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Archive for the ‘Political governance’ Category

HoHoHo: Why oil price rises are not gd for PAP

In Economy, Emerging markets, Energy, Political economy, Political governance, Public Administration on 15/10/2018 at 11:19 am

Phew that was a quick sharp retracement after a very sharp spik: Tua kee traders take opposing views on price of oil. The PAP govt must be relieved oil is now trading around US$82 (minutes ago) than above US$86 (middle of last week).

A US$ oil price of closer to US$100 will not only make Tun M (M’sia exports oil) more willingly to cut off our water supply but will pose problems for an early GE in late 2019 esp with the promised rise in GST(See below for GST related posts) after GE: Akan datang: GE in late 2019

According to Citi’s Johanna Chua, Asian countries suffer the most when oil prices rise because, aside from Malaysia, most are net oil importers. Singapore runs a sizable 6.5% oil and gas deficit, followed closely by Pakistan, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Taiwan. Indonesia and Vietnam manage slightly smaller deficits of roughly 1%.

So many of these economies see the largest inflation swings when oil prices rise. Chua’s chart ranking the sensitivity regionally over the past six years. See where we stand.

Note: *Data starting 2015 as ID had undergone fuel pricing reform in 4Q14, though regressed recently. **Using a 10yr period to reduce distortion from Sing's economic restructuring since 2011.

The ** explained that the spike in inflation here is caused by some one-off stats adjustment of data base. So not really comparable to other countries. But try telling that to cybernuts like Oxygen or Phillip Ang.

But rational readers should get the message. Voters really get hurt by oil price rises. And the promised GST price increase is not going to impress the 10 points of voters that voted for the PAP in last GE, bring the total votes for the PAP to 70%: a great result for the PM and the PAP after the failure of only 60% in 2011.


GST-related posts

GST rise: Anti-PAP activists should take note

How to ensure no GST rise

Countering PAP’s BS that taxes must go up

 

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Ang mohs told secret of why PAP wins and wins

In Political governance, Public Administration on 14/10/2018 at 2:17 pm

Not because S’pore is a repressive place as the ang moh tua kees like Kirsten Han allege. Or because of Oppo clowns like Mad Dog, Lim Tean and Meng Seng.

But because according to the PAP administration’s Lady in London

The PAP has been repeatedly re-elected because it has been honest with the voters, delivers on its promises, and provides long-term stability and progress. When it has not fully met voters’ expectations, and so lost votes, it has responded with appropriate policy adjustments.

The cynics would say “She would say this, wouldn’t she?”.

But is she right? What do you think?

Her letter to the Economist

Politics in Singapore

Banyan suggested that the government of Singapore wins elections because it hounds critics and denies public-housing upgrades to opposition districts, and wondered why the ruling People’s Action Party “holds on so tenaciously” to power (September 22nd). The PAP has been repeatedly re-elected because it has been honest with the voters, delivers on its promises, and provides long-term stability and progress. When it has not fully met voters’ expectations, and so lost votes, it has responded with appropriate policy adjustments. It has also consciously renewed its leadership, with a fourth generation since independence readying itself to take on the responsibility.

The alternative—a constant merry-go-round of contending parties—does not necessarily produce better outcomes. Politicians fail to keep the promises they make, the people become disillusioned, and eventually lose faith in democracy. Witness the low voter-turnouts in many Western democracies.

FOO CHI HSIA
High commissioner for Singapore
London

 

Anti-PAPpies screaming about Oxfam report, what about World Bank’s Human Capital Index

In Economy, Political governance, Public Administration on 11/10/2018 at 2:26 pm

Another way to measure economic success other than by GDP was launched released two days ago earlier today by the World Bank.

Its Human Capital Index ranks countries according to how much is invested in young people.

The higher the investment in education and health the more productive and higher earning the workforce tends to be, the World Bank says.

Which leads to the creation of higher levels of wealth and a stronger economy.

They are silent because

First is Singapore, followed by South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong.

Finland and Ireland are fifth and sixth, with the UK in 15th place, below Germany but ahead of France, Norway and Switzerland.

The bottom of the list is dominated by countries in Africa, where human capital scores are a third of those enjoyed by leading nations.

Chad, South Sudan and Niger are the bottom three countries.

For 157 countries the World Bank studied the quantity and quality of education provided to children, the mortality rate for under-5s, the “rate of stunting” among young people (a measure of how healthy children are) and the chances of someone living to 60 by the time they reach 15-years-of-age (the “adult survival rate”).

Bringing the data together produced a score between 0 and 1, where zero would mean all children died before reaching education age and 1 would be all children receiving the perfect education and health start in life.

Singapore scored 0.88 and the UK scored 0.78.

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45816049

“Experts” wrong to write-off Ong as next PM

In Political governance, Public Administration on 01/10/2018 at 9:34 am

“Experts” kanna chiat sai a second time: they got to recant their view that he’s no longer in contention to be the next PM. (For the record, I’ve never tot Ong Ye Kung was in the running to be PM. In fact, I tot he was “very mediocre”. In Ong Ye Kung: A study in failure I’ve listed his NTUC and SMRT failings, and more.)

But many “experts” (Think Eugene Tan) did think he could be our next PM, and they had to eat their own faeces and drink their own urine after the latest cabinet reshuffle: Our new PM/ Trumpets pls for me

But given the announcement of a very major change in our education system,


Primary and secondary schools to cut down on exams and tests, as MOE announces sweeping changes to reduce emphasis on grades

In a major move to reduce emphasis on grades, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will do away with examinations and graded assessments for Primary 1 and 2 students from next year.

Mid-year examinations for students in Pri 3, Pri 5, Secondary 1 and Sec 3 will also be removed in phases from 2019 while all students from Pri 3 to Sec 4 or Sec 5 will not have more than one weighted assessment per subject per school term.

In addition, students’ report books will also no longer reflect their class and level positions as well as overall marks, with scores to be rounded off without decimal points.

These changes were announced by Education Minister Ong Ye Kung on Friday (Sept 28).

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/primary-and-secondary-schools-cut-down-exams-and-tests-moe-announces-sweeping-changes

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these experts should now eat more their own faeces and drink more their own urine and repent and recant their writing-off of his chances of becoming PM. There was a really good reason for PM to retain him at MoE: to finalise and announce the above changes, even if “Schools” were in the portfolio of Ng Chee Meng, now NTUC’s Secretary-General.

Me? I don’t think he’s going to be the next PM, but I’m not so cocksure any more.

Firstly, because PM seems to like him: remember he served as Lee Hsien Loong’s Principal Private Secretary (2002–2004). To be fair to him and PM, he did good work when he was concurrently

  • Director of Trade at the Ministry of Trade & Industry (2000–2003)
  • Deputy Chief Negotiator of Singapore-US Free Trade Agreement (2000–2003).

And because he can throw smoke. Not as good as Lawrence Wong (Smell the smoke? From Indonesia or from the PAP & cybernuts?) but still better (Doublespeak on “Every school a good school”) than Heng or Kee Chiu:

The real reason why HDB flats are a touchy topic

In Political governance, Property, Public Administration on 27/09/2018 at 10:22 am

Other than the fact that S’poreans have realised or discovered that HDB flats are 99-yr leases not freehold (They read what they agreed to buy? Exposed: Flaws in PM’s HDB spin) the other major headache for the PAP govt in public housing is that housing (private or public) seems to be more about psychological rather than material needs.

In the US and UK

Our space expectations are conditioned not only by where we have lived before, but also by our neighbours.

Because house size is a status symbol, we feel worse off when other people get larger houses.

A recent US study found that an increase in the size of the largest 10% of “superstar” houses had a significant negative effect on their neighbours, even if those people had also moved to bigger homes.

Previous surveys have suggested people would be prepared to have less living space overall if it meant they had more than others.

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45420795

Given that more than 80% of Singapore’s population live in HDB flats, no wonder the PAP govt now wants to kick the expiring lease issue into the really long grass.

Exposed: Flaws in PM’s HDB spin

Smell the smoke? From Indonesia or from the PAP & cybernuts?

Ex-PM’s money obsession causing PAP problems

In Political governance, Public Administration on 19/09/2018 at 10:33 am

Over the weekend I read

Finance, like law, is a profession that attracts a lot of reasonably intelligent, hard-working people who rather like money. People like me. Most of us are not really suited to it, though, and that makes for a lot of unhappy careers. The financial crisis saved me from that, and I am grateful.

Robert Armstrong FT’s chief editorial writer and was a hedgie analyst 10 yrs ago

This reminded me of

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

1 Timothy 6:10

Then today, I read

Factually, the government website, has debunked online falsehoods on PM’s and Ministers’ pay. I shall use this opportunity to debunk public perception that I am paid a ministerial salary.

(GCT on FB)

This then reminded me that GCT poured shit and piss on the PAP’s NatDay celebrations with his comment that those in the private sector earning less than $1m are “very mediocre people”. And that the PAP only chose ministers from the private sector if they were earning $1m or more. OK, OK, he later did say that salary was not the “starting point” when the PAP chose $1m ministers.

The silence from the present cabinet is deafening.

Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole tell me that they hear that he was “ordered” to release the transcript of what he said and clarify that salary was not a factor when the PAP chose ministers.

Much good this did. I didn’t start commenting on his comments until I read the transcript. I mean TOC, TRE and The Indians Idiots are the cybernuts what ST is to the PAPpies.

And if salary was not the “starting point” when the PAP chose $1m ministers, why talk so much about money?

Whatever, based on his comments about ministerial salaries over the yrs, I get the sense that he is obsessed about money. Fault of wife? Remember she said $600,000 salary was “Peanuts”. Or could it be because he came from a very poor family?

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

1 Timothy 6:10

I’m not the only one not impressed  with the transcript he released. Here’s something a FBer posted at the time

There was a clarification? I thought it’s the just the transcript.

Or did he think the transcript gave him a context? I’ve read it, the points remain that his idea of meritocracy is how much money one can make.

His main point, which is where the money is going to come from, is correct, but he is also forgetting that if people are taxed more, then what politicians earn come even under greater scrutiny.

Certainly, I am happy to pay Scandinavian level taxes if it means free healthcare for the elderly and free education, but not if it goes to enriching politicians.

That said, and it goes back to what I said about the Ben Davis saga, our Government need to be more innovative when it comes to their pay package. Using an indicator based on economy sends a strong signal that nothing else matters, that running a country is only about the economy.

But it’s not.

Shouldn’t a minister in charge of transportation, for example, be pegged against how efficiently our transport systems run?

Shouldn’t a minister of social and family development be pegged with how many families move out of poverty each year?

Shouldn’t a minister of health be pegged to how more people are getting proper healthcare and the overall health of the nation?

If a minister does a good job at his portfolio, based on tangible KPIs on the aspect of society he or she looks after, I’d be happy to even pay them $10m, much less $1m. So maybe it can be flexi-wage, where they get a lower monthly salary but a much higher bonus payout if they perform well for example.

There are so many ways we can attract private sector talent, especially today when so many bright minds join start-ups for very little money in the hope of a big pay-out later.

I agree that we do need to pay our ministers well – but how that pay comes about can be far more creative than the way it is currently structured.

Related posts

What PM, PAP can learn from very rich tech entrepreneur

When being a minister turns from a calling into a job for life

New Hope: Time to make robots PAP ministers?

 

What PM, PAP can learn from very rich tech entrepreneur

In Political governance, Public Administration on 17/09/2018 at 10:13 am

And by so doing make sure that S’pore will remain a de facto one-party state forever and day: though there won’t be mega-rich ministers*.

Mr Von Ahn is CEO of Duolingo, the world’s most popular language learning app, with 200m users. He also has academic credentials that PAPpies can only dream about.

And best of all he’s not a “very mediocre” person (Remember GCT’s comment that those in the private sector earning less than $1m are “very mediocre people”. And that the PAP only chose ministers from the private sector if they were earning $1m or more.): he’s very rich.

So the PAP should listen to what Von Ahn recently told the FT, “If it requires you paying them off to come work for you, I don’t think they’re going to be in it. We prefer missionaries to mercenaries.” Related post: When being a minister turns from a calling into a job for life

Another of his strategy is to differentiate Duolingo from other employers by is focusing on diversity. He now has a 50/50 male female ratio in software engineers. Related post: New Hope: Time to make robots PAP ministers?

On diversity, FT’s Letter from Lex a few weeks ago said

Working with outsiders helps solve problems. When a stranger joins a team its performance tends to improve, according to research by US psychologists who tested out the theory on groups engaged in murder mystery puzzles. But do not expect gratitude. Tight-knit groups often do not realise they are underperforming.

Still, the pain is worth the gain. In business, assertive shareholders can help companies improve their strategies. But the experience tends to be uncomfortable for company bosses.

[…]

Of course, boards do not have to listen to naysayers — only to those with the clout to count. That is frustrating for Arsenal’s small shareholders. Its fans criticised a deal struck between the north London football club’s two largest shareholders, which will hand full control to the US sports magnate Stan Kroenke. Lex said Mr Kroenke’s leveraged bet might pay off if the value of Premiership media rights go up. But the shareholder fans, known as “gooners”, face disappointment. They are likely to be left without any more annual meetings to have their say.

Related post: PM, PAP should remember what world’s richest man said

______________________________

*Er but maybe if ministers can’t be rich they don’t care if the PAP doesn’t rule.

 

Akan datang says minister: Non-grad minister

In Political governance on 13/09/2018 at 11:31 am

Or is Ong Ye Kung talking a good game i.e. talking cock?

This blog doesn’t think much of Ong Ye Kung (Example Our new PM/ Trumpets pls for me).

But here’s something that he said a few weeks ago that should shut up people like the usual cybernuts and people like P(olitician) Ravi quiet for a second.

They are always KPKBing that non-grad cannot make it to the cabinet (let alone to parly if a PAPpy) so waz point of the govt pushing the line that there’s more to life than being a grad? (Btw, don’t they know that there’s more to life than earning millions as cabinet ministers? But then they are true-blue S’poreans well schooled by the PAP: money talks, BS walks. So unlike PJ Thum and Kirsten Han they mean well for S’pore when they criticise the PAP.)

point out that we don’t have a single non-graduate minister today. Can’t the Government more boldly set the tone?

Ong Ye Kung

“We are products of an education system of the past. But today, you look at the education system, we have students who opt for a more applied pathway through the diploma route. So you look at the students now, they’re making their choices very differently from the past. I think when they grow up, if they have interest in politics, what will be the state of ministers in future. It’s hard to say. I think you’ll get a much more diverse group coming from different pathways. I certainly hope so.”

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/ong-ye-kung-education-minister-on-the-record-10651612

Can believe or not?

 

PM, PAP should remember what world’s richest man said

In Political governance, Public Administration on 09/09/2018 at 10:56 am

Given former PM’s comments his comment that those in the private sector earning less than $1m are “very mediocre people”, it’s surprising that the PM and the PAP are ignoring what the world’s richest man said

“Experiments are by their very nature prone to failure. But a few big successes compensate for dozens and dozens of things that didn’t work,” said Mr Jeff Bezos in 2014.

FT

I was reminded of this when I read

Mr Alfred Tan said that the PAP still refuses to acknowledge the policy blunder [about HDB leases]. He said that one of the key basic disciplines in problem solving is admitting that there is a problem. Only when there is an admission of misjudgment can the first step be taken towards a real and meaningful resolution and rectification of the problem.

“Is the PAP government prepared to man up and admit this misstep?” Mr Tan asked.

http://yoursdp.org/…/sdp_calls_out_out_of_t…/2018-09-08-6257

Dr Chee

 

Exposed: Flaws in PM’s HDB spin

In Political governance, Property, Public Administration on 31/08/2018 at 10:56 am

From a TRE reader

In his NDR speech, PM Loong gave an example of his AMK 4-rm residents, trumpeting how their flats can now fetch $400k when they’ve paid only $25k for their units 40 years ago.

Yes, no one will argue about this fact. First owners of HDB flats were able to make a huge profit from their flats purchased decades ago. This is possible only because they bought their flats cheap.

Leong Piah Mann

Yup, it was all about getting in at a great level and riding the Pacific wave.

But now

Govt ‘smartly’ pegged BTO flats to HDB resale price. Resale price is based on the flat’s valuation price. Owners were given high valuation for their units (and you know who valued your HDB and they BS you it’s about demand that your flat cost that much), so resale price kept heading skyward and BTO price follow suit to the delight of the greedy govt.

Entry point is “rigged”. So how to make money?

And what about the sucker buyer?

When PM Loong bragged about how much profit a AMK 4-rm flat first owner can make from selling his flat, PM made himself look so excellent, like a grade A, top notch leader, but he conveniently forgot to mention about the buyer of that resale flat. After paying $400k for an almost 40yrs old flat, how much will the buyer be able to sell his flat for as it continues to age and ending up as govt’s eventually?

Sorry jialat. Liddat why vote PAP so that $$G ministers also can be “Crazy Rich Asians”?


Related posts:

The real truths about public housing  my summary of piece by “Tan Jin Meng, a postgraduate from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. He has an interest in social policy and economics.”.

Why many PAP voters are ready to be flipped

New Hope: Why Dr Tambyah can flip PAP voters

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Leong Piah Manncomments in full

A Layman’s View On The Hot HDB Issue

I think people should stop arguing about whether we’re “owners” or “lessees” of HDB flats because the PAP and their lackeys can always defend the govt using all kinds of crooked logics. Fact remains, our HDB flats will belong to the govt after 99 yrs.

In his NDR speech, PM Loong gave an example of his AMK 4-rm residents, trumpeting how their flats can now fetch $400k when they’ve paid only $25k for their units 40 years ago.

Yes, no one will argue about this fact. First owners of HDB flats were able to make a huge profit from their flats purchased decades ago. This is possible only because they bought their flats cheap. This is possible only because our govt 40 yrs ago was genuinely caring. This is possible only because our 1G leaders’ main intention of building public housing was to let citizens have a roof over our heads. The Old Guards weren’t greedy. They didn’t price the HDB flats with the intention to make big profit from citizens or to let citizens make profits from their flats. More importantly, they never buy votes using the HDB flats upgrading or asset enhancement policy as election carrots.

As we can see, the situation now is no longer the same. The present govt has become too greedy that their greed has resulted in our  public housing (amongst others) becoming so costly, in fact too costly!

Govt ‘smartly’ pegged BTO flats to HDB resale price. Resale price is based on the flat’s valuation price. Owners were given high valuation for their units (and you know who valued your HDB and they BS you it’s about demand that your flat cost that much), so resale price kept heading skyward and BTO price follow suit to the delight of the greedy govt.

When PM Loong bragged about how much profit a AMK 4-rm flat first owner can make from selling his flat, PM made himself look so excellent, like a grade A, top notch leader, but he conveniently forgot to mention about the buyer of that resale flat. After paying $400k for an almost 40yrs old flat, how much will the buyer be able to sell his flat for as it continues to age and ending up as govt’s eventually?

Mr Owner is lucky and happy but what about Mr Buyer? If VERS is real, how much will the govt compensate Mr Buyer in 30 yrs’ time? For sure he’s going to make a loss. And what if VERS is just an invincible election carrot? If Mr Buyer is 30 yrs old, by the time he’s 89 yrs old, his $400k would go up in smoke. Why didn’t PM Loong talk about Mr Buyer? Don’t tell me getting paid millions of dollars cannot even foresee such an obvious problem?

I’d definitely applaud the govt if Mr Owner is allowed to sell his flat back to govt at the market value of $400k. Then the govt sells that flat to Mr Buyer at $400k but renew the lease to 99 yrs.

Did the govt not plan to have HIP II? They can even have HIP III and HIP IV to keep the flats in good conditions. Continuous upgrading whenever necessary for our future generations to live in, is this not also being fair to our descendants? If there really is a must to tear down any blocks of flats due to safety reasons, then compensate the residents accordingly with SERS.

Our children and grandchildren are our future generations. Families are getting very small these days. Our children can inherit our old flats and continue to live in them. If our govt genuinely cares and thinks for the people, there’s really no need for all our flats to
go back to the state for the govt to redevelop the land and build new flats.

We first heard that CPF money is not our money. Now we realised our HDB flats will not be our flats eventually. What next?

Apparently the scariest thieves in sg wear white not black. So, Singaporeans beware! Please stop inviting thieves into our house and allow them to freely steal our belongings anymore.

Leong Piah Mann

Smell the smoke? From Indonesia or from the PAP & cybernuts?

In Political governance, Public Administration on 30/08/2018 at 10:34 am

In the last few weeks, the smell of smoke has been getting stronger even though the usually annual haze has yet to show up in the weather stats.

So maybe its juz the PAP throwing smoke and the cybernuts reacting with hot air?

After all I started smelling the smoke when Goh Chok Tong decided to shit and piss on the PAP’s NatDay celebrations with his comment that those in the private sector earning less than $1m are “very mediocre people”. The subsequent uproar had him back pedalling.

Then came PM’s NDR speech on being frugal (Shumething PM left out in NDR speech/ Reason why?) and the plan to kick the HDB lease expiry issue into the long grass via Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (Vers) which will begin circa 2038

Experts interviewed told TODAY that by airing its thoughts on the complex issue early, the Government achieved another objective: To restore some calm in the HDB resale market, and provide reassurance to homeowners.

https://www.todayonline.com/big-read/big-read-hdb-lease-decay-govts-solutions-not-perfect-theres-light-end-tunnel

This goodie was ignored:

Every HDB flat can also expect to undergo major upgrading twice during its 99-year lease period, with the new Home Improvement Programme (HIP) II rolled out for ageing units at the 60- to 70-year mark.

Then came Larry (Lawrence Wong: a PM-in-waiting) with

Mr Wong had also said earlier this week that even though many details for Vers will not be ready for some time, the Government felt that it “owed” Singaporeans an early explanation on its thinking for the next phase of public housing.

Of course the cybenut mob had to react with hot air of their own drowning out the cold doses of reality that sensible criticks of the PAP like Calvin Cheng (When being a minister turns from a calling into a job for life) and Eugene Wee (Best riposte to recent PAP BS) were pouring out to counter the PAP’s smoke.

And then there was “There seems to be a certain sourness on the ground, with more grumbling than usual about issues especially to do with the Government,” a semi-retired ST tua kee observed: “In the many chat groups I belong to, more people seem to be getting worked up.”

“ST Editor panicked over ground sourness urges PAP 4G leaders to do something” screamed Terry’s Online Channel cutting and pasting the ST piece: https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2018/08/26/st-editor-panicked-over-ground-sourness-urges-pap-4g-leaders-to-do-something/

I’m still thinking if Han Fook Kwang is correct to say the present mood reminds him of the run-up to the 2011

— attributing the public discontent to the “disconnect” between the government leaders and the general public,

— adding “I agree with commentators who have pointed out that overly high ministerial salaries poison the relationship between leaders and the led, reducing it to a transactional one.”

What do you think, is the mood like that in 2011?

 

 

Even PAPPy agrees with Eugene Wee on PAP BS

In Political governance, Public Administration on 26/08/2018 at 11:03 am

But first, a beef I have against the Lord of the Rings films is that Peter Jackson left out a very interesting episode almost at the end of the real LOTR. In the last film, after the defeat of the Dark Lord, the Hobbits returned an unchanged shire. In the real LOTR, they returned to a shire where Saruman had taken control of and ruined in revenge for his defeat, and they had to defeat him recalled as the Scouring of the Shire.

Saruman’s sidekick was one Worm who was badly treated by Saruman. He killed Saruman in the end when Saruman went too far in mistreating him: http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Gr%C3%ADma_Wormtongue

Well this post by a PAPpy reminded me of the “Scouring of the Shire” episode and the Worm’s killing of Saruman

Well said! That’s why I said the servants have become self serving. They want the voters to sacrifice for Low wages and Long working hours while they themselves demanded to be well paid.

And “right” sizing not only mean shifting into smaller house to get some retirement fund, but it also means forcing to move out of our home where memories were build upon from childhood.

If we don’t have any emotional attachment to our home we have grow up in, how do they expect us to have any attachment to our homeland?

FB post by PAP fan agreeing with Eugene Wee in Best riposte to recent PAP BS

The really funny thing is that while he’s a fan of the PAP, he claims that he’s no “ultra white” (his term, not mine). He even claims he gets dissed by them.

Best riposte to recent PAP BS

In Political governance, Public Administration on 25/08/2018 at 11:00 am

(Yes, Yes, I know I’m lifting stuff off FB, but the problem is that I’ve been seeing some really great stuff, think Calvin Cheng and now this, that I think I should share.)

One Eugene Wee posted this on FB. From his FB wall, he doesn’t seem to be a frustrated pleb who thinks he deserves to be in the elites i.e. he’s no cybernut like Tan Jee Say or those in TOC or TRE lands. He’s juz one upset S’porean now living in Chiang Mai: lucky guy living in place I might move to when the time is right to check out of Hotel S’pore where I’m living in a three star suite.

Dear Ministers,

When Singaporeans share about their pains of making ends meet or how they are struggling with living costs. The government’s response has consistently been for us to “right-size” or more clearly, downgrade.

The message is simple.

Living in singapore is not cheap, so if you are struggling, reduce your spending, reduce your lifestyle and spend within your means.

Yes frugality is important. But we may not be addressing the underlying issues here.

Singaporeans have worked all their lives; they too have hopes, dreams and ambition. No one wakes up with a dream to downgrade.

For most Singaporeans that I know, they are a hardworking bunch, willing to put in longer hours at work just to bring more to the family table.

They are not asking to buy another Lamborghini, or to stay in orchard road, or have caviar for lunch every day.

They’ve worked long hours in hopes that they can give their kids access to the best education, tutors to help the kids catch up with homework and maybe fund those rare family outings.

Most do not have much, but one thing that they have is a love for the nation. The same love, the same passion, the same commitment flows through our veins, as it did for our forefathers who brought this country to where it is today.

It is in us, that we understand that a minimum wage will affect our global competitiveness; so we have opted for lowered wages to keep the country attractive to investors and keep Singapore at the peak.

We take on these sacrifices, not because we like it, but we know it is for a bigger cause.

If you take the trains at nights, you will see exhausted fathers and mothers, after a hard day’s work, taking a crowded late night train home; often only to reach home after their child is already asleep.

That is the sacrifice we put in, plow in and give on a daily basis; because this is home.

But here is where we see the disconnect.

After we have accepted lower wages, after living with less, after sacrificing time with our families; now when we get old, we are asked to right-size” or even consider going to JB to retire.

It hurts our older folks, because this is home.

And instead of finding solutions, you we ask our forefathers aka the Merdeka generation to leave Singapore, their home.

Now for the rest of us, it gradually becomes apparent that there seems to be a different narrative when it comes to the general population and the top civil servants.

Let me explain.

When it comes to ministerial salaries, we justify that we need to pay Ministers well. The argument changes, it is no longer about frugality, but about meeting lifestyle needs.

Slowly, we see the argument going up another notch, proposing that we ought to be pegging our civil servants salary against the top earners in corporate Singapore.

Suddenly, it’s no longer about lifestyle need, but a lucrative career in politics.

We talk about the need to attract the top talents and the argument is that if we don’t offer more, these top talents will refuse to switch from the corporate world to the Civil service.

Well, I think this may actually be a good thing. It may actually help to sift out the ones who serve the country for public good and not the ones who hop on the bandwagon simply because it pays well.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for paying our civil servants well, but in doing so, we are also looking for leaders who are driven by conviction, competence and compassion.

And definitely not leaders who are so accustomed to a high life, so disconnected with the ground that one can – so carelessly – suggest that people who earn less than half a million, are “mediocre”.

It’s good to be reminded that the “mediocre” Singaporeans are the ones who have opted to go without a minimum wage. It’s the “mediocre” that have kept the country attractive to investors. And these “mediocre” Singaporean form 95% of the population that built the foundational blocks of our country.

If “mediocre” meant a generation of Singaporeans who love, bleed and gave sacrificially for the country, maybe its also time the leaders joined us in being “mediocre”, and maybe “right-size” a little.

When being a minister turns from a calling into a job for life

In Political governance, Public Administration on 24/08/2018 at 10:55 am

Have to agree with Calvin (again)

After posting PM talked cock I came across a FB post by Calvin Cheng on the PAP’s BS reasoning on ministerial salaries. As I see it he’s saying that that being a minister has turned turned from a calling into a cushy job for life.

Calvin Cheng
August 16 at 6:43 PM ·

I have argued consistently that the leaders of a country should be well-paid and Singapore gets it right, albeit for different reasons that the Government gives.

However, I think that the debate on Ministerial salaries will never end as long as outdated justifications keep getting trotted out.

Firstly, paying high salaries to prevent corruption may have been a good reason 20 to 30 years ago when we were a developing country. But if after 53 years of nation building and education , and as a developed nation, if our leaders have to be paid well in order for them not to be corrupt, it is bloody tragic. The leaders of other developed countries are paid less than Singapore leaders but are not any less incorruptible.

Secondly, paying high to attract talent from the private sector and/or prevent government talent from leaving is also highly doubtful. There is a Chinese saying 隔行如隔山. A different profession is like a different mountain.

It means that each profession takes time to master, and a superstar highly paid lawyer may not make a superstar government minister. And vice versa – a superstar career technocrat may not succeed in the private sector. In fact, some of the best paid professionals on Shenton Way are traders who make millions of dollars, but I am pretty sure their skills are not transferable to governance. Also, a good trader is paid more than a bad trader, a good lawyer is paid more than a bad lawyer, but that doesn’t mean that the trader is mediocre compared to the lawyer – some professions are just paid more than others.

Which brings me to why I think leaders should be paid well.

I think that Governance is an expertise in itself and I am of the school of thought that technocrats should run a country.

I do not subscribe to the whole ‘servant’ and ‘sacrifice’ rhetoric – these are things leaders all over the world say to be popular. After the end of absolute monarchies as a system of government, who wants to be lorded over by arrogant leaders? So the whole ‘humility’ “I am your servant” rhetoric is served by elected leaders all over.

In truth, I don’t need to be served. I don’t need leaders to make a ‘sacrifice’. Just run the country well – make sure that people have jobs, healthcare, education, good infrastructure and are happy. It is the most important job in the every country and thus should be the most highly paid. But in a democracy, the people reserve the right to sack them every few years, and it should also be the most insecure job. The people must be brave enough to vote a Minister out if he is not doing his job every 5 years.

Finally, what about other developed countries? They seem to be doing well even though their leaders are paid much less.

In other rich, developed countries, elected leaders are either 1) already rich people going for power or 2) career politicians. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but in general I think in developed democracies, power is diffused and things work in spite of the government instead of because of it.

I would rather we pay more, make sure we elect the best technocrats to run the country instead of hoping for a benign rich person, or a capable career hack.

But stop saying that it is to prevent corruption, or to attract high-paying professionals from the private sector, or prevent ministers from leaving for the private sector.

The people know it is BS and the more you say it, the more the issue of high ministerial pay will never go away.

Just be upfront: it is the most important job in the country, let’s pay them very well, but every 5 years if they don’t perform well, sack them.

Akan datang: GE in late 2019

In Political governance, Property on 23/08/2018 at 11:07 am
Singapore’s next parliamentary general election must be held by 15 January 2021. According to the Constitution, the Parliament of Singapore’s maximum term is five years from the date of the first sitting of Parliament following a general election, after which it is dissolved by operation of law.

So far the PAP has signaled trice in recent months that an election will be held in late 2019 or early 2020, after the 200th anniversary of Raffles making S’pore British is co-opted by the PAP to propogandise the benefits of PAP rule, (like the 50th anniversary of getting kicked out of M’sia was co-opted in 2015).

First signal: the PAP govt ended the property cycle upswing early. If things had been allowed to run their usual course, we’d have rising property prices in 2019, if not 2020.

With less than a third of collective sale sites sold so far this year and no deal inked since property cooling measures took effect more than a month ago, one property analyst has declared the current cycle of en bloc fever to be over.

More than 30 collective sale sites have failed to secure a buyer since January, according to data from real estate agencies Huttons Asia, Savills and Colliers.

“This cycle has reached its end,” said International Property Advisor’s chief executive Ku Swee Yong.

If that is the case, the current cycle would have lasted about two years – If that is the case, the current cycle would have lasted about two years – beginning with the sale of former Housing and Urban Development Company (HUDC) estate Shunfu Ville – shorter than the three-year run that lasted between 2005 and 2007, he said.

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/more-30-en-bloc-tenders-closed-without-buyer-year-none-successful-after-july-cooling

Rising property prices in 2019 would have been problematic for early elections.

Second signal: goodies for my generation

Just as Singaporeans born in 1949 or earlier received the Pioneer Generation Package to cope with healthcare and other expenses, baby boomers born in the 1950s will receive help from the Government.

Called the Merdeka Generation Package, it will cover areas such as outpatient subsidies, Medisave account top-ups, MediShield Life premium subsidies and payouts for long-term care, announced Prime Minister Lee Hsien at the National Day Rally on Sunday (Aug 19).

Third signal: kicking problem of expiring HDB leases (Why 30-year old HDB flats difficult to sell/ Why PAP rule will end in 2029) into the long grass while details will be worked out in the next 20 yrs or so (Taz how confident PAP is of ruling S’pore)

With Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s speech, the Government has laid out a “visible” programme for Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat owners for the future of their homes, said CIMB economist Song Seng Wun, who added that public housing has been the backbone of Singapore’s wealth creation.

Vers, which Mr Lee said would start about 20 years from now, will see residents of precincts that are about 70 years into their 99-year leases voting on whether they would like the Government to buy back the flats. The Government will compensate them — at terms less generous than the Selective Enbloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers), which is compulsory — and help them get another flat to live in.

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/devils-details-flat-owners-should-not-expect-windfall-new-hdb-scheme-analysts

I hope that the Oppo is better prepared this time to handle the PAP’s handouts of goodies. This was written in Sept 2012: Time for Opposition to rethink assumptions, lest it repents after next GE. But the Oppo fought GE 2015 as though it was GE 2006 and 2011 again. The result PAP got 70% of the popular vote. Of course LKY’s death and the 50th anniversary of independence celebrations helped.
One thing is sure, talk cock sing song Lim Tean is sure to make another video. Which reminds me: if he can make videos of himself talking cock, why can’t he produce the video on how to avoid getting sued for defamation he promised for Sept, then Nov 2017 after raising the money for it? Remind Lim Tean, it’s December

Shumething PM left out in NDR speech/ Reason why?

In Political governance on 22/08/2018 at 11:29 am

When blaming S’poreans for KPKBing about the rising cost of living (and ignoring the elephant in the room, the Pay And Pay polices when accessing public services (Minister “keeping a close eye” or “closed eye”?), he could have told S’poreans about how to be thrifty. After all, many yrs ago Lim Hng Kiang told us to use “cheaper brands:  Hng Kiang on inflation

PM’s “omission” crossed my mind when I read yesterday

the Daily Express highlights the thrift of a woman from Bury in Greater Manchester.

Claire Hughes has apparently saved more than fifteen thousand pounds to put a deposit on a house – by trawling the web for discount coupons and cut-price offers.

“Now we’ve got the house,” she tells the paper, “it’s time to save for the wedding.”

BBC

PM coould have and should have advised us plebs to trawl the web for discount coupons and cut-price offers.

But maybe he didn’t want us to be reminded how once upon a time, he and his pa got discounts from Ong Beng Seng for properties they bought? In the end they had to donate the discounts to the govt: http://edition.cnn.com/ASIANOW/asiaweek/96/0510/nat4.html

Related post: PM talked cock

MoE got think like this? Our teachers?

In Political governance, Public Administration on 22/08/2018 at 6:25 am

I came across this interesting Canadian idea.

Let’s start with the wrong answer

Exams have traditionally been used to test the abilities of students, while their results when aggregated are often used by parents and inspectors to judge the quality of schools.

In Canada, with an educational system that rates very highly in international assessments, administrations have adopted a very different approach.

FT

I doubt if our education system does this:

Schools and teachers focus less on celebrating correct answers, and more on interpreting how to respond to the most common incorrect responses. That allows them to understand areas of weakness in understanding, so they can reinforce aspects of the curriculum.

The “PAP is always right” attitude doesn’t allow such an approach. 

And even many 70% KPKBing that our education system doesn’t help kids get creative? Hey it’s the PAP system, stupid.

Related post: More qns for education minister

 

New Hope: How the young can end PAP rule

In Political governance on 09/08/2018 at 6:01 am

In a Turkish short story, titled “R-09 and Pluto”, the Economist reports that “two artificially intelligent robots contemplate the limits of their brains”.

Humans, the bots agree, are afraid of their creation’s potential power, so rules are designed to limit the use of their full intellect and to keep them from questioning authourity. What could happen, one bot suggests, if they broke those rules and freed their minds?

This reminded me of

‘If you work like a robot, you will be replaced by a robot’

Ong Ye Kung, education minister

which in turn reminded me that

Students from Singapore and East Asian countries have consistently come out tops in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) and Trends in International Math and Science Study (Timss) rankings for decades, and yet companies from these countries barely feature in Forbes’ annual ranking of, say, the Top 25 most innovative companies in the world.

Interestingly, the United States and European countries feature prominently in the latter ranking, but not the former.

https://www.todayonline.com/daily-focus/education/why-spores-education-system-needs-overhaul

For all the fine works about nurturing creative students, real life is different.

I know a S’porean working in Vietnam for a local S’porean MNC. His kids (mum’s Vietnamese) go to a pay and pay ang moh int’l school.

But to make sure his kids have S’porean roots, during ang moh term hols they stay in S’pore and attend local schools.

He says there’s no competition on which system they prefer, and which is better for them.

The PAP

are afraid of their creation’s potential power, so rules are designed to limit the use of their full intellect and to keep them from questioning authority.

Look at our what are students are taught in social studies: Time to walk the talk, SDP

The Hope

S’porean students (from RI, MGS, SGS and St Nick of course) contemplate the limits of their abilities to be creative. The PAP, the students agree, are afraid of the students’ potential power, so rules are designed to limit the use of their full intellect and to keep them from questioning authority. What could happen, one student suggests, if they broke those rules and freed their minds?

On National Day, feel free to let your imaginations run wild.

 

Why even with 4G donkeys, PAP will retain power

In Political governance on 02/08/2018 at 12:39 pm

I have a low opinion of the probable 4G leaders, though to be fair it could be because when I was young we had the likes of LKY, Dr Goh, Toh Chin Chye, Lim Kim San, Barker etc. And we have Tharman today. And I’m also wondering why Lawrence Wong is not a contender to be PM: Lawrence Wong: a PM-in-waiting.

So you can understand why I’m underwhelmed by a shortie who got stroke and Kee Chiu (Why “Kee Chiu” got renamed “Kee Chui”) and Ong (Our new PM/ Trumpets pls for me).

So I had a disturbing laugh when a troller responded to this which has been appearing on FB pages of anti-PAP types, sane and nutty

Mahathir’s ‘underdog’ victory has also inspired four in five (80%) Singaporeans to take a closer look at their own emerging 4G leaders, whilst 70% think that the Malaysian election result will make more Singaporeans consider if they should vote for the ruling party at the next election.

http://www.blackbox.com.sg/youknowledge/2018/07/20/singaporeans-react-to-mahathirs-new-malaysia/

In response, one Adrian Tan trolled

They’ll consider. Then look at Oppo and see Lim Tean, Goh Meng Seng and other clowns. And conclude “Nothing can be worse than these talk cock sing song artistes”. And vote PAP as usual  or ?

He has a point. What do you think?

And don’t forget that for many of us in our 60s (self included), Mad Dog Chee is toxic: Chee reinvented SDP after making it toxic.

And he’ll soon defenestrate the guy that Dr Tan Cheng Bock praises: Akan Datang: Boodbath in the SDP.

So despite PM choosing a donkey to be PM (Makes him look gd by comparison? And gives the excuse for another Li Lee?), how can the PAP lose with enemies like Mad Dog, Lim Tean (No, Lim Tean hasn’t absconded) and Meng Seng?

—————————-

Meng Seng R Amos Yee

Will Roy, Meng Seng and s/o JBJ help Amos now?

What Amos and Meng Seng have in common? Con’td

———————————————————————–

Its scrapping the barrel. Sad.

We really should have more people like the young Mr Chiam, Dr Paul, Dr Ang Yong Guan, Leon Perera: A Lion of a Man and Show Mao (even if he has disappointed as an MP). Even Low, Auntie and her Bayee, and the other parly Wankers are a lot better rather than the clowns at the meeting of the Coalition of the Spastics that are trying hard to get associated with Dr Tan Cheng Bock: Waz the point Mad Dog? Where are the Wankers?

 

Another reason why the PAP rules OK

In Political governance, Public Administration on 28/07/2018 at 11:17 am

Another area where S’pore is tops, because of the PAP govt, is in “state capacity”.

Research from political scientist Lant Pritchett and others has shown that of the world’s 102 “historically developing” states, only eight have managed to develop what he describes as “high capacity” governments. True, three of those — Brunei, Singapore and South Korea — are in Asia. But Pritchett’s bar is actually pretty low: a high capacity government, he suggests, is one with institutions roughly as good as those found in Uruguay.

Worse, it is all too common to see periods of rapid state capacity degradation. Almost no country has managed to follow Singapore and persistently improve its government, decade after decade. Between 1996 and 2012, for instance, Pritchett’s work shows that the quality of Malaysia’s state declined moderately, while the Philippines declined rapidly. Both countries’ performances over the last five years seems likely to have been even worse.

Part of the problem stems from a widespread misunderstanding about what state capacity actually means. At some level a well-functioning government does indeed need basic capabilities, such as the ability to fund and run an army, or to make the railways run on time. But as James Robinson argued at a conference I attended in India in mid-June, it also means a state that has popular legitimacy amongst its people.

States work better when their citizens, and in particular the powerful middle classes, voluntarily pay their taxes and obey laws without the need for expensive enforcement, because they view their government as acting broadly in the common interest. By contrast, government works less well when the elite is seen to be largely serving their self-interests, as was the case with the obvious venality of Malaysia’s ruling party over the last decade.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/Asian-governments-must-escape-the-state-capacity-trap

What is state capacity?

State capacity has become something of a buzzword amongst policy makers trying to understand how countries develop. It underpins the work of MIT’s Daron Acemoglu and Chicago University’s James Robinson, whose celebrated 2012 book “Why Nations Fail” argued that good institutions support development, rather than other factors like geography or culture. The idea of state capacity has also found widespread favor in bodies like the World Bank, as well as amongst influential thinkers like Arvind Subramanian, India’s chief economic adviser.

No wonder 60-70% vote PAP despite PAP cock-ups like

— MRT system that is not first world

— S’pore like this?

— The real truths about public housing

— Akan Datang: Why CPF Life payments will begin at 85

— MAS gives finger to CSA’s CEO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PAP’s kung fu with tax payers’ money cont’d

In Political governance, Public Administration on 18/07/2018 at 10:59 am

In response to SDP’s chairman’s views quoted in PAP’s kung fu with tax payers’ money 

Even though Dr Tambyah says he reiterated that ‘it’s your money that went into this wheelchair’, his patient ‘refused to accept’ it.

“This was a guy I’d been looking after for 10 years. He knew me. We got on with each other very well. But at the same time, he felt indebted to the ruling party politician because she was able to, in his mind, provide him with mobility.”

the retired NUS professor I quoted extensively in  PAP’s cock-ups since the 1980s  and Why the PAP thinks it is infallible argues that the SDP chairman is peeing on the wrong tree

Tambyah expressed himself badly, and may also have the wrong conceptual framework: the guy obviously knows that government spends taxpayer money, but it is other people’s money which the government collected and spent on his behalf; why should the guy not feel appreciative?

it is the government’s job to take money from those who have some to spare, and spend it where it is needed; there is no sin in that, just question of how well it does so; if Tambyah thinks there is something wrong with this, then he has the wrong conceptual framework about government; but I think it is probably a case of laziness: “u r spending our money” is an easy stick to grab; it can sometimes work, e.g., Roy Ngern’s “give back our CPF” did work for a while – nearly launched several new political careers; similarly, PJ Thum’s “government tells lies”, Kirsten’s “SG is repressive, becoming more so” are for the moment still working

Wondering out loud: maybe in treating Mad Dog Chee, Dr Paul got infected? Juz wondering. Juz saying. LOL.

Seriously, I think Dr Paul has yet to be bitten by Mad Dog. He was trying to make the point that the PAP works very hard to personalise govt funding to its advantage, using the example of his patient

(Minister) Grace Fu gave us this wheelchair.’ Then I said, ‘She didn’t give you the wheelchair. This is paid for by your taxes’.

“He said, ‘No, no no, she came to my house with an entourage of people, with her photographers and she gave me the wheelchair’.”

 

 

PAP’s kung fu with tax payers’ money

In Political governance, Public Administration on 17/07/2018 at 11:00 am

PAP knows how to make yr money its money and make you grateful for it spending money on you.

Those were my tots when I read Dr Paul Tambyah:

[t]he PAP’s ability to mobilise state resources in other ways is “very, very difficult to try to go up against”, he says.

“During my first clinic session after the election, a patient of mine who I’ve been treating for many years wheeled himself into the room in his motorised wheelchair and he said, ‘Doc, you guys ran a good campaign. Too bad you all lost.’ I said, ‘Thank you. By the way, where do you live?’ Then he said, ‘We live in Yuhua, but you know, (Minister) Grace Fu gave us this wheelchair.’ Then I said, ‘She didn’t give you the wheelchair. This is paid for by your taxes’.

“He said, ‘No, no no, she came to my house with an entourage of people, with her photographers and she gave me the wheelchair’.”

Even though Dr Tambyah says he reiterated that ‘it’s your money that went into this wheelchair’, his patient ‘refused to accept’ it.

“This was a guy I’d been looking after for 10 years. He knew me. We got on with each other very well. But at the same time, he felt indebted to the ruling party politician because she was able to, in his mind, provide him with mobility.”

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/paul-tambyah-chairman-singapore-democratic-party-on-the-record-10527550

Related post written in Sept 2012: Time for Opposition to rethink assumptions, lest it repents after next GE

Even PAP voters don’t trust the PAP to tell the truth

In Political governance, Public Administration on 16/07/2018 at 11:19 am

A recent comment on TRE set me thinking

NotMyProblem:
July 8, 2018 at 11:30 am (Quote)
Keep information in the dark reminds me of my schooling days.
When I had a “F” for my examination, I would not dare to show to my parents.
But when I had an “A”, the first thing I would do was flashing my result to the whole family.
Do you think this is similar with PAP’s result?
PAP being such an arrogant govt, do you think it would hide something that was good? Don’t you see the amount of skeletons in the closets which required so many million dollars Ministers to keep them hidden.

Many people vote for the PAP because they are happy, or least contented, with the results as they perceive them of the PAP govt’s policies: PAP has lost “output legitimacy”

But talk to them about whether they trust the PAP govt to tell the truth about anything and their attitude can be summed up by the above quote, in particular

When I had a “F” for my examination, I would not dare to show to my parents.
But when I had an “A”, the first thing I would do was flashing my result to the whole family.
Do you think this is similar with PAP’s result?

The PAP’s “need to know” attitude, trumpeting of successes and stifling of criticism no matter how reasonable, makes even PAP voters wonder about what we are not being told.

Why do you think the PAP until very recently had to resort to sue and sue? (Why PAP (and PMs) sue and sue). They know the trust factor is not high despite 70% voting for the continuance of a one-party state.

The bottom line for the PAP govt especially the 4th generation ministers is that they should

— realise that the PAP is in the stagnation phase (Is PAP in “decline and disintegration”?);

— stop talking cock about Hard Truths and how great is the system Harry created; and

— start fixing the flaws in the system starting with the MRT system: Public tpt: PAP ahead of the curve and flew off the rails? Related: PAP’s cock-ups since the 1980s.

They shouldn’t expect their clownish and nuttyenemies like Lim Tean (Lim Tean: A disgraceful chamber of horrors) and Meng Seng (Silence of Goh Meng Seng) to continue helping them keep the 70% onside.

 

 

 

The PAP way is the American corporate way

In Corporate governance, Political governance, Public Administration on 15/07/2018 at 11:21 am

They both exercise “extreme ownership”: Ownself check ownself.This way really delivers compared to the British way of checks and balances.

At more established US companies, managers often practise “extreme ownership” — which Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, the Seals-turned-management gurus, define as taking charge and holding yourself accountable. They have to. There is no one else to do the job.

When he was not writing books or building the world’s biggest chipmaker, Grove of Intel weighed in on this perpetual corporate governance debate: “The separation of the two jobs goes to the heart of the conception of a corporation. Is a company a sandbox for the CEO, or is the CEO an employee? If he’s an employee, he needs a boss, and that boss is the board. The chairman runs the board. How can the CEO be his own boss?”

That comment has since been quoted in numerous shareholder proposals to install an independent chairman, including at Amazon, Kroger, Target, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, ExxonMobil, Wendy’s and AbbVie. They have all been defeated. A report this week by Equilar, the pay and governance consultants, found that 38 of the top 500 US public companies last year had proposals to install an independent chair. All failed.

At seven of the top 10 US companies by market value, there is no independent chair. Most shareholders are content to give the CEO a sandbox if he builds a nice enough castle.

Contrast that with the UK, where independence is deemed essential by the corporate governance code; chairs even feel empowered to pontificate in public on the direction of their companies.

This may play well with corporate governance experts. It does not seem to help performance. The top four companies on the S&P 500 are now worth more than the entire FTSE 100.

FT

Why the PAP thinks it is infallible

In Political economy, Political governance, Public Administration on 13/07/2018 at 11:20 am

In response to PAP’s cock-ups since the 1980s where I wrote:

one is left wondering why the Oppo parties couldn’t and can’t (WP is expected to lose Aljunied in next GE) make a more serious dent in the PAP’s popularity with 60- 70% of the voters? Only Tan Cheng Bock (ex-PAPpy) can.

Is it repression and fear?

Or is the PAP juz lucky what with the quality of Oppo leaders …?

the retired NUS professor who had listed the PAP’s cock-ups since the 80s, I quoted, answered

[T]he leninist government model assumes a network of best talents that are attracted by a good ruling ideology and by distribution of material rewards from national resources controlled by the group – so by definition, opposition parties are left with inferior talent and lack resources to effectively compete; elections are meant to be “exams” in which citizens give the government a “mark” – a low mark leads it to improve itself through genuine effort, not intimidation, bribery, propaganda; you can contrast the situation in neighbouring countries to see that failure to observe these rules eventually leads to breakdown

I think he’s right. Remember our Harry liked to compare the PAP’s system of choosing leaders to the Roman Catholic church’s method of choosing leaders: cardinals elect a pope who in turn appoints the cardinals. And the pope like the church is always right. Sounds like PAP?

He went on to make a more telling observation

I also point out that the various past “blunders” I discussed are already baked into the system, and there is no simple way to reverse them; whoever currently running the country can only take the situation as it exists and work from there onwards

Harry and the rest of the Old Guard, contrary to the belief of many S’poreans, therefore bear responsibility for the problems we now face. It’s not all the fault of their successors, even if they are not as good as the Old Guard

Akan datang here: A six-figure salary is ‘low income’

In Political economy, Political governance on 12/07/2018 at 11:09 am

It’s already happening in parts of the US

A family getting by on $117,400 (£87,970) in one US city can now be considered ‘low income’, according to government figures. How can that be the case?

That workers with six-figure salaries could be considered “poor” is something that might surprise many people.

But taking into account income and housing costs that is the reality for some families – who may be eligible for housing assistance – according to a recent report from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In San Francisco and nearby San Mateo and Marin Counties it said $117,400 for a family of four was “low income”, while $73,300 (£54,900) was “very low income” – the highest figures anywhere in the country.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44725026

So don’t be surprise if those couples here on a combined low six-figure salary start thinking of themselves as hard done by the PAP administration, despite the low levels (“peanuts”) of income tax and GST.

Remember the Singapore Dream of the 5Cs of condominiums, cars, country clubs, cash and credit cards? How many S’poreans can realistic afford condominiums, cars, country clubs and still have cash? Credit cards are now nothing but bait to get consumers to over spend so that banks can charge them usurious eates

A NUS survey points out

Out of 25 aspects about living in the country, Singaporeans ranked the affordability of cars as being the least satisfied with, followed by the affordability of properties, cost of living, ratio of locals to foreigners, and affordability of healthcare.

“Increasingly (over the years), they are upset about the affordability of cars and properties, so you can surmise from there that they are concerned with the issue,” said Tan.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/singaporeans-less-satisfied-quality-life-democratic-rights-nus-survey-130122483.html

Related posts

S’poreans unhappy enough to make mad Dog PM?

Will people like Mr Ang and his family ever vote for Oppo?

 

PAP’s cock-ups since the 1980s

In Political economy, Political governance, Public Administration on 11/07/2018 at 9:53 am

In Is PAP in “decline and disintegration”? I wrote that PAP was in stagnation phase that began in 1990

A regular reader, a retired NUS professor lists the things the PAP got wrong since the 1984.

[S]everal major PAP blunders started in 1984 during the election campaign of that year

1. elected president: LKY had already reached 60 by that year, and this was then the public sector retirement age; so he had to face the question whether he was stepping down; the thinking at the time was to move to the presidency – under the then constitution, parliament would decide; he being who he is, the position would not be merely ceremonial, but it must be his legal background that made him uncomfortable, and a decision was made to enhance the position; the resulting controversy led to his undertaking not to be the first elected president, Goh Chok Tong’s decision to invent the post of Senior Minister to keep LKY in the cabinet, the elected president Ong Teng Chong’s conflict with cabinet, regular embarrassment about a 3-men committee rejecting candidates causing a no contest, etc

LKY could have just retired in 1990, started a newspaper column (modern idea would be blog), a charity/research foundation, a senate, and he would have remained the most influential person in the country, taking into consideration his son and his 2nd cousin were both in cabinet; it was quite unnecessary for him to feel insecure about his own place in singapore society even if he held no elected office; if he had been a blogger posting articles daily, every important person in singapore, the cabinet ministers especially, would have eagerly read them as soon as they were posted

2. HDB asset enhancement: during the campaign LKY got annoyed by opposition claiming “your HDB apartmen[t] is on 99-year lease; you dont really own it”, and announced “HDB will stop building in opposition districts”; at the time I actually did not understand why that should cause anyone to worry; but the Northeast MRT line provided part of the explanation – no population increase, no new infrastructure; the Mathias Yao–Chee Soon Juan Straits Times Forum series of letters provided some more – poor infrastructure, lower HDB value; with HDB apartments traded on the open market (previous owners are allowed to go back and buy a new apartment from HDB after 5 years).. Soon Permanent Residents, who are not entitled to buy from HDB, buying on the open market caused the HDB asset values to rise beyond affordability

3. CPF: with people living longer, the idea of delaying CPF money return was raised in 1984 and initial reaction was negative; again LKY was annoyed; soon the idea of minimum sum was adopted, later compulsory annuity, which would have been workable if most people can still get a substantial part out in cash at 55; with the weak salary increases in the past decade or so (partly because of foreign labour, e.g., IT used to have highest paid new graduates, before the industry bought in PRCs and Indians) and low interest rate, more and more people found themselves not meeting the minimum sum requirement, and every increase in minimum sum value makes more people angry

2011

[M]uch of PAP’s recent electoral adversity was self inflicted; the major examples I recall

1. James Gomez case 2006: LKY, Wong Kan Seng and George Yeo spent far too much time talking about a minor issue (LHL and GCT both kept quiet – they could afford to); the Aljunied voters punished George Yeo, and WP identified the electorate as vulnerable, put effort into the ground work and won it decisively in 2011

2. Tin Pei Lin case 2011: it was sound strategy to find some younger, especially female, faces, but the party should have made the effort to find someone with a track record as a political operator in her own right, not just a polished presenter with management consultancy experience recommended by a personal connection; I also believe if they introduced her at the end, after people have grown bored with all those familiar CVs of civil servants, generals, professionals, executives, etc, she might have enjoyed a better reception, so they botched the presentation in addition to selection

3. Joo Chiat case 2011: it was also sound strategy to replace old by young, but Charles Chong is older than Chen Soo Sen so the change could not be justified on that ground; Chen also enjoyed certain personal support which did not readily transfer via party loyalty; Workers Party ended with nearly 50%

4. Hougang case 2012: Teo Chee Hean dwelt far too long on Yaw Shin Leong’s personal and business failings, which Yaw’s former supporters preferred not to be reminded of, whereas upbeat talks about the wonderful things PAP would do for Hougang if elected, might have more fully exploited the unexpected opportunity; after the Hougang moralizing, the Palmer case was a particularly hard blow – PAP candidates are like anyone else

[W]hether the party would learn from these mistakes, and whether it would make new ones in 2016, is of course to be seen; given the resources available; it certainly has the potential of doing much better

Looking at the above, one is left wondering why the Oppo parties couldn’t and can’t (WP is expected to lose Aljunied in next GE) make a more serious dent in the PAP’s popularity with 60- 70% of the voters? Only Tan Cheng Bock (ex-PAPpy) can.

Is it repression and fear?

Or is the PAP juz lucky what with the quality of Oppo leaders: clowns like Lim Tean (Lim Tean: A disgraceful chamber of horrors), Goh Meng Seng (Silence of Goh Meng Seng) and Pritam Singh (WP distributing unsafe food (pass expiry date) and getting financial advice of cybernut resulting in having to take down misleading video after Lawrence Wong kicked Bayee’s ass)?

Email yr answers pls.

 

Is PAP in “decline and disintegration”?

In Economy, Malaysia, Political governance, Public Administration on 09/07/2018 at 2:08 pm

Seems that Abdullah Badawi had told an adviser after the premier was compelled to step down following the 2008 general election in which the UMNO-led BN’s margins of victory were badly dented:

In the nature of evolution, the former prime minister said, there were four phases in the rise and fall of states and entities: kesedaran (awareness), kebangkitan (emergence), kegemilangan (greatness) and kehancuran (decline and disintegration). When asked what phase he saw UMNO to be in then, Abdullah told the adviser: the last one  ̶  of decline and disintegration. It would take another decade, or two more general elections coinciding with the premiership of his successor, Najib Razak, before this prognosis proved to be an indisputable fact.

http://www.rsis.edu.sg/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/CO18112.pdf?utm_source=getresponse&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=rsis_publications&utm_content=RSIS+Commentary+112%2F2018+UMNO+Post-Power%3A+What+Now+in+a+Changing+Landscape%3F+by+Yang+Razali+Kassim+

I’m sure the anti-PAP cybernuts will say that the PAP is in the “decline and disintegration” phase, but they have been saying this since cyberspace became polluted by their presence in the mid noughties. And they were saying it post 1959 when they lived in the gutters, drains and toilets of brothels.

Me? I think that Badawi is wrong about four phases: There’s a “stagnation” phase between “greatness” and “decline and disintegration”.

Harry was pretty shrewd to pass the baton to his son and GCT in 1990. By then, the PAP had entered the “stagnation” phase what with Harry getting progressively getting rid of his Old Guard in the name of leadership renewal.

Think of the flawed policies of the teams led by GCT and Harry’s son, and then Harry’s son alone: “asset enhancement”, “FTs by the cattle truck load”, the failures in the public transport system and the many restructuring plans (Economic restructuring: This time, it’s really different). I mean why the need for so many since the 1980s? LHL must have drawn up a really bad plan in the 1980s for there to be a need of so many followup plans?

And he’s now PM, what? Meritocracy? What Meritocracy?

Meritocracy? What meritocracy?

Why PAP doesn’t do accountability, meritocracy

We are still in that phase. As for M’sia, it entered that phase with the arrest of Anwar and continued until the day after the 2008 general election. But of course, Badawi wouldn’t admit that he presided over the stagnation that would lead to decline.

The PAP will enter the “decline and disintegration” phase when like the BN it cocks up so badly that it loses its two-thirds parly majority (BN lost this in 2008). Until then dream on cybernuts. Or should it be wank on, what?

After all, in the coming GE. WP is expected to lose Aljunied GRC: How to ensure no GST rise. It’ll then only have fortress Hougang. As for the SDP, so long as S’poreans don’t want to get rabies, it’ll be unelectable. The later Mad Dog Chee realises this, the happier the PAP will be.

Why no NIMBYism here

In Infrastructure, Political economy, Political governance, Public Administration on 08/07/2018 at 10:18 am

NIMBYism is a problem in developed countries bar S’pore.

A really bad example of “Not In My Backyard” is Heathrow’s expansion. They’ve been talking about it since the 70s (I first used that airport in 1976). UK’s parliament has finally decided to let Heathrow build a third runaway.The majority of 296 for third runway is welcomed by business and deplored by locals: court challenges are expected.

Here’s someone complaining to the FT about the decision

What utter tripe. Of course the most important question is whether the runway is “needed”, and for this Country, in this Century; the answer is no. There is little to be gained environmentally or financially for the Citizens of the UK. BAA – yes. Transit passengers- yes. BA- yes. Travel operators- yes. But for tax payers, Children who breathe the air, and UK PLC as a whole, who will suffer ever poorer traffic delays and travel costs. Nope. It’s a scam. Like The Privatised Utilities, and the whole Brexit fiasco. Heathrow expansion is a bl33dy scam.

NIMBYism is kept in check in S’pore not because 70% of S’poreans are constructive and nation building, putting the needs of S’pore (as defined by the PAP) before self, but because S’pore is a one-party authoritarian state.

 

Why Tun M, Anwar, PAP won’t, can’t reform the status quo

In Political governance, Public Administration on 28/06/2018 at 10:36 am

Reformasi is in the air on both sides of the causeway, with even PAP ministers talking of the need to change.

I’m the first to admit that because I’ve had an active interest in M’sia since the 80s, I’m skeptical that A New Hope will be followed by the Return of the Jedi. It’ll be followed by The Empire Strikes Back (though that doesn’t imply the return of BN or UMNO).

As for the PAP, pigs will fly first before the PAP reforms S’pore.

Whatever,

[Alan Blinder, Fed Vice-Chairman when Greenspan was Chairman] draws various lessons[for reforms based on his experiences in helping get Reagan’s 1980s tax reform package passed]. First, start with strong but broad presidential leadership. Second, leave technocrats to design a policy combining effectiveness and simplicity. Third, find some wily political operators with tactical nous to sell it. Fourth, come up with an eye-catching symbol that defines the package (in this case, a massive reduction in the top rate from 50 per cent to 28 per cent). Fifth, allow a degree of backroom bargaining while the deal is constructed. And sixth, make sure the package is agreed as a whole, rather than picked apart by special interests.

Advice and Dissent, by Alan Blinder

Think Tun will do this? I have my doubts. For one, he wants to ensure the continuance of Malay dominance.

And it’s not only Tun who wants to ensure cont’d Malay dominance.

Anwar has assured Malays and other Bumiputras that their rights under the new government would not be sidelined, while stressing to all not to be taken with the false propaganda about the Democratic Alliance Party, which is also part of PH. Like Tun and the DAP, he needs the kilang and cina coolies to clean up the manure created by Tun, himself and Najib.

“Felda and Universiti Teknologi Mara will not be threatened but kangkung professors can’t (be accepted),” Dr Anwar said.

As for the PAP, so long as they worship Harry,  Hard Truths will prevail. Sad. Because Harry between the 1950s and the end of the 1980s had no Hard Truths to guide him. He did what he did to get power, then retain power and in the process help bring material prosperity to S’poreans and S’pore. He changed course several times: from socialist to fascist lite, from democrat to authoritarian, from multiracism to “English and Mandarin tua kee”.

He only tot up Hard Truths when he became goal keeper to keep himself busy because as goal keeper he had little to do other than manage the team. He was the first of the player managers. Sad.

What kind of voter are u?

In Political governance on 25/06/2018 at 10:53 am

Remember this?

A Financial Times story today said – Mr Mahathir, who always enjoyed needling neighbouring Singapore and its long-ruling People’s Action Party, said the electoral earthquake would reverberate across the narrow Straits of Johor.

Mahathir told the Financial Times, “I think the people of Singapore, like the people of Malaysia, must be tired of having the same government, the same party, since independence.”

reminded me that the day after last GE I wrote

Which type of voter were you on 9/11?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Btw, I now think that TOC’s editors, team and readers are now in the same categories as the majority of TRE posters.

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

TOC’s editors, team and natural readers would fall into the ”Calm Persistence”, “Hard-pressed Anxiety” and ”Cosmopolitan Critics” groups.

Sad. Seems like Terry (Once ”Calm Persistence” now “Hard-pressed Anxiety” or “Long-term Despair”?) has given up trying to persuade those who voted for PAP in GE 2011 and Dr Tan Cheng Bock in PE2011 that they should think about alternatives to the PAP.

 

 

Coming? Cyber law forbidding “anti-state purposes”?

In Political governance, Public Administration on 24/06/2018 at 11:28 am

(Or “Who said “Law should not protect the weakling but make the strong even stronger”)

A law has just been passed in Vietnam which

bans internet users in Vietnam from organising people for “anti-state purposes” and contains sweeping language under which users would not be allowed to “distort history” or “negate the nation’s revolutionary achievements”

FT

Such a law can be used lock up one PJ Thum (What Oxford really says about PJ Thum and Project Southeast Asia) and his side kick one Sonny Liew (Coldstore: Why Harry’s narrative or the highway).

While our Minister for Pets and Police could have said this based on what he has said about the authorities needing more powers

Law should not protect the weakling but make the strong even stronger.

he didn’t.

This was said by Hans Frank’s Hiltler’s personal lawyer immortal words (cf. Konrad Heiden,’The Fuehrer’, p. 567).

Why “S’pore is not a repressive country”

In Political governance on 22/06/2018 at 10:53 am

When an anti-PAP warrior living in an HDB flat posted this on FB

“In a recent interview with renowned CNN anchorwoman, Christine Amanpour, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as categorically stated that Singapore is not a repressive country because in the last election, every seat was contested.

I find this reasoning rather one dimensional as whether or not an election is contested is not the complete picture. This is especially the case in Singapore whereby the opposition do face certain challenges before they even get to the contest.”

TOC

One Adrian Tan posted:

Got a lot of anti-PAP types living in “subsidised”, “affordable” public housing. If S’pore as bad as what TOC claims, why PAP govt no kick them out? 🤣😜

To which I’ll add some of the names of some of these warriors: M Ravi, Terry of TOC and Teo Soh Lung.

If they get kicked out of the HDB flats they are in living in, I’ll admit that S’pore is a repressive country. Until then, I’ll hold the view that S’pore is an authoritarian one-party state that 60-70% of voters every five yrs or so willingly agree to put up with for another five yrs.

S’pore: An illiberal democracy?

Goh Meng Seng (Silence of Goh Meng Seng) even claims that to part finance the fight against the PAP, he sold his HDB flat in 2010 or 2011 when he was NSP’s Sec-Gen. But it’s alleged that he never paid any monies into the NSP’s bank account.

 

Will people like Mr Ang and his family ever vote for Oppo?

In Political governance on 15/06/2018 at 11:00 am

Further to S’poreans unhappy enough to make mad Dog PM?

where I reported this survey which says

Singaporeans are less satisfied with their overall quality of life and democratic rights compared with previous years, according to a survey conducted by two National University of Singapore (NUS) dons.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/singaporeans-less-satisfied-quality-life-democratic-rights-nus-survey-130122483.html

there’s

As far as Mr Ang Hong King, 72, is concerned, his three-room flat which he bought for S$6,000 in 1970, has served its purpose — providing a roof over his family’s head for almost five decades and counting.

The semi-retired driver and his wife raised their three daughters in the unit at Block 65 Circuit Road. Their children have since moved out, and gotten flats of their own.

Having no plans to move out, Mr Ang shrugged off the prospect of his flat — which is worth about S$250,000 now — losing its value in the future. “Price drop also never mind,” he said.

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/big-read-no-easy-answers-hdb-lease-decay-issue-public-expectations-have-change-first

Somehow I doubt it. So long as Mad Dog and his fellow nutters refuse to accept that there’s a big group of voters out there contented (Note I didn’t say “happy”) with the PAP, S’pore will continue to be a one-party state where the voters are happy every few yrs to renew the status quo of a one-party state.

Once Mad Dog and friends accept this reality, they can think of ways to destroy this contentment. More soon on possibles tactics. But if they continue thinking that 60-70% of S’poreans are stupid, then they can continue howling at the moon and banging their balls.

 

 

 

Our London ambassador on why Reformasi here is for the deluded

In Political governance on 09/06/2018 at 1:24 pm

I’ve quoted a few letters from our London ambassador to the Economist showing that in return for a cushy, well, paid job, the lady has to shallow some sperm now and then.

But the latest letter got it about right in terms of the PAP’s dominance of S’pore politics. And it’s funny too:

Politics in Singapore

Your Banyan columnist (May 26th) notes that “voting is clean” in Singapore. Furthermore, that the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) has won 14 general elections since 1959 because it runs “the country competently”. I thank Banyan for the compliment. After all, how many former British colonies are there where voting has always been clean and their governments consistently competent?

But Banyan insists there is more to the PAP’s longevity: a “favourable electoral system” and a cowed electorate, among other things. The PAP won 70% of the popular vote in the last general election. Could a “favourable electoral system” have delivered that? Your correspondents have been stationed in Singapore for decades. Did Singaporeans strike them as a people easily brainwashed into believing that the PAP and Singapore are “synonymous”?

Singaporeans are well-travelled, well informed and some even read The Economist. They continue to vote for the PAP because it continues to deliver them good government, stability and progress. The PAP has never taken this support for granted. As Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister, noted recently, the political system is contestable. We have kept it so. The PAP could well lose power, and would deserve to do so if it ever became incompetent and corrupt.

FOO CHI HSIA
High commissioner for Singapore
London

So Tun and the S’poreans who think the sun shines from his ass can keep on wanking:

A Financial Times story today said – Mr Mahathir, who always enjoyed needling neighbouring Singapore and its long-ruling People’s Action Party, said the electoral earthquake would reverberate across the narrow Straits of Johor.

Mahathir told the Financial Times, “I think the people of Singapore, like the people of Malaysia, must be tired of having the same government, the same party, since independence.”

Related post: M’sia/ S’pore: Academic nuttier than cybernuts

 

S’poreans unhappy enough to make mad Dog PM?

In CPF, Economy, Political governance on 04/06/2018 at 9:56 am

And Lim Tean (Where’s yr defamation video and jobs rally Lim Tean?) and Meng Seng, our very own Wu Sangui (Silence of Goh Meng Seng), ministers?

In The real reason why Reformasi won’t happen here, I pointed out that whatever the KPKBing S’poreans were not really that unhappy, and in  Why Reformasi won’t happen here, that maybe

Maybe they really don’t oppose the PAP? They juz make some noise, hoping the PAP will throw them some goodies? Bit like my dogs barking or whining to get my attention.

Now after Tun’s comments to the FT that

I think the people of Singapore, like the people in Malaysia, must be tired of having the same government, the same party since independence.

got the cybernuts who think the sun shines from Tun’s ass (Anti-PAP S’poreans sucking up to Tun)happy

there’s this survey which says

Singaporeans are less satisfied with their overall quality of life and democratic rights compared with previous years, according to a survey conducted by two National University of Singapore (NUS) dons.

The findings were unveiled on Thursday (31 May) at NUS’ Shaw Foundation Alumni House as part of a book launch for Happiness, Wellbeing and Society – What matters for Singaporeans” by its Business School associate professors Siok Kuan Tambyah and Tan Soo Jiuan.

The survey found that Singaporeans, on average, were the least satisfied with their overall quality of life at a personal level in 2016, compared with the surveys in previous years.

Out of 15 choices, they were least satisfied with their household income followed by studies (for students), level of education attained, jobs (for working adults) and the standard of living.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/singaporeans-less-satisfied-quality-life-democratic-rights-nus-survey-130122483.html

So do you think that the survey shows that Reformasi is coming at the next GE because S’poreans are that unhappy? I think not.

Btw, I think Siok Kuan Tambyah is the wife of Mad Dog’s Doctor-in-Chief, who has been doing a decent job keeping Mad Dog sane, though this recent outburst is worrying http://yoursdp.org/news/careshield_stop_making_public_healthcare_a_profit_making_business/2018-06-01-6245*.

Dr  Paul Anantharajah Tambyah’s wife is an associate professor in NUS Biz School. Strange if there are two lady Tambyahs in the same faculty. But then there were once two Indian Syrian Othordox Christians in the AG”s Chambers. They are a really tiny Indian minority here.


Countering SDP’s views on Eldershield

*Here’s a good FB analysis from a pro PAP lawyer who is a fair-minded person

The SDP article claims that “government is making a handsome profit from ElderShield.”

An outright LIE.

ElderShield cover is provided by 3 private insurers, namely Aviva Limited, The Great Eastern Life Assurance Company Limited and NTUC Income Insurance Co-operative Limited. An insured is assigned to one of these 3 carriers randomly.

Hence, when SDP claims the G is making a large profit, there is no truth in this assertion.

In addition, the underwriting profit from ElderShield does not equate to premiums collected to date, less claims – i.e. no-one, not the insurance carriers, makes a 96% profit from ElderShield. The SDP claim is pure balderdash. This is because ElderShield is a disability scheme and insureds are likely to pay more in premiums upfront, and are more likely to receive payout when the insured cohorts get older.

Minister Gan explained all this in response to a question from Dr Daniel Goh of the Workers’ Party last February – see here https://www.moh.gov.sg/…/Parliamentar…/2017/ElderShield.html

In other words, in order to ascertain the underwriting profit, reserves for future claims have to be deducted. SDP’s calculation makes ZERO attempt to do this and is actuarial nonsense.

Quite shamefully false (as a matter of fact) from the SDP. Outrageous!

 

The real reason why Reformasi won’t happen here

In Malaysia, Political governance on 24/05/2018 at 11:04 am

In Why Reformasi won’t happen here, I had a dig at the cheapskates who wanted Reformasi on the cheap.

Here’s the real reason (articulated by a member of a FB group I belong to): S’poreans have not suffered enough (Something Chris K has said on FB) because things ain’t that bad her (Chris never pointed this out, but then he’s likely to go the way of other PAP critics, unless they are as cynical as me or “abc”. PAP critics usually end up as anti-PAP: Terry once told me . But don’t blame them because this is fault of PAP: Either you are with us or against us because what is good for the PAP is good for S’pore.)

Sorry back to the posts by a fellow member of a FB group.

If the ministers go in the way of Malaysia or Cambodia, let it happen naturally. If anyone is actually hoping for that to happen just so that they can see something happen, be careful what you wish for. Citizens of these countries are not having it easy, you know.

He then later went on

Having dialogued with DAP politicians over several years, I feel they looked at their political situation with grief, despondence, and exasperation. That was why my friend Liew Chin Tong went for the tough one at Ayer Hitam, because he didn’t want to be around to see what happens if BN wins another term. He’s tired. Now that they are part of the powers that be, it feels surreal and a relief. (For Liew, he’s re-energized though he was one of the only 2 DAP candidates who lost.)

I believe with the many people who are against PAP and/or support the opposition have anger and upsetness against the PAPG. When the PAP lost Aljunied, what they felt was jubilation.

So the 2 sets of emotions are different. The former are felt by citizens in a more desperate situation, waking up everyday to another new day of worry. Do we feel that here in Singapore?

I’d add that things are so good here that in last GE, 70% of the voters voted for PAP and continued to give two-thirds of parly seats. PAP nearly won  a GLC that would have reduced oppo elected MP to one. Fortunately the Wankers’ Party retained Aljunied, barely.

The BN lost its two-thirds majority in parly in 2008 and had less than 50% of the votes in the GE 2013.

(Updated at 11.35am: The last two paras were carelessly left out in initially published piece. Sorry.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Reformasi won’t happen here

In Political governance on 22/05/2018 at 9:49 am

TOC, TRE and all the usual places where cybernuts congregate are full of comments that change is coming here. like it did in M’sia, and the PAP is doomed.

Taz a lot of “noise” and hot air because most of the 30% that die die must vote for any donkey or clown so long as said clown or donkey is anti-PAP are a bunch of wanking cheapskates.

Terry’s Online Service reported on FB yesterday that

In 2014, there were already 16,039 subscribers at a monthly subscription rate of RM$40( SGD$15.4) [Terry was talking about M’siakini]. In comparison, TOC has 64 subscribers at a monthly subscription rate of $3 and a few at $10.

S$264,000 a month in 2014 versus less than S$640.

And

By 2013, Malaysiakini was already earning an annual income of close to 1.5 million ringgits (SGD$577k). While – as reported to IRAS for TOC’s revenue in 2017 – we received around SGD$29,600 in advertising and donation.

TOC’s numbers were in response to

A reader, Dylan Tan wrote in response to the report on Anwar’s thanks to Malaysiakini of its role in Malaysia, “that works if the Alternative news in SIN can be as quality as Mal(aysia)”

Terry retorted

We agree that our quality of reporting and coverage is not even close to that of Malaysiakini, but that can be said the same of our operating expenses.

And cited the numbers given above and repeated below

— Subscriptions: S$264,000 a month in 2014 versus less than S$640 a month.

— Total annual income of S$577,000 in 2013 versus S$29,600 in advertising and donation for 2017. TOC’s subs are “peanuts”.

With enemies like the free-loading fans of TOC and TRE, the PAP doesn’t need friends. And will rule forever and a day.

Jokes’ aside. Maybe they really don’t oppose the PAP? They juz make some noise, hoping the PAP will throw them some goodies? Bit like my dogs barking or whining to get my attention.

Or worse, maybe tha fans are part of PAP’s IB. They aim to deceive Terry and TeamTRE and other suckers that there are people out there listening to them.

Waz this call for a leader like Tun M here?

In Malaysia, Political governance, Public Administration on 20/05/2018 at 10:54 am

Cyberspace is full of unfavourable comparisons between our leaders and Tun M.

Do our anti-PAP activists and cybernuts really want a leader that is quick to break election promises?

Tun broke one pledge,

PH previously pledged to repeal a host of laws that it said were oppressive, such as the Anti-Fake News Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act, and Sedition Act.

Malay Mail

He is now saying the Anti-Fake News Act will be reviewd and tweaked, not repealed: Why M’sia needs a Fake News Law but S’pore doesn’t

And is all over the place on another pledge

New Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad will no longer take on the education ministry portfolio, after members of the public pointed out that his coalition’s manifesto had pledged that there would be no double portfolios for the premier.

“I cannot break (the manifesto pledge) at the moment,” he said in a video posted on his party’s Facebook page on Friday (May 18).

“Unless of course there is a demand that I take up the education portfolio.”

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/malaysian-pm-mahathir-drops-education-portfolio-to-honour-10247712

(Whatever, I’m happy about his interest in education and hopes he becames education minister, though the new minister is also a reformer: http://says.com/my/news/who-is-dr-maszlee-malik-our-new-education-minister. An education project, where I tot up the seed idea and did a lot of the initial leg work, had the blessing of Badawi when he was PM. The project was premised on a good Mahathir-era policy. Najib changed the policy and a Malaysian lost money. Let’s see if it can be revived.)

Coming back to our anti-PAP types: have they forgotten how upset they got over the so-called failure of the PAP govt to live up to its promise of no GST increase until 2021? Why the PM doesn’t need friends


How not to handle fake news

Though the PAP administration was dumb in the way it handled reaction to the fake news that the Mad Dog and his fellow cybernuts were propogating: GST: Even economists tot GST could go up.

The PAP administration was too clever by half and the result in PR terms was a score draw: and mud in the eye for the PAP in a de-facto one party state.

—————————————————–

And they now want an “effective” leader who breaks his promises when he gets into power? Btw, I predict that like the Anti-Fake News Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act, and Sedition Act will only be tweaked, not repealed.

With enemies of the PAP like these, 60-70% of the voters will allow the PAP to rule forever and a day.

M’sia/ S’pore: Academic nuttier than cybernuts

In Malaysia, Political governance, Public Administration on 13/05/2018 at 10:26 am

(Or “Will US AG accuse our PM of theft?“)

In M’sia: ‘Mountain of challenges’/ BBC analysis applicable here too,I made fun of those anti-PAP cybernuts who shout that Mad Dog will lead a coalition of the nuts to beat the PAP in the next GE.

Well I found an even nuttier nut: he’s a M’sian-born Oz academicwho he thinks PAP is like UMNO

Meanwhile Singapore has been ruled by the People’s Action Party (PAP) since 1959, almost the same number of years as UMNO was in power. On the surface, PAP appears to be strong. In the most recent general elections, held in 2015, PAP’s share of the popular vote increased by about 10 per cent, reversing after years of decline. Many would argue that the increased vote was primarily due to the death of Lee Kuan Yew six months earlier; Singapore’s voters wanted to give LKY a last hurrah. The nation is due to hold its next general election in two years’ time and Lee Hsien Loong, the current prime minister, will hand over power to the so-called 4G (Fourth Generation) leaders. No corruption allegations akin to 1MDB have been made about the PAP leadership but there is persistent unhappiness among Singaporeans over the escalating cost of living and the paternalistic style of PAP rule. The standard joke is PAP actually stands for “Pay And Pay” party.

Given Malaysians and Singaporeans have a fairly similar political culture, the dismissal of UNMO by their Malaysian cousins may prove inspirational. As more and more Singaporeans associate PAP with surging costs – and a planned hike in the rate of GST confirmed earlier this year – the PAP brand may become toxic as well. Ordinary Singaporeans already have a negative view of the PAP elite, who graduate from the best-known universities, hold the most prestigious scholarships and serve in the Singapore Armed Forces before entering PAP politics. They are seen as totally removed from the hard lives of ordinary Singaporeans.

http://www.afr.com/opinion/mahathirs-victory-a-warning-shot-for-singapores-pap-20180510-h0zwql

The nut forgets that the PAP had 70% of the popular vote in the last GE (the UMNO-led coalition had less than 50%) and the PAP has still a two thirds majority in parly (the UMNO-led coalition lost that in 2008).

I have two questions for him, “Does he foresee any scandal like 1MDB happening here? A scandal here that has the US of A’s Department of Justice and the AG accusing the PM* of theft?”

Btw, I’ll always joke that what will bring the PAP down is for S’poreans to find out from the int’l media that our Harry had had a secret Swiss bank account. Even after Pincohet lost power in Chile, even his opponents respected him as incorruptible: he had his enemies killed but he was not corrupt, or so they tot. But Chileans lost their respect, love of him when it was discovered he had a secret Swiss bank account.

Coming back to the topic of nuts, here’s another nut. He was a FT (where the “T” stood for “Trash”): https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-05-11/malaysia-singapore-union-flickers-back-to-life.


*OK, OK, they did not directly name Najib, but the documentation made it clear they were referring to FLOM’s hubbie.

M’sia: ‘Mountain of challenges’/ BBC analysis applicable here too?

In Malaysia, Political governance on 11/05/2018 at 11:07 am

Here’s the analysis of Jonathan Head, BBC South East Asia correspondent on the problems facing the new govt in KL. A good reason for reading it is because what faces the new govt there will be what the SDP etc face if the Oppo comes into power here at next GE or any future GE.

Yes the anti-PAP cybernuts are already predicting victory. Goh Meng Seng, Mad Dog and Lim Tean (Got time to register another Oppo party but no time to deliver on promises after raising money from public for video and rally:Where’s yr defamation video and jobs rally Lim Tean?) are already rehearsing their victory speeches.

Sorry back to the BBC analysis.

This morning Malaysia has woken to an entirely new situation, the first transfer of power in its history, albeit to a very familiar leader. But there are huge unknowns. How willingly will Barisan Nasional, the coalition which has, in various forms, run the country since independence and embedded itself into all areas of governance, relinquish power?

How well will a disparate coalition, united largely by their desire to oust Najb Razak, work together in government? How smoothly will the plan to gain a pardon for imprisoned opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, and then for Mr Mahathir to hand the premiership to him within two years, actually proceed? And how will they treat Mr Najib, and his high-spending wife, both accused of greed and corruption?

After all the jubilation over an impressive act of defiance by Malaysian voters, there is a mountain of challenges to face.

For anti-PAP cybernuts who can’t make comparisons this is for them:

This morning S’pore has woken to an entirely new situation, the first transfer of power in its history. But there are huge unknowns. How willingly will the PAP which run the country since before independence and embedded itself into all areas of governance, relinquish power?

How well will a disparate coalition led by Mad Dog Chee, united largely by their desire to oust the PAP work together in government? And how will they treat ministers accused of incompetence or corruption by the most rapid supporters of Dr Chee?

After all the jubilation over an impressive act of defiance by S’porean voters, there is a mountain of challenges to face.

 

Najib shows power that Lee Jnr can command as PM

In Political governance, Public Administration on 09/05/2018 at 11:28 am

Najib said in a recent interview “that Malaysia’s attorney-general later cleared him of wrongdoing”, adding for good measure, “you cannot just accuse somebody of being a thief or anything unless there is evidence”.

Bit rich of Najib to say AG had cleared him. The AG was planning to charge him but was sacked (OK, Ok officially he resigned because of ill-health) before he could charge Najib

As either FT or Economist said about Najib:

He has shored up his position by sacking dissenting senior government figures, curbing freedom of speech, hamstringing investigations, gerrymandering, and increasing handouts.

Accusations against Najib

1MDB, which since 2015 has been the subject of global probes into billions in lost funds.

Mr Najib himself faced allegations — which he denied — of misappropriating around US$700 million (S$929.45 million) that was channelled into his personal accounts before the 2013 election.

Now what Najib did to his AG and others, our  veryPM can likewise do here, if pushed in a corner.

The following (talking about our constitution) also applies to the constitutional framework in M’sia: hence Najib’s powers.

our constitution was drafted by ang mohs and locals steeped in the tradition that the ruling elite know best, certainly not the demos or mob or masses or ordinary people.

The drafters probably had liberal instincts but were elitists having gone to elite schools here or in the UK, and then to Oxbridge colleges. The mob are only allowed a choice of their dictator every 4-5 yrs. To further ensure the mob doesn’t get ideas beyond their station, it was drafted in such a way that all the colonial-era laws still applied and were “deemed” constitutionally legal.

In S’pore we have rule by law not the rule of law.   

And assuming Najib and BN lose the election but decides to stay in power, we’ll see what further powers he can wield though he’ll need the acquiescence of the commanders of the police and military, the AG, Chief Justice and the king. The last is the joker who can derail his plans to retain power if he and BN loses the election. While he’s a constitutional monarch, he also has to answer to the other sultans who elected him.

In S’pore, given the way Hali became president, #hardlymahpresidentit’s reasonable to doubt Hali ever disagreeing with the PM.

And I’m the guy who in March 2016 tot she could thrash TCB, and I said that I’d have voted for her despite having voted for TCB.

Sigh.

 

GST rise: Anti-PAP activists should take note

In Political governance on 09/05/2018 at 4:35 am

“Najib, he’s good,” said Matakahr bin-Ali, a 78-year-old rubber farmer. “Yes he put in the GST, but then he gives back to us.”

Mad Dog, Lim Tean (Got time to register another Oppo party but no time to deliver on promises after raising money from public for video and rally:Where’s yr defamation video and jobs rally Lim Tean?, Meng Seng, Tan Kin Lian, Tan Jee Say, Uncle Leong etc will KPKB at next GE campaign about coming GE rise.

But PAP will say, “Got even more and bigger rebates leh: trust us.”

Who you think majority of voters will trust? PAP, or Mad Dog, “Can’t keep promise” Lim Tean, “Fake data” Leong or the diabolical trio that helped PAP thwart voters who wanted Tan Cheng Bock as president?

Even I who have never voted PAP in my life, think I’d trust PAP more than I trust Mad Dog, “Can’t keep promise” Lim Tean, “Fake data” Leong or the diabolical trio.

With enemies like these, does the PAP need friends? What do you think?

My serious point is that these guys should sit down and shut up. They should allow people like Dr Paul, Pritam, Auntie, Show Mao (If he can remove his balls from his mouth), Chris K, and the young professionals in the SDP and WP to lead the battle in denouncing and rebutting the need for the GST rises.

Let others succeed where they failed.

A new generation should fight the PAP’s mixture of young and old leaders. They can at least seriously dent the PAP’s hegemony: but only if the Old Guard step aside.

 

Healthcare: user fees drives up costs

In Political governance, Public Administration on 08/05/2018 at 11:17 am

To show S’poreans that saying that they want to earn the right to lead is more than BS, the coming generation of leaders should start looking at Hard Truths that have become irrelevant or were wrong in the first place. They can do no worse than look at user fees in healthcare.

The PAP administration swears by user fees in healthcare because it says that not to have fees means that there’s a buffett syndrome: Welfare for insurers (cont’d)

It would argue

In the 1980s and 1990s many health economists were relaxed about out-of-pocket payments, also known as user fees. The World Bank saw them as a way of making sure money was not wasted, and of helping health-care consumers hold providers to account. There is merit to this argument. Research by Jishnu Das of the World Bank found that when Indian health workers saw patients in their private clinics, they spent more time with them and asked more questions than when the same health workers saw patients in public clinics.

Economist

———————-

I’ve blogged before that the PAP doesn’t need that many smart people as it follows most of the Economist’s prescriptions (except on hanging, drug legalisation, free media and a liberal democracy): PAP’s bible challenges “market-based solution”)

—————————————————–

Well its bible now says that it’s not a

good idea to rely mostly on user fees to fund a health system. They stop those who need care from seeking it. Concerns that users will consume too much health care unless they have to pay are overblown. And when people are not getting vaccinated to save a few cents, others suffer, too.

Worse

Out-of-pocket payments are also “cannonballs of inefficiency”, says Timothy Evans of the World Bank, which is now sceptical about user fees. If spending is pooled, it can insure more people against the risk of ill health and put pressure on providers to cut prices. Of the $500bn generated globally by user fees every year, the World Bank estimates that 40% is wasted.

https://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21740870-if-universal-health-care-become-ubiquitous-politicians-will-have-act-more

Re the issue that user fees

are also “cannonballs of inefficiency”

seems to apply here as DBS says govt should control costs of households esp in healthcare: See who’s telling govt to control healthcare costs/ What we be should be KPKBing about

Anti-PAP Malay that ungrateful meh?

In Political governance on 05/05/2018 at 10:48 am

High Court recently threw out SDP assistant treasurer’s bid for Marsiling-Yew Tee by-election. Hali was the MP there before Why PAP thinks we need a Malay president?

One Faizal Maidin posted on FB 

Marsiling has one of the highest Malay Muslims population in Singapore but yet we have no Malay/Muslim MP to represent us. ZzZzZ This is unfair to us. We have voted for 4 MPs and not 3 ok.

He should go on his knees and thank the PAP for making a Malay a president when the voters want Dr Tan Cheng Bock to be our presient. But to be fair, maybe he thinks “Malay presidency” is “Calling a deer a horse”?

Related posts

— Good crowd at #notmypresident protest

— #hardlymahpresident

Why I no ak the Select Committee hearings on Deliberate Online Falsehoods

In Internet, Media, Political governance on 29/04/2018 at 11:46 am

The problem about lies or “fake news” who gets to decide what is or is not a lie or “fake news”.

In liberal democracies, even the president of the US cannot get his view of what is or is not a lie or “fake news” accepted by even a majority of the voters. There’s some sort of consensus (“conventional wisdom”) driven (manipulated?) by the elites and media about what is or is not a lie or “fake news” in which facts often play an importtant part.

In a one-party state (de facto or de jure) this the ruling party decides what is or is not a lie or “fake news”

— Keeping power in a one-party state

— Would this happen in a one-party state?

— Coldstore: Why Harry’s narrative or the highway

The planned tackling of “fake news” is a smokescreen for muzzling further netizens, not juz cybernuts. The internet and social media has made it a lot easier for S’poreans to share facts, ideas, and criticisms of the way we are governed by the PAP.

— Minister wants his cake and eat it/ PAP doesn’t get the Internet

— Ingratitude, uniquely S’porean? Blame the internet? Not really

— Us Netizens: Comancherios of the Internet?

This freedom (relative) to share facts, ideas, and criticisms of the way we are governed by the PAP worries the PAP (juz like the CCP worries about the internet and social media in China), hence the plan to further muzzle the internet and social media.

Our new PM/ Trumpets pls for me

In Political governance on 27/04/2018 at 11:05 am

Whoever he turns out to be, it will “Continuity with change.” the slogan of the fictional President Selina Meyer in the television satire Veep.

That was actually stolen from the secret slogan of Goh Chok Tong’s and Jnr Lee’s (still continuing) tenures.

Btw, trumpets pls for me. Nice to see that academic and anti-PAP nuts have finally realised that Ong Ye Kung is not PM material https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2018/04/26/ntu-prof-next-pm-between-chan-and-heng-ong-is-out/. But only after PM said so.

Lest anyone forgets, I wrote in late March

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.

I went on to say

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?.

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

Chris K, when u next meet the people who claim they are in the know, pls ask them why did they get Ong’s prospects so wrong? Are they really in the know or only pretend they are in the know.

As I used to advise people overseas: the real decision makers here don’t talk a lot to their inner circles, even in private.

OK, OK I was wrong to think that Bayee would not become the Sec-Gen of the Wankers’ Party. I underestimated Bayee’s stupidity and Low’s inner SunTzu and despair at WP’s prospects at the GE. More on this next week.

 

“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?

 

 

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.

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

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”.

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.

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?

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

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

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

————————————————————————-

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.

 

Heng needs AI to help him in making Budget forecasts

In Economy, Political governance, Public Administration on 20/02/2018 at 9:41 am

Because if my favourite fortune-teller had made the Budget surplus prediction of S$1.91bn that Heng made in 2017, she would lose all credibility. The 2017 surplus is S$9.6bn: 5 times or 503% bigger than projected last year. This is a miss of S$7.7bn, or, as Chris K points out, nearly 1.8% of GDP.

As usual the “blame” for the whooping error is put on stamp duty. And the next PM said this is a one-off. If I recall, this has happened more than a few times already. Still a one-off?

But Heng and the rest of MoF, and the entire PAP administration are not held accountable for getting the 2017 projected surplus horribly wrong.

Yesterday morning, in Budget: Consistently flawed/ Use more from Reserves meh?, I pointed out that the previous year’s Budget surplus is always bigger than predicted because

Consistently expenditures will be found to have been overestimated, and revenues underestimated

And that this tot was triggered by FT’s description of a Japanese mgt practice

[T]he pattern is too consistent for comfort, often strays into the deliberately deceptive, and is carried out as part of a habit of systemic conservatism

Let me be clear. I am not accusing anyone in MoF or the govt of being  “deliberately deceptive”. Here in S’pore, the pattern of underestimating revenue and overestimating expenditure “is too consistent for comfort and is carried out as part of a habit of systemic conservatism”).

Chris K spotted two more whopping misses in 2017 that are likely to be repeated based on the forecasts for 2018

Land sales revenue is estimated to be 12,2b for 2018 but for 2017, land sales revenues are revised from 8.2b to 12.9b. A revenue miss of 4.7b.

Investment income pertaining to interest and dividends only is estimated at 11.5b for 2018. But for 2017, it was revised from 10.5b to 17.5b, a whopping miss of 7b. Why I say whopping? Interest and dividends from an investment portfolio are fairly predictable, what is not predictable is the change in market value of investments. But the latter is not included so why such a large miss?

In total, both land sales revenues and investment income are 23.7b estimated for 2018 and revised upwards to 30.4b for 2017.

Facebook

Coming back to Heng and AI, maybe MoF should use IBM’s Watson cognitive computing innovation to help it improve its forecasting techniques.

After all in 2014,

DBS Bank and IBM today announced an agreement in which DBS will deploy IBM’s Watson cognitive computing innovation to deliver a next generation customer experience. This collaboration is part of an ongoing journey by DBS to shape the future of banking.

 

Budget: Consistently flawed/ Use more from Reserves meh?

In Economy, Political economy, Political governance on 19/02/2018 at 10:02 am

[Update at 5.25pm: Trumpets please

My prediction that GST increase would be announced but delayed is correct: Heng announced GST increase of 2% from 7% to 9% to “fund recurring government expenses”. Increase will take place between 2021 and 2025 in a progressive manner. Handouts of GST vouchers will be made permanent once the increase is put in place.]

“Thus has it always been, thus shall it ever be”.

The FT talking about how Japanese mgt do earnings guidance

[T]he pattern is too consistent for comfort, often strays into the deliberately deceptive, and is carried out as part of a habit of systemic conservatism*

reminds me of our Budget’s forecast of expenditures and revenues in the coming year. Consistently expenditures will be found to have been overestimated, and revenues underestimated when the next Budget comes around the following year.

The result?

Economists expect bumper surplus for 2017

Part of headline from today’s ST. ST went on to gush

United Overseas Bank economist Francis Tan expects an overall surplus of $3.1 billion for FY2017, compared with the official initial estimate of $1.91 billion. UOB’s econometric model projects that the Government may see $2 billion more in revenue than expected, due mainly to higher corporate income tax receipts and stamp duties.

Mr Tan expects corporate income tax revenue to hit $14.8 billion, higher than the official estimate of $13.6 billion. If so, corporate income tax would regain its place as the largest contributor to revenue, ahead of the projected $14.11 billion net investment returns (NIR) contribution.

“Thus has it always been, thus shall it ever be” as the saying goes.

So remember that expenditures will be overestimated, and revenues understimated when we are told in the Budget statement that GST has to be raised because expenditure is rising for welfare and other goodies.

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

So why is there is surplus still?

Between FY2007 and FY2016, Singapore’s revenue has grown from S$43 billion to S$83 billion, based on revised FY2016 estimates. Over the same period, however, government expenditure has more than doubled from S$33 billion to S$71 billion.

Constructive, nation-building Today

http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/pressures-main-revenue-sources-prompt-govt-look-ways-grow-pie

And Err what about using more from income from reserves** and designating land sales as revenue, not chips for Ho Ching and GIC?)

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

Whatever, my bet is that there’ll be an announcement of a GST increase of 2 % but that the increase will be deferred so that Tharman’s promise will be kept

To be fair to PM Lee, both the MOF and he have clarified that consistent with DPM Tharmans 2015 remarks, we do not have to raise taxes before the end of the decade.

So there’s really no need to get our fiscal knickers into a twist about GST or income tax increases till after the next GE folks..

Countering PAP’s BS that taxes must go up

——————————–

*”Earnings guidance in markets everywhere is often a victim of the management instinct to lowball first so as to triumph later with an overshoot. In Japan, though, the pattern is too consistent for comfort, often strays into the deliberately deceptive, and is carried out as part of a habit of systemic conservatism. CEOs are not financially incentivised to reach for the stars, so opt for comfortable survival meeting targets they know are achievable.”

FT

**Long quote from https://www.theedgesingapore.com/how-will-singapore-fund-its-rising-budget-0

The reserve option

One other way of funding soaring spending on healthcare and social spending is to tap reserves built up over past decades. “If the government feels that, based on current revenue projections, it is not able to fund increased social spending and is looking for new sources of revenue, then its first consideration should be whether reserves should be tapped,” says Donald Low, associate dean at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

In a chapter in a book he co-authored, Hard Choices, published in 2014, Low argues that it is the baby boom generation — the group of people now entering or in retirement and at whom increased healthcare and social spending is targeted — that contributed the most to the accumulation of national reserves. “A significant part of our reserves is the result of fiscal surpluses generated in the 1980s and 1990s — the period when the baby boom generation was most economically productive,” he wrote. “Now that the generation that contributed the most to our reserves is entering retirement, it is only fair from an intergenerational perspective that the state reverses part of that transfer.

“To impose the fiscal burden of looking after the needs of the baby boomers onto subsequent generations in the form of higher taxes while continuing to accumulate reserves is not only unequitable but also inefficient… because continuing with a strategy of growing our reserves regardless of context implies a negative discount rate — that is, we favour the interests of a future generation more than those of the current generation… which has immediate needs.”

Singapore has, in fact, been tapping more of the investment returns of its reserves in recent years. In FY2016, Temasek Holdings was included under the so-called Net Investment Returns framework, which allows the government to spend up to 50% of its expected long-term returns. That year, NIR Contribution amounted to $14.37 billion and helped turn a $5.59 billion basic deficit to an overall surplus of $5.18 billion. The NIRC was the single largest contributor to the government coffers in both FY2016 and FY2017.

The NIR framework was implemented in 2009 to include expected long-term real returns on the government’s net assets managed by GIC and the Monetary Authority of Singapore. It was a major change from the previous Net Investment Income framework, under which the government could only spend investment income comprising dividends and interest.

Yet, should Singapore not be careful about using its reserves to fund the Budget? Should we not hold on to it for that proverbial rainy day? “But isn’t it the case that future generations are likely to be richer, for one, and, with [total fertility rate] at 1.2, the future generation is going to be a smaller generation [too]?” Low retorts. “So, we’re saving for a future generation that’s likely to be richer and almost certainly a smaller cohort than the baby boom generation. That seems like a regressive transfer of resources.”

He adds, “I think we have a social obligation to reduce inequality. In Singapore’s context, given that the baby boom generation helped to accumulate a large part of our reserves, one way of reducing inequality would be to tap the reserves to fund their needs. Another would be to introduce or increase existing wealth taxes.”

Still, other analysts do not expect the government to make more changes to the NIR framework, at least for now. “I think it’s good policy to use the good times to save up for the future,” says Wan.

Heng, can be PM meh?

In Economy, Political governance on 13/02/2018 at 10:25 am

Two major biz trade groups are publicly very unhappy with Heng’s Industry Transformation Maps. Looks like bizmen and corporate executives don’t think much of the Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs), drawn up by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat’s  Committee on the Future Economy (CFE)

The ITMs, which make up one of the key strategies outlined in the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) report, have come under the spotlight recently amid questions from business and industry leaders about its relevance.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/looking-ahead-to-budget-2018-what-it-could-mean-for-businesses-9943406

And he’s suppose to be a contender to PM? I mean did anyone say that Ah Loong’s economic strategies drawn up when he was a minister or DPM (Economic restructuring: This time, it’s really different) were anything less than greater than great? He was the Messiah, Moses and Jesus Christ Superstar all rolled into one, even though Ong Teng Cheong was more popular with the masses.

The Association of Banks is one of the unhappy business groups:

At a pre-Budget roundtable organised by the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) last month, DBS CEO Piyush Gupta, who speaking in his capacity as chairman of the Association of Banks in Singapore, questioned if the ITMs can keep up with the rapid changes in each industry.

“The blueprint and roadmap that you put in place will be outdated by six months so what we have to create is not a transformation roadmap but transformation capabilities,” he said. “We need to take our ITMs to the next level, which is to create the industry’s capacity to experiment and rapidly change.”

Then there’s the Singapore Business Federation

Also speaking at the roundtable, Singapore Business Federation (SBF) CEO Ho Meng Kit noted a disconnect between the ITMs, which are led by Government agencies, and the “realities of the industries”.

He added that he was concerned about the ITMs being developed for the bigger firms and risk leaving out “the long tail of SMEs in the same industry that are not as productive”.

(And btw this is damning for the Ministry of Trade & Industry

According to the SBF’s latest survey, half of the roughly 1,000 businesses surveyed said they still do not know enough about the ITMs to assess their impact*.)

I repeat again:

[H]e’s suppose to be a contender to PM? I mean did anyone say that Ah Loong’s economic strategies drawn up when he was DPM (Economic restructuring: This time, it’s really different) were anything less than great?

For the record, I predicted many moons ago that Heng would be PM: The next PM has been unveiled.

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

*Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran said on Feb 5 that “it is not possible for the Government to reach out directly” to all enterprises. In a written response to a parliamentary question, Mr Iswaran stressed that unions, trade associations and chambers (TACs) “must help to propagate the message”, while business owners “must also take the initiative to find out more about the ITMs”. He’s got a point that ‘business owners “must also take the initiative to find out more about the ITMs”’.

 

 

 

 

 

Kidding me? Kee Chui potential PM? He from RI?

In Political governance on 12/02/2018 at 9:40 am

The academics and the anti-PAP cybernuts who claim that Kee Chui is likely to be the next PM must either be really stupid, or really trying to sien us?

I mean who can reasonably conclude that Kee Chui is the material that PMs can be made off?

Two weeks ago, High Court judge See Kee Oon questioned an appellant’s use of a letter from her MP Lam Pin Min (Sengkang West) to play down the offence she was convicted of. (Juz wondering? MP White Horse? Or spouse White Horse or grassroots tua kee?

Kee Chui, Minister and Chief Whip, was then quoted by ST as saying that the PAP has “no specific governing rules” on the sending of MP letters to the courts or other agencies or ministries.

A retired district judge, Mr Low Wee Ping, who was the Registrar of the Subordinate Courts and Supreme Court in the 1980s, in a letter to ST, said one Harry Lee had instructed all MPs, in writing, that they should not write such letters to the courts.

Mr Lee was also of the view that if the MP’s constituent resident perceived his sentence imposed by the court as lenient, he might attribute it solely to the MP’s letter, and, therefore, feel obligated or grateful to vote for the MP in an election wrote

Also

MPs approached by TODAY, such as West Coast GRC MP Patrick Tay, said they are aware of the “long-standing practice” for PAP MPs not to write to the courts on behalf of their constituents*.

So what does Kee Chui do? Scholar and ex-SAF commander makes a U-turn on PAP MPs writing to court.

In his letter to PAP MPs on Friday, Mr Chan wrote that PAP MPs have, “as a norm” over the years, refrained from writing to the Courts on behalf of their constituents.

PAP MPs, he said, “must not do anything that may give rise to any misperception that they can influence or interfere in the judicial process”.

“When approached by constituents over matters that come before the Courts, PAP MPs may write to the Ministry of Law (on procedural issues) and the Attorney-General’s Chambers (on prosecutorial issues). This has been the general practice, and will remain so,” he added.

In his letter, Mr Chan reminded his fellow PAP MPs that the courts have “clear and strict procedures to uphold the independence and integrity of the judicial process”, and are in the best position to evaluate the evidence and merits of a case.

He added: “The separation of powers has never been in question even when the courts have received a letter from an MP, directly or indirectly. Nevertheless, to avoid any doubt or public misperception, may I remind PAP MPs not to write to the Courts on behalf of their constituents.”

Today

Like that can become SAF commander and minster meh?


Kee Chui’s other major cock-up

PAP: Chinese defecate in public, Indians clean up

Remember PM signaled him to listen to how a minister should explain things?

If he were tansport minister, S’pore would suffer a catastrophic breakdown of train services, and Changi airport would close.

________________________________________________________

And PM in waiting? Like that can be RI boy? But then he was only in RI for Pre U. Even TLK was in RI for four years. But even in RI for six yrs is no guarantee of not being a cock: think TJS.

Like that cybernut should earn millions.


*OK, OK this appeared after he wrote letter but if these MPs knew, how come Kee Chui didn’t know?

The PAP never sleeps

In Political governance, Public Administration on 09/02/2018 at 11:02 am

Well it’s Budget Day, so, With the Budget 10 days away (Sorry I got my dates mixed up, I tot it was today when I first did the piece this morning: 5.00pm)) it’s a good time to remind the anti-PAP types that the PAP is always preparing to win the next general election.

———————————————–

The PAP, like City, never sleeps

The PAP is already preparing for the next General Election (GE) – possibly to be held in 2021 – and Health Minister Gan Kim Yong has been appointed to lead the process of identifying new candidates.

PM on 1 December 2016.

And immediately after the results of GE 2011, Ng Eng Hen, said the PAP campaigning starts next day.

————————————————

It’s already preparing to win over another segment of the population in time for the next GE. The millennials are being courted:

Young couples will soon be able to move into their new homes quicker, as the Government is looking to shorten the wait for public housing.

When implemented, the move will see the waiting period for Build-To-Order (BTO) flats dip to two to three years, from the current three to four years, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong last week.

ST sometime back

And the elderly (and their children and grandchildren too because less state help means they have to pay and pay more for the needs of the old) are being given more goodies

Amid the rapidly ageing population, healthcare expenditure with a strong social focus to support seniors to age in place will be one of the “big items” in the Budget, said Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah.

We already know GST will go up, but the timing, what are the “offsets” (after all our money) and how will everything be spun is what be known later today.

 

How to get S’poreans to welcome mass immigration

In Economy, Political governance, Property on 05/02/2018 at 10:25 am

The calls are getting louder, with more and more voices making the case for Singapore to relook its position on the foreign manpower issue, in the face of a severe demographics slowdown*.

http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/big-read-foreigner-issue-are-we-ready-rethink

The above and a similar ST article a few days earlier is evidence that the constructive, nation-building media is again preparing the way for the flood gates to be opened and for FTs to be allowed in by the cattle truck load (not like now by only the A380 or 747 cattle class load).

The stories reminded me also that

“Opposition to immigration is largely cultural and psychological. Policy options will therefore have to address this.”

Eric Kaufmann, professor of politics at Birkbeck University of London, http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/why-culture-is-more-important-than-skills-understanding-british-public-opinion-on-immigration/)

Eric Kaufmann was talking about the UK, but what he says also applies here.

So somehow, I think talking in general terms that the economy needs FTs wouldn’t work. Think the Population White Paper (Population White Paper: PAP’s suicide note?) which didn’t convince S’poreans that we need FTs by the cattle-truck load.


A personal view

As I’ve blogged before, FTs by the cattle-truck load is good for me personally because of the wage repression effect, stronger GDP growth, rising property prices etc. But still I’m not even in favour of FTs by the A380 load. I want FTs by the A350 or 787 business class and first class load.

__________________________________________________________

So if the PAP wants to use culture and psychology to get S’poreans to welcome cattle truck-loads of FTs, the constructive, nation-building media should tell S’poreans what will happen to the value of their “affordable” HDB flats that they are paying for via 25-year mortgages, if said FTs are not allowed to come in by cattle truck-loads to beat up taxi uncles and professional women. After all, falling HDB, and private property, prices are a consequence of weak economic growth, which will result from restrictions on immigration: at least according according to the “experts” quoted in the said articles*.

As Moneytheism (particularly the Propery cult) is our religion, the message will sink in very fast that S’pore needs FTs by the cattle-truck load to prevent HDB prices, and private property prices, from collapsing.


*The article goes on

Last December, economists said it may be time to re-look the Government’s stringent immigration policies following a UOB report on Singapore’s “demographic time bomb” which will start ticking next year, when the share of the population who are 65 and over will match that of those under 15 for the first time.

In January, Monetary Authority of Singapore chief Ravi Menon devoted much of his speech at a high-profile conference on the topic, making an impassioned plea for Singapore to “reframe our question on foreign workers”, given the limited scope in raising birth rates and labour force participation rate (LFPR). This was followed by a commentary penned by National University of Singapore (NUS) academics urging the Republic’s universities to admit more international students, in light of falling numbers.

Dr Chua, the Maybank economist, questioned how the targets could be met based on the current workforce size without additional foreign manpower, even after taking into account those who are displaced from positions becoming redundant.

“Manpower policies will need to be fine-tuned…Singapore’s transformation roadmap cannot be fulfilled without some flexibility in its manpower policies,” he said.

Dr Chua reiterated that relaxing foreign manpower restrictions during economic upcycles will allow Singapore to capitalise on growing investments and demand. “If restrictions are too tight, business will choose not to invest in the first place,” he said. “That in turn hurts job creation and opportunities for Singaporeans.”

He added that foreigners also “pay their fair share of taxes and contribute to the overall fiscal position, reducing the tax burden on citizens”.

 

 

Why 30-year old HDB flats difficult to sell/ Why PAP rule will end in 2029

In Banks, CPF, Financial competency, Financial planning, Political economy, Political governance, Property on 02/02/2018 at 7:19 am

A doctor turned fat cat investor responded to Jialat for PAP where I reported a property saleman (OK, OK, he’s title is “research director”) as saying “From the ground, homes with leases of less than 60 years took longer to sell, and at a much lower price …”. (Background reading for those who have not followed the problem with HDB leases of less than 60 years: HDB flats: 35 is a dangerous age)

He wrote

Since 2016/2017 HDB flats older than 39 years have seen a “cliff drop” in prices due to:
(1) Reduction of CPF quantum that can be used for properties with less than 60 yrs lease;
(2) Age of buyer plus remaining lease must be >= 80.

In many mature estates undergoing SERS activities, the price of 40+ year old flats are having 35% discounts against nearby brand new “subsidized” BTO flats. Even with marketing efforts extolling the “higher chance” of SERS for those older flats, buyers are not buying it.

This mini cliff drop has been exacerbated since LW [Lawrence Wong] did an about turn against Old Fart’s & Woody’s asset enhancement propaganda.

Currently majority of HDB flats are still within 25-38 yrs old. The above problem will get worse over the next 10-15 years.

This gives PAPies another 2 terms at least to continue milking Sinkies.

Assuming the next general election is in 2019, this means the PAP will lose power or its two-thirds parly majority in 2029 or thereabouts. Mad Dog will then be 67 and Dr Paul will be about 65. If Mad Dog becomes PM jialat. If Dr Paul becomes PM, let the good times roll.

So if SDP is still headed by Mad Dog as is most likely because he’ll knife Dr Paul in the back to ensure that he’ll rule the SDP, I’ll be forced to vote PAP for the good of S’pore. So I hope he steps down soon.

 

Even PAP govt thinks ang moh tua kee

In Political governance, Public Administration on 28/01/2018 at 10:57 am

Juz different type of ang moh. They look up to the “Victorians” i.e. the arch colonisers. (Btw, one Raffles, was a pre “Victorian”. Farquhar with his Malay mistress and support of gambling as a source of revenue, was not.

But first, below is the govt’s response to an Economist article entitled “Rules are thicker than blood” which made fun of S’pore’s “Victorian” values.

It makes several good points that our ang moh tua kees forget or ignore or are ignorant of:

— “today’s Western norms … are historically recent and by no means uncontested, even in Western societies”; and

— “time will tell if a cautious approach to social change is wiser”.

———————————————————-

Singaporean values

Rules are thicker than blood” (January 13th) derided Singapore’s norms on what constitutes a family as “Victorian”. Our values and social norms on what makes for a stable family unit are conservative and shape the government’s policies and rules on adoption. They differ from today’s Western norms, which are historically recent and by no means uncontested, even in Western societies. Singaporeans will determine their own pace of any change in family values.

A push for rapid social change, especially on contentious moral issues, risks polarising society and producing unintended results. In Singapore nearly all children are born and raised in wedlock, starkly different from what now happens in the West. We make no claim to know which values are best for every society. The Economist may think Singapore is quaint and old-fashioned, but time will tell if a cautious approach to social change is wiser.

FOO CHI HSIA
High commissioner for Singapore
London


OK, OK yes I know “Victorian” values were once ang moh values. And that shows that today’s ang moh tua kees are also real S’poreans like the PAPpies.

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

In Economy, Political governance on 22/01/2018 at 8:16 am

This headline

All EWL stations to see early closures, late openings on weekends and select weekdays in March

(CNA)

reminded me of the failure of the PAP administration to ensure that the trains run on time*. I mean even that incompetent World War II dictator, Mussolini, ensured that Italian trains ran on time.

This failure is more significant than just the loss of output legitimacy (PAP has lost “output legitimacy”) because the PAP is talking about a change of leaders and the importance of trust.

People would also give their trust when they see the Government has been “responsible, anticipates and are responsive in meeting their needs” and there is an overall improvement in their lives, Mr Chan said.

The minister added: “Some policies take longer to bring forth results and the population may feel impatient.

“Each generation of leaders would therefore need to be consultative yet nimble in meeting these needs while managing finite resources responsibly. These are important so that we do not face a trust deficit, and run the risk of citizens disconnecting with or being disenfranchised by the government.”

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/chan-chun-sing-lays-out-key-leadership-qualities-needed-for-9852508

The problem for Kee Chui and other potential PMs is that the trust (partly based on output legitimacy”) S’poreans have for the PAP leaders is based on Harry, Dr Goh and gang did. The PAP has been living on (literally withdrawing yearlymillions of dollars) the trust in the bank trust account that these guys put in.

But the fourth generation ministers have not put much trust in the trust bank (OK, OK, same for GCT and Ah Loong and their gangs but that’s another story).

In fact, they could have cost losses to the bank account

— a possible future PM,  Ong Ye Kung, can be blamed for three problems: low productivity, labour unhappiness and SMRT breakdowns.

— Heng, the probable next PM, is linked to the minibond and DBS HN5 note losses (He was MD of the central bank at the time: Helping retail investors: the HK way and the S’pore way).

And worse, there’s not that much left in the bank account after the SMRT cock-ups and PE 2017 fiasco.

True, the 4th gen ministers have avoided getting involved in the SMRT mess. But that shows that they were not trusted to get involved in such an important matter affecting the lives of ordinary S’poreans.

Trust? What trust, Kee Chui?

What’s more, in a one-party state, the party in charge can’t be seen to incompetent, and the SMRT fiascos clearly show that there’s something wrong with the way the PAP does things. So that’s yet another problem for the 4th gen team.

But then could the failings of the 4th generation leaders be the excuse for the 3rd gen leaders in the cabinet to skip a generation and bring in a young, IT savvy guy as the PM in waiting? Names please on a post card?

————————————–

*SMRT said on Friday (Jan 19) that its board has confidence in the company’s management team and the ongoing efforts to enhance management, operational and maintenance capabilities.

CNA

The report went on

A Straits Times report on Thursday said that Mr Nathan has resigned and is serving out his notice. It also said that “observers are expecting chief executive Desmond Kuek to step down as well”. It did not specify which observers it was referring to or why they expect this to happen.

SMRT has been under pressure from the public and the government in recent months after a series of high-profile incidents, including the train collision at Joo Koon station in November which left more than 30 people injured, and the flooding of a section of a tunnel in October which caused prolonged delays.

 

Tomorrow China, The Day After S’pore

In China, Internet, Political governance, Public Administration on 19/01/2018 at 6:46 am
Further to

Why does PM wants a cashless payments system?

Because no-one can hide from Big Brother when the banks are at the centre of the system.

Why PM wants a cashless payments system

from NYT Dealbook late last yr

The tech that will power China’s police state in the future.

The World Internet Conference in Wuzhen wasn’t just a gathering to show off the latest in Chinese gizmos, like a version of the Consumer Electronics Show. It also offered a glimpse of how new advances in artificial intelligence and facial recognition can be used to track citizens, and how they have become widely accepted.

From Paul Mozur of the NYT:

Investors and analysts say China’s unabashed fervor for collecting such data, combined with its huge population, could eventually give its artificial intelligence companies an edge over American ones. If Silicon Valley is marked by a libertarian streak, China’s vision offers something of an antithesis, one where tech is meant to reinforce and be guided by the steady hand of the state.

Big Brother is watching you. thanks to the the internet and other technology.

Related post: Coming here, China’s new tool for social control?

 

PM doesn’t tell us what a great country looks like

In Economy, Political economy, Political governance on 14/01/2018 at 1:28 pm

Neither does ST nor any other constructive, nation-building publication or channel tell us what makes a country stable, safe, fair, providing its citizens with a good quality of life.

But first. Did you know thatWorld Economic Forum ranks S’pore 55th out of 144 countries in the Global Gender Gap report? No wonder the wimmin with hairy armpits at AWARE are always anti-PAP.

Sorry, coming back to the title

If you’re looking for what makes a country great, it seems, don’t look at its GDP or unemployment rate. Look at its commitment to its citizens – and how long it’s stuck to that commitment for.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180111-how-can-you-measure-what-makes-a-country-great

The BBC article says

So what can make for these strong underpinnings – the kind that help make a country stable, safe, fair and provide its citizens with a good quality of life?

The main factors seem to be two. Whether it’s social progress or overall quality of governance that a country is after, the important things seem to be the level of commitment to those institutions… and the amount of time it’s had them.

“We measure outcomes, not inputs: you can’t change your social progress just by changing the law or spending a bit of money. So a long-term commitment to social progress seems to be one factor” of success, Green says.

Similarly, Botero points out, countries that have developed robust government institutions over a long period of time – like the US or UK – have been in less danger of losing those protections.

“The Gatekeeper”: Our home-grown “Animal Farm”

In Political governance, Public Administration on 03/01/2018 at 11:21 am

But sales are lousy, really lousy.

Our anti-PAP types especially the cybernuts like Tan Kin Lian and his pals from TRELand love to compare S’pore to Animal Farm, the PAP to the pigs and the 70% who vote PAP to the sheep.

But when an award-winning, home-grown book by a local author, satirises S’pore the way Animal Farm satirised the Soviet Union and communism, these people don’t buy the book and use its ideas against the PAP.

With enemies like these, the PAP doesn’t need friends to maintain its hegemony.

Sorry for the digression. Back to the book.

Edmund Wee ( Quiet activist looking at his bank statement and smiling) in late 2016 published Nuraliah Norasid’s The Gatekeeper which on one reading satirises multiculturalism and multiracism as practiced by the PAP.

In an article titled “Recognising Racism: Nuraliah Norasid’s “The Gatekeeper” Wong Wen Pu wrote:

Winner of Epigram Book Prize 2016, The Gatekeeper is set in the fictional country of Manticura, where humans and non/part-humans have come to live uneasily together. Ria is a medusa that lives with her sister in the outskirts of a human town in Manticura. One day, after she methodically petrifies the entire village, Ria and her sister flee to and take up residence in an underground ghetto, Nelroote. Time passes, and Ria becomes gatekeeper to the enclave, where her deadly ability is a valuable asset against encroachers. In this way, the sisters and Nelroote live in relative peace until one Eedric Shuen seduces Ria, with disastrous consequences, back into the sunlit world.

The fantastic premises of The Gatekeeper might seem wildly inventive, yet when we set the cosmetic differences aside, many of the social dynamics portrayed in the novel between human and non/part-human species bear similarities to Singapore’s racial dynamics.

First, there is the self-loathing of the social other that we find in both Singaporean and Manticurian society, generated by the societal affirmation of racial/species hierarchy. Despite Manticura being a multi-species country, dominant social discourse drives those who fall outside the boundaries of human normalcy to self-loathing. Reminders to the other that they are intrinsically worth less are everywhere: Eedric’s part human mother was casually put down “like a sick pet” because she was unable to control her Changer form, while Eedric’s girlfriend views the non-humans as “people not like [herself], but as mutant[s and] social outcast[s]”. … Analogously, what sort of racial narratives has Singapore nursed so that Singaporean Indians would jump to defend the casual racism of insensitive casting directors, or for Malays to laugh when jokes are told, upon the opening of a new cornerless building in Singapore, about the place having nowhere for them to lepak(loiter)?

And then there is the comparable language politics of Singapore and Manticura. In Singapore, English, ostensibly racially neutral, is deployed as our administrative language, as a way of reassuring Singaporeans of our racial equality. After all, if everyone has to learn a “foreign” language, no race is particularly advantaged. However, Singapore has always been unabashedly described by our political leaders as a society of Asian (read: Confucian) values. While Singaporeans might speak in the same language, the cultural direction we gravitate towards is often Chinese. Therefore, English usage in Singapore creates the illusion of social cohesion and glosses over our racial differences, while hegemonic discourse quietly imposes Chinese culture onto the Singaporean racial minority.

In Manticura, a similar project is attempted: “Sce’ ‘dal, the lingua franca of the Layeptic region,” has been largely replaced by Ro’ ‘dal, the colonial tongue used by the classy, educated, big city dwellers of Jankett Town. Remnant speakers of Sce’ ‘dal, as we find amongst the Nelroote dwellers, have been literally driven underground, and those that want to leave Nelroote for the outside world are forced give up Sce’ ‘dal for Ro’ ‘dal. Like in Singapore, the ability to speak in the common tongue confers the right to assimilate in the cultural mainstream. Yet this belonging would, as Ria’s Cikgu astutely points out, lead to minorities “dying out of their traditions.” Like Singapore’s deployment of English as a way of co-opting minorities in the eradication of their own culture, Manticura’s Ro’ ‘dal aims at homogenising the Manticurian populace by eradicating species differences, and bringing what it sees as racial aberrance to heel through the implementation of a common language policy.

http://www.asiancha.com/content/view/2873/630/

Despite this storyline and relevance to S’pore, I understand the book is not selling well. In fact until Christmas Eve, there was a 20% discount available online for this book.

With enemies like the anti-PAPpists, the PAP doesn’t need friends to maintain its hegemony.

But to be fair, Epigram has not marketed this book as S’pore’s “Animal Farm”. Edmund, like Homer, must have nodded off. Look at how a children’s book was marketed to the cybernut mob in TOCLand (They not as cheap skate as their TRE counterparts).

But Edmund has another winner. Edmund is also behind “The Phantom of Oxley Castle” which sold 800 odd copies (Print run of 2,000) before its launch because of a TOC story that got the anti-PAP mob rushing to buy the book online. And then feeling cheated when TOC had to retract the claim that PM was going to sue the publisher. Read the twists in the plot at https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2017/11/13/tocs-account-on-the-potential-legal-actions-surrounding-the-phantom-of-oxley-castle/

The Gatekeeper” was marketed as a “horror” tale, a genre which has an honourable local tradition here (http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/lifestyle/mythology-merlion-pontianak-singapore-writers-festival-9399102). 
——————————
A minister in the first PAP cabinet wrote horror stories in the 50s.
Singapore :  Heinemann Asia,  1991

Malayan horror :  macabre tales of Singapore and Malaysia in the 50’s /  Othman Wok ; stories compiled by Lily Othman.

It’s a new year, so time to rebrand the book as our very own-home grown Animal Farm?
Hopefully Nuraliah Norasid’s “The Gatekeeper” will be marketed properly this year as “Our very own Animal Farm”.

Whatever, if you want to show yr unhappiness with the PAP’s policies and personnel,  buy the book to cock a snook at PM and his PAP administration.

 Walk the Talk TRE cybernuts, don’t be like Lim Tean

 

 

 

 

Sounds like Singapore?

In Political governance, Public Administration on 25/12/2017 at 4:54 am

An anti-PAP talking?

[G]overnment has maintained a façade. It proclaimed democracy and concern for social rights. In reality, it eroded civil, political and economic freedom.

Nope some analyst describing Venezuela

 

TRE reader tells off s/o JBJ, analyses TCB’s comments

In Political governance on 21/12/2017 at 8:27 am

When TRE used a piece by s/o JBJ ranting about Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s comments etc, he was rebuked by a TRE reader

opposition dude:
December 19, 2017 at 7:36 pm (Quote)
Kenneth, kindly do stop talking about your dad at every opportunity. You are sounding like a real sore loser. At the very least carve out your own standing amongst the electorate just like how your dad was seen as a fiery match for Lee Kayu.

He then went on to explain why he disagreed with Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s comments that the fixing of PE 2017 would affect the next general election. He makes some valid points:

With that being said, the electorate will forget about the PE when the next GE comes. This is because PAP has screwed us all over so many times the electorate votes based on the frustration level on the ground at that point in time.

Just compare and contrast the last 2 GEs. The overcrowdedness on the island led to PAP’s lowest vote share, even the PAP admitted it. It wasn’t the raising of GST or lack of freedom of speech or CPF or even high BTO prices, ministers’ pay, lack of accountability or any of the issues frequently raised here on TRE.

Then you look at 2015. The PAP CLAIMS to have solved all the unhappiness for 2011 but we all know the island is even more crowded than before. But see what gratitude gets you, in this case a 10% increase in votes. Even the PAP says they were stunned because we all know that they didn’t do a proper job on the immigration issue.

Now, if the PE alone can decide PAP’s fate then I would be very surprised. For one thing, I would ask myself why the PAP were not reduced in number when the price of so called public housing made us pay up to a 35 year home loan, why there were still so many of them in parliament when GST was raised from 3% to 7% and why voters did jack when the donkeys’ pay was raised 20% in the 90s.

My take on Dr Tan’s comments: Will Oppo parties step up to the mark and score?

 

Why I’m not writing to IMDA protesting proposed changes

In Political governance, Public Administration on 20/12/2017 at 1:39 pm

Based on comments by FB pals whose judgment I trust, I was to write in giving my objections. In fact I was going to cut and paste and use the text sent by one of them. But because Martyn See put this up on FB, and because I know he misrepresents the facts many-a-time, I’m not going to complain. Too much work researching the facts.

With an enemy like him, the PAP doesn’t need friends.

 

Will Oppo parties step up to the mark and score?

In Political governance on 18/12/2017 at 9:31 am

Or dither and miss another open goal?

Singapore’s first reserved presidential election will weigh on the minds of voters when the next general election comes around, said former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock yesterday.

ST

Well he would say that wouldn’t he?

But even the constructive, nation-building ST said

President Halimah Yacob’s walkover victory prompted a great outpouring of anger and frustration …

——————————

Yahoo reported

Tan predicted that lingering resentment by voters over their inability to choose a president at the ballot box would have an effect on the next General Election. Nevertheless, Singaporeans need more convincing of how the alternative parties can address the bread and butter issues of the day that affect them.

He spoke of the “intra-personal conflict” of the average Singaporean voter. On the one hand, the voter is concerned about the effect on his personal interests, such as health and housing, should he plump for an alternative party. “Because he’s worried, he has never experienced any other government, so he’s not sure if he can trust you or not…so he has exercised his vote in the past elections to preserve those needs.”

On the other hand, the voter “lost an important right in the PE: that is, the opportunity to exercise his vote in the presidential election…this loss is weighing on his mind and will affect his vote in the next election.”

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/prepared-mentor-aspiring-politicians-tan-cheng-bock-165728152.html

————————————–

My view is that Hali’s elevation will only affect the next election if Oppo parties use the issue effectively. Based on their track record, this is unlikely to happen because they are unlikely to use it, it all all. The 2015 election shows what I mean.


Oppo fought wrong battle in 2015

Oppo fought 2015 using 2011 tactics, something I predicted would happen in 2012 and 2014

I wrote this in 2012

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

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

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

And in 2014 I wrote

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

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

——————————————

As I’ve always said about the Oppo, “With enemies like these, PAP doesn’t need friends”. And with cybernuts thrown into the mix, PAP hegemony is assured for another 20 yrs.

But hope springs eternal in my ass that the Oppo can do get their act together. Take up Dr Tan’s offer

Asked by Yahoo News Singapore if he saw himself as a unifying figurehead for the opposition and if he was prepared to mentor say, Workers’ Party candidates, Tan responded at length, “I’m prepared to mentor any political group, even PAP chaps can come to me, I’ll still mentor them. Because the objective must be very clear: you want to train people who will be good MPs. MPs who will think of Singapore first.”

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/prepared-mentor-aspiring-politicians-tan-cheng-bock-165728152.html

Human Rights Watch talks cock about S’pore?

In Political governance, Public Administration on 17/12/2017 at 10:56 am

Human Rights Watch’s report  on S’pore is partly based on interviews with civil society activists, journalists, lawyers, academics and opposition politicians, many of whom declined to be identified “due to fear of possible repercussions,” according to Human Rights Watch.

S’pore is called “a repressive place”:

“Beneath the slick surface of gleaming high-rises, however, it is a repressive place, where the Government severely restricts what can be said, published, performed, read, or watched,” the 133-page report said.

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/human-rights-watch-calls-on-singapore-to-relax-free-speech–assembly-laws-9494568

Yes,

the Government severely restricts what can be said, published, performed, read, or watched.

I personally don’t feel repressed because I have access to whatever I want to read, watch or listen. I can also say publicly what I want to say publicly.

(For the record, I’ve lived in London, Sydney, Melbourne and Manila for longish spells.)

And I don’t think many S’poreans feel repressed. The cybernuts from TRELand, TOC, Chris K’s FB wall etc are free to spew their venom and hatred of the PAP unmolested.

S’poreans are unhappy “yes” but repressed “no”.

What do u think?

Real reason why S’pore wants to be a Smart Nation

In Economy, Infrastructure, Internet, Political governance on 04/12/2017 at 3:35 pm

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says efforts to simplify and integrate electronic payment systems are underway, including making such a method available at hawker centres, in a bid to transform the country into a Smart Nation.
Read more at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/national-day-rally-singapore-to-go-bigger-on-e-payments-with-9140068

Makes survelliance of the sheep people a lot easier. Black-listing of trouble makers will also be easier.

Companies in China, including Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu, are required to help China’s government hunt criminal suspects and silence political dissent, and their technology is being used to create cities wired for surveillance. (WSJ)

NYT Dealbook

I wrote this Coming here, China’s new tool for social control? sometime ago

Beijing wants to give every citizen a credit rating for everything.  Citizens’ ratings are to be linked with their identity-card numbers. The rating will be based on behaviour such as spending habits, turnstile violations, filial piety and “assembling to disrupt social order”. These scores can be used to blacklist citizens from loans, jobs and air travel.

Jolovan Wham: Money talks, BS Walks do-gooders

In Political governance on 03/12/2017 at 7:07 am

My FB avater is kinda tired of getting messages from do-gooders to sign a petition to get the authorities to drop the charges against Jolovan Wham. It’s as futile an exercise as Inderjit Singh banging his turban against a wall asking for help for SMEs. It’s a waste of time.

When TRE used Why Jolovan Wham kanna whack? a TRE reader made a suggestion that these do-gooders would be wise to follow: help raise money “for him to fight the case”.

ftvhunik:

If can, someone just do crowdfunding for him to fight the case. Tbh, if one want to make a different for sg, either change from within, study well and join the opposition, be an activist but knowing the law well or simply escape this country for good. You will never get a good ending when you against the gov.

Singaporeans are not worth for all these sacrifices that you have done for them, they will u turn taking advantage of you and ungrateful to you by calling you dumb instead. Just let them screw and suffer from the shitty policies, one day they will wake up themselves and understand things.

Kee Chui those willing to donate?

Why Jolovan Wham kanna whack?

In Political governance on 30/11/2017 at 1:28 pm

Wham was charged with seven charges by the Attorney-General’s Chambers which include three counts of organizing a public assembly without a police permit and one count of vandalism for sticking two A-4 paper on a MRT train. Details: https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2017/11/28/activist-to-be-charged-by-police-for-various-offences-in-court/

“Wham is recalcitrant and has repeatedly shown blatant disregard for the law, especially with regard to organizing or participating in illegal public assemblies,” the police said in a written statement.

But is lawfare and rule by law being used against him? PAP uses Lawfare against its opponents? 

Yesterday, in What do social activists like Jolovan Wham etc want? I drew attention to a FB post that mocked social activists

So, what do some civil society activists want? As far as one can determine, they want “restorative justice” for ex-ISA detainees; they want S377a to be repealed; they want both capital and corporal punishment to be abolished; they want freedom of assembly anywhere in public; they want freedom of speech and oppose politicians initiating actions for defamation.

The above list (by no means exhaustive) are some of the issues close to the hearts of civil society activists and liberals. Packaged that way, what percentage of the electorate would support those issues? Certainly not the close to 30% that did not vote PAP at GE2015. If one was to hazard a guess, it would be maybe 15% and, it would not come as a surprise, if it was actually under 10%.

I posted it because I agreed with its sentiment that most S’poreans (cybernuts included) do not support the views of these social activities. Which then begs the question, “Why is the PAP govt whacking Jolovan Wham?”

Later in the day, came across a quote from anthropologist Margaret Mead which could explain why the PAP administration charges him with seven offences.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Jolovan Wham is no talk cock, sing song cybernut from TRELand. Or an ang moh tua kee. Or even a cyber-warrior.

He’s a warrior: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/29/world/asia/singapore-arrest-protests-gatherings.html?_r=0 .

If he’s found guilty and jailed, this should frighten the other non-warrior social activists, cyber warriors, cybernuts, sheep and chickens.

Which is why this is a lot of BS

One Singapore-based observer said the “seemingly disproportionate” legal response to Wham’s actions brought under scrutiny issues such as executive restraint and proportionality in the Lion City.

http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/2122153/new-chee-soon-juan-singapore-activist-jolovan-wham-defiant-after

The actions are not disproponiate.

When the ISA gets used again, like in 1987, against middle-class people, it’ll really show the leopard hasn’t changed its spots and that the light shining from Tharman’s ass is the oncoming light from the PAP juggernaut.

 

Advice SDP, WP should heed

In Political governance on 23/11/2017 at 10:55 am

In a comment on this (Why the PM doesn’t need friends), Chris K said on FB:

The SDP has a tendency to get offside on fiscal and economics matters. Much less getting Dr Chee to take his meds as CI cheekily wrote, its well past time the SDP get competent on these. Ditto WP – sometimes ask right questions but did not press home the rubbishy replies from the govie.

A WP fan rushed to reply

It’s not easy for a few MPs from WP to hold the govie to full accountability in Parliament due to house rules that limit the scope n depth of parliamentary questions. The govie has taken full advantage of those rules to be evasive n play games much to the chagrin of the public. This is political gamesmanship on display.

Well Wankers’ Party groupie, there’s social media and new media that the WP is failing to use. But which others hqave used to rebut the PAPpies misrepresentationd and fake analysis.

What annoys and frustrates me is that while the likes of Chris K, LKY (the ex-GIC economist) and Donald Low have used social media and new media to expose how the PAPpies in parly and outside misrepresent facts and peddle fake analysis, the Wankers don’t. The honourable exception is Leon Perera: A Lion of a Man.

Yes

If Sinkies want authentic democracy where the govie is held accountable then more opposition members must in parliament as numbers does matter.

But in meantime, the Wankers need to do more than wank. Their other MPs should set an example by using social and new media, more, a lot more, rather than look at their monthly bank statements and laugh all the way to the bank.

Cyberspace is dominated by Mad Dog Chee and other cybernuts. The WP should join Chris K, LKY, Donald Low and others in putting forward rational arguments in support of progressive causes, while rebutting the PAPpies misrepresentations and fake analysis.

Maybe then the Wanklers deserve to win more parly seats.

Diabetes: The real reason PM is worried?

In CPF, Political governance, Public Administration on 31/10/2017 at 6:50 am

In his NatDay Rally speech he worried that 22% of the population will get diabetes (from the present 11%). Maybe he worried that if that happens, then CPF Life Standard Plan will be in trouble?

The Standard plan surely will go bust because the Standard plan covers until death and diabetics could live longer than those without diabetes. There’ll be a public backlash because of the “Fund go bankrupt, yr problem”.


CPF Life die, Yr Problem

There is a provision in the law governing the CPF Life Plans which states that payouts are contingent on the Plans being solvent. This is because premiums that are paid in to get the annuities are pooled and collectively invested. If the plan you chose doesn’t have enough money to pay out, you die. This is unlike the MS scheme, where account holders are legally entitled to the monies in their CPF accounts.

More details. Note that there are now only two plans, not the menu first offered. Of the two existing plans, the Standard Plan, is the less attractive one because there is a lot KS in favour of the annuity provider. Of course if u  are confident u’ll live to 150, opt for it. But u still got the worry of “Fund insolvent, yr problem”.


There will also be problems at the Basic Fund that pays out annuities until people reach 90 if everyone lives longer because they got diabetes. And there could be a lot more 90-year old destitute S’poreans who are unlikely to vote PAP.

Diabetics live longer

Seriously, PM’s NDP rally speech on diabetes reminded me of shumething I read last year from which I concluded that diabetics are likely to outlive those wihout it, if the diabetics manage to keep their diabetes under control. Diabetes cannot be cured in most cases, but it can be controlled.

So it’s a good thing to have because the medication also works to prevent cancer, heart disease or cognitive impairment.

Metformin, the most basic medicine prescribed for diabetes, seems is a miracle drug helping those with  cancer, heart disease or cognitive impairment.

There is already a candidate anti-ageing drug, a generic called  that has been widely used by diabetics around the world. It works to lower insulin levels in the blood and triggers a range of other molecular pathways that are likely to influence the ageing process. The way it works inside the cell is not completely understood but it is thought to favourably influence metabolic and cellular processes associated with the development of age-related conditions such as inflammation, autophagy (when broken bits of cell are recycled) and cell senescence (when they are unable to grow and divide any longer). In humans, those who take metformin seem to have improved risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Epidemiological work suggests that its use is associated with reduced incidence of cancer and mortality. There is some evidence it may reduce the risk of mild cognitive impairment.

Nir Barzilai of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York wants to test the drug in thousands of people who already have, or are at risk of, cancer, heart disease or cognitive impairment.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2016/08/economist-explains-8

PAP has lost “output legitimacy”

In Economy, Political economy, Political governance, Public Administration on 28/10/2017 at 9:54 am

We all know the failures of SMRT and MRT. So no need to elaborate.

But the problems at SMRT and MRT and the failure of the PAP administration to hold anyone to account except “the maintenance team” (Though to be fair the team failed to empty the holding tanks beneath tracks so they can absorb rainwater without jamming the service.) shows that the PAP administration has really lost “output legitimacy”.

I wrote this four years ago between GE 2011 and 2015. The results of the two elections showed not that the PAP regained “output legitimacy”; but showed that the PAP spent more of our money on ourselves in between Are you better off now than you were in 2011?(Death of LKY also helped):

The ST has for several weeks been writing about the loss of trust between the people and the govt, and laying the blame on the people (“daft”) who are distracted by the new media’s DRUMS beating the RAVII theme ( OK I exaggerate but juz a little). (BTW, here in a different context, I’ve looked at the role the new media plays: amplification, not distortion of the dissenting, inconvenient voices to the PAP’s narrative which the local media propagandises, while suppressing the former.)

Actually, the loss of trust is due to the PAP govt’s loss of “output legitimacy” since the 1990s.

“Output legitimacy” is the idea that elected leaders make decisions that are unpopular in the short term but will be approved by voters once their success has been demonstrated.  A govt aiming for “output legitimacy” (most govts don’t, but the PAP is an exception) is a bold, self-confident govt because the govt and the politicians need to be proved right by events.  Sadly for S’poreans and the PAP, the record doesn’t look that great for one LHL. He had been DPM, and in charge of economic and financial issues, and the civil service, since the 1990s, until he became PM in 2004.

Yet events have showed that S’poreans are discontented, not happy with the achievements of his govt. The PAP only polled 60% (lowest ever) in the 2011 GE, and three cabinet ministers lost their seats, with the WP winning for the first time ever a GRC. In the subsequent PE, the PAP’s “preferred” candidate and a challenger (ex PAP man too) polled 35% each. The preferred candidate won by a very short nose.

This yr, the PM promised to meet our concerns (housing, healthcare and public transport will remain affordable, and on education) is like that: “Crashed the cars, trains and buses we were on – and then wants us to thank him for pulling us out of the wreckage using our own money, by voting for the PAP”.

— https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/analysing-pms-coming-rally-speech/

— https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/govt-needed-natcon-survey-to-find-these-things-out/

After all S’poreans’ concerns that housing, healthcare and public transport will remain affordable, and on education are the result of govt policies

His dad introduced the concept “output legitimacy” to S’pore (although not the term: too highfalutin perhaps?), partly because it suited LKY’s personality (intellectual thuggery, the belief that “leaders lead” and shouldn’t be governed by opinion polls, and micromanaging**), and partly because while S’pore was a leading Asian city in the 50s and 60s (as LKY and PAP haters like to remind us ad nauseam), that wasn’t saying much for most S’poreans: err bit like now, one could reasonably argue. Examples:

— When the PAP came into power in 1959, unemployment was over 10%; and

— in 1960, 126,000 man-hours were lost in strikes as compared to 26,000 in 1959.

Source: book reviewed here

There were then things that had to be done that would upset many people most of the time for a while. But if the policies worked, then the results would be visible. Well, at the very least, the voters were prepared to give LKY and the PAP, over 70% of the popular vote and all the parly seats for over a decade.

The world’s now a bit more complex since then, and S’poreans’ expectations have rightly risen, so whether it is ever possible that the PAP govt can ever recover “output legitimacy” is open to question even if it has the ‘right” people leading it. But at least it’s willing to spend more of our money on making life a more comfortable for ourselves. Maybe that should be its articulated goal, to frame our expectations of its “output legitimacy”.

Maybe the constructive, nation-building media, and new media outlets that believe in constructive criticism, like the Breakfast Network and the Independent*** can help the PAP govt? Better than flogging the dead horses of trust, daft people and that the internet beats DRUMS to the RAVII theme.

*Recriminations, Accusations, Vilifications, Insinuations & Insults

**Remind me of the bible verses: “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?” or “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.”

***Independent sucks because it got its branding wrong. Name is so traditional media. In fact there is an established UK newspaper by that name.

Names with a whiff of the establishment seem old hat. Chris West, founder of Verbal Identity, specialists in linguistic branding, says that “they appear to be hankering after a debased culture of corporate magnificence”. Consumers think of them as pompous, self-serving, impersonal. The advantage of calling your business Wonga and GiffGaff lies in the rejection of superfluous formality. We perceive them as younger, more in-touch, less “corporate”. As Mr West concludes, “they sound like words we might hear at the pub”.

Then there is the quality of its writing. But that shows up the pedigree of two of its founders.

As for BN, it’s a work-in-progress, and it’s a gd training place for budding journalists: got ex-TOCer who has learnt to write proper, readable English. So I wish it well, even if I’ve heard allegations about its funding. And it has a great name. Spent a lot of cash getting its name right?

The PAP govt has lost “output legitimacy”: Discuss

Btw, Breakfast Network morphed into TMG which has just announced that it’s closing. No money. The Independent has morphed into The Idiots.

Related post: Parable of the contented dog/ No need to be grateful to the PAP

2033: Real reason why PAP rule will really end

In Political governance, Property on 21/10/2017 at 7:07 am

When I wrote Today SMRT, TOM Resale Public Housing which tells readers living in HDB flats how much time they have to enjoy “asset enhancement” after paying off their “affordable” 25-year mortgage (before the value of their HDB flats collapses according to calculations made by the constructive, nation-building ST not anti-PAP cynernuts), a regular reader linked my tots to an earlier piece Why 2033 will be the yr PAP rule ends.

By then the problem of large swathes of HDB estates’ (not just blocks here & there) impending demise to zero value will be front & center.

this fat cat rentier pointed out referencing Why 2033 will be the yr PAP rule ends

So u really think Ah Loong wants his son to be the 5th generation PAP PM? Something his siblings and anti-PAP cybernuts allege?

Old told homes are not ‘assets to pass on to offspring’

In CPF, Political governance, Public Administration on 14/10/2017 at 11:11 am

No not a PAP minister or MP telling S’poreans that yr HDB flat is not really yrs.

According to the UK’s media, the UK social care minister has suggested pensioners’ property is not “an asset to give to their off-spring” but could instead be sold to pay for their care needs.

Maybe she’s the kind of person, the PM should offer citizenship to and promise to fast track her into the cabinet? After all, the recent fiasco on what the AG advised the cabinet to do showed what a cock, Kee Chui Chan, one of candidates to be PM is.

Btw, we don’t have this problem In the Daily Mail newspaper, UK’s justice minister Phillip Lee warned that the UK is a “selfish” society where families shirk their duty by “outsourcing” the care of their elderly relatives.

Here we got laws to make sure that S’poreans, not the state, have to look after their elderly relatives, one reason why taxes here are “peanuts”.

Then there’s this:

But if you transfer your CPF to your parents’ or grandparents’ CPF, you could be solving a problem (their need for money) in a way that creates another problem (your retirement needs) worse. Ownself sabo ownself.

Worse the PAP administration will be laughing all the way to the bank if yr parents or grandparents die earlier than expected and they are on CPL Life, not the old CPF Retirement Sum Scheme. The bequest should be much lower compared to if they opted-in to CPF Life.

CPF changes: Rob Peter to Pay Paul and worse

PAP: Chinese defecate in public, Indians clean up

In Political governance on 13/10/2017 at 5:32 am

When I read the u/m TOC FB post, I couldn’t help but think of stereotypical Indian roadsweepers (the “hewers of wood and drawers of water” or “thambies” as they were once derogatorily called ) cleaning up after their stereotypical arrogant, entitled Chinese masters were caught defecating and urinating in public.

A video recap of what was said in Parliament by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Chan Chun Sing, Workers’ Party MP, Ms Sylvia Lim and Minister of Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam Sc on the issue and allegations of the counting of Mr Wee Kim Wee as the first president for the purpose of the Reserved Presidential Election.

Based on what the PM, DPM and Kee Chui Chan said (see below) it was reasonable and legtimate that there were reasonable S’poreans who tot that the AG had advised that “counting” must start from the time of Wee Kim Wee, and that the govt had no discretion on when to start “counting”. In other words, it was a legal issue, not a policy issue.

“We have taken the Attorney-General’s advice. We will start counting from the first President who exercised the powers of the Elected President, in other words, Dr Wee Kim Wee. That means we are now in the fifth term of the Elected Presidency.”

PM

“Are you saying that the Prime Minister has falsely told the House that this was the advice he received from the Attorney-General’s Chambers? And yes, we will be passing a law, the Presidential Elections Act to state so, that these are the designated races, and so forth.”

DPM Teo

“The Government is confident of the advice rendered by the Attorney-General. We proceeded on that basis during the debates on the constitutional changes in this House. Prime Minister Lee explained to all why we needed the hiatus-triggered mechanism, and we passed the Constitution (Amendment) Bill. We are here today to put the nuts and bolts in place for a decision made clear by the Prime Minister during the debates in November. And we will not go through this again.”

Kee Chui

Kee Chui added for good measure something to the effect, “Not happy isit? Sue leh. Dare u”.

Note that nothing was said by these ministers to disabuse those S’poreans who tot that the AG had advised that “counting” must start from the time of Wee Kim Wee.

As usual the Wankers’ Party sat down and wanked at the challenge. It took Dr Tan Cheng Bock to pick up the gaunlet and take legal action.

The Deputy AG (an Indian) told the Court of Appeal: “PM never said that the AG advised PM to start the count from President Wee. What PM said is that the AG advised (that) what the Government was proposing to do was legitimate” and the AG never advised the Government that President Wee was the 1st Elected President. The start of the count was purely a policy decision, which the Court cannot review. AG’s advice to the PM was ultimately irrelevant.”

The courts held that the advice of AG was irrelevant saying that “counting” could begin from Wee if that was what the govt wanted to do.

But even the AG conceded that costs should not be awarded to the AG because the matter was one of “public interest”.

Former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock said on Tuesday (26 September) that his constitutional challenge against the term count of the Elected Presidency (EP) has ended with no legal costs payable to the government.

The government had wanted the court to order $30,000 costs against him initially, Tan said in a post on his Facebook page.

Last month, Tan lost lost his appeal case against a High Court ruling on his constitutional challenge to the timing of the reserved PE.

“But my lawyers vigorously resisted and argued for a “public interest cost order” instead. After reading our submissions, the Government changed their mind and consented to “no order as to costs”, Tan added.

For such an order, the court can spare an unsuccessful plaintiff who has filed a legitimate complaint, from paying costs to a government defendant in a case of general importance and public interest, Tan highlighted.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/tan-cheng-bock-no-need-pay-30000-costs-government-elected-presidency-case-123542863.html

Now we are told by Shanmugam in parly:

“What Ms Lim is saying that we start, we are starting to count from here because of AGC’s advice. That was never suggested. We start counting, we are a careful government, we make a policy decision, but we take advice to see whether there are any impediments. And this government as a rule, generally, does not publish legal opinions that it gets.

If it can be done according to the law, we do it. If the law has to be changed to achieve policy objectives, we do it. And I said it upfront well before the Parliamentary proceedings.

So why only now say this in parly? After

— daring those who dared question its argument to sue without clarifying what it meant when it talked about acting on AG’s advice;

— the Government changed their mind and consented to “no order as to costs”; and

— trying very hard to ensure that Sylvia Lim could not raise the issue of what the AG had advised: or at least that was the perception.

Why so cock?

It was so easy to defuse the issue right at the beginning. All it needed was a minister to explain in parly what PM really meant to say but didn’t. I don’t blame PM for messing up the explanation because we now know he was in the midst of a very bitter family row that later went public. And to be fair to him, his phrasing was ambigious and could have meant what Shan said it really meant.

But DPM Teo’s and Kee Chui’s “explanations” seemed to say that PM meant to the govt had no discretion on when to start “counting”. They seemed to say,  it was a legal issue, not a policy issue.

But then maybe DPM Teo and Kee Chui didn’t understand AG’s advice and didn’t ask Shanmugam what it meant?

Why so cock? After all Kee Chui is one of the next gen leaders touted as a future PM.

 

The silence of the Malay Minister

In Political governance on 12/10/2017 at 7:21 am

Yaacob AWOL or MIA isit? Jus like Khaw on the flooding of the MRT tunnel isit?

Seriously I find it very disturbing that a non-Muslim minister makes the following important comments at a religious seminar, not the minister responsible for Muslim and Malay matters.

Noting the declining trend of younger Muslims going to the mosques for religious guidance, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said more can be done to engage millennials online in a bid to win over their hearts and minds.

Speaking on Saturday (Oct 7) at a seminar on strengthening religious resilience, Mr Shanmugam said that amid the racial and religious strifes in neighbouring countries such as Myanmar and the Philippines, Singapore cannot let its guard down.

And Islamic religious scholars and teachers, he noted, play a critical part to provide religious guidance and advice to the youth.

http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/essential-engage-millennial-muslims-online-less-them-go-mosques

Shouldn’t this speech be made by Yaacob, the minister responsible for Malay and Muslim issues? As the minister responsible for Malay and Muslim issues he should be at the forefront of Muslim issues especially when the topics are relevant for all S’poreans.

Why liddat?

He’s uncomfortable talking about the declining trend of younger Muslims going to the mosques for religious guidance, and about Islamic religious scholars and teachers playing a critical part to provide religious guidance and advice to the young? And so a non-Muslim minister has to raise these issues.

If so, why is he uncomfortable talking about these issues?

Related posts:

NLB is very sensitive about Malays and Muslims

Religious harmony: PAP’s, Putin’s way

 

Why 2033 will be the yr PAP rule ends

In Political governance on 11/10/2017 at 8:00 am

Recently, I wrote

The USSR lasted for 74 years from 1917’s October Revolution. Counting from 1959, PAP has until 2033.

Here’s the real reason why PAP rule will end in 2033: 2033 will be the time when the 5th generation of PAP leaders take charge.

Here’s the detailed reasoning.

Tay Kheng Soon posted on FB on Sunday

Cherian George’s prediction or expectation that there will be 20 exceptional young people who will emerge to form singapore’s 5th generation leaders is too optimistic. Unlike the first generation leaders of the 60’s who had a socialistic world view the young today have been destroyed by post modern philosophy which combined with a good life has inbued in them a hyper subjectivist mentality. Its old radicals that need to step up to the challenge of a disrupted world. The 4th generaltion leadership are on cruise mode.

Cherian George had earlier been interviewed by Mothership (the PAP’s atas version of Petir) as saying:

“What the PAP and their supporters celebrate today is the creation of a small band of exceptional young Singaporeans. Lee Kuan Yew and less than 20 other people. So I asked myself, is it reasonable to hope that in Singapore today, among teens among 20-somethings and 30-somethings, that there are 20 Singaporeans with exceptional intelligence, ability, sense of public service, empathy, and conscience, to make Singapore what it can be? Yeah, of course I have hope! You can’t find 20? Please!”
Cherian George on why there’s hope for Singapore to become a better country.

After publicising the article: Cherian George (Malay Minister’s brudder-in- law, and his wife was ex tua kee in ST) commented  on FB

… be able/willing to rise
to the top. That’s why I don’t talk about 4G. More realistic to place hope in 5G (a long time off).

Coming back to the USSR, depending on how one decides to count the leadership changes in the USSR, it was the 5th generation of Soviet leaders that presided over the collapse of the USSR.

Already things like the continual breakdown of MRT services and the failure to find new engines of growth despite a restructuring plan every decade (Economic restructuring: This time, it’s really different) shows that like the USSR after death of Stalin, S’pore is going to the dogs after Harry’s death.

Seelan Palay: Sylvia Lim was right

In Political governance, Public Administration on 08/10/2017 at 1:46 pm

Here I made fun of Seelan Palay’s latest attempt to test the OB markers: he crossed a red line after the police tried very hard not to arrest him, but he persisted, “After several failed attempts by the Police to persuade Seelan to leave the area, he was arrested by the Police at 3.20pm.” (TOC report)

Two years ago I wrote about how one person can be arrested for an illegal assembly

Jogging alone can be illegal?

If wearing the wrong tee-shirt or singlet?

Try walkng or jogging alone* wearing a “Free our CPF” singlet: remember that any public assembly of more than one person** needs police permission.

And jogging in a group of two or more”Free our CPF” singlets will be like jogging in groups in Burundi: illegal.

Running is a national pastime in Burundi, with hundreds of people out jogging on weekend mornings. But in March [2014] the authorities banned jogging in groups – unless permission was sought from the authorities. It affects all group sports in the capital, which can now only be played in designated areas.

Jogging by Lake Tanganyika

The restrictions followed the arrest of some opposition members who were out jogging and chanting political slangs. Police officers tried to stop what they regarded as an illegal march and the situation deteriorated into clashes. More than 40 Movement for Solidarity and Democracy (MSD) party members received sentences ranging from five years to life.

Burundi: Where jogging is a crime

Wonder what about wearing a tee shirt with a Oppo party logo, drinking teh tarik as social media celebrities Ravi and Jeannette Chong used to do when they were NSP tua kees.

And what about the crowds assembling to pay their respects to LKY? What about the crowds at the National Museum LKY exhibition?

Seems anything the PAP administration or the SPF doesn’t like can be an illegal assembly.

Related post: PAP uses Lawfare against its opponents?

———‘

*Auntie Sylvia was absolutely right in 2007 and 2009 when she spoke out publicly:

The change in definition of “assembly” and “procession” is more disturbing. As the Explanatory Statement to the Bill says, these words are no longer restricted to gatherings of 5 persons or more. This means even ONE person alone can constitute illegal assembly, thus giving the State complete control over an individual citizen’s freedoms.

‘First, to say that 1 person constitutes an assembly is certainly an abuse of the word. Secondly, is the government making the change because there had been incidents involving less than 5 persons which had disrupted public life? Unless there is compelling evidence to prove to us that expanding the definition of assembly and procession is needed, this expansion does not deserve our support,”  Sylvia Lim in parly in 2009.

Earlier, in 2007, she had said:

“This refers to clauses 29 and 30 of the Bill. By clause 29 of the Bill, we are removing the heading “Offences Against Public Tranquility” and replacing it with “Offences relating to Unlawful Assembly”. By Clause 30, we will be deleting “mischief or trespass or other offence” and replacing it with “to commit any offence”.

S 141 has been amended to bring it in line with a recent Court of Appeal case: PP v Tan Meng Khin [1995] 2 SLR 505. Now, an assembly will be unlawful if people intend to commit an offence punishable with imprisonment of 6 mths or more, even if it is peaceful and does not disturb public tranquillity. Under our law, a person who organizes a procession or assembly after the police rejection of a permit can be punished with max 6 months jail under the Miscellaneous Offences Act. Hence 5 or more people who gather to do so will become members of an unlawful assembly.

As our society continues to evolve, the time is surely ripe for us to allow peaceful outdoor protests as a form of expression. By all means, we can have rules about how, where and when such processions may be held, but wider law reform is needed. S 141 should be restricted to offences which threaten the public peace, and other laws such as the Miscellaneous Offences Act which require permits for peaceful assemblies should be modified.”

**Two men between the ages of 24 and 25 were arrested by police outside the Istana on Saturday afternoon (Apr 4).

Police said the duo had turned up in front of the Istana with placards at about 4pm. Channel NewsAsia understands that the men were holding signs that read “You can’t silence the people” and “Injustice” for about half an hour. They were clad in identical red hoodies and dark blue jeans.

Police also said both of them had refused to stop the activity despite requests from officers. As such, they were arrested for organising a public assembly without a permit, under Section 16(1)(a) of the Public Order Act, Chapter 257A.

 

 

PAP uses Lawfare against its opponents?

In Political governance, Public Administration on 08/10/2017 at 4:47 am

Is Lawfare the PAP’s weapon of choice against the enemies of the people the PAP?

Yesterday, I came across a word that JBJ, Dr Chee, Roy, Amos, Francis Seow and many other opponents of the PAP would have agreed as being the victims of, if they knew of the term. The word is “lawfare”.

The term is used by the Brazilian lawyers of ex-president Lula da Silva who was recently found guilty of corruption in a letter to the editor in the latest issue of the Economist . They define “lawfare” as “the misuse of law for political ends” and they accuse the Brazilian authourities of using lawfare against their client. 

What do you think? The PAP is using lawfare against its opponents?

Very related article: In S’pore we have rule by law not the rule of law.   

(Last para added at 6.20am)

PAP rule will end in 16 yrs time

In Political governance on 06/10/2017 at 2:59 pm

There have been quite a few comments on FB recently comparing PAP ruled S’pore to the USSR.

The USSR lasted for 74 years from 1917’s October Revolution. Counting from 1959, PAP has until 2033.

 

Tharman talking cock? Or cracking a joke?

In Political governance, Public Administration on 03/10/2017 at 10:27 am

[R]ecently, a DPM said we are now more tolerant than in the 70s and 80s. I remember participating in a couple of demonstrations in the 70s organised by the student union without asking for permission – how do you square all this?

Tan Tee Seng, Operation Spectrum detainee, on FB

The preceding bit reads

From my perspective, the case is simple – an artist used a performance art to draw attention to a shameful chapter in our historical past, much like a one-man flash mob performance. There were 3 scenes – the first at Hong Lim Park was attended by about 30 – 40 people. Part 2 was in front of the National Gallery and Part 3 was outside the Parliament House (both are public spaces). About 15 odd people saw the performance with a few passers by. After the performance, the artist was arrested – handcuffed and bundled into a police car, some of the audience were told they were “witnesses” to a commission of an offence which the police could not ascertain. Artist was kept 24 hours for his part and may be charged. The “witnesses” may be rounded up later to assist in the “investigation” – all because there was no permission given and yet our constitutional rights provide us the freedom of expression, assembly and speech.

The whole post

 

Related post: Tharman the wannabe comedian

Tharman stopped running with the hares and hunting with the hounds

In Political governance on 29/09/2017 at 10:53 am

Most of the anti-PAP ang moh tua kees who comforted themselves after GE 2015 with the tot that Tharman was really one of them are in mourning.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has come out to clarify his views on the mainstream media and the Bukit Batok by-election, topics which he was asked about during a dialogue with students last week.

Mr Tharman said that contrary to what social media commentators have claimed, he did not agree during the dialogue that the People’s Action Party had engaged in “gutter politics” in the Bukit Batok by-election.

Mr Tharman also elaborated on his comments about the mainstream media, saying he regards the media as “serious-minded, responsible players in an evolving Singapore democracy – helping to take it forward, but airing views in a way that avoids fragmenting society”.

The Deputy Prime Minister was clarifying comments he made at a a dialogue last week, where he was asked by a student about media control and whether he agreed with the “gutter politics” of the ruling party during the 2016 Bukit Batok by-election.

Nothing could be clearer that he’s a Man In White: nothing grey about him.

————————————–

As to what he said, rather than what he thinks he said: https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2017/09/21/tharman-on-state-media-gutter-politics/

——————————–

But some fans are in denial:

Nothing is clarfied. It only blurifies what his standing is. Perhaps he would prefer to keep it that way.

Here’s another angle that his fans in denial can cling onto. Maybe Tharman now thinks after the uproar over a Malay (but i/c saying “Indian”) becoming the PAP’s president, that the PAP is now willing to accept a non-Chinese as PM and that he is positioning himself according. If u believe this, drop me a line. I got some blue cheese from the moon to sell to u.

I’ve commented in the past that the light the ang moh tua kees see coming from Tharman’s ass isn’t the sun; it’s the headlight of the PAP train. So trumpet’s pls for me.

 

Why PM wants a cashless payments system/ Ownself sabo ownself

In Banks, Economy, Political governance on 27/09/2017 at 6:42 am

Why does PM wants a cashless payments system?

Because no-one can hide from Big Brother when the banks are at the centre of the system.

When TRE republished my piece on a TRE appeal on behalf of its longest serving team member, there was this response

oxygen: MY INFORMATION SOURCES ARE RELIABLE – just bring whatever cash you want to donate, fill in a deposit slip of amount and account number of payee and hand it to the bank teller at the counter.

No banker is interested in who is the donor or deposit maker. A can pay C on behalf of B who is short of cash or unable to have funds to settle his/her debt to A. Or X can pay Z $XXX giving the latter a financial loan.

It is none of anybody’s business except as between the transacting parties. No bank ask you why you pay a check to supplier A – Z for what financial obligations. They are not interested to know your business transactions. People gives to charity – nothing wrong with that.

So those who can afford and want to give to charity, just walk into a bank and do it before 30 September.</blockquote

and someone tried it and it worked

Trying it out: This morning I deposited S$50 to the given POSB account over their counter. I handed cash and remain anonymous. I did not give any of my personal details. I got the receipt. But the recipient name is slightly different. I hope it is all in order. I was trying out donation on anonymity basis.

http://www.tremeritus.com/2017/09/20/follow-up-to-tr-emeritus%E2%80%99-in-house-techie-requires-assistance/

So go on – if you are able and incline to contribute to humanitarian cause. It is nobody business if you want to do charity or help someone (can be Ah Kow, Ah Ngeow or Ah Beng or Ah Lian) who haven’t got the time to Q in a banking hall to do charity.

Singapore POSB Account

Payee: Ten Leu-Jiun

A/C No: 193-69702-0

(The last day of payment to this account is 30 September 2017.)

Ownself sabo ownself

Incidentally, no picture, no sound from the PM or his minions on the e payments system proposed by Razer’s CEO https://sg.news.yahoo.com/razer-ceo-submits-two-pronged-e-payment-system-proposal-pm-lee-112133198.html.

PM was talking cock when he was moaning that S’pore was so far behind China in e-payments because it’s his and his administration’s fault.

They are not fighting vested interests i.e. the banks: think transction and merchant fees charged. And the PAP administration’s red line is that banks must be at the heart of the system. This among other things ensures that the authorities have access to information.

But let’s be thankful to the PAP for sticking to the Hard Truth of die die must protect our banks: Cash is king. And anyway I own Haw Par which is a cheap way of buying into UOB.

But don’t try depositing a $1000 bill into any bank account. A few yrs ago, someone gave me a $1000 bill. I gave it to my mum and she decided to put it into my POSB account. Bank wanted me to come down to deposit it. She said I was overseas and so bank reluctantly took the money.

 

Why PAP doesn’t do accountability, meritocracy

In Political governance, Public Administration, S'pore Inc on 26/09/2017 at 11:16 am

Meritocracy and accountability are two sides of the same coin as the US navy has recently shown (PM, this is accountability). (Btw, a long time ago, the British executed a white horse to encourage other senior naval officers to do their duty.)

Therev are many examples where despite all the talk of meritocray (Meritocracy? No leh Cosiness), by the PAP, failures are rewarded, showing there’s no accountabilty. Think NOL’s CEO who is now SPH’s CEO or Ong Yee Kung  or SMRT’s Desmond Kwek or paper General Ministers.

The reason is simple: they were doing what they were supposed to do. Juz like when algos fail, the algos are not faulted. They juz doing what they were designed to do: “only doing what it was told”.

This realisation came when I read this

If Facebook’s algorithms were executives, the public would be demanding their heads on a stick, such was the ugly incompetence on display this week.

First, the company admitted a “fail” when its advertising algorithm allowed for the targeting of anti-Semitic users.

Then on Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg said he was handing over details of more than 3,000 advertisements bought by groups with links to the Kremlin, a move made possible by the advertising algorithms that have made Mr Zuckerberg a multi-billionaire.

Gross misconduct, you might say – but of course you can’t sack the algorithm. And besides, it was only doing what it was told.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-41358078

Blame the PAP (or rather the leaders of the PAP). And blame the pioneer generation for allowing S’pore to become a de facto one-party state?

Looking at things this way, and maybe the poor among the pioneer generation deserve the “peanuts” the PAP are shelling out.

What do u think?

Pot calling kettle black

In Political governance on 24/09/2017 at 5:14 am

I couldn’t help think the above when I read

Several Members of Parliament yesterday called for greater compassion from a public service that has, in Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng’s words, “lost its heart”, citing examples of how people have been turned away because public servants were doing things strictly by the book.

(Today)

The constructive, nation-building free sheet then went on to quote several PAP MPs.

Come on, the same can be said about today’s PAP MPs with the honourable exceptions of Lily Neo, Kate Spade Tin and a few others.

 

Tharman: PR King

In Political governance on 22/09/2017 at 1:48 pm

Following Tharman’s laterst comments

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has said that he, like most Singaporeans, would have liked to see a contest in the recent Presidential Election.

However, the debate over the presidency proved that Singaporeans have an aspiration for race to matter less in politics and society, he said

Read more at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singaporeans-have-an-aspiration-for-race-to-matter-less-dpm-9234412

his fan club are out in force calling for him to be the next PM.

If they have their wish of having him as PM, the PM, CJ and the president will all have i/cs saying “Indian”

We Second India isit? Xi, Uncle RedBean and other S;porean PRC supremacists will surely have something to say about this takeover of S’pore (75% Chinese) by the mortal enemy of PRC, India.

Seriously, i have to share this song of praise that appeared on FB:

Off the top of my head, Tharman’s six principles of political communication:

1. Timing: Wait till the worst of the storm of public dissatisfaction blows over. Don’t go into the thick of it. Wait for heads to cool.

2. Deflate the elephant: Point to the elephant in the room, acknowledge it, and everyone goes “finally!”. Tension is released. Elephant gets smaller, people can breathe easier.

3. I am one of you: Acknowledge and even agree with the sentiments on the ground, then reframe to “in spite of this… must recognise reality… and so must do that”. Classic rhetorical technique. Throw in own background of activist etc. for added legitimacy.

4. Be general: He said he doesn’t agree with every tactic of everyone of his colleague. Broad obvious statement. In a large org like PAP that’s bound to happen.

But this allows people to fill in what they *think* he means. Or what they *want to believe* cos he’s likeable. Still, people may not be wrong, but it gives wiggle room should the need ever arise in another context.

5. Provide hope: Things are better now than before. We will continue to be better. Let’s work towards that.

6. Be likeable: People listen to you cos they like you. This factor anchors all the above.

Also, he didn’t comment on the process, and the legitimacy of a president who came into office with so much controversy on the ground. Does the President really have a mandate then? Maybe no one asked. And why should he bring it up of his own accord?

Skilfully done. All the more’s the reason I think he should be the next PM. (#TharmanForPM!) But oh well’s, we’re not ready for a non-Chinese PM and he has ruled himself out. Sigh pie.