger.

SGX should be paying for the Gurkhas to guard its premises. Now Gurkhas are real Foreign Talent, unlike SGX’s FTs.


*But to be fair to these militants, it’s not only Indians they hate. They kill Pakistani kids too.

 

 

 

“Dodge City marshall” investigating 1MDB monies

In Corporate governance, Malaysia on 21/07/2016 at 1:38 pm

The US Department of Justice has moved to seize more than U$1bnfrom Malaysia’s state fund 1MDB.

The DoJ alleges the funds were “misappropriated” and though it did not name Prime Minister Najib Razak directly, he is identifiable in the suit as someone whose account allegedly received huge sums. He has in the past denied wrongdoing.

The US Attorney General Loretta Lynch says that the “Malaysian people were defrauded on a monumental scale”.

among the things bought by the money were:

  • L’Ermitage hotel property and business
  • Park Lane Hotel assets in New York
  • Four California properties
  • Four New York properties
  • One London property
  • A private jet
  • EMI assets, including royalties
  • Van Gogh painting
  • Two Monet paintings

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-36852755

 

Minister snatches defeat from the jaws of victory

In Uncategorized on 21/07/2016 at 7:08 am

Hougang Member of Parliament Png Eng Huat in a Facebook post grumbled about how Minister Tan Chuan Jin and his entourage were given expedited clearance at the immigration checkpoint at Tuas.

On Sunday, Mr Tan and a group of residents and volunteers returning from a durian trip to Johor Bahru were able to skip the immigration queue. In a Facebook post on Monday, Mr Png wrote that he too, had been at the checkpoint with his residents after a trip to Desaru, and that they were among other travellers at who had had “to wait patiently for hours for their turn”. Mr Png added that one of his residents was 89 years old and another had been injured during the tour. 

Since, It is the normal practice for ministers on both sides of the Causeway, as well as members of the Malaysian royalty, to be given expedited clearance at the land checkpoints, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on Tuesday (Jul 19), really Png was barking up (Or is it peeing against) the wrong tree, especially as the minister was in M’sia on official business see below), and not eating durians.
Given the ICA statement, Tan should have taken the high moral ground and asked if Png expected that only he the minister be given expedited clearance, while the rest of the passengers on the bus he was on, cleared the check point like other plebs?
He also had the high moral ground that he was in M’sia on an official visit to the M’sian Deputy Home Affairs Minister’s Hari Raya open house. As a minister on official duty, he would be entitled to a govt car etc, But he took a bus. That also cannot itis?
Png could only sit down and shut up showing that the W in WP stands for “Wankers’ or Worthless.
But the Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan Jin said on Tuesday (Jul 19) that Hougang Member of Parliament Png Eng Huat was “stirring hate and anger” in a Facebook post about how Mr Tan and his entourage were given expedited clearance at the immigration checkpoint at Tuas.

Mana ada standard? m=Mud wrestling with a Wanker? It isn’t even plausible that Png was “stirring hate and anger”e. He’s a Wanker, not a mad dog. And Tan’s an RI boy. Sigh.

Get well soon Heng. The PAP needs you as prime minister. Tan is proving himself as worthless as Kee Chui, another RI boy (OK not a real RI boy: only two yrs, unlike Tan and me).

Seriously, “political success requires mastery of the age’s leading medium”: Reagan knew how to use tv, Trump knows how to use Twitter, but Tan and other PAPpies don’t know how to use social media*.

For that fact alone, those of us, who want an end to the PAP’s hegemony, should be grateful, very grateful.  Likewise we should grateful at the antics of the PAP’s IB in slimimg Png. With friends like Jason chua, the PAP doesn’t need enemies.

Maybe the wheel of fortune is turning against the PAP? I used to say that the PAP was lucky in its enemies. Now even the MPs of the Wankers’ Party are doing more than wanking while smiling at their bank accounts. They are growling.


*No SOP written yet isit?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch this Jap experiment

In Uncategorized on 20/07/2016 at 2:53 pm

The experience of Japan, where unorthodox monetary policy has been the norm for decades, does not augur well. McDonalds has struggled to increase its sales there. Whether that is down to deflation or an unappetising menu might become clear, after the group’s Japanese subsidiary said it would copy a turnround plan deployed with great success in the US.

Letter from Lex

But now there is Pokemon Go.

McDonald’s Japan shares have jumped as media reports suggest Nintendo’s Pokemon Go will be launched there in a deal with the fast food chain.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-36842258

Let Chippy emigrate

In Uncategorized on 20/07/2016 at 6:40 am

He’s a long-tailed macaque,that most probably was a household pet until realeased into the wild.

Typical S’porean, unable to survive in the real world.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and the National Parks Board (NParks) are looking into the case of a monkey which a Singapore family wants to send to a UK sanctuary after expressing concerns about its ability to survive in the wild.

The long-tailed macaque, which has been named Chippy by the family, was befriended five and a half months ago by 70-year-old Normanton Park resident Madam Prema. She was going about her usual daily routine of feeding the fish and water fowl in a pond at Lower Kent Ridge Park when she saw the monkey sitting close to her “begging for bread”

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/authorities-looking-into/2914656.html?cid=FBcna

If he remains here, the law is that it must be put down because there have been complaints about Chippy being a nuisance: “People throw sticks and stones at him, and they threaten to complain to the authorities, asking them to cull him”.

A family wants to help Chippy and found that only ang mohs were willing to help Chippy, SE Asians were not interested.

“We reached out first to the National Parks Board to find monkey sanctuaries in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand who would take Chippy,” she explained. “But we found out that only the proboscis monkey would be given sanctuary in Southeast Asia.”

“As a last resort, we approached a sanctuary in Wales, and they were willing to take Chippy in.”

Her family is willing to bear the full cost of sending the monkey to the UK, which could include costs like export permits, medical checks, crating, and freight. The total could reach about S$5,000 to S$6,000.

The article was written on 29 June and nothing has been heard from the authorities. Meanwhile the lady continues to feed Chippy, breaking the law in the process. Will the lady be prosecuted?

And if Chippy is given permission to emigrate, can the authorities also arrange to deport New Citizens Han Hui Hui and Jason Chua to that monkey sanctuary too? I’m sure S’poreans are willing to pay for them to be air freighted in cages out of S’pore.

With New Citizens like these two, S’pore is fast becoming a haven of FT monkeys.

 

SMRT: DBS Sec report

In Temasek on 19/07/2016 at 1:31 pm

Actually since the report thinks the share at 1.54 is way above its analyst’s target price (1.28), anti-PAPpies and rational analysts (like me) should be upset if Temasek bids at last traded price or more. Waste of taxpayers’ money. Dr Goh, Hon Siew Sen, Lim Kim San and Harry must be crying that anyine can think such a tot.

Analyst comment on speculated takeover.

– Temasek said to unveil buyout offer for SMRT
– Potential offer could derail our current fundamental-based investment thesis
– Assuming at 30% premium to our current TP equates to 8% premium to last traded price

According to news report, Temasek is said to weigh the options of taking SMRT private.

The potential valuation is unclear given that with the unveiling of the New Rail Financing Framework, we are projecting that SMRT profits will take a notch down given the cap on margins for its SMRT train operations (inclusive of rental and advertising under trains).

We have just revised down our forecasts and trimmed our recommendation (to Fully Valued, TP: S$1.28, from Hold, TP: S$1.53). The potential buyout offer will derail our thesis, which was based on fundamental perspective.

Assuming a minimum of 20% premium to our TP, this leaves marginal premium to its last traded price. However, we believe a significant premium to last trade price could be challenging as this will equate to a very high valuation, considering that SMRT’s profitability is projected to be subdued under the New Rail Financing Framework.

At this juncture, our take is that a 25% – 30% premium to our TP seems probable as it will equate a marginal premium to last traded price of S$1.54.

 

Americans subtle, PRC leaders cock (cont’d)

In China on 19/07/2016 at 6:46 am

Here I pointed out that China is really dumb … Why did it sign UNCLOS in the first place if it thinks it’s a tua kee like the US?

The US refuses to sign UNCLOS because it refuses to play by the rules of sua kes like the UN and PinoyLand. It reserves the right to do what it thinks is right (Usually this means “Might is right”).

But China did sign up and now refuses to abide by a decision of its highest tribunal. Why so stupid?

Actually the US is even smarter than I tot. Successive US administrations have said that they will abide by UNCLOS despite the US not being a party to it. At the same time, because the US is not bound by it, it can legally, in International law, ignore any ruling it doesn’t like. And unlike China, it is not an outlaw.

How did the US this “Heads I win, tails you lose,” situation?

UNCLOS needs to be ratified by the US Senate for it to be binding on the US.  Treaty ratification requires 2/3 of the senate to vote for approval, and there are more than sufficient senators happy to block ratification because they say UNCLOS violates US hegemony (OK “sovereignty”).

Those who read James Clavell’s Asian Saga novels will know that the Chinese characters were always sneering that the ang mohs were stupid fools to be manipulated despite them lording over the Chinese because they, unlike, the Chinese had the technology to defeat the Chinese in battle, and were not afraid of using violence. Well I’m sure these Chinese characters will be ashamed that the PRC leaders got tricked by the ang mohs.

Btw, the Japanese characters were also sneering at the ang mohs. But the ang mohs have not outsmart them except in making the Japanese buy  in the 1980s US assets at inflated prices; assets bot back a few years later at fire-sale prices.

And looking at the Chinese buying of US assets, one wonders if the Chinese are the victims of another US scam.

.

 

Tech depresses value of land

In Financial competency on 18/07/2016 at 4:33 pm

Why Land May Not Be the Smartest Place to Put Your Nest Egg

It’s true, as the adage goes, that they’re not making land anymore, but technology that allows more intensive use of land has held down values in the long term.

NYT Dealbook

Chinese with Pinoy Muslim blood

In China on 18/07/2016 at 5:13 am

Sulu King Paduka Batara visited China to pay tribute to the emperor in 1417. This was not uncommon for SE Asian rulers of the time. The first sultan of Malacca, a refugee FT from S’pore (He was originally from Sumatra, came here and killed the ruler before fleeing to Malacca), did the same.


Paying tribute in the Chinese tradition was different from that practiced by the Romans and other Westerners. In the West, the weaker side paid up big time.

In the Chinese tradition, tribute was more of an exchange of gifts. While the emperor’s “power” was acknowledged through tribute, in return the emperor gave lavish gifts to show his power. For the Romans and other Westerners, the acceptance of tribute meant that the givers were not going to subject to pillage and plunder. That was the return gift.

Still think Chinese smarter than ang mohs? More civilised certainly.

—————————–

He treated the trip as a holiday, bringing along both his wives.

Paduka died on his way home — in Dezhou City in Shandong province. The emperor gave the king a burial “as formal as for a Chinese king”: no other foreign king were given such an honour. The path to the king’s tomb is marked with the same features as those for Chinese royalty with stone tablets, royal monuments and sculptures. The tomb is preserved as a national historical monument.

Paduka’s two sons – Wenhali and Antulu –remained behind to tend to their father’s tomb. They married Chinese women.

Today, there are descendants of these two Filipino princes in China, with the family names Wen and An. 200 of them live in Dezhou City and close to 4,000 are scattered all over China.

Source: http://www.filipiknow.net/paduka-pahala-ancient-sulu-king-buried-in-china/

Good reason to ban smartphones

In Internet on 17/07/2016 at 1:05 pm

Here I suggested that the PAP administration should ban the use of smartphone cameras because they are a clear and present danger to the PAP’s paternal instinct to ensure that we only get the “right” info (So that, among other things, we are not panicked.)

Here’s a good reason why the PAP administration should go further and ban smartphones.

Indian newspaper The Telegraph ran a fascinating exclusive on its front page yesterday.

It obtained a copy of an investigation into Kashmiri militancy written by a top police officer in the state.

The report, which has been presented to officials at the home Ministry, argues that growing access to social media is the key to understanding the current upsurge in militancy in the region.

[I]n the last few years the security forces in Kashmir have noticed that the public is now far more likely to intervene in their operations.

He reports that when they go to make an arrest or get involved in even a minor confrontation with militants, very quickly members of the public come out to protest against their action and, on occasion, even attack them.

One factor has to be that smartphone messages go out alerting people to what is going on.

As far as security personnel are concerned this represents a very serious increase in the risks they face.

Just like during the Arab Spring and indeed in the unfolding race crisis in America, it seems the contours of the conflict in Kashmir are increasingly being shaped and defined by technology.

“Using home to fund retirement is a delusion”

In CPF, Property on 17/07/2016 at 4:51 am

Downsizing your home to give yourself an income in retirement is unrealistic, according to the former UK pensions minister, Steve Webb.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-36804906

Now u know why the HDB’s lease-back scheme is such a lousy deal.

Btw, don’t PAP ministers recommend downsizing or lease-back when CPF is not enough?

SGX’s IT: An all India FT affair?

In India, Uncategorized on 16/07/2016 at 1:45 pm

I got the above impression after reading the Indian’s (Sorry TISG”S) description of IT at SGX. Go to “New people taking over SGX’s IT systems” http://theindependent.sg/2-senior-tech-fts-left-sgx-end-of-last-year/

We can only hope this won’t tuen out to be like this A*STAR, NTU fiasco where FT “Kena stripped of PhD. Boss at NTU and A*STAR who is also a foreign talent, contract kena terminated” http://retractionwatch.com/2016/07/13/harvard-researchers-phd-revoked-former-group-earns-three-more-retractions/

The trio at the centre of the scandal are Professor Ravi Kambadur, 54, who was with the Nanyang Technological University (NTU); Dr Mridula Sharma, who was associate professor at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine; and former NTU researcher Sudarsanareddy Lokireddy. (ST)

Truly the T stands for Trash. All relared to IDA’s Nisha?

Maybe our homegrown Indian talents (People like Dr Paul, the CEO of DBS, the CJ, the AG, Tharman, P Ravi and Shanmugam; though not s/o JBJ, Pritam Singh and M Ravi) can help MoM and Home Team to profile the characteristics of ethnic Indian talent rather than ethnic Indian trash? Then we can get the right kind of Indian talent.

“Outsiders” that even LGBTs consider “weird”

In Uncategorized on 16/07/2016 at 7:08 am

Pink Dot will never include asexuals,

One interviewee called a local gay switchboard, assuming that she would be met with understanding and acceptance from a group who, for decades, was told their sexuality was either immoral or illegal. She listened with incredulity as the person who answered the phone told her “asexuality doesn’t exist”.http://www.bbc.com/…/20160621-i-have-never-felt-sexual-desi…

Uber raises money to subsidide users

In China, Financial competency, India on 15/07/2016 at 1:28 pm

NYT Dealbook explains Uber’s biz model of sunsidising the rides of Chinese and Indian customers to starve its competitors of biz:

WHY UBER KEEPS RAISING MILLIONS It feels like almost every other week there is a new headline about Uber raising more money, Andrew Ross Sorkin writes in the DealBook column.

If you add up all the money the company has raised since it started in 2009,it is on its way to amassing $15 billion and has a valuation of $68 billion – all while remaining a private company.

When Amazon went public in 1997, it had raised $54 million and was valued at $438 million.

Uber has to finance its efforts to grab market share in China and India, butit is also trying to mark its territory. Every time Uber raises another $1 billion, investors find it less attractive to back one of Uber’s rivals: Didi Chuxing, Lyft, Gett, Halo, Juno. It is a war of attrition, to starve the competition of cash.

Uber’s efforts seem to have had the opposite effect so far, spawning a long list of rivals, but as the smaller competitors run out of cash, venture capitalists should be less inclined to put up more money.

This arms race comes against the backdrop of falling valuations and there is a rush to take the money while it is still available. Bill Gurley, a venture capitalist who has a stake in Uber and sits on its board, warned investors about unicorns seeking funds: “You are not being invited to a special dance, you are being approached because you are the lender of last resort.”

The question is whether investors will look at Uber’s balance sheet and throw up the white flag. It still has formidable competition from Didi, the market leader in China, which just raised $7 billion. And some of the same investors that have backed Uber are also backing Didi, including BlackRock and Tiger Global. (Some may be hoping that Uber might one day merge its Chinese operation with Didi.)

Uber’s most recent fund-raising effort – focused on the leveraged loan market – aims to avoid diluting the current base of shareholders and having to sell itself at an even higher valuation. It will have to pay up for the financing, but if its valuation continues to grow, it would be a bargain compared with the value of the equity. Uber is hoping to sell debt with a yield of 4 or 4.5 percent.

The question between now and the probable initial public offering in a few years is whether it will have starved all of its competitors along the way.

Traingate: The only cyberwarriots LTA, MoT responded to

In Internet, Media on 15/07/2016 at 6:55 am

Trumpets please for SgDaily and Joel Koh, the new kids on the block in Blogosphere S’pore

LTA in the presence of, MoT, Khaw, answered the question that only SgDaily’s Joel Koh asked in public: What happens to service reliability and timings?*

There was no correlation to train delays of more than five minutes to the hairline cracks, LTA said at the briefing. It indicated that most of the delays since 2014 were linked to signalling faults, door or brake issues, with none linked to hairline cracks.

The authority added that even when trains were being repaired, there were always enough trains to meet demand.

For example, for 2016, there are 140 trains available for the North-South and East-West lines, and 124 trains are needed to meet demand. This will continue till 2019 – when replacement work is completed – where there will always be more trains available than needed, according to estimates.

(CNA)

Declaration of interest; My Facebook avatar can post stuff on SgDaily’s FB wall.

———————————-

*Yes no other blogger or website or activist or Oppo party asked publicly how the cracks affected train service. And neither did the running dogs** from SPH or MediaCorp asked.

So all but two guard dogs were asleep, just like their running dog cousins. Groupthink at its very best.

**Yes my dogs are getting extra treats for this insult to the K9 community.

Palm oil prices keep on falling

In Commodities, Indonesia, Malaysia on 14/07/2016 at 1:23 pm

Dumb China, Smart US: Real significance of the ruling

In China on 14/07/2016 at 7:46 am

The UN tribunal in The Hague said there was “no legal basis” for China’s claim to most of the South China Sea laid out on maps by the “nine-dash line”.

Uncle Redbean and the other S’porean friends of China (think the nuts from TRELand) are screaming out their lungs at the unfairness of it. One major point of unhappiness is that the US has not ratified the Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), so why should China be bound by it, as the US insists China should be? They got a point if “Might is not right” in international affairs.

The technical answer is that China and the Philippines (and the other countries that have disputes in the area with China) signed the convention and are bound by it because they signed it. The US has no dispute with China and is just being its usual kaypoh hegemonic self.

The snarky answer is that China is really dumb, something that its S’porean admirers refuse to even think about (“The sun shines from China’a ass”, as it does from the asses of Roy, s/o JBJ, Mad Dog Chee etc)). Why did it sign UNCLOS in the first place if it thinks it’s a tua kee like the US?

The US refuses to sign UNCLOS because it refuses to play by the rules of sua kes like the UN and PinoyLand. It reserves the right to do what it thinks is right (Usually this means “Might is right”).

But China did sign up and now refuses to abide by a decision of its highest tribunal. Why so stupid?

After the ruling the Chinese said  China respects “freedom of navigation and over flight enjoyed by all states under international law in the South China Sea” and that it stands ready to ensure “unimpeded access to international shipping lanes”.

This is meaningless because “The Chinese effectively say that freedom of navigation is guaranteed [in the South China Sea] because we grant it. Our position is that freedom of navigation is not for you to grant,” said Kurt Campbell, former assistant secretary of state for East Asia. (Extract from FT)

The tribunal ruled that China has no legal basis to grant anything because there was “no legal basis” for China’s claim to most of the South China Sea laid out on maps by the now-famous “nine-dash line”

Btw, the same is true of the air space in the area.

Map showing the South China Sea

It’s a crinimal under international law. And if it plays rough, the US navy is itching to beat up the Chinks. It has two carrier groups in the area.

The US may also seize the US treasury bonds that the Chinese hold if the navies start shooting at each other? Bonds that the chinese bot so that the US could afford to buy the products of Chinese factories.

Ang mohs supposed to be stupid, Chinese subtle. Looks line the exception is when the Chinese are the leaders from PRC.

But the good news for China is that Obama is a certified wimp as Assad proved. He does all he can to make America weak.

Update at 8.00am: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2016/07/economist-explains-12

 

The real reason HSBC didn’t return to HK?

In Banks on 13/07/2016 at 1:42 pm

Shareholders like me were disappointed that HSBC decided against returning to its hometown HK, preferring to remain being HQed in London

Seems one good turn deserves another: UK lobbied US for leniency for the narco bank. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-36768140

The Mexican branches of HSBC had custom-built counters to facilitate drug money deposits.

Typical S’porean response on freedom of speech

In Uncategorized on 13/07/2016 at 5:31 am

The Economist recently had a long article on freedom of speech http://www.economist.com/news/international/21699906-freedom-speech-retreat-muzzle-grows-tighter.

It got this response from a Pakistani. But it could have been the response of a typical S’porean: “I support freedom of speech but must be responsible leh.”.

And what is responsible free speech?

“Must not offend my sensibilities.”

This is whar he wrote:

I agree wholeheartedly that freedom of speech needs to be protected. But one needs to differentiate between speech for the purpose of debate, or the discussion of uncomfortable ideas, and speech which is intended to insult or inflame passions. For example, Western societies permit caricatures of Prophet Muhammad under the guise of free speech, even though they insult a person revered by Muslims. There was even a special contest organised in the United States for such cartoons with a prize for “the most insulting”. I fail to see where the free debate that is supposed to separate the good ideas from the bad ones comes in. This is hate speech and needs to be curbed.

TARIQ-UR-RAHMAN
Islamabad, Pakistan

I don’t know whether to cry or laugh at the attitude of the writer. Is he that stupid that he doesn’t see the contradictions in what he says? Or is he just a hypocrite? Or os he just trying to be Jesuitical?

Asean loves Starbucks

In Uncategorized on 12/07/2016 at 2:49 pm

But first fin a fun fact. From NYT Dealbool:

Starbucks Has More Customer Money on Cards Than Many Banks Have in Deposits The coffee giant had $1.2 billion loaded onto Starbucks cards and its mobile app as of the first quarter of 2016.

Traingate: Useless local new media?/ How real joutnalists operate

In Media on 12/07/2016 at 7:10 am

No not because they missed two open goals (here and here)

But because as my friend’s Facebook avatar grumbled:What this [TrainGate] shows is that our alternate media are rubbish. Only use MSM reports to criticise govt. If no ST report, no grumble. ((((( 

He was referring to the fact that a Hongkie website broke the story about the cracked S’pore trains, not one of the usual suspects here. The video was shot here, not in HK.

A tua kee writer from TMG (where an ex-Imperial Keyboard Stormtrooper general, and wannabe Sith Lord, once upon a time, presides) responded

Eh, hello. First of all, the tip-off went to someone in HK. How you want us to know? You think journalist = CID officer is it? If the tip-off had landed with us of course we would have covered it. Second, you think alternate sites got very big budget is it? Starting already kena pay $50,000 deposit.

My friend’s avatar responded with

TOC’s Terry Xu would cover it. So would TRE. But TMG? My toes are laughing.

[My friend was alluding to Bertha Henson’s boast that she allowed one Harry Lee to edit her copy of her article on him when she was a junior ST reporter.]

And

The issue is why the tip-off went to HK? Because the informer knows that HK site will do the issue justice, but not a S’pore site?

He never got a response.

I’d add two more points to my friend’s snarky but not unreasonable comments.

I suspect that the whistle-blower was certain that if he reported via a S’pore site, his identity would not remain a secret very long. He’d be safer telling the news via a Hongkie site. In this I think he or she has got a point. Something Goh Meng Seng and Uncle Redbean don’t play up is that British standards of behaviour still apply in HK.

And the TMG writer obviously does not have a clue about how the CID or real journalists (not SPH or MediCorp or N Korean ones) operate.

An experienced CID officer catches criminals largely via his network of informers, not thru using the methods of Sherlock Holmes or CSI. A retired very senior police officer once told me that a new CID officer is given a list of existing police informers in his area and is then expected to “recruit” new contacts. When a crime is committed in his “area”, the officer is expected to use his network to solve the crime.

No rocket science or even forensic science needed, As one can expect, this job is not for scholars.

As for how journalists operate outside N Korea and S’pore, he should go find out how the London papers or US journalists work. They inherit and build up networks of informers. Unlike S’porean journalists they don’t depend on “briefings” or releases or reading the local MSM or Facebook.

The attitude of this tua kee writer from TMG is precisely why a former ST reporter and strike leader* wrote on his Facebook page: Investigative journalism has been frowned upon by the establishment here. The mantra was that it has its own checks and balances which can correct its own mistakes, prompting the online world to create a phrase – ownself check ownself – to mock a government that resents media playing the watchdog.

The embarrassment is not just for the government. The MRT story exposed the local media’s inability and/or unwillingness to investigate government scandals and thus help play its rightful role in society.

Investigative journalism is a lost art here. Our newspapers are filled with press-release journalism, making them dull and at most times unreadable.

Hear, hear.


*In those innocent days the Labour minister helped organise a strike at the then ST. That was how pro-labour the PAP were then.

 

 

 

Italian mess shows why the Brits voted Leave

In Banks on 11/07/2016 at 2:02 pm

There is a crisis in Italian banking and the cheapest, most efficient way of solving the crisis is an Italian govt bail-out. But EU “rules” are “preventing” this.  EU wants the retail investors in bank bonds to take a hit.

With a friend like EU, who needs enemies.

From NYT Dealbook:

ITALY’S PLAN FOR BANKS IS DIVIDING EUROPE The Italian government needs to spend an estimated $45 billion to shore up its banks, which are burdened with bad loans. But fears that European authorities will bar the government from providing this support is adding to turbulence in the aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union,Peter Eavis reports in DealBook. And the situation could keep investors on edge through the summer.

Italian bank shares have dropped steeply – an indication of a storm ahead. The stock price of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, one of Italy’s most troubled lenders, is down 80 percent in the last 12 months. Its shares trade at under 10 percent of its book value – a sign that investors really think that the bank needs new capital, although when bank stocks sink that much, they find it almost impossible to raise new capital on the markets.

Italian banks don’t appear to need an overwhelmingly large sum to return them to a firmer footing. The problem is their 200 billion euros, or about $222 billion, of bad loans. The banks have already set aside significant reserves to absorb losses in these loans, effectively valuing them at 40 percent of their original value, according to some analyses.

But investors appear to think that the loans are worth less than that, and the theory is that banks would have to value the loans at an even lower level.Banking experts say that €40 billion of support is needed to help the banks take those losses.

The Italian government could mimic the United States government’s TARP spending in 2008 and plow that money into the banks, but a bailout of that sort may be illegal under relatively new European rules that aim to protect taxpayers.

The rules aim to force investors in the banks to provide support in times of trouble by buying their debt securities. Under anti-bailout rules, these securities would be forcibly turned from debt into new equity, which could absorb any new losses taken on the bad loans. Under such a so-called bail-in, the equity would in theory be worth less than the debt securities, leading to losses for investors who held the debt.

In Italy, however, retail investors hold many of these debt securities– families own about a third of them, according to the research organization Bruegel. A bail-in would focus the pain on Italian households, and the fear of losses might also prompt investors to stop lending to banks and lead depositors to withdraw their money.

A compromise with Europe’s leaders does not look impossible, although there is considerable tension over the question.

The rules provide ways to give Italy a pass, but Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, a large investment entity controlled by the Italian government, could also provide bailout funds. Either way, analysts agree that the government would have to overhaul the industry.

Silence of SMRT, LTA & MoT explained

In Internet on 11/07/2016 at 7:40 am

In my own opinion, they should have disclosed it. Everyone has their reasons, but in the end there’s always consequences. Daniel Yap of TMG in a FB post when introducing this piece he wrote http://themiddleground.sg/2016/07/07/faulty-trains-tell-not-tell/

Piece is worth a read, explaining why it would have been better for the authorities to have disclosed the cracks and the remedial action: they would then have controlled the news agenda.

But this analysis and other criticisms of the silence miss the point.

PAPpies brains work differentlyL when the public doesn’t know a fact, that fact never exists.

In 2011, I analysed a senior PAPpy’s and his team’s  unhappiness with a TOC report.

I wrote, they must believe in an 18th century philosophical theory that is now treated as a forerunner of the concept of “subjective idealism”. One Bishop Berkeley argued that there are no material objects, only minds and ideas in those minds. He summarised his theory with the motto “esse est percipi” (“To be is to be perceived”). In modern PR-speak, this translates into,“Perception is reality”, one of the major tenets of the PR and public communication industry.

This theory of “Perception is reality” is best summarised in the following example he gave. If a tree in a forest falls, but no-one sees or hears it fall, has it fallen? Berkeley argues that it has not fallen. It is still standing.

An example in the S’pore context would be that S’poreans were not aware of how close the voting would be on polling day in 1988 in Eunos GRC and in Cheng San GRC in 1991. The mainstream media did not report the sentiment on the ground in these two GRCs, so S’poreans were not aware that many S’poreans were unhappy with the PAP. The unhappiness did not exist because it was not reported.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/%E2%80%9Clittle-disappointment%E2%80%9D-tony-tan-to-toc/

Coming back to Traingate. SMRT, the LTA and MoT kept quiet because they like Bishop Berkeley believe that “Perception is reality”. So long as the public did not know that there were cracks in the 26 China-made trains, and that the trains had been returned for repairs, there were no train cracks. There were no cracked trains because If a tree in a forest falls, but no-one sees or hears it fall, has it fallen? Berkeley argues that it has not fallen. It is still standing.

What they still don’t realise that in this age of social media and the internet where many people walk around with smartphone cameras, If a tree in a forest falls, someone will see it or hear it fall. And tell others about the falling tree, after taking a selfie beside the fallen tree.

This being the case, disclosure of problems or cock-ups, not cover-ups or silence should be the best (and default) policy for the authorities and corporations They should assume that news of the cock-up or problem will become public knowledge and that by disclosing, the news agenda can, hopefully, be controlled..

But in one-party states, silence or cover-up are the default options, not disclosure. And this is the weakness of one-party states where people carry smartphone cameras. The one-party state will, in time, be undermined.

Ban smartphone cameras PAP? After all internet access for public servants will soon be restricted in this wired, connected nation.

 

 

Traingate: Only TRE reader sees the big picture

In Infrastructure on 10/07/2016 at 12:19 pm

Everone else is talking cock and singing song. The Oppo parties, anti-PAP cyberwarriors and activists, allied websites and bloggers, and other new media outlets are screaming their heads off over the cracks in PRC-made trains and the failure of SMRT, LTA and the transport ministry (MoT) to tell us about the cracks.

Only a TRE reader asks: Was our Jurong Port’s security compromised?

The report by Hong Kong’s Factwire Agency yesterday on SMRT defective trains certainly created an online furore amongst netizens.

Video footages of the trains being transported in the wee hours of the morning to Jurong Port by now must have been circulated and shared umpteen times on social media.

For most of us, the focus is on the trains that were defective and were transported `covertly’ back to the manufacturer. For those who have completely missed the video (there are a few others), you can click on the link here (credit of icablenews).

Now scroll to 35 second portion of the video.

This is my concern.

A drone was launched and had a bird’s eye view of the trains that were going to be shipped out.

Aerial surveillance by a drone (both daytime and night time) inside our port?

It is also frightening to know that whoever launched the drone over our port knows exactly the spot where the trains were being unloaded. No one actually spotted the drone hovering inside our port?

Our port is supposedly a protected area. Maritime Port Authority (MPA) perhaps can answer this question of whether drones are allowed to hover over our ports.

Now the next question, if indeed the drone was launched `inside’ the port, was our security so laxed that the perpetuator(s) was able to sneak by our the check points without proper security pass and clearance?

Imagine this drone carried explosives and launched by terrorists to crash into our critical facilities within the port.

Food for thought.

JY

*A concern citizen with more than 9 years’s experience working as a risk practitioner.

Shame on TRE* , TO** , the Indian***, TMG, mothership etc.

And shame on the anti-PAP mob who in their hurry to criticise SMRT, LTA and the PAP administration missed this open goal.

New media and anti-PAPpies are guilty of group think, something that they criticise the PAP of. They are just as guilty of gtoup-think.

————————

*OK it did publish the remarks but otherwise its coverage was juz as shirty as the other publications.

**OK Terry’s away and TOC did tell us about the HK report: the other publications were clueless until they read TOC. They didn’t even credit TOC for reporting the news first. Taz new media ethics fot you.

***Politician Ravi needs to  clean up the mess that he inherited ASAP before TISG’s past tarnishes his reputation.

Traingate: Only SGDaily asks the right question

In Infrastructure on 10/07/2016 at 4:42 am

And researched the answer.

Everyone else is talking cock and singing song. The Oppo parties, anti-PAP cyberwarriors and activists, allied websites and bloggers,  and other new media outlets are screaming their heads off over the cracks in PRC-made trains and the failure of SMRT, LTA and the transport ministry (MoT) to tell us about the cracks.

Can the critics answer the following questions:

Has anyone died as a result of the faulty trains?

Has anyone been injured?

And, has SMRT, LTA or the MoT lost money?

So why should the swing voter care?

There’s only one reason why the swing voters and all S’poreans should care about Traingate. But the usual suspects are too clueless to ask the question that will interest the swing voter. The usual suspects all own cars isit? Or they all unemployed isit? So no need to travel during rush hours?

Only SgDaily’s Joel Koh asks: What happens to service reliability and timings?

And better still, he did some research.

He writes: Remember that SMRT announced last year that it would be adding trains to shorten train service intervals. The current move to recall 26 trains removes 11 per cent from the current fleet’s capacity. Should we expect a corresponding decrease in service reliability and a lengthening of service timings?

This means longer waiting times and decreased passenger satisfaction. Perhaps in typical “only hear the good stuff” fashion, LTA has decided to keep mum about this to avoid making a bad situation even worse?

Yet it does get worse. The existing infrastructure may have to bear hidden additional costs because of this recall. With the reduced capacity, existing trains would have to make more trips, ferry more passengers and undergo more wear and tear during this period.

What would be disastrous is if the older trains also start to display similar issues or develop problems as a result of the need to meet this increased load, which could lead to more trains being taken out of service.

Article

Shame on the Oppo parties, anti-PAP cyberwarriors and activists, allied websites and bloggers,  and other new media outlets for not asking this question, resulting in missing an open goal.


To be fair to TeamTRE, after their rant there was this throwaway line which ended the piece

With 26 trains out of service, MRT commuters might want to consider waking up a few hours earlier than usual or bunking in at the office to avoid being late for work as it sure as hell is going to be more crowded than ever.

———————————————————–

Finally, a clarification. He wrote

This piece was inspired by Thoughts of a Cynical Investor. He asks why LTA did not mention how the train recalls will impact MRT train service timings.

Actually my question to SgDaily in an email was more general:

Do SMRT, LTA tell us how train services will be maintained as these trains are repaired.

Got any site, blogger asking?

Don’t see anything on above. LOL

 

 

 

Young Democrats: Be brave, be cheerful

In Uncategorized on 09/07/2016 at 1:12 pm

Further to this where I suggested to them to keep their spirirs up, here’s more to inspire them to continue fighting the good fight.

“At first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win,” Nigel Farage (the non-establishment, non PC, laddish (UK cousin of Ah Beng) face of Brexit) echoing Mahatma Gandhi in a speech last year.

And this video shows him sneering at prople who dislike him. And they can’t contradict him. They can only get angrier at him.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36649237

And

KOD was born when Mr Kijowski shared an article on Facebook by Krzysztof Lozinski, a journalist, calling for a new political movement to fight the government. The enormous response prompted him to form a group, never dreaming that it would move offline and grow into a mass movement.

“I thought we might get 50 to 100 people when we started,” he says. KOD now has around 230,000 Facebook followers, and the number continues to rise. A survey by TNS, a pollster, found that 1.5m Poles, about 5% of the population, have taken part in KOD events, and that 40% approve of its actions.

http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21700424-new-mass-movement-proving-more-effective-official-opposition-facebook

AT THE head of a march of thousands in Warsaw on June 4th, Mateusz Kijowski cut a striking figure. The red jeans, ponytail and earrings of the leader of a new Polish mass movement contrasted with the sober suits of the two former presidents who flanked him. Since December, when he founded it, the Committee for the Defence of Democracy (KOD) has turned the formerly obscure 47-year-old IT specialist into one of the most powerful figures in Polish politics. KOD is now in the vanguard of resistance to Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), filling a void left by a weak and divided political opposition.

KOD has brought large numbers of Poles onto the streets in nationwide demonstrations; exact figures are fiercely disputed. It has drawn international attention, piled pressure on the government and made Mr Kijowski reviled by PiS supporters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duterte will be impeached

In Emerging markets on 09/07/2016 at 4:44 am

Leni Robredo, the Pinoy vice-president, is a member of the Manila elite that Duterte despises and which despises him as it did Estrada.

As the Economist put it a few weeks ago:

His anti-establishment campaign may also hamper him: having run against the political elite, he now must govern with them. In Mr Duterte many see echoes of Mr Estrada, another populist outsider elected on an anti-corruption platform. His presidency lasted just under 18 months: he was impeached for graft, and resigned after the army withdrew its support.

A similar future may lie in store for Mr Duterte.

The article goes on to say

During the campaign some speculated that Mr Aquino’s Liberal Party (LP) machine would throw its support behind Ms Poe once it became clear that Mr Roxas could never win. Instead party grandees are rumoured to prefer impeachment, particularly if the LP candidate, Leni Robredo, wins the vice-presidency, and would become president on Mr Duterte’s departure. As The Economistwent to press she had a narrow lead.

http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21698684-new-strongman-president-may-prevent-philippines-becoming-economic-star-fist

So what will Duterte do when he’s impeached? Just call the impeachers names? Or call out the murder squads?

Whatever, PinoyLand is not a good place to invest in.

Problems at upgraded Panama Canal

In Infrastructure, Logistics, Shipping on 08/07/2016 at 12:58 pm

From NYT Dealbook:

A RISKY BET ON THE PANAMA CANAL The Panama Canal’s new locks will be on display this weekend, when heads of state congregate to see a Chinese container ship become the first commercial vessel to make the passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

But when the celebrations end, the future of the expanded canal will be cloudy at best, its safety, quality of construction and economic viability in doubt, Walt Bogdanich, Jacqueline Williams and Ana Graciela Méndez report in The New York Times.

A new canal needs enough water, durable concrete and locks big enough to safely accommodate larger ships. A Times investigation has found that the Panama Canal fails on all three counts.

The low bid for the project – a billion dollars less than the nearest competitor’s – made it precarious from the outset, according to a confidential analysis commissioned by the insurer for the four-nation consortium that built the new locks. “This is a high-risk situation,”wrote the analysts from Hill International in 2010.

As the project developed, it was mired in infighting, political firestorms and severe concerns about its physical structure.

The canal has made Panama, a country with few natural resources, crucial to global economics. It became a major banking, trading and airline hub, not to mention a transit zone for drug dealing and money laundering.

The consequences will be wide-ranging if the canal does not deliver. American grain and soybean farmers and producers of liquefied natural gas may find it harder to sell to Asian customers. Asian manufacturers may forsake the struggling ports on America’s East Coast, or they, and ultimately consumers, will shoulder the added cost of going the long way round, through the Suez Canal.

The canal’s success may also be undercut by the slowdown in global trade, especially from China.

Read The Times investigation into the problems that struck the $3.1 billion expansion project here.

Tharman the Joker/ Disconnect/ Not Uniquely S’porean

In Economy on 08/07/2016 at 5:36 am

Must be joking

Singapore must respond quickly and take advantage of technologies so as to create better jobs for Singaporeans, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Monday (May 30)*.

Looks like he’s trying to tell jokes again.

So long as there is a flood of cheap FT labour for PMET tasks, why should employers bother? It’s only when labour is expensive that capital-intensive technology and processes are used: A -levels econs.

Worse, FTs can get jobs as drivers and barbers. So what’s this talk of slowing the flood of FTs?

———————–

Tharman is the Joker

Isn’t his comments on govt acting quickly on property prices, bit like his jokes on inflation, wages?

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/will-hougang-make-the-pap-moan-the-inflation-blues-not-joke-abt-it/

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


Disconnect on FT numbers

Like other S’poreans, I feel that the govt’s claims of ever decreasing FT inflows doesn’t chime with reality: there is a disconnect.

I came across this report from CNA that may help to partially bridge the gap:

Another factor that may affect older workers is that their compensation packages may be higher than for younger workers with less experience, which may play a role when companies are trying to cut costs,” he added.

In particular, older Professionals, Managers, Executives, and Technicians (PMETs) have borne the brunt in terms of job losses and re-entry into employment as businesses restructure amid a slowing economy.

“It is a reflection of the economic structuring,” Credit Suisse economist Michael Wan told Channel NewsAsia. “As companies continue to cut headcount amid the economic headwinds, older PMETs continue to be retrenched.”

About 46 per cent of residents made redundant in the fourth quarter of 2015 found jobs by March, down from 50 per cent in the previous quarter – marking the lowest since June 2009.

“Amid softer economic conditions and as the economy restructures, redundancies are expected to rise in sectors affected by weak external demand,” MOM said, adding that it will continue to work closely with tripartite partners to help those laid off find jobs.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/more-older-workers/2867232.html

FT PMET numbers may be down, but when FT PMETs come in, they replace older S’porean PMETs.

Not Uniquely S’porean

But falling productivity is an uniquely S’porean issue . It’s a global problem. Even if there are no FTs, there’d still be a productivity problem.

 

*At the annual Pre-University Seminar, DPM Tharman said in most advanced countries, there is a “real fear” that in 10 to 20 years from now, jobs losses will exceed the number of jobs created, resulting in higher unemployment.

“We can avoid that. First, because we have an advantage of being a small society but with a global market. And secondly, we can avoid that by responding in advance to what is coming – respond quickly to technologies, take advantage of technologies and make sure that we create better jobs for everyone,” he said. 

He added that there is a need to “use technology rather than be used by technology” – and this means using technology “to enhance human abilities in every job and to create satisfying jobs.

And limiting civil servants access to the internet is using technology

 

Training bankers the Chinese way

In Banks, China on 07/07/2016 at 1:26 pm

Chinese Bank Staff Beaten for Poor Performance on Course A motivational trainer in China beat eight rural bank employees with a stick, shaved the heads of the men and cut the hair of the women after they performed poorly on a training weekend.

NYT Dealbook

Facebook: Today S’pore, tom China

In China on 07/07/2016 at 5:19 am

The usual ang moh tua kee suspects are blaming the PAP IB of manipulating Facebook’s algorithms to get anti-PAP stuff taken off Facebook.They could be right in their usual attitudes of blaming the PAP (“PAP is always wrong”)and absolving an ang moh company (“Ang mohs know best”) of blame.

But have they ever tot that Facebook is using S’pore to test software for the China market.

Mark Zuckerberg has made it clear that he’s prepared to kowtow to if they’ll let Facebook in. He says he read president Xi’s writings and has invited China’s chief censor to dinner in his home. He’s even run in Beijing without a face-mask. But all to no avail.

So maybe he’s using Spore to test censorship software? Software that can detect and remove criticism of the PAP here that can be modified to detect and remove criticism of Xi, the CCP and other PRC authorities. Surely such software will allow Facebook into China? The Chinese would want competition for their own internet players, lest they think they are more powerful than the CCP.

Mark Zuckerberg a running dog of Xi and the CCP? Now that would upset the ang moh tua kees here: only PAPies do things for money, not ang moh billionaires from Silicon Valley.

 

S’pore, Asean on risky list

In Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia on 06/07/2016 at 1:54 pm

Indonesia and PinoyLand head the list, HK is a pretty safe place.

CrossBorder Capital said its Emerging Markets Risk Index fell sharply in May and is now at its lowest level since 2012, having peaked in early 2015.

This measure is based on three components: financing risk, which measures the ability of EM entities to roll over their debt; forex risk, driven by the quality of liquidity in a country and how dependent it is on central bank money; and exposure risk, which flashes a warning sign if a high proportion of investment in a country is in risk assets such as equities and corporate debt, rather than lower-risk government bonds and cash.

FT

1MDB: Worth it Goldmans?

In Malaysia on 06/07/2016 at 6:15 am

Top US gun-slinging marshall is shaking down Goldie.

The asset forfeiture and money laundering division unit in the Justice Department is investigating the above deal according to the FT. Goldman could be fined US$1bn or worse, managers involved could get indicted.

The division’s main hallway is lined with framed testimonials to the corporate scalps it has collected over the years, including those of companies such as Enron and Bank Credit and Commerce International.

Btw, Goldmans become a pariah in KL: can’t get mandates. FT reports that a source said it was not invited to pitch on government bond issuances in April, or for recent debt and equity-raising deals for Khazanah

Giving the finger to Amos

In Holidays and Festivals, Humour on 05/07/2016 at 4:09 pm

What BoJo can teach the PAP

In Humour on 05/07/2016 at 5:27 am

Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Johnson says the government was wrong to offer the EU referendum without being willing – if the public voted Leave – to “explain how this can be made to work in the interests of the UK and Europe”. BBC

Hoz this for gratitude and gall? Before the referendum result was known, he (and others) thanked the PM for calling a referendum. After his side won, he is blaming the UK govt for calling a referendum that he wanted.

Either BoJo is a joke-cracking clown like Bozo, or he is just an unprincipled and shameless rascal. Or both.

No wonder the grandees of the Tory party don’t want as leader and PM.

Whatever, he can teach Tharman and other PAP ministers how to tell good jokes.


Tharman is the Joker

Isn’t his comments on govt acting quickly on property prices, bit like his jokes on inflation, wages?

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/will-hougang-make-the-pap-moan-the-inflation-blues-not-joke-abt-it/

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

But there are other wannabe jokers too:

Hng Kiang on inflation

A Lee on inflation

And even PM and DPM Teo try their hand:

CoC needed on ministers telling jokes

Where is Batman when S’pore needs him?

——————————————

 

 

Wnat price shareholder value?

In Corporate governance, Financial competency on 04/07/2016 at 1:36 pm

FT reported that Microsoft had to pay US46bn more than it planned to because of a competing bid.

The high price that Microsoft ended up paying could now lead to deeper cost-cutting at LinkedIn after the deal is completed. Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella warned Jeff Weiner, his counterpart at LinkedIn, during the bidding that “a discussion of cost synergies in the transaction would be necessary” as Microsoft pushed its offer higher.

Well hopefully those who lose their jobs have share options to cushion the loss of their jobs.

Brexit: Lesson for the PAP?/ Eternal truths

In Political economy, Political governance on 04/07/2016 at 7:09 am

Here’s an interesting comment from a FT reader commenting on (What else?) Brexit.  He’s saying that Brexit (and the Eurozone  crisis) should be blamed on cuts to the benefits of what conservatives, the PAP (including Tharman) and the majority of S’poreans (self-included) would call the “undeserving poor”. (They (and me) would be in favour of helping the “deserving poor”.)

The UK is a federation of sorts. On 23 June, it essentially failed. It failed because London had allowed (over a period of ca 30 years) swathes of the country to become impoverished. The transfer union which once existed had been rolled back so much that living standards of the majority of voters had fallen.

London has been rolling back this transfer union because “the elite” has been making the argument that a transfer union makes people lazy. “We must cut benefits (transfers) to encourage people to get on their bikes!” – sounds familiar?

So here’s the problem: … the eurozone will fail if it cannot improve the living standards of its citizens BUT the observation about the dependency transfers induce also holds. The challenge for the eurozone (as much as all our social democracies) is how to square this particular circle?

The Roman emperors got it right. Bread and circuses for the Roman mob, whether deserving or not. Preserving the peace and maintaining power, were more important than rewarding the “deserving” and punishing the “undeserving”. Now that’s an eternal truth.

And here’s another eternal truth: it’s more efficient to help everyone in need whether they deserve it or not http://gladwell.com/million-dollar-murray/.

Trying to differentiate between the “deserving” and ‘undeserving” ends up costing more.

Post said that the man had been sober for several months. But he could relapse at some point and perhaps trash another apartment, and they’d have to figure out what to do with him next. Post had just been on a conference call with some people in New York City who run a similar program, and they talked about whether giving clients so many chances simply encourages them to behave irresponsibly. For some people, it probably does. But what was the alternative? If this young man was put back on the streets, he would cost the system even more money. The current philosophy of welfare holds that government assistance should be temporary and conditional, to avoid creating dependency. But someone who blows .49 on a Breathalyzer and has cirrhosis of the liver at the age of twenty-seven doesn’t respond to incentives and sanctions in the usual way. “The most complicated people to work with are those who have been homeless for so long that going back to the streets just isn’t scary to them,” Post said. “The summer comes along and they say, ‘I don’t need to follow your rules.’ ” Power-law homelessness policy has to do the opposite of normal-distribution social policy. It should create dependency: you want people who have been outside the system to come inside and rebuild their lives under the supervision of those ten caseworkers in the basement of the Y.M.C.A.

That is what is so perplexing about power-law homeless policy. From an economic perspective the approach makes perfect sense. But from a moral perspective it doesn’t seem fair. Thousands of people in the Denver area no doubt live day to day, work two or three jobs, and are eminently deserving of a helping hand—and no one offers them the key to a new apartment. Yet that’s just what the guy screaming obscenities and swigging Dr. Tich gets. When the welfare mom’s time on public assistance runs out, we cut her off. Yet when the homeless man trashes his apartment we give him another. Social benefits are supposed to have some kind of moral justification. We give them to widows and disabled veterans and poor mothers with small children. Giving the homeless guy passed out on the sidewalk an apartment has a different rationale. It’s simply about efficiency.

Funny that the PAP administration’s cost-benefit analysis don’t show this? Not really, because “costs” and “benefits” are in the eye of the beholder i.e. figures can always be fudged. Now that’s another eternal truth.

Meanwhile at a real animal farm

In Political governance, Public Administration on 03/07/2016 at 1:06 pm

Maybe they’ve been taking lessons from the PAP administration?

Perdue Aims to Make Chickens Happier and More Comfortable The poultry producer’s plans to improve conditions for its chickens could force competitors to adopt similar measures.

Seriously, ain’t Pioneer benefits, improving the public tpt syste,m and SingHealth, and building more public housing etc all meant to make life happier and more comfortable for the sheep voters? and it’s all with our own money.

Sounds like our tpt and public housing systems

In Private Equity, Public Administration on 03/07/2016 at 5:36 am

But first

When the population surged by half a million:
Did PAP increase the number of hospital beds? No
Did PAP construct additional housing to cater to the population increase? No.
Did PAP conduct additional maintenance for our MRT? No

(One of TRE’s usual suspects and he has a point: remember PM’s apology of sorts in 2011.)

This brings us to the issues of public tpt and public housing where, inter alia, the NYT Dealbook explains why the profit-motive and doesn’t work, as does cutting costs, increasing prices. (But note that the New York Times is more socialist than Mad Dog Chee. It pretends to be capitalist.)

IN PRIVATE EQUITY’S HANDS, PUBLIC SERVICES AND HOUSING IN DISARRAYSince the 2008 financial crisis, private equity firms have taken over a widening array of civic and financial services that are central to American life, Danielle Ivory, Ben Protess and Kitty Bennett report in DealBook. People interact with private equity when they call emergency services, pay their mortgage, play a round of golf or turn on the kitchen tap for a glass of water.

Unlike other for-profit companies, which often have years of experience in certain services, private equity’s main skill is to make money. And in many of these businesses, it applied a sophisticated moneymaking playbook, cutting costs, increasing prices, litigating and lobbying, a Times investigation has found.

In emergency care and firefighting, this has created a fundamental tension when there is a push to turn a profit while caring for people in their most vulnerable moments. And the effects have been dire. Under private equity ownership, some ambulance response times worsened, heart monitors failed and companies slid into bankruptcy. In at least two cases, lawsuits contend, poor service led to patient deaths.

Cities and towns have struggled to pay for public infrastructure and ambulance services since the financial crisis and private equity stepped in. At the same time, private equity firms have moved in where banks have scaled back their mortgage operations. The shift has happened with relatively little scrutiny, and now private equity firms are repeating the mistakes that banks made during the housing crisis, Matthew Goldstein, Rachel Abrams and Ben Protess report. They are quick to foreclose on homeowners and are losing families’ mortgage paperwork, much as the banks did.

Many of these practices were enabled by the federal government, which sold tens of thousands of discounted mortgages to private equity investors, while making few demands on how they treated struggling homeowners.

The Times examined the largest private equity firms operating in the housing industry to assess their impact on homeowners and renters. Lone Star Funds’ mortgage operation has aggressively pushed thousands of homeowners toward foreclosure. Nationstar Mortgage, which leaped over big banks to become the fourth-largest collector of mortgage bills, repeatedly lost loan files and failed to detect errors in other documents. Its mistakes put borrowers “at significant risk of servicing and foreclosure abuses,” according to regulatory records.

When it invests in real estate, private equity also needs to compete for middle-market renters to serve pension fund investors that have come to expect strong returns. As a result, it tends to focus on suburban communities where relatively few people hold federal subsidy vouchers. “These firms are going into markets which would have recovered anyway,” said Alan Mallach, senior fellow at the Center for Community Progress, a nonprofit that advises communities on dealing with vacant and blighted homes. As a result, many of the working poor are being bypassed.

Read more about The Times investigations into broadening private equity ownership here.

Now this sounds like S’pore:  As a result, many of the working poor are being bypassed.

And I speak as someone who has good experiences using SingHealth, and public tpt (Off-peak of course. But pre-2011 GE, this was painful.)

Another Brexit delusion

In Uncategorized on 02/07/2016 at 1:49 pm

Turning London into the ultimate offshore haven.

Some experts have also raised the possibility that the British government could seek to save the financial sector by making the City more attractive as an offshore haven, Nelson D. Schwartz and Patricia Cohen report in The New York Times. “This could lead to London becoming even more like the Cayman Islands and other British territories, skirting around regulations, in a race to the bottom for the financial sector,” Adam S. Posen, a former member of the rate-setting committee at the Bank of England and now president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, said. “This potentially could leave pretty big holes in the financial safety net.”

NYT Dealbook

Another reason why Briexiters remain complacent

In Uncategorized on 02/07/2016 at 6:43 am

And that they can have it all: single maeket access and immigration controls.

The other net contributors will not want to stump out much more, so the scroungers will see payments cut.

Yum gets greedy

In China, Temasek on 01/07/2016 at 10:41 am

Sale of Yum China Stake Said to Be Delayed Potential bidders held off submitting their bids and missed a deadline after Yum Brands sought to impose new terms on the investments, Bloomberg reports, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Temasek is interested.

Who u blaming P Ravi?

In Political governance on 01/07/2016 at 6:38 am

Put the blame where it should lie.

P (Politician?) Ravi posted the following tirade on Facebook:

FACTS:
1. Cars comes with a 10 year COE.
2. Most drivers have to buy season parking for lots at 2 different carparks (where they live and where they work).
3. Most carparks are sheltered ones. .
4. Season Parking for sheltered carparks from Dec 2016 is $110 – an increase of $20 per month.
MATH:
$20 x 12 months = $240
$240 X 10 years = $2400
$2400 X 2 parking lots = $4,800
$4,800 – THAT IS HOW MUCH MORE YOU’D BE PAYING JUST FOR SEASON PARKING

Based on his previous postings he seems to blame the PAP administration for the $20 incrase in carpark fees.

He should not play politics (He stood in GE2015 as a Chiams’ Party candidate*). Squeezing car owners in the DNA of the PAP and ministers have never made it a secret that they think the “little people” should not own cars. And S’poreans (including hom) lnow this.

He should blame the 70%** who voted for the PAP. And the Wankers’ Party, Mad Dog’s team and other Oppo parties and even himself for not making a better case on why S’poreans should have voted ExitPAP.


*As the editor of the Indian or TISG. as it likes to be known, he shouldn’t be a member of any political party. But has he left the Chiams’ Party? He and Ms Jeannette Chong were once tot to the successors of the Chiams. But sadly the Chiams don’t believe in renewal: only in sucking fresh blood?

**S/o JBJ was right to tell voters after GE 2015 not to complain. But why is he banging his head against a granite wall by remaining in politics? He really should move on. Can some medium channel JBJ’s spitit, to advise him to move on? JBJ’s memory doesn’t deserve to be tarnished by his son’s goofiness and antics.