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Archive for 2017|Yearly archive page

Be “scouts”, not a “soldiers”

In Uncategorized on 23/03/2017 at 12:59 pm

Here the term “scouts” means

soldiers or other persons sent out ahead of a main force so as to gather information about the enemy’s position, strength, or movements.

Men like Kit Carson and Buffalo Bill. Google them if u’ve not heard of these white legends who helped make “America Great” by helping exterminate the Amerindians.

Our education system must teach us to be “scouts” not “soldiers” to make S’pore Great again.

At present it’s the other way round: http://ideas.ted.com/why-you-think-youre-right-even-when-youre-wrong/?

“scout mindset,” the drive not to make one idea win or another lose, but to see what’s there as honestly and accurately as you can even if it’s not pretty, convenient or pleasant. I’ve spent the last few years examining scout mindset and figuring out why some people, at least sometimes, seem able to cut through their own prejudices, biases and motivations and attempt to see the facts and the evidence as objectively as they can. The answer, I’ve found, is emotional.

Just as soldier mindset is rooted in emotional responses, scout mindset is, too — but it’s simply rooted in different emotions. For example, scouts are curious. They’re more likely to say they feel pleasure when they learn new information or solve a puzzle. They’re more likely to feel intrigued when they encounter something that contradicts their expectations.

Scouts also have different values. They’re more likely to say they think it’s virtuous to test their own beliefs, and they’re less likely to say that someone who changes her mind seems weak. And, above all, scouts are grounded, which means their self-worth as a person isn’t tied to how right or wrong they are about any particular topic. For example, they can believe that capital punishment works and if studies come out that show it doesn’t, they can say, “Looks like I might be wrong. Doesn’t mean I’m bad or stupid.” This cluster of traits is what researchers have found — and I’ve found anecdotally — predicts good judgment.

The key takeaway about the traits associated with scout mindset is they have little to do with how smart you are or how much you know. They don’t correlate very closely to IQ at all; they’re about how you feel. I keep coming back to a particular quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince. “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up your men to collect wood and give orders and distribute the work,” he said. “Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

In other words, if we really want to improve our judgment as individuals and as societies, what we need most is not more instruction in logic, rhetoric, probability or economics, even though those things are all valuable. What we most need to use those principles well is scout mindset. We need to change the way we feel — to learn how to feel proud instead of ashamed when we notice we might have been wrong about something, or to learn how to feel intrigued instead of defensive when we encounter some information that contradicts our beliefs. So the question you need to consider is: What do you most yearn for — to defend your own beliefs or to see the world as clearly as you possibly can?

As evidence for this thesis look at all the paper generals we’ve had from one Lee to Kee Chui, Tan and Desmond Kwek thru Teo and Yeo.

 

S’pore: Not “Animal Farm” but “Brave New World”

In Political governance on 23/03/2017 at 5:14 am

The cybernuts from Tan Jee Say and Tan Kin Lian (I’m ashamed that they are RI boys) downwards make allusions or analogies to Animal Farm to tell us how bad life is here under the pigs PAP. But these references show how stupid and ignorant they are, because in Animal Farm, the animals (sans pigs) live miserable, oppressed lives.

But S’poreans live pretty decent lives even if housing is expensive, cars unaffordable for most S’poreans, and the price of water is going up by 30% . Look at all those travelling overseas for hols during the recent school holidays. And all the tech gadgets S’poreans buy: I mean even the TRE cybernuts are not criticising the end of 2G next month (Buffett uses a 2G handset and so did I until Monday). No wonder the Pay and Party administration keeps raising prices. The money is there and the people are not unhappy to be fleeced.

We are more like this

“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.”

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Set in 2540, Brave New World depicts a world where the people are willing slaves to a totalitarian government, kept docile and compliant by drugs, constant entertainment, technology and a surfeit of material goods.

This dystopian novel written in 1931 was in January in Amazon’s top 10 list, where it was below 1984 – George Orwell ( number one) and It Can’t Happen Here – Sinclair Lewis (number eight).

The white Hilary-loving liberals working in the publishers should be thanking Trump, but don’t hold your breath. They’ve always been biting the hand that feeds them: the US corporate state.

 

M’sian defence policy sounds like a bad joke

In China, Malaysia on 22/03/2017 at 9:54 am

Malaysia is buying naval vessels from China in order to better defend its islands in the South China Sea from China?

Malaysia is gunning for a revamp of its ageing naval fleet, as countries in the region prepare to face threats from the influx of Islamic State (IS) militants fleeing Mosul, and from rising tensions in the South China Sea.

Malaysia’s navy aims to replace all 50 vessels in its ageing fleet as the country cut its total defence budget by 12.7 per cent to RM15.1 billion (S$4.76 billion) this year.

That will be led by the procurement of four littoral mission ships (LMS) built in collaboration with China.

“The LMS are designed for many aspects of maritime security such as dealing with cross-border crime, piracy, anti-terrorism, and search and rescue operations,” Malaysian navy chief Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin …

“These ships would be very capable of dealing with the threat posed by [IS] and other maritime security concerns,” …

Defence spending in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to hit US$250 billion (S$349.2 billion) from 2016-20, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly said in December, and Malaysia intends to improve on its capabilities alongside other states in the hotly contested South China Sea even as its defence budget narrows.

Malaysia is expected to formalise the LMS deal with China at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) this week to build four LMS and acquire the technology to build more of the ships at home.

Today

Not afraid that the Chinese will embed malware to cause problems when RMN ships attack Chinese vassals?

M’sia boleh. So trusting.

Time for Super M to make a loud noise.

“We are not paying taxes. We are investing in our society. We are purchasing quality of life,”

In Uncategorized on 21/03/2017 at 4:39 pm

SDP’s Dr Paul, and Chris K would agree with the above sentiment.

Danes, for example, pay very high rates of tax – anything up to 51.5% of their income for a high earner.

But that cash is reinvested in society through a range of social programmes – such as free university education, free healthcare, generous maternity leave and unemployment benefits.

“We are not paying taxes. We are investing in our society. We are purchasing quality of life,” wrote Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, in 2016.

From “Can we be as happy as Scandinavians?” http://www.bbc.com/news/world-39331314

Me? I’m happy with the low tax regime. And if anyone tells me that CPF is a tax, I’ll ask him to pls recompute govt expeniture (remember for every credit, must have debit) to reflect the spending me make from our CPF accounts as govt expenditure on health etc.

Fowl play: Juz tell us what the genetic tests say

In Environment on 21/03/2017 at 4:46 am

Another fowl culling has ruffled feathers. This time it is the killing of free-roaming chickens in the Sungei Api Api area in Pasir Ris.

It comes barely a month after the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) took similar action in Sin Ming estate in Thomson, sparking a heated public debate.

…..

The AVA, however, said it was “highly unlikely” the birds are the red junglefowl, usually found on Pulau Ubin and in the western catchment area near Lim Chu Kang.

ST

 

Why don’t AVA test the fowls killed in Pasir Ris and give us the results. After all, after the first cull

Mr Ng said he had seen photos of the chickens at the Sin Ming area and at least some of them were red junglefowl.

In answer to this, Dr Koh acknowledged that AVA would need to conduct genetic studies to ascertain whether the chickens found in the area were red junglefowl or other breeds.

AVA is continuing to undertake research with academics, wildlife experts, and other public agencies to find the best ways to manage the population of free-ranging chickens and other birds, according to Dr Koh.

Btw, the ang moh director of the film shoot of Sin Ming chooks said of genetic testing:

I would dispute the assertion that they are “chickens, not jungle fowl” – They are exactly the same species (only genetic testing would be able to differentiate wild type fowl from domesticated birds, and even then the difference is debatable).

To end, a FB pal summed up the situation pretty well:

PAP MP, Grassroots leaders, Residents all pissed off by the lack of consultation and transparency in AVA culling operations.

Is AVA trying very hard not hearing the public outcry?

Err where are the Wankering MPs from the Worthless Party? Answer, they are running around like headless chickens over irregular payments. 

A man of principle: Ahmad Mohamed Ibrahim

In Uncategorized on 20/03/2017 at 7:51 am

These LKY remarks reminded me about someone history has forgotten

the Minister of Law who is a lawyer had to fight a tremendous duel with the Attorney-General’s office to formulate this law …  And you know, we have a lot of liberal lawyers in the Attorney General’s Chambers. They would not put up a draft. They literally refused. They wrote long screeds why this was against the best traditions of penology.”

https://article14blog.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/lky-and-the-lawyers-who-would-not-draft-a-law/

The AG of the time (and S’pore’s first) was Ahmad Mohamed Ibrahim He was AG from 9 Aug 1965 – 31 Jan 1967. Before that he was State Advocate-General of the State of Singapore from 25 Jun 1959 – 8 Aug 1965.

He was from RI and a Queen’s scholar (like Mrs Lee, LKY was not one.) In the late 1930s, he received from Cambridge first class honours in economics and law

Because of the row with the government*, he opted for retirement. He moved to Malaya in 1969. In 1972, he became the dean of the law faculty of the University of Malaya. There he established the first law faculty in Malaysia.

===========

*Update at 8.00am: A friend who knew him personally told me that he personally objected to the law (and others) that the govt were passing.

 

What are “the other things”?

In Uncategorized on 19/03/2017 at 7:09 am

Last month, investment associate Terence Nunis posted a video online of an imam at Jamae Mosque who, after a sermon, reportedly recited a prayer in Arabic that said “God grant us victory over Jews and Christians”, among other things.

ST

Due to the vagaries of Facebook’s algos, a friend got on his news feed a post*  containing a thread that had Muslims dissing Terence Nunis. One even sneered that Nunis learnt his Islam from his wife (he’s a convert) who only had 10 years of a Madrasah education.

My friend tot this comment hilarious as the sermon in question wasn’t conducted in a university mosque for those with doctorates in Islamic studies but in a neighbourhood mosque for ordinary Muslims**. And anyway, ten years of learning the Koran in a religious school sounded a pretty good basis for understanding the Koran. But maybe, he tot, the commenter tot only Muslim men are allowed to teach the Koran?

But as he didn’t want his flat to be burnt by mobs of upset Muslims, he kept quiet.

But he couldn’t help quoting the above from ST and asking ever so politely (he didn’t want his flat to be pillaged):

What are “the other things”?

The Muslims vanished from the thread and he was left alone. Talk of vanishing genies.


*The post was by Nunis’ dad who defended his son’s actions. But Muslim cynerwarriors hijacked the discussion thread like the PLO hijacked aircraft in the 1980s.

**ST reported last week in a heritage article that the mosque was named “Tamil milkmen’s mosque” in the vernacular.

 

 

Double confirm, PM has no class

In Uncategorized on 18/03/2017 at 10:01 am

What with the second anniversary of LKY’s next week, below is the condolence letter that our PM sent to the widow of Fong Swee Suan earlier this year. It was a badly written letter.

PM should have not made the negative comments about how things would have been different (and implicitly, worse) if the Barisan Socialis had won: “Singapore’s history would have been utterly different if Mr Lim and Mr Fong had prevailed. Fortunately, they did not, as several of those who took their path recognised later, after the dust had settled.”

The PM should also have used the term “leftists” not “”pro-communists” in describing Fong and Lim Chin Seong etc. (But at least he didn’t call them “communists”.)

The letter then would have shown PM to be gracious, and a gentleman.

Still it’s a lot better than the letter he sent to the sons of JBJ on JBJ’s death (see below also).

The letter was extremely negative. Among other things it said JBJ “sought all means to demolish the PAP and our system of government”.

The letter was best not sent. While no fan of KJ, I can understand the anger he felt about it. He blogged on his anger.

Both letters show that PM has no sense of occasion. Blame his father (Mum was a lady, he was an educated thug)? After all his sister never lost her sense of entitlement (Example).

—————————————————

Dear Mdm Chen,

I am sorry to learn of the passing of your husband, Mr Fong Swee Suan. Mr Fong Swee Suan was a convenor of the People’s Action Party when it was formed in November 1954 and a member of its first Central Executive Committee. He and Mr Lim Chin Siong had joined Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s “Oxley Road” group earlier in the year to discuss the formation of a political party. Almost wholly English-educated, the non-communist group led by Mr Lee found in Mr Lim and Mr Fong a bridge to the Chinese-educated world – “a world teeming with vitality, dynamism and revolution,” as Mr Lee put it in his Battle for Merger talks, “a world in which the Communists had been working for decades with considerable success.”

The two sides, the non-communists and the pro-communists, joined forces to rid Singapore of the British colonialists, knowing full well that the real battle would come after the British left and Singaporeans had to decide who was to govern them.

Mr Fong and his pro-communist colleagues were arrested by the colonial authorities in October 1956 after a series of strikes and riots paralysed the island.

Mr Lee had to act as the detainees’ lawyer, and would visit them at St John’s Island every three or four weeks. I remember regularly taking a police boat together with my parents from the Master Attendant’s Pier at Collyer Quay to St John’s Island. My mother would bring along a pot of chicken curry and freshly baked bread for the detainees. It was a long walk from the jetty on the island to the house where they lived. I knew them by name, having met them when they came to Oxley Road, probably during election campaigns.

For me the trips to St John’s Island were Sunday outings. But for my father there was a serious purpose. My father spent hours trying to persuade the detainees of the folly of the Communist Party of Malaya’s policy. In the end, all the detainees signed a document, The Ends and Means of Socialism, which they themselves had drafted, setting out their support for the non-communist objectives of the PAP.

In 1959, Singapore attained self-government. The PAP won the general election, and formed the government. Mr Lim, Mr Fong and six other detainees were released from prison. Mr Lee and his senior colleagues were hopeful that all but Mr Lim were sincere in their declarations of support. He appointed the detainees as Political Secretaries in various ministries. Mr Fong went to the sensitive Ministry of Labour. In the end only one detainee, Mr Devan Nair, remained true in his pledge.

The inevitable parting of ways came in June 1961, over the question of Merger with Malaya to form the new Federation of Malaysia. The split was precipitated by the decision of the “Big Six” trade union leaders, including Mr Lim and Mr Fong, to oppose the PAP at a by-election in Anson. The pro-communists formed the Barisan Sosialis, with Mr Lim as its Secretary-General, and the Singapore Association of Trade Unions, with Mr Fong as its Secretary-General.

A ferocious battle for hearts and minds ensued. In the Referendum of September 1962, the option for merger recommended by the PAP won 70 per cent of the vote. Later in the general election of September 1963, the PAP was re-elected to office with 37 out of 51 seats, with the Barisan winning 13.

It is difficult for Singaporeans who did not live through the events to appreciate the passion of those times. This was a serious battle of ideas between two groups of people with diametrically opposed visions of our society. Singapore’s history would have been utterly different if Mr Lim and Mr Fong had prevailed. Fortunately, they did not, as several of those who took their path recognised later, after the dust had settled.

But it is important to realise that this was not a battle between good men and women on one side, and crooks and charlatans on the other. There were dedicated, disciplined, deeply courageous people on both sides. Indeed, Mr Lee and his colleagues liked and respected their opponents, admiring them for their simple lifestyles, selflessness and commitment. Mr Lee recalled in his obituary note on Mr Lim Chin Siong in February 1996 that his differences with Mr Lim were ideological and deep, but never personal. He would have said the same of Mr Fong.

Mr Fong and Mr Lee met for the last time in September 2009, in the chamber of the old Parliament House, where the PAP and Barisan Sosialis had crossed swords in those tumultuous years half a century earlier. The occasion was the book launch of “Men in White”, a history of the PAP. They shook hands warmly, and stood next to each other for a photograph.

As Mr Lee wrote, it was precisely because the PAP had such opponents, that he and his colleagues learnt “the meaning of dedication to a cause”:

“They were prepared to sacrifice everything for their cause, and many did. Some lost their lives in the jungle, many were banished to China. Because of the standards of dedication they set, we, the English-educated PAP leaders, had to set high standards of personal integrity and spartan lifestyles to withstand their political attacks. They were ruthless and thorough. We became as dedicated as they were in pursuing our political objectives.”

Please accept my sincere condolences.

Yours sincerely

Lee Hsien Loong

And

30 September 2008

Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam
Mr Philip Jeyaretnam

Dear Kenneth and Philip Jeyaretnam

I was sad to learn that your father, Mr Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam, has passed away. Mr JB Jeyaretnam was a Member of Parliament for Anson constituency from 1981 till 1986, and a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament from 1997 till 2001. He used to engage in heated debates in the House. Perhaps it was because he and the PAP never saw eye to eye on any major political issue and he sought by all means to demolish the PAP and our system of government. Unfortunately, this helped neither to build up a constructive opposition nor our Parliamentary tradition. Nevertheless, one had to respect Mr JB Jeyaretnam’s dogged tenacity to be active in politics at his age.

However, our differences were not personal. In 1993, one of you (Kenneth) wrote to Mr Goh Chok Tong, who was then Prime Minister, to say that you found employers in Singapore reluctant to offer you a job, and your only explanation was that the employers felt the authorities would not welcome your employment because of your name. Mr Goh replied with a letter which could be shown to prospective employers, to say that the government did not hold anything against you, and that employers should evaluate you fairly on your own merits, like any other candidate, because Singapore needed every talented person that it could find. Mr Goh had previously made the same point to your brother Philip, whom he had invited to lunch. I am therefore happy that both of you have established yourselves in Singapore.

Please accept my deepest condolences.

Yours sincerely
Lee Hsien Loong

 

HSBC makes history

In Banks, Corporate governance on 18/03/2017 at 7:26 am
An outsider is appointed chairman for the first time ever.

We shareholders hope he will bring the fresh ideas needed to solve the bank’s problems. The share price has done no where in the tenure of CEO that’s going to leave next year. Though to be fair, dividend yield of around 6% is not to be sneered at.

From NYT Dealbook

HSBC Looks to an Outsider

HSBC may be based in London, but it generates much of its profit in Asia.
And so, in a nod to that, it has named Mark Tucker, the chief executive of the Asian life insurer AIA Group, as its next chairman.
Mr. Tucker will replace Douglas Flint, who has been chairman since 2010, in October.
Although Mr. Tucker has spent much of his career in the insurance industry, he was group finance director for a year at HBOS, a British bank that nearly collapsed during the financial crisis and is now part of Lloyds Banking Group.
He has also been a director at Goldman Sachs since 2012, a position he will leave when he joins HSBC.
Mr. Tucker’s first task will be to find a replacement for Stuart Gulliver, who has said he will quit as chief executive next year.
But there are other challenges: The bank has missed a string of financial targets and is in the midst of a restructuring.

What has this to do with the price of eggs?

In Economy on 17/03/2017 at 7:13 am

NUS tops Asia university ranking for second year running

CNA

Given

Jobless graduates hightset since 2004

TNP

And

Irony of irony: “NUS rated tops in world rankings” scream the headlines. But NUS graduates are glorified in the MSM as carving a career driving Uber and Crab car! Well done. Meanwhile employers, including GLCs, are merrily recruiting Pinoys, PRC and Indians from dodgy 3rd rate Universities. Why? Because it’s so EASY!

FB comment

And FT PMETs keep coming in (Only rate of growth is slowing: from cattle truck loads to A380 load) . And plenty of unemployed, underemployed S’poreans looking for jobs.

No automatic alt text available.

Repented that u helped PAP get 70% of the popular vote?

 

Will Harry’s daughter throw a tantrum this year?

In Uncategorized on 16/03/2017 at 10:48 am

Last year around this time, the princess of Oxley Risethrew a tantrum over ST’s refusal to publish a piece written by a ST reporter channeling her tots*. The piece was on her tots on how Harry was being commemorated on the first anniversary of his death.

Well with the second anniversary of his death fast approaching, I’m sure she’d find an excuse to throw another tantrum to show her grief for her dad (and mum). Better I tot if the estate of her parents, or the state paid for a few professional wailers from Taiwan or HK. I’ve been told there are no more professional wailers here, so we need some FTs where the “T” stands for “Talent”.

Well some stamps were issued recently. The Defence Minister said:

 “I’m sure the stamps will be well received – they feature founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew, as well as the late former Minister for Defence Dr Goh Keng Swee, both key figures in the introduction of National Service.”

Whatever, this is the first time LKY has appeared on a stamp. It’s also a first for Dr Goh.

But I’m sure the princess will be throwing a tantrum. She should get some professional wailers from Taiwan or HK to express her very genuine grief. I mean her parents (especially Harry) deserve to be better remembered than through her tantrums.


*We learnt she would say a few words and a ST staffer did the rest. 

Water price hike included meh?

In Economy on 15/03/2017 at 5:10 pm

INFLATION FORECAST AT 1% FOR 2017

Inflation for the year is expected to come in at 1 per cent, unchanged from the analysts’ forecast in the previous survey. For the first quarter of this year, inflation is expected to be 0.8 per cent.

Core inflation – which excludes accommodation and car prices – is expected to be 1.5 per cent for the whole year, slightly above the 1.3 per cent predicted in the previous survey. It is also predicted to come in at 1.3 per cent for the first quarter.

For 2018, headline inflation is expected to be 1.3 per cent while MAS core inflation is forecast at 1.7 per cent.

CNA

So economists don’t think that that the hike will cause inflation, something the cybernuts are screaming their heads out over.

Maybe the economists are relying on the assurance of a junior minister that

the cost of goods, such as coffee and tea, “should not and ought not go up” when participants addressed the trickle-down effect that the water price increase.

TOC

But then we had the assurance of a cabinet minister that water was priced correctly in 2015, juz before the elections.

 

Intimidated by police for attending rally?

In Public Administration on 15/03/2017 at 5:26 am

I reference: A police statement was quoted by Channel NewsAsia as claiming that the article “was clearly an attempt to stoke fears about the use of the Speakers’ Corner and sow distrust of the police.”

Tan Tee Seng, a real-life friend, and a social activist shared on Facebook

https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2017/03/13/singapore-police-regrettable-that-reuters-decided-to-carry-unsubstantiated-allegations-from-organisers-of-water-price-hike-protest/

and his experiences after attending a rally at Hong Lim Green.

Police has poor memory. I cannot help but to obliged with the details of what they forgot…

The scene: Hong Lim Park after the Yellow Sit-in on 12 November 2016.
I had already left Hong Lim Park after Yellow Sit-In: Singapore in solidarity with Malaysia. Four police officers showed up at my home and questioned [me] for about 20 minutes. They had apparently identified me from a photo taken at the event. Identifying me, looking up my address and sending four police officers to question me in corridor of my flat and in front of my family for attending a small, peaceful gathering in what is meant to be a free speech park – it was not a regular friendly visit. Was it intimidation? You judge. I did not attend the protest last Saturday, although I want very much my unhappiness of water bill hike announced in the parliament recently. The police investigation is still ongoing as I had not received any closure on the matter – a policy of leaving you hanging or hang you?

I pulled the record from my FB post on 14 November of the incident:
Police officer: Are you aware that holding in public Malaysian flag is an offence?
Me: No (looking incredulous)
Police officer: Under National Emblems Act Chapter 196, shall I read it to you.
Me: no need, i trust Google more
After a while,
Me: Looks like a stupid law to me. Got to change it.
Police officer: we are just investigating accordingly.
Me: I was hoping MPs and Ministers got the chance to read police reports and the statement. Anyway why are athletes allow to display the country flags and run round the stadium when they win?
Police officer: Those are sanctioned events.
Me: You mean events at Hong Lim park is not sanction by the law?
Police officer: we are just investigating
Me: Law must have basis, right? To disallow the display of state flags maybe is to prevent abusing the symbol of the country. We were very respectful of the flags, I was holding it gingerly.
(Finally, the statement go something like this. Not aware of the offence but treated the flags respectfully)

What do you think? Was what happened to Tan Tee Seng meant to “attempt to stoke fears about the use of the Speakers’ Corner”? If so, typical of an ang moh publication to use thr wrong example. LOL

 

Proof that LKY was right to despise media freedom

In Media on 14/03/2017 at 2:38 pm

Sometime back the UK PM made a major speech on Brexit. How the UK papers covered it shows the views of the papers in Brexit:

A brief glance at this week’s headlines gives ample evidence of what psychologists call confirmation bias – the tendency to interpret events in a way that accords with pre-existing prejudices.

Wednesday’s front pages alone provide ample evidence of the way the same events are interpreted in wildly different ways by different newspapers – always and without fail in accordance with their prejudices.

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-38666066

And how readers are manipulated:

The Telegraph and the Guardian use similar pictures but by using a much tighter crop, a blue background and a positive headline, the Telegraph seem to endorse the prime minister; whereas the Guardian seem to issue scepticism about her chances of success. Interestingly, the Financial Times, which like the Guardian backed Remain, also uses exactly the same picture, albeit with a different crop. Their headline, being longer than most of the others, equivocates.

 

Police’s feelings very easily bruised LOL

In Public Administration on 14/03/2017 at 4:29 am

What a bunch of wiltering flowers. No wonder kanna whacked by FTs in Little India a few yrs ago. Shortly after a scathing commission of enquiry (headed by a retired judge) report, the Police Commissioner (a scholar) retired.

Police were upset over a Reuters report that said, “The organizers of Saturday’s protest said more people would have turned up if they had not feared a police crackdown.” (My take on that protest.)

A police statement was quoted by Channel NewsAsia as claiming that the article “was clearly an attempt to stoke fears about the use of the Speakers’ Corner and sow distrust of the police.”

I don’t often agree with ang moh tua kee Kirsten Han but she is absolutely correct to say (on FB) that

If a couple of short paragraphs in a news article can damage public trust in the police force then we have much bigger problems than a Reuters report.

She also attached this report: https://sg.news.yahoo.com/singapore-says-reuters-report-water-price-protest-misleading-201625008–business.html

My Facebook avatar’s take of the police sensitivity was:

Juz feeling sensitive after this in this week’s E http://www.economist.com/…/21718571-three-protesters…? Will be calling E’s office later today to report that I did not receive it last Friday. lol

I’ll leave the last word to Melvin Chong who pointedly pointed out

There is no need for anyone to sow distrust of the police when they are fully capable of doing it on their own.

 LOL. Sad

The real size of the water protest rally/ Where are the cybernuts?

In Uncategorized on 13/03/2017 at 2:24 pm

More than 100 people gathered in Singapore’s Speakers’ Corner on Saturday for a rare protest against a government plan to hike water prices that has stirred discontent over sluggish economic growth and rising unemployment in the city-state.

Reuters

I hope Dr Paul, one of the speakers at the rally, and a numbers man is not disappointed at the size of the crowd.

Relative to our population, the crowd size is more than 12,000.

(The reasoning for this)

Still too bad that none of the KPKBing cybernuts screaming and ranting at the price hike didn’t bother to turn up. They could have made a difference. Gibert Goh’s first two immigration protests each drew a crowd of 5000. This worked out to be about 58,000 S’poreans at each protest. That got the PAP administration to wake up its ideas a little.

AI are us

In Uncategorized on 12/03/2017 at 5:00 pm

Dr Yasseri says he has discovered bots behave differently in different environments. He reckons, for instance, that an AI that makes a driverless car work on a German autobahn could struggle on Italian roads where the cars are driven by Italian bots with rather different cultural norms.

BBC report

Tragedy shows up the BS that S’pore moving beyond grades

In Uncategorized on 12/03/2017 at 4:55 am

This tragedy reported on Friday:

The death of an 11-year-old boy, who fell 17 floors from his bedroom window on the day he was to show his parents his mid-year examination results, was found to be “a deliberate act of suicide” on Friday (Oct 21).

In his findings, State Coroner Marvin Bay urged parents and educators to remind children that “their efforts in study may not always yield a commensurate result, and also that such failures are transient or temporary events”.

He added: “Parents and educators should also constantly reassure them that they will always be there to help the child through each stumble, winding turn and setback in their education journey.”

ST

shows up the BS by Dr Lim Lai Cheng*

that

Government policies are moving away from parents and students’ unhealthy obsession with grades and entry to top schools and want to put more emphasis on the importance of values.

Schools have been encouraged, especially for the early elementary years, to scrap standardised examinations and focus on the development of the whole child.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-39142030

 


*She is executive director of SMU Academy, Singapore Management University, former head of the Raffles Institution in Singapore and consultant on the board of Winter’s International School Finder.

Assistance what assistance?

In Uncategorized on 11/03/2017 at 2:56 pm

Lawyers will soon get support from the Government to adopt technology in their law practices, under a new $2.8m scheme launched on Monday (Feb27).

The Tech Start for Law programme will fund up to 70 per cent of the first-year’s cost for technology products in practice management, online research and online marketing for Singapore law firms.

It was jointly announced by the Ministry of Law, the Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc) and Spring Singapore.

ST

LawSoc president Gregory Vijayendran said a recent study commissioned by LawSoc found that only 9% of the small- and medium-sized firms here used technology-enabled productivity tools. He said that cost was key reason for the low adoption rate. (lawyers prefer spending their money on Ferarris isit?

The programme targets the 850 smaller law firms here.

The five technology products identified under the scheme include practice management systems CoreMatter, Lexis Affinity and Clio; online legal research tool Intelllex; and online marketing tool Asia Law Network. These products typically cost firms between $3,000 and $30,000 to adopt.

$2.8 mil to help targeted 850 smaller law firms: so average of $3,294 per law firm. Even if only 774 firms (9% of small firms have spent on IT, see above), each firm gets $3,618. Each can only only one low end product.

Call that help? What a load of BS.

Might as well don’t bother.

But to be fair, lawyers are bad at maths. Juz ask the three lawyer MPs on AHTC who could be on the hook for damages, together with other TC members.

PAPpy upset he kanna called a 30%er

In CPF, Humour, Uncategorized on 10/03/2017 at 5:38 pm
Someone sent me this FB thread from CPF page. Hedeleted his details and that of third parties but left that of PAPpy running dog. PAPpy dog kanna trolled and went bananas. PAppy guy is in SAF it seems
XXX Hey 37% is not “small”. It’s more than a third of salary.

 
RayWing Ng

RayWing Ng 17% is not exactly your salary. It’s your employer’s contribution to your CPF.

And yes, it is a lot of savings to help you in your retirement.

 XXX Employers take account of employers’ contribution when offering pay packages. Total package.

RayWing Ng
RayWing Ng See if your foreigner colleague working the same job is drawing 17% higher than you.

 

 XXX What has that to do with the price of eggs?

RayWing Ng

RayWing Ng XXX

Try to stay relevant.

XXX U are the one that strayed off topic. I ask what relevance has yr foreigner comment has? And u tell me to stay relevant. Please leh. I don’t know where u worked or are working but I worked in an MNC (stopped working yrs ago) where the employer took account of what he paid out to me versus what I brought in as revenue when it came to pay package. Same as my FT counterparts.

 XXX And when I worked overseas, excluding housing allowances etc, my overseas salary reflected my total pay package here.

RayWing Ng
RayWing Ng
RayWing Ng And in any case, that savings goes nowhere else; it goes to yourself. So there’s no reason to whine.

YE Shun FU
YYYY 69.9% don’t know how to manage their cpf the rest suffer.

RayWing Ng
Subramaniam K Airblack
ZZZZZ Take watever they gve n enjoy life we donno can we wake tmmro moning
XXX RayWing Ng So why govt includes Employers’ CPF pay rise as part of rise in real wages in its economic data if not part of salaries? Wages not salaries isit? Just to point out a fact isn’t whining.

 

RayWing Ng
Mohd Rizal Jalil
XXX Pls go read what I said, not u think I said. But I guess u price taker like retrenched PMETs and rental flat dwellers: real 30% people, not 70% like me. Get yr maths right. And Google Department of Stats + real wages + CPF increase. LOL

[facebook

XXX RayWing Ng BTW, if u price taker (got to take waz offered), then u belong among the 30%. PLs don’t associate yrself with us. Discrace us 70%ers only. LOL.

RayWing Ng
Mohd Rizal Jalil
RayWing Ng

RayWing Ng

And the rest of my comments about your comment being a whine still stands.

 

 XXX I stand by my comments. Btw, maths skills enabled me to stop work at 50. Maybe u should join the price takers, the 30% losers of retrenched PMETs and HDB rent dwellers. U’ll be happier than with us 70%ers. LOL.

 XXX RE The website specifically says, “including employer contribution”. Once upon a time it gave two numbers, one without employers’ CPF and one without. As I said yr natural nome is with the 30% losers. Don’t associate with us 70%ers.

RayWing Ng
 XXX Don’t be like RayWing Ng a 30% loser readers. He started off by insulting me when I said “37% is not “small”. I made a general comment not on my salary. It’s more than a third of salary”. So he misrepresents from the very beginning. Then when I retaliated he cried foul: real 30%. He’s no 70%er.

 XXX Ray U’ll get F 9 when I report u to your controllers. Ever heard of MAS mystery buyer? I’m Mystery Buyer for the PAP IB. Don’t believe me, wait and see. LOL. Btw, how come u so free? I’m sixty. And retired. And I’ve not even bothered to withdraw from my CPF my surpluses. Because when I was yr age, I was trying and managing to earn serious money. At yr age U still price taker, not a 70%er Anyway, as u are a failed troll. U’ll hear no more from me. Your bosses will be in touch. HeheheHe.

 

RayWing Ng
Write a reply…

Got to Pay and Pay for personal safety

In Uncategorized on 10/03/2017 at 12:04 pm

It’s seldom that I get to know a anti-PAP cybernut in the flesh. But there are exceptions.

Recently I read a headline in ST:

Woman shot 6 times while driving in Penang: 5 other deadly incidents in Malaysia.


12.20 pm: I juz read that yesterday, two men tried to swim from  Johor,  and earlier a number of monkeys ran across the Causeway into Johor.

Only monkeys don’t want to live here.

————————————————————————————————-

It reminded me know a real cybernut who only feels safe here.

Three years ago, he told me he was moving to Malaya. Since then he sounded uncomfortable whenever I asked him when he was moving. In December, I met his wife and she told me that they didn;t move because he didn’t feel safe in Malaya. So he decided to stay here.

Btw, she was laughing at him getting all worked up and ranting about the PAP on social media. She said why get worked up but not bother to try to do anything?

He has complained before that she votes for the PAP.

Well with a hubbie like that, God be praised. He’s so bad that when she came into some money recently and I told my mum the fact, my mum said “Hope she keeps the money from him.He’ll squander it.”

She is.

 

The Real Masters of the Universe

In Banks, Uncategorized on 09/03/2017 at 4:47 pm

Money talks, BS walks: where the real money is made in banking.

In 2016, banks made $209bn from transaction banking, compared with the $172bn made by their trading arms, according to the data, which cover global, regional and local banks. This is almost three times the $77bn that banks made from advising clients on M&A and helping them raise finance. Transaction services also eclipsed lending revenues for every year since 2011.

FT

It was and still is very labour intensive. Fintech will change this. Too bad for the bank staff especially in a hub like S’pore.

 

What the cybenuts don’t tell us about thre F-35/ What about F-22?

In Uncategorized on 09/03/2017 at 5:40 am

This piece https://www.quora.com/What-would-happen-if-the-F-22-were-to-go-up-against-the-F-15 ( Answer: Like killing baby seals) reminded me that a few months ago the cybernuts were KPKBing about S’pore’s “decision” to buy the F-35.

The cybernuts bitched about this plane that S’pore is supposedly interested in buying. They KPKB about the price of close to US$100m a plane, cost over-runs and teething problems. Their day was made recently when president-elect Donald Trump tweeted “The F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th,” causing shares of its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, to fall.

What they don’t tell us is that the Israelis think it’s a game-changer:

That Trumpian indignation was not shared by Israeli dignitaries at Nevatim. For many days Israeli media and the government alike have been stoking excitement at the imminent arrival of the F-35, known in Israel as the Adir, or “mighty one”. Newspapers have suggested that its range and stealthy design make it a potent weapon should Israel feel the need to strike Iran, for instance in a pre-emptive strike against a nuclear weapons programme. The Jerusalem Post put the arrival of the fighters on its front page, and quoted the commander of the squadron, identified only as Lieutenant Colonel Yotam, saying that the planes were bought “in order to attack places that we are not always able to attack.” The Post added that Israeli Air Force (IAF) pilots had volunteered in interviews in recent weeks that those places include Iran, and noted that the low radar signature of the plane should allow it to evade sophisticated Russian made surface-to-air missile batteries in such countries as Syria and Iran. Some in Israel note that it might rather suit America to learn how the plane copes with Russian missile systems deployed in Syria.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2016/12/mighty-one

As I’ve always said, the PAP is really lucky in people who hate it.

Seriously, what really puzzles me is why don’t we buy the F-22 given that it’s miles ahead of anything the neignbours have or will have: don’t see US selling F-35s to our neighbours. And they’ll be cheaper as the F-35s replace the F-22s in the US armoury.

Minister “keeping a close eye” or “closed eye”?

In Uncategorized on 08/03/2017 at 11:06 am

If Uncle Leong is right there were at least price increases for 10 things in the last nine months or so*.

And taking a dig at Lim Hng Kiang who said “the Government will keep a close eye on business costs to ensure they do not rise excessively”, Uncle Leong asked

“Keeping a close eye” or “closed eye”?

Uncle Leong trying to audition for the PAP comedy stand-up club where Hng Kiang and Tharman are founder members?

Whatever, my take is that the PAP is trying to regain the “Pay And Pay” tag that it tried to shake between 2011 and 2015.

Still want to give them 70% mandate? Keep it at 60% or lower. And it’s easy to do this. All those that voted for Oppo in 2011, but voted for the PAP in 2o15 ingratitude for the goodies that the PAP gave S’poreans using S’poreans’ money should vote for the Oppo again in 2019. Even if that means voting for Goh Meng Seng and TJS.  

———————————————-

*

Here are some recent articles and analysis of these “price increase” issues:

Water – “PUB: $1.1b profits last 7 years – how much last 53 years? (Feb 24, 2017)

Service & Conservancy Charges – “S & CC: A truly caring Govt?” (Feb 17, 2017)

Gas – “City Gas prices to rise by 4.5 per cent from Feb 1” (Jan 31, 2017)

Electricity – “Electricity: One of the highest in the world? (Jan 1, 2017)

Childcare fees – “Fee hikes at 200 childcare centres this year” (Jan 1, 2017)

Parking – “HDB car park rates increase 60%? (Dec 16, 2016)

Rubbish fees – “Rubbish fees up: NEA surplus up 32.9%? (Nov 8, 2016)

University hostel fees – “University hostel fees up 6.8% p.a. despite $1b surplus?” (Jun 28, 2016)

Taxis licensing – “Taxi drivers hit by triple whammy?” (Jun 24, 2016)

Hawkers’ misc fees – “Hawkers’ misc fees increased by ? %? (Jun 22, 2016)

 

Muslims don’t kill Muslims in SE Asia?

In Uncategorized on 08/03/2017 at 6:22 am

The above crossed my mind when I read:

Recent Islamist terrorist attacks in Southeast Asia have been less deadly than in Europe and high-profile strikes against urban targets have become rare,

FT

 

Comfort doesn’t know how to cut costs

In Uncategorized on 07/03/2017 at 10:28 am

Dr Ho calculates that if the firm changed the colour of its entire fleet to yellow, it would, over the course of a year, have to deal with 917 fewer accidents and would save around S$2m ($1.4m).

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21718319-avoid-accidents-flag-down-bananamobile-yellow-cabs-are-less-likely-crash

Yellow cabs are less likely to crash than blue ones, says an NUS study.

Let’s give this PAPpy academic the Hitler salute

In Uncategorized on 06/03/2017 at 6:21 am

No not because Ng Yew-Kwang, Winsemius Professor in Economics, Nanyang Technological University defends the water price hike of 30%, and implies that it should be a lot more.

We should give him the Nazi salute and shout “Heil Hitler” because like Hitler he equates compassion towards animals with compassion to human beings.

The reported parts of my interviews may give the misleading idea that I do not care for the low-income groups. I am certainly not unfeeling. I feel even for animals, not to mention fellow human beings, especially the lower income groups. As a student, I was a left-wing activist.

Over the last 12 months alone, I donated S$50,000 to animal welfare causes, despite being not tax-deductible in Singapore; receipts available upon request. For more evidence of my concern for animals, please read my following articles* (links provided below) on animal welfare.

Well Hitler loved animals, so much so that he was a vegetarian. His deputy and designated successor, Hermann Goring, was an environmentalist and conservationist, and passed anti-vivisection laws.

—————————————————–

Lab animals giving the Nazi salute to Hermann Göring for his order to ban vivisection. Caricature from Kladderadatsch, a satirical journal, September 1933. Göring prohibited vivisection and said that those who “still think they can continue to treat animals as inanimate property” would be sent to concentration camps.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_welfare_in_Nazi_Germany

——————————

Now this love of animals didn’t prevent the Nazis from sending six million people to the gas chambers did it?

Am I being a bit unfair to said professor? He later did say

I mentioned that ‘I donated S$50,000 to animal welfare causes’ over the last 12 months alone, in response to the accusation of being ‘unfeeling’. But then I received a message accusing me of ‘care more for animal welfare than the welfare of your fellow [human]beings’. Though I did not mention it, actually I donated much more to human causes; just in last October, I (together with my wife) donated $100,000 to the Chinese Heritage Centre alone (again receipt available upon request; I emailed it to the accuser). I could be accused of human-biased (or homocentric to some extent), not of caring less for humans.

I didn’t know that the Chinese Heritage Centre helped “the lower income groups”. Did you?

Sieg Hail to the professor. Hitler and Goering would be proud to have him on their team. They too, like him, loved heritage.

Rich kids ALWAYs get into better schools

In Uncategorized on 06/03/2017 at 5:25 am

In England, state secondary schools cannot select their pupils on the basis of academic prowess (and no such thing as PSLE even though our PSLE is based on an ancient English exam, “eleven plus” to separate the clever kids from the not so clever) and must follow strict rules to ensure fair access to school places.

Yet

On the day that families in England and Wales are allocated secondary school places, research shows that the richest children dominate top state schools.

Analysis of data shows 43% of pupils at England’s outstanding secondaries are from the wealthiest 20% of families.

The study from education charity Teach First also shows poorer pupils are half as likely as the richest to be heading to an outstanding secondary school.

http://www.bbc.com/news/education-39076204

So want to give your kids an edge? Make money, serious money or inherit it.

LOL.

 

Watergate: PUB got consumption figures all wrong?

In Environment on 05/03/2017 at 5:48 am

Maybe it’s not all politics when contrasting the 30% hike with what VivianB said in 2015 about water being priced correctly: there was no need to change the price because PUB has improvements in membrane tech and productivity and that the water tariff and WCT reflected the scarcity of water.

I just remembered that for several years our water bill halved and then dropped to almost zero. We didn’t notice at first because we pay via giro. What we did notice was that the metre man coming more regularly. So we started looking at the bills. And found that we were really conserving water although we couldn’t think where we reduced our usage.

One day in 2015 (I think), the metre man took a photo of our metre and told my mum that technically that we had consumed no water since his last visit several months previously. He asked if we had moved out and then returned. We hadn’t.

Shortly thereafter we got a new metre. And our bills doubled or tripled.

Now if it happened to one metre, it could have happened to tens of thousands. My mum tells me she didn’t think PUB ever replaced the metre since we moved in in the early 60s.

Look at this chart that shows water usage showed a rise in per capita terms in 2015 after declining for many a year.

https://data.gov.sg/dataset/water-demand-domestic-water-consumption-per-capita

Now what if part of the decline prior to 2014 had been caused not by falling consumption per capita but by metres failing to record the “right” amounts of water consumed, and the jump in consumption post 2014 was due to new metres working properly?

Remember that problems the public transport system is facing because the SMRT tracks were not properly maintained? Could bad metre replacement maintenance have caused the PUB to get our water consumption figures wrong?

 

Eat yr heart out PAP ministers and MPs

In China on 04/03/2017 at 2:58 pm

The really rich

Chinese Lawmakers’ Wallets Give Sweden’s G.D.P. a Run for Its Money

The combined fortune of the wealthiest members of China’s Parliament, or the National People’s Congress, and its advisory body amounts to $500 billion.

NYT Dealbook

 

 

Watergate: All about fleecing the sheep

In Political governance, Public Administration on 04/03/2017 at 4:48 am

Because even efficient users of water face 30% increase.


If God did not want them sheared, He would not have made them sheep.

PAP Bandit leader talking about why his gang takes advantage of peasants  (From The Magnificent 7). A bit like natural aristocrats having serfs to serve them.

———————————————————–

“The consumer must feel the price of water, realise how valuable water is in Singapore, every time he or she turns on the tap, right from the first drop,” says water minister Masagos Zulkifli.

So taz why even thrifty users of water kanna whacked. They too are sheep to be sheared in the eyes of Masagos Zulkifli.

Let me explain.

Someone showed me his water bill. His household’s water consumption is only 44% of the national average (water bill says so). But the household too will be hit by the 30% increase, and will get no rebate cause they live in a terrace house. Admittedly it’s “peanuts” ($9 a month), and their life-styles will not be crimped. Juz means no subscription i.e. donation ($36 a year) to Terry’s Online Channel and donation to SPCA ($120 a year), he laughed.

But still getting a household that uses water so efficiently (44% of national average) to pay so much more in absolute terms is ridiculous because the householders don’t waste water and one major justification of the 30% hike is to make users of water realise how much they are wasting.

Why whack efficient users of water in that case also?

Why must they “feel the price of water, realise how valuable water is in Singapore, every time he or she turns on the tap, right from the first drop.”

So that ministeras can be paid a million dollars each isit?

If God did not want them sheared, He would not have made them sheep.

is what Masagos Zulkifli should have said.

 

 

Hilary’s newspaper trying hard to talk market down

In Financial competency on 03/03/2017 at 2:08 pm

And failing.

Sad ))

From NYT’s Dealbook

the stock market surged to another high, helped by expectations of tax cuts, looser regulations and higher interest rates under the Trump administration. The optimism on Wall Street has also been helped by sunnier economic data.
But there are some things to keep in mind about the rally and the so-called Trump bump, Neil Irwin notes. The economy is closing in on its full productive capacity. And if the government tries to increase deficits at a time of full employment, it could lead to higher inflation and higher interest rates, crowding out investment.
The signs point to the increasing likelihood of higher interest rates.
William C. Dudley, the president of the New York Fed, said in a CNN interview that it would be fair to assume that the central bank would raise interest rates sooner rather than later because the economy was improving. The Wall Street Journal reported that Lael Brainard, a Fed governor, had said in a speech at Harvard University that, “We are closing in on full employment, inflation is moving gradually toward our target, foreign growth is on more solid footing and risks to the outlook are as close to balanced as they have been in some time.”

Otters, Watergate: What’s worth of ministers’ parly statements?

In Political governance, Environment, Public Administration on 03/03/2017 at 5:12 am

I recently wrote that I was afraid for our Bishan otters because

a population of five in mid 2015, has expanded to 14 in about two years. By the end of 2018, there’ll be 10 sexually mature otters. They won’t be stopping at two for sure.

And

what happened at Sing Ming can happen to the Bishan otters because based on what happened to wild pigs and the fowl, the default mode at AVA to any animal problem is “Cull first, ask questions and BS later”.

So it was really nice that on Tuesday, a junior minister made it clear that

The culling of animals is only a “very small part” of the overall work of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), and it does not track the expenditure it incurs on doing so, said Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee.

Answering a question in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 28), Mr Lee said AVA takes a multi-pronged approach to manage the animal population and mitigate health and safety concerns. It first undertakes a professional assessment of potential threats that animals might pose to public health and safety, he explained, and AVA will have to act if there “significant health and safety concerns”.

“Where feasible, it will work with stakeholders, including the animal welfare groups and organisations like Wildlife Reserves Singapore, to relocate and rehome these animals,” said Mr Lee. “Culling is used only as a last resort.”

In response to a clarification from Member of Parliament Louis Ng, Mr Lee added that AVA’s total budget for animal management operations for 2016 was S$800,000.

CNA

But then I learnt that VivianB had said in parly in 2015 (juz before GE) that there was no need to change the price of water because of PUB’s improvements in membrane tech and productivity and that the water tariff and WCT reflected the scarcity of water.

But we now know 18 months later than that isn’t true any more (Wah facts change so fast? Can tell us what changed? Or cock-up somewhere? Or 2015 statement was “political”?) and that the price of water will be 30% more because of the cost of producing water and to reflect the scarcity of water.

———————————

“The consumer must feel the price of water, realise how valuable water is in Singapore, every time he or she turns on the tap, right from the first drop,” says Water minister Masagos Zulkifli.

————————————————-

So we can’t trust the word of a PAP minister even when he makes a statement in parly.

Sad.

Watergate: MIW caught with pants down

In Economy, Environment on 02/03/2017 at 4:46 am

PAPpies and their running dogs in the constructive, nation-building media and academia and on social media say that the price of water hasn’t been changed for years, so we shouldn’t be getting worked up about the 30% hike (peanuts, really).

But 18 months ago, VivianB said (see below) there was no need to change the price because PUB has improvements in membrane tech and productivity and that the water tariff and WCT reflect the scarcity of water.

So what has changed in 18 months?

Either in 2015 (before GE) the PAP administration didn’t do their homework leading a minster to mislead S’poreans and parly, or in 2017 the cabinet didn’t read what the then minister said in 2015 when making the decision to raise prices.

But then maybe before GE 2015, PAP wanted to get rid of its “Pay and Pay” tag?

Kudos to whoever originally dug this up. I think it is Chen Jiaxi Bernard, a WP man. Well done.

Image may contain: text

Oz is the place if u got money

In Uncategorized on 01/03/2017 at 2:30 pm

Egalitarianism is dead in Oz.

From NYT Dealbook

INSIDE WEALTH
Shoppers in Beijing. China is the country most millionaires move away from.

For Millionaire Immigrants, a Global Welcome Mat

There is one category of migrants that countries embrace: the very rich. And more of them are moving than ever. Their top destination? Australia.

One Indian enough leh

In Uncategorized on 01/03/2017 at 7:30 am

Not enough Malays.

Taz what I tot when I read some pretentious BS from TMG

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean emphasised the need to be “forward-looking”.

Much was made of the composition of his team members, younger ministers whom he brought along to build ties with their generational counterparts in China. In the old fold were Ministers Lim Hng Kiang and Dr Vivian Balakrishnan. Cabinet ministers in the young set were Ms Grace Fu, Mr Chan Chun Sing, Mr Lawrence Wong, Mr Ng Chee Meng and Mr Ong Ye Kung. The second liners or junior ministers were Dr Amy Khor (although she can be considered as part of the old fold), Mrs Josephine Teo, Ms Sim Ann and Dr Koh Poh Koon.

Perhaps, he should have brought along a young non-Chinese as well, to make the point that Singapore is multi-racial society that won’t dance to the Chinese tune, now as well as in the future.

http://themiddleground.sg/2017/02/28/was-justice-done/

 

Imagining the future of S’pore

In Property on 28/02/2017 at 7:47 am

Making S’pore Unique again.

For someone who keeps tabs on waz happening here, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve only recently seen these very good videos made by Tay Kheng Soon and his students.

Some really interesting ideas including on how we can retain the greenery while taking in millions more FTs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQOfcNBo948

The politics and planning of new Singapore as an intelligent city.

The second video has interesting ideas on how HDB flats can be split into smaller units so that the old can sell off excess space. Ties in with what I’ve been thinking of how my terrace house can be split into three separate apartments each with kitchen, hall, toilet and two bed rooms.

Also good ideas of monetising without en-block sales and building retirement homes above HDB open car parks and on top of buildings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjlGE2VfA_I

We need to hear more alternative views from S’poreans like Tay and his students and hear less from the likes of Uncle Leong and TJS with their fake analyses, that I’m sure they themselves don’t believe in.

We also need to be more aware that these views.

What the Old Guaed got right/ What the Young Guard ignores

In Economy on 27/02/2017 at 11:20 am

Yesterday, I posted that there wasn’t much difference politically between the PAP Old Guard and the African leaders that governed after independence*.

But these leaders lost power because didn’t help their people achieve material prosperity. It was this prosperity** that gave the PAP legitimacy in the eyes of up to 80% of the voters from 1965 — 1990

Since then the PAP and the economy have been on auto-pilot.

The PAP avoided a crash in 2011, and regained altitude by throwing more of our money our way. What the PAP derided as “welfarism” will be redefined as the “need to attend to the well-being of citizens” (words of a PAPpy running dog in today’s SunT)

But the economy for all the talk of restructuring is still on auto pilot. When S’poreans realise what 2-3% economic growth really means (hope to blog on this soon), unhappiness will grow especially among those who boutht into the idea of die-die must buy pigeon hole in the sky..


*A reader pointed out

The difference is that the old guards viewed themselves as chairman & board of directors of a corporation, and were internally motivated to see the long-term growth of same, staking their own prosperity with that of the country/corporation. That said, a corporation isn’t a democracy.

Africa & Burma strongmen basically were more interested in short-term extraction of maximum wealth & benefits in the shortest time possible, while using guns & muscle to maintain the looting for as long as possible.

Places like India fall somewhere in-between.

**If Lim Chin Siong and friends had won, based on their own words, we’d have gone the way of the Africans and Burmese. Whether they’d made a u-turn is something that can be debated until the cows come home. All I’ll say is that they did not have a Dr Goh Keng Swee on their team.

 

Not uniquely PAP

In Political governance on 26/02/2017 at 4:33 pm

The following could be said of Harry Lee and others of the PAP Old Guard

When Britain dismantled its empire it left behind crude carbon copies of its own form of government …

Yet in the early days of independence most African leaders swiftly imposed their own stamp on the fragile states they had inherited, reshaping institutions they often condemned as colonial impositions. New ideas such as “African socialism” swept the region, along with the notion of a specifically African form of democracy. Leaders such as Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana led the way in arguing that new states needed to put national unity ahead of multi-party democracy, often imposing one-party systems of government that swiftly turned into bullying autocracies. In many cases—witness Ghana and Nigeria—unity was supposedly saved by military coups that were easily mounted.

And even where states embrace the outward forms of democracy, holding regular elections, few enjoy the checks and balances provided by strong institutions and independent courts and civil services.

http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21705355-threats-democratic-rule-africa-are-growing-time-and-demography-are

 

Mao’s returned as Trump

In Uncategorized on 26/02/2017 at 6:54 am

He’s more Mao than Xi is:

In China there are some who compare Mr Trump’s character and leadership style with China’s Chairman Mao. They point to the former’s relentless tweeting as a new version of the latter’s daily deluge of quotations.

They note other similarities: the unpredictability, distrust of media, and overwhelming self-confidence.

Some admire and some despise, but Donald Trump, they say, is a great disrupter in the Maoist mould.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-38766887

TOC, TMG can rebut this?/ But then PAP is always wrong

In Economy, Environment on 25/02/2017 at 9:34 am

 

TOC, TMG (with a once (and future?) wannable Sith Lord)  and other anti-PAPpists have been complaining about the impending water price hikes.

 

No automatic alt text available.

Singapore MattersLike Page

Your bowl of mee pok is going to cost 30% more because water price is going up by 30%? Your cup of coffee will cost 30% more?

That’s FEAR MONGERING! Quit it!

Put that 30% increase in perspective. If your cup of coffee costs 30% more because water price has gone up, that’s called exploiting the water price increase to raise prices.

Taz wht we had the assurance of a junior minister that

the cost of goods, such as coffee and tea, “should not and ought not go up” when participants addressed the trickle-down effect that the water price increase.

TOC

Then what happens when prices don’t rise?

TOC, TMG and the cybernuts will then complain that sellers of coffee and tea drinks and food sellers are suffering.

Don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

The PAP is so very lucky in its enemies.

Railway between Port Klang and Kuantan port

In Malaysia on 25/02/2017 at 5:33 am

Cybernuts have been KPKBing about China trying to kill our port despite Cosco investing here big time.

Well it seems they missed this Chinese investment in M’sia as they’ve not been KPKBing. Eugene Tavano kooning isit?

In October 2016, the Malaysian government announced that China Communications Construction Co. will construct and China Export-Import Bank will finance the construction of the 620 km East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), a project estimated to cost RM55bn. The ECRL will connect Kuantan Port on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia with Port Klang on the west coast.

This will allow the transshipment of goods between the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea without having to go past Singapore.

 

 

Lawrence Wong talked cock

In Uncategorized on 24/02/2017 at 2:56 pm

Speaking during Channel NewsAsia’s Singapore Budget Forum 2017, which was broadcast yesterday (23 Feb) Mr Wong said he drew inspiration from Sweden where the small country with a population of 9.6 million has produced technology start-ups like Spotify and Skype and further with iconic brands such as IKEA and H&M.

Erm Skype was an Estonian start-up.

World should want Trump to play more golf

In Uncategorized on 24/02/2017 at 7:03 am

World safer when he leaves it to experienced men to run the hegemon.

But no, Hilary and her friends diss making world a safer place.

Donald Trump’s golf hobby under scrutiny with Clinton tweet

Kyle Griffin tweets:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39054971

AHTC accounts: WP outsources decision to recover monies

In Corporate governance, Uncategorized on 23/02/2017 at 7:45 am

AHTC chairman Pritam Singh said in a statement on Friday (Feb 17) that the Workers’ Party-run town council has been studying KPMG’s Past Payments Report since it was issued on Oct 31, 2016 and “while AHTC’s key officials have a different perspective from the audit team on key aspects of the report, AHTC believes that it is in the interests of AHTC and its residents to appoint an independent panel to review the findings and take such action as deemed appropriate to safeguard AHTC’s interests”.

CNA

So what will happen if the independent panel appointed to review the findings of a KPMG report agrees with the findings and recommendations of KPMG? KPMG said the town council had “serious flaws” in governnace and had made improper payments amounting to millions of dollars to third parties. It recommended that the amounts be recovered.


What else the report said

The KPMG report said the town council’s “failed control environment exposed public funds to the potential for misappropriation and civil or criminal breach of trust, and that the Town Council may potentially look to the Town Councillors for the recovery of losses arising from any breaches of their fiduciary duties”.

——————————————————-

The WP TC members would at the very least be shown to be a bunch of cocks who don’t do accounting.

So one assumes that the WP has a plan.

So are the WP TC members that confident they can get the independent committee to see things from the WP’s perspective?

Three professionals were appointed to the panel following consultation with HDB.They are panel chairman Philip Jeyaretnam SC, and members Mr N Sreenivasan SC and Mr Ong Pang Thye (managing partner of KPMG LLP).  The Court of Appeal also approved of the panel.

Interesting a man from KPMG is part of the team reviewing KPMG’s report.

Bit of ownself check ownself ain’t it?

So what weed are the WP TC members smoking? Do they really think the panel will say the findings and recommendations of the report are rubbish?

Maybe they have new information that they think will make the panel say that the report is no longer relevant in the light of the new info? Possible but not probable.

As I see it, the decision to get a “independent” panel to decide on the actions the AHTC has to take as regards the report  shows that the WP TC members have hoisted the white flag. They have no more room for manoeuvre, having run out of road. The TC members have to make the decision to start the recovery process, or explain why they are refusing to attempt recovery.

If the former, there will be unhappy suppliers and service providers who may have tales to tell. If the latter, the stench will get worse at the very least. It is likely that a “concerned” resident (Chen Show Moa?)living in the area would ask the courts to compel the WP TC to recover the monies.

At worse, a grass-root activist will sue the TC members in their personal capacity. The 15k a month each wanking MP gets will be insufficient recompense in such a event.

So better to get others to make the decision to recover monies. Can tell all those suppliers, “Not our decision leh.”

 

 

 

 

Fault of PAP that economy can’t transform

In Economy on 22/02/2017 at 5:10 pm

David Skilling a director at Landfall Strategy Group, a Singapore-based economic research and advisory firm wrote in an article in ST

My assessment is that the more important constraints on Singapore’s transition to a productivity-driven growth model are those associated with the structure of Singapore’s economy. Indeed, I would suggest that it is exactly because the existing growth model has been so successful that the transition process to a productivity-led growth model is so challenging.

One way of thinking about this is a Singapore version of “Dutch Disease”, in which one part of the economy becomes so successful that it weakens the competitive position of other sectors. This is because the successful sector places upward economy-wide pressure on wages, costs and the exchange rate. In Singapore, as with some other FDI (foreign direct investment)-intensive economies, the MNC (multinational corporation)-heavy sectors are highly productive, and have correspondingly higher wage and cost structures. This attracts resources from elsewhere in the economy, and raises the cost structure for other Singapore firms relative to their levels of productivity.

This is felt keenly by Singapore firms in internationally oriented sectors that have lower average levels of productivity than the large MNCs. The high cost structures faced by these firms make scaling up entrepreneurial and innovative activity into international markets more challenging. This has contributed to the observed difficulties with growing new global champions from Singapore.

http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/on-singapores-economic-pivot?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&xtor=CS1-10#link_time=1487662022&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social-media&utm_campaign=addtoany

KPMG says SIA is not a global brand

In S'pore Inc on 22/02/2017 at 6:45 am

This was published in the constructive, nation-building freesheet that is MediaCorp last week:

Can Singapore companies be globally competitive?

The United States has Apple. China has Alibaba. Japan has Toyota. Korea has Samsung.

Why doesn’t Singapore have a company or brand that is equally recognisable, globally?

This was written by

Larry Sim and See Wei Hwa are Tax Partner and Senior Tax Manager, respectively, at KPMG in Singapore. These are their own views.

What this piece shows is the ignorance or stupidity, or both, of the people working in KPMG.

In consumer brands, there’s  S’pore Int’l Auntie. Admittedly her bottom and breasts are sagging when compared to her A-Rab counterparts but still SIA is still a global brand* like Alibaba, Apple, Samsung or Toyota. In fact SIA has been around longer as a global brand than Alibaba, Apple or Samsung. Yet the men from KPMG doesn’t know this fact. Stupid.

And taz’s not all.

In the global offshore marine industry, we have Keppel and SembCorp. In commodities, there’s Wilmar and Olam (And there was Noble).

And we don’t have “a company or brand that is equally recognisable, globally?” Stupid KPMG.

Sad that these people working in KPMG doesn’t know S’pore. Or that KPMG employs such stupid people. They FTs where the “T” stands for “Trash” isit? Or are they S’porean products of our education system?

Or is KPMG another nest of anti-PAP cybernut pests, like TRE or TOC? There is nothing good in S’pore worth praising is the attitude of these nuts.

And is KPMG juz another pretentious, shirty company that thinks it is the peer of a company like PwC?


*I was talking to the a retired SIA gal yesterday who still looks glamorous; she’s the mother of a 17-yr gal.

The genius of Trump

In Uncategorized on 21/02/2017 at 4:23 pm

US unions, part of the Democrats’ machine, find themselves on the side of Trump, an anti-union man that white union members support.

Trump’s Inroads in Union Ranks Have Labor Leaders Scrambling

Many unions have interests aligned with the president’s and are adapting his themes to their objectives, even while denouncing much of his agenda.

NYT Dealbook

Bishan Otters: Why they’ll be on AVA’s cull list

In Environment on 21/02/2017 at 4:51 am

S’poreans are great at KPKBing after the event; Jus look at the noise after the culling of the Sing Ming Avenue fowl be they be junglefowl, feral domestic chickens or mixed breed (My take on that).

If S’poreans are their usual lazy, unthinking, reactive selves what happened at Sing Ming can happen to the Bishan otters because based on what happened to wild pigs and the fowl, the default mode at AVA to any animal problem is “Cull first, ask questions and BS later”.


This assurance on culling reported by CNA is only for free-ranging chickens: Culling of free-ranging chickens will only be done as “last resort” says MND junior minister Dr Koh.

Otters are not chickens.

Image result for otters singaporeImage result for jungle fowl singapore

—————————————————————

And there’s good reason to be concerned about the environmental impact of the otters. They are not stopping at two: a population of five in mid 2015, has expanded to 14 in about two years. And the first three youngsters will be maturing soon.

In April 2015, two adult otters — believed to have swam over from Malaya to S’pore — were caught on camera with triplet baby pups in tow, having settled down in the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

Five new pups, believed to be born in late December 2015, made the family the Bishan Eight.

Then there was a new litter of five pups some time in mid-November 2016. But one is missing it seems.

All in all, a population of five in mid 2015, has expanded to 14 in about two years. By the end of 2018, there’ll be 10 sexually mature otters. They won’t be stopping at two for sure.

—————————————————-

Dr Koh said AVA found that the free-roaming chicken population near Sin Ming Avenue had more than doubled in the last two years from about 20 to more than 50 birds. (CNA)

——————————————————

As bitch otters, I’ve read, reach sexual maturity at approximately two years of age and males at approximately three years, the triplets will soon be sexually mature: the gals by April this year, and the boys by April next year.

The gals in the next batch will mature in December this year and the boys by December next year.

So by the end of 2018, there’ll be 10 sexually mature otters. They’ll breed like their parents.

As pups live with their family for approximately one year, the otters range further.

Add to that the issue of in-breeding and we could have otter conservation issues as a legtimate and reasonable concern.

Let’s hope the AVA is planning ahead and that culling isn’t the usual default option, or even on the agenda. Maybe MP Lous Ng and his ACRES: Animal Concerns Research and Education Society can keep the AVA on its toes.

The Bishan otters deserve better than the exterminated Sing Ming Avenue fowl be they be junglefowl, feral domestic chickens or mixed breed.

 

Paying peanuts pays-off for college

In Financial competency, Financial planning on 20/02/2017 at 1:57 pm

Houghton College uses low-cost index funds and mutual funds and its returns beat Harvard with its millionaire in-house managers and external filthy rich hedgies. Btw, after ten years of lagging investment returns, Harvard’s US$35.7 billion endowment is planning to cut its current staff of 230 in half by the end of 2017.

From NYT Dealbook

COMMON SENSE
By JAMES B. STEWART

Houghton College outperformed colleges with the biggest endowments by getting out of hedge funds and moving to a mix of low-cost index funds and mutual funds.

Think of our PAP ministers’ pretentions on why they deserve their millions in salaries.

Fowl play: Cull in haste, repent at leisure

In Environment on 20/02/2017 at 5:43 am

TOC and TMG*, both occupying locales at the more responsible end of the cowboy town that is our cyberspace, created a fuss about the culling of the fowl around Sin Ming Avenue.

I really don’t know if they were Red Junglefowl, as both TOC and TMG, claimed; or as the AVA seemed to imply domesticated chickens gone feral or mixed breed. It would be a shame if Red Junglefowl were culled.

Two interesting observations: the willingness of the anti-PAP 30% to believe an ang moh even if he’s no expert, and how cock the AVA can be.

Ang moh always tua kee

Waz interesting is that these publications and the S’poreans they quoted, and those other S’poreans jumping on the band wagon and criticising the AVA and the PAP administration, seems to have accepted the word of an ang moh that the fowl were Junglefowl, even though he admitted that no tests were conducted. He directed a series** that among other animals featured these chickens:

Andrew Scott, director of Wild City in response to the news of the culling commented, “I directed the episode of the TV programme “Wild City”, and we featured those very birds. I have very fond memories of the week we spent filming on Sin Ming Ave. We filmed all over the island for that show, but that street always stuck in my mind as the most charming and characterful place we visited. I would dispute the assertion that they are “chickens, not jungle fowl” – They are exactly the same species (only genetic testing would be able to differentiate wild type fowl from domesticated birds, and even then the difference is debatable).

http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2017/02/03/wild-city-features-sin-ming-ave-chickens-as-endangered-red-junglefowl/

He expert meh? Ang moh tua kee isit?

AVA: a bunch of headless chickens

But let’s face it, AVA’s response to the “noise” has been pathetic. Its latest attempt at damage control got this response in the Forum section of our constructive, nation-building ST:

No consistency in AVA statements

The letter by Dr Yap Him Hoo, director-general of the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) (“AVA concerned about bird flu risk, not noise of chickens“; Feb 15), contradicts an earlier statement by Ms Jessica Kwok, AVA group director of the animal management group (“Free-ranging chickens may be culled“; Feb 2), that the authority had received requests to manage the free-ranging chicken population due to noise pollution.

The impression that the AVA took action because of noise was, therefore, not due to various media reports. Rather, it was created by the AVA itself.

With such contradictory statements from two high-profile figures in the AVA, what is the public to believe?

It gives the impression that the AVA top management is not working as one.

Dr Yap’s statement that the chickens were at risk of being exposed to bird flu from migratory birds, as the chickens could catch the disease through direct contact with them or through their droppings, is flawed.

Free-ranging chickens are few in number, compared to the many pigeons, mynahs and crows congregating at public eating places, snatching food and leaving their droppings all over the place.

Doesn’t this group of birds pose a greater risk of being carriers of bird flu, should there be an outbreak in Singapore?

It would be more credible for the AVA to come up with long-term measures to solve the pigeon, mynah and crow problem here, instead of culling chickens as a stop-gap measure.

These other birds are not only a health risk, but a noise nuisance as well.

Ronnie Lim Ah Bee

Background for those not in S’pore during CNY

The AVA culled some noisy chickens claiming that they were a bird-flu risk. It said that they were not Red Junglefowl as alleged by the usual suspects.

However someone unearthed a series shown here in 2015 which was made with the support of the MDA**.

In a segment of one a two-part series on wild life in the city-state, Sir David Attenborough said that the chickens  around Sin Ming Avenue were Red Junglefowl, the ancestors of domesticated chickens. Footage showed the chickens had grey legs and that they can fly; domesticated chickens have yellow legs and can’t fly. But please note that chup cheng chicken, the result of crossing breeding, could have these characteristics.

The video got the feathers flying and the anti-PAP cybernuts upset.

At the very least, the AVA should cull fire those responsible for its response for the culling especially as it seems that they were not aware of the series.


*Waz interesting is that a TMG tua kee (no not the wannabe be Sith Lord turned Jedi) is trying hard to show that AVA misled the public about the reason for the cull, although the facts show otherwise.

**

The two-part series produced by local company Beach House Pictures and supported by MDA through the Public Service Broadcast funding, is part of a series of seven SG50 documentaries. The first episode titledUrban Wild, which focuses on the wildlife who have made their homes among Singapore’s urban landscape, features civets in roof cavities and wild otters at the Marina Reservoir. The second episode,Hidden Wild, takes audiences to Singapore’s hidden wildlife spots like the coastal wetlands and offshore islands, which have become thriving habitats to a variety of creatures.

https://www.imda.gov.sg/infocomm-and-media-news/sg-spotlight/2015/3/singapores-wild-city

 

 

 

M Ravi suffering a relapse?

In Uncategorized on 19/02/2017 at 1:26 pm

He sick again? Not taking his medicine for his bi-polar disorder? Relying on meditation only as he once did as he adnitted in his autobiography?

Below is a call by M Ravi for the “rights of animals to be protected by the law.”

I mean he and the usual suspects people like Tan Wah Piow, Goh Meng Seng, Teo Soh Lung and Kirsten Han are forever KPKBing that S’poreans don’t have the human rights that other countries accord their citizens and other residents.

Yet he now wants S’porean animals to have rights that he claimed in the past that humans living here don’t have? Something is not right?

His friends should be worried.

Time to Give Animals a Voice in Court

The culling of 24 free roaming chickens in the Sin Ming area hit the headlines this week. The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (the “AVA”) stated that it had received over 200 complaints across the island about such chickens last year. The main complaints related to noise nuisance, but the AVA also explained that an unchecked roaming chicken population could increase the risk of avian flu, which is prevalent in the region. The National Parks Board agreeing with the culling argued about the risk to endangered native junglefowl.

However, some local residents were shocked at the chicken deaths, claiming that the animals were not intrusive and that residents had not been asked their opinion before the cull. The Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (“ACRES”), an animal protection group, responded that a more humane solution could have been found to killing the chickens, such as relocation or adoption. This case, and the increase in reported animal cruelty incidents, highlights the plight of animals in Singapore.

To any skeptics, my concerns have nothing to do with the fact that I am a vegetarian. I became more interested in the standing and rights of animals to be protected by the law, when I personally witnessed crow-culling and stray animal cruelty incidents. My concerns in trying to find a voice for these defenseless animals heightened when I heard about Chippy the macaque monkey which was subject to frequent abuse by the public. After months of petitioning for his rescue and release to a sanctuary in Wales in the UK, Chippy remained missing until this article appeared in August that Chippy had been “removed” for “rehabilitation”.

Legislation in Singapore currently provides for a degree of animal welfare. Animals should not be treated cruelly or be caused pain or suffering. The law also goes further, placing a positive duty of care on animal owners and those working in animal related businesses to ensure the well-being of animals in their care. Under the Animal and Birds (Amendment) Act 2014 (the “Act”), animal owners must take positive steps to find an animal that goes missing, and they must comply with codes of practice relating to animal welfare. However, it is only the AVA that can bring cases to court. In 2016, of 840 reported incidents of animal cruelty, the AVA only had enough evidence to take 104 cases forward. Of those cases that do reach court, few result in the fines or imprisonment provided for in the Act.

Besides the Act, section 428 of Singapore’s Penal Code also makes it an offence to kill, maim, poison, or render useless any animal.

It is important to recognise that current legislation falls shy of actually recognising express rights for animals and giving them the right to be protected by law.

Animal campaign groups would like to see a change in the law so that they and other interested citizens have legal standing to sue on behalf of animals. At present, the rules of legal standing mean that such organisations have to prove that they have a ‘special interest’ in a case. However, it is difficult to prove this special interest when cases are being brought not for the benefit of the organisation but for the animals. The animals themselves do not have legal rights which makes them, effectively, voiceless. Other proposed solutions are a system of a so-called litigant guardian, as provided in some countries to children or the mentally-handicapped; or recognising animals as legal “persons” in the same way the law recognises companies.

The issue of legal standing and animals’ legal rights, so-called non-human rights, is not new. Globally, attitudes are shifting, but progress is slow. New Zealand granted basic rights to certain ape species in 1999 and their use in research, testing and teaching was banned. In 2002, Germany awarded animals rights in the constitution meaning that they must be respected by the state and that they have a right to have their dignity protected. The draft United Nations Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (“UDAW”) provides that animals should be recognised as ‘sentient’ beings and therefore afforded dignity and respect. However, the UDAW has not been ratified by the UN and remains a draft. Perhaps this is because countries are reluctant to recognise animals as having particular rights. Giving animals rights could raise difficult questions in relation to businesses handling animals, ownership, and so on.

Singapore is moving in the right direction on animal rights issues, with the 2014 Act. However, more change is required. The government should be encouraged to amend the rules on legal standing so that more animal cruelty cases can be brought, and not only by the AVA (which still remains cautious or unwilling to bring prosecutions) but also by interested groups and individuals.

When questionable actions are taken against animals by the AVA itself or by the government, there is no avenue to review or question their decisions. How does one appeal against state-sanctioned transgression against these voiceless entities? Will Singapore go down the Australian route so that organisations can argue for standing?

With so many netizens increasingly taking to social media to report and discuss various incidents of animal abuses in Singapore, we are finally progressing as an animal caring society. Surely animals deserve a degree of legal recognition and protection. Surely we human beings are best placed to stand up for the voiceless.

A free event entitled “Sentient Beings? Time to Give a Voice to Animals in Court” is being held on Sunday 5th of March 2017 to address the issues raised in this article and also to hear view from animal rescuers and animal lovers. The event hopes to generate dialogue on this topic to give members of the public an opportunity to share views. The event is organised by We Exist Consult and more information is available here.

M Ravi

Why SPF and their minister should not be so defensive about criticism

In Uncategorized on 19/02/2017 at 11:17 am

I was reading this about  “Funny”cock ups by the British police http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-38861475.

The article ended by reporting  Professor David Wall, of Leeds University’s Centre for Criminal Justice Studies as saying”I think we look to police as a source of authority and to help us when we are in trouble and I guess that we expect them to be a little more perfect than the rest of us are,” adding this is only because their actions have “more serious consequences for society and public safety.

This is precisely why the Minister for Pets and the police should not be defensive when ordinary S’poreans (not people like Ms Teo Soh Lung and her groupies who never have a good word about the police) query the actions of the police: we trust the police and have high expectations.

Happily for people like Ms Teo, the minister and police undermine the trust we have by being defensive. Sad (((

 

Kim Jong-nam FT here?

In Uncategorized on 18/02/2017 at 2:16 pm

He spent most of his time overseas in Macau, mainland China and Singapore.

BBC report

PR?

Yet another minority that feels oppressed by society

In Uncategorized on 18/02/2017 at 10:52 am

enthusiastic protesting against public displays of affection from a group calling themselves Kakuhido (the Revolutionary Alliance of Men that Women Find Unattractive)*.

All this smooching and showing off hurts the feelings of those who just aren’t that into it, Takayuki Akimoto, a spokesman for the group, told the press: “People like us who don’t find value in love are being oppressed by society.”

FT

And why not? Join the queue.

Passion Card’s service sucks, really sucks

In Uncategorized on 17/02/2017 at 3:00 pm

A friend who has a Passion Silver card cum concession travel fare card sent this email to the service centre earlier today:

Four days ago, I called the hotline to find out why my passion card (silver) was not activated. I was promised a response within a few days.

I called again a few minutes ago and was told it’ll be another three or four days before I can get an answer.

Hey this is S’pore not a third world country.

He also tells me that the hotline menu is really badly organised. Maybe time for Chris K and my friend to rewrite the software? Our mutual friend rewrites FT written software for local companies so that the software works.

He also tells me that the service centre is staffed by Peenoys, not true blue S’poreans.

S’poreans kids only taught one relevant skill, not three

In Economy on 17/02/2017 at 5:47 am

The skills young S’poreans must pick up to get high paying jobs are EQ, maths and coding skills. Taz what the data from the US tells us:

 

But although coding is now being emphasised in the curriculum, EQ is still not. So out of the three skills only maths is emphasised.

But then maybe MoE, like a tua kee from The Middle Ground, no not the Sith Lord wannabe that saw the light after she retired, thinks the US data are “US BS”.

Sad.

We only 14th on the list of “Best City in the World for Students”

In Uncategorized on 16/02/2017 at 1:38 pm

(Addition on 17th February 10.45 am: S’pore dropped eight places to 14th in the latest international index because of the high cost of living, QS, the survey provider, tells the constructive, nation-building media.)

In Asia and Australasia, Seoul, Melbourne, Tokyo, HK and Sydney ahead of us. This will pls the anti-PAP cybernuts especially the one living in HK in a wire-cage while complaining that housing in S’pore is unaffordable. He sold his HDB flat to fund his then-party’s election expenses. Stupid )))

QS Best Student Cities 2017

1. Montreal

2. Paris

3. London

4. Seoul

5. Melbourne

6. Berlin

7. Tokyo

8. Boston

9. Munich

10. Vancouver

11. Hong Kong and Toronto

13. Sydney

14. Singapore

15. Zurich

16. Vienna

17. Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe

18. Edinburgh

19. New York

20. Brisbane

21. Taipei

22. Canberra

23. Barcelona

24. Manchester

25. Shanghai

According to the BBC

The rankings are based on a basket of measures – including the quality of universities, facilities for students, affordability, the “desirability” of the city for students, access to employers, the international nature of a city, levels of tolerance, pollution and safety.

PM2.5 pollution level: Manila better than us

In Environment on 16/02/2017 at 4:34 am
S’pore does very well in global standards but Manila does even better. Having lived in Manila, and knowing that that traffic conditions there have not improved since I lived there, I’m surprised.
Neither Manila nor us meet the World Health Organisation PM2.5 recommended level of 10µg/m³. But very few cities except in Oz and NZ.
Table extracted from the Guardian
Selected global cities: Asia
PM2.5 annual mean, micrograms per cubic metre
Delhi India 122
Dhaka Bangladesh 90
Karachi Pakistan 88
Beijing China 85
Ulaanbaatar Mongolia 75
Islamabad Pakistan 66
Mumbai 63
Kolkata 61
Shanghai China 52
Kathmandu Nepal 49
Guangzhou China 48
Colombo Sri Lanka 36
Hong Kong China 29
Bangkok Thailand 24
Seoul South Korea 24
Singapore Singapore 18
Manila Philippines 17
Tokyo Japan 15

Two elephants in the room the CFE report misses

In Economy on 15/02/2017 at 4:32 am

Donald Low points out that people are history

has been a failure of governments to compensate the losers of globalisation and technological disruptions sufficiently. Not only has income inequality increased in most developed countries, but this has been accompanied by wage stagnation for average earners. Technology advances may have created new and better jobs, but they have also caused the disappearance of many jobs that required “middling” skills and earned middle wages—a phenomenon known as job polarisation.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/donald-low/cfe-report-could-have-included-long-term-macroeconomic-issues/1427286870638616

And that there’s nothing in the report about safety nets (rumour has it that recommendations on “stronger safety nets” were taken out because of the PAP’s dislike of “welfarism”):

the state would be called upon to engage in more aggressive fiscal redistribution and to provide stronger safety nets. In fact, such measures are not just a necessary response to higher inequality. They are also an important lubricant of economic restructuring and a complement for measures to promote competitiveness; they make pro-growth policies far more acceptable to workers.

The American experience shows that the middle class is being wiped out by the march of progress, something that will happen here whether or not S’poreans vote for the PAP.

ANOTHER VIEW
Self-driving truck technology for travel on interstate highways, based on artificial intelligence, is already technically feasible. Today, about five million drivers are employed in the industry. A 20 percent reduction in this work force over the next 15 years would equate to a million lost jobs.

How Efficiency Is Wiping Out the Middle Class

Trade and immigration became the boogeymen in the presidential election, but what’s really displacing workers is the advance of technology.

NYT Dealbook

 

CRE report: Ignoring current problems while planning for future?

In Uncategorized on 14/02/2017 at 7:24 am

Yet another Indian had yet another good criticism of the CRE report.

Manu Bhaskaran (I know him personally), Senior Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies feels the committee could have tackled the issue of big structural challenges.

The big “structural challenges” are

[H]igh costs, loss of competitiveness, threats to our regional hub position, our failure to boost productivity, weak innovation outcomes despite immense mobilisation of resources and innovation inputs, weak SMEs and the absence of large private local firms, rising inequality, inadequate social safety nets, especially the inadequacy of CPF to provide sufficient retirement income in cash.

My take is that if these current problems are not addressed, why bother about planning for the future?

I mean it’s like Nasa planning for a manned landing on Mars using a rocket that cannot carry enough fuel to make it to Mars and back. The only reasonable reason that it would do this, is if it doesn’t know that the correct has this serious structural problem.

Erm, maybe the five ministers on the 30-member CFE panel don’t know that the economy has serious structural problems? Even if the millionaire ministers and the other panel members had help: thousands more in sub-groups and consultation groups.

They didn’t point out the structural problems? Bit like not telling the emperor that he had no clothes?

Related posts:

Inderjit Singh’s critick of the CRE Report

CFE report: Another good critick by another Indian

If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.— Lao Tzu

CFE report: Another good critick by another Indian

In Economy on 13/02/2017 at 7:25 am

I’m sure you have read Inderjit Singh’s critick of  the Report of the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE), or at least heard of it. If you have not, read it: v.v. good.

But I’m sure you missed the u/m Facebook critick by Devadas Krishnadas. He’s an ex-bureaucrat who now runs his own consultancy: “Future-Moves Group (FMG) is a client-centric, outcome-driven management consultancy founded in 2012.”

He regularly KPKBs in the constructive, nation-building media and the new media, especially on Facebook.

It’s a good piece but has one very serious flaw, a flaw I hope to discuss later this week. See if you can spot what the flaw is.


The importance of having Indian blood

Btw, other than from Chris K (Look out for Terry’s Online Service to reproduce his FB tots), I’ve not seen a good critick by a non-Indian anywhere. Maybe taz why Indians are the master race in S’pore? And why the presumptive Malay president has Indian blood despite being Malay? Having Indian blood is a genetically good thing fir other races? But these questions are material for several posts.)

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Facebook post by Devadas Krishnadas.

AN ECONOMY BY COMMITTEE

The much vaunted ‘Committee for the Future Economy’ released its report today. The most impressive thing about the report is the sheer number of contributors. It is cumulative result of the thinking of 30 main members, 218 sub-committee members, some 700 resource persons or who were involved in focus groups and over 225 civil servants. A total exceeding 1200 persons.

The report itself is composed of 109 pages which works out to about 11 contributors to a page of the report. It advocates 7 strategies comprising of 22 related recommendations. This breaks down to more than 170 contributors per strategy and more than 55 contributors per recommendation. There are also 80 supporting recommendations from the sub-committees which works out to about 15 contributors per supporting recommendation.

Doubtless, the committee chairmen would prefer the large pool of contributors to be characterised as an effort to be consultative, inclusive and comprehensive.

Acknowledging the year long effort and the distinguished and lengthy list of contributors, one could be forgiven for expecting more substance in the report.

A report of consequence should be one that does not merely talk in terms of motherhood statements, of which there are too many to list all, just a few examples – “Press on with trade and investment cooperation”, “Support enterprises to scale up”, “Partner each other to enable innovation and growth”.

It should also not be a report about how many more planning activities need to be undertaken. A major recommendation of the report to develop and issue “Industry Transformation Maps” or ITMs for 23 industries. So even more effort into meetings, focus groups, detailed planning and proposals will be forthcoming internally within government.

A report of consequence should be about thinking in terms of what we should stop doing, how we should be rethinking the roles of government, industry and the civil society in the context of constrained economic growth and acknowledging the limits of ‘crystal ball gazing’ which will be winning sectors.

While the intention to think ahead to the future is always laudable. This report reveals more a fixation with the past. This is in the sense that it continues to reflect a belief system that command planning the economy is still the critical success factor and that generating a plan and achieving a result are synonymous. That mode of thinking has not worked for some time but it does serve an essential self-interest – that of justifying an outsized and expensive Rolls-Royce of a public sector to develop, implement and administrate all these gilt plans.

It is high time that it be publicly acknowledged that the Government does not create jobs or value-added. Only the private economy does. We should be thinking in terms of what the government and only the government can and should do, which are areas of co-creation between the government and the private economy and where the private economy should be left to do its thing.

What is needed is fundamental rethinking of the nature of our economy, the embedded structural considerations – both institutional and mind set – which limit or hinder the full exploitation of our economic potential. This should include looking at how and how much the government should be intervening in the economy and revisiting politically charged issues such as population augmentation.

There is one further, basic but yet critical oversight. This is that the report neglected to identify a 24th industry for a much needed ITM – this is the public sector, currently the single largest employer in the country and whose size and wage structure has shaping effects on the labour market.

One obvious recommendation should be for few thousand of the best qualified civil servants to cross over to the very human capital starved private sector, particularly in the small and medium enterprises, to create products, ideas, companies and the jobs of the future.

This may be the most immediate and practical contribution of any report on the future economy. A pity that this does not feature among the long list of recommendations. But then, it is easier to write about a future than to be responsible for making it.

Inderjit Singh’s critick of the CRE Report

In Economy on 13/02/2017 at 4:06 am

Btw, he’s being modest in calling his Facebook post “My Comments on the CFE report”: it’s a very good analysis of the Report of the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE).

Piece reads:

My Comments on the CFE report.

A. Executive summary

On a general note, while the report covers a few important areas, I do see quite a number of initiatives that have been suggested before, from the time we started T21, to the ERC and the ESC. The key is going to be in implementing some of these as in the past we did not achieve the desired results. The key is going to be the details on how the government plans to implement.

I do feel that there are no major new radical ideas that can greatly contribute to the transformation of the economy which we greatly need. In the past, we saw new ideas like – making the finance sector as a core sector of the economy, developing the Life Science industry, implementing the knowledge economy. I was hoping for some fresh and significant ideas that can show us the light a little better. But we should perhaps wait for implementation before brushing off the recommendations made because if they are done well we could achieve the outcome we failed to achieve in the past.
It seems that the government remains in a state of denial about the worrying state of the economy. There seems to be a mismatch between what many companies, SMEs, business owners and PMETs are seeing on the ground versus what the government is telling us – that things are not bad, that many jobs will be easily created. I do believe that Singapore’s economy needs to be structurally corrected and government policies need to be changed significantly in certain areas for us to grow a long term sustainable economy.

For example, although there is some admission that we need to develop more locally grown companies, we need this to be backed by changes in the way the government supports the various sectors of the economy. I was hoping to see greater clarity in this shift of strategy in the CFE. If we don’t make a clear change on how we want the economy to grow in the future, we will never create the local global companies that are very much needed to fuel the economic growth of the future. We cannot keep relying on an old formula that we put in place in the 1960s.

I do feel that the CFE has blamed the current state of affairs solely on the global slowdown which is not a complete picture of our economic woes. We should have also gone deeper into what is wrong locally and addressed those issues as we do need a restructuring in some areas like cost competitiveness, government agencies’ support and the financing landscape that has become very tough for companies.
Below, I am making some more detailed comments for some of the strategies and just minor comment in some areas where I don’t have a good feel of things.

B. Introduction

1. The report has given a broad-brush view of the government’s thinking on the strategies they plan to adopt in the coming years. My initial reaction is that many of the ideas spelt out were expansion of many initiatives that the government had already been working on for many years. For example, since 1999, we first started looking catalysing the VC industry through the T21 programme which has limited success and we are seeing the same recommendation again. I hope in implementation, the government will study the issues with past programme so that we don’t make the same mistakes.

While the CFE pointed to the changing global landscape, I would have thought a little introspection was also needed to study what has changed in Singapore. A few things have changed drastically;

a. Cost structure in Singapore has changed, making us uncompetitive. Land cost, rentals, REITs are all issues;

b. Financing environment has shifted, making credit more difficult to come by;

c. MNCs are shifting out faster than before because we have become less competitive and also because other cities can offer better terms and a lower cost structure with easy access to manpower. Along with the flight of MNCs, our SMEs will have to either leave Singapore to follow the MNCs or shut down.

d. Manufacturing is very important and we should keep it at least 20% of the economy, but we don’t have enough homegrown companies with deep manufacturing capabilities. Economic strategies of the past focused on prioritizing new areas of technologies or capabilities instead of deepening the skills and strengths we already developed in the past. For example, we have lost the disk drive industry, while the semiconductor industry has a few big MNCs players but we have lost most of the local big players because we lost technological competitiveness and did not invest enough in R&D. So, every 15 to 20 years a new focus on a new industry cluster instead of retaining the core capabilities we already developed over the years.

I therefore feel the CFE missed the opportunity to study what weaknesses Singapore has developed and how to overcome these. The CFE could have recommended some near-term plans to resolve some key current issues hindering our ability to restructure the economy. Because without resolving the issues the longer-term goals may be more difficult to achieve.

My bigger worry is that we will see huge structural problems that will take a long time to resolve if we don’t change the economic growth model of the country – rebalancing the contribution of FDI and MNCs vs local companies.

C. Specific comment on some of the sections;

1. Deepen and diversify our international connections
This is important and is something Singapore has focused on since the beginning, 50 years ago. It remains important as we are a small market. I would like to see how local companies, especially SMEs can benefit from these. I feel many of the FTAs benefitted larger companies and not many small companies benefitted. So, I hope in implementation we will focus on helping more start-up and SMEs benefit from this connectivity.

The government needs to also be more aggressive to tap further away emerging markets. The last major frontier is Africa. Most developed economies are already playing a key role in Africa while Singapore has not even seriously started with serious support structures for companies that already ventured there. Most of the companies who are in Africa have done it on their own with negligible direct support from the government.
autonomy and flexibility to manage their GIAs. We should allow different models to develop and not imposed a central government driven model.

2. Acquire and utilise deep skills
This will be very important especially if we want to anchor the IT and manufacturing sectors in Singapore. The compensation system needs to favour people with deep skills as much as those with general management. For this to succeed, society and government need to change their mindset.

I think the issue with PMETs who lose their jobs and go for reskilling is that they go through a training programme without knowing if they will get a job at the end of the training. To encourage more people to upgrade themselves, the government should start the reverse way – match PMETs to jobs and then they go through a OJT or part-time training programme. Salary support can come from government to incentivize companies to hire such people and train them. The Professional Conversion Program where the government pays up to $4,000 monthly salary to the company when they hire and re-train the employee is in place. The agencies managing this need to identify why the take up is not as much as desired to be effective in absorbing the displaced PMETs

There is also a need for closer management of the work pass system to make it more difficult for companies to hire foreign professionals who are not among the best in their fields. Unless they are best, companies should be compelled to hire Singaporeans and be give a 1 to 2 year training programme to build up their skills, with salaries supported by the government.

3. Strengthen enterprise capabilities to in novate and scale up

I find the recommendations here repeating what the T21 recommended in 1999 and what the ERC recommended in 2002. Yes, there is a need of more innovation and creation of new enterprises. How we do it is very important. I do believe the ERC did achieve the key objective of encouraging more entrepreneurship among Singaporeans and we already have an ecosystem that supports start-ups well. What is missing is their ability to grow beyond their start-up phase for a few reasons;
a. Market Access
b. Growth Capital
c. Management skills

It would have been useful if the CFE addressed these issues.
The recommendation of smaller companies partnering bigger companies has been made many times over the last 20 years and we have no seen great success. Unless there are new ideas I see this as motherhood in nature.

The ESC and also ACE in the past recommended an Exim bank to be set up to support overseas projects. The government accepted the ESCs recommendation but this never materialized. The CFE has recommended a few schemes in the areas of financing support. I hope this time we will see better outcome.

I disagree with these recommendations :
a. “Significantly grow the community of IP and commercialisation experts”
b. “bringing in dedicated commercially-oriented entities that are focused on the commercialisation of IP

We need less control and more flexibility in our commercialization efforts. To many lawyers and experts will slow down the process. I have seen this happening in many cases where the researchers and the entrepreneurs get too tried dealing with too much of bureaucracy and failing to spin-off a company or the commercialize the IP.

It is a pity that after spending so much in research, I believe in the region of over $40b in the last 20 years, Singapore has not scored well in innovation and creation of enterprises despite the large amount of money spent.

The few things I liked in the report are;

a. “The standardized IP protocol” – I believe many start-us and spin-offs don’t get formed because of rigidity of some of the RIs in wanting to control more or wanting to earn more form the IP they developed. The end result has been that the IP remains on the shelf and does not get an opportunity to be commercialized. I would suggest IP be made relatively very cheap and RIs practice flexibility to encourage more researchers, SMEs and entrepreneurs to want to innovate and commercialize new products and hopefully create a few big winners. Even if the IP was given out for $0, the value added to the economy can be significant – so the RIs should not see themselves as entities that have to earn more income from the IP (because the R&D grants should be seen as government’s investment for the general economy and not for the RIs own benefit).

b. “Provide high-growth enterprises with more dedicated and customised support” – the best way for this to happen is to bring all government agencies dedicated to SME and start-up support under 1 umbrella. The CFE suggests “ lead Government agencies could be assigned to coordinate all Government assistance rendered to enterprises”. This has been recommended before but has not worked well. We should bite the bullet and create a one stop all encompassing SME and start up agency – like a “Local EDB” with the same resources, power and funding like EDB. It sis about time we have one Local EDB that follows the company from birth till the company become a global SMEs (and supported by agencies who may be experts in certain horizontal agencies – IT, Internationalization, Finance, etc.). These verticals should be invisible to the SMEs if the LEDB coordinates everything.

c. “For unlisted companies, the Government should facilitate the creation of a private market platform”- This is important for money to circulate faster for investors. Today, may investors wait a very long time before they can exit from a company – by an IPO or a trade sale. IN countries like Taiwan, private equity exchanges are really private, with minimal government regulation. If investors can cash out earlier through such private equity exchanges, it will encourage them to invest more money in start-up and growth companies.

Having said that, this is not a new recommendation, ACE made this recommendation about 15 years ago, and it took a long time for the government to respond and when they did, we created such a private equity platform, called the “OTC”. This platform last just a few years before being shut down because of very unfriendly government regulations, particularly from MAS. I suggest the government study why the OTC failed before implementing another similar platform. Otherwise this recommendation will not translate to an effective outcome. I acknowledge however that part of the problem then was also because we were too ahead of time and there were no good start-ups here to invest in yet. Hence, the VCs invested outside. The eco-system is more mature now and we do have a good crop of start-ups. The key question is how to continue to anchor their key value adding activities in Singapore as they scale given our small market.

4. Build strong digital capabilities

Excellent initiatives suggested by the CFE and the future economy need to get the digital capabilities right for us to compete well in the global economy. SMEs and start-ups must be able to easily access these so that they don’t have to invest too much in the same capabilities.

5. Develop a vibrant and connected city of opportunity

I would say these recommendations are not new and the strategies have been in place for the last 30 years or so. But these are areas that gave Singapore our strengths that attracts investments and we need to continue to build on these.

6. Develop and implement Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs)

I believe the ITM strategy needs to change drastically as the proposal is no different from what has been done in the past with multi agencies working with companies. We do need a one stop local Enterprise agency to deal with companies from start-up to the time they become global Singapore companies. I don’t see for example EDB being able to play a useful role in supporting local companies in the clusters they are responsible for.

From the government’s perspective, the ITMs are a very useful way to plan the future industry clusters but the current approach of appointing lead agencies to champion certain sectors is flawed and outdated. The future industries will not come from clearly defined sectors but from a mix of sectors. For example, future retail will have to encompass retail, IT, logistics and Finance (payment systems). In the current Map, Spring is in charge of retail, MCI in-charge of IT, EDB in charge of logistics and MAS in-charge of finance. So, by giving each government agency one sector to manage, we will see things falling into cracks.

It would have been better to reorganize the government agencies to verticals – size and stage of a company – i.e. start-up/SMEs, MNCs, GLCs, Local MNCs and Horizontals – by technology or core competencies. This will require a major reorganization of government agencies. I would have expected the CFE to be more radical in the recommendations for this area as the old models will not work well in the future as we will see companies emerging from nowhere and becoming big and big companies leaving Singapore or completely disappearing.

Furthermore, I have seen in the past that EDB had been ineffective in handling SMEs as their key focus is to attract foreign MNCs. So when a SME in a logistic sector needs support for EDB, they have not been getting the support they need. A former EDB chairman once commented to me when I challenged him and this was his response : “What did you expect me to do, I had a sledgehammer to handle the elephants (MNCs) and the ants (SMEs), so I decided to handle the elephants and ignored the ants”. Of course, it is easier to show results for your KPIs by spending a lot of money to attract MNCs than to work with many SMEs for the same or lesser results. So, if EDB continues to champion clusters for MNCs and SMEs, I am quite sure the SMEs will once again be left behind. Currently, it is a case of too many hands (WSG, SSG, SPRING, IE Singapore, IMDA, JTC), making it rather unproductive with each agency chasing their own KPIs. Sharing of info is also a challenge. There is no universal CRM for businesses with its profile and growth info. But the situation is also different. There are only about 8,000 MNCs but 180,000 SMEs. Maybe another solution is to have a Small Business Agency and a Growth Enterprise Agency. In implementation, I hope the restructuring of government agencies supporting the economic development of Singapore will be seriously relook at.

7. Partner each other to enable innovation and growth

This is also not a new area of focus. We had these strategies before and these are still relevant today. The biggest change that is need is the public sector to be willing to experiment with innovation by partnering start-ups and SMEs. We had some past success – eg Hyflux but we could do with many more, so I hope to see a change in the attitude of the civil service and government agencies to make this happen.

Singapore companies have a bad track record of working together to win business opportunities overseas. Somehow the large companies are not keen to partner smaller companies and SMEs don’t seem to trust the larger companies and we have not been able to create the spirit of cooperation unlike what we can see with Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese companies. I hope there are great ideas to change this mindset among Singapore companies.

D. Conclusion

The CFE has worked hard to study the Singapore economic landscape and suggested their strategy for the future economy. While the paper is not as inspiring as hoped, there are many details that need to be looked at and the key is successful implementation. We have seen some successes of the ERC and the ESC but we have also failed in a number of areas, productivity being a key failure. To a large extent, the issues we the past strategies were not the ideas but how they were implemented. The government needs to understand why there was failure in implementation because if they don’t understand what went wrong, we risk another round of implementation missteps which may not yield the desired outcomes. It is important that the government agencies responsible for implementation have a much better feel of the ground so that they can get things right this time. The CFE report is out, this is the best we have. We all need to work hard to recreate a vibrant economy of the future for the future of Singaporeans. Hopefully more good ideas will emerge at the implementation stage. We also need to know what we are working towards. So implementation is key, but unlike the ESC we don’t have KPIs here or major timelines. Greater clarity is needed on this.

Here’s a good use for social media

In Uncategorized on 12/02/2017 at 1:46 pm

Social media has been blamed by the neo-liberal Hilary loving elites for the dumbing down as they see of society.

But we gotta use our brains when using social media and not behave like headless neo-liberals eunning around in circles or Trumpeters cheering mindlessly.

the beauty of social media is that it can enable us to explore other points of view, with an ease that our geographically far-flung ancestors could never have dreamed of. Technology has fragmented us; but it still has the ability to create new connections — as Stone hoped. Or it does if we use our brains when we switch on our phones. And that applies to liberals as much as to anyone else.

FT’s Gillian Tett

Lifelong learning: Top of the world class

In Uncategorized on 12/02/2017 at 6:11 am

 

OK, near the top. Still, don’t anyhow diss the education system, S’poreans and the PAP administration.

We are up there with the Nordics:

And u wouldn’t know this from reading TRE, TOC, TMG, Inderjit Singh, and cybernuts like Tan Jee Say and Philip Ang,

There is much talk about lifelong learning, though few countries are doing much about it. The Nordics fall into this less populated camp. But it is Singapore that can lay claim to the most joined-up approach with its SkillsFuture initiative. Employers in the city-state are asked to spell out the changes, industry by industry, that they expect to happen over the next three to five years, and to identify the skills they will need. Their answers are used to create “industry transformation maps” designed to guide individuals on where to head.

Since January 2016 every Singaporean above the age of 25 has been given a S$500 ($345) credit that can be freely used to pay for any training courses provided by 500 approved providers, including universities and MOOCs. Generous subsidies, of up to 90% for Singaporeans aged 40 and over, are available on top of this credit. The programme currently has a budget of S$600m a year, which is due to rise to S$1 billion within three years. According to Ng Cher Pong, SkillsFuture’s chief executive, the returns on that spending matter less than changing the mindset around continuous reskilling.

Some programmes cater to the needs of those who lack basic skills. Tripartite agreements between unions, employers and government lay out career and skills ladders for those who are trapped in low-wage occupations. Professional-conversion programmes offer subsidised training to people switching to new careers in areas such as health care.

Given Singapore’s size and political system, this approach is not easily replicated in many other countries, but lessons can still be drawn. It makes sense for employers, particularly smaller ones, to club together to signal their skills needs to the workforce at large. Individual learning accounts have a somewhat chequered history—fraudulent training providers helped scupper a British experiment in the early 2000s—but if well designed, they can offer workers educational opportunities without being overly prescriptive.

http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21714175-systems-continuous-reskilling-threaten-buttress-inequality-retraining-low-skilled

 

S’porean wins Google prize

In Uncategorized on 11/02/2017 at 1:33 pm

Don’t diss our education system. Ong Jia Wei, Isaac, a S’porean, was chosen as one of Google’s 2015 34 grand prize winners.

The prestigious Google Code-in is open to pre-university students worldwide between the ages of 13 and 17. This year more than 1,300 young people from 62 countries took part.

BBC

Funny constructive, nation-building media don’t trumpet this fact. Maybe he not S’porean? Or they don’t know?

High-speed train: PRC cos not welcomed in S’pore

In China, Infrastructure, Malaysia on 11/02/2017 at 7:17 am

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) appointed AECOM Singapore to conduct an advanced engineering study for Singapore stretch of the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur high-speed rail (HSR) infrastructure, it announced onFeb 8.

The US engineering firm will provide architectural, civil, electrical, mechanical and other design services required for the Jurong East terminus, tunnels and the bridge across the Straits of Johor.

It has also appointed specialist consultants, none of which are from PRC:

But it’s different in M’sia:

The Singapore-Kuala Lumpur high speed rail is a project that is keenly eyed by Chinese rail companies. While the contract to construct the Singapore-KL high-speed rail line has yet to be issued, “local media reports suggest that Singapore prefers a Japanese or European bidder but Malaysia favors a Chinese firm” (Martin, 2016). Indeed, China Railway Group, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, has formed a consortium with a local developer to purchase 60 percent of the land parcel for the RM 160 billion Bandar Malaysia real estate project, located at the KL terminus of the Singapore-KL high speed rail line, from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) — the Malaysian state-owned investment fund whose financial troubles, as we shall shortly see, have triggered the current political crisis.

When completed, Bandar Malaysia will serve as the new transportation hub for KL, connecting the high speed rail line with KL’s existing bus and rail lines, and it will also house China Railway Group’s USD 2 billion regional headquarters. Due to the close working relationship between the Malaysian government and Chinese investors — including China Railway Rolling Stock Co. which has supplied Malaysian Railway with trains since 2010, and which also set up a manufacturing plant in Malaysia in 2015 — some experts believe China holds the advantage in securing the contract for the Singapore-KL high-speed rail line. Looking to the future, China Railway is already “in discussions with the Thai government to build a high speed rail connecting Bandar Malaysia to Bangkok”.

http://ippreview.com/index.php/Home/Blog/single/id/338.html

Map of S’pore 1898

In Uncategorized on 10/02/2017 at 8:44 am

No automatic alt text available.

HoHoHO got this right

In Shipping, Temasek on 10/02/2017 at 5:39 am

Selling NOL to the French Swiss shipping group Mediterranean Shipping

The gorilla in shipping had a bad time. Remember it had been making money while a scholar, and ex-Temasek MD and SAF general ran NOL aground.

Maersk Line slipped to a loss of US$376m from a profit of US$1.3bn a year earlier due to record low freight rates. It expected improve its result by US$1bn while global container trade should increase by 2-4%. This is well below the double-digit increases before the financial crisis.

Western MSM refuses to held accountable/ Ungrateful

In Media on 09/02/2017 at 4:26 pm

MSM is upset that he wants to hold media accountable:

the Spicer Doctrine – the belief held by the White House press secretary that it is the job of government to hold media to account and not just the other way round – poses a mortal threat to the trade we call reporting.

BBC

Sad!

Especially when he’s really helping journalists and editors

he is doing more than any other modern politician to help them pay their mortgages and feed their families.

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-38854711

Ungrateful!

Will CEO of TLC behave in the recommended PAP way?

In S'pore Inc on 09/02/2017 at 6:06 am

The PAP administration likes to say that S’poreans should follow the Japanese way accepting responsibility for cock-ups: apologise and, where necessary, resign.

So will the CEO of Surbana Jurong follow the Japanese practice, after the  Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say on Tuesday (Feb 7) scolded Surbana Jurong in Parliament describing the company’s behaviour as unacceptable? The GLC had publicly labeled the 54 employees it sacked as poor performers,

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Surbana Jurong is a Singaporean government-owned consultancy company focusing on infrastructure and urban development. It was formed in June 2015 with the merger of Surbana International Consultants and Jurong International Holdings. It is wholly owned by Temasek Holdings and has about 4,000 employees

Surbana’s labelling of sacked staff as poor performers ‘unacceptable’

Surbana Jurong group chief executive Wong Heang Fine said: “We cannot allow our 1 per cent of poor performers to continue to affect the rest of the 99 per cent of staff who are performing.” The company later said the process could have been better managed after even the running dog that is NTUC KPKBed.

———————————————————————

“To the best of my recollection, this is the first time that an employer conducted such a major termination exercise and … labelled the workers as ‘poor performers’. I think as Manpower Minister, it’s something I do not find acceptable.”

Adding that one’s work environment and a company’s human resource practices may be contributing factors to performance: “I hope we will not come across another case where a company does a major termination and labels employees as having poor performance publicly.”

He said Surbana Jurong’s management and the unions reached an agreement on ex gratia payment, “which in our view is a fair outcome for the affected employees”.


The law on unfair dismissal

If an employee files an appeal of unfair dismissal to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the ministry will first mediate. Should that fail, MOM will conduct an inquiry and require the employer to produce evidence to justify the termination.

If the employer is unable to substantiate claims that the affected employee’s performance is poor, the employer may be ordered to reinstate the employee or provide compensation. If it does not comply, it can be prosecuted.

By settling Surbana Jurong has effectively admitted that it cocked-up.

——————————————————–

Will the CEO accept Japanese style responsibility for cock-up? Or will it be usual “move on” that so discredits our so-called meritocracy system? Sadly the latter is more probable.

The PAP believes that “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”:

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/why-khaw-vikram-must-commit-hari-kiri/

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

After all, a Surbana Jurong spokesperson said the matter had been resolved “amicably” with the unions, adding “It is currently reviewing our performance management processes to improve the system.”

This means that some S’porean human resources manager is going to get the sack (Replaced by a Peenoy or Arneigh FT? Cheaper leh.), while the CEO will continue smiling when he gets his monthly CPF statement like Lim Swee Say.

Sad!

 

Trump pak China cont’d

In China on 08/02/2017 at 4:05 pm
NEWS ANALYSIS
President Xi Jinping of China in Bern, Switzerland, last week. During his visit, Mr. Xi visited the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he hinted that with the United States in retreat, China was prepared to step up as a champion of free trade.

Trump Injects High Risk Into Relations With China

As he tosses aside decades of American trade policy, President Trump could also go his own way on other issues with China, including Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Hard Truths no longer relevant in PRC relations?

In China on 08/02/2017 at 8:16 am

Many S’poreans were annoyed with the Chinese for seizing our military vehicles.  But are more savvy (or lazy?) than to KPKB in the streets (illegal anyway) or online. This can be seen in the parodies chiding China for being-minded.

But there is a sense among S’poreans that the PAP administration has been making missteps recently in handling international relations with China.

These missteps were probably due to a mixture of

— bad luck (APL not doing the proper paperwork despite being staffed by S’poreans. It was part of NOL and the retrenchments have not yet materialised now that NOL is no longer a TLC);

and

— diplomacy based on Hard Truths.

The Hard Truths applicable here are that

— so long as S’pore mouths the “one China” policy, China would keep a blind eye to our military ties with Taiwan forged in the days when Taiwan was a one-party state ruled by the KMT who also believed in “one China” because they considered themselves the legitimate rulers of China; and

— S’pore could be US’s regional cheer-leader and military base without upsetting China.

LHL’s administration certainly didn’t expect Trump to win and was betting on Crooked, Lying Clinton winning.

I suspect our strong statements on the South China Sea may also have been made in the hope of Lying, Crooked Clinton changing her mind again on TTP happen. If this is so, then this was a miscalculation, albeit with 20/20 hindsight.

Unfortunately an assertive China, a Taiwan ruled by the DPP that refuses to accept that it is part of China (a view that mirrors the view of held by more and more ordinary Taiwanese that Taiwan is not part of China),  a pak PRC US administration, and the rise of gblobal protectionism mean that we are conducting diplomacy as laid down in Hard Truths in a world where the Hard Truths are irrelevant.

Even more unfortunate, MFA doesn’t seem not to know when not to follow the manual. This is not surprising as the present lot “inherited the diplomatic playbook from the old guard and were probably selected to be maintainers of what was built, as less of rock-the-boat innovators” as someone oh FB put it.

Sad!

Really? “Singapore Says Asian Growth Helps Offset U.S. Trade Threat”

In Economy on 07/02/2017 at 4:31 am

(Or “EDB does alternative facts”)

“A lot of our manufacturing here is to address the needs and opportunities in Asia.”

“Singapore Says Asian Growth Helps Offset U.S. Trade Threat” 

Erm. A lot of the opportunities and needs in Asia come about as a result from the ultimately exporting to the US of A.

Here’s a chart from the Bloomberg article

Juz google “Export data” and

— China’s main export partners are the United States (18% of total exports), Hong Kong (15%), the European Union (16%, of which Germany, the UK and the Netherlands account for 3% each), ASEAN countries (12%, of which Vietnam accounts for 3%), Japan (6%) and South Korea (4%)

— Malaysia’s main export partners are: Singapore (14%), China (13%), European Union (10%), Japan (9.5%), the United States (9.4%) and Thailand (6%).

Need I say more?

But there’s more: the chart below (courtesy of Chris K) shows that we are among those countries that will suffer the most from the imposition of a US border tax. But we’ll be happy that M’sia will be more badly affected. As will Thailand and Vietnam.

Image may contain: text

Again the effects on big exporters to the US like China and M’sia will also affect their trade with us.

So what cock is the chairman of the EDB talking? And what weed is he smoking?

Finally remember when reading the u/m from EDB remember what I said recently about FDI numbers: FDI does not always result in new physical investments, with new jobs to match it. Often FDI is the transfer intangible assets for the purpose of lowering corporate tax.

Investment commitment levels in Singapore are expected to be similar to those seen in 2016 amid uncertainties in the global economic environment, the Economic Development Board (EDB) said on Thursday (Feb 2).

At its 2016 Year-in-Review press conference, EDB said it will seek to consolidate Singapore’s position as a high value manufacturing base by capturing opportunities in advanced manufacturing. It will do this by anchoring lead adopters of advanced manufacturing in Singapore, while building up an ecosystem of suppliers and enablers to develop technologies and solutions, the agency added.

And

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/singapore/2017-investments-likely-to-remain-similar-to-last-year-s-edb/3486220.html

Btw, maybe FDI levels are projected to remain static because MNCs are expected to cut back their use of tax havens following public outrage in the West after revelations of the tricks (not all legal) they use to mininise tax?

Luxembourg is already expecting this and if it happens there, it’ll happen here. Remember Oz miners are on the rack after it was revealed that they use S’pore to minise taxes on their exports of minerals from Oz?

Amos keeps slipping on banana skins he threw on floor

In Uncategorized on 06/02/2017 at 4:32 am
Image result for amos yee eating banana
But first: Doesn’t Amos’ case show Trump is not anti-Muslim?
The neo-liberals are screaming that Trump hates Muslim and that the travel ban (now temporarily suspended) on people from seven mainly Muslim nations shows it.
But Amos’ case (remember he kanna jailed here because, among other things, he dissed Islam) shows the lie to such lies about Trump Triumphant. (But to be fair maybe the dissing of Islam only mitigated his dissing of Christianity? So no points in his favour.)
Back to Amos who keeps suffering from indignities and injuries he inflicts on himself.
According to a press release by Grossman Law, the firm (doing pro bono when a loony self-styled S’porean dissident wants money) representing him in his asylum bid, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) denied the release on Thursday (Febuary 2). It added that Yee will have been in US detention for 80 days by March 7 (the hearing date of his asylum application) – more than the six weeks’ jail he received in Singapore for wounding religious feelings.
Earlier, in mid January he had been KPKBing about his detention complaining that he had already spent more jail time in S’pore than in the US.
I’ve just received awful news friends, awful news.

After languishing in American jail for now a total of 24 days, according to my pro bono human rights lawyer, Sandra Grossman (who’s been doing a tireless and absolutely fantastic job on my case, by the way), she was in contact with the immigration officers and was hoping that after they heard that the nature of my case, would release me in a few days. However, that did not happen. I just got a letter that said that my court date (not release day) is scheduled for 30th January. Yes, you heard that right, fucking 30th January. What the fuck?!

That means I will literally have spent a total of 50 days in American jail, that is longer than anything that the Singaporean government has sentenced me for, for criticizing religion and the government! Someone escaped his country to prevent being sent to jail for exercising his free speech and has to spend time in jail in the country that he escaped to that is longer than if he was imprisoned for exercising his free speech from the country he was escaping! If he rescinds his political asylum claim, he is deported back to the country he is trying to escape from and gets permanently banned from coming to the US.

What the fuck? What the fuck?! This is bullshit! This is fucking bullshit!

What a born loser.
And there’s worse:
The law firm said ICE had indicated that it intended to release Yee after the hearing on January 30 this year because Boy Fantastic was not violent, a flight risk or a threat to national security. But “The refusal by ICE to honour its previous agreement, is not based on any new facts about Yee, but solely on President Trump’s new directives.”

Born loser, double confirm. Hehehe.

He was so so stupid and cheap skate that he flew to the US on a one way ticket (or so I’m told). Immigration was suspicious, checked his handphone and found messages about asylum plans and he was forced to admit he wanted asylum. So he got detained.

But then when in S’pore, he was already too clever by half.

Amos already mentioned before that every time he said he was suicidal or depressed in prison, he was actually trying to bait the media or to find ways to get released from jail earlier. And that time he looked traumatized out of court in Singapore was an act.

It’s true I think because once he got into the taxi with me and no media was looking, he started smiling and seemed totally fine.

Mother Mary on her lying boy

Well he may have fooled the ang moh tua kees, the anti-PAP cybernuts and ang moh human rights kay pohs so that they KPKBed for his release but by pretending to be suicidal or depressed he never got off a day earlier. In fact, he was put  on a tougher regime than if he hadn’t faked  being  suicidal or depressed. This was to prevent him committing suicide. He was also sent to Woodbridge while he was being evaluated on the suitability of being sent to a reform training centre. His lying got himself much worse treatment than if he juz went along with the flow, something he did the second time round.

He was too clever by half and payed the consequences in S’pore.

Image result for amos yeeAmos: a born loser, too clever by half.

And he must be banging his balls really hard in frustration: Netflix is to feature a documentary on HK activist Joshua Wong http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-38727842
Joshua Wong is getting the global publicity and recognition that Amos craves. Meanwhile Amos is in detention in the land of the free.
Image result for Goh Meng Seng + banana
 Picture from the future. Amos eating a banana when he’s lost his marbles as a 50-something.

TRE sucks, really sucks

In Uncategorized on 05/02/2017 at 11:39 am

Looks like the site has been taken over by some malicious software.

Click on any of the articles, and a lot of garbage appears. No way of escaping the rubbish. Only by pressing Control Alternate Delete and closing the browser can u escape. Of course u lose all yr other taps.

TRE sucks, really sucks. Not the home of the cybernuts anymore. It’s the home of malicious software.

Our Dissident voices are learning from the Russian dissidents?

In Political governance on 05/02/2017 at 4:51 am

Yesterday The Agora hosted  FOSG (Future Of Singapore).

SOSG had a second conversation on Singapore economy past, present and future led by Yeoh Lam Kwong, former chief economist of GIC held at the Agora. A 3-hour long discussion with a full house audience. More young people than the previous one!

Lam Keong summarised the early period under the rubric of a “socialism that works” this was followed by a “capitalism the didn’t quite work” the future from 2011 is towards a social democracy that hopefully works. This is the challenge given the resources of the “estate of the state”. That in comparison to OECD standards Singapore has a lot of scope to improve. A lively discussion ended with a video presentation on the highlights of “Singapore 2.0 – Aging in Place” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjlGE2VfA_I&t=81s). There was a sense of energy throughout the discussion. Please look out for announcements on future sessions on FOSG.

Three cheers for The Agora, SOSG and Lam Keong.

—————————————————-

“Educate, agitate, organise.”This was George Bernard Shaw’s famous call to action for the British left-wing. He’s best remembered today for the musical “My fair Lady” which is based on a play of his . He hated the musical. I like the ending of the musical better.

In his heyday he was both a leading intellectual (he was one of the founders of the Fabian Society, still influential in moderate left-wing circles in the UK), and a commercially succesful playwright.

———————————————————-

The Agora, SOSG and Lam Keong are educating S’poreans and perhaps this is better than the posturings of Mad Dogs like Amos, Dr Chee and M Ravi, and the BS of cybernuts like Philip Ang, Tan Jee Say, Roy Ngerng etc.

What follows is a long extract from the Economist on how the Russian intellectuals are using public lectures, intellectual discussions and cultural events to push back against an authoritarian, repressive state that brooks no dissent (Sounds familiar?).

Although the state today suppresses independent civil and political activity, it allows a lot more personal freedom than it did in 1979 … Since the mainstream media are mostly pumping out government propaganda, Russia’s modern intellectuals have got involved in cultural projects. Public lectures by notable scholars, both Russian and foreign, on subjects from urbanism to artificial intelligence gather mass audiences. Tickets to such talks sell out within hours. Every night dozens of events take place in Moscow and other cities. Book fairs attract queues to rival those for pop concerts. A new shopping centre in Yekaterinburg, in the Urals, has organised a book round-table as one of its opening events.

Public lectures, intellectual discussions and excursions have evolved into a business. “Ten years ago, to raise money from investors, you needed to say only one word: ‘media’. Today all you have to say is ‘education’,” says Yuri Saprykin, a former editor of Afisha, a listings magazine that helped shape the tastes of the urban middle class. The trend started a few years ago when a site called “Theory and practice” began to provide a wide variety of courses and lectures. The young are wild about classical music and art museums. “If you are not learning something outside your work, you are a loser,” says Ms Kosinskaya.

Mr Dziadko, the grandson of Soviet dissidents and human-rights activists, and a group of friends have launched a popular multimedia education and entertainment project called Arzamas, a name borrowed from a 19th-century literary society of which Pushkin was a member. The subjects range from Elizabethan theatre and medieval French history to the anthropology of communism and the mythology of South Africa. A few months ago Arzamas organised an evening lecture about Joan of Arc, including a recital of medieval music, at Moscow’s main library. “We thought it would be attended by a few intellectuals. But when we turned up 15 minutes before the lecture, we saw a long queue of young people and hipsters trying to get in,” says Mr Dziadko.

The boom in “enlightenment” projects is not so much a reversal of the rise of consumerism in the previous decade but a complement to it. Just as Russian people were suddenly presented with a vast choice of consumer goods, they now have a large array of intellectual pursuits to choose from. And whereas Russia’s government can impose a ban on imports of Western food, barring the spread of knowledge is much harder.

The main producers and consumers of these enlightenment projects are young Westernised Russians who are part of a global culture. Their pursuit of a wide range of knowledge is a way of fighting the isolationism and aggressive obscurantism imposed by both state and church. This takes many forms, from banning modern-art shows to organising anti-gay campaigns, promoting anti-Darwinism and attempting to stop abortions.

Popular books about biology and physics currently sell better than detective stories. Yulia Shakhnovskaya, the director of the Moscow Polytechnic Museum, where Evgeny Yevtushenko read his poetry in the 1960s, says that education and science have become a form of resistance to politics. “We can’t win but that does not mean we should stop resisting, so we try to grow a garden in the middle of hell.” She says her main target audience is teenage schoolchildren, who are desperate for knowledge: “Good marks are no longer the main prerequisite for getting a good job in Russia…but the demand for knowledge is still there, so we try to satisfy it by other means.”

Ms Shakhnovskaya’s patrons include Igor Shuvalov, the first deputy prime minister in charge of the economy, and Anatoly Chubais, the father of Russia’s privatisation programme. They are helping to promote an educated and emancipated elite that could gradually begin to change the system, which is what happened in the 1980s.

For now at least, the educated urban class does not pose a serious political threat to Mr Putin. But it represents a different and more fundamental challenge that has to do with values and ideas. Some of the most striking independent public-lecture projects recently launched had titles such as “The return of ethics” and “Public lies”, involving both Western and Russian philosophers, economists, sociologists and writers.

This new generation of educated young urbanites has criticised Russian politicians and opinion-formers of the 1990s and 2000s for viewing human-rights abuses and the lack of independent courts as unfortunate impediments to business and foreign investment, rather than bad things in themselves. Yet “despite the total amorality of politicians and bureaucrats, or maybe because of it, the demand for ethics in the public sphere is growing, not falling,” says Andrei Babitsky, a former editor of the Inliberty website that organised the lectures on ethics and lies. The power of ideas should never be underestimated, especially in Russia.

http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21708882-young-people-are-finding-new-ways-signalling-dissent-tell-me-about-joan-arc

Why I hate a free, pious, preachy press

In Media on 04/02/2017 at 7:11 am

i.e the US neo-liberal* media, and the neo-liberal elite they back. They empower PC and help fix “mavericks” who are non-PC. And worse, they are humourless and have no sense of irreverence or absurdity.

The following is an extract from the UK’s equivalent of the NYT, written by the editor of a conservative US publication:

Trump is most vested in different battles, mainly against an establishment and a north-eastern elite that he considers overly insulated and self-interested and due to be taken down a notch.

All during his campaign, he inveighed against political correctness, whose enforcers on college campuses and in the elite culture have had the upper hand in establishing the agreed-upon rules for public speech. They had the power to make transgressors against their rules grovel, cry and apologise. To deny them their jobs. To make them worry about telling the wrong joke or posting an impermissible thought on Twitter.

Trump’s election, despite violating almost every rule set down by political correctness, represented a step toward the disempowerment of this elite.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/29/donald-trump-left-faces-new-cultural-warrior-in-battle-it-thought-won


*Chris K suggested this term to highlight the group of liberals that believe in identity politics (Yup like the alt-right that they accuse of playing identity politics: both are two sides of the same coin) and Nazi or fascistic PC.

When Russia told Trump to f+++ off

In Uncategorized on 03/02/2017 at 3:33 pm

So maybe Putin’s praise of Trump is to mitigate the damage. After all Trump remembers snubs and insults.

Hilary’s favouriye newspaper NYT reported:

Trump’s Russian Forays
“I have no dealings with Russia,” Mr. Trump said at his news conference last week.
Well, it wasn’t for lack of trying.
In spite of Mr. Trump’s insistence that he has “stayed away” from Russia in his corporate dealings, he has repeatedly sought business in Russia, from as far back as 1987.
Mr. Trump applied for his trademark in the country as early as 1996 and his children and associates have visited Moscow in search of joint ventures.
In 2013, the president-elect sold Russian real estate developers the right to host his Miss Universe pageant and used the visit as a chance to discuss development deals. “TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next,” he wrote on Twitter at the time.
Mr. Trump and his partners pursued Russians newly flush with cash as the country’s market opened up in the post-Soviet era. And seeking deals in Russiabecame part of the Trump brand’s expansion efforts.
In the long run, however, it proved more challenging in Russia than it did in places like India and the Philippines.

NYT’s Dealbook

 

When a S’porean wins this scholarship …

In Uncategorized on 03/02/2017 at 5:55 am

We can really be proud of our education system.

His passport to tech Mecca arrived in 2011. Thiel, who made his fortune as an early Facebook investor, runs a scheme that pays youngsters to become entrepreneurs instead of going to college — Proud won a fellowship worth $100,000. Today Proud says he doesn’t really know why he was chosen but, as Thiel later told Forbes magazine, “James stood out from the start as extremely tenacious and determined”.

FT Magazine

James Proud is a 25 year-old Brit.

He’s so good that

Thiel to invest $2m of his own funds into Hello, six years after he flew Proud to San Francisco. He is the first Thiel Fellow that the venture capitalist has personally invested in.

Juz call an ambulance even if these symptoms last only 5 minutes

In Uncategorized on 02/02/2017 at 5:02 am

I’m sure that you know that if you get a combination of these symptoms you should call for an ambulance

— blurring of vision

— room seems to spin

— loss of muscular power

— slurring of speech

— cold sweat

because you could be getting a stroke.

But you may like me think that if one gets these symptoms and they go away almost immediately (say five minutes), everything is OK. Not so.

During CNY a relation related that he had the symptoms last year while fiddling with some gadgets. He “recovered” almost immediately but was still pale when his wife spoke to him. His son was visiting and was called to examine him. He told them to call for an ambulance because he said it was a stroke attack. He’s an authority because he’s a physiotherapist working with stroke patients.

Always call an ambulance. Another attack could come at any time, an attack that if unattended for some time could lead to bad results like partial paralysis. It’s the luck of the draw when another attack will happen and it’s important to get immediate medical treatment to unchoke the system: hence the ambulance.

As it was scans revealed that my relation had had two previous attacks. If he was a cat, he’d only have six lives left.

 

Hilary supporter buys US$12bn of stocks

In Uncategorized on 01/02/2017 at 4:43 pm

Not fake news.

Warren Buffet’s $12 billion investment. “We’ve, net, bought $12 billion of common stocks since the election,” he said in an interview with Charlie Rose. – Bloomberg

It must have pained the NYT’s Dealbook to report the above.

The bottom line: Trump is not going to destroy the US economy. Taz fake analysis from Hilary’s friends in the NYT, Washington Post etc.

Trump Triumphant.

Where are the minorities?

In Humour on 01/02/2017 at 8:50 am

Oppo to PAP are mainly Cina because the Gregoes, Mats and Kalengs are PAP supporters? Or only Chinese are cybernuts?  Or is there racism in TRE? Or TRE believes members of its team must be in proportion to the racial balance here; 75%, 12% and 7%.

Those were my tots when I read

Wishing all our Chinese readers a Prosperous & Happy Lunar New year

Wishing all our Chinese readers a Prosperous & Happy Lunar New year

The team@TR Emeritus would like to wish all our Chinese readers a very Prosperous and Happy Lunar New Year. Since most on the team and our writers are Chinese, please understand that during this period, moderation and articles would be slow to process. We thank you for your kind understand and continued support. Team@TR Emeritus . . …

 

What the junior minister of Truth really meant

In Media on 31/01/2017 at 4:35 am

In the current environment where things happen very fast, it is critical for Singapore to continue to have a national broadcaster that people can turn to as a credible and reliable source of news.

Chee Hong Tat, Minister of State at the Ministry of Communications and Information, said this during a visit to Mediacorp on Saturday (Jan 28)…

CNA

What he really meant is that the PAP administration needs running dogs like MediaCorp and SPH with people like Debra Soon and Sumiko Tan inside to give S’poreans the news that the PAP wants S’poreans to hear, see or read; not the news that the a free media forces* on its audience.

—————————————

Index of Press Freedom

Our Asian peer group all above us: Taiwan (51st), Hong Kong (69th), South Korea (70th) and Japan (72nd)

Our Asean nieighbours above us: Thailand (136th), Indonesia (130th), Philippines (138th), Burma (143rd) and Malaysia (146th).

The same are in the last three positions: Turkmenistan (178th), North Korea (179th) and Eritrea (180th).

———————————-

To be fair S’pore at 154th on the Index is a long way from N Korea. It’s even ahead of Brunei at 155th.  Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia somewhere lower.

Maybe the propaganda ministry’s and MDA’s ministers and bureaucrats, MediaCorp and SPH and their journalists and editors should work harder to get us down to the level of China (176th)?

Thank god, Yaacob the Info minister is a Malay, not an ambitious, hardworking, ruthless Cina like Chee Hong Tat. If he were minister he’d install a KPI that we must match at the very least China’s ranking .

—————————————————————-

*Think the lies the NYT, Washington Post and CNN feed the Americans who only have Fox and WSJ *for “fair and balanced” reporting. They are even turning to the BBC which in the UK is dissed by many conservatives as a bunch of leftists for a more nuanced view on Trump the Triumphant.

Yup I am sceptical about the “free media”. What one of the best editors in the UK wrote about his time editing the Sunday Times:

Murdoch has too much power and influence: that he controls every aspect of his newspapers on three continents, dictating an editorial before breakfast, writing headlines over lunch, and deciding which politician to discredit over dinner. He has been known to do all three. But he does not generally work like that: his control is far more subtle.

For a start he picks as his editors people like me, who are mostly on the same wavelength as he is: we started from a set of common assumptions about politics and society, even if we did not see eye to eye on every issue and have very different styles. Then he largely left me to get on with my work.

Editorial freedom, however, has its limits: Even when I did not hear from him and I knew his attention was elsewhere, he was still uppermost in my mind. When we did talk he would always let me know what he liked and what he did not, where he stood on an issue of the time and what he thought of a politician in the news. Such is the force of his personality that you feel obliged to take such views carefully into account. And why not? He is, after all, the owner.

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/1996/12/rupert-murdoch-199612

**Both owned by Murdoch.

 

 

Crooked Hilary wouldn’t have done this

In Uncategorized on 30/01/2017 at 3:59 pm

A ban on administration officials from ever lobbying the US on behalf of a foreign government, and a separate five-year ban on other lobbying.

True in US: True here too?

In Economy on 30/01/2017 at 4:36 am

“If businesses saw more value in investing in US workers, they could have done so” was part of the headline of an article on the US on why manufacturing jobs were history in the US.

Given our low worker productivity record especially in the SME sector, it’s clear that SME owners see no value in investing in S’porean workers. Why should they, given that they have access to FTs willing to work for less than S’poreans?

So the 70% of voters that voted for the PAP are either state bureaucrats, or work in sectors not affected by FTs? Can’t be. Must be some truth that some PAP voters are as daft as anti_PAP cybernuts.

Why I like a free, irreverent press

In Media on 29/01/2017 at 6:13 am

Only UK tabloids (think TNP on steroids and smoking weed) can come up with this kind of stuff

The Daily Mirror thinks it was “like watching Julie Andrews hang out with Hugh Hefner.” The Sun’s cartoonist offers a different comparison with Beauty and the Beast in the Disney version. “Lady and the Trump” is the headline in the Daily Star.

And

Daily Mail columnist Quentin Letts thinks that the late Cilla Black would have been encouraged: “the blind date was a success.”

And

The Sun can’t resist offering a formal pat on the back: “Mission accomplished, Theresa.”

The Sun reports that Jeremy Corbyn continued to have what used to be styled “a little local difficulty” with his party. “Whenever you think Labour’s chaos cannot get worse, it does.”

BBC

Origin of 100 Plus name

In Uncategorized on 29/01/2017 at 5:49 am

Found out this NY that the 100 Plus drink was given that name because 1983 the year it was introduced was the 100th anniversary of F&N, the maker.

Double standards of US MSM

In Media on 28/01/2017 at 8:29 am

It’s not fake news whrn US MSM misreports news (Bit like our ST and other constructive, nation-building media).

No wonder one of Trump’s most senior advisers calls the NYT, the Washington Post and other uS MSM publications, the “opposition party”, not the Democrats: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38766620

The latest example

Then, for a brief moment, it looked as if the White House was declaring a trade war, when reports surfaced on Twitter that Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, had said that a 20% tariff on Mexican imports would raise the necessary funds.

Those reports, it turned out, were not quite right. Mr Spicer in fact suggested that a deal was nearing on corporate tax reform. He implied that it would include the so-called “border-adjustment” Republicans in the House of Representatives have long sought. That change could pay for the wall, he said. (He later told a reporter he was only discussing “possible” policy moves).

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2017/01/taxes-and-tariffs

Reunion dinner sucks?

In Uncategorized on 27/01/2017 at 5:17 am

When I read this in FT: “Number of travellers venturing outside mainland set to exceed last year’s record of 5.7m” about the number of Chinese going abroad for holidays, I couldn’t help but remember something a PAP Minister said in the 90s I think. It could have been in the late 80s.

The minister was Wong Kan Seng (I think) and he was castigating those S’porean Chinese for opting out of rehunion dinners, preferring to fly off for hols in Oz, New Zealand or elsewhere where there was life during CNY.

Well the real Chinese are doing it too. Maybe they learnt it from us? Juz like they learnt from us how to Make China Great Again? At least thaz what the PAPpies tell us.

Update at 6.15am

Chu Xi is supposedly an important day for the Chinese. It is very unfortunate that most Chinese not born in a family that does not understand or follow Chinese culture and tradition have forgotten the significance of this day. Worse still, some even abandon and divorce themselves from their heritage.
There are three important things to do on Chu Xi:
  • give thanks to the ancestors (祭袓)

  • get together for a family reunion dinner (团年饭 / 年夜饭)

  • guard the age (守岁)

https://www.facebook.com/notes/chinese-custom-festivities-by-sin-fong-chan/chu-xi-%E9%99%A4%E5%A4%95-lunar-new-years-eve/1394243867266605

How to do this if on holiday?

Don’t get distracted by what the ministers say, focus on what they don’t

In Uncategorized on 26/01/2017 at 4:14 pm

Achtung Terry, and other citizen journalists. Useful ideas from a brave Russian journalist:

But in order to hold Putin – or Trump – accountable, you don’t need access to the Kremlin or the White House. Quite the opposite – having such access is a liability, because it’s a privilege you can be threatened with losing, or you can succumb to access bias. Investigations into corruption and mismanagement don’t require close relationships with state officials – quite the opposite. And even though Russian independent reporters can’t unseat Putin (nothing can, that’s not how elections work in Russia) defining public policy is one advantage their American colleagues have. So my message for covering President Trump’s administration is this: don’t get distracted by what they say, focus on what they don’t.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/23/reported-putin-journalists-trump-media

Don’t get distracted by what they say, focus on what they don’t.

When there were really floods

In Environment, Infrastructure on 26/01/2017 at 5:28 am

Jerome Lim (Mr Nostalgia) reposted something from 2011 that he put up on Facebook

And we thought that occasional pool in Orchard Road was bad … a map of the 1978 floods ..

No automatic alt text available.

(Remember in 201– 2011 there were several “once in every 50 years” floods within several months)

Well ministers were paid a lot less in the 70s. We got higher expectations of millionaire ministers today. Cannot isit?

Seriously, it was really good to be reminded of how bad things still were 19 years after the PAP came into power.

Bang yr balls anti-PAP cybernuts

In Property on 25/01/2017 at 4:40 pm

That means u: TJS (comparing S’pore to PeenoyLand), Philip Ang, Goh Meng Seng and Oxygen and other TRE ranters. S’pore’s not on this list

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2017/jan/23/10-most-unaffordable-cities-housing-in-pictures

Vote PAP?

After all, unlike HK (most unaffordable place and where Goh Meng Seng lives, saying its a lot cheaper than S’pore*) we got a decent, if expensive, public housing here.


*He got paid-up property there isit? Paid for by CIA for fixing the Oppo, election after election isit?

TerrexGate: Lest we forget

In China, Political governance on 25/01/2017 at 6:51 am

So our APCs have been released just ahead of Chinese New Year.

But let’s not let our PM and his cabinet of illionaires (Bet u they looking with envy at Trump’s cabinet of billionaires with envy: and wondering how to become that rich?. Remember it was a PAPpy MP who said he couldn’t respect people not well paid?) off the hook.

They were on auto pilot when it came to using Taiwan as a training area. I wrote this in December:

If this true, why are we still training in Taiwan?

In China on 01/12/2016 at 4:31 am

Singapore … has gradually reduced the number of Starlight personnel sent to Taiwan for training in recent years to as few as 3,000, but there are still at least three military bases in Taiwan for use by the project.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2050097/singapores-refusal-halt-military-ties-taiwan-prompted

At one time, in any given year 20,000 S’poreans were training in Taiwan.

——————————————

Starlight Project dates back to early 1974, when LKY signed a secret deal with his Taiwanese counterpart Chiang Ching-kuo during a visit to Taiwan.

Based on that confidential agreement, Singapore has sent nearly 20,000 troops to Taiwan for training on a yearly basis. Joint military exercises went on even after Singapore shifted its formal diplomatic relations from Taiwan to mainland China in 1990.

SCMP

———————————————

The SCMP also says that according to Macau-based military expert Antony Wong Dong,
Beijing had years ago tried to convince Singapore to replace its military training bases in Taiwan with alternatives on Hainan.

“The mainland side promised to provide the Singaporean military with a closer and larger place in Hainan [than that used in Taiwan] for military exercises, but Singapore rejected the offer,” Wong said.

Macau-based military expert Antony Wong Dong says S’pore rejected the offer because of strong opposition from the US. The US was (and is) concerned because US military secrets could be leaked because S’pore uses American weapon systems.

If only 3,000 are sent to Taiwan a tear, why continue especially as we are now training in Oz in a big way. We are expansing the facilities there.

Auto-pilot at work isit, while millionaire minsters looking at their daily bank statements and monthly CPF statements?

The difference between “alternative news” and “fake news”

In Media on 24/01/2017 at 5:30 pm

The “We love Hilary. Trump sucks” equates the term “alternative news” (used by Trump’s right hand woman when talking about the size of the inauguration crowd) with “fake news”. They have a point on the issue of the size of the crowds going by the photos.

But isn’t this a good example of the proper use of the term “alternative news”?

Mr Spicer said it was “unquestionable” that Mr Trump’s inauguration “was the most watched” ever.

Although Ronald Reagan’s was top in terms of television figures, attracting 41.8 million viewers, Mr Spicer pointed out that the 30.6 million who tuned in to see Mr Trump take the oath of office did not include the millions who watched the ceremony online.

(Extract from a BBC report)

The usual suspects are dissing this argument but really I can’t follow what they are trying to say. All I know is that they are not calling this “fake news” and this I suspect makes them madder.

The Trumpeters are telling a lot of lies but the “We love Hilary” MSM (because they are so emotional that Trump Triumphant cocked a snook at them and won) are letting the Trumpeters get away with murder.

From NYT Dealbook on another reason ehy MSM is so upset:

DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION
Breaking down the stage after President-elect Donald J. Trump’s news conference on Wednesday. As new would-be scandals rapidly follow older ones, many fail to gain traction.

Trump Shows How to Smother a Scandal: With a Bigger Story

As one would-be controversy rapidly succeeds another, it’s clear that there’s only so much the news media and the public can focus on at once.

PAP’s Talk Cock King

In Uncategorized on 24/01/2017 at 6:00 am

Seems the PAP has a Talk Cock King where once it only had Queen Jos: the Talk Cock Queen

The world as we know it is at an inflection point, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Friday (Jan 13) – and as such, the ability to change and adapt is especially relevant today as fundamental rules will change; and with it, the fate of nations.

Err why say this when Ownself not willing to be flexible Ownself?

Think of the many Hard Truths that have become obsolete if not outright dangerous. Examples: Forced savings of 36%, minimal welfare sprnding to prevent “welfarism”, reserves must keep growing, Mindef’s 25% share of the Budget is sacrosanct and not subject to outside scrutiny.

Then there was this whopper late last year just after US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter made it clear that the US was out to “contain” China.

“It is neither possible nor strategically necessary to contain China’s rise … China is now an integral leader of global systems of trade, finance and security. It is clear that China needs the world as much as the world needs China, and I think this interdependence will grow, not diminish,” he said at the forum in Simi Valley, California, attended by US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, foreign defence ministers and members of the US Congress.

CNA — early December

Just before the speech to the Americans, it seems he was removed from the party’s CEC, its highest decision-making body. Reports say he was not even on the ballot. Parliamentary speaker Halimah Yacob was elected in his place.

Maybe he’s on the way out? Tot he was one of PM’s inner team alongside Teo, Tharman and Shan.

S’pore angle in major UK corruption case?

In Airlines on 23/01/2017 at 5:06 am

Rolls-Royce admitted last week a series of bribery and corruption offences around the world (some going back decades) as part of a £671m settlement with the UK, US and Brazilian authorities. In SE Asia, Garuda, AirAsia and Thai executives at the time have been implicated. In Indonesis, the govt has announced an investigation against previous management.

So it is interesting to read in today’s FT that

Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigations Bureau said that it was “working closely with the relevant authorities” in connection with the investigation into Rolls-Royce.

Does this mean SIA executives are being investigated?

Get in the case Terry’s Online Channel.

KS parents should download this app

In Uncategorized on 22/01/2017 at 2:48 pm

The BBC reports that a Lebanese-born enterpreneur has developed in Lebanon

Play My Way, an educational way to stop children spending too much time on their smartphones and tablets.

At parent-specified intervals, Play My Way interrupts any running app with an educational question and will only return to the app once the question is answered.

Of clearly global appeal, last month the app was the third most downloaded app, not in Lebanon, but in the UK.

http://www.playmyway.com/

Makes you think of Amos?

In Uncategorized on 22/01/2017 at 4:45 am

And of The Indians (Or is it Idiots?) — S’pore?

And the cybernuts? Be they PAPpyists (Kishore, Jason Chua and Eunice Chia-Lim) and anti-PAPyists (TRELands ranters like Oxygen, and Philip Ang, Tan Jee Say, Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui).

Another* key ingredient in the post-truth culture, says Prof Grayling, has been the rise of social media.

It’s not the soundbite any more, but the “i-bite”, he says, where strong opinion can shout down evidence.

“The whole post-truth phenomenon is about, ‘My opinion is worth more than the facts.’ It’s about how I feel about things.

“It’s terribly narcissistic. It’s been empowered by the fact that you can publish your opinion. You used to need a pot of paint and a balaclava to publish your opinion, if you couldn’t get a publisher.

“But all you need now is an iPhone. Everyone can publish their opinion – and if you disagree with me, it’s an attack on me and not my ideas.

“The fact that you can muscle your way on to the front row and be noticed becomes a kind of celebrity.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/education-38557838

Do read the essay, even if it’s a bit long.

—————————————–

*”The world changed after 2008,” says Prof Grayling – politics since the financial crash has been shaped by a “toxic” growth in income inequality.

As well as the gap between rich and poor, he says a deep sense of grievance has grown among middle-income families, who have faced a long stagnation in earnings.

With a groundswell of economic resentment, he says, it is not difficult to “inflame” emotions over issues such as immigration and to cast doubt on mainstream politicians.

 

Trump closes down China

In China on 21/01/2017 at 4:51 am

Came across this on Facebook posted by FB pal who didn’t attribute it

Trump’s latest Tweet:

“One week after I take office, China will completely shut down. Factories will stop production, shops will close, stock markets will not trade, and government will grind to a halt.

The wealthy will flee overseas with their families, citizens desperately trade the RMB for foreign currency, doors all across the country will be plastered with red notices. Supermarket food stock will be depleted and food prices will rise.

The people who stay will have nothing to do except day-long drinking and gambling. There will be sound of gunfire on the streets for days!”

China foreign ministry replied on Weibo: “That’s Chinese New Year, you dumb ass.”