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Archive for 2018|Yearly archive page

SMRT: Driven to drink?

In Uncategorized on 22/04/2018 at 11:12 am

The constructive nation-building ST reported that an SMRT executive, a Mr Kek, was arrested for drink driving. A former Chief Engineer Officer with the SAF, Mr Alvin Kek, is SMRT Trains chief operations officer (rail). Alvin Kek was previously SMRT’s senior vice president for rail operations (North South East West Lines).

New boss coming, so afraid for job isit? But a poster on FB said his father died recently. Well if that’s an IB excuse, then sure got a lot of S’poreans can use this excuse.

Or maybe the job is so tough that it got him arrested for drink driving?

What do you think drove him to get arrested for a drink driving?

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Zuckerberg caught with pants down again

In Internet on 22/04/2018 at 5:02 am

After what Zuckerberg said to Congress, Facebook then spun that it could be adopting the new European laws on privacy and everything else as its default protection standard for the rest of the world including the US.

In his answers to Congress over Facebook’s involvement in the scandal, Mark Zuckerberg said that GDPR [new European laws on privacy and everything else]        was “going to be a very positive step for the internet”.

When asked whether the regulations should be applied in the US, he replied: “I think everyone in the world deserves good privacy protection.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43822184

Well, we now know that that’s a lot of bull because the BBC report says

Facebook has changed its terms of service, meaning 1.5 billion members will not be protected under tough new privacy protections coming to Europe.

The move comes as the firm faces a series of questions from lawmakers and regulators around the world over its handling of personal data.

The change revolves around which users will be regulated via its European headquarters in Ireland.

Facebook said it planned clearer privacy rules worldwide.

The move, reported by Reuters, will see Facebook users outside the EU governed by Facebook Inc in the US rather than Facebook Ireland.

It is widely seen as a way of the social network avoiding having to apply the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to countries outside the EU.

The change will affect more than 70% of its more than two billion members. As of December, Facebook had 239 million users in the US and Canada and 370 million in Europe.

It also had 1.5 billion members in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America, and they are the ones affected by the change.

Users in the US and Canada have never been subject to European rules.

In 2008, Facebook set up its international headquarters in Ireland to take advantage of the country’s low corporate tax rates but it also meant all users outside the US and Canada were protected by European regulations.

The change will mean users outside Europe will no longer be able to file complaints with the Irish data protection commissioner or in the Irish courts.

GDPR, due to come into force next month, offers EU consumers far greater control over their data. It also promises to fine firms found to have breached data rules up to 4% of their annual global revenue.

 

TRE poster asks “Why save when struggling?”/ Corporate raiders and change

In Corporate governance, Economy, Financial competency on 21/04/2018 at 10:57 am

When TRE used PAP is losing the war to keep S’poreans in ignorance there was this comment

SUNNY:

in fact every generation can barely only support it self.
actually we are now the future generation ,what benefits are we enjoying??
may be the leaders should have their 90% salary/bonus cut for future 20 years generation,so we can witness before we die.
why save when it is raining heavily today.we won’t be around tomorrow.
who knows if the world will end tomorrow.

Here’s another thing to think about

What is the point of having a very good balance-sheet if the S’pore economy is underperforming its full potential?

In the 50s, 60s and 70s, US CEOs boasted of their companies strong balance sheets while spentdingcorporate funds on private jets, hunting lodges for themselves, co directors and senior executives, and their cronies. Shareholders got “peanuts” but wewre grateful. Then came the corporate raiders with the doctrine of “shareholder value”. CEOs  etc are still well renumerated but they have to keep the shareholders happy.

Recognise what should happen here next?

Too bad we got the likes of the Wankers’ Party, Mad Dog, Uncle Leong, Phillip Ang, Goh Meng Seng, s/o JBJ, TKL, Martyn See, Seelan Palay,Kirsten Han, M Ravi and TJS. They are the faces that the swing voters (those who voted for Dr Tan Cheng Bock) usually associate with change.

We need more people like Dr Paul, Terry Xu, Sonny Liew, Chris K, Tay Kheng Soon, Yeoh Lam Keong, Cherian George, Donald Low, Alex Au, Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib, Tan Tarn How and Remy Choo.

 

FB: Cambridge strikes back

In Internet on 21/04/2018 at 5:01 am

Cambridge University’s  Psychometrics Centre has responded to Seth Lord Zuckerberg’s slime balling of Cambridge Psychometrics Centre (Think Shanmugam’s attack on PJ Thum)

The Centre, which is located in the Judge Business School, was drawn into the controversy when Facebook banned Cubeyou, another firm that had developed a personality quiz in collaboration with the university’s academics.

Business development director Vesselin Popov insisted it was opt-in only and was in line with Facebook’s policies at the time, so was not at all like the app developed for Cambridge Analytica by Dr Kogan.

He told me that Dr Kogan’s work had raised issues for the university: “Even if an academic does something – quote unquote in their ‘spare time’, with their own company – they still ought to be held to professional standards as a psychologist.”

Dr Kogan and the Cambridge Psychometrics Centre are in dispute over whether a row over his personality app – and the involvement of the centre’s academics – was about ethics or money. I wrote another article about that issue on Friday.

But the two sides agree that Facebook needs to focus on what commercial businesses do with user data, rather than academics.

“It’s very clear that Cambridge Analytica and these kinds of companies are the product of an environment to which Facebook has contributed greatly,” says Mr Popov. “Although they might be making some changes today in response to public and regulatory pressure, this needs to be seen as an outcome of very permissive attitudes towards those companies.”

With an audit of thousands of Facebook apps under way, we may hear more in the coming weeks about just how cavalier some companies have been with our personal data.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43758850

S’pore could host “Stable Genius” and “Little Rocket Man”

In Uncategorized on 20/04/2018 at 11:13 am

The u/m graphic from the BBC shows that experts think that S’pore is a possible venue for the summit between “Stable Genius” and “Little Rocket Man”. If this happens, mud in the eye for the siblings of PM and their anti-PAP allies. Lots of face for PM and S’pore.

Zuckerberg is real life Two-Face Harvey

In Internet on 20/04/2018 at 4:24 am

Remember Batman’s enemy Two-Face Harvey (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-Face)?

Well reading the u/m extract from the by the BBC’s media editor, I couldn’t help think that we need Batman to fight Zuckerberg, the incarnate of Two-Face Harvey :

There’s Mark Zuckerberg, the Ultimate Millennial. He wears t-shirt and jeans, is a Harvard dropout, happiest in New York and San Francisco, who talks a good game about connecting the world. He’s an engineer and geek who built perhaps the most remarkable network in human history, innovating his way to astronomical wealth. This guy is shy, but has a public persona that accommodates it.

Then there’s a chap I call Mark Sorryberg – the Big Tech Villain. He wears an ill-fitting suit, squirms when in Washington, is blamed for damaging all we hold dear – from rigging elections (“He’s killing democracy”!) to promoting extremism (“He’s unweaving society”!) and not paying enough tax (“He’s screwing the poor”!). This guy is so shy he comes across as awkward and uncomfortable when he should be projecting authority.

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-43740113

Let’s be serious Two-Face Zuckerberg seems to have a

Split personality: Multiple personality disorder, a neurosis in which the personality becomes dissociated into two or more distinct parts each of which becomes dominant and controls behavior from time to time to the exclusion of the other parts. A modern name for this condition is dissociative identity disorder.

https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=11257

 

If Coldstore detainees had gained power

In Property on 19/04/2018 at 11:06 am

This would have happened when HDB overbuilt

To reduce the property overhang, local governments bought millions of unsold homes from developers and gave them to poorer citizens.

Economist talking about local Chinese govt

Actually, not exactly because as HDB is a govt agency, the flats would have just been given away.

Thankfully for property investors, Coldstore was successful in preventing the whackos from gaining power.

Trump madder than Mad Dog

In Uncategorized on 19/04/2018 at 4:28 am

James Matiss, the US Defence Secretary, had the nick-name “Mad Dog”. But as the BBC reports

The Daily Telegraph reports that President Trump considered a strike three times bigger than was launched on Syria last week – but was dissuaded by his defence secretary, James Matiss.

It highlights claims in the US media that the proposed attack could potentially have included targeting Russian air defence systems – as well as Iranian targets.

The reports say Mr Trump and his UN ambassador, Nikki Hayley, were both pushing for a more robust strike, but that Mr Mattis urged caution, warning of an escalation by Russia or Iran.

Btw, Obama fired Mattis as Commander Central Command (which covers the Middle East) because Obama tot that Mattis was provoking the Iranians into attacking US forces so that he could hit back. But then Obama was Wimp in Chief.

And given that Trump loves chaos (Trump is channelling Sun Tzu) he should adopt as Airforce One’s call sign “Chaos”: that was Mattis’s call sign.

Man that should be running SMRT

In Infrastructure, S'pore Inc, Temasek on 18/04/2018 at 10:46 am

As Desmond Kwek’s successor, instead of another scholar and general as reported by  ST, the PAP administration should try to recruit Andy Byford who has worked in some tough MRT systems (London, Sydney and Toronto) and has a record of success in the MRT field. So much so that New York turned to him to do something about its system.

He is a MRT man to his bones: all his jobs involve trains.

Better still he personally checks the system daily: he takes the MRT to and from work. When was the last time Desmond or any other CEO or presumptive CEO took the MRT to work?

And finally, he personally apologises for delays. A Ferrari driving FT MD of SMRT said commuters had a choice not to use her trains if they were unhappy. Even the PAPpies found this too much to stomach.

But he’s no Oxbridge or Ivy League man, so our system discounts him immediately.

He made a name for himself running transport systems in London, Sydney and Toronto. Now Briton Andy Byford is in charge of turning around New York’s ageing, failing subway system. What did he get himself into?

About 400,000 people pass through the Bloor-Yonge subway station every day in Toronto, Canada’s largest city.

And on a summer’s day in 2013, the city’s transport chief Andy Byford tried to apologise to every one of them.

Earlier in the day, water damage had caused a signal failure, delaying trains from rush hour that morning until early afternoon.

Walking up and down the platform, Byford tried to apologise in person to harried commuters while a recording of him formally apologising played on a loop on the station’s loudspeaker.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43561378

 

 

GIC invests US$1.3 bn in Vietnam

In GIC on 18/04/2018 at 6:38 am

Vingroup’s Vinhomes has got GIC to invest US$1.3bn from GIC as Vinhomes prepares for Vietnam’s biggest ever share sale or IPO.

Vinhomes is the property arm oif Vingroup, a conglomerate. Property in hot in Vietnam especially in Ho Chi Minh City where Vinhomes is a big player.

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” & the PAP

In Political governance, Public Administration on 17/04/2018 at 10:56 am

Milos Forman, the director of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, died recently died. It was only the second film in history to win Oscars for best picture, director, actor, actress and screenplay.

The film starred Back Nicholson as a man battling the system in a psychiatric establishment and was based on Ken Kesey’s novel.

Milos Forman said:

“To me it was not just literature but real life, the life I lived in Czechoslovakia from my birth in 1932 until 1968,” …

“The Communist Party was my Nurse Ratched, telling me what I could and could not do.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-43767278

Here’s an extract from the book on which it was based.  The speaker is Nurse Ratched, the lady really running the equivalent of our Mental Health Institute:

“Please understand: We do not impose certain rules and restrictions on you without a great deal of thought about their therapeutic value. A good many of you are in here because you could not adjust to the rules of society in the Outside World, because you refused to face up to them, because you tried to circumvent them and avoid them. At some time—perhaps in your childhood—you may have been allowed to get away with flouting the rules of society. When you broke a rule you knew it. You wanted to be dealt with, needed it, but the punishment did not come. That foolish lenience on the part of your parents may have been the germ that grew into your present illness. I tell you this hoping you will understand that it is entirely for your own good that we enforce discipline and order.”

She let her head twist around the room. Regret for the job she has to do was worked into her face. It was quiet except for that high fevered, delirious ringing in my head.

“It’s difficult to enforce discipline in these surroundings. You must be able to see that. What can we do to you? You can’t be arrested. You can’t be put on bread and water. You must see that the staff has a problem; what can we do?”

… The face moved with a ticking noise till the features achieved a different look. She finally answered her own question.

“We must take away a privilege. And after careful consideration of the circumstances of this rebellion, we’ve decided that there would be a certain justice in taking away the privilege of the tub room that you men have been using for your card games during the day. Does this seem unfair?”

Doesn’t what she say sound familiar if you

— lived in Potong Pasir when the Chiams ruled the place; or

— are living in Aljunied or Hougang

and have to wait forever and a day for yr HDB upgrading?

Or if you are a singleton below age 35, ineligible to get a BTO flat?

Or are a singleton age 35, eligible to only get a two room BTO flat in a non-mature estate?

 

 

What Mark Zuckerberg didn’t say

In Internet on 17/04/2018 at 4:37 am

From NYT Dealbook

Despite two days of congressional testimony, the Facebook chief didn’t address some issues, including the tech giant’s role in violence worldwide. Shira Ovide of Gadfly thinks that his evasiveness about how the company works shows that it’s embarrassed. (Oh, and the European Parliament wants Mr. Zuckerberg to testify, too.)

U.S. lawmakers seem to agree regulation is needed, but doubt that it’s coming. Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, told the NYT, “I think we need to be careful.” Representative Frank Pallone Jr., Democrat of New York, said, “I don’t believe the Republicans will end up doing anything.”

The latest Facebook scandal has finally put a spotlight on data privacy, experts say. One, Doc Searls, told the NYT, “They’re saying, ‘O.K., it’s barn-raising time.’ ” (Facebook still isn’t expecting a hit to sales.)

 

Estate agents so stupid and selfish meh?

In Financial competency, Property on 16/04/2018 at 10:31 am

Mr and Mrs Ow should lose their licences because they are so stupid that they didn’t know that the shorter time left on any lease, the value of flat goes down. (HDB flats: 35 is a dangerous age and Why 30-year old HDB flats difficult to sell/ Why PAP rule will end in 2029)

I am very concerned if property agents who are suppose to be advising their clients personally had such an unrealistic idea that prices of HDB flats would rise forever that they thought it prudent to pay $580k for a 5-rm HDB flat that was already 35 years old at the time of their purchase.

ST also highlighted another case of HDB owner trapped in buying old HDB flats.

It featured a property agent, Janet Ow, who bought her 5-room flat with her husband, also a property agent, in the old estate of Telok Blangah. They bought the flat at $580,000 some 8 years ago in 2010. Currently, their old flat has just got 56 years left on its lease.

In 2016, they started marketing their flat at $680,000 to $690,000 hoping to make at least a $100K. Bids came in at $620,000 and $630,000 but now offers have also dried up. For more than a year now, they couldn’t sell their flat.

“Those who called asked about the balance of my lease first,” Ms Ow said. “The flat’s age has now become a main concern after National Development Minister Lawrence Wong’s reminder in March last year.”

“Upon knowing the age, sometimes they won’t even proceed with viewings. In 2016, when we put up an ad, we would get around 10 calls. Now, we don’t even get a single call for one to two weeks,” she added.

“If I don’t sell now and prices keep dropping, I will be making losses on my flat eventually.”

Ms Ow and her husband are hoping to sell their flat quickly so that they could get a condo with a fresh lease.

“At least we know we have a long lease ahead of us and can cash out,” she said. “We don’t want another HDB resale flat because the ageing lease problem will crop up again.”

In any case, at the moment, Ms Ow said she feels “insecure about the future”.

https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2018/04/15/owner-sells-3-room-hdb-for-15-less-after-wongs-comment-about-zero-value-of-expired-flats/

Another reason they should lose their licences is that to help her and her hubbie out of their stupidity, they want the govt to screw other S’poreans

Ms Ow said, “Perhaps HDB could look into allowing buyers of flats with less than 60 years left on the lease to utilise their CPF fully (ie, 100%) instead of partially.”

“That will help to alleviate the worry of having to pay cash for part of the purchase. This will help buyers who need to buy flats in an oder estate to be near their parents who may be there,” she added.

Err that means those who use 100% of his or her CPF savings to buy such older flats will not have enough to retire on later because of the near-zero value of the flat.

Robbing blur Peter to pay stupid, s3elfish Pauline isit?

 

When India’s Muslims and Hindus fought alongside

In India on 16/04/2018 at 7:31 am

When the East India Company ruled India, Muslims joined the Co’s Hindu regiments, and Muslims and Hindus fought fellow indians so that the British could enslave India and Indians.

The Bengal Regiment was raised in Cawnpore (now Kanpur) in today’s Uttar Pradesh state, and it is likely that Bheg hailed from the region. Muslims made up around 20% of the largely Hindu regiments.

BBC report

And then they both fought the British in the Great Mutiny.

The Brits learnt their lesson and Hindus and Muslims were put into separate regiments. And Muslim soldiers were trusted more.

Facebook’s Catch 22

In Internet on 15/04/2018 at 2:00 pm

The following day, he was asked by Congressman Ben Lujan about the data collected on people who had never even signed up to Facebook. Again, Mr Zuckerberg appeared uncomfortable. He had never heard of the widely used term “shadow profiles” to describe this kind of data collection.

Then the congressman took us down an Alice in Wonderland-style rabbit hole, where people who do not use Facebook are told to log in to their Facebook accounts to find out what data Facebook holds on them. “We’ve got to fix that,” he said.

Frederike Kaltheuner from Privacy International tells Tech Tent that this kind of data collection, with users unaware of what is happening, is all too common – and Facebook is far from the only culprit.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43758850

Trump’s u turn on TPP shows Churchill’s wisdom

In Economy on 15/04/2018 at 11:14 am

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.

Winston Churchill

Well a modern day variant would be

You can always count on Trump to do the right thing – after he’s tweeted about everything else.

From NYT Dealbook

Has Trump changed his mind about the TPP?
He once denounced the trade pact as “a rape of our country.” But his decision yesterday to reconsider joining — which surprised his own advisers — could hearten U.S. businesses and Republican lawmakers who supported it as one of the best ways to box in China.
Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, told Politico, “If you want to send a message to China, the best way to do that is to start doing business with their competitors.”
Free-trade backers may point to this reversal, as well as attempts to revise Nafta, as a change of heart by a protectionist president. Then again:
And Japan’s chief cabinet secretary cautioned this morning that it’d be hard to rewrite a “well-balanced pact” that already met the needs of 11 signatories.
The president’s decisions on economic matters are now the purview of Larry Kudlow, who’s casting himself as a “happy warrior” even as he described the TPP decision as coming “out of the dark, navy blue.”
Meanwhile, China is not-so-subtly threatening to scale back its purchases of U.S. debt, though that would be a risky maneuver.

Had to be TLC to be criticised racist job ad

In Telecoms, Temasek on 14/04/2018 at 5:15 pm

Think Oz like in S’pore where biz feel free to advertise that post only for FTs, not locals isit?

Optus, owned by SingTel

has apologised for posting a job advert that stated a preference for “Anglo-Saxon” candidates.

Optus, the nation’s second-biggest provider, had included the description in a posting about a vacant position in a Sydney store.

The advert was shared on social media, where it was criticised as racist.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-43749676

Fighting fake news while raising revenue

In Internet on 14/04/2018 at 10:43 am

Funny our Pay and Pay scholar-filled govt didn’t think of this idea first. Uganda in darkest, dysfunctional Africa first tot of taxing users of social media to curb “gossip” (ie fake news) and raise revenue.

Taxing social media should the additional benefit, from the PAP’s point of view of curbing free speech, and so is something that the PAPpies should have tot up before the men from darkest, dysfunctional Africa.

From the BBC

Uganda plans to impose a daily tax on social media users from July in a bid to raise revenue, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija has told Reuters news agency.

The move has been criticised by rights activist Rosebell Kagumire who said: “It’s part of a wider attempt to curtail freedoms of expression.”

Earlier this month, President Yoweri Museveni – who has been in power for more than 30 years – was quoted by Uganda’s privately owned Daily Monitor newspaper as saying in a letter to Mr Kasaija and other officilas that a tax should be introduced on people who use social media for “gossip”.

“I am not going to propose a tax on internet use for educational, research or reference purposes… these must remain free,” he was quoted as saying.

The proposed tax will see each mobile phone subscriber who uses platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter being charged, Reuters reports.

The amount is unclear – Reuters reports that Mr Kasaija said it will be 200 Ugandan shillings ($0.027) a day, while State Minister for Planning David Bahati is quoted by the Daily Monitor as saying it will be 100 shillings.

“We’re looking for money to maintain the security of the country and extend electricity so that you people can enjoy more of social media, more often, more frequently,” Mr Kasaija told Reuters.

True Uganda’s proposed charges are “peanuts” to S’poreans but a dollar a day will make talk cock, sing song, cheap skate anti-PAP cybernuts like Aloysius Foo and Lauschke Amythink twice about using social media.

Interesting takes on FB

In Uncategorized on 14/04/2018 at 4:39 am

Brian Chen’s reaction to what data Facebook had collected about him: “Yikes.” How the company targets you for advertising. Craig Newman argues in Another View that companies should be graded on their data security.

NYT Dealbook

MPs: Ours compared to Taiwanese/ No real change in Wankers’ Party?

In Political governance on 13/04/2018 at 11:01 am

The Taiwanese parliament has a really bad reputation here because our constructive, nation-building media are forever highlighting the rows, fights that goes on there. To be fair to our media and their masters, the Taiwanese parliament is world class in its level of rowdiness and the willingness of its members to use their fists.

So when TRE used CNA report shows public tpt Hard Truths are BS there was this interesting response

Taiwan MP vs SG MP:

Inside parliament, they fight against each other.
Outside parliament, they fight for their people.

SG MPs:
Inside parliament, they fight for each other.
Outside parliament, they fight against their people.

It got this response
 MarBowling:

Nowadays, we hardly find MPs like Dr Tan CB and Dr Lily Neo who have concern and heart for the common folks. MPs like Cheng Li Hui and the rest of the PAPigs are more concern for the pockets and perks than the welfare of the common folks. So voters of Tampines GRC should do the Needful in the next GE:show your middle finger to filthy rich MP Cheng Li Hui who CLEARLY shows that she cares more for the coffers of transport operators than the pockets of the common folks commuters!

Juz wondering, why both writers make no mention the WP MPs? Because they are MPs from the Worthless Wankers’ Party?
Couldn’t help but think that Bayee was saying “We remain the Worthless Wankers’ Party” when I read
Workers’ Party (WP) new chief Pritam Singh said on Sunday (Apr 8) the opposition party will build on the work of his predecessor, Mr Low Thia Khiang, and continue to be “rational, responsible and respectable”, as it seeks to work with all Singaporeans to “take on the form and the shape of a loyal Opposition”.

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/pritam-singh-takes-over-low-thia-khiang-new-wp-secretary-general

Btw, Secret Squirrel and Morroco Mole tell me that MP Cheng Li Hui has never ever used public transport. In her school and uni days, she had a chaffeur-driven German luxury car to ferry her around.

Words that could haunt Zuckerberg

In Internet on 13/04/2018 at 4:09 am

He said on Tuesday “I agree we are responsible for the content.”

NYT Dealbook explains the importance of these words:

These were the most important words from Mark Zuckerberg’s five-hour testimony: “I agree we are responsible for the content.” They may come back to haunt him, given his previous rejection of calling Facebook a publisher. He later backtracked and called his business a tech company, but his acknowledgment may fundamentally shift the conversation — and how the company operates. (All in all, Mr. Zuckerberg did better than anyone had expected.)

Zuckerberg doesn’t know how FB tracks users

In Internet on 12/04/2018 at 3:09 pm

Senator Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California, kicked his balls with this

“During the course of this hearing, these last four hours, you have been asked several critical questions for which you do not have answers,” she said. “Those questions have included whether Facebook can track users’ browsing activity even after the user has logged off of Facebook, whether Facebook can track your activity across devices even when you are not logged into Facebook.”

He promised to provide answers when asked these questions.

What is “work”?

In Uncategorized on 12/04/2018 at 4:10 am

Komlosy identifies three very different historical attitudes towards work. The first, common in ancient Greece, was that work was a burden that had to be overcome so that we could lead a contemplative life. The second, espoused later by the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths, was that work was not a cursed punishment but a blessing from God. The third view, championed by the labour and women’s movements in the 19th century, was that work could be transformational, turning toilsome effort into creativity and social alienation into self-actualisation. The advocates of a basic income sometimes argue that we need to reacquaint ourselves with the contemplative life of ancient Greece — only this time including more than just a small male elite. We have the wealth, knowledge and means to fix the future. But, first, we will need to redefine what we mean by human work in our robot world.

The Last 1,000 Years, by Andrea Komlosy, Verso, RRP£16.99/$26.95, 272 pages

FT review

Me? I agree with the ancient Greeks that work was a burden that had to be overcome so that we could lead a contemplative life.

My Bumi boss once said I never did an honest day’s work. He said hard to believe I was Chinese.

What is “news”?/ “Fake news” is not “fake” says Harvard expert

In Media on 11/04/2018 at 10:25 am

There’s a lot of chatter (Local academics propogate fake news?) and some thought both here and abroad on what is “fake” in “fake news”.

But very little thought it seems is given to “news” because there seems to be a belief implication that “news” is good: a idea that is shared here by the PAP and sheep, the talk cock, sing song, tell lies anti-PAP cybernuts, and anti-PAP activists (Chinese helicopters like Terry Xu, the ang moh tua kees etc)

But what if news is really nothing but BS to sell ads?

“News,” Crouch said, “is that which makes its consumer self-important, angry, or sufficiently whatever the hell to turn to page twelve, and, turning, encounter the ad for the carpet sale.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-43645567 where the BBC Arts editor, Will Gompertz, reviews David Mamet’s latest novel, a thriller: Chicago.

The bit just before this is as enlightening

What do you think they’re paying us for?” Crouch [the news editor] had said.

“Man bites dog,” Mike had said.

“Bullshit.” Crouch said. “Man bites dog is too interesting to be news.”

“Then what is news?” Mike said.

David Mamet’s latest novel, a thriller: Chicago

But let’s get serious and consider the views of Harvard’s Claire Wardle who says that “much of the debated content is not fake, but used out of context or manipulated, while polluted information also extends beyond news”.

She says

Calling the term “fake news” woefully inadequate in capturing the complexity of the
scourge currently afflicting the world, Harvard expert Claire Wardle suggested that this “information disorder” should be grouped into seven categories that range from satire, manipulated content, to fabricated content.

Such information disorder, while not defined as “black and white”, can also be categorised according to its level of truthfulness and intention to cause harm, said Dr Wardle, an expert in user-generated content, in her written representation to the Select Committee studying deliberate online falsehoods here.

Her submission was part of the 167 written representations accepted and published on the committee’s website on Monday (Apr 09).

(First few paras of an article from an article from the constructive, nation-building digital free sheet of MediaCorp entitled

‘Fake news’ is far more complex; problem of information disorder goes beyond US and social media: Expert

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/fake-news-far-more-complex-problem-information-disorder-goes-beyond-us-and-social-media)

Here’s more from her from said article (Pls read it, it’s good)

Dr Wardle, an executive director of First Draft – a non-profit organisation that is focused on experimental projects to fight disinformation – is also a research fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center for Media,Politics and Public Policy. She had previously testified at a United Kingdom committee hearing on fake news and misinformation in February.

In her written representation to Singapore’s Select Committee, Dr Wardle said much of the debated content is not fake, but used out of context or manipulated, while polluted information also extends beyond news.

Elaborating on the seven types of information disorder, she said that the least problematic of them is satire or parody, when people often fail to realise the content they are reading is satire.

The next one is a false connection, such as when headlines, visuals or captions do not support the article’s content. This is followed by misleading content and false context, where genuine content is taken out of its original context and circulated. The others are: imposter content and manipulated content, where genuine information is manipulated to deceive others. The last category is fabricated content.

These types of information disorder can also be categorised into misinformation, disinformation and malinformation, said Dr Wardle. Content that is false but not intended to cause harm will fall under misinformation, while the same type of content which is intended to cause harm will be considered disinformation. Truthful information that is aimed at causing harm is malinformation.

The authorities can consider the different elements that make up the information disorder, she said. For instance, they can consider who are the agents and their motivations for creating misleading or inaccurate information, as well as the type of messages being distributed. They should also take into account how the messages can be interpreted differently, depending on the source of the message, and how it ties in with the readers’ existing beliefs, among other things.

Another suggestion was also to provide additional investment and training opopportunities to strengthen “non-partisan media”. This comes as newsroom resources shrink, which results in fewer editors catching honest mistakes, or fewer journalists being trained to verify content sources on social media, for instance.

Funding and coordination of an international research agenda for monitoring the scale and impact of disinformation was another idea put forward by the researcher, a prominent expert on online falsehoods whose views are often sought after by international media.

Dr Wardle noted that current debates on this issue have been “focused disproportionately” on the United States, political disinformation, Facebook newsfeeds and Twitter bots.

“In fact, this problem of information disorder is global, and includes powerful disinformation related to science, health, religion and ethnicity. In certain places it is leading to protests and violence, and people are losing their lives because of decisions based on inaccurate information.”

 

Applied Learning BS

In Uncategorized on 11/04/2018 at 4:06 am

I can’t stop laughing

Imagine this scenario – a teacher gives the following math problem sum to his students: “There are 15 crows on a tree. One is shot. How many are left?”

Student A responds that the answer is 14. Student B responds zero. Who is correct?

In a traditional system, Student A would have gotten the full mark and Student B zero. But Student B’s reasoning that in a real-life situation, all the (remaining) crows would have flown away right after and that there would be zero remaining on the tree, is not wrong.

Call it being street-smart versus exam-smart. Does our current education system encourage and accept such lateral thinking?

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/commentary/applied-learning-dna-education-not-rote-learning-10049832

The writer of : “Call it being street-smart versus exam-smart. Does our current education system encourage and accept such lateral thinking?” this is stupid.

There is no “correct” answer. A “good” i.e. “appropriate” answer depends on the context of the questuin.

As it’s a maths class, Student B is the idiot. He should know that as it’s maths class, the answer  is 1.

Now if he and Student A were being interviewd for a scholarship (say Overseas Merit), his answer of zero is the kind that is expected. Then Student A is the stupid one for giving the mathematical answer

The “correct” answer depends on the context within which the question is asked.

Does our current education system encourage and accept such lateral thinking?

It does if you attend RI or other real elite school.

 

S’pore: An illiberal democracy?

In Political governance on 10/04/2018 at 11:31 am

I’ve said repeatedly that S’pore is not a democracy but a one-party state like China (Keeping power in a one-party state) albeit a de-facto one where the voters every few yrs approve in overwhelming numbers in a de-facto referendum (never less than 60% of the popular vote) its continuance.

But could it be a democracy albeit an illiberal one?

Yascha Mounk who teaches at Harvard

argues that there are two sides to liberal democracy. One focuses on the first half of the equation: protecting individuals from the tyranny of the majority through checks and balances and enumerated rights. The second focuses on the other half: handing power to the people. For most of the post-war period these two versions of liberal democracy went together like apple and pie.

Today, though, the popular will is increasingly coming into conflict with individual rights. Liberal elites are willing to exclude the people from important decisions, most notably about immigration in the case of the European Union, in the name of “rights”; meanwhile populists are willing to dispense with constitutional niceties in the name of “the people”. Politics is defined by a growing battle between illiberal democracy, or democracy without rights, on the one hand, and undemocratic liberalism, or rights without democracy, on the other.

https://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21738862-yascha-mounks-diagnosis-more-convincing-his-cure-how-liberal-democracy-fell-apart

But somehow I don’t see S’pore as an illiberal democracy because the PAP doesn’t believe in giving power to the people i.e. the masses.

Three quotes from LKY make my point about their contempt for the views of the masses

“I have never been overconcerned or obsessed with opinion polls or popularity polls. I think a leader who is, is a weak leader. If you are concerned with whether your rating will go up or down, then you are not a leader. You are just catching the wind … you will go where the wind is blowing. And that’s not what I am in this for.”

“Between being loved and being feared, I have always believed Machiavelli was right. If nobody is afraid of me, I’m meaningless.”

“You take a poll of any people. What is it they want? The right to write an editorial as you like? They want homes, medicine, jobs, schools.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/23/lee-kuan-yew-the-best-quotes-from-singapores-founding-father

Misleading, deceptive use of pix of vanilla pod or flower

In Uncategorized on 10/04/2018 at 4:55 am

Careful when u see pix of vanilla pod or flower on the packaging of a vanilla flavoured ice cream or other food product.

Using spent beans allows foodmakers to list vanilla beans as an ingredient and put a picture of a vanilla pod or flower on the packaging, although the actual flavour may come from a non-vanilla bean source.

FT

The difference US$150 versus US$600 (if real beans are used). Price of vanilla beans has risen and risen while synthetic vanilla flavouring costs “peanuts”.

Me? I add synthetic vanilla flavouring to my daily cuppa of tea alongside evaporated milk that could contain soya (slightly cheaper than real evaporated milk but there’s no difference in taste).

Real reason why Uber lost to Grab

In Uncategorized on 09/04/2018 at 11:18 am

God was on the side of the cross-wearing, humble Grab co-founder.

The first thing you notice about Anthony Tan is that he wears a big silver cross around his neck …

He credits his strong belief system for much of his success, and even in his language, the word “serve” comes up numerous times.

“If there’s any one thing I would love that people remembered me for would be hey, Anthony… was a true servant leader,” he told me in his offices in downtown Singapore.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-43667202

God actually didn’t have much of a choice in deciding to help Grab. After all, on the other side was Uber, a  company that seemed to want parody and mock Google’s “Do no evil” moto by deliberately “Doing evil”.

It

— employed a felon to monitor a driverless car that killed a pedestrian,

— used illegal software to secretly “fix” its competitors, regulators and its drivers,

— used thuggish tactics to intidimate its competitors, regulators and its drivers,

— illegally obtained the medsical reports of a lady who alleged a Uber driver raped here with the intention of using the info to discredit her,

— tried to outspend its rivals hoping to bankrupt them (Didn’t work in US of A, and it lost in Russia, China and SE Asia, and

— treated female staff as playthings.

Meanwhile Grab’s co-founder prayed to God.

FB’s massive data: the S’pore connection

In Internet on 09/04/2018 at 4:49 am

Kogan was here in S’pore from 2013-16 before moving on to Berkeley, California, a regular reader of, and commenter on this blog, yuenchungkwong, (a retired professor of computer science, NUS) informs.

Funny the constructive, nation-building ST  and other local media don’t trumpet the achievements of this Foreign Talent while here. I mean the guy’s a FT where the “T” doesn’t stand for “Trash” but for “Talent”. Usually FTs end up in the news for beating taxi drivers and S’poreans, not for being geniuses.  

After all, it was in 2014 that his infamous app appeared on FB.  

———————————————–

Backgrounder for visiting Martians and other extraterrestrials)

In 2014 a quiz on Facebook invited users to find out their personality type.

It was developed by University of Cambridge academic Aleksandr Kogan (the university has no connections with Cambridge Analytica).

As was common with apps and games at that time, it was designed to harvest not only the user data of the person taking part in the quiz, but also the data of their friends.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43465968

The allegation is that because 270,000 people took the quiz, the data of some 50 million users, mainly in the US, was harvested without their explicit consent via their friend networks. FB now says the data of 87m users was harvested

———————————————–

He was even a guest speaker on 2 December 2014 at NUS:(http://blog.nus.edu.sg/psychology/2014/11/24/brown-bag-guest-speaker-dr-alex-kogan-on-2-december/)

I will discuss how big data can be collected, stored, and analyzed, and the types of new insights it can provide to social scientists.

And he was very open on his access to FB data

I focus specifically on Facebook data and two datasets my lab is currently work with: (a) a sample of 50+ million individuals for whom we have the capacity to predict virtually any trait, and (b) a macro-dataset of every friendship made in the world on Facebook from 2006-2012 by all Facebook users at the national-aggregate level.

While here, he married a S’porean, Crystal Ying Chia, and here’s a story about them and their zany sense of humour: https://www.asianmoneyguide.com/crystal-ying-spectre. They adopted a homeless dogs. My mongrels say, “Power to them”.

The latest according to the regular reader is that she has filed for divorce in California. My mongrels want to know what happened to their dog?

My thanks again to yuenchungkwong, a retired professor of computer science, NUS. And prof, if u got any project that utilising yr skills can make money, let me know. Can raise $ for u.

 

 

 

PAP FT policy trying to avoid this mistake?

In Economy on 08/04/2018 at 10:52 am

In The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon wrote: “The narrow policy of preserving, without any foreign mixture, the pure blood of the ancient citizens, had checked the fortune, and hastened the ruin, of Athens and Sparta. The aspiring genius of Rome sacrificed vanity to ambition, and deemed it more prudent, as well as honourable, to adopt virtue and merit for her own wheresoever they were found, among slaves or strangers, enemies or barbarians.”

Well we now have an FT jnr minister Dr. Janil Puthucheary who comes from M’sia and FTs by the cattle truck load.

Why some say FB should not do more

In Internet on 08/04/2018 at 4:43 am

but first, as far as I’m concerned the howls of coming from progressives is as Steve Bannon, Trump’s evil genius, OK OK former chief strategist said

liberals and “the opposition media” were looking for excuses to explain Hillary Clinton’s election loss.

If Hilary had won, and it’s clear that she too was using the same type of profiling (as was Obama) but no so effective: I kept getting FB posts dissing Trump from a lesbian, other human rights activists, and ang moh tua kees based here. They must have been targets of Hilary’s ineffective profiling. The Republicans did not target me with videos of Hilary and her lesbians. Sigh.

Btw, Steve has dismissed the idea that Cambridge Analytica’s work for the Trump campaign swayed the 2016 US election.

Coming back the title, some

analysts were pleased that the Facebook boss did not go further. Ben Schachter, an analyst at Macquarie, said Mr Zuckerberg allayed most of his fears that Facebook would “propose radical changes that would impact the business model”. “Our worry was that Facebook, at Zuckerberg’s direction, could take more radical actions than it has in the past to limit the use of audience segmenting, ad targeting, data sharing, and other privacy-related issues that could lower the monetisation of Facebook data,” he said.

FT report

As an Economist columnist said

When a scandal first breaks, executives at the top of a firm and securities analysts outside it are often myopic, viewing it as a public-relations blip that will not alter a firm’s operations or its competitive position. In the case of Facebook, 44 of the 48 Wall Street analysts who cover it still rate it a “buy”, according to Bloomberg. Many have downplayed the scandal, even though Facebook’s shares have dropped by 18% since the news broke on March 17th.

https://www.economist.com/news/business/21739695-corporate-crises-drive-media-and-politicians-wild-do-they-damage-shareholder

Easy way for FB to solve problems

In Internet on 07/04/2018 at 11:26 am

But advertisters wouldn’t like it. And As Money, talks BS walks, it wouldn’t be adopted.

NYT Dealbook

How a ‘Why Me?’ button could help fix Facebook
In his latest column, Andrew suggests a way the company could make its practices more transparent — one that Google and Amazon could consider, while we’re at it: a button next to every ad and piece of content that would explain why a user is seeing it.
More from Andrew:
The “Why Me?” button might create all sorts of problems for Facebook, and its advertisers, too. It would allow users — and rivals — to reverse engineer much of the way the system works. And advertisers would probably object to the idea of making their targeting plans public. But that would be the cost of using such large public platforms with such exact targeting.

 

Local academics propogate fake news?

In Uncategorized on 06/04/2018 at 3:19 pm

Our brown-nosing constructive nation-building academics presented at the recent Select Committee hearings on Deliberate Online Falsehoods,

an alarming scenario of disinformation campaigns launched by foreign actors bent on attacking the island state, of cyber armies in neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore working as proxies for other countries in undermining national security.

Did they produce any evidence?

But the actual examples of fake news which have come up during this national debate have mostly been prosaic; a hoax photo showing a collapsed roof at a housing complex, which sent officials rushing unnecessarily to the scene; and an erroneous report of a collision between two trains on the light rail transit line.

As the BBC reporter wrote

Irritating and worrying for some, for a while, but hardly likely to bring Singapore society to its knees. In any case both Singapore and Malaysia already have plenty of laws capable of penalising false, inflammatory or defamatory comment.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-43637744

So, as far as I’m concerned the row on Coldstore between PJ Thum and our brown-nosing constructive nation-building academics is “The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable!” (Re Oscar Wilde)

Or  “A plague o’ both your houses!” (Shakespeare)

Btw, have to tell u that the reporter also said

It also gave Singapore academics and officials an opportunity to snipe at the US belief in free expression, the “marketplace of ideas”, which had allowed the abuse of personal data on Facebook to take place, in contrast to Singapore’s “better safe than sorry” belief in a more tightly regulated society.

Why en-blocers could be in for a nasty surprise

In Economy, Property on 06/04/2018 at 10:54 am

As could all other property speculators and developers and their banks financing them.

They shouldn’t be counting their chickens before they hatch.

https://www.economist.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/800-width/images/print-edition/20180331_FNC159.png

If the phoney war between China and the US becomes a real trade war, we’ll be caught in the middle. We are part of China’s great export machine that Trump wants to destroy: see how much as % of GDP do our exports add value to China’s exports to the US.

 

If u missed going long on Vix volatility

In Japan on 06/04/2018 at 4:24 am

Try this trade courtesy of FT?

Sticking with Japan, its government bond market has been astonishingly calm in recent years. Reflecting the Bank of Japan’s “yield curve control” policy, coupled with negative interest rates has kept 30-day average volatility of the JGB futures contract at just 0.88 per cent. That is the lowest since at least 1985 and compares to the US Treasury contract’s 3.88 per cent volatility.

Daniel Stone, co-founder of hedge fund Ionic Capital Management, reckons that one of the best trades in markets today is betting on this calm being shattered. He points out that it is “extremely” cheap to buy derivatives that give investors exposure to Japanese bond turbulence over the next five years, and estimates that just a 40 basis point move in the market’s implied volatility would more than double an investor’s money. A bigger 150 bps move would net investors a sevenfold return.

F9: Education Minister Ng Chee Meng

In Political governance, Public Administration, Uncategorized on 05/04/2018 at 10:47 am

Ong Ye Kung minister of Education (Higher Education and Skills) talks the talk reflecting the latest ang moh thinking, example

Singapore’s education system should, as far as possible, reflect the real world that our children are going to grow up and live in. That is why the Government is making changes to take the emphasis away from just academic grades, said … Ong Ye Kung.

But the other education minister (Ng Chee Meng is responsible for schools) doesn’t seem to have a clue about the latest trends in education.

From the PAP’s bible (PAP’s bible challenges “market-based solution”):

EVERY year in Singapore 1% of pupils in the third year of primary school bring home an envelope headed “On government service”. Inside is an invitation to the city-state’s Gifted Education Programme. To receive the overture, pupils must ace tests in maths, English and “general ability”. If their parents accept the offer, the children are taught using a special curriculum.

Singapore’s approach is emblematic of the traditional form of “gifted” education, one that uses intelligence tests with strict thresholds to identify children with seemingly innate ability. Yet in many countries it is being overhauled in two main ways. The first is that educationists are using a broader range of methods to identify highly intelligent children, especially those from poor households. The second is an increasing focus on fostering the attitudes and personality traits found in successful people in an array of disciplines—including those who did not ace intelligence tests.

New research lies behind these shifts … The research also suggests that the nature-or-nurture debate is a false dichotomy. Intelligence is highly heritable and perhaps the best predictor of success. But it is far from the only characteristic that matters for future eminence.

https://www.economist.com/news/international/21739144-new-research-suggests-new-ways-nurture-gifted-children-how-and-why-search-young

It’s impt to kick Ng’s ass because according to the Economist”new research”

shows that countries which do not get the most from their best and brightest face big economic costs.

Ong should show that he can be PM by telling off Ng for sticking to outdated practices and theories (like PSLE). He should remember that Harry became PM by showing S’poreans that Lim Chin Siong was “wrong”.

Now this is volatility

In Uncategorized on 05/04/2018 at 5:13 am

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 swung from 1.6% fall to 1.2% gain in the course of the day’s trading.

What’s behind the market slump?

In Economy on 05/04/2018 at 4:45 am

NYT Dealbook (Tuesday morning) explains

S.&P. 500 futures are up this morning, suggesting yesterday’s market rout may not continue. And European and Asian marketsdidn’t fall as sharply as did the U.S.’s. But what’s behind the markets dropping 4 percent so far this year? A couple of ideas:
• Washington (and Beijing), again: China’s tougher-than-expected retaliatory tariffs gave investors more reason to fear a trade war.American pork and fruit producers are among those sweating. “The Trump administration’s unorthodox and unpredictable decision-making is likely to keep markets on edge,” Mike Ryan of UBS Wealth Management told the FT.
• Tech, again: The FAANG stocks are still weighing down the S.&P. 500 and the Nasdaq, as the likes of Facebook and Google face the prospect of greater regulation and President Trump repeats his attacks on Amazon. (Tesla was down, too, but that’s more understandable.)
• Technical issues: Traders could be trimming bull market bets.
Peter Eavis’s take: Before investors began fretting about tech and trade, the underpinnings of the stock market’s ascent were perhaps not as robust as they looked. Analysts expect S.&P. 500 companies’ earnings to grow 25 percent this year. But rising interest rates worldwide could affect revenue growth. And if wages and other costs come in higher than expected, profit margins could get squeezed.
The bottom line: Uncertainty has descended upon the markets, and it will be hard to shake off.

Coming back to S’pore, I wouldn’t count on the next en-bloc sale being completed given the uncertainity of a global trade war. More soon on why if the fight between China and the US becomes more than wayang will hurt us.

FT jnr minister disagrees that “Pa” was a justly detained commie?

In Uncategorized on 04/04/2018 at 10:19 am

Yesterday, I ended Coldstore: Why Harry’s narrative or the highway promising to explain why I thought an FT jnr minister

disagrees with the the official narrative of  “Bunch of commie subversives who had to be locked up because they wanted to make S’pore Great for Communism” when it comes to his Pa ans uncle.

Here’s my reasoning.

In his parly maiden speech,

Dr Janil Puthucheary said while he felt it inappropriate to detain a citizen without trial, he is convinced by the hard logic that the safety and security of Singapore must be paramount. That’s because there are threats that Singapore faces and which must be dealt with swiftly and decisively.

But he wants to know what safeguards are in place to prevent the ISA from being abused.

Dr Janil said: “I believe I share this view with many Singaporeans; we understand the need to ensure our security despite our misgivings, we recognise the cold hard facts despite the uncomfortable feeling they generate. However, we lack confidence and assurance that the extraordinary power of a State to detain its own citizens without trial will not be abused.

“The process of the safeguards around the ISA needs to be discussed in a more transparent manner, even as the facts associated with a given detainee need to be kept secret. We need to know that the review process works and operates independently of Cabinet. We need to see that the President exercises his authority on this issue.”

Dr Janil asked if the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will be introducing further measures to enhance these safeguards and to what extent can the decisions of Cabinet be challenged.

CNA

Did he by saying

— “we lack confidence and assurance that the extraordinary power of a State to detain its own citizens without trial will not be abused”

— “The process of the safeguards around the ISA needs to be discussed in a more transparent manner”

imply that the use of ISA against his Pa and his uncle were an abuse of power? And that they were innocent of the allegations made against them.

To me, it sounds reasonable to say it sounded like he was trying to imply that

— the use of ISA against his Pa and his uncle were an abuse of power, and

— they were innocent of the allegations made against them.

Anyone knows whether in in the public records* there is anything about what jnr minister’s Pa and uncle (also detained in Coldstore) tot about their detentions. I can’t find anything where they KPKBed about being wrongly detained*. They were released and sent  back to M’sia. And they became distinguished (and filthy rich) lawyers there.

Related post: Were the Coldstore detainees communists, progressives or leftists?


*I can’t remember if they were interviewed in Men in White: don’t have a copy at hand. Should get it as reference book because

The Straits Times backed by four researchers conducted some 300 interviews in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and China.

Why so many ex-ST jurnos working in HK’s SCMP

In Media on 04/04/2018 at 4:27 am

The South China Morning Post has long been Hong Kong’s English-language paper of record. Alibaba has made it part of Beijing’s efforts to project soft power abroad. (NYT)

NYT Dealbook on Monday

This reminded me that SCMP’s newsroom is swarming with ex-ST newsroom staff. Wonder if they got employed because they have the experience doing for the PAP what Jack Ma wants SCMP to do for China: propaganda.

After all ST journalists are noted more for producing high quality propaganda for the PAP, then high high quality journalism. Sad.

Coldstore: Why Harry’s narrative or the highway

In Political governance on 03/04/2018 at 10:44 am

(Or “Why Harry’s Coldstore narrative must be the truth”)

The roughing up of someone who dares to publicly talk about a Coldstore narrative that is different from that of one Harry Lee has cyberspace talking cock and upset*.

Amidst the noise and fury, one important issue in both what constitutes “fake news”, generally,and, in particular, in the ongoing dialogue of the deaf about different Coldstore narratives has been forgotten.

The son of one of the Coldstore detainees recently said:

For some of the matters around national security, race, religion, economic and financial issues, public health issues, by definition that source of truth must be government-backed or state-backed. The most egregious issues, the issues with significant impact, significant impact on our social fabric, on our national security, on our public health, the issues of peace, stability, the facts behind those, if you’re going to have a source of truth, it needs to be state-backed.

Dr. Janil Puthucheary, a Jnr Minister, at the Select Committee hearings on Deliberate Online Falsehoods, 23 March 2018

As S’pore is a de facto one-party state (because the voters regularly agree to it), Harry’s version of ColdStore (Bunch of commie subversives who had to be locked up because they wanted to make S’pore Great for Communism) is the official version. 

And because it is “government-backed or state-backed” it must be the truth going by what the jnr minister said. (And don’t forget that the greatest of the Hard Truths is that “Harry is always right. Harry is never wrong”.)

Related post: Were the Coldstore detainees communists, progressives or leftists?

Coming back to the jnr minister’s comments, looks like he agrees with what a M’sian minister said is “fake news”:

“Any information related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) that has not been verified by the Government is considered fake news.

Datuk Jailani Johari (pic), the Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister, explained that fake news is information that is confirmed to be untrue, especially by the authorities or parties related to the news.”

What “fake” news will be allowed

What else does the jnr minister says about “fake news”? Fake news traffickers will be hanged.

But does the jnr minister disagree with the allegations made against his Pa and uncle who were Coldstore detainees, thereby contradicting the official narrative of “Bunch of commie subversives who had to be locked up because they wanted to make S’pore Great for Communism”?


*The grand inquisitor explains why he did what he did

I have been asked why I spent some time asking PJ Thum questions.

PJ’s main point, in his written submission to the Select Committee, was that Mr Lee Kuan Yew was the biggest creator of fake news in Singapore, a liar, and Operation Coldstore was based on falsehoods.

These are serious allegations made in Parliament about our founding PM.

Either they have to be accepted, or shown to be untrue. Keeping quiet about them was not an option.

Thus I told PJ I will ask him questions, on what he had said.

PJ refused to answer many of the questions directly – if a person believes in what he says, and has gone through the documents carefully, then what is the difficulty in answering questions?

It took 5 hours plus to go through the documents and records carefully.

In the end, PJ said that he had not read some of the material published by ex-Communists on what happened in Singapore; that he disregarded the statements made by Chin Peng, the CPM leader; that the way he set out the most important documents (of December 1962) was not accurate; the key meetings of Barisan Socialis showed that they were prepared to use armed struggle to overthrow a Government of Singapore, if necessary; and the British had a honest view, in December 1962, that security action (which was Operation Coldstore), was necessary.

People know me – I am direct, I deal with the facts, and say it as I think it is.

I can see that Sonny Liew is not happy with what happened with PJ. It is quite understandable. Based on what he says, he and PJ are quite close; they work together in a venture. His award winning cartoon, The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, is also based on PJ’s version of history.

I have not met Sonny, but I have to say he is a good cartoonist. He is a talent.

K Shanmugam Sc‘s post

Btw, I agree with the points he makes about Sonny Liew being a good cartoonist and about why he asked the questions he asked. He had every right to beat up PJ Thum. I make no comment on

PJ refused to answer many of the questions directly – if a person believes in what he says, and has gone through the documents carefully, then what is the difficulty in answering questions?

Btw, seems PJ gave as good as he got, so his whining seems strange. But that’s grist for yet another post soon.

Wild West for insider trading

In Uncategorized on 03/04/2018 at 4:02 am

Head for Texas and cross the Rio Grande.

No need to go to jail even if convicted for insider trading, which is unlikely. Only fined “peanuts”.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-22/insider-trading-paradise-where-no-one-worries-about-jail-time

How PAP responds to criticism

In Uncategorized on 02/04/2018 at 9:16 am

Cyberspace is KPKBing about the attacks by PAP MPs on PJ Thum*, Terry Xu etc before parly’s select committee on falsehoods.


Reliable evidence?

This is what my FB avatar posted when Kirsten KPKBed about the attack on PJ Thum

Go read about the paper he submitted. They had every right to ask him the questions they asked him about Coldstore. Anyway based on newspaper report, I now know why he never referenced the views of certain known Communists when he analysed Coldstore. (I read his stuff). He thinks they are unreliable. So an issue when analysing his views is whether he’s right or reasonable to dismiss the views of said Communists.

This is what Chris K says about using what Communists said

Whatever the commies said or wrote, especially b4 the fall of the Berlin Wall, should never be taken as evidence. Marxist ideology was essentially based on historical dialectics, corrupted into their own version, Dialectic Materialism which brought “material” into the theory that history proceeds from conflicts and resolution of social forces. Therefore the commies had regarded that their ideology was “scientific” and therefore inevitable. The trouble was when history proceeded contrary to the way they read the tea leaves, they edited or erased history. The result was lies upon lies.

—————————————————————————————————

And then there is this attack on the PAPpies

Well. This is blistering. Can you sieve the facts from fiction, the specifics from the generalisations? What is true is that it is difficult to navigate the thicket of laws we have. The PAP group would have done better to give a point-by-point reply rather than casting everything as deliberate online falsehoods. That’s the way to win an argument, rather than have it shut down. And nobody should consider it a waste of time and inconvenient, because there will also be people who are willing to hear all points of view and decide for themselves.

Wannabe ST editor attacking PAP’s attack on Human Rights Watch report on S’pore

She of all people should know the PAP way: after all once upon a time she, as an ambitious senior editor in ST, helped facilitate such attacks. It’s alleged she resigned from ST when she didn’t become ST’s editor. Whatever, she walked away from the Dark Side only after she left ST and SPH group. Then she showed her Jedi sight?

Sorry back to the PAP.

PAP calls its opponents’ names. It also makes ad hominem attacks on the opponent. It KPKBs about the opponent’s tone. It contradicts without facts. And its IB changes Wilipedia articles (Example IB changes to PJ Thum’s Wikipedia entry).

arguments

Update at 4.34 pm In response to “Anyone can attribute this exhibit?”, Amelia says

The diagram is based on Paul Graham’s work. http://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/how-to-disagree-well-7-of-the-best-and-worst-ways-to-argue

 

Trump is channelling Sun Tzu

In Uncategorized on 02/04/2018 at 5:06 am

Sounds ridiculous that Trump follows Sun Tzu’s precepts? After all he doesn’t read.

But remember “quickness is the essence of war”, and Sun Tzu talked about behaving “without ascertainable shape” to confuse the enemy.

Well Trump acts quickly and uses chaos to confuse friend and foe. He loves chaos.

And he has a point. According to an FT columnist US military strategist John Boyd  talked four decades ago about the use chaos

Create enough chaos and you could completely paralyse your foe. If the chaos made life uncomfortable for your own side, no matter.

Btw, Mad Dog Mattis, Trump’s defence secretary used the call sign “Chaos” when he was a general. Obama sacked him from Central Command (responsible for US military involvement in the Middle East) because Obama had no balls. Mattis believed in responding to Iran’s provocations. Obama preferred to swallow mullah’s sperm.

PAP proves point made by Buffett

In Political governance on 01/04/2018 at 6:06 am

Warren Buffett said that if you put good managers into a bad business, the business will win. His message was that investors should back good businesses that control their markets and can be run by idiots, because one day the idiots will be in charge.

FT columnist

Re “investors should back good businesses … and can be run by idiots, because one day the idiots will be in charge” applies now to S’pore today and the foreeeable future because it seems the idiots are in charge.

Think of the fiascos around SMRT, GST, and economic strategies that don’t work (Economic restructuring: This time, it’s really different)

Don’t believe me? Why do we keep getting mediocre ministers?

More on Thaipusam issues

In Holidays and Festivals on 01/04/2018 at 4:18 am

Further to Anti-PAP Hindus never satisfied

The ban on playing of musical instruments during Thaipusam dated back to 1973, due to fights between competing groups, but was relaxed in late-2015.

Since 2016, live music was allowed at the festival, via three live music points along the procession route.

Good to know that Indians didn’t use their special position to pak other races but to fight among themselves. If Chinese or Malays sure to pak and burn property of other races

Constructive suggestion

Stressing the importance of live music, one dialogue participant suggested getting musicians and music groups to be registered and accredited, who could then work on a single booklet of songs to be played for the procession.

Calling it a good suggestion, Mr Shanmugam said he was prepared to consider it, if the community is able to carry it out.

Piped music

He added that as long as “there is no serious disamenities”, he is prepared “to allow more live music points”. In fact, he said: “I am prepared to allow piped-in music all the way.”

Wonder if anyone had suggested piped music before this remark by the Minister for Pets.

Anti-PAP Hindus never satisfied

In Holidays and Festivals on 31/03/2018 at 11:20 am

The ang moh tua kees KPKBing about Shan’s savaging of PJ Thum (I hope to read the transcript: more on why he deserved to have his views on Coldstore challenged next week*) reminded me of another recent Shan comment

Explaining on Sunday that all religious foot processions have been banned since 1964, after riots occurred, the minister reiterated that Hindus were given an exemption on three occasions — Thaipusam, Panguni Uthiram and Thimithi — passing through major roads.

Minister Shan

Wah got such a privilege position yet anti-PAP Hindus KPKB that PAP govt trying to destroy Thaipusam.


*For the moment, this is what my FB avatar posted when Kirsten KPKBed

Go read about the paper he submitted. They had every right to ask him the questions they asked him about Coldstore. Anyway based on newspaper report, I now know why he never referenced the views of certain known Communists when he analysed Coldstore. (I read his stuff). He thinks they are unreliable. So an issue when analysing his views is whether he’s right or reasonable to dismiss the views of said Communists.

 

China: Paper tiger in South China Sea

In China on 31/03/2018 at 4:56 am

A Chinese academic (The Chinese equivalent of brown noser Eugene Tan and other local academics?) said “The aircraft US carrier has stayed long within this region. China now is showing that it’s not afraid.”

He was referring to the USS Carl Vinson, a US supercarrier that sailed very slowly through the waters in the South China claimed by China in February and the massive naval China exercise now on the way.

If the Chinese had balls, they’d have carried out their exercise when the carrier group was sailing in waters claimed by China. They most probably were afraid that the US were trying to get them into a Gulf of Sirte incident.

In 1981, the Libyans flew two planes near a carrier group that it claimed infringed their territorial waters. The US shot them down claiming it had fired on their aircraft.

Then as now the US had a president that was no talk cock sing song artiste like Obama, a Democrat. Not only is Trump president but Mad Dog Mattis (Military call sign “Chaos”) is his defence secretary.

 

More on Meng Seng’s ignorance of Chinese history

In China on 30/03/2018 at 11:32 am

Further to Meng Seng doesn’t know his Chinese history, here’s more evidence that he was BSing about Chinese history: that China is a really peace-loving nation. It’s like any other major nation: expanded from one area by conquering and killing the neighbours. No difference from US of A, UK, France, Russia, Germany, Iran etc

From Quora

We have an example of what happens when large amounts of Chinese take over another land already occupied by non-Chinese people. In the 16th century, the Qing dynasty defeated the Ming dynasty, so 30,000 Ming dynasty remnants retreated to Taiwan (where the native population was believed to be about 100,000) and formed the Kingdom of Tungning. The Dutch were already there though but were kicked out by the Chinese/Japanese Ming loyalist Koxinga in history’s first seige between gunpowder armed Europeans and East Asians.

The Dutch may have already set an example for the Chinese on how to ‘deal’ with the native Taiwanese, as many had already been converted to Christianity. When Chinese forces won they went about re-educating natives from Christian to Confucian beliefs and replaced Churches with Confucian temples. The Dutch had already set a system of trade/exploitation of native resources too, which the Chinese continued. When the Qing dynasty took over Taiwan, they basically maintained the same system.

[I highlighted the bit about SE Asia yesterday in Oversea Chinese not real Chinese]

The writer ends

From these two different examples of Chinese colonies you can see how they might have interacted with the Americans. Taiwan gives an example of how Chinese attempted to assimilate/conquer the natives, Southeast Asia gives an example of how Chinese were assimilated by the native culture.

More dirt on Uber’s driverless cars/ “Do no evil” is better option?

In Uncategorized on 30/03/2018 at 4:23 am
From NYT Dealbook

Uber said it would not renew its California permit for self-driving vehicle tests until investigations were complete in Arizona. And it’s facing questions over a decision to scale back on safety sensors.

Critic’s corner: Timothy B. Lee argues in Ars Technica that Uber should sell its self-driving project, which needed a firm with a “methodical, safety-oriented culture.”

But Waymo (related to Google) still intends to put thousands of self-driving cars — customized Jaguar I-Paces, to be precise — on the road over the next two years.

 

Oversea Chinese not real Chinese

In China, Indonesia, Malaysia on 29/03/2018 at 8:55 am

And when the Javanese helped the Chinese in Java

When the Dutch took over Indonesia in the 1700’s, they segregated Chinese merchants and workers that otherwise lived among the Indonesians, culminating in the 1740 Batavia massacre where Chinese were targeted for death. While the Dutch embassy to the Qing dynasty apologized for the East India’s company’s murder of ethnic Chinese, the Qing Emperor told them that any Chinese who leaves Qing territory is no longer Chinese, so he didn’t care. The only people willing to help the Chinese were the Javanese they lived with, leading to the Java War (1741–43) against Dutch rule.

The rest of the Quora article which talks about the Chinese coming in SE Asia before the 19th century migrations.

Ask the Indonesians/Malaysians


In the 1200’s, the Yuan dynasty’s fleet invaded Java but was repelled by the Singhasari kingdom, which in turn benefited from captured Chinese technology such as better ships. A century later the Ming dynasty would send their treasure fleets through Southeast Asia in a mission of peaceful trade, with some Chinese muslims staying behind to join the Muslim communities of Southeast Asia.

The Ming dynasty eventually established a peaceful relationship with the Muslim Malacca sultanate, with thousands of Fujian Chinese immigrating there. When Malacca fell to Portugal, the Ming dynasty responded with a boycott of Portuguese goods (only trading with Malaysians), even executing Portuguese envoys/bandits (sources vary), the Ming dynasty already had previous problems with Portuguese pirates. Relations with Portugal would improve over time though.

When the Dutch took over Indonesia in the 1700’s, they segregated Chinese merchants and workers that otherwise lived among the Indonesians, culminating in the 1740 Batavia massacre where Chinese were targeted for death. While the Dutch embassy to the Qing dynasty apologized for the East India’s company’s murder of ethnic Chinese, the Qing Emperor told them that any Chinese who leaves Qing territory is no longer Chinese, so he didn’t care. The only people willing to help the Chinese were the Javanese they lived with, leading to the Java War (1741–43) against Dutch rule.

 

More on why only a Uber car killed a pedestrian

In Uncategorized on 29/03/2018 at 4:39 am

The Economist reported that the car was doing 0ver 60 mph in in 45 mph zone. Where was the criminal driver? He really is a criminal: Why only a Uber car killed a pedestrian.

NYT Dealbook further reported

Even before a pedestrian was killed in Tempe, Ariz., Uber was struggling with its autonomous vehicle efforts, needing human intervention nearly every 13 miles on average in Arizona tests. Those technical issues made being an operator of Uber’s cars very stressful.

So they employed a criminal? Why only a Uber car killed a pedestrian.

BBC reported

Uber has been forbidden from resuming self-driving tests in the US state of Arizona.

The car-hailing company had already halted its trial after one of the vehicles involved struck and killed a pedestrian a week ago.

The state’s governor wrote to the firm on Monday saying there had been an “unquestionable failure” to make safety the top priority.

Ong Ye Kung: “Is he the 4G leader with the killer instinct?”

In Political governance on 28/03/2018 at 11:02 am

I never was impressed by Ong Ye Kung (See Ong Ye Kung: A study in failure) and nothing since he became minister and a contender to be PM has changed my mind.

But a TRE reader who wrote a gd piece about the People’s Choice to be PM (See Look who wants Tharman for PM) has written about Ong, so I reproduce it below for yr reading.

Is he the 4G leader with the killer instinct?

Of the three men reportedly in the running to be the next PM, Ong Ye Kung is the one least talked about and widely seen as least favourite.

He has two things on his resume which set him apart from every other cabinet Minister and 4G leader: he has experienced the bitter taste of defeat at an election and he is the son of a leftist.

Ong was in the PAP’s Aljunied GRC team which suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of the Workers’ Party – marking the first every GRC loss by the PAP. Ong witnessed up close the inglorious end to the Ministerial careers of George Yeo, Lim Hwee Hua and Zainal Abidin Rasheed, all three retiring from politics after the elections.

There is yet another aspect to Ong’s background which makes him stand out from his colleagues. His father Ong Lian Teng was one of 13 Barisan Socialis legislative representatives elected in the 1963 GE.

So Ong has lived through a baptism of fire and high drama and has “jumped ship” from his father. Put together, they may not be bad credentials to boast of because it can be argued that his resolve has been toughened and his mettle and strength of character tested.

But it could have been much sweeter – imagine if Ong had made a comeback for the 2015 GE by helming a team to take on the WP at Aljunied GRC (which was there for the taking). Instead Ong entered Parliament through the backdoor – he was fielded in one of the safest of GRCs for the PAP, the Sembawang GRC.

On paper, Ong is significantly behind in terms of exposure and profile when compared with Heng Swee Keat and Chan Chun Sing. But as Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defence, he is in the thick of two key ministries. He was also Chief Executive of the Workforce Development Agency and Deputy Chief Negotiator for the Singapore-US Free Trade Agreement.

Ong has a very staunch advocate and champion in Prof Tommy Koh, arguably Singapore’s most illustrious diplomat. Last January, Prof Koh told a conference that from his experience working with him, “I have the highest respect for Minister Ong and regard him as credible and the leading candidate to be our next prime minister.”

Those remarks more than anything suddenly shifted the spotlight to Ong because Prof Koh is known to be astute in judgement and judicious in his choice of words. Just over a month ago, Prof Koh again set tongues wagging with a Facebook post of a photo of himself with Ong and the telling endorsement: “He has both high IQ and EQ. He is charismatic and an eloquent speaker. He has good leadership qualities and is very likeable. He is a man of integrity.”

Ong has a stoic, steely focus and set views about what works for the country and the PAP. He has said that one-party rule is the best way for a small country like Singapore to succeed. An indication perhaps that he would be prepared to do what’s necessary to shore up the power and dominance of the PAP.

He is also sharp-tongued – recently chastising MP Louis Lim for saying that public officers dare not speak up for fear of getting into trouble. Ong, who spearheads public innovation efforts, warned against “generalisations that tar the entire (public) service” and rounded it off in a caustic tone: “So I say to Mr Louis Ng, be part of the change, be part of the change . . .” The MP was stung. He beat a hasty retreat, assuring that he would be careful about making generalisations in future.

If made PM, Ong would have beaten the odds, surging ahead of more fancied and more high profile candidates in Heng Swee Keat and Chan Chun Sing. He is not to be counted out – yet.

There’s something about Ong which speaks volumes. To get a grip on it, let’s turn to celebrated manga artist Hiroyu Oku who said: “The killer instinct is not perceived by words, but by look.”

Ong Ye Kung has the look of one who is cool, calm, composed – and calculated. He is more caustic and more unnerving than any other 4G politician. He is to be underestimated at one’s peril.

Augustine Low

I doubt he’s as good as Prof Tommy Koh makes him out to be: “I have the highest respect for Minister Ong and regard him as credible and the leading candidate to be our next prime minister.”

He was the CEO of the Workforce Development Agency and labour productivity never did improve. His NTUC and SMRT failings I’ve listed in Ong Ye Kung: A study in failure.

Granted he has good communication skills, but so did JBJ, M Ravi and this serial promise breaker: Where’s yr defamation video and jobs rally Lim Tean?.

Coming back to Ong and the PAP:

Connecting SMRT failures, 4th gen ministers & change of PM

Why do we keep getting mediocre ministers?

Why cabinet can’t do bold new ideas

Outline of Trump, China deal cheers mkts

In China on 28/03/2018 at 4:38 am

The US last week announced proposed tariffs against China, which sent US and Asian markets tumbling.

But China’s premier Li Keqiang said on Monday that China and the US should maintain negotiations.

Mr Li’s comments followed those made earlier by US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, who told US media on Sunday he was “cautiously hopeful” that the US and China could come to an agreement on trade issues.

NYT Dealbook reported on Mon morning NY Time as mkts cheonged (Tuesday NY mkts recovering from Monday’s rise)

Behind Washington and Beijing’s back-channel tariffs talks
After a Friday that saw the markets sink amid fears of a trade war, the U.S. and China are holding high-level talks to defuse tensions, the WSJ reports. Leading them: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Liu He, Beijing’s economic czar.
Among Washington’s requests, in a letter to Mr. Liu, were lower Chinese tariffs on American cars and more freedom for Wall Street firms to expand in China.
Mr. Mnuchin told “Fox News Sunday” that he believed the recent rate increase by the Federal Reserve was to blame for recent market declines, not tariffs. He added, “We’re not afraid of a trade war, but that’s not our objective.”
News of the talks have lifted markets in Asia and Europe, while S.&P. 500 futures jumped this morning. It will also undoubtedly ease the fears of C.E.O.s, economists and foreign leaders and allies who have openly fretted about the prospect of a trade war. A sample quote, from Larry Fink of BlackRock: “The world does not need a public fight in which we reduce future opportunities.”

What “fake” news will be allowed

In Malaysia, Media, Political governance, Public Administration on 27/03/2018 at 11:01 am

Adding to my tots in Fake news traffickers will be hanged

there was this

“Any information related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) that has not been verified by the Government is considered fake news.

Datuk Jailani Johari (pic), the Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister, explained that fake news is information that is confirmed to be untrue, especially by the authorities or parties related to the news.”*

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/03/21/unverfied-info-on-1mdb/#QKmu29kU273TUQuU.99

M’sia is introducing legislation that would result in people found guilty of publishing “fake news” being jailed for up to 10 years or face fines of up to M$500,000: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-43538109

This reminded me of

 

 

The Straits Times (ST) splashed on the front page today (16 Mar) the headline, “Fewer foreigners, more locals in workforce last year“.

It reported that the number of foreigners working in Singapore fell by 32,000 last year – the biggest in 15 years, ST said.

However buried within the artcle ST did report that the decline was mostly due to fewer work permit holders due to weakness in the construction and marine industries. For more read https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2018/03/16/net-increase-in-foreign-pmets-last-year/

I think ST’s headline is more than misleading or misrepresenting the truth: it’s “fake” news analysis. Inconvenient facts are “hidden” from view.

Sadly this is the kind of “fake” news that will be allowed. Why? Because ST and other constructive, nation-building publications and channels practice it as part of nation-building.

In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act

George Orwell

Sadly in S’pore our anti-PAP cybernuts do not believe in doing revoluntary acts. They’d rather tell lies too: think Phillip Ang.


*But then

Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak (above) today assured that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filings on 1MDB won’t be considered fake news.

He said this during a meeting with foreign correspondents today which also saw the government tabling its the Anti-Fake News Bill in Parliament.

“You can quote them, what did they say, based on the filings. It is not considered fake news.

“It’s their views. Like DOJ, you quote them, what they said,” he said.

 

Why only a Uber car killed a pedestrian

In Uncategorized on 27/03/2018 at 4:22 am

The human in the Uber self-driving car that killed a woman in Arizona was a felon with a history of traffic citations who wasn’t watching the road.

NYT Dealbook

Glad that Grab kicked them out of this region.

ST, Today editors trying to be like Tharman

In Media on 26/03/2018 at 9:43 am

I’ve said before that PAP ministers especially Tharman are lousy comedians

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

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

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

It looks like ST and Today’s editors are trying to be more like Tharman. They already Indian although Warren has to use some black Kiwi polish on his skin and the other Fernandez needs to use plenty of bleach. Btw, the colour of their skins should tell one that despite the same family name, the two are not related.

What it does tell us is that the media is an Indian territory, like the law.

Seriously, they also auditioning to be ministers because the inability to crack good jokes seems a criteria to be a minister?

It does us no justice’ to be pro-Government, say Singapore’s mainstream media

In the age of social media, which gives the public more sources of news, there is no reason for Singapore’s mainstream media outlets to be partisan in its reporting, senior editors of Mediacorp and The Straits Times said on Friday (Mar 23).

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/no-reason-to-be-pro-government-say-singapore-mainstream-media-10070790

Well what about the fact that these papers are operating in  S’pore? This requires a licence renewed yearly.

The conventional wisdom has it that the PAP expects the media to, at the very least, brown nose the PAP govt especially the ministers. And nothing in Cheong Yip Seng’s,“OB Markers: My Straits Times Story” challenges this belief. Some even say the book reinforces the belief.

Btw, the book was only self-censored. Everyone in the PAP administration tot that someone else in the administration was reviewing the manuscript. So noone censored reviewed the manuscript. ST had planned a massive publicity campaign for the book. Only day one went to plan. The campaign was pulled on orders from higher up.

———————————————————

Related post: Meaningless distinction by ST’s editor

—————————————————–

What they said

Walter Fernandez 

In response, Mediacorp’s editor-in-chief Walter Fernandez said: “Before the social media advent, there were far fewer brands of news sources. These were larger, more dominant and enjoyed a higher degree of trust.

“The significant fragmentation of the audience has left them with a significantly wider choice … We are judged now quite differently by the expectations of an audience that has moved on significantly, and we have to fight to earn their trust on a daily basis now.”

“In that sort of environment, against that sort of landscape, it does us no justice to want to be ‘pro-A’ or ‘pro-B’ in that sense,” Mr Fernandez added.

“Our fundamental premise is we have to provide accurate, contextual and timely information to audiences and allow them to make up their minds.

“Ultimately … (in) moments of crisis, we see people coming back to mainstream media. That speaks to the trust there is within our organisations and the trust Singaporeans hold up the two mainstream media companies with.”

Warren Fernandez

Said Mr Warren Fernandez, editor of The Straits Times: “Over the last five, 10 years we’ve tried extremely hard to be fair, balanced and objective because we see our role as not trying to play up one party or the other, but to give our readers as much information as they can to make decisions for themselves.

“If we were biased, we would be clearly called out on social media. It would backfire and affect our credibility, so we wouldn’t be inclined to do that. I don’t think it does anybody any service if we tried to … it would be a disservice to our readers, a disservice to our journalists, and ultimately I think a disservice to Singapore.”

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/no-reason-to-be-pro-government-say-singapore-mainstream-media-10070790

 

Cybernuts’ Guide to Trump pak China

In China, Economy on 26/03/2018 at 4:48 am

Summary: Be happy because global trade will suffer and thus S’pore very dependent on global trade (Why S’pore’s growth is so gd this year) will suffer.

Chief cybernut, Oxygen, already sending out invitations to his “PAP will collapse soon” party

Alternative view from EDB: Really? “Singapore Says Asian Growth Helps Offset U.S. Trade Threat”(From early last year)

From NYT’s Dealbook

Will the U.S.-China trade fight be a flicker or an inferno?
They’re here. President Trump imposed $60 billion worth of tariffs and penalties on Chinese goods. China is threatening tariffs on $3 billion worth of U.S. goods like nuts, wine and pork. Now S.&P. 500 futures and markets in Asia and Europe are down this morning, following yesterday’s steep sell-off (which was driven in large part by Boeing).
The context: Mr. Trump has made subtext — China is the U.S.’s main economic rival and must be treated as a strategic competitor — text. Few in the U.S. are happy with Beijing’s trade and intellectual property policies. But the world is now watching to see whether the fight turns out to be a spat, or a prolonged and damaging conflict.
Peter Eavis’s take: A trade fight that eventually relaxes some of China’s disadvantageous conditions could bolster the long-term prospects of U.S. firms. And if the U.S. is able to recruit other countries to its cause, China may relent. Still, much could go wrong.
On the other tariffs: The E.U. is still waiting for confirmation of exemptions from the imported metals tariffs. They may get quotas instead. Meet Century Aluminum, the tiny manufacturer that pressed for those penalties.
Critics’ corner
Stephen Gandel of Gadfly writes, “Trump’s tariffs and especially his protectionist rhetoric threaten to cut more and more of the world off.”
Paul Krugman writes, “America has much less trade leverage over China than Trump imagines, and a trade war with ‘China’ will anger a wider group of countries, some of them close allies.”
The WSJ editorial board writes, “A rising and aggressive China poses considerable risks to world order, but persuading its leaders to conform to trading norms requires more than scattershot tariffs.”

 

Cybernuts, be happy that SPH not so smart

In Internet, Media on 25/03/2018 at 5:04 am

In 2001, Naspers, a South African publisher (It published the ST for the apartheid regime) bought a stake in a lossmaking Chinese start-up in the wake of the dotcom bust for US$32m.

This week it sold more than US$10bn of its shares in Tencent, the Chinese technology group, a sliver (2%age points) of a stake worth US$167bn which it acquired in 2001 for “peanuts”. It still has 31% of Tencent.

Well I’m sure a PAPPy, think Goh Meng Seng (OK, OK, he’s a covert PAPpy), would say Naspers was lucky. Well at the time the ang moh CEO of Naspers was in China looking at internet investment opportunities, so were Temasek, GIC and SPH senior executives.

They so unlucky meh? Remember Napoleon only wanted as marshalls (his most senior generals) generals who were lucky. He knew the importance of luck. Early in his career, he lost a battle but the unexpected arrival of a fresh division turned the battle around.

Or our GIC, Temasek and SPH executives juz stupid?

Btw, Naspers is trading at a 40% discount to its Tencent stake, despite having profitable operational businesses and other successful internet investments. Shareholders are unhappy.

 

Meaningless distinction by ST’s editor

In Media on 24/03/2018 at 9:45 am

(Alternative title “What if editor was also censor? And justifying censorship”)

Writers are “engineers of human souls”Joseph Stalin once told Soviet writers. And I’m sure our Harry would agree with him on that when it came to journalists. After all both wanted the media to be part of their constructive, nation-building endeavours.

So I can’t stop laughing when I read what Warren Fernandez (Btw, TMG’s Bertha Henson* coveted his job, something to bear in mind when reading her criticisms of ST and SPH. Where was her critical voice when she was angling for the post of ST’s editor? She was no Cherian George.) told the parliamentary Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods.

The ST editor said

that an “important distinction” needed to be made between the “exercising of judgment by editors, and censorship or self-censorship”.

“Before we publish anything, we would want to assure ourselves that the content we are putting out is not libelous, unfair or biased … it’s us exercising responsibility,” he said.

“We recognise it’s a duty, and we make judgment calls and we take constant feedback from many sources – newsmakers, readers, organisations … that’s the critical role a responsible media organisation would play.

“If you’re going to have a meaningful exchange and debate, you need informed decisions. It’s not a matter of every view being put out there, and have a slugfest, and expect sweetness and light to emerge.”

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/no-reason-to-be-pro-government-say-singapore-mainstream-media-10070790

Well the above distinction between the role of an editor and a censor does not exist or is meaningless when the editor is chosen by a govt determined that the media be constructive, nation-building. Read Cheong Yip Seng’s, “OB Markers: My Straits Times Story” on how he became ST editor: Harry tot he “was ready” is my impression of what he was telling us. Also read how subsequent editors were choosen.

 


 

*Secret Squirrel, Morocco Mole, and ST and SPH insiders say she quit ST the day when it was announced that Warren was returning to ST to be ST’s editor. So all her criticism could be sour grapes rather than the repentance of a wannabe Seth Lord.

Smart Peenoy

In Uncategorized on 24/03/2018 at 5:06 am

SM, a big mall operator in the Philippines,  is building call centre offices beside its malls to make it easy for their employees to pop in and spend.

“Free restaurant food for SMRT & ComfortDelgro”

In Infrastructure on 23/03/2018 at 11:37 am

“Abalone, geoduck, sea cucumber and sharksfin isit?”

“Only in S’pore will a PAP minister sneer at serving restaurant food for the elderly poor while the PAP administration condones welfare for public tpt cos.”

The above were my tots when I read

“However, he noted that in the PTC’s discussions with commuters, the council had found that there was an “expectation on the ground” that transport fares will be increased. He added that commuters spoken to were “quite happy to bear higher fares” as they recognise the cost of improving the transport network.”

Public Transport Council chair Richard Magnus

Err so not true that the public tpt network (i.e. infrastructure) is not getting $20bn from the surplus as said by the presumptive PM and a possible one (Lawrence Wong: a PM-in-waiting) in parliament to improve the network?

Ministers wouldn’t lie in parly because lying is “dishonourable”.

So what is this “improving the transport network” by the tpt cos? Network (i.e.infrastructure is not paid for by fares because network is under the LTA.

Welfare for the tpt cos methinks. S’poreans (Surpluses belong to S’poreans even the PAP says though many S’poreans, not juz the cybernuts, may disagree) for improving the tpt network, yet we have to pay tpt cos for these improvements via fare rises.

Welfarism the PAP way. Sad. Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham (“Rob the poor, to give to the rich”) must have been reincarnated as PAP ministers.

Where is Robin Hood when we need him? Goh Meng Seng (Silence of Goh Meng Seng) and Lim Tean (Where’s yr defamation video and jobs rally Lim Tean?) are certainly no reincarnations of Robin Hood.

As is Mad Dog.

Dr Paul? But his followers sadly still prefer to listen to their top Mad Dog. Sad.

Najib or Cambridge Analytica is lying

In Malaysia on 23/03/2018 at 4:36 am

Who to believe?

In the Channel 4 investigation, Malaysia was named as one of the countries in which Cambridge Analytica had operated.

A member of the country’s opposition party is now calling on Prime Minister Najib Razak to reveal if he used the firm in the 2013 general election.

“Prime Minister Najib Razak must explain if he used Cambridge Analytica to manipulate voters… and whether he is using unethical manipulation techniques in the upcoming [election],” Wan Saiful Wan Jan said in a statement.

Mr Najib has denied using the company, although its website says it supported his party “with a targeted messaging campaign highlighting their school improvements since 2008”.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-43476762

Welfare for insurers (cont’d)

In Financial competency, Financial planning, Insurance, Political economy, Political governance on 22/03/2018 at 10:22 am

Here in Welfarism the PAP way I gave an example (share of taxes paid) that the PAP did welfare: corporates get welfare, not the people

Here’s another: the new requirement that Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) with riders have a co-payment portion of at least 5%.

When the PAP introduced this welfare scheme for insurers, a minister talked about “buffet syndrome” of policyholders.

Well the insurers should have allowed to wallow in their own urine and shit.

The problem was self-created. The “free” riders were created to increase their profits, or so they tot. Now that it was not working for them, the PAPpies should not be riding to their rescue. They should simply stop marketing the products. And start increasing the premiums for existing holders to reflect previous pricing mistakes.

But to be fair to the corporate loving PAP govt: the change has not mandated any change for the 1.1m people who already have full riders for their Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) – which means they still will pay nothing for hospital bills.

But the freeloaders and scroungers that are the insurance industry will not stop lobbying for this to change. They had wanted the co-sharing to apply to the existing contract, or so Secret Squirrel and Morroco Mole tell me.

But the PAP govt didn’t want another public row what with its plans to raise GST after the next GE.

 

Remember the Death Cross?

In Financial competency on 22/03/2018 at 4:48 am

Since 2009, equity markets have been in cheong mood.

Death crosses became an endangered technical sign.

One was sighted in Germany very recently.

Reminder: A death cross not only involves the 50 Daily Moving Average below the 200 DMA, but it also happens when both moving averages are declining

Meng Seng doesn’t know his Chinese history

In China on 21/03/2018 at 10:04 am

Our very own Wu Sangui (Silence of Goh Meng Seng) who wants us to kowtow to Xi because China’s a peaceful nation doesn’t know his Chinese history because he doesn’t know how China was created: by emperors who waged war. And he was from a Chinese-language school?

Or he is a lackey of Xi?

From Quora

The first great conqueror of China was Ying Zheng, the king of Qin. Roughly contemporaneous with Alexander of Macedon, he conquered all the states of the North China Plain by 220 BC at age 38 and proclaimed himself Qin Shihuang. In the next few years, he campaigned southwards and expanded the Chinese world further than it had ever reached. By the time he died, the Qin Empire stretched from the edge of the Eurasian steppe into the jungles of Vietnam. This realm was similar in size to Alexander’s empire and had a similar aftermath. Neither empire outlasted its founder’s death for long, but although the expanded Hellenic world created by Alexander collapsed within 300 years, the Sinosphere continued to expand over millennia.

Later emperors would rule even larger polities. For example, Li Shimin, who founded the Tang Dynasty alongside his father whom he would go on to depose went on to rule an empire even larger than Rome’s. Tang soldiers occupied swathes Korea, the jungles of Vietnam, and even marched across thousands of miles of desert and mountains to subjugate territories in Afghanistan and Central Asia. Although the Tang never settled the Mongolian steppe to their north, they succeeded in annihilating the Eastern Turkic Khaganate that ruled it, eliminating the nomad threat for generations. All of this was accomplished in a single lifetime.

The Tang are in yellow while the subjugated polities on their borders are in brown

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And the above left out Han Wu-ti. More from another Quora contributor

And several Qing emperors

China’s friends in the US

In China on 21/03/2018 at 4:10 am
The enemies within?

U.S. companies warn the White House on China tariffs

Forty-five trade groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, urged President Trump not to move forward with sweeping tariffs on Chinese goods.

Here’s what Thomas Donohue, the C.E.O. of the chamber, said:

“The livelihood of America’s consumers, businesses, farmers, and ranchers are at risk if the administration proceeds with this plan.”

NYT Dealbook

PAP’s simple growth equation no longer works

In Economy on 20/03/2018 at 10:14 am

There is no maximum size for a city’s population, even the booming megacities of Asia. It is all a matter of clever planning – and looking ahead 100 years. So claims Dr Liu Thai Ker, Chairman of Morrow Architects.
Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/video-on-demand/conversation-with/dr-liu-thai-ker-9855058

Dr Liu’s interview earlier this yr has been remaking the rounds on FB. He seems to be the PAP administration spin meister on why we need FTs by the cattle-truck load and a population of 10m.

He and the PAP administration parrot unthinkingly the conventional economic wisdom that growth is just demographics plus productivity. If  birth rates are lower than in the past, and no FTs come in,  and productivity is flat, growth must be slower. And property prices will collapse.

It’s a simple equation.


Growing the economy via productivity is very, very hard: US experience on growing GDP via productivity

————————————————————————————–

The retired chief economist of GIC disagrees and he just reposted his critique of this view.

Just to repost my comments on Dr Liu Thai Ker’s views on planning for a 10mn population for Singapore as they probably bear repeating :

“The problem here is that with all due respect, while Dr Liu is an extremely competent and highly regarded town planner, he is effectively recommending very poor, outdated economic policy indeed.

He is still stuck in the defunct “go for growth” strategy which the government has long realized was a mistake since 2010.

Between 1990 -2010, twenty years of this “go for growth” strategy has left us with a bloated, inefficient, labour intensive and low productivity economy that has depressed wages for the working class, created massive working poverty, and boosted the population to an uncomfortable 5.6 mn that could easily swell to double that if labor force growth is not scrupulously controlled well below 1% pa long term.

Germany for example, grew its labour force and population at less than 0.5% pa over the last few decades and remains the most competitive and dynamic high value-added export economy in the world!

Doing the same for the next few decades will leave Singapore with a population well below 7 million, not anywhere near 10 million and with higher productivity and real wages, less wealth and income inequality and a much much smaller and more assimilable new foreign population.

What we need is high quality, not poor quality, high quantity growth. The latter is the way towards an unbearably crowded, extremely stratified and socially divided Dubai-type, not a Swiss-style standard of living that a productivity-led, relatively population-light strategy like Germany or Switzerland’s can alternatively provide.

Citizen well being, not growth numbers, greater profits, more billionaires or tall fancy buildings should be the true test and ultimate goal of long term population policy and urban planning.Let’s not forget that we are not just a city state but, much more importantly, a nation state as well.”

India thinks it’s China’s rival?

In China, India on 20/03/2018 at 4:14 am

More like vassal.

India is the biggest beneficiary of the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. India takes a quarter of all its investment commitments to date despite India thinking China is its rival

India benefits from AIIB loans despite China tensions

Delhi overlooks security concerns to pick up $1bn in infrastructure funding
FTY headline

Fake news traffickers will be hanged

In Media, Political governance, Public Administration on 19/03/2018 at 10:53 am

That was my tot when I read on FB

Singapore may fight fake news in the same way as drugs: Puthucheary

(Constructive, nation-building headline last week)

My FB avater commented: Hang convicted people isit? Terry Xu u have been warned.

TX: I am always prepared to die for what I am doing. So not much of a threat.

My avater: Respect.

Seriously, other than hanging convicted traffickers of “fake news”, there’s another probability about what the FT (He sneered at those who did NS) jnr minister wants: there’ll be no presumption of innoncence for those accused of trafficking in fake news. They got to prove their innocence.

If a suspect is caught with a prescribed amount of an illegal drug, it is deemed to be a trafficker and liable to be hung. It’s up to the suspect to prove that it isn’t a trafficker.

So maybe a suspect traffickier of ‘fake” news has to prove his innocence?  Stuff from certain sites like “The Indian Idiots — S’pore” are presumed to be “fake” unless proven otherwise by the suspect? Maybe anything that Dr Chee says will be deemed to ne “fake” news, until proven otherwise?

And maybe the presumption of guilt can be overturned by showing that the “fake” item was from a report that orginated from the constructive, nation-building local media like Mothership or ST? Or that a govt agency said it?

And maybe there’ll be a law that says that whatever a minister or govt agency says is the truth: those who allege otherwise will be deemed to be traffickers of fake news who will have to prove their innocence like drug “traffickers”.

The mind boggles.

The problem with Ownself pay Ownself a lot

In Uncategorized on 19/03/2018 at 4:38 am

How can I pay myself extravagant amounts and then expect those at lower levels to keep a close eye on costs?

Helmut Maucher, Nestlé chief executive, 1927-2018. He died recently.

Helmut Maucher was as good a leader as Harry, Dr Goh and the other PAP Old Guards.

Harry and gang led the transformation of S’pore from a port to a prosperous city-state. Mr Maucher made Nestlé great.

Nestlé was two-thirds the size of Unilever in 1981 when he was appointed Nestlé’s chief executive. When he retired in 2000,  it was double its rival’s size by market value. For the record, in 1990, he added the title of chairman, a position he held until 2000.

.

 

 

CNA report shows public tpt Hard Truths are BS

In Infrastructure on 18/03/2018 at 6:55 am

Constructive, nation-building CNA visited Taipei and reported

How Taipei Metro turned itself around – and the lessons for Singapore’s MRT system
It suffered a spate of delays, then became one of the world’s most reliable subway systems. Talking Point travelled to Taipei to find out how the system is run.

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/cnainsider/taipei-metro-subway-system-lessons-singapore-smrt-breakdowns-10046044

So far (and beyond), constructive, nation-building stuff.

But buried really deep in the report, there are things that contradict Hard Truths:

— “To appease the public, the Taipei Metro gave fare discounts …”

Where got this here? I don’t count the “early bird” scheme.

— “The Taipei Metro is nationalised and is majority-owned by the Taipei City government … the metro boss is Mayor Ko Wen-je – who is also one of Taipei’s most recognisable commuters, as he takes the train to work.”

Khaw or Ho got like this meh? Let alone Chairman and CEO of SMRT?

— The Mayor “told Talking Point that ticket fares have not changed in the past 20-something years.”

PAP MP Cheng Li Hui (Was she brown-nosing when she said it was wrong to cut fares, or juz stupid?) should note the above. As should other PAPpies including ministers.

— He also said: “If profit is the only criterion … then very quickly, the public transport will break down.”

PAP MP Cheng Li Hui (Was she brown-nosing when she said it was wrong to cut fares, or juz dumb?) should note the above. As should other PAPpies including ministers

When to call lawyer, banker

In Uncategorized on 18/03/2018 at 4:23 am

When you owe a little bit of money you call your banker to pay it. When you owe a lot of money you call your lawyer to get out of it.

(FT quoting a Mr Russo)

Mr Russo was Lehman Brothers top legal officer

PAP S’pore is truly unique

In Uncategorized on 17/03/2018 at 10:39 am

An Economist blogger talks about the difference between “open” and “closed”society and the difficulties entailed in such distinctions. A “problem is that different forms of openness do not automatically go together”:

An international example of the way that open and closed can go together in complicated ways is provided by Singapore. The island state is one of the most open economies in the world when it comes to commerce: the regional headquarters of global companies overlook one of the busiest harbours in the world. But it is much more qualified when it comes to other parts of the “cosmopolitan” formula. A highly meritocratic elite plans the economy by deliberately moving it up the value chain. Democracy is “managed”. The state clamps down on poor habits such as littering.

https://www.economist.com/blogs/bagehot/2018/03/globalisation

Chinese fraud in US executed from S’pore

In Banks, China on 17/03/2018 at 4:42 am

Bank of America Merrill Lynch recently agreedto pay US$1.4 million to settle S.E.C. allegations that it didn’t do enough to investigate red flags at a Chinese company Longtop Financial Technological, a Chinese software company accused of fraud in 2011 whose unregistered securities it sold.

The sales occurred in a brokerage account opened in a Singapore branch of BofAML and were executed by traders in New York at the direction of the Singapore office, according to the SEC. In 2013, BofAML sold Merrill Lynch’s international wealth management business, including the Singapore branch office.

How to ensure no GST rise

In Political governance on 16/03/2018 at 11:20 am
This suggested tight slap to PAP sure to work. Sad that it wouldn’t be administered.
A TRE reader who is no cybernut wrote that losing five GRCs will make a GST rise unlikely. But that it wouldn’t happen because S’poreans don’t want Oppo running their wards. He’s right on both counts. And based on WP’s leaders behaviour in Aljunied (Now the subject of a legal suit by the town council against Low, Auntie and her bayee for breach of fiduciary duties) who can blame the voters?
Btw, based on sentiment in Aljunied, the WP is likely to lose big time in next GE. If Indian PAPpy can beat Chinese speaking scholar Show Mao in his ward in last GE, anything is possible in next GE.
opposition dude:

Always remember, this is a numbers game. He who has the most seats in parliament will govern Singapore it’s as simple as that. Right now PAP has over 80 seats and 1 to 3 more will be created in the next GE for sure. You want to make PAP lose more than 40 seats in the next GE is unthinkable for both the 70%/30%. All we can do is to make PAP lose more than what they have planned for, only then will a crystal clear signal be sent to the party that we are all frustrated with them over the immigration policy and the high cost of living in SIngapore.

If they lose 5 GRCs in the next GE then we will have sent in 25 or so opposition MPs into parliament. But the same stupid problem of voters not wanting an opposition party to run their ward lingers on. Together with the annual 20k new citizens being granted citizenship this will be quite the challenge.

Rather die than not arrive on time

In Airlines, India on 16/03/2018 at 4:18 am

Vistara, which is a joint venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata, once had to manage a group of passengers staging a sit-down protest in front of an aeroplane when told their flight would not reach its intended destination because of fog.

FT

Auntie’s behaviour: Why PAP can hang her

In Uncategorized on 15/03/2018 at 10:06 am

If they want to. But will they dare?

But first, Grace Fu is that cock meh that she had to take advice from AG?

The law is simple. Parliament decides what is parliamentary privilege.

The Court of Appeal in 1988 upheld the ruling by the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges by against one JBJ on the ground that Parliament was empowered by the Constitution to decide on what was covered by parliamentary privilege and to punish an MP if the Committee held that the MP had abused his or her privilege or were in contempt of the Committee or Parliament.

Therefore, it was up to the Committee and not the Courts to decide whether JBJ was covered by parliamentary privilege.

Parliament is judge, jury and executioner, the court effectively said, reflecting the common law position that is is still applicable in the UK.


Is this what AG advise?

Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole claim to have seen AG’s advice on the matter.

They claim that AG referred to the Court of Appeal ruling in 1988 upholding the ruling by the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges by against one JBJ. The CA said that Parliament was empowered by the Constitution to decide on what was covered by parliamentary privilege and to punish MPs if the Committee held that such MPs had abused their privilege or were in contempt of the Committee or Parliament.

That the AG said is the law of the land. Well at least that’s what Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole said the AG said.

——————————-

And because Parliament is judge, jury and executioner, therein lies the political danger for the PAP if the PAP decides to “fix” Auntie because if even a PAP voter cheers on Auntie, says Fu talking cock, there’ll be many more S’poreans (many not anti-PAP) that will agree with this anti-PAP cybernut

HarderTruths:

Does anyone remember JBJ and CST plus Amos. It does not matter what you do, as longas you stand up to these bunch of bullies you are done for.

if Auntie kanna whack by the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges.

Tan Cheng Bock, as usual, gets it about right. He posted on FB

BE GRACIOUS IN PARLIAMENT

Having watched the video on the GST debate, I felt the PAP ministers especially Shanmugam were brow beating MP Sylvia Lim by demanding an apology for asking whether the government postponed the GST hike because of negative public feedback. Many people perceive this brow beating as arrogance. I remember our former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew once told all PAP MPs in 1988 “Any show of arrogance or indifference by any MP or Minister will erode confidence in him and, later, in the government.”

Instead of getting upset, the Ministers should be thankful Sylvia Lim gave them an opportunity to explain. If the government’s position is ‘no’ then just say no and let’s just stop at that. No need to get defensive. As PM Lee Hsien Loong rightly said at the close of the Oxley Road debate: “If MPs believe that something is wrong, it’s an MP’s job to pursue the facts and make these allegations in their own name, decide whether something seems to be wrong, and if you think something is wrong, even if you’re not fully sure, then come to this House, confront the Government, ask for explanations and answers.” I enclose a video clip of Sylvia Lim quoting PM Lee.

PM Lee was echoing the view of our former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew who said “All MPs new and old, should speak out. You have to speak up and bring out the grapevine criticism in the coffee shops and hawker centres. It is damaging for the government not to openly refute it with facts and argument. By bringing up apparently embarrassing issues, you help the government openly state the facts and explain the reasons for our policies and so continue to hold the ground.”

So be gracious, no need to over-react or ask for any apology for bringing out “grapevine criticism” or “apparently embarrassing issues” in Parliament.

Sad that I can’t call him “My president”. For that blame Goh Meng Seng and Tan Kin Lian

Goh Meng Seng, our very own Wu Sangui

Remember he was

the guy who helped (Was he paid? Or did he do it out of the goodness of his heart because he loved the PAP?) the PAP’s preferred candidate to win in PE 2011 by

— persuading TKL to run;

— then running a shambolic campaign for TLK;

— and then saying he had to go to HK for a job interview,

Meng Seng wants us to kowtow to Xi

What Najib told Trump

In Malaysia on 15/03/2018 at 6:01 am

Trump recently blocked Broadcom’s, a Singapore-based chipmaker’, US$117 billion hostile offer for Qualcommon citing national-security concerns.

Hock Tan the M’sian-born CEO of Broadcom, should blame Najib.

Najib had called golf kaki Trump:

Bro, these Chinese so-called M’sians will sell their mothers for the fun of it.

Before the last M’sian GE, they took money from me. But they still voted for the Oppo.

Najib made the call because he wanted Trump to know that M’sian-born Chinese can’t be trusted not to sell out the US of A to the Reds.

Looks like Hock Tan shouldn’t have wasted his time and money hanging round Trump: Trump devalues worth of CEO photo-op with POTUS.

He should have instead slipped an ang pow to FLOM, aka Mrs Najib. Bet u he tot photo-op with Trump was cheaper. Skinflint.

Silence of Goh Meng Seng

In Uncategorized on 14/03/2018 at 11:31 am

Can u hear the deafening silence?

We have yet to hear

Image result for Goh Meng Seng

come out to join Grace Fu and Indranee Rajah (The reincarnation of the  Wicked Witches of West and East  from the Land of Oz?) in calling Auntie “dishonourable” etc. Already s/o JBJ has come out to slime Auntie and the WP (and to be fair the PAP) over Auntie’s remarks on “test ballons”.

Seriously for a supposed Oppo party leader, he (Meng Seng not s/o JBJ) spends more time attacking other Oppo parties’ leaders than the PAP.

—————————————-

Goh Meng Seng, our very own Wu Sangui

Remember he was

the guy who helped (Was he paid? Or did he do it out of the goodness of his heart because he loved the PAP?) the PAP’s preferred candidate to win in PE 2011 by

— persuading TKL to run;

— then running a shambolic campaign for TLK;

— and then saying he had to go to HK for a job interview,

Meng Seng wants us to kowtow to Xi

Btw, in the above link, he slimes WP Low whom he called his sifu in the past. What an ungrateful apprentice*.

—————————-

Whatever he has form in sliming Auntie. Years ago when Auntie and Quah Kim Song became an item, when other S’poreans were wishing them well, he was sliming Auntie. Citing “the bigger picture”, he called her names for disgracing the Oppo by her relationship. Come on: Quah was a widower and Auntie was single. So waz wrong? But no Meng Seng slimed her.

So it’s really surprising that he is so quiet on this issue. Maybe thirty pieces of silver have yet to be paid into his bank account?

——————————–

*Btw, Goh Meng Seng was looking for apprentices after last GE

End of Journey Start from Fresh

I believe many opposition politicians from my generation feel the same way, we might have come to the end of our political journey in the sense that, in view of the current electoral results, we may not be walking into parliament during our lifetime.

However it doesn’t mean we should end here. It would be overly pessimistic that opposition politics will have no more hope. Politics is a long drawn battle.

We may have come to our end of journey but we have to lay the Foundation for the future generations of politicians and activists to take over the baton. We just have to pass it on.

So hang on there my fellow opposition politicians. We still have unfinished business to do a proper handover.

http://singaporealternatives.blogspot.sg/2015/09/end-of-journey-start-from-fresh.html

Wonder if Low Wai Choo became one? She stood with him in the GE.

In 2016, she was fined $450 each for public nuisance. I think she was involved in Roy Ngerng’s and Loh Han Hui Hui’s (Remember them?) savaging of autistic children at Hong Lim Green.

 

NYT compares Xi to our Harry

In Uncategorized on 14/03/2018 at 5:42 am

Mr. Trump’s unpredictability has helped cast China as a more stable superpower. And changes to the Chinese Constitution that allow President Xi Jinping to govern indefinitely could usher him into a global club of autocrats alongside leaders like Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore and Vladimir Putin of Russia.

NYT Dealbook

Given Meng Seng wants us to kowtow to Xi and his dislike of LKY, he must feel conflicted.

Look who wants Tharman for PM

In Political governance on 13/03/2018 at 11:31 am

Really a wide spectrum.

For starters a Muslim Indian who is now KPJBing because he needed “approval” to talk to undergrads here http://www.airconditionednation.com/2018/03/09/campus-control/. Do read it. It’s a great rant. I’ll come back to it some other day.

Sorry: back to Indian support for Tharman. So what’s new? Countryman always supporet countryman, their non-countryan co-workers in any organisation will grumble, rightly or wrongly.

But then this is a Muslim Indian (by conversion because he wanted to have sex with marry a Malay*) keeps on saying Tharman (Hindu?) must become PM.

Singapore’s mystifying political succession

Why is the PAP so ambivalent about the idea of being led by Tharman Shanmugaratnam?

http://www.newmandala.org/singapores-mystifying-political-succession/

(Byw, I first read the article a day after being told by a friend that he once attended a wedding in India where there was a drinking session for the male guests in which the main topic of conversation was “those XXXX Muslims”.)

Seriously, Cherian George lists all the usual (and reasonably good) reasons why ang moh tua kees like him want Tharman to be PM.

If an ang moh tua kee wants Tharman to be PM, that is precisely the reason why the ruling party in a de facto one party state do not want Tharman as PM; as do many other S’poreans.

It’s not mystifying, simply that the judgements and preferences of ang moh tua kees are treated with suspicion and contempt, both within the PAP, and within the wider society. It’s not always about one’s skin tone.

Then there’s this guy who comes across as an ordinary S’porean. He most probably voted For Dr Tan Cheng Bock.

The curious case of a politician who is so wildly popular

Tharman Shanmugaratnam is a one-of-a-kind politician. He has more ardent fans than any other. Netizens have long clamoured for him to be Prime Minister. Even critics of the PAP have heaped praise on him.

Yet Tharman never sought adulation. On the contrary he seemed discomfited by it and has done his best to deflect attention, protesting “I’m not the man for PM. I say that categorically. It’s not me . . . I know myself, I know what I can do, and it’s not me.”

What is it about Tharman that makes him so well-liked and wildly popular? It could be the sum of different parts in the man. Ironically the more he tried to shore up his imperfections, the more he connected with people.

He revealed that he was “completely disinterested” in studies and was aimless as a youth. “Studying medicine would have required time and academic effort, and I did not have that at the age of 17 0r 18 . . . I never had a job in mind, no ambition in terms of career.”

Tharman went on to major in Economics at Cambridge and Public Administration at Harvard. And the chap who hated studying became of all things the Education Minister!

As an ACS boy, Tharman spent much of his time indulging in sports – playing hockey, cricket, football, volleyball, rugby, sepak takraw. In later years he even played in the premier hockey league for Singapore Cricket Club and Singapore Recreation Club. The once sports-crazy politician gave this bit of advice on Facebook after Joseph Schooling won an Olympic gold medal: Discover something we each can be good at. Persevere and never give up. Then pass the passion on to the next generation.

There is also the rebel in him. Tharman has said that he was once “a dissident, a government critic.” He even got into trouble with the law. As a director at MAS 25 years ago, he was charged along with four others under the Official Secrets Act for illegal disclosure of sensitive or classified information. He was eventually convicted of a lesser charge of negligence and fined $1,500.

When cultural icon David Bowie died, Tharman posted the lyrics of the classic hit Space Oddity on Facebook and called Bowie a “musical genius.” It seems that his love for music goes hand-in-hand with a passion for poetry. Tharman penned four poems for a 1978 anthology called but we have no legends. He co-edited the book with two friends, all then in National Service and part of the Young Writers’ Circle at the National Library.

How cool is that – a poet and a David Bowie fan who became a Deputy Prime Minister?

The supremely smart and brainy side of Tharman is most apparent to people. He has a sterling record as Finance Minister and is the first Asian to chair the G-30 – a prestigious global body of top financial experts.  He has also been named Finance Minister of the Year by Euromoney magazine.

For someone who is not attention-seeking or rhetoric-driven, who is in fact  diffident at times, he actually has a great common touch and rapport with citizens. In the 2015 general election, Tharman outperformed all others, securing 79.3% of the votes for Jurong GRC.

Given his unique set of characteristics, his past as a rebel, his artistic bent, his refusal to airbrush his imperfections and struggles, it is a wonder that Tharman ended up as a man in white. He is not cast in the mould of a PAP politician.

Furthermore, we have been told by the ruling party that race and ethnic considerations will always be in the minds of voters when they cast their ballots. As a non-Chinese, he is supposed to be disadvantaged, although polling results have not borne that out.

In fact there are a surprising number of people who still harbour hopes of Tharman being Prime Minister. It may be wishful thinking. But it just goes to show that Singaporeans are not looking for sound and fury in their leader, for someone who is ever generous with promises. Rather, Singaporeans are dying for someone who is smart yet straight talking and sincere, and whose imperfections make him all the more human and relatable.

Augustine Low

—————————————————————

*I personally know one such couple. Mum’s Arab/ Chinese (looks Chinese), hubbie is Chinese. They have a daughter who looks Chinese and attends a Christian school (Dad’s from ACS) but is Muslim. When hols come around, she spends a lot of time in KL with her Muslim cousins.

 

 

Trump can’t count

In China on 13/03/2018 at 5:40 am

Doesn’t know difference between US$1bn and US$100bn.

Mr. Trump tweeted that he has asked Beijing to reduce its trade deficit with the U.S. by $1 billion, adding, “We must act soon!”

NYT’s Dealbook

US$1bn is “peanuts” in the context of a trade deficit with China of more than US$500bn.

Seems he meant US$100bn.

Maybe taz why although he’s worth slightly more than US$3bn, he thinks he’s worth a lot more. He can’t count.

Why do we keep getting mediocre ministers?

In Political governance on 12/03/2018 at 10:56 am

I mean what accounts for people like Kee Chui (Kidding me? Kee Chui potential PM? He from RI?), Ong Ye Kung (Ong Ye Kung: A study in failure) and Grace Fu (“Getting AG advice leh” after Auntie kicked her ass) getting into the cabinet?


disGrace Fu

When TRE used PAP voter cheers on Auntie, says Fu talking cock there were two good responses

opposition dude:
So disGrace didn’t get the sorry she wanted and is feeling pretty malu by now. How can a respectable minister not even get an apology out of a mere MP right? What will voters think of her as a minister now?

Face is very important to the PAP you know. I wouldn’t be surprised if she is already working on something else to one up Sylvia in the next parliamentary session. I don’t think she will just let it rest like that.

And

grace will be promoted soon?:

where will grace find herself. promoted or demoted?
put in a position where she can do lesser damage to the PAP’s brand?

or even damage to Singapore. we can now see that grace do not possess the qualities to represent SG to deal with foreign governments.

sinkies are now just waiting for LHL to make his announcement.
is he making last minute changes? LOL!

———————————————————

In an FT article on the role that managers played in the continuing productivity problems the UK faces (Sounds familiar?), the writer made three observations

— “Mediocre management is often the product of a flawed business model.”

—  Mediocre management “is at least in part, reflect policy failings.”

— “All too often we remain loath to trace persistent managerial weaknesses back to root causes.”‘

Well the PAP’s business model of “We will grow the economy and voters will have the good things in life. In return, voters will vote for S’pore remaining a de-facto one-party state.” is flawed.

Once upon a time (in the days of Harry and his thugs) growing the economy, most probably resulted in S’poreans’ material prosperity improving. This usually happens in the early stages of economic development. But as the economy matures, this link is usually weakened. Today? Not any more, as strong GDP growth no longer benefits ordinary S’poreans as the GDP growth in the late 90s, noughties and beyond shows (Still expect world topping salaries isit?).

S’poreans are also realising that giving the PAP such concentrated power since 1959 has resulted in the PAP’s leaders being detached from reality. PM admitted in 2011 that the anger on the ground shocked the PAP MPs. They had been assured by their PA grassroot leaders, that the unhappiness voiced in cyberspace was just “noise”. It didn’t reflect reality. Well it did.

As to “policy failings”, think failures like getting S’pore to breed like rabbits (Pandas’ birth rates in the wild are better than ours or so I’ve been told: remember they are still in danger of extinction), immigration (PM that stupid meh?) and all the “transformative” economic plans (Heng, can be PM meh?) starting from the one by one Lee Hsien Loong in the 80s. At least he couldn’t copy, cut and paste from earlier reports (seems Dr Goh made him think) but all other subsequent ministers copied, cuy and pasted from lee.

But remember the FT writer wrote

All too often we remain loath to trace persistent managerial weaknesses back to root causes.

What is the root cause of mediocre ministers?

Us the voters.

Why do 60-70% of the voters consistently vote for the PAP, thereby enabling the PAP to have over two-thirds of parly seats, thereby enabling the PAP to suka suka change the constitution? Example:Why PAP thinks we need a Malay president?

And its not only the 60-70% who enable mediocrity.

In 2011, the 30% who consistently vote for any clown (Think Goh Meng Seng or Tan Kin Lian or Lim Tean) so long as it’s not a PAP monkey, missed the opportunity to cock a snook at the PAP in the presidential election. Instead they voted for two RI opportunists, thereby allowing the PAP’s prefered candidate to win. Half of the voters who usually vote PAP voted for Tan Cheng Bock but the anti-PAP voters prefered the Mad Dog Chee’s preferred candidate or Goh Meng Seng’s buddy, Tan Kin Lian.

As has often been said

Voters deserve the government they get.

It’s the fault of S’porean voters that we get mediocre ministers.

Whatever, with enemies like Mad Dog, Tan Jee Say, Goh Meng Seng and Tan Kin Lian, the PAP can get away with ministers like Kee Chui, Ong and disGrace Fu.

 

Accountant lower life form than PR person

In Accounting, Corporate governance on 12/03/2018 at 5:29 am

When I started work in the late 70s, PR practioniers were the lowest of the low in the business social pecking order: they were the pariahs. Accountants were the Brahmins of the caste system.

But accountants are no longer the Brahmins after the repeated scandals involving int’l accounting firms,

Things are so bad that according to the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators accounting lapses were identified at 40% of the 918 audits of listed public interest entities they inspected last year. Worse they report that 41% of the problems identified by audit regulators last year related to independence and ethics.

So nowadays PR people are valued more highly than accountants.

Don’t believe me?

There’s a takeover battle going on in the UK. Melrose has made a hostile bid for GKN.

GKN’s advisory fees are to set include £60m to its bankers; up to £12.3m for lawyers;  £1.83m on accountants; and as much as £6.4m on public relations advice.

Melrose is paying its accountants £2m. It’s PR adviser £1 to £5m depending on whether it wins.

Money talks, BS walks.

GST: Even economists tot GST could go up

In Economy, Political governance, Public Administration on 11/03/2018 at 10:44 am

I quoted a senior lawyer

If the G thinks the earlier remarks were clear and categorical, so that citizens could have no doubts, how does it explain why so many reputable economists were willing to entertain thoughts of an increase this decade?

PAP voter cheers on Auntie, says Fu talking cock 

A pal of mine posted on the FB post where this quote originally appeared

The economists even factored in an increase in their analysis of GDP growth. Btw, I’m one who tot that GST would not go up this yr because it would contradict what Tharman said in 2015 and because it would make no sense effectively “locking up” the increase for 2018- 2020 because there’ll be a new govt by 2021.

The retired GIC Chief Economist waded in

…my respected economist friends were similarly unsure if GST would be raised this time after attending pre budget MOF briefings, even with Minister Heng.

Here’s what the constructive, nation-building rag of MediaCorp had to say about the economists changing their forecasts after the Budget speech

The Budget’s one-off cash handouts and delay in the goods and services tax (GST) hike, which will kick in sometime between 2021 and 2025, prompted Credit Suisse to raise its 2018 economic growth forecast for Singapore from 3 per cent to 3.3 per cent.

Taken together, these would boost growth domestic product (GDP) as well as private consumption, the bank said in a research note, as it raised its private consumption growth forecast to 3.6 per cent, up from 2.9 per cent.

Credit Suisse economist Michael Wan said the bank had previously factored in a 2-percentage point GST hike for its macro forecasts. “We, together with most other economists, were forecasting GST rates to rise this year,” wrote

Mr Wan, who described Monday’s announcement on the delayed GST increase as among the “surprises” of Budget 2018.

Other economists who had expected a GST hike to be implemented either this year or next agreed that the delay would bring a “minor boost” to consumption spending. Nevertheless, they left their GDP forecasts unchanged.

Commenting on the Credit Suisse report, Mr Bernard Aw, principal economist at IHS Markit, said consumers are expected to bring forward “large purchases” ahead of the GST hike.

UOB economist Francis Tan said he is keeping to his earlier forecast of 2.8 per cent GDP growth this year, which was based on a 1 percentage point GST hike this year. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that the delay of the GST hike “provides some upside”. He added: “Whenever there is a higher tax, people reduce their purchases.”

Maybank Kim Eng economist Chua Hak Bin is also maintaining his 2018 GDP forecast at 2.8 per cent, as he had expected the GST hike to be implemented next year. Private consumption is expected to improve from last year but it is unlikely to exceed 3 per cent this year, he said. “The jobs market looks to be improving and that will support consumer spending,” he added.

Both Mr Tan and Mr Chua, however, did not think that the impact of the hongbao handouts would be significant enough to lift GDP growth. Some Singaporeans may choose to save the money instead of spending it, Mr Tan noted. “In that aspect, these are not material handouts,” he said.

The reason I quoted so extensively is to show that “after attending pre budget MOF briefings, even with Minister Heng” the economists felt it necessary to factor in a GST rise in their forecasts.

 

S’pore among top 10 countries owning English properties

In Property on 11/03/2018 at 5:41 am

Chart showing overseas ownership by country

PAP voter cheers on Auntie, says Fu talking cock

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 10/03/2018 at 11:28 am

Here’s two FB posts by a senior lawyer who admitted that he voted for the PAP in past elections

I think that Minister Grace Fu should drop the threat to refer to the Committee of Privileges.

Such a display of arrogance and high-handedness doesn’t impress me, and should not impress Singaporeans.

The facts are this, simply.

The G has said since 2013 that revenues must be raised. I was long aware of PM’s comments at the time. So we know that taxes are going up at some time in the future, but not when.

I was also aware of DPM’s 2015 remarks that the G had enough revenue for the decade. This implied that GST might not need to be raised this decade but it was not a clear, direct and explicit promise not too. Neither was PM’s remarks at the 2017 PAP Convention a categorical promise or confirmation.

The was much discussion in 2017 about an impeding announcement of a GST increase, promoted at least in part by PM’s and Minister Heng’s remarks.

Many economists speculated about the timing of the GST increase. Many of them thought it would be this decade, notwithstanding the G’s earlier comments.

For myself, I was not sure what the G would announce in Budget 2018. I expected an announcement of GST to be raised, but I had no confidence whether it would be after or before 2021.

Does this mean that I thought the G dishonest in its earlier comments?

No, not at all, because while earlier statements were made about having sufficient revenue for the decade, these statements did not amount to a clear promise not to raise the GST in this term of government.

If the G thinks the earlier remarks were clear and categorical, so that citizens could have no doubts, how does it explain why so many reputable economists were willing to entertain thoughts of an increase this decade?

And later

Having read all the transcripts, Minister Fu’s ability to understand the debate seemed dodgy at best. As Bertha has written elsewhere, she seemed out of her depth and one has to say that this impression is not without basis.

For example, she deplored the fact that Sylvia Lim “continued with this accusation” after the G’s explanations but what does the Honourable Minister mean by that? Sylvia said clearly that she can accept, in light of the G’s response as to its intentions, that her suspicions may be wrong, but she simply does not accept that there was no basis for suspicion when originally made.

I rather struggle to see how this position could reasonably found a complaint to the Committee of Privileges except for a hyper-sensitive government – and that should NOT be encouraged.

Minister Fu also failed to give any coherent explanation of how – if the G’s contention that their intentions not to raise taxes this decade has been made clear in numerous statements pre-budget 2018 – that numerous respected economists could have entered and speculated about exactly that possibility.

Her answer was this : “But having said so, after she has brought the matter here, we have laid down the facts to her. And yet she continued to insist on the allegation. This is the difference between what we say in this chamber and what economists, analysts say outside this chamber.”

This answer of course says nothing about whether Minister Fu would claim that the G had previously made its position so clear that entertaining the possibility of an increase this decade was an unreasonable idea. And probably Minister Fu would, with respect, struggle to make a convincing claim here.

Instead, Minister Fu focuses her complaint simply on Sylvia’s (alleged) continued maintenance of her claim despite the G’s response.

But what does this (alleged) continued maintenance consist of?

Sylvia made plain that in light of the G’s insistance on its position, her suspicion might be wrong as a matter of fact (although the true facts are only known to Cabinet).

But she maintains that, when made, the suspicion was not without basis and essentially Minister Fu had no coherent explanation for why that was the case. She simply is unhappy that Sylvia did not withdraw the original allegation or apologise.

But why should Sylvia, unless the G could demonstrate that there was no basis for suspicion when the claim was first made – and here Minister Fu has no explanation (see above). For example, she did not respond to the question of whether all the economists who speculated on a budget increase this decade after after DPM’s 2015 statement and PM’s PAP Convention speech were thinking in an unreasonable way.

So to threaten to refer to the Committee of Privileges in these circumstances simply reflects poorly on Minister Fu, with the greatest of respect.

 

 

My kind of lawyer, friend

In Uncategorized on 10/03/2018 at 10:13 am

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, said he had paid $130,000 out of his own pocket to the pornographic-film actress Stormy Daniel. (NYT)

Why Democrats are upset

In Uncategorized on 10/03/2018 at 5:18 am

The U.S. is on track for huge economic expansion, but in California — which accounts for a fifth of the country’s growth — the governor is preparing for doom. (NYT)

NYT Dealbook

Lawrence Wong: a PM-in-waiting

In Uncategorized on 09/03/2018 at 11:12 am

I’m surprised that the talk cock, sing song academics and other pundit don’t think of Lawrence Wong as a contender to be PM.

Because unlike their favourite, Kee Chui (Why “Kee Chiu” got renamed “Kee Chui”), he knows how to throw smoke when “answering” inconvenient questions

The entire additional S$7.7 billion above the official estimate is being given back to Singaporeans in various ways, instead of just the S$700 million SG bonus, Mr Wong stressed, as he addressed Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Azmoon Ahmad’s suggestion for the Government to share more of the unexpected budget surplus.

“We don’t save surpluses.”

I went WTF!

But I had to admire his explanation (OK BS).

“We give them all back to Singaporeans but we give back in different forms,” said Mr Wong in Parliament on Tuesday (Mar 6) during the debate on his ministry’s budget.

“Some will be for spending (on) future needs. Some will be spending for current needs… and some will be through a direct transfer, like the SG bonus,” he added, urging for the surplus to be viewed “in totality”.

Mr Wong cited the setting aside of S$5 billion for a Rail Infrastructure Fund “which will benefit all MRT commuters”, and S$2 billion for premium subsidies and other forms of support when the ElderShield review is complete.

———————————–
Why Lawrence Wong is wrong on “We don’t save surpluses”
Or rather “We don’t save surpluses” is misleading.
FB post by Chris Kuan

CNA reported Larry the MND and the second MOF as saying all of the $7.7b of additional surplus from the revised 2017 budget overall surplus has been shared with Singaporeans in various ways such as a $5b transfer to the Rail Infrastructure Fund and $2b for Eldershield. Don’t look at the SG bonus in isolation he said. But that is not quite correct, is it? Tell me if I am wrong but this is how I look at it.

If that $7.7b additional surplus had been shared in the 2018 budget, then the 2018 Budget position would not have been a deficit of $0.6b but of $8.3b. After all each Financial Year Budget is based on that FY’s revenues and expenditures plus that FY’s transfers to funds and endowments and its NIR Contribution right? If the $7.7b has been shared with Singaporeans, then the sum of the Budget position for 2017 and 2018 should equal to the original FY 2017 estimate surplus of $1.9b. But that is not the case, the sum is a surplus of $9b (2017’s $9.6b surplus minus 2018’s $0.6b deficit). So how can this be if the $7.7b surplus from the first year is spent or shared in the second year?

The better explanation or rather the truth of the matter may well be that the $7,7b additional surplus has not yet been shared with Singaporeans, It will eventually – just wait for the year before the general election. Of course in fairness to Larry the MND and the 2nd MOF, all that spending on rail infrastructure and Eldershield in 2018 did take place but that is from using up all the revenues and the NIR contributions estimated for the year. Call me pedantic or whatever.

PS: Being transfers to funds and endowments, the $5b allocated to rail and $2b to Edlershield are ofcos not spent all at once but over several years. An important distinction to be aware of given the govie’s propensity to report this kind of expenditures in a single year.

But the fact that Chris Kuan has to go into such detail to show that “We don’t save surpluses” is misleading. shows that Lawrence Wong is a throw smoke specialist, good enough to be PM after Heng’s one term in that post. You heard these predictions here first.

And here’s another one: he’ll be the next Finance Minister. Remember you first heard this here.

————————————————–

Coming back to Kee Chui. If Lawrence has to answer the questions on the need, and the use of reserves, unlike Kee Chui, he would have said something along the lines of what the CEO of Norwaty’s SWF said when he reported a great set of results*
stressed that the good times would not continue forever, warning Norwegians to be prepared for a potential fall in value in the future.
Btw, remember his warning on HDB flats? Why 30-year old HDB flats difficult to sell
 ————————————————
*The oil fund separately reported one of the best years in its 20-year history as it returned 13.7 per cent in 2017, helped by booming equity markets. Equities returned almost 20 per cent, while property and bonds also contributed positively. The NKr1tn ($128bn) return was the biggest ever measured in kroner.
FT

Ang moh tua kee doesn’t shop at NTUC

In Uncategorized on 09/03/2018 at 4:56 am

An anti-PAP ang moh tua kee wrote

time for us in Singapore – look at that oacked food in strofoam boxes and plastic after plastic used to wrap, vegetables, fruits, fresh chicken etc. NTUC gives out many plastic bags as they put the groceries in the bags. I think NTUC should charge 5 cents for each bag they give to the customer and so must all other supermarket chains…

She got this response:

Guess u don’t bring yr own bag to NTUC to save the planet and money.🤣 I do and “The FairPrice Green Rewards scheme, which was introduced in 2007, offers customers a 10-cent rebate when customers BYOB with a minimum spend of $10.”😜

I think this ang moh tua kee only shops at Cold Storage or Jasons. Even Giant is beneath her.

For the avoidance of doubt, this isn’t the same person as this lady who doesn’t know Paracetamol is sold here: Need Paracetamol? Ask SingHealth.

Btw, if u only buy yr medicine at Watsons or Guardian, u wouldn’t know that Paracetamol is available here. Both only stock Panadol.

Really, with enemies like this, no wonder the PAP has ruled since 1959. So out of touch with how S’poreans live. And I freely admit that I am not the average S’porean.

(Last sentence added at 6.10am)

Welfarism the PAP way/ The last word on GST

In Economy, Financial competency on 08/03/2018 at 9:54 am

Here corporates get welfare, not the people: and its foreign corporates that get the best goodies. PAP is not against welfarism so long as the beneficiaries are corporates, especially if they are foreign-owned. Ang moh tua kee kind of fascist movement?

Don’t believe me?

Well a friend, a respected economist, wrote

In Singapore’s case, there are other reasons to avoid the GST: In the context of an economy where there is an extraordinarily high profit share of GDP, is it appropriate that households bear a higher proportion of taxation than corporates? Our very rough estimate is that the direct taxes plus indirect taxes plus various levies paid by the household sector amount to about 11% of GDP, whereas the equivalent for the corporate sector is around 6%.

And

Given that foreign shareholders earn roughly half of the profits accruing to the corporate sector, the burden on Singapore households seems already to be unevenly high. This being the case, it does not seem appropriate to increase the burden on the household sector even more by increasing the GST rate.

Writer is Manu Bhaskaran. He was Tharman’s cell mate when they were convicted of breaching the Official Secrets Act. OK, OK, they were only fined. Btw, that incident showed that S’pore is a place of laws. Manu talked to his old boss in Mindef (Manu’s a scholar), BG Yeo, but BG Yeo couldn’t help. But maybe BG Yeo was ball-less or powerless, or both?

Sorry back to the article. Do read https://www.theedgesingapore.com/singapore-funding-its-rising-social-spending-right-way. Lots of other good stuff that show the fallacies of Hard Truths on Reserves, GST and govt spending.

Examples

And this brings us to the nub of the issue: What is the optimal savings rate for a country like Singapore? Savings is not an end in itself; it is the welfare of the citizens that is the end. Simply accumulating savings continuously is not the right thing to do — the right approach is to look holistically at all the determinants of welfare and then decide an optimal savings rate.

And

The thrust of the discussion above essentially leans to a view that Singapore is probably already saving enough and may even have exceeded the optimal savings rate. In that context, the better approach to funding rising social spending is to use more of the income from investments and to not raise taxes, be it the GST or some other tax.”

 

Trump devalues worth of CEO photo-op with POTUS

In Uncategorized on 08/03/2018 at 4:23 am

A warning for chief executives of foreign companies: A photo-op with Donald Trump ain’t enough to win his administration’s support when it comes to buying up US assets.

Jack Ma of Alibaba learned that the hard way when the US government blocked a company he controls from buying MoneyGram. Hock Tan, the chief executive of Broadcom is starting to learn that too after the US government launched an investigation into the Singapore-based company’s attempt to buy Qualcomm for $142bn (despite the fact that the two sides have yet to reach an agreement on a deal).

FT

Good for Trump. Good for the system. Being seen with POTUS is no big deal.

Meng Seng wants us to kowtow to Xi

In China on 07/03/2018 at 10:17 am

Actually I’m just being polite: the guy who helped (Was he paid? Or did he do it out of the goodness of his heart because he loved the PAP?) the PAP’s preferred candidate to win in PE 2011 by

— persuading TKL to run;

— then running a shambolic campaign for TLK;

— and then saying he had to go to HK for a job interview,

wants us to lick Xi’s ass, suck his [expletive deleted] and get screwed by Xi, all at the same time. Image result for Goh Meng Seng

Don’t believe me? Here’s what he wrote:

Although we might not want to subject ourselves totally to China’s dominance but it would be naive to think that we could go head on against it, thinking that we should be more superior in any context.

Notice the dog whistles he’s sending that we must kowtow to Xi.

Lest I be accused of taking his statement out of context, here’s his piece telling us that China is the nice guy, not a bully. Everything that China did wrong should be blamed on the Mongols and Manchus who were not Chinese: not the Chinese. Btw, /www.quora.com/Do-Chinese-people-consider-the-Manchu-Qing-dynasty-to-be-Chinese-or-do-they-consider-it-to-be-an-invasion-like-the-Yuan-Dynasty.

Imperialism of the Day

I was a bit curious when I read about PM Lee’s praise of LTK’s speech. I actually bother to do a search and listen to his speech.

I was a bit shock when I heard him saying that China might become an “Imperialist Power” and behave like Japan during the Second World War! It cannot be the case that the negative nuance of such provocative suggestion could escape a seasoned Chinese educated politician like LTK!

Curiously, LTK didn’t mention much about European’s Colonialism nor the “Imperialist Dominance” of the Americans in the last century over Vietnam up till today’s world.

Imperialism exists throughout history and even in modern times, it still exists in many different forms.

But to use Japan as a corresponding example to China is basically an attempt to add salt to past wounds and mockery aimed at the Chinese government.

If these words come from some American or Western educated person, I would have just smiled or laughed away but for a person who is well verse in Chinese history, both modern and ancient history, to utter such words, is really socking and provocative.

The Chinese hated the Japanese for the invasion and atrocities done in WW II. To make comparison of China between them as potential Imperialist, is considered as a rude attempt to mock China. Such sensitivity should not escape a Chinese educated mind.

Japanese Imperialism started long before WWII when it annexed Korea. Due to geo-political reasons, Japanese had always harbor the intention of attacking and conquering China. Throughout history, many of the Chinese dynasties have been fighting off Japanese invasions or piracy along the eastern coast.

Except for the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty, which was considered as a foreign dynasty set up by foreign invaders, most of the 5000 years of ancient Chinese dynasties were contended with their own immediate territories.

There were tributary systems set up in Chinese history but basically, these states were just left alone. Interesting enough, on the contrary, quite a number of Chinese dynasties were formed by “Foreign invaders” like the Mongolians, Manchurian and they were constantly invaded by the Western and Southern tribes.

To suggest China having Imperialistic tendency is basically a hypothesis without any basis or historical backing. Unlike Japan, historically speaking, Chinese has not shown any such ambition to rule the world. Chinese dynasties are mostly inward looking and sometimes, even Xenophobic which resisted interaction with foreign states. Chinese dynasties might have requested tributes from other states but that’s basically out of Imperial Egos more than anything else.

Westerners were the ones who created colonialism out of their Imperialism. Japanese learned from the Western powers. But China? Most of the time it was the victim of such Imperialist Colonialism.

I do not like one party rule in China as well as Singapore. I do not like Communist rule in China as well. [Err so how come he telling Honkies that they should kiss China’s ass? He’s making himself really unpopular among the progressives in HK.] But we have to look at the REAL ACTUAL context and refrain from direct agitation or provocation against the emerging powers like China.

When we recognize ourselves as just a small little tiny city state, then it would only be wise to stay focused on the balance.

We had subjected ourselves to British and American Imperialism before and we had swallowed it while maximizing every opportunities we could find in between. That’s the cruel reality we face throughout history.

The problem of Economic-Political dominance by any huge country or Super power is a common problem that small countries face throughout history. But very few will stick their heads out and get slammed in the end.

I would say that the problem lies with the stubborn mindset of “superiority” of the past which doesn’t want to change according to the dynamic change and shift of geo-economic and political balance.

Those in powers must realize that we are no longer “superior” in any terms over the “long backward China”. The feeling of uneasiness and threats is the result of the dissonance between past egoistic superiority mindset entrapped in current awe of a rapid emerging power in China.

Although we might not want to subject ourselves totally to China’s dominance but it would be naive to think that we could go head on against it, thinking that we should be more superior in any context.

For a start, such provocative speech by politicians should be avoided. We can show concern, worries or even urge for more effective strategies to deal with an emerging giant at our doorstep, but the last thing we need is to provoke it.

Goh Meng Seng

Btw, do remember that he’s a fan of Amos who says sex with children is OK. The above pix of Bozo’s brother was taken at a “Support Amos” do.

Want to slime WP Low, but kanna sai instead by TRE readers. I’m on their side.

Blockchain useless for settling payments

In Uncategorized on 07/03/2018 at 4:53 am

Here I wrote Practical uses of blockchain that one of the most promising uses of blockchain is in settling int’l transactions between banks.

But recently I read

In practice, central bank experiments show that DLT-based systems are very expensive to run and slower and much less efficient to operate than conventional payment and settlement systems.”

This is the GM of Bank of Int’l Settlements speaking on blockchain, or as he calls it, distributed ledger technology (DLT).

He should know. BIS settles transactions that central banks make to one another.

Why cabinet can’t do bold new ideas

In Political governance, Public Administration on 06/03/2018 at 10:04 am

And why ministers can only talk cock sing song, repeating mantras or clichés about Hard Truths: think about the comments about GST and the reserves.

Last Saturday, I read in the FT

“By appointing people with like minds but with a wide range of professional backgrounds . . . we can discuss things with an open mind and go beyond past ways of doing things to speedily implement bold new ideas.”

Toyota’s president on Toyota’s appointing the first female director, a senior Japanese banker

This led me to think about our cabinet.

With the exception of two doctors and a private sector lawyer, the rest of cabinet (85%) came from the public sector*. All but three were senior officers of three bureaucratic, command and control and hierarchical organisations: SAF, the civil service (which effectively means the admin service: there’s only one “civil service” minister that’s not from the admin service) and NTUC. Two of the remaining three were executives from GLCs (SingTel and PSA) and other was an academic from a local university.

So how to expect creative thinking, let alone commercial, financial or business expertise?


The Spartan who defeated Athens

By the end of the 5th century BC, the superiority of the Athenian Navy had long gone, and the Spartans were more than a match for the Athenians at sea … Firstly, the Spartan Navy had significantly improved. Naval warfare had traditionally been seen as ‘cowardly’ by the Spartans, but this attitude began to change as Lysander gained authority. The illegitimate son of an aristocrat, Lysander grew up in relative poverty. It was perhaps his unusual upbringing that allowed him to think differently from the Spartan norm. He painstakingly made his way up the ranks and was finally given a position of authority in his mid-forties, when he was made the Spartan Admiral in 407. Lysander borrowed heavily from the Achaemenid Empire and used the money to purchase ships and crews; the Spartans were finally a proper naval force.n his

http://www.warhistoryonline.com/guest-bloggers/final-blow-lysander-aegospotami.html

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The first PAP cabinet in 1959 (and for at least a decade  and a half thereafter) was diversity in action. There were private sector lawyers, civil servants and businessmen.

Later, there was a local executive from HP (then a respected tech MNC), the MD of Shell’s local operations and two bankers. OK, OK, one banker was from a bank where his uncle was the chairman, although uncle was not the controlling shareholder. Before that he was an academic. And when in the bank, he was considered by many outsider bankers an improvement to the usual OCBC senior managers. The other banker was originally from the civil service but he was transferred to DBS.

Things went downhill in terms of diversity since the day when several ex-SAF generals were made ministers. To be fair to one Goh Chok Tong, he tried to bring diversity back by bringing one VivianB into the cabinet. But in 2005 or 2006, he told Cheong Yip Seng (ST editor appointed by one Harry Lee)) that he was disappointed that VivianB had “become like the others”. In fact, VivianB went one step worse than the other PAP ministers, he openly sneered at the elderly poor.

Btw, the PAP administration is so desperate to show that it has private sector experience and expertiste that one minister who in his younger days was in the admin service was said in his cabinet CV to have joined the private sector*. He worked in S’pore Technologies and Temasek.

This would be hilarious if it wasn’t so pathetically tragic for S’pore.


*Many yrs ago, I “discovered” that official data classified all 100%  govt owned cos incorporated under the Companies Act as “private companies”. Hence the huge discrepency between official data and a report from the US embassy on state participation in the economy.

 

Noble co-CEO paid US$20m in 2017 despite record US$5bn loss

In Corporate governance on 06/03/2018 at 5:57 am

The departing CEO ran the oil and gas businesses at Noble. The amount included a US$5m loan that was forgiven. But to be fair to him and Noble, the banks insisted that he to remain until the biz was sold. This cost US$12m.

US$20m was more than what the rest of Noble’s executive directors received combined last year and is $5m more than what perpetual bondholders stand to receive under a proposed debt-for-equity swap

But that isn’t all, the founder’s daughter and son were employees and received “remuneration within the bands of S$150,000 to S$200,000, and S$50,000 to S$100,000 respectively” in 2017.

 

Digital ads: the truth

In Internet on 06/03/2018 at 4:37 am

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half,” is often attributed to John Wanamaker (1838-1922). He was a very successful American merchant, religious leader and politician. He has been called a “pioneer in marketing”.

Digital ads are marketed to advertisers (like Procter & Gamble) by the likes of Google and Facebook as solving the problem of which half is wasted.

But now P&G says that most online advertising is a waste.

WP: Will Ownself sabo Ownself?

In Accounting, Corporate governance on 05/03/2018 at 4:19 am

Well argued, Pritam Singh and Sylvia Lim !

Great to see WP coming up with both solid, constructive suggestions on how to prudently and intelligently use government land sales, a key element of our huge fiscal headroom to enlarge sustainable revenues, as well as rigorously rebutt the established, conservative “wisdom” for not doing so.

(Retired chief economist of GIC. He would say that wouldn’t he because he like Pritam, Auntie and others (self included) oppose the GST hike because we know that there’s a lot of our money being withheld?)

This reminded me that someone posted some time back

If Pritam becomes Sec-General, it’ll be “Ownself sabo ownself”.🤣

(FB post a few weeks ago on speculation that he’ll be next Sec-Gen of WP)

Spot on. There’s a lot of mud thrown at Aljunied TC. But it’s a fact that it didn’t keep proper accts.

Auntie, good accounting is a national issue/ TOC bans avatar again

Wankers’ Party still blur on audits and accounting

What the US army and WP have in common

And he was Sylvia’s right hand man there, and an incompetent one at that. Low had to send in Png when things were really getting out of control.

So there’s no clean break for WP from the Alunied TC mess if he becomes leader. So waz the point of Low (and Auntie: no announcement yet but I talked about this sometime back WP Low’s anointed one) stepping down?

It’s partly to give the WP in Aljunied a chance to disassociate itself from the accounting problems (largely self-inflicted). WP can say “New team. Please give us another chance” and knowing S’poreans they’ll be willingly to give that chance because they love an underdog. But with Pritam as Sec-General, how to say “New Team. Please give us another chance”? WP can only say “Please give Bayee another chance”.

Btw, my sources say that Dennis Tan will be Sec-Gen. More on this one of these days on the next Hougang MP.

A TRE commenter has come to the same view and proposes an interim solution until Pritam after the court cases where Auntie, Low, Pritam are decided.

Pritam Singh remains favourite to succeed Low Thia Khiang?

I refer to the article on TISG, titled http://www.theindependent.sg/pritam-singh-remains-favourite-to-succeed-low-thia-khiang-as-wp-secretary-general/ and would like to respectfully disagree with and as well as NCMP Goh’s premature assessment of Pritam Singh’s “ascension” to become the next WP Sec-Gen!

As we already know, all 3 of them, including current SG and Chairman have been implicated by SC Phillip Jeyaretnam’s suit and as things are progressing, does not look too good for all 3 considering the formidability of SC Jeyaretnam in fighting cases and securing an outright victory.

The party should in the interim, be led by veteran MPs Chen Show Mao and Faisal Manap as SG and Chairman respectively, with the 3 remaining NCMPs supporting as Org Sec, Treasurer and Webmaster.

Should Pritam Singh become SG, it will throw the party into total chaos once the outcome of the case is known and would have implications for the party, going into the next G.E. whether it be 2019 or 2020!

Willy Sum

Point of order: Philip J (the real son of JBJ, other one is autistic) is not a lawyer in the case. He led the committee that decided that ATC should sue Auntie, Low, Pritam and friends: Ownself sue Ownself.