Archive for the ‘Political governance’ Category

E-petitions: Democracy with S’porean characteristics?

In Political governance on 25/11/2015 at 4:52 am

S’poreans love to petition the PAP administration when they are unhappy, not that it does any good. Between the 2006 and 2011 elections, there were petitions* galore with Tan Kin Lian becoming known as the “Petition King”: he even asked people to petition him to stand for president. They didn’t but he still stood for election, and lost hus deposit.

After GE 2011, the PAP administration woke-up its ideas, realising that the swing voters S’were really unhappy

The drubbing the PAP took in 2011 was taken to heart: faced with rising discontent over housing, immigration and transport, it resolved to rectify its ways. In just four years, 100,000 flats were built, rules on foreign workers tightened and billions of dollars spent on expanding transport services.

(I reported here). And we saw a drop in petitions to Ah Loong.

It is conventional wisdom that internet and social media in make it much easier for members and constituents to hold their representatives to account, so if the PAP had used internet and social media more intelligently after 20o6, it could have avoide the humilation of 2011.

All this came to mind as I recently read that earlier this yr, the UK re-launched an e-petition scheme that had gone into the land of the living dead.

Now when a petition that passes 10,000 signatures, it receives a response from the government, and there’s a new cross-party committee of MPs which will look at each petition that gets 100.000 signatures and consider it for a parliamentary debate. More at **

Here, very clear that comments from Tharman notwithstanding, the PAP administration intends on ensuring its hegemony in a de facto one party state.

The problem for the PAP administration is discerning the BS from the likes of Goh Meng Seng, M Ravi, Constance Singham, Balji (Imperial storm troop general turned wannabe Jedi. He didn’t get what he tot he should get isit?), s/o JBJ, Roy and New Citizen Han Hui Hui, Kirsten Han etc and the concerns articulated by people like Terry Xu, Gilbert Goh, P Ravi, Siew Kum Hong (though he’s been a bit quiet recently counting his share options isit?), Chris Kuan, Donald Low amd Yeoh Lam Keong, and ordinary S’poreans.

Well the response to e-petitions would be a good way to gauge the level of support for any idea or proposal. And show S’poreans that S’pore doesn’t need the Worthless Party or Mad Dog Chee To check the PAP adminidation.

Ownself can check ownself with the help of the internet and social media

Who knows? Maybe one day there may be an e-petition asking for the Constitution to be changed to make the PAP the ruling party forever and a day.

All to play for PAP.


*Interestingly Lord Lisvane, the former clerk of the House of Commons, and an now a crossbench peer, said that petitions had been around for “almost as long as parliament has been around”.

“Petitions were the origin of legislation, and were a way of saying ‘fix this’

“The secret ballot, universal male suffrage, the abolition of the slave trade – they took a long time to come about, but they started through a process of petitioning.”

**Labour’s Helen Jones, who chairs the Petitions Committee, said the committee will also be able to consider whether to hold debates on subjects that fail to reach the 100,000 threshold but are “worthy of debate but would not get time elsewhere”.

“We’re going through a process of learning ourselves how to deal with petitions, but also of engaging the public to allow them to understand what can be done and what can’t be done*.

Anyone can start a petition, as long as they are a British citizen or a UK resident.

More than 1,400 have chosen to so far, on topics as diverse as the introduction of mandatory drugs tests for MPs, the introduction of a UK national day, and minimum prices for milk.

Experience has shown that campaigns can quickly go viral on social media, gathering thousands of supportive signatures in a few hours.




Can Dr Chee relate to the swing voters?

In Political governance on 23/11/2015 at 5:07 am

Dr Chee recently took a walk around S’pore and pixs of him with S’poreans he met are appearing on Facebook. This ACS boy is really trying really hard to connect with ordinary S’poreans. But I hace doubts that he can do this because he and Mrs Chee have shown that they don’t behave like otdinary S’poreans.

Remember the video that appeared during the recent GE campaign* when the Chees gave us insights about themselves: insights that told me that they can’t relate to those who vote for the PAP but who can be persuaded to vote for the Oppo.

Mrs Chee told us that she had, except for a stint of a few months, not worked since graduation. Wah lan so rich meh? So well qualified, and not working. Study in US up to doctorate level and then become housewife? Got money to waste isit? Not very S’porean?

Even when hubbie lost job and made a bankrupt, she doesn’t go to work? OK, granted she is FT (Taiwanese); still I don’t think any ordinary S’porean woman can identify with her attitude of being highly qualified and refusing** to go out to work (I get the impression that she doesn’t even do part-time work), preferring to look after the kids and doing housework.

While the majority of S’porean women may be prepared to stop working for a few years to bring up their children, once the kids are of schooling age, they calculate that it’s more cost-effective to work full or part-time, and employ a maid. But not Mrs Chee it seems, even if Dr Chee is struggling financially.


Working women hold up the sky

About 59% of women are in the workforce. If this is raised to 76%, which is today’s rate for males, the labour force will increase by 13% — Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu.

More women work, no need for FTs leh?


Let me very clear. I’m not saying Mrs Chee is doing the “wrong” thing by focusing her attention on the kids and the typical S’porean mum is doing the “right” thing by going to work. There are studies to prove that a full-time parent can be good for the kids.

What I want to point out is that the ordinary S’pore mum is a working woman, juggling work and a family life.

And husband happy with this situation? He has to struggle to pay the bills without his wife’s help?

During the GE campaign

Got financial problems but not asking wife to work? Doesn’t sound like the typical S’porean young husband does it? Again, I’m not sating that he should ask his wife to go to work. I’m simply saying that his attitude is not typical. In S’pore, husband and wife are a team: both work to make ends meet.

Dr Chee is using his family life to show that he can relate to ordinary working S’poreans. Does not work: he has a  highly qualified wife who doesn’t go out to work, choosing instead to look after the kids and do the housework; and he is happy with this.

Look at WP Low or other WP leader. We know very little of their personal lives but we know enough about them to know that theWP leaders are like us. We know a lot about Dr and Mrs Chee but we also know that they are not like typcal S’poreans. They also aliens from Bizarro S’pore*** like PM , Tharman and other PAP ministers? Btw, despite the ministers’ mega salaries most of their wives go to work. I think only Hng Kiang’s wife is a homemaker like Mrs Chee.

Coming back to Dr Chee: the failure to connect with ordinary S’poreans is sad and worrying because only Dr Chee and the SDP, among the Oppo, realise that to effect serious change on the body politick here, the PAP’s monopoly on the politics of hope in S’pore must be broken.

Uncle RedBean describes part of the SDP’s game plan: The biggest lesson learnt from the GE2015 911 effect must be the importance of being relevant as opposition parties to stay in touch with issues and matters that affect the people and their interests. Chee Soon Juan caught the drift and demanded more transparency in accounting to what really happened in the hepatitis C crisis. What happened, when did it happened, who said what and when, who was informed what and when. These simple questions are going to rub some people the wrong way and instead of answering them, may be retorted with more questions or challenges. 

Because the SDP is the only Oppo party that has a comprehensive list of alternative policies that challenges the PAP’s Hard Truths, this shows that Dr Chee and the SDP are trying to go beyond the anti-PAP vote. In the words of a political observer Derek da Cunha no opposition party can get into Parliament simply on the basis of a protest vote, i.e., a vote against the PAP [WP had a narrow window of oppotunity that resulted from the PAP’s arrogance] An opposition party also needs a pro-party vote, i.e., people consciously voting for the party. The sum total of the entire protest vote plus a significant pro-party vote will then get an opposition party across the finish line. 

The problem for SDP is that it has the plan right, but

— it’s not a party that is trusted by those willing to vote for Dr Tan Cheng Bock (my short hand for the swing voter) in preference to the PAP’s preferred candidate, and

— Dr Chee can’t connect with ordinary S’poreans let alone the swing voter.

But let’s give Dr Chee credit for trying.


*During the GE campaign, I was hoping the SDP team lrd by Dr Chee could win an upset victory, so I had to sit on my hands and not comment on the video

**Yes, i’m assuming that Mrs Chee is able to work here. If she can’t because she’s on a long term social pass, then this should have been made clear by her or Dr Chee. Then it would be a question of why isn’t she being allowed to work here despite having a doctorate.  Dr Chee being fixed?

***Backgrounder from Wikipedia: The Bizarro World (also known as htraE, which is “Earth” spelled backwards) is a fictional planet appearing in American comic bookspublished by DC comics. Introduced in the early 1960s, htraE is a cube-shaped planet, home to Bizarro and companions, all of whom were initially Bizarro versions of Superman, Lois Lane and their children and, later, other Bizarros including Batzarro, the World’s Worst Detective.

In popular culture “Bizarro World” has come to mean a situation or setting which is weirdly inverted or opposite to expectations.














PAP admin that repressive meh?

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 19/11/2015 at 5:07 am

Data that implies otherwise was released by Facebook about a week ago and never received a mention in our cyberspace. But a reminder first.

The cybernuts and ang moh tua kee HR activists have been shouting that since 2013, the PAP administration has become more repressive, more intolerant of the “wrong” views on social media and other parts of new media. They cite what happened to the editors of The real S’porean, Roy, and Amos the Boy Fantastic. They also cite the actions talen against Roy, New Citizen Han Hui Hui and their friends in disrupting special needs children as an example of intolerant and repressive behaviour. And then they cite the “plight” of M Ravi even if the behaviour of Roy, New Citizen Hui Hui and the other young hooligans made him go bananas.

Interesting data from Facebook contradicts this narrative.

In the January to June 2015 report, the United States Government made the most requests for user data, at 17,577 requests. This was followed by India with 5,115 and the United Kingdom with 3,384. Singapore placed 20th overall, out of the 92 countries on the list.

(CNA 12th Nov)

The Singapore Government made a total of 198 requests for data in the first six months of 2015, an 11.9 per cent increase over July to December 2014. A total of 213 users or accounts were targeted from January to June 2015, compared to 194 in the previous six months – a 9.8% increase. (Peanuts % increase: see below for comparison with other countries)

.Better still: The Singapore Government did not make any content restriction requests from January to June 2015, according to Facebook.

The India Government made the highest number of contest restriction requests at 15,155. This was followed by Turkey with 4,496 requests, and France a distant third with 295 requests.

But I’m sure the cybernuts and ang moh tua kee HR activists would sneer that there are too many sheep here. hence the lack of action on the part of  the PAP administration. But then this sneer contradicts the wider narrative of repression?

If elections neither free nor fair: Why is Dr Chee bothering?

In Political governance on 12/11/2015 at 5:21 am

SDP Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan speaking at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Post-Election Conference 2015 said that the PAP wins elections because the election system is neither free nor fair: the party controls the print and broadcast media, it uses state bodies such as the People’s Association for its own partisan-political purposes, and the Elections Department works from under the PMO.

This is a repeat of part of his comments immediately after GE 2015 which left me confused on what the SDP is up to.

Yet Dr Chee has made it very clear in private that the SDP will continue its attempts to win seats in paely. And I’m told by a reliable source that the SDP Old Guard, people like his sis and John Tan, who had supported his long foray into civil disobedience*, support his present position of trying to work within the system. I was uncertain of their views.

Isn’t their attitude strange? They sound like an abused partner who, instead of walking out of a destructive, problematic relationship, just nervously asks: ‘Can we talk about this?’ while continuing the relationship?

Something has to give.

But then. “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”. (Thoreau)

And then maybe Dr Chee and his SDP think that the PAP administration are like the Burmese generals and he is S’pore’s very own Aung San Su Kyi., and the SDP is her NLD.

All I can say is that Aung San Suu Kyi has been pretty consistent in her approach since she entered politics in the late 1980s. Dr Chee has turned this way and that way. And whatever one may say about the PAP administration, 70% of voters trust the PAP to do right by them. Can’t say that the Burmese trust the generals to do right by them.

(Related post: What the SDP, activists and analysts don’t get)

Update at 2.45pm: Dr Chee should be asking himself if he’s right how come WP can win a GRC and retain it; how come Hougang is fortress WP; and Potong Pasir was fortress Chiam for a long time; NBN could win; and SDP once upon a time could win seats (before he took over and ran it aground on the rocks of civil disobedience?


*They all believe that the PAP administration’s greater tolerance of alternative voices was due to their heroic efforts but that the WP reaped the benefits (and the MP allowances).

30% keep on KPKBing– Don’t despair

In Political governance on 09/11/2015 at 5:33 am

Be brave and of good cheer. History is on yr side. PAP is doomed: by demographics and S’pore rising levelsw of education.

I’m not joking.

That’s a reasonable conclusion to draw from the survey* by the PAP administrations’s very own Institute of Policy Studies that shows that respondents who viewed the SDP and WP as credible were mainly those aged 39 years and below, and mainly had a university and diploma education.

As for the PAP, it was the pre-independence generation, or those aged above 55 years that mainly saw the party as credible.

Reasonable conclusion: only the dying, about to die and the uneducated really support the PAP. Goh Meng Seng, Roy Ngerng, Han Hui Hui, Kirsten Han, Lynn Lee and TRE cybernuts are not representative of the 30% even if they behave as though they represent the 30%. SDP’s Dr Paul Thamby, and Leon the Lion are?

No wonder Ah Loong says the PAP must change, and the PAP’s already preparing for the next GE (I’ll blog soon on what its a doing in my area, a safe PAP area according to the WP), and the acting minister of education plays down the PAP’s success (my take).

So Oppo activists and anti-PAP cybernuts should look on the right side, and look beyond the trashing they got and in the case of the latter fully deserved.

And Dr Chee (and the ang mohs backing him) must really be be happy that the percentage of people who found the party credible** more than doubled from 20% in GE2011 to 42% in GE2015. The PAP saw an increase of credibility of only 20 percentage points, while the Worthless WankersP’s credibility in the eyes of voters increased by 15 percentage points. Too bad for Khaw and his ministry’s civil servants, no performance bonus for sliming the Wayang Party over the AHPETC accounts. It didn’t work. WP’s cred did not fall.

Related post on what stats really mean: they are not facts.


*2,015 S’poeans were interviewed for the survey, by phone from 12 to 26 September. IPS senior research fellow Gillian Koh was in charge of the survey.

**But he can’t afford too many of things like this

The news that Jeffrey George was arrested by the Central Narcotics Bureau comes as a shock. I have known Jeff for many years and all this time he has discharged his duties as an SDP member and leader with professionalism. He is respected and well-liked by his party colleagues. This is why the matter is all the more a complete surprise.

At this time, the family members need support as they go through a difficult period. They should be left alone to sort things out.

Chee Soon Juan

Singapore Democratic Party

Guy was SDP chairman until juz before his arrest it seems. Very convenient for SDP.




What the SDP, activists and analysts don’t get

In Political governance on 15/10/2015 at 3:45 am

Below is an extract from a piece by the FT’s Gideon Rachman on the difference between the US and China written on the eve of Xi’s visit to the Hegemon’s capital.

4. Individual v community: American leaders stress the rights of the individual. Chinese leaders stress the interests of the community. The difference between American individualism and Chinese communitarianism filters into their attitudes to the state. In the US, the ideas that the individual needs to be protected against an over-mighty state is built into the constitution and into political rhetoric. In China, it is more normal to argue that a strong state is the best guarantee against “chaos” that has led, in the past, to civil war and bloodshed. Many Americans assume that this Chinese rhetoric simply reflects the self-interest of the Communist party. But it also has deep historical roots. Americans might trace their emphasis on individual rights to the War of Independence in the 18th century. By contrast, in stressing the need for a strong state, Chinese leaders unselfconsciously refer to the “Warring States” period, which began in 476BC.

5. Rights v hierarchy: Different attitudes to the state lead to contrasting views of what holds a society together. Americans stress individual rights and the law. But while there is now much more talk in China of the need for strengthened “rule of law”, the Communist party is also promoting the Confucian tradition, which stresses a sense of hierarchy and obligation, as crucial to the smooth functioning of society. Once again, this has implications for international relations — since it affects China’s view of the proper relationship between big countries, such as China, and their smaller neighbours.

Given that S’pore is 7o% ethnic Chinese is a de-facto one-party state, and has a conservative society*, is it not surprising that

— communitarianism and 

—  the Confucian tradition, which stresses a sense of hierarchy and obligation [the PAP listens to our grouses, does something about them, so we should reciprocate by voting for the PAP and not as the WP suggests vote against the PAP. PM said said this argument against “numan nature”: I’d say against the Confucian tradition. ], as crucial to the smooth functioning of society

means that 35%** of the voters think the PAP deserve their votes in 2015? In 2015, the percentage was 25%.

Whatever Sr Chee, his SDP, s/o JBJ, Western-educated activists and analysts should stop looking at S’pore from a Western perspective. They should “Seek truth from facts”.

WP’s success has been built on Low’s insight as a man of Tao that the vast majority of S’poreans are comfortable with the PAP. Sadly a strategy built on that insight has its limitations both for the WP’s and S’pore’s prospects.


*Btw, I’d argue that Taiwan because of its history of colonisation by the Japanese and repression by the KMT is a more radical place than S’pore. Likewise South Korea because of Japanese colonisation and the Korean war.

**I’m assuming based on PE 2011, 35% of vthe voters will  die die vote PAP and 30% will vote for any donkey, so long as it’s not a PAP donkey, even if it turns out to be Tan Kin Lian advised by Goh Meng Seng.

S’poreans delusional?/ Oppo don’t win elections, govt loses elections

In Economy, Political governance on 07/10/2015 at 5:48 am

According to a recent poll of 200 students by Singapore employment website STJobs, 70% of all graduates surveyed expect a starting salary of up to 4,000 SGD (£1,800) a month at the very least.

In reality though, a starting salary for a young graduate is closer to a little more than half that amount. (BBC report)

The 70% figutre reminds me that 70% voted for Ah Loong. So maybe when Dr Chee called for the 30% anti-PAP vote not to be ignored*. he has a point. Maybe as a psychologist, he has come to the conclusion that 70% of the voters are delusional, juz like 70% of the grads (who must have voted for the PAP)?

What do you think?

Are the 70% of voters delusional?

After all GDP growth has been on the downtrend since 2011

GDP growth: 15.2% (2010), 6.2% (2011), 3.4% (2012), 4.4% (2013), 2.9% (2014)

Look at the large fall after 2011. As for 2011, DBS Bank and international ratings agency Moody’s are among those to have cut their outlook for Singapore’s GDP to below 2%. The official range forecast by the government is 2% to 2.5%.

Recession coming?

But let’s be serious. Maybe despite the slow-down in GDP, life has gotten better for the voters who voted for the PAP, especially the ones that gave ah Loong the 10 point swing?

The drubbing the PAP took in 2011 was taken to heart: faced with rising discontent over housing, immigration and transport, it resolved to rectify its ways. In just four years, 100,000 flats were built, rules on foreign workers tightened and billions of dollars spent on expanding transport services.

It could have added the goodies (especially in healthcare) for the Pioneer Generation. An activist who during the GE went round talking to the old folks (many there in the HDB estate) in Mountbatten SMC, told me that they appreciated the benefits. The Chiams’ Party lost badly.

Which all shows that where the PAP goofed between the 2006 GE and the 2011 GE and PE was not to spend our money on ourselves:

“Oppositions don’t win elections, govt loses elections,” I once heard Dr Goh Keng Swee say. He was echoing the tots of politicians, analysts and strategists down the ages


*“At home, anger at the current political situation is palpable [Huh? OK on TRE] and some have resorted to action [TRE cybernuts are shoutong obscenities and cursing their fellow S’poreans? Nothing unusual there.] . If the PAP is content to label this group of citizens as the ‘noisy minority’, … For these people, the prospect of being unable to bring about political change through the ballot box only makes the PAP’s claim of legitimate power sound dangerously vacuous.”

The next PM has been unveiled

In Economy, Political governance on 06/10/2015 at 5:04 am

Bang yr balls, PAPpy Indians and ang moh tua kees.The next PM is NOT going to be Tharman despite all the flattery that the ang mohs are giving him.

The next PM is going to be the newly-appointed Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.

Look at the evidence

— The committee on “The Future Economy” will be chaired by newly-appointed Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat. The commitee will review policy measures that have been in place since 2010, and aims to help create more good jobs for workers and help firms in adapting to a lean workforce, among other future challenges.

Ah Loong, many trs ago,  chaired the economic restructuring committee when he was being groomed as the next PM.  He was then the trade and industry minister.

— Do remember that Ah Heng headed NatCon: Our Singapore Conversation was a national conversation  announced by PM in 2012. Mr Heng Swee Keat, the then Singapore Minister for Education was appointed to lead the committee that led (guided?) the conversations with S’poreans to create “a home with hope and heart”.

Which other minister has been given so much public exposure?

Finally, a cheerleader and paid-up member of the PAPpy (PAP and pro-PAP) Indians, and a leader of the Indian media mafia controlling the constructive, nation-building media wrote recently, in sorrow and defiance:

Shanmugaratnam is going to be the Cabinet’s trump card. As Co-ordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, he will play an extremely key role in how the country charts its future trajectory. With ministries like Finance, Trade and Industry, Manpower, Education, Social and Family Development coming under the former Finance Minister’s overall purview, the PM is signalling to Singaporeans that Shanmugaratnam is the man to watch. Never mind that he won’t become the next PM but if he pulls it off, history will reflect on this as the Shanmugaratnam moment when the seeds were planted for him to become the real architect of tomorrow’s Singapore. Like Goh Keng Swee became when he plotted the economic transformation of a newly-independent Singapore.

I like what Tharman did as Finance Minister, and his liberal views. But this guy and the ang mohs praising Tharman and their S’pore lackeys should be fair to our Ah Loong.

He gave Tharman the backing that only a PM without his reactionary minders (Father, Goh, Can’t Sing and Kumar), could give. As I’ve said before, the post 2011 GE cabinet was really Ah Loong’s first where he didn’t have anyone trying to be a back sit driver.

Related post

Brain structures of PM, ministers & TRE cybernuts

In Political governance on 01/10/2015 at 5:26 am

Trying to understand why some people are incapable of learning from their mistakes, neuroscientists in Albuquerque, New Mexico, scanned the brains of 96 convicts. In repeat offenders, they discovered, an obscure quarter of the brain known as the anterior cingulate cortex was barely active, the Economomist (the PAP’s go-to manual) reports.

It would be interesting to carry out the experiment on the brains of anti PAP paper warriors like Oxygen* and his the cybernuts from TRELand. Going by the comments on TRE, they are still in denial, believing that the economy will collapse before the next GE, and that the voters will turn against the PAP.

Oxygen’s latest rant is a good example

The margin is, therefore, much smaller and vulnerable to reversal than the media hype portrays. Neither the intensity of pain nor the gaping wound festering since the 2011 GE is healing. Beneath the anger and fear driven swing, the burning issues of immigration, healthcare, CPF, costs of living escalation etc, etc is still in the boiling cauldron – nothing dissipated after the election. [He means that the 30% are still upset. Why should that matter, they are the born losers.)

The result gave PAP a fractured angry landscape [He ignores the 70%] to work on another 5 years. You still got another 5 years to show real performance or else! Those election lollies you gave us and cosmetic policy adaptations like PGP and CPF tweaking since 2011 won’t necessary save your skin the next round.

… Remember, PAP is in the driver’s seat.  It is its sole pallbearer now – for better or worst.

Until the next 5 years, I see PAP as very much in the mould of a lone walking political corpse waiting to be buried if it does not perform for this much-celebrated “ringing endorsement” of mandate, granted grudgingly and accidentally of a pushback from a mob of aggrieved voters in a freak election outcome.

Contrast this ranting with the actions of PAP after GE 2011

The drubbing the PAP took in 2011 was taken to heart: faced with rising discontent over housing, immigration and transport, it resolved to rectify its ways. In just four years, 100,000 flats were built, rules on foreign workers tightened and billions of dollars spent on expanding transport services**.

The above was written in the South China Morning Post, no fan of the PAP (It’s one those ang moh tua kee papers in HK. It was a cheer leader of the British wgen they ruled HK, and is now irrelevant. I quoted it to show that critics (if they are rational) have conceded that it changed.

Clearly, the brain structure of Oxygen and his fellow nutters resemble that of the repeat offenders. They never learn. But taz why they are born losers, part of the 30% angry at everything except their own stupidity.


*When S’pore was sharing the grief of the parents whose children died in Sabah, he was dancing and screaming that they (the parents) got what they deserved. Why? They signed the indemnity forms.

**Interesting it went on to put the margin of victory down to regional uncertainties  and the “trust” factor. Of course it uses the term “fears for the future”.

But even then, amid the clamour by young voters on social media for change and the determination of opposition parties to make an all-out bid for power by for the first time contesting most parliamentary seats, there was no assurance of regaining lost ground. Timing the snap poll amid the sentiment evoked by the passing of the elder Lee, Singapore’s founding father, and in the 50th year of nationhood, was not in itself a winning strategy for the PAP. What tipped the result was the silent majority’s fears for the future. The outlook for the economy amid China’s slowdown is less than rosy. Nor is there certainty for the region, with political turmoil in Malaysia, the source of most of the island’s water, and rising Indonesian nationalism.


Social media & politics

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 30/09/2015 at 4:50 am

The Indian PM, a big fan and user of social media, said in California during his recent visit there:

— “When I came to government, I saw that one of the problems that governments have is that there is a big gap between the government and the people,” he said. “But with social media we have daily bonding.”

— “The strength of social media today is that it can tell governments where they are wrong and can stop them from moving in the wrong direction.”

I can imagine our PM* or some other PAP minister using the same language to explain to S’poreans and ang mohs why S’pore doesn’t need any Opposition in parly, and why S’poreans should treasure the unicorn of being a de-facto one-party state.

And I’m sure the Chinese Communist Party would say the same things in China.

But. Modi also said

“We used to have elections every five years and now we can have them every five minutes.”

Somehow I don’t think PM or the CCP would ever say this.

I’ll leave the final word on social media and politics to a disillusioned anti-PAP cyber warrior who I respect. He says social media is ineffective against claims made by the govt.
Looks like he’s still upset with the GE result. But he, unlike the cybernuts and Dr Chee, accept and respect the results.
*Maybe PM should tell Tharman to stop cracking jokes about politics:

“He told reporters that the opposition plays a critical role in advancing the country. “It is important for the opposition to reflect on what happened – not just in terms of whether the electorate didn’t know better or the electorate made a mistake – but how they could have done better in their strategies,” he said.
“We need a more reflective attitude after each election, and on how the opposition can continue to play a constructive and positive role in Singapore politics, as they must.
Mr Tharman also acknowledged the presence of several new opposition candidates who failed to get elected, and hoped they would continue to be active in public life.
It is very good that we saw some new faces in the elections. Several very interesting new faces,” he said.
“I hope they continue to contribute to Singapore – even though they didn’t win – whether in politics or outside.”

But Tharman loves cracking jokes



Haze, 9/11 & TOC

In Indonesia, Political governance on 28/09/2015 at 5:18 am

PM got really lucky on 9/11? Or did the 9th Immortal* use his newly acquired powers to fix the weather?






































Imagine if 9/11 was as hazy as last Friday (Schools had to be closed and in the morning, the Pollutants Standards Index,PSI, hit 341- the highest level this year.). PM would most probably not have got the 10 point swing that had the anti-PAP cyberwarriors like Constance Singham choking on their venom from their fangs A five point swing would have been more likely, something which I tot probable based on my analysis that East Coast and Marine Parade would not fall, but Aljunied would repent

In the run up to 9/11, if the weather had been like that in the last week TOC (WP’s Hammer Online) would be pushing the line that the haze is almost all the fault of the PAP administration: like it did on Friday

The Singapore government has a duty to address the annual issue and to stop pushing the blame to “uneducated” villagers and companies that are almost never prosecuted in any way. The residents of Singapore deserves a better answer than being urged to bear with it and told that things are beyond our control.”

I’ll go into what the Hammer Online TOC wants the govt to do one of these days. But until then bear in mind that anti-PAP cyberwarriors accused the govt of using salt to induce rain juz before F1. When the govt denied this, TOC said the govt was being less than open because the M’sians and Indons might have used salt to induce rain (Wow everything blame PAP isit?). Btw, TOC and the anti-PAP cyberwarriors didn’t use the the word “salt”. They used the term “sodium chloride”. To make the seeding sound more “sinister”?

It’s stories like this that “double confirm” the PAP administration’s assertion that TOC is indeed “political” and worthy of being hantamed, left, right and in the balls. When it was “gazetted” yrs ago, I tot the action unfair: now I’m not so sure.(Disclosure: I helped out at TOC when Ravi was chief editor,)

TOC doesn’t respect the decision of 70% of voters to support the PAP? It like, Dr Chee, wants the 30% to rule over the 70% isit?

“At home, anger at the current political situation is palpable [Huh? OK on TRE] and some have resorted to action [TRE cybernuts are shoutong obscenities and cursing their fellow S’poreans? Nothing unusual there.] . If the PAP is content to label this group of citizens as the ‘noisy minority’, … For these people, the prospect of being unable to bring about political change through the ballot box* only makes the PAP’s claim of legitimate power sound dangerously vacuous.”

(He forgot that over the years this 30% of voters have been able to get the support of swing voters in Hougang, Aljunied and Punggol East. Juz because the SDP can’t win, doesn’t mean that others can’t. Go ask the WP. Yes, it’s an uneven field, but winning is not impossible. Takes time, patience and maturity: virtues that Dr Chee may not have.

Yes the minority has rights, but so does the 70%. Democracy is not about majoritism, but neither is it about dictatorship by the minority.

Here’s an extract (emphasis mine) from a BBC article that Doc Chee and TOC should bear in mind when demanding that the views of the 30% must prevail (because the 30% agrees with their “right” views?)

Clem Attlee’s Labour government had a massive Commons majority and an undoubted mandate, but had only 16 peers in the Lords. Theoretically, their Lordships could have frustrated Attlee at every turn, throwing out or wrecking every bill in their programme, but that would have risked retaliation in the form of outright abolition – so, instead, a deal was struck.

Peers would not oppose measures promised – “foreshadowed” – in the government’s manifesto, and therefore assumed to have the endorsement of the electorate, at second or third Reading. In other words, the government would get the legislation it had promised to voters, and therefore would not have to get bogged down in an Asquith-style struggle with the Lords – Addison was a veteran of the Asquithian Liberal Party, and would doubtless have preferred not to repeat its epic battles with peers.

Cranborne spelled the new doctrine out in the debate on the King’s Speech in July 1945:

“Whatever our personal views, we should frankly recognise that these proposals were put before the country at the recent general election and the people of this country, with full knowledge of these proposals, returned the Labour Party to power. The government may, therefore, I think, fairly claim that they have a mandate to introduce these proposals. I believe it would be constitutionally wrong, when the country has so recently expressed its view, for this House to oppose proposals which have been definitely put before the electorate.”

He reserved “full liberty of action” on legislation not included in an election manifesto.


*Funny that no-one has accused LKY of using his unearthly powers to transform Oppo votes into PAP votes. But Uncle Redbean comes close.

The final result was just too incredible and unbelievable. This must be the biggest mystery of this GE. It was like a strange event in the Bermuda Triangle that defied all logic and reasons. How could a SDP team that was technically superior or at worst equal to the PAP team lost so badly?

Call it a miraculous win for the PAP team. The other mystery must be the near loss of the WP team in Aljunied GRC. The voters could not switch camp just like that, and without a big crisis. The AHPETC was no crisis but a red herring. The voters of Aljunied were not so daft not to see it to affect their voting decision.

Yes, the truth is stranger than fiction.

I’m sure that he, like Goh Meng Seng, believes that UFOs are aliens visiting.





Will the real SDP, Dr Chee pls stand up?

In Political governance on 23/09/2015 at 4:54 am

After the GE, it was heartening to read this

Paul Tambyah: “This election has confirmed how hard it is for opposition politicians in Singapore to get their message across. I would like to continue with this process unless the PAP adopts all our policies and moves towards social justice (!) because that is what is most important to me rather than who is in power. Singaporeans are not really a selfish people; we do believe in democracy, justice and equality as pre-requisites for peace and prosperity despite the cynicism and materialism around us.”

It was a sign that the SDP had matured.

But then, in a statement that was published on TRE (among other sites), Dr Chee wrote:

“At home, anger at the current political situation is palpable [Huh? OK on TRE] and some have resorted to action [TRE cybernuts are shoutong obscenities and cursing their fellow S’poreans? Nothing unusual there.] . If the PAP is content to label this group of citizens as the ‘noisy minority’, … For these people, the prospect of being unable to bring about political change through the ballot box only makes the PAP’s claim of legitimate power sound dangerously vacuous.”*

And then: ‘Speaking before a crowd that filled the SDP’s headquarters and spilled out the front door, SDP secretary-general Chee Soon Juan argued that the power imbalances in the system meant “elections in Singapore can have one, and only one, outcome… PAP victory.”

Control over the mainstream media, the use of the People’s Association for party purposes and the placing of the Elections Department under the purview of the Prime Minister’s Office have stacked the deck against opposition parties, assuring the continuance of PAP dominance in Singaporean politics, Chee said**.


Is Dr Chee reverting to  his Mad Dog persona? Is he Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? If so, Dr Chee needs to be forced to his medicine? Or should the dosage should increase?

These are questions that some of us that rooted for the SDP are asking ourselves.

All I can hope is that the new look SDP is not wayang, or will be discarded anytime soon. And that Dr Chee is juz venting his frustrations. Even that is putting a gloss on the situation as it shows that he’s an immature person despite his age, and undoubted intellectual powers, and charisma.

Time to write-off the SDP***? Until it gets a new leader that will take it along the paththat the SDP seemed to have gone down the last few yr until Dr Chee’s outbursts?

One can only watch and wait.

During the elections Paul joked about Tharman joining the SDP, if the PAP splits. Well it looks more likely that if the Mad Dog returns to form (Cannot teach old dog new tricks?) that Dr Paul will join the PAP. After all there are those in the SDP (think John Tan. Chee’s sister and the Old Guard) who never really bot into SDP Bahru. It was a means to get into Parly by appearing moderate.

Watch and wait.

But the election loss is not the only loss that Dr Chee has to grapple with. He has made headway intellectually here partly because of Piketty’s book on why inequality is growing in the UAS, Europe and globally (something Dr Chee has been talking about in the local context since the 1990s, stressing that the engines of social mobility here have stalled).

But now the backlash against Piketty is gathering momentum: Piketty wrong about the inevitability of inequality?


*I posted on TRE: Come on whatever the PAP does, s/o JBI brown noser Dosh (sun shines from s/o JBJ’s behind), grave dancing Oxygen etc will want the PAP out but do nothing about it. Should anyone really care about their views?

Seriously, does 30% constitute a majority, and 70% a minority? Dr Chee seems to imply so.

**In contrast to Doc Chee’s comments, here is what Dr Paul said on the same topic: the dominance of the PAP. Dr Paul was asked What are the lessons learnt from GE2015’s results?

The main lesson for me was in the structural obstacles which restrict democracy in Singapore. In particular, the billion dollar People’s Association (PA) which makes a mockery of the election process in that the losers of the election in Hougang and Aljunied get all the resources of the taxpayer funded agencies. In addition, the overwhelming power of the mainstream media and their online outlets is a huge obstacle to overcome — for example, the only debates that occurred in this campaign were on CNA and IQ and the IQ debates had a very small audience, less than 0.1% of the electorate.

A really fair, nuanced comment, that PAP apologists like Calvin Cheng cannot contradict without sounding stupid. I’m not saying that they are not stupid.

One could argue that in substance, it’s the same point Dr Chee was making. But in politics, prestation and perception are v.v. impt.

***Something to ponder though the maths could be shoddy.

Singapore Democratic Party

Average PAP vote: 68.71 per cent
Average PAP swing: 5.47 per cent

Exactly as predicted by the model, the PAP achieved the smallest national swing against the SDP, far smaller than the national average swing. The model explains that the SDP should be more resistant to national swings than other opposition parties because it has adopted the “clear water strategy”, putting a clear and coherent ideological distance from the dominant party. The model also predicts correctly that as a niche party, the SDP will never have the best performance at the polls.

Do read above even if I told TOC It’s hard to take seriously anyone who claims to be conversant with maths and models that can write

Average 2015 PAP vote: 69.99 per cent
Average 2011 PAP vote: 60.12 per cent
Average PAP swing: 9.87 per cent
In the last line “per cent” should be percentage points or points.
And the Alex Au methology of counting the average vote is more nuanced and makes the WP’s loss smaller than the SDP’s loss, making the above analysis suspect.

But intuitively, the “clear water strategy” sounds correct.

Denial continues/ Swing voters not stupid, WP

In Economy, Political governance on 22/09/2015 at 5:14 am

Retired (axed?) FT MP, Irene Ho wrote on her Facebook

The “hot” topics at the election rallies that some opposition parties said they would champion are issues that many of us, including the PAP MPs, have raised before – the widening income gap, social mobility, help for single mothers, job opportunities for Singaporeans especially the middle-aged and above, helping the vulnerable groups, the cost of living, and improving public transport. Indeed, I have spoken on all these and more, and so have other PAP MPs. Here is a selection. The question is not how fiery the debate is in Parliament, but how effective is the MP in pushing for change.

Over the last 15 years as a backbencher, I do see change within the PAP – and it is not because of the opposition. It is because of your support for PAP MPs who speak up for you. I myself have benefitted from the support that you have given me, as it gave me the courage and confidence to fight for what is important to you and to the country. Please support the PAP so that it can be in a position of strength to serve you better. ‪#‎GE2015‬‪#‎PAP4SG‬

If she and other PAP MPs are so good at bending the administration’s ear, why did PAP administration after 2011 GE and PE

— stop being in denial that the public tpt system sucked;

— start that building more HDB flats raided the reserves;

— introduced the Pioneer Package etc;

— in the process spend more of our money on ourselves; and

— curb FT inflows.

If the PAP MPs were really being listened to, the first four measures would have been introduced in the early noughties, and the last after the 2006 GE.

The PAP listens to the swing voters not to its MPs.

But let’s be fair, the Oppo groupies are in denial too

Someone posted this on Facebook

How PAP won PE back in GE2015…/the-punggol-east-fix-how-…

Why I am not even surprised? PAP is master at this fixing game by shifting the goal post whenever they stand to lose the election which they want to win badly.

However, PAP Mandarins do not understand this simple logic – by winning PE at all costs, they stand to get exposed even more in AHPETC-gate and AIM-gate.

Wait and watch – PAP will find more cow dung on their white attires in time to come. It is not a question of if but when.

I had told MP Tin Pei Ling on the counting day at Kong Hwa school that PAP’s #1 enemy is not WP but some hot headed brain swollen PAP Mandarins who do not understand this simple fact:

Karma is bitch – whether one is Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Taoist, Jew, Sikh, Jain, Atheist or Agnostic.

By the way, on the counting day, the only PAP MP I found very relaxed and self assured was Tin Pei Ling. She has long future in politics for sure because she is able to win without “help” (???) of out of date and out of tune GCT.

On 9 Sep, I had Polling agent duty (as WP volunteer) for 6 hours (2 to 8 PM). Later I followed the sealed ballot boxes (together with another WP volunteer) on the bus to Kong Hwa school counting center. I was at Kong Hwa counting center until midnight while counting was still on but the sample counting results were already announced by 9:30PM.

Around midnight, I left Kong Hwa counting center to go home – tired, exhausted and also disappointed with the results. A senior PAP Activist (PA) also left Kong Hwa school at the same time feeling satisfied with the results and sweeping victory for PAP.

I congratulated PA and we had nice chat on the way out. PA offered me ride in his car until Haig Road. I had left my car at HDB car park next to Haig Road Community Center. On the way home, I was surprised to hear that gentleman (PA) wondering whether the voting results will send wrong signals to PAP Mandarins and whether PAP will interpret the results as license to increase GST to 10%.

I was baffled. I asked PA why he thinks GST may have to go up to 10% when the Government has such huge reserves and all social spending is being spent from returns of Temasek / GIC etc. He just smiled at me.

I think that poor PA gentleman doesn’t understand the bigger problems PAP has on hand now.

Not only PAP’s bluff will be called out in AHPETC-gate / AIM-gate but now they have to deal with significant number of foreign born citizens who will also be interested in joining politics to run for political office and they will vote only for those party that protects its interests.

I am tempted to yet again share a Gujarati (my native Indian language) idiom which reads as “જે ખાડો ખોદે તે પડે” <– unreadable on Android (transliteration “je khaDo khode te paDe”) which means – the one who digs hole for others, will find himself falling in the same hole…

And that is THE problem for PAP…

My FB avarar posted: Someone still in denial. PE victory means that a forensic audit of AHPETC accounts will have to be done to determine PE’s fair share of assets and liabilities

Let’s give three cheers for the swing voters. They balance things they admire* about the PAP against things they deplore** and voted accordingly. The PAP listens to the swing voter, not its MPs or to Oppo MPs and parties. The swing voters are not stupid and didn’t buy into WP’s self-serving message of voting in more WP MPs. They saw that Show Mao*** was taking the money and keeping quiet.

Related post:

(When this was republished by TRE it attracted a lot of abuse.)

*Like its new-found willingness to spend S’poreans’ money on S’poreans. And it’s decent economic record.

**They don’t give a hoot that Amos kanna takan so hard that he had to beg foe mercy****; or that ang moh tua kees like Cherian George and Kirsten Han shout “repression” juz because some fourth rate trashy sites are forced to close. They notice that TRE is unmolested.

***I know he’s a good social welfare officer in his ward (like Kate Spade’s in hers) and I hear he’s being groomed to succeed Low. But that doesn’t make it any easier to accept that he’s doing bugger in making the case for WP, and in helping managing the town council.

****I’m sure many were cheering on the AG: quietly of course.

WP faces early test: tiger or mouse?

In Political governance on 18/09/2015 at 4:16 am

WP may soon have the chance to walk the talk of being a check on the PAP administration. But will it take it? Or prove that it’s the Worthless Party?

Let me explain.

Ms Lee Li Lian, Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong and Mr Leon Perera from the Workers’ Party have been elected as Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMP), the Elections Department (ELD) announced on Wednesday (Sep 16). (CNA).

We know Ms Lee will not take her seat. She has said that she won’t because she as an incumbent was rejected by the voters. (Btw,makes Lina Chiam look opportunistic, in accepting the post after GE 2011, given that her husband, the MP before the election, wanted her as his successor?)

The WP said that should Parliament resolve to fill the vacated NCMP seat left by Ms Lee’s decision not to accept the NMP Post, that Associate Professor Daniel Goh would fill that seat.

The ELD  said: “The Attorney General is of the view that if any NCMP declared to be elected under Section 52 of the Parliamentary Elections Act fails to take and subscribe before Parliament the Oath of Allegiance under Article 61 of the Constitution at the first or second sitting of Parliament during its first session after the General Election, then Parliament may at its discretion declare that seat vacant. Parliament is not thereafter obliged to declare that seat be filled by the next succeeding candidate.”

The AG’s view is supported by Dr. Jack Lee who argues that if an opposition candidate declines to take up an NCMP seat, the parly may not be obliged to offer that seat to the next eligible opposition candidate.

This has thrown up a very interesting debate as to the legal obligations of Parliament to fill the NCMP seats. Besides Dr Jack Lee, Professor Thio Li-ann has also been reported as taking the position that there is no legal obligation on Parliament to offer the seat to the next eligible candidate. In contrast, Professor Kevin Tan argues that article 39 of the Constitution, read with section 52 of the Parliamentary Elections Act obliges Parliament to offer the seat. He is quoted as saying that “The seat cannot be left vacant. A combined reading of both provisions makes it clear that Parliament must have nine members who do not form the government.”

If parly refuses to fill the seat, surely the Wayang Party should ask the court to decide if the AG’s interpretation of the law is the correct one. True the WP left it to  a part-time cleaner to ask the court to decide on whether the PM had the unfettered discretion in calling a by-election when it (the WP) would have been the beneficiary of such an action (Think Yaw’s vacating his MP’s post). M Ravi the lawyer who argued that the PM didn’t have unfettered discretion, said that the WP’s MP lawyers were “cow dung” for not supporting him.

Maybe that was WP Low practising non-action?

But since then, the WP has been going to court to row with the government on the need to get a licence from NEA to hold a trade fair, and with the MDA on whether an independent accountant should be appointed to supervise the disbursement of monies to the AHPETC.

And should the WP go to court, it has a good lawyer. Peter Low, WP’s go-to lawyer, is a highly respected lawyer in legal circles (unlike M Ravi: Ravi’s understanding of the law is problematic to many lawters, though not his bravery). Peter Low like Ravi works almost for free.

Social activist, feminist in denial

In Political governance on 16/09/2015 at 5:13 am

Sorry for the extensive quote but I tot it impt to give a flavour of the rubbish that an otherwise rational person (even if she’s one of those who believe that ang moh values are always best and whose organisation, AWARE, said anal sex is normal) is prepare to believe when the facts go against her prejudices. My comments are bracketed and in are not in italics. 

I ask myself, as many netizens are also doing this morning, a series of questions: Why did the majority of Singaporeans vote for the PAP? Why did they reject some very capable and good people in the opposition parties? Why did we have such high expectations of more opposition parties winning this election?

The problem is I, and many others like me, talk to other people who share the same views and concerns, an example of ‘confirmation bias.’. Hence, the high expectations.
But the reality is quite different as a study of the history of Singapore elections will show: Fear tactics work. Governance based on a philosophy of threats of impending crisis works.

In this election, PAP distinguished itself by stoking negative emotions, with threats and fear-mongering: The opposition cannot be trusted; the opposition will squander the reserves; the opposition doesn’t even know how to manage town councils; Singapore will be in serious trouble if you don’t vote for the PAP. [True, but she left out what Tharman said about the need for an Oppo and what the Oppo said that made the PAP’s fear mongering plausible)

… the opposition parties were offering positive outcomes: If they got elected, they would fight for a better life, for a more compassionate society, and work towards a change in policies that currently support the excesses of a capitalist market economy. They were offering to put Singaporean’s welfare and wellbeing above the demands of the capitalist economy. [They were also campaigning negatively: that the PAP’s hegemony was bad and needed checking to prevent it going rogue. Isn’t that negative campaigning? Btw, I’ hope to comment on what the Oppo needs do now that opposing the PAP per se no longer is enough.]
She concludes:

There is one certainty though. The PAP will change. They have to change to stay in power. [Why? Juz because you hate them? Didn’t you juz wrote, they did things the traditional PAP way and were rewarded handsomely?]
I voted for the PAP in the 1960s when they were a progressive party rooted in social, democratic ideology. I will vote for them again if they return to their roots.
But at this juncture in our history, I think we need diverse views, and diverse representation in parliamentto compel the PAP government to change.
My Facebook Avatar posted in response to the above tots:

Another one in denial. I’d put it this way. PE 2011 showed that 35% will vote PAP, 35% will vote for a more compassionate PAP person or policies. This election shows that the PAP are a lot smarter than the average cat and went after those who voted for Dr Tan but not for the PAP in 2011 GE. Btw, those who know me [my other Avatar, real life] know I predicted … in 2012 after PM’s May Day rally speech.

(Related post:

He went on: Pls leh in 60s, given the rhetoric of BarisanSoc, and their Chinese educated supporters, the English-educated (like my parents and Constance Singham) had no choice but to vote PAP. They were afraid to Cultural Revolution coming here. ))))

Here’s advice that all of us (especially those who like her in denial over the PAP’s huge victory) should heed:

— “Better keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it and remove all doubt.” This was said by the husband of Margaret Thatcher (remember her?), Dennis Thatcher.

— Boyzone’s Ronan Keating: “You say it best — when you say nothing at all.”

I’m thinking particularly of TOC’s “Savvy Artist” who tells us working adults constitute 30% of the voters (the data shows that there are a lot more of them as % of the voters) and implies that the anti-PAP voters iare entitled to lord it over the other voters.  I kid you not, go google “How PAP did not have the people’s mandate despite landslide victory”



Relax all, don’t panic, despair or gloat

In Political governance on 14/09/2015 at 4:53 am

PAPpies, anti-PAPpies, pro-Oppos and all cybernuts should chill out. The PAPies and their cybernuts should not gloat. The rest: don’t panic or despair or migrate..

As an ang moh expert* says

Singaporeans expected to be heard and felt at least in part they were reasonably so. The PAP’s optimal victory in swinging the pendulum in its favour was hard work in an intense contest. It will also require hard work ahead.

If anything the 2015 election shows is that the pendulum can indeed swing back.


The burden is now on the opposition to move beyond ‘walking the ground’ in specific constituencies and capitalising on anger, to developing a broader appeal that reaches those not politically active. Improving performance in parliament and focusing less on personality will be essential ingredients in this process.

Maybe this is why the PM and other ministers and MPs are restraint in their reaction,

For the PAP, one of the biggest challenges will be complacency.

The effort that was invested in securing the outcome and the timing of the 2015 polls will not be replicable. The large margins in many seats – even mistakenly perceived close seats – and the almost 10 per cent swing toward the incumbent party should not be seen as an ‘easy win’.

Unlike their supporters like Calvin Cheng who are gloating on social media .

(But Calvin Cheng, who pays to have his rubbish pollute Facebook, has this cute pix on Facebook. Goh Meng Seng must be upset. His People’s Parachutist Party doesn’t feature, as does SDA.)

Which neatly brings me back to the swing of the pendulum. If people like Goh Meng Seng (Parachutist Extraordinaire: Three GEs, three different parties, three different GRCs and declining share of votes) and the other clowns (think the Chiams**, SDA, Sebastian Teo, s/o JBJ) believe in the pendelum swing, they’ll be back in next GE with their antics, diluting the Oppos’ message yet again, making the PAP really happy.


*Bridget Welsh is a Senior Research Associate of the Center for East Asia Democratic Studies of the National Taiwan University where she conducts research on democracy and politics in Southeast Asia. She is also an Associate Fellow at The Habibie Center and University Fellow at Charles Darwin University. 

She lectured and researched at SMU before going to Taiwan. She went to school in KL and while a real ang moh, speaks with a Malayan accent. She’s a real expert on M’sian and S’porean affairs. She’s even stayed in Dayak longhouses in the course of her .

**Very sad to have to say this. He should have retired after GE 2011, if not before that GE.

MUST READ: JG explains the results

In Political governance on 12/09/2015 at 12:41 pm

A v.v. good explanation esp how the LKY effect works. Where I disagree with JG is that she leaves out the changes in PAP policy: These to me played a big part. Since PAP has become PAP Lite, the WP can no longer pose as PAP Lite: It will show that its strategy of being PAP Lite doesn’t work anymore.

Because PAP has become the real PAP Lite by moving left a little? What with all the spending of our money on ourselves, making life more comfortable

Dear TRE readers and CI (this letter sent to both sites),

During the GE hustings, I previously posted 2 articles ( and warning that PAP will do very well this election. These 2 letters attracted almost 200 comments in TRE with many deriding its prediction and even slamming me for being a PAP IB.

Unfortunately, many of my predictions materialized :
a) GE2015 is a pro-PAP wave,
b) GE 2015 is to PM LHL what GE 2001 was to GCT (as I correctly compared both), both of which was an unexpected +10% swing and major PAP landslide,
c) WP lost Punggol East SMC and was not even close to capturing East Coast GRC.

The knee-jerk reaction from the online community is to blame this on the increase in foreigners. Yes, maybe a 2-3% swing can be accounted for by this one factor, but a 10% swing cannot. With the benefit of hindsight and having observed all the hustings during the campaign period, these are my explanation for what accounted for the PAP landslide. I also have encouraging words to us opposition supporters at the end of this piece.

When a +10% swing happens, or when a huge wave happens, there can usually be only 1 major strategic explanation. In this case, to me, its undoubtedly LKY factor. But not in the way that you may think. The average voter didn’t go to the polls still mourning for LKY and feeling sympathetic enough to cast his/her vote for PAP. No, Singaporeans are much more sophisticated than that.

Instead, LKY’s death and week of mourning totally transformed today’s electorate : The Silent Majority Woke Up. Half a million people bonded in silence as they queued for hours at the Padang. Feeling united as Singaporeans. Millions more were similarly touched during the funeral procession and in that week of mourning. These observations are nothing new and naturally, emotions have also cooled with time.

But what has lasted is that the death of LKY had re-focussed Singaporeans, in a way no other event can, on what a rare gem they have in the Singapore they live in. A united people. A stable economy. A peaceful country. Strong leaders even though they did make mistakes prior to GE2011. These sentiments were reinforced by external events – 1MDB saga in Malaysia (making S’poreans appreciative of their clean govt), the plunge of the Ringgit to S$1=Rgt$3 (making S’poreans appreciative of their strong economy). During my conversations on the elections during the GE, not a few people mentioned about the Ringgit plunge and how “heng” they feel. Even the big haze on Cooling Off day did not elicit the usual complaints from S’poreans – if anything, it reinforced the Govt’s message that Sgp is a little red dot, vulnerable, and therefore needs a uniquely strong govt to paddle the ship. And this appreciative spirit (ie. looking back at the past with gratefulness), which was initially triggered by LKY’s death, had persisted and permeated the Sgp psyche going into GE2015.
As I wrote in my earlier pieces, as long as the electorate look back, PAP will win; if they look forward, the Opposition has a better chance.

To me, there were also indications that the Silent Majority is not only awakened to be grateful quietly, but has become more vocal in their rebuttal to the Vocal Minority. I follow a couple of other non-political blogs and I noticed this awakening. For eg, this stay-at-home-mum blogged about how she’s not only grateful during this National Day but resolved to teach her children about how far Singapore had come ( Even middle-of-the-road Instagram personalities like limjenjen (genre = food & cooking) and jwphay (genre = metrosexual male) were unabashedly demonstrating their support for today’s govt. These are people leading ordinary lives, not following all the ins and outs of politics. And the commonality is that all of them only started becoming more vocal of their support after LKY’s death.

That to me, is the single biggest factor.

Yes, there are other factors at play too but none of them qualify as a good-enough rationale to trigger a +10% swing in PAP’s support :
a) AHPETC : On balance, I think this is neutral. Some are put off by PAP’s constant barrage on this issue while some are put off that WP can’t seem to keep its house in order.
b) WP was a tad over-confident towards the last few days of the GE campaign. They started talking about what they will or will not do, if they form an alternative govt, never mind that they did qualify that this is not for the forseeable future and that they’re only contesting 28 seats. The average voter is no mood to contemplate an alternative govt.
c) NSP, RP, SDA, PP etc parties and campaign remain a joke.
d) SPP : The message from voters is that you can only play the CST sympathy card once (GE2011) and after that, it backfires.
e) SDP : Yes, the re-surgence of CSJ has excited some people but just those on the far left. You can’t win an election with just 30% of votes. SDP has yet to find a way to appeal to the centre in GE2011 and similarly in GE2015.

Finally, I want to end with some encouraging words to the opposition camp, particularly to WP :

1) I once again commend LTK for helping sense the change in wind conditions correctly and put his A-team to defend Aljunied GRC. Many were surprised when he announced very early that the Aljunied team is staying in tact. Many asked why he’s not deploying heavyweights into other GRCs. I argued then, that this is because LTK had lived through many elections, including GE2001 and knows only too well how if you read the wind conditions wrongly, you can get wiped out, as SDP’s 4-seats did during the pro-PAP GE2001 wave.

2) PE SMC won by Li Lian during the BE was a special case and not indicative of any change in trend, as LTK himself pointed out after the BE. PAP fielded a weak candidate in KPK and had been neglecting the SMC during Palmer’s time. Once PAP fielded a stronger candidate in Charles Chong, together with that wave, inevitably Li Lian lost her seat. So neither was the BE win nor this GE2015 loss any special indication of trend.

3) On balance, I think WP got the best result they possibly could, given this wave election. Think about it : Now WP got 1+5=6 MPs. And since Li Lian had indicated she’s not interested in the NCMP post, this means that Dennis Tan and 2 of the 4 (ie. Gerald Giam and either A/P Daniel Goh or Leon Pereira) East Coast GRC blue team now get to enter into Parliament. The latter 3 now have 4-5 years to make their mark on the national stage and arguably, strengthen WP’s ability to debate robustly in Parliament.

4) Finally, the most important message is this : Waves come and waves go. Nothing is permanent. Just as GE2001 was a singularly high point for PAP, GE2011 just 10 years later became a singularly low point. Indira Gandhi’s death in 1984 swept the Congress party to a 76% seat super-majority in Parliament; by 2014 Congress was swept out of power.

In the long term, WP’s message is correct : Today’s PAP is no longer the same as the old PAP and for long term stability, strong checks and balance is required. But political change takes time and first and foremost, the alternative has got to prove himself/herself. For India, it took 30 years from Congress’ high point to losing control. For Singapore, it will easily take a generation. None of these can be rushed.

In that sense, I applaud the sophistication of today’s Singapore electorate. They got 9 WP members into Parliament, including 3 of the most promising young turks. At the same time, it sends a clear message to the other opposition parties to present credible candidates or risk getting totally marginalized. Forget about “chopping as many seats as possible” in the next GE (what? you think its like choping hawker centre seats with tissue paper?). Its better to contest less seats but put all your firepower in walking the ground, again and again. And it allows the PAP the chance to prove that indeed it has truly changed and will not become more arrogant. Remember : the electorate can exalt you (as it did in GE2001) and it can also punish you (as it did in GE2011). Everyone, please buck up and work hard for the sake of Singapore. Isn’t that a good result ?


Spot on: My 2012 prediction

In Political governance on 12/09/2015 at 5:32 am

Oppo parties fought the wrong battle as I predicted in 2012 SIGH

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.


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.

PM commending Oppo candidates? Or he’s an alien?

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 09/09/2015 at 1:13 pm

Facebook exchange on PM’s call to judge “fairly and dispassionately” the character and intentions of General Election candidates come Polling Day on Sep 11:

A: PAP has no lack of quality? I struggle to find any of their new candidates or even their past ‘airborne’ brigade worth listening to seriously.can you? : )

B: The better oppo candidates this round : Daniel Goh, Paul Tambyah, Leon Pererira, He Ting Rui seem to be better, fresher and more in touch than the top PAP new entrants

Hence the need for stronger effective political competition ..

C: PM agrees that should vote for best candidates. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called on voters to judge “fairly and dispassionately” the character and intentions of General Election candidates come Polling Day on Sep 11.

“Compare the candidates on their quality of character, their integrity, their commitment to serve. Then cast your vote in good conscience on what you believe will secure a good future for your children,” said Mr Lee

C: He juz from another planet (Bizarro*?) on the quality of his gang.

And another thing. PM talks of getting the politics right. Well in 2006, he got a big vote of confidence and in 2011, even though he got a yellow card, he got a good win.

So why didn’t he get the right policies after we got the politics rihgt? He didn’t did he on public transport? (Minister commit hari kiri but PAP pretended he didn’t?) And on immigration? Remember the White Paper? Maybe he did get these policies right in Bizarro S’pore, not in the S’pore I live.


*Backgrounder from Wikipedia: The Bizarro World (also known as htraE, which is “Earth” spelled backwards) is a fictional planet appearing in American comic books published by DC comics. Introduced in the early 1960s, htraE is a cube-shaped planet, home to Bizarro and companions, all of whom were initially Bizarro versions of Superman, Lois Lane and their children and, later, other Bizarros including Batzarro, the World’s Worst Detective.

In popular culture “Bizarro World” has come to mean a situation or setting which is weirdly inverted or opposite to expectations.


Not a PAPpy poll: Govt satisfaction

In Political governance on 09/09/2015 at 4:32 am

Banging their balls, the cybernuts must be. Though they may take satisfaction that the trend is reversing steeply.

Lifted from yesterday’s FT

And read this

This is what a survey conducted by the constructive, nation-building media came up with (from CNA in recent past)

Are Singaporeans happy with life as a whole now – and do they feel confident about the next 10 years?

According to a survey commissioned by MediaCorp’s Current Affairs Unit, 66 per cent of residents said they are happy while 14 per cent said they are not. Asked whether life is close to ideal, five in 10 said yes.

Many expressed concerns over issues ranging from transport to housing and security. But even more people said they expected to be more worried about these issues 10 years down the road, reflecting a sense of uncertainty about the future.

Overall, six in 10 residents think economic conditions here will allow them to reach their personal goals.


With the buzz of a General Election in the air, what weighs heaviest on the minds of Singaporeans?

The affordability of healthcare, availability of affordable housing, and the loss of potential jobs to foreigners were the top three concerns of respondents. All three were hot-button issues in the last General Election in 2011.

Concerns about elderly needs and the availability of integrated healthcare came in fourth and fifth, respectively.

The survey involved 2,000 citizens and permanent residents from the ages of 18 to 65, across all races and income groups. Half were surveyed via email while the rest were interviewed face to face.


Despite more state funds being pumped into healthcare and subsidies such as the Pioneer Generation Scheme, as well as Medishield Life starting on Nov 1, healthcare affordability topped the list of respondents’ concerns, with 83 per cent saying they were worried about increasing healthcare costs.

Low-to-middle income workers (earning S$3,000 to S$5,000) were more worried about rising healthcare costs than low-income earners, who are on the receiving end of heavier subsidies and aid.

One respondent said: “Healthcare costs have increased exponentially over the years, notwithstanding the increase in subsidies.”

Associate Professor Paulin Straughan of the National University of Singapore’s sociology department said these are real concerns as life expectancy increases. “This quote sums it all. When you ask an individual to project their anxieties to the next 10 years, the only thing they can think of is the trend,” she said.

“This is one area we’ve been worried about because of the rise in costs. We are living much longer now, and we anticipate that we will be spending a significant portion of our life living with disabilities.

“And there’s nothing more worrisome than being ill when you don’t have an income any more.”


Despite HDB resale and private housing prices falling since early 2014, 78 per cent of respondents said they were concerned about the affordability of housing, with 47 per cent “extremely concerned”. The concern was greater among those aged 18 to 24.

Mr James Chia, a financial educator from Innervative Learning, said: “Ultimately you expect the trend to go up, especially with population increasing. It’s demand and supply, so the concern will always be there.”

Respondents, especially the younger generation, expressed worries about the difficulties of buying their own home.

Miss Rebekah Lin, co-founder of 50 For 50, a social enterprise, said: “The prices of property have risen much faster than an increase in salary. It is increasingly harder for young couples and singles to afford.”

Mr Chia said: “Housing is the biggest ticket item you’re going to buy in your life, so there will always be a concern.”


Since the 2011 General Election, the Government has scaled back foreign worker numbers and employment passes. It has also introduced initiatives such as the Jobs Bank, closer scrutiny of companies’ hiring practices, and even a wage subsidy if companies hire unemployed Singaporean professionals, managers and executives aged 40 and above for mid-level jobs.

But respondents said they are still worried that they will lose out on potential jobs to foreigners over the next five to 10 years.

Said Assoc Prof Straughan: “I’m not denying the fact that there are tension spots, but certainly we shouldn’t accept these as broad strokes to describe the implications of having immigration.

“Because truth of the matter is we don’t have enough of ourselves with a sustained low-fertility rate, (and) we’re not able to maintain the kind of buzz in our labour market.”

Mr Chia noted: “I think the concern runs deeper than the issue of foreigners.”

He said foreigners may be an easy target in terms of loss of jobs, but innovation, too, has the potential to displace jobs as Singapore gears towards being a smart nation.

Agreeing, Assoc Prof Straughan said that this boils down to being “future ready”.

She said: “You need to be able to future-proof your skill set so that you will always remain relevant no matter who is with you in the competitive arena.”

“The real issue (concerning foreigners) is really about a disparity that people perceive,” said Dr Nazry Bahrawi, humanities lecturer at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).

“I guess the PMETs are probably the ones that feel these most. And some find a bogeyman that is easy to seek,” Dr Nazry added.

“What we should do then is to look at how we can develop the groups that are caught up in this disparity rather than shape the discourse towards blaming a certain group that may not be the real concern here.”

Didn’t PM’s dad dad say we were daft?

In Political governance on 06/09/2015 at 12:45 pm

“Absurd logic that when PAP did good people should still vote opposition,” said PM.

PM. should realise, even ignoring his dad’s comments about daft S’poreans, S’poreans are not good at logical thinking. In 2011, still 60% of S’poreans voted for the PAP despite the PAP ignoring the signals S’poreans were sending in 2006 GE and thereafter. We were told we were delusional, unreasonable, yet 60% of S’poreans voted for the PAP. Now that’s absurd.

Seriously, PM should be a lot less arrogant, even if he is an aristocrat: natural or unnatural or self-nominated or just born into an atas family.

He may have been spending a lot more of our money on making life more comfortable on ourselves since 2012, and a bit less in paying himself, his ministers etc: but there’s plenty more that needs to be done. He owns most of problems that S’poreans are unhappy about because he was DPM from 1990 (when the rot set in) till 2004 when he became PM. In investment banking in the olden days, a deal maker owned the dud deals that he did. He had to turn them round.

And how is “good” defined? By the PAP or us the voters? And there’s always room for improvement?

Let me end with this piece from a Facebook poster (I agree with the sentiments in the first two paras):

For 10-days, yaya-PAPayas will be running & begging. For after that, the people will be doing the running & the begging.

For me, it is unnatural to see the PAP do that, because they are treated like royalties by their entourage. The minions are the real people doing all the dirty work the rest of the time, writing letters for the MPs to sign. Many-a-times, minions are also the ones with a closed mind, doing the rejections in the MTP sessions.

The whole system of patronage has to go, and bringing in new MPs is the way to wipe the slate clean. Change has to come from outside, like FIFA.

JJ our very own Houyi

In Political governance on 29/08/2015 at 1:08 pm

(For those not Chinese

The real Houyi would be targeting Auntie and her Singh for saboing the chances of JJ’s team winning Marine Parade. They failed to monitor the Managing Agent. Btw, JJ has an MBA. But obviously, this MBA didn’t include accountancy.

Bit sad about the WP’s short-comings. Would have been nice to see that arrogant GCT being made to chiai sai by being defeated.

Only 2 GRCs in play/ Only one will change hands

In Political governance on 28/08/2015 at 4:46 am

The only vulnerable GRCs (based on the 2006 GE election Aljunied margin of 12 points difference) are East Coast and Aljunied. In each, the winner won by only 10 points.

As Marine Parade is only two points more than Aljunied’s 12 points in 2006, I’ll include it as possibly being in play.

I’ll let Avinology describe the ground before I analyse the two issues that will decide who will win in these areas.

East Coast GRC

Without a doubt, this will be the hottest contest to watch for GE2015. The strongest opposition party, with 7 MPs and 1 Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) in parliament, is set for a rematch in East Coast GRC where they narrowly lost to the People’s Action Party (PAP). It was the narrowest win for a GRC for the ruling party, with just 54.8% of valid votes. For the WP, Gerald Giam from the losing team in East Coast GRC managed to snatch a seat in parliament as a NCMP for being one of the best-performing losers.

Giam is likely to be leading the WP team for this second showdown. His potential WP team mates include National University of Singapore associate professor and sociologist Daniel Goh, 42; law firm partner Dennis Tan, 44; research and consultancy firm chief executive Leon Perera, 44; and librarian Mohamed Fairoz Shariff, 36.

On the PAP’s end, the anchor minister in East Coast GRC, Minister for Manpower, Lim Swee Say, 61, wants to stay put. It is likely his team will stay very much the same. His running mates are likely to be Lee Yi Shyan, 53, Senior Minister of State in the ministries of Trade and Industry and National Development; Dr Maliki Osman, 50, Mayor of the South East District of Singapore, and a Senior Parliamentary Secretary at the ministries of Defence and National Development; and  Jessica Tan, 49, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore.

Aljunied GRC

This is the only GRC currently helmed by an opposition party. The WP’s top guns are all in this GRC, including WP’s secretary-general, Low Thia Khiang, 58; WP’s chairman, Slyvia Lim, 50; lawyer Chen Show Mao, 54; lawyer Pritam Singh, 39 and Muhamad Faisal Manap, 40.

The PAP seems unlikely and unwilling to send any bigwigs to contest in Aljunied GRC. It seems more apparent that they will be fielding a ‘suicide squad’ of political unknowns, comprising Victor Lye, PAP’s branch chairman at Bedok Reservoir-Punggol; Chua Eng Leong, 42, PAP’s branch chairman for Eunos; Chan Hui Yeh; K Muralidharan Pillai, 44, head of commercial litigation at Rajah and Tann; and Shamsul Kamar, 43, former head of department for student management at Spectra Secondary School.

WP’s Achilles heel are the controversies over town council funds and the way the WP is running the town council. By fielding a team of grassroot leaders, the PAP may be capitalising on this issue to bring down the WP. Do not dismiss the ‘suicide squad’ just yet as they may be the underdogs necessary to win over the hearts of Aljunied voters.


Marine Parade GRC

Versus a weak opposition party, the National Solidarity Party (NSP), who had just one strong candidate in their team, fresh face, Nicole Seah, then 23, the much stronger PAP team was only able to win with a small margin of 56.65% of valid votes in 2011.

For the coming election, the PAP team will see competition from a stronger opposition party, the WP.

With Goh Chok Tong stepping down from the cabinet, the anchor minister for Marine Parade GRC is now Minister for Social and Family Development, Tan Chuan-Jin, 46.

Would Tan be able to win back vote shares? Or would WP claw away more votes?


A very important difference between Aljunied 2011 and East Coast and Marine Parade 2015, is that the WP has not been walking the ground in the two PAP areas. And that the PAP teams are not as complacent as George Yeo and his wimmin from hell were.

Auntie Sylvia started work walking the ground almost immediately after the 2006 GE. She had a core of dedicated WP members with her (Goh Meng Seng who contested in Aljunied with her, doesn’t do walking the ground, only parachuting in and walking out in a huff, and blowing smoke, was not one of the team. Not it seems that Auntie wanted him. It’s alleged that he was a male chauvinist pig. Other half beat him at home and he took it out on Auntie publicly?)

The WP made their presence felt.

One cannot say the same of the WP in East Coast and Marine Parade since GE 2011.

Senior Minister of State and PAP MP for East Coast GRC Lee Yi Shyan appears confident that his team will triumph come the General Election.

He quipped that with so much work done in East Coast by the PAP team, any opposition party that comes around once in five years might need to be ushered around the constituency.

Someone was joking to me that because we have undergone so many changes in Bedok Town Centre, some who come here once every five years might get lost, so we might need to provide free tour guide services to show them around. CNA

Actually the tour guides will come in useful for the WP for another reason. Only Gerald Giam is left of the v2011 team that contested East Coast. The new team will be newbies who have only recently starting walking the ground.

Zorro Lim talked recently of personalised outreach in East Coast.

“Since 2011, throughout East Coast, we’ve organised many small groups of engagement with our residents, block by block, group by group. We always go for mass outreach through deep engagement,” he said.

“We do it block by block, so block by block, so one week, one resident from this block, next week resident from the other block – very deep engagement. I am able to talk to the residents, I am able to look at each and every one of their faces, I can address each and every one of their concerns, and they can see me personally.”


Something similar has been done in the HDB blocks in Marine Parade GRC.

As for Marine Parade, JJ has walked Joo Chiat but the rest of Marine Parade had not seen the WP, until now. let alone the NSP. Both parties were AWOL.

(No her, in Marine Parade)

Meanwhile Victor Lye and team have covered the ground thoroughly in Aljunied. If George Yeo and his women from hell had bothered to do half the walking Lye and friends have been doing, Aljunied would have been safe.

Other than who has been more diligent in walking the ground, the other issue that will prevent East Coast and Marine Parade from becoming WP is one I’m sick about writing.

During a recent debate between the PAP and the Oppo parties Mr Giam of the WP said the WP has addressed the points raised by the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) on the town council. “But we didn’t see a need to constantly respond to every single time the Government kept repeating the same issues again and again,” he said. “Just because the PAP does not want to accept our explanations does not mean that we haven’t explained.”


Sorry, as readers know, I don’t buy this.

I now live in Marine Parade GRC (Joo Chiat kanna rezoned). I’ve voted for the WP since I was able to vote (bicycle thieves, an ex-Woodbridge patient) because I believe that a one-party state is bad for S’pore; but do I want to live in a GRC managed by the WP, a party that couldn’t keep proper records, and is in denial over this fact? And which throws smoke on the issue. It can’t bluff me because I was a Hon Treasurer of a club JJ assure Marine Parade voters.

And I’m not alone: the neighbours (they are accountants, lawyers etc), and the really real Marine Parade residents I talk to, are wondering if the bad record keeping will continue. We know WP can keep the area clean and tidy, but can it keep proper financial records?

If JJ wants our vote, pls tell us how we can be certain that proper accounting records will be kept? And give us his personal assurance that no major irregularity will surface when there is a forensic audit of AHPETC’s accounts from 2012 to 2015. Btw, JJ has a Masters in Finance but I assume it didn’t cover basic accounting principles.

If no assurances are forthcoming, the PAP may not get our votes (certainly not mine), But the WP certainly won’t.

I’m sure there are enough voters in East Coast who will will agree with us, and by denying the WP our votes, keep these areas free of irregular town council accounting.

And I wouldn’t be surprised that there are enough voters in Aljunied who think like us and don’t support the WP this time round.

As I said: Two GRCs in play, only one will change hands.

AIM’s sotong trap

In Accounting, Political governance on 27/08/2015 at 4:36 am

 This piece is my reaction to

— what TOC reported MP Ravi as saying on the running of a town council if he wind Hong Kah’; and

— a letter to TRE from a reader.

Mr Philemon said that residents can be assured that he would be able to run a town council if he were to be elected as he is supported by the party machinery of SPP, which had run Potong Pasir for twenty over years.

“We have twenty over years of experience with Mr Chiam leading the town council in Potong Pasir. And when he left, he left with a surplus. And there were lifts upgraded, I think about 29 lifts that were upgraded, without residents co-paying for it. So that is the kind of assurance the residents can have, when they elect someone from SPP.

Not so easy Ravi. I hope that the appropriate people in SPP read an article in TRE on how AIM fixed the WP in Aljunied. To double confirm, I append the piece in full below and I sent this post to Ravi.

Last December, I asked if AHPETC had a 21st century IT systema world-class town council town council management software package?

It turned out that according to the Auditor-General, AHPETC didn’t even an accounting system that was fit for purpose.

Here’s a piece from TRE that has a plausible explanation for part of the WP’s accouting woes: that the WP was fixed. The writer makes certain assumptions like AIM uses Oracle or that the WP used Excel to store files, but ignore these very technical issues.

At heart waz he saying is that the WP or (rather I suspect) its Managing Agent walked into a trap laid by the PAP: “When the export [of data from the AIM system] is done, you will need to import the data to the new system. And you can only do it after the new system is developed. Most likely the new system will be a subset of the old system.

Therefore with the removal of the system from AHPETC, all this information is gone. They will need to manually extract the information from the exported files. Definitely no easy task.”

This explains why the AHPETC had problems submitting data to MDA, And why Auntie and Pritam took so long to verify the arrears issue.

Now this begs the question: Why did the WP not foresee the problem? Or did it think, minor IT issue? (No, I don’t ask why did AIM fix the voters’ choice, it’s in the DNA of the the PAP: fixing the Oppo and all voters.)

And is it now too pi seh to admit it got screwed?

But it still doesn’t explain why its Managing Agent didn’t keep proper records of the transactions that the Managing Agent undertook when it started operations or why the WP didn’t monitor its Managing Agent. Remember it had three hot shot lawyers, and JJ (Masters in finance). OK it didn’t have a trained accountant at a senior level.


What you should know about the AHPETC-AIM saga

 With the elections coming, I decided to pen this article about the whole AHPETC saga. So far the articles that have been written have always been about the accounting lapses and what not. But none of them were written from an IT perspective. (Maybe no more SG IT professionals since all of them are replaced by FT, including me)

This is what we know so far.

The town council system that was used previously by the old Aljunied is a S$24 million software solution and it was sold to AIM for S$140,000.

I wasn’t involved in the project nor am I a member of WP. But anybody who has done Application Development projects with the government will know this is a huge project and it will probably involve hundreds of developers and testers, a couple of Project Managers and more Business Analysts. The size of the project tells me that they are using Oracle database (its license can easily reach $1million at least). The type of servers it is running on should be very high end, always turn on and has to be constantly kept cool (Air con is always on. Redundant air cons must be on standby in case the main one failed). This should be at least a 16 months project. I will not be surprised if it is 24 months.

However this is not the main issue. The main issue is the information from the database. And there are lots of it.

For example, these are the scenarios that I can think of.

Who has paid S&CC fees for last month? Who hasn’t? If you haven’t paid, is this your first time? Any reminders send? If so when? If this isn’t the first time, then how many times haven’t paid? If this isn’t the first time, then what are the months that have missed payments?

What type of flat? Based on flat type, penalty fees can be calculated.

Whether you are a PR or a citizen? Because the rates may be calculated differently.

If you have moved to a new flat within the GRC and you have missed the payments, what is the new address? How to ensure that the bill will be send to the new address and not the old?

These are just the tip of the iceberg. For a S$24 million project, there will be hundreds of scenarios more.

So if AHPETC was given 1 month to migrate the data, it will be an impossible task. Because to migrate, you need a new system for the migration to work. You need to migrate from the old to new system.

If there is no new system, then you have to export the data out. Given the time constraint, most likely to Excel files. And it will not be to 1 file. There will be hundreds/thousand of Excel file because of the way relational databases are designed. With Excel, it is very difficult to sort, filter and analyse the huge amount of data.

However that is only half the story.

When the export is done, you will need to import the data to the new system. And you can only do it after the new system is developed. Most likely the new system will be a subset of the old system.

Therefore with the removal of the system from AHPETC, all this information is gone. They will need to manually extract the information from the exported files. Definitely no easy task.

In short, I hope everyone will know the significance of what AIM has done.

Yours Sincerely,


Time to worry? No worries, vote PAP like in 2001 LOL

In Economy, Political governance on 26/08/2015 at 3:45 am

There’s been a lot of speculation on why PM is giving us a holiday on Friday 11 September because polling is usually on a Saturday. These range from 12th being last day of Hungry Ghost Month to a subtle reminder of 9/11.

Whatever, the turmoil in world financial markets (At the end of this post is a long piece from NYT’s dealbook describing the financial markets on Monday night NY time and the dangers to the global economy if prices continue to slide, US$ rise) will make the PAP the more attractive party to swing voters already enjoying the fruits of the PAP’s administration largesse with our money, even, if they, like me, continue to mistrust the PAP administration on FT inflows.

So expect the constructive, nation-building media to play up the dangers of the turmoil to the S’porean economy. I’m not saying that there are no dangers, there are. We are an open economy and many S’poreans are mortgaged to above their eyeballs to buy “affordable” public housing. Lose job how? Higher interest rates how? We may know that the PAP administration is responsible for many S’poreans to be mortgaged to above their eyeballs because they bot “affordable” public housing. But can a coalition of the alternative parties do better than the PAP administration in an economic crisis?

If the turmoil continues, the ground will be sweet for the PM with swing voters preferring the PAP. Remember in 2001, the year where the global economy got into trouble and 9/11, the PAP won 73% of the populaw vote and the Oppo retained their two seats (In 1997, they lost two of the four seats they won in 1991.)


This appeared in NYT’s Dealbook on Monday

GLOBAL MARKETS CONTINUE TO PLUNGE Stocks continued last week’s slide, led by a rout in Asia, David Jolly and Neil Gough report in DealBook. Shanghai’s stock market closed down 8.5 percent, erasing its gains so far this year.

The market plunged despite an announcement by China’s government on Sunday that the country’s pension funds would be allowed for the first time to invest in stocks. Pension funds can now invest as much as 30 percent of their holdings in the stock market. The main state-run pension fund manages about $550 billion of ordinary citizens’ retirement savings.

The concerns over China’s economic slowdown and the souring view of once-favored emerging economies have rattled financial markets in recent days and show no sign of letting up.

Stocks fell sharply at the open of trading in Europe, with the Euro Stoxx 50, a barometer of eurozone blue chips, dropping 2.2 percent in early trading. The FTSE 100 in London fell 2.05 percent and the DAX in Germany fell 2.29 percent. Trading in Standard & Poor’s 500 futures indicated thatWall Street was headed for a downturn at its opening bell.

The tumble on Monday follows the steep sell-off on Wall Street on Friday, when the Dow Jones industrial average fell 3.1 percent, threatening to end the six-year rally in United States stocks.

The gloom hung over the entire Asian region on Monday. The Nikkei 225 stock average closed 4.6 percent lower, while Australia’s main index fell 4.1 percent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed down 5.2 percent.

Most Asian currencies fell against the dollar, including the Malaysian ringgit, which slipped 1.4 percent in early afternoon trading. The yen, considered a regional haven currency, rose against the dollar for the fourth day in a row. Prices for commodities such as oil and copper continued their retreat.

The sharp decline in global markets has sped up as the large mutual funds that helped fuel rapid growth in developing countries have begun retreating from those investments, Landon Thomas Jr. reports in DealBook. In the last week alone, investors pulled $2.5 billion from emerging-market bond funds, the largest withdrawal since January 2014.

The selling spree has raised concerns among regulators and economists about a broader contagion that could make it difficult for individual investors to withdraw money from their mutual funds.

Although these funds do not use borrowed money, as did the banks that failed during the mortgage crisis, they have invested large sums in high-yielding bonds and bank loans that are not easy to sell – especially in a bear market.

If investors ask to be repaid all at once – as happened in 2008 – a bank run could unfold because funds would have difficulty meeting the demands of people wanting their cash back.

Because large global banks suffered significant losses during the financial crisis and were forced to rein in their lending, more nimble bond investors stepped in.

In January, economists at the Bank for International Settlements, or B.I.S., a clearing house for global central banks, highlighted in a study how fast dollar-based lending to companies and countries outside the United States had increased since the financial crisis – doubling to over $9 trillion. This growth was coming not from global banks but from American mutual funds buying the bonds of emerging-market issuers.

Large fund companies like BlackRock, Franklin Templeton and Pimco have been inundated with money from investors eager to invest in the high-yielding bonds of emerging-market corporations and countries.

For example, Pimco’s Total Return bond fund, a mainstay for investors with fairly conservative investment goals, has 21 percent of its $101 billion in assets invested in emerging-market bonds and derivatives.

Among the many beneficiaries of this largess were commodity-driven borrowers like the state-owned oil companies Petrobras in Brazil and Pemex in Mexico, the Russian state-owned natural gas exporter Gazprom, and real estate developers in China.

One of the more extreme cases of this bond market frenzy was in Mongolia. In 2012, with expectations high that the relatively tiny economy would reap the benefits of China’s ceaseless appetite for raw materials, the government sold $1.5 billion worth of bonds, with demand from investors reaching $10 billion. That meant, in effect, that the country was in a position to borrow twice its $4 billion gross domestic product.

Three years later, the International Monetary Fund is warning that Mongolia may not be able to make good on these loans – 14 percent of which are owned by Franklin Templeton, according to Bloomberg data – and the yields have shot up to about 9 percent from 4 percent.

Brazil, China, Malaysia, Russia, Turkey and others have sold more than $2 trillion in bonds, mostly to American mutual fund companies, since 2009. As this money flowed in, financing skyscrapers in Istanbul and oil exploration in Brazil, economies and currencies strengthened.

Now as that money heads for safety, local currencies are plunging.

B.I.S. economists warned this month that because bond funds have become so large and own so many of the same securities (many of which tend to be hard to sell), a bond-selling panic can spread quickly.

What worries many regulators and economists is how much mutual fund money is now tied up in hard-to-sell bonds – an amount that far exceeds the exposure investors had to these markets in earlier emerging-market crises.

Zorro: Sotong or trying to sotong us over FT, local numbers

In Political economy, Political governance, Public Administration on 24/08/2015 at 4:25 am

Shielding Workers

But first, dare PM, Zorro, Kee Chui or anyone in the PAP or the NTUC dare say they are safeguarding S’poreans’ jobs or wages? (Sorry, the image can’t appear in the post: OK in draft. Go to and scroll down) (I’ll leave PM’s outrageous attempt at misrepresenting our views on FTs for another day)

Let’s look at the facts of job protection for locals here. I”ll let Manpower Minister (and previously NTUC head) Lim Swee Say speak first.

In an interview last week,  said that the government will hold fast to its goal of having a two-thirds Singaporean core in the economy, and this will be the structure of the country’s workforce in the “medium to long term”. BS

NCMP Yee says Lim talking cock over optimistic view of maintaining 1/3 FTs in “medium to long term” For starters, FT workforce already more than 1/3

On his blog [Link] on 21 Aug, JJ pointed out that former Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin had admitted that the one-third FT target is possible only for this decade, during a Parliamentary debate 2 years ago.

“That I agree with.”

“Whilst doing our own computations for alternative models, we had then studied all the publicly available numbers about population in Singapore. There will be net addition to the local workforce from 2013 till 2020, the end of this decade. This is because there will be more Singaporeans turning of age to be included into the workforce than there are Singaporeans retiring.”

He noted that beyond 2020, in order to get the kind of economic growth the PAP government had wanted in the White Paper, there has to be more addition of foreign labour without any addition of local manpower.

“How much to add will depend on productivity growth, which the government had set a target of 2-3%. Sadly, this productivity growth has been near zero or negative in recent years.”

He therefore questioned Lim’s talk of maintaining the 2:1 ratio of Singaporean to foreign workers in Singapore’s workforce in the “medium to long term”.

“So, Mr Lim’s comments that the two-thirds Singaporean core will be something for the  ‘medium to long term’ is rather puzzling. What is ‘medium to long term’?”

“His predecessor (Tan Chuan-Jin) had already agreed with me that ‘by 2020 our own domestic labour force growth will basically end up at about zero. So whatever growth we have thereafter will largely be foreign labour growth’ and that ‘it (foreign workforce) is really about one-third for this decade until about 2020.”

Worse, the proportion of local work force seems to be decreasing while that of foreign work force is increasing.

“At the point that I had asked the question in March 2013, based on available manpower data of 2012, locals made up 63.0% of the workforce. By 2014, this figure has dropped to 61.9%. It was 62.1% in 2013 (Source:”

Mid 2012 Mid 2013 Mid 2014
Total Workforce (‘000) 3,361.8 3,443.7 3,530.8
Local Workforce (‘000) 2,119.6 2,138.8 2,185.2
% Local 63.0% 62.1% 61.9%

In other words, as of last year, the proportion of foreign workers in our work force was already 38.1%, more than 1/3.

“Is Mr Lim’s definition of long-term up to 2020 only? If it is beyond 2020, how is he going to achieve that because even with a growing local workforce in this current decade, the ratio has been declining well past the two-thirds ratio already while productivity has failed to improve?”

Hear, hear for JJ, This is the kind of questioning I expect when I voted for WP at the last GE.

Back to the interview. Zorro said that the tightening of Singapore’s foreign manpower was not a reaction to past mistakes, but was rather a reflection that realities had changed. The inflow of foreign manpower was a hot topic during the 2011 General Election, and Mr Lim identified the “determination to manage” the growth of the foreign workforce here as the key shift in manpower policy since.

“It’s not so much because the policy of the past was a mistake but rather, we are now having a new stage of growth and therefore we have to pursue a new direction,” he said.

Oh how very convenient that “a new stage of growth” comes at a politically convenient time?

If anyone believes this, they’ll believe anything.

He went on to say, “Every country has to find the right balance … But on the whole, I would say that we have managed the process a lot more effectively compared to some other cities and countries. Through the manpower quota system, we have ensured foreign manpower spread across all sectors and companies.”

Manpower quota system? As TRE pointed out: for foreign PMETs, that is, foreign EP holders, there is no quota imposed in Singapore.

In the US, for example, the congress controlled their H-1B visa (equivalent to Singapore’s EP) for foreigners tightly. The current US law limits to 65,000 the number of foreign nationals who may be issued a H-1B visa each fiscal year. US laws also exempt up to 20,000 foreign nationals holding a master’s or higher degree from US universities from the cap on H-1B visas. In addition, excluded from the ceiling are all H-1B foreign workers who work at universities, non-profit research facilities associated with universities, and government research facilities. Universities can employ an unlimited number of foreign workers as cap-exempt. This also means that contractors working at but not directly employed by the institutions may be exempt from the cap as well. In FY2010, 117,828 H-1B visas were issued by US government. In FY2012, it was 135,991 [Link].

In Singapore, for example, the figures given by the government for the number of EP holders at the end of 2010 and 2011 were 142,000 and 176,000. That means, there is an increase of 34,000 foreign EP holders in Singapore in 2011 [Link]. If we were to add in S-Pass holders, the increase in number of foreign PMETs in 2011 came to 49,000. That’s already almost half of what the whole of US issued in FY2010.

Also, spouses of H-1B visa holder in US are not allowed to work at all. But in Singapore, spouses of EP holders can work through obtaining a Dependant’s Pass [Link].

Coming back to the protection of jobs and wages, it would seem that the PAP and NTUC can safely say that they are protecting FTs jobs and wages here, given the absence of quotas for employment pass holders. What do you think?

SDP’s Dr Paul Tambyah said something recently that deserves to be very widely known. At a recent forum organised by the National University of Singapore Society where representatives from nine opposition parties and the ruling PAP were present, Dr Paul Tambyah said that young local doctors complaining about the hours and working conditions in hospitals, were told that the hospitals could always employ FTs at lower salaries. If our brightest citizens (even straight As can’t get into the local medical schools)  are threatened with FT replacements, what about the Vocational Institutes’ grads?

Yet at the forum Sim Ann representing the PAP said, “We always put SGs front and centre.”

I ask again, “If our brightest and most expensively educated get threatened with being replaced by cheaper FTs, are the Normal streamers safe?”

Dare PM say this tonite? It was once possible

In Political governance on 23/08/2015 at 1:23 pm

There’s been a fair bit in the MSM and new media about well-off S’porean parents being able to buy the best education that money can buy.

“I want to transform this country – to shake it up profoundly, so that the life chances of a child born today aren’t determined by how much their parents earn but by their potential, by their work ethic and by their ambition.”*

(*New Labour leader in Scotland who BBC reports as fairly centrist. Bear in mind the Scots are considered left of centre in the UK. So she’d be regarded in England as at least as left of centre. In S’pore the space occupied by the SDP.)

Once upon a time, we had something like “life chances of a child born today aren’t determined by how much their parents earn but by their potential, by their work ethic and by their ambition”. This is what Ravi, a Chiams’ Party candidate in the next GE said

I come from a disadvantaged family and went to work after completing my GCE ‘O’ Level, at the age of 16, despite qualifying for higher education. I worked as a store-hand making just $300 so that I can help my mother. With an absent father in my life, my mother was my hero, and being the eldest child, my sense of duty compelled and pushed me into the adult world.

Even then, I knew that education was the great leveller. I pushed myself and completed the GCE ‘A’ Level and other diploma courses while working. Today I hold a Bachelor of Arts (Management) from Heriot-Watt University.

The Singapore back then, the political leaders and policies back then, provided various opportunities for me and allowed me to dream.  With hard work and perseverance, I rose from being a store-hand to be the Director of a welfare agency.

Our children and their children must not lose this ability to dream. Our leaders today are telling them that they don’t need a degree, that you can be a hawker, or a crane operator – that good qualifications no longer guarantee a good job. While saying all these, they are granting S-Passes, employment passes and permanent residency to foreigners with degrees.

With this being the situation now, what is the kind of a future that awaits our children? Will there be enough opportunities for them in their own country? Or will they be subordinate to better-qualified foreigners?

And do remember that in 2011 one Harry said:

Students from families with at least one or both parents being university graduates are likely to have a better learning environment.

The correlation was evident in statistics released when Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew visited Dunman High School on Monday.

Mr Lee also assured non-Chinese students that promoting the learning of the Chinese Language well was not meant to harm them.

The minister mentor has been visiting schools recently to gauge for himself the quality of Singapore’s education and whether Singapore is fair to everyone.

His first conclusion was that neighbourhood schools are as well-equipped with physical resources as “brand name” schools.

Secondly, he found that teachers are competent – even though the better ones may gravitate towards “brand name” schools.

Mr Lee said: “Of course, the better teachers gravitate to the ‘brand name’ schools because the status is higher and the principals scout out the better teachers, but in the neighbourhood schools they are equally competent.”

However, he commented on one area of difference – referring in particular to the educational background of parents.

He said: “”If both or at least one parent is university educated, the chances of the home background would be more favourably supportive, with books and all the paraphernalia that makes for a learning child.

“That is the situation we face – to get the lesser educated parents to understand that at an early stage, they must try to get their children accustomed to go to the library, reading, trying to get used to acquiring knowledge by themselves, and not being spoon-fed by the teachers.”

Mr Lee also released a table which showed the proportion of students who have graduate parents in some of Singapore’s leading and neighbourhood schools.

For “brand names” schools like ACS Independent, it is nearly 72 per cent; Dunman High 42 per cent and Raffles Institution 55 per cent.

At schools like Crescent Girls, the figure is about 50 per cent; and Victoria School 45 per cent.

On the other hand, for neighbourhood schools, the percentage of one or both parents being graduates ranged from 7 to 13 per cent.

During his visit to Dunman High, Mr Lee spent much of his time interacting with the students, finding out their family background, the language they spoke at home as well as among friends in and outside schools.

“What programmes do you watch on television or radio?” Mr Lee asked a student, who replied: “I watch mainly Channel 8 programmes with my family.”

Mr Lee has spent time over the years, emphasising that students need to do well in English – even as Singapore embraced a bilingual policy.

He said: “At the same time, we want to keep as much, as high a level of our mother tongue as possible. And in the case of the Chinese, it is an advantage because if you are proficient in Chinese, later on doing business in China is easier.

“But to juggle the two languages is no easy matter. But I emphasise English because I want the non-Chinese parents to understand that their children are not losing (out) when we say improve higher standards in Chinese. We are still an English-speaking, English-working society.”

More school visits have been planned for the minister mentor.

– CNA/al

GE 2015, repeat of GE 2001?

In Political governance on 23/08/2015 at 4:45 am

Below is a piece that appeared in TRE’s letters section. I commend it for yr reading. V.V. good good analysis. Most of which I agree. Actually a better comparison would be with the GE in 1997, when the SDP dropped from 2 seats to zero. Oppo had two seats from 4. And the PAP had a 5 points increase in its share of the popular vote.

Is that you JG that commented on my pieces? If so can you give yr views on Hri Kumar’s latest views on the WP’s stonewalling on the AHPETC accounting issues see below). Basically I agree with Hri Kumar’s comments. For the sake of completness I also include Andrew Loh’s comments on Facebook

Dear TRE and TRE readers,

I have read your comments to my earlier article and not surprisingly, many of you are in denial of this possibility. Many of you think I am PAP IB or just out of touch. I am not. I have contributed comments before to TRE (TRE admin can easily check against the email address that I use) and can see that indeed all my previous comments are not pro-PAP.

In Greek mytology, Cassandra warned the people about what was happening but was ignored to the people’s detriment. I can see what is happening and it is my duty to put this red flag right in front of you so you too do not get shell shocked if it happens.

Simply put : GE 2015 will be to PM LHL what GE 2001 is to GCT. And of all people, WP’s LTK knows it and this is why he is strategising accordingly.

Election rides on waves. GE 2011 was a wave election and even the PAP candidates sensed it. The people were angry – Josephine Teo said “sometimes we don’t know why people are so angry”, WP’s LTK risked everything on the table by leaving Hougang SMC and joining the Aljunied GRC. But don’t assume that just because the last election was a wave that favored the opposition, it will be the same this year.

Sometimes the wave can turn and favor the PAP too, although TRE readers find that hard to believe. GE 2001 was a wave election that favored the PAP because the people were scared when the economy fell off the cliff after the 9/11 attacks. Result : Unexpected +10% swing to the PAP and even WP’s LTK Hougang share of votes went down by 1.7%.

GE 2001 was a crushing blow to opposition supporters. They did not see it coming. They could not believe it. They saw the crowds in the opposition rallies and thought they were going to win, this time. It was totally unexpected and a big blow. I’m writing this article so that you do not feel that same way in this GE 2015.

GE 2015 will similarly be a wave election favoring the PAP. The LKY sentiment is still strong, especially among the seniors. Couple that with the Pioneer Package and recently concluded SG50 celebrations which put many people in a good mood. I’ve elaborated on all these in my last post, so will not do this here.

But I will share this lesson from history : Indira Gandhi was assasinated on Oct 1984 and a snap election was held on Dec 1984. Riding on the wave of sympathy votes, Congress party gained 30 seats and a landslide victory. You ignore lessons from history to your peril. Many of you think LKY is no big deal but to _70% of the voting population, he’s a big big big deal.

In any case, the strongest indication that I may be right comes from no other than WP’s LTK himself. Other than CST, he is the only surviving opposition MP who has lived through wave elections that turn against him. So of all people, he’s easily the shrewdest and most battle hardened politician around.

What is PAP’s strategy when they released the electoral boundaries? Simple –

1) Just contain WP’s influence solely to Aljunied GRC and Hougaing SMC. In other words, give up on these.

2) Fortify East Coast GRC by cutting off Feng Shan SMC. I estimate that pro-forma basis, GE 2011 would have seen East Coast GRC at 60% PAP votes, not just 55%, with this change. Dissolve Joo Chiat SMC.

3) Flood all the GRCs that WP is likely to contest in with veteran, strong MPs. Look at Jalan Besar GRC — it now includes the Chinatown ward of ever popular Lily Neo carved out of Tanjong Pagar. Plus heavyweight unionist Heng Chee How. Look at Yishun GRC — it has now included the strongest ward of former AMK GRC, ie. Kebun Baru.

4) Adopt a new strategy of putting in retiring, veteran MPs into winnable areas. Thus move Charles Chong out of Joo Chiat and get him to win back Punggol East SMC. Punggol East SMC was lost in the 2013 BE not because Li Lian was a particularly strong candidate but because “Son of Punggol” made so many rookie mistakes that he was a bad candidate.

Look at how LTK responded.

LTK sensed that this election will be different from GE 2011 and much tougher because this time, the wave will turn towards the PAP.

Look at WP’s message in this GE 2015 –

“I know you are happy with the changes that the PAP has started to make. But you got all these changes, because you voted us opposition into Parliament. If you are so happy now that you don’t vote for us, you will regret it because PAP will take you for granted again”.

I repeat : ” I know you are happy “. In other words, he knows the electorate mood in GE 2015 is not the same as GE 2011.

He knows that the electoral boundary changes PAP has made will make it more difficult to gain ground. His own people are giving him this feedback too — here is what Gerald Giam posted on 6th Aug in his Facebook :

“Visited Simei again yesterday evening. Many residents told us they were glad we were coming back to contest. Had a good chat with one resident who said she was voting for the incumbent because she liked the local MP. I acknowledged that the local MP has done a good job (Jessica’s work at the local and town level is certainly something we look to emulate) but that a general election is about more than just voting for a local MP.”

He also knows that PAP had attacked AHPETC hard enough that while many people still do not fully buy PAP’s story about “integrity problems”, it is enough to cast doubts in middle-ground voters mind, especially those outside of Aljunied GRC. At the same time, he knows that by 31-Aug, the audit results for FY 2014 must be released and more likely than not, it is again a poor audit results.

This is why he has decided to keep the Aljunied GRC MPs intact. In other words, he is playing defensive, not offensive, in this GE 2015. Uncharacteristic of him, he announces this very early so that the PAP will “lose hope” and not field any changes in their weak team in Aljunied. He hopes that he will get _55% of votes this time, so that he can claim a mandate from the Aljunied residents that notwithstanding all the AHPETC audit issues, they back him strongly. This is similar to how, after the Saw affair, there was a BE in Hougang and all talks about “integrity problem” dissolved when they did better in that BE than in GE 2011 itself.

His best hope for a seat pickup is in Feng Shan SMC and he’ll probably field Gerald Giam there. When PAP cut Feng Shan off from East Coast, PAP is already prepared to potentially lose this SMC in order to save East Coast GRC. (Like I said, on a pro-forma basis, this new “East Coast” GRC would have been 60% PAP votes in GE 2011. A 10% swing against the PAP is extremely unlikely.) But to still give this their best fight, they’ll likely use their “use retiring veteran MP” strategy and probably deploy Yeo Guat Kwang there.

What’s the conclusion from all these tea leaves ?

People’s sentiments for or against a ruling party can change. Sometimes the wave goes against the PAP (like GE 2011) but sometimes it goes for the PAP (like GE 1997 and GE 2001).

If you read the wind condition wrongly, you will get crushed. Look at what happened to SDP in pro-PAP wave election GE 1997 : it lost all 4 seats.

LTK is a very shrewd politician who has lived through these waves – both for and against him. He knows that GE 2015 is not going to be a continuation of GE 2011. He knows that in politics, sometimes you live to fight another day. So he is playing defensive this election. He is smart — he can see all the writing on the wall (as I’ve detailed in my earlier “PAP will do very well in this election” post).

The only possible gains for WP is Feng Shan SMC, offseted by the very real possibility of losing Punggol East SMC.

Meanwhile, because all the other GRCs that WP is contesting in such as Yishun GRC, Jalan Besar GRC and East Coast GRC had been significantly fortified by the PAP, PAP’s share of votes will increase, not decrease.

The only other wild card is Marine Parade GRC. PAP did not expect that NSP will give up this so easily and thus did not expect a WP fight here. But they did win by 55% in GE 2011. Couple this with the expected pro-PAP wave and notwithstanding GCT being a liability, they still expect to win this GRC. Even if they win by 55%, it will be good enough. They are thinking long term too — if WP did no better than NSP in contesting Marine Parade, in future GEs, NSP will not give in so easily to WP and 3-corner fights will be more likely to happen.

If what I’ve said is true :

1) Then PAP will likely win _60% of votes this election. As I said, even if GE 2011 share of votes everywhere remain, but only Tanjong Pagar is now included with 70% PAP support due to LKY sentiment, the total pro-forma PAP votes would have been ~62%.

2) WP’s strategy is absolutely the right one. Play defensive, get a stronger mandate from Aljunied GRC to overcome the AHPETC issue, live to fight another day. By GE 2020, the middle class squeeze will get worse especially with Medishield Life coming in place forcing everyone to buy insurance that increases in price every year. And more and more foreigners crowd this place. And then WP will ride that wave to increase its seats.

3) The other parties all need to wise up. Forget about putting their big guns into GRCs. Put their best candidate into one or two SMCs. And instead of working the ground in different GRCs each weekend, just keep walking the same ground in the SMC again and again, just like Ah Lian did to win the Punggol East BE. Concentrate your time and resources there. At least, get a foothold into Parliament and make a name for yourself, then you will get a chance to get more seats and potentially a GRC in the future. Otherwise, you will forever be relegated as a non-entity, someone who makes noise on the Internet only.


Submitted by TRE reader.

Hri Kumar’s Facebook post

At the NUSS forum on Tuesday, Gerald Giam told the audience that with regard to the troubles at Aljunied Hougang Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC), the Workers’ Party (WP) has“explained every point that has been brought up which demands an explanation and we have spared no effort in that.”

Good grief! Is he serious?

Here are just 7 basic questions the WP has not answered:


  • Why hasn’t the WP carried out any independent investigation into the many areas of concern raised by the Auditor General’s Office (AGO)?
  • Why did WP hide information from its own auditors?
  • Why hasn’t the WP asked its friends in FMSS and FMSI, to whom they gave multi-million dollar contracts, to open their books for scrutiny?
  • Why hasn’t any independent auditor hired by the WP been prepared to issue clean, unqualified audit reports on the AHPETC accounts since WP took over AHPETC in2011? 
  • Why is WP refusing MND’s offer to pay the government grants to AHPETC on condition that an independent accountant safeguards the use of those funds, when WP’s own lawyers accept that the MND can impose conditions and the High Court found that MND’s conditions were reasonable?
  • If WP claims to be transparent, why, as the High Court found, did its Chairman Ms Sylvia Lim suppress facts and make a false statement to Parliament, and why did WP MP Pritam Singh say that he will not answer to Parliament?
  • Why has WP done nothing to determine whether any public funds are lost or misappropriated?

The WP says that it accepts that the AGO is professional and independent. It says that it accepts the High Court judgment. But 6 months on, we are no closer to knowing the truth. Significantly, the WP has avoided stating categorically that no public funds have been lost, and no damage suffered. How could it, given its own conduct?

The only thing the WP has done is submit qualified audited accounts for FY2013, 10 months late. It trumpets this as an achievement. But the crucial fact remains that AHPETC’s own auditors were unable to verify their accounts for the third year running. So, we still do not have answers.

Despite all of this, Mr Giam claims only the PAP is not satisfied with their answers. He does not give Singaporeans enough credit. Ultimately, the AGO’s conclusion still stands: “until the weaknesses are addressed, there can be no assurance that AHPETC’s accounts are accurate and reliable, or that public funds are properly spent, accounted for and managed”.

The WP’s posturing ignores a more fundamental point. MPs manage millions of dollars of public monies and owe a duty to the people to ensure that Town Councils comply with the law. MPs are all accountable and must act with honesty and integrity. If for any reason a Town Council goes wrong, MPs have the responsibility to be transparent and take effective action to put things right, regardless of how embarrassing it may be to the MPs personally or to their party.

That is what the National Library Board did. The AGO found flaws in the way NLB procured electronic resources and made those findings public. NLB has tightened its processes. NLB’s parent ministry, the Ministry of Communications and Information acted swiftly and decisively by referring the matter to the police. No cover-ups; no sweeping under the carpet. That is what honesty and integrity are all about.

The WP MPs know what they need to do to put things at AHPETC right. As I said in my speech in Parliament in February this year, WP must commission a thorough forensic investigation, get its friends in FMSS and FMSI to open their books, clean up the accounts and sue to recover any losses suffered.

The WP has lawyers, and it know it can be done. But the WP does not want to do it. Why not? That is one more question it has not answered.


Andrew Loh’s response to Hri Kumar

Here are my answers to Hri Kumar’s misguided tirade:

• Why hasn’t the WP carried out any independent investigation into the many areas of concern raised by the Auditor-General’s Office?

– Huh? AGO found certain things were not complied with and AHPETC made the necessary corrections. Just like the ministries and stat boards did when the AGO similarly found lapses in their accounting.

• Why did WP hide information from its own auditors?

– What information did WP “hide”?

• Why hasn’t the WP asked its friends in FMSS (FM Solution and Services) and FMSI (FM Solutions & Integrated Services), to whom they gave multi-million dollar contracts, to open their books for scrutiny?

– The contracts were awarded in open tenders. Why didn’t the PAP also asked AIM to do the same?

• Why hasn’t any independent auditor hired by the WP been prepared to issue clean, unqualified audit reports on the AHPETC accounts since WP took over AHPETC in 2011?

– Because the AHPETC were trying to square accounts after the handover. And AHPETC had even requested the MND to help in squaring these accounts. And the AGO, even after one whole year of investigations, were also unable to square some of the accounts which were handed over.

• Why is WP refusing MND’s offer to pay the Government grants to AHPETC on condition that an independent accountant safeguards the use of those funds, when WP’s own lawyers accept that the MND can impose conditions and the High Court found that MND’s conditions were reasonable?

– AHPETC already explained – this is because the MND wanted to appoint PriceWaterHouse as the external accountant. WP said PwC would present a conflict of interest because it had been involved with helping the AGO in its audit. NOTE: WP is not against appointing an external accountant per se.

• If WP claims to be transparent, why, as the High Court found, did its chairman Ms Sylvia Lim suppress facts and make a false statement to Parliament, and why did WP MP Pritam Singh say that he will not answer to Parliament?

– What “facts” did Sylvia Lim “suppress”, and what “false statement” is Hri Kumar referring to?

• Why has WP done nothing to determine whether any public funds are lost or misappropriated?

– The Ago had done a whole one-year audit and found no funds missing.
Andrew Loh

Humbug higher fares= better service/ New tpt minister will be the ONE

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 20/08/2015 at 4:36 am

In the constructive, nation-building media and the new media, there seems to be some astro-turfing that higher ticket prices are needed for better, more reliable public tpt.

BS: Go ask the Brits. U/m appeared in the BBC recently

There’s more happy-ish news in the Telegraph, which reports that ministers are to announce the smallest increase in fares for six years. However, the Guardian quotes campaigners pointing out that fares have risen at triple the rate of wages over the past five years.

The FT takes the same grim line, pointing out that season tickets and other regulated fares have risen by 25% in real terms since 2010 while average pay rose 8.7%.

The Daily Express grumbles: “In return travellers continue to battle with trains that are frequently delayed and hugely overcrowded. All the while rail bosses pick up huge pay packets and some petulant unions misuse their ability to cause chaos.”

Next tpt minister will be Ah Loon’s successor

The conventional wisdom in the MSM and new media is that the transport portfolio is the “poisoned cup” portfolio. Two ministers in a row have been disgraced and publicly shamed. No-one wants to do the job.

But what if in the last few yrs, the really hard work of cleaning the Augean stables* that is the public transport system has been almost done? And that very soon the trains will stop breaking down? Get more punctual? And less crowded?And the bus system gets better during peak hours (as a bus user and trains in off peak hours, I’ve not got any complaints about the buses)?

If so, time (and a few more beautifying cosmetic changes) will enable the PAP administration to declare victory (trains not breaking down, and running on time, and buses less packed at peak times) and to declare that XYZ the transport minister is the guy that should succeed Ah Loong.

But this presupposes that Ah Loong and the PAP don’t argue that “60 is the new 40” and that Ah Loong like Johnnie Walker  keeps on walking.


*Augean stables – definition of Augean stables by The Free …

the stables of Augeas, a legendary king of Elis, which had been left filthy for many years: they were cleaned by Hercules, who diverted a river through them. ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend: Noun.

a condition or place marked by great accumulation of filth or corruption. ADVERTISEMENT. Examples of AUGEAN STABLE. <as a gubernatorial candidate he …

Auntie, good accounting is a national issue/ TOC bans avatar again

In Accounting, Financial competency, Political governance on 18/08/2015 at 4:43 am

People are interested in national issues, not just town council matters, Sylvia Lim says (TOC). Well the need for a town council to have an accounting system that is fit for purpose is also a national issue. OK I exaggerate. It’s an issue at least in areas where the WP is contesting, is a fairer statement.

Auntie Lim*, Gilbert Goh**, TOC (As SPH and MediaCorp are to the PAP, so TOC** is to the WP) and TRE are trying to equate the lapses at PA and other government entities and departments identified by the Auditor-General with that of the the lapses at AHPETC identified by the Auditor-General.

The big difference is that the while the Auditor-General  says nasty things about the way the govt bodies like the PA does things, he doesn’t say that they don’t have an accounting system that is not fit for purpose. He is able to pick out lapses in the PA and other govt bodies because they have proper accounting systems. The accounting systems allow the lapses to be noticed.

But he says that the AHPETC accounting system sucks so badly that no proper records are kept.

The Auditor-General pointed out, inter alia, that AHPTEC did not “a system to monitor arrears of conservancy and service charges accurately and hence there is no assurance that arrears are properly managed”.and “No proper system to ensure … proper accounts and records were kept as required by the Town Councils Act.” (Related post

Because proper records are not kept, no-one knows if there are irregularities.  There may be none but there may be some or many: who knows? And what if there are major irregularities?

The way things are going, only a PAP win in Aljunied will ensure that the truth comes out on whether anything is wrong. WP is dragging its feet on setting the system right. It is moving to the Bishan/ Toa Payoh model of directly managing the cleaning etc, which will allow it to say it has “moved on” without resolving the issue of irregular accounts.

Someone posted this analysis on Facebook

Having read the full report, the responses by APHTEC and AGO and PWC’s responses I would say the following.

1. That management and supervision for the first two years were sorely lacking , to the extent that corporate governance is needed , FMSS and FMSI was allowed both management powers, payment powers without supervision.

2. Whether current WP members accept it or not. There is a difference between Management Companies appointing their own people to the TC as GM’s when the management companies are owned by the GOV or GLCs and hence there is no direct pecuniary interests and when in the case of FMSS everything is owned and attributed to Miss How and her Husband and there is a direct pecuniary interests.

3. I could accept the need to appoint FMSS. I cannot accept the need to appoint FMIS whereby the shareholders were both the deputy GMS for lift EMS services. To the extent that there are only a few TC management companies and they refused to help , can the same be said of lift management companies ?

4. To an extent the problem can be laid at the head of the Sec Gen and Low. The people under his leadership trusted low and low I believe trusted miss how.

5. The trust was built over her management of the TC in Hougang for many years and it just seems that when faced with the problem of integrating seven town councils which in itself will be the largest town council in SINGAPORE, she lacked both the management and accounting expertise necessary to integrate all the bits and pieces.

6. FMSS at the end of the day seems to have bitten of more than they could handle, likewise FMSS was not adequately supervised by all the MPs and the leadership within the party for whatever reason.

He could have added, but didn’t, that the WP TC Chair and Vice are lawyers, albeit one was from SMU law school. And there is another MP that is a lawyer, a former partner is a top US law firm. Btw, one, M Ravi called these lawyers three,”cow dung” in another context.

One wonders why they didn’t draw up better conflict of interest mgt rules for the TC’s consideration. And if they did, why were these not implemented? Because Low trusted the Ms How?

Let’s be very clear, the PAP administration didn’t bully or fix the WP on this issue of bad record keeping. This was self-inflicted.The managing agent bears a lot of responsibility for the state of affairs. It didn’t keep proper records of who it was paying, and for what purpose. The AHPETC failed in its duty to monitor what the managing agent was doing.

The inability of the AHPETC to keep proper records is now personal.

I now live in Marine Parade GRC (Joo Chiat kanna rezoned). I’ve voted for the WP since I was able to vote (bicyle thieves, an ex-Woodbridge patient) because I believe that a one-party state is bad for S’pore; but do I want to live in a GRC managed by the WP, a party that couldn’t keep proper records, and is in denial over this fact? And which throws smoke on the issue. It can’t bluff me because I was a Hon Treasurer of a club

And I’m not alone: the neighbours (they are accountants, lawyers etc), and the really real Marine Parade residents I talk to, are wondering if the bad record keeping will continue. We know WP can keep the area clean and tidy, but can it keep proper financial records?



*Ms Sylvia Lim says the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC), has been singled out for “exemplary treatment” by the government.
She also called on the govt to “act with similar vigour, by withholding grants and commencing legal proceedings”, against gov’t depts and stat boards which have been found with financial irregularities in the Auditor-General’s Report.
Ms Lim made the call in her court affidavit on the hearing on the MND’s application on Monday.


**A statement seeking support from the public has been posted online as a petition calling for the government to investigate fully the recent slew of financial and accounting irregularities unearthed in the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) Report.

“We… hope our government will investigate thoroughly the AGO audit lapses and come up with a official statement to address the concerns of the people,” the statement, posted on, said.

“The lapses are both glaring and shocking as Singaporeans have all along place their trust in a government that has enjoyed above-board corruption-free governance for a very long time,” the statement by Gilbert Goh said.

(TOC again)

***TOC has again banned my Facebook avatar from commenting on TOC’s Facebook posts. It’s TOC’s right. But so like the PAP. But then WP is nothing more than PAP Lite and TOC is its poodle. And let’s see if a TOC founder stands as a WP candidate this GE.

Problem S’pore, PAP face

In Economy, EDB, Political economy, Political governance on 16/08/2015 at 4:56 am

Creativity and innovation drive global business today. Capital is just one resource, important, but no longer the major differentiator.”

– Peter Georgescu, the chairman emeritus of Young & Rubicam.

For all their academic brilliance Ah Loong and team have not advanced beyond tinkering with the framework that Dr Goh Keng Swee, Hon Swee Sen and Albert Winsemius devised. Evolution is fine to a point. But surely the world has undergone revolutionary change. When they were constructing their model of serving MNCs as a path to grow the economy, serving MNCs was “neo-colonialism”. Today even Red China serves as as the MNCs’ factory.

And many of our PMEs have not gone beyond thinking like clerks, hence they are easily replicable by cheaper FTs?




Wah Lan, PAP MP is more stupid than I tot/ Haw Par

In Financial competency, Political governance on 15/08/2015 at 11:39 am

In I pointed out that MP Liang Eng Wah didn’t have a clue about financial sustainability. Turns out

Liang Eng Wah in his day job is an MD at DBS it appears and he is also chairing the Parliamentary committee on finance and trade. If this is the kind of talent we have in banking and politics……. jeez! 

Chris K

I didn’t realise that DBS would employ as a MD someone who doesn’t know finance.

Thank God I don’t own DBS shares. Btw, I have Haw Paw shares which has a stake in UOB. Depending on the relative share prices, I get a big discount on the operating biz of Haw Par. The Wees also control Haw Par.

The Great Wall the Oppo has to climb

In Political governance on 14/08/2015 at 4:32 am

There is plenty of “analysis” (or is it “wishful thinking”) in cyberspace on which areas the oppo will win. One of these days, I’ll analyse why other than Potong Pasir SMC (if that nutter once o fthe  NSP doesn’t stand), there are only two GRCs that can reasonably be expected to change hands, one of which is Aljunied.

But today I want readers to think about the barrier that the Oppo faces everytime there is a GE.

Forget about the gerrymandering, fixing the Oppo, defamation suits, personal attacks and the election goodies:when GE time comes around there is a mental barrier the Oppo parties have to climb over or breach: voters take a pragmatic view based on what they would be best for the economy, their jobs, and their families. 

When elections come it seems that the electorate reaches an unhappy conclusion that life is difficult, and that they will reluctantly back the party that they think offer the best hope in difficult circumstances.

The Tories [in the UK] didn’t win a majority because people were going to the polls saying ‘I love these bunch of guys’.

Voters took a pragmatic view based on what they would be best for the economy, their jobs, and their families. The psychology seemed to be what will be the least worst, not what will take us to Nirvana.

One of these days, I’ll blog on why I told a SDP tua kee he should do after the GE: visit Scotland and meet the SDP strategists.

Reminder: In Scotland, the SNP had only 50% of the votes but won 56 out of 59 seats (Labour lost 40 seats). 50% of the voters ended up with only 3 seats.

And with people like s/o JBJ, Goh Meng Seng* (the reincarnation of Harbans Singh, the clown king of Oppo politics in the 70s and 89s), Roy and Sebastian Teo (president of the No Substance Party standing, and the silence of the WP MPs, and the inability of ANPETC to keep proper records, you can understand why at least 60% of the voters think that the PAP is the least “bad” choice even if the PA (where PM is the chairman) has serious problems about enforcing its internal financial rules, and the PAP has some heartless and brainless MPs.

Btw, the Great Wall of China was not breached or scaled by the Manchus in the 17th century. A Ming dynasty general ordered the gates to be open. And while the Qing dynasty was Manchu, the army and cicil service was staffed largely by Han Chinese.

*I think this TRE reader describes him perfectly:

kanasai gms:
August 11, 2015 at 8:44 pm (Quote)
this GMS fella, i will not vote for him. what he wrote or spoke about to the man are all the obvious issues that had appeared in this forum, and other online media many times before.

i will not want a character like him to be my mp. people will not forget the way he kept sniping at Sylvia Lim (and her party), even at her private affairs. what a bast**d this guy is. He even condemn my football hero Quah Kim Song. Remember because of his big mouth people will also remember those negative and bad remarks that he said about NSP hor!

this is classic kaykian kanasai howtai fella! With a fucker like him who need enemies as the saying goes…lolol!

he is now trying to appear to be praising and appreciative of his mentor LTK. sorry man! he had said many bad thing that he should not about LTK. one “good” quote from LTK during his walkabout will not redeem him

baring that english is not his 1st language, look at the way he handle and present himself in front of reporters in the ST video. i dont see a leader and a mp in him. it is no wonder that he had to resigned from NSP.

look at this youtube vid of the man himself. kanasai lah!

He left out Meng Seng sliming Nicole Seah in the guise of giving her advice. Taz the quality of the man.

WP, NSP scared of Kate Spade?

In Political governance on 13/08/2015 at 4:32 am

Update on 22 August at 6.30am: Obviously NSP He-man Steve Chia is not afraid of losing to Tin, having persuaded the NSP to change its mind on contesting here. Can we expect to walk-about dressed in a bikini brief only, showing off his abs and challenging Tin to show off her post natal abs.

(Update on 13 August at 2.50pm:

Tin Pei Ling is raring to rejoin her team in gearing up for the contest in MacPherson in the upcoming General Election. Speaking exclusively to 938LIVE, she said she will nevertheless complete her one-month confinement period, after giving birth to a baby boy, Ng Kee Hau, on Aug 5.

Ms Tin said even now it is business as usual, as she is maintaining close contact with her team in the constituency.

She hopes that the residents at MacPherson will understand her month-long absence. “(I) hope that residents will judge based on past experience, past work done, as well as looking ahead, I hope that they will continue to let me have this opportunity to serve them, continue the work that I’ve been delivering for them,” she said.

Ms Tin also said she is ready to face a contest in MacPherson. “My mission right from the beginning is to serve my residents, that has always been the case. So most part of my energy, my mental and physical energy, will be focusing on making sure that the day to day issues of my residents have been taken care of. MacPherson is well run, so whoever comes to contest in MacPherson, we will just roll with the punches and prepare accordingly,” she said. 


If the cybernuts are to be believed, even Goh Meng Seng (the movement’s founder and once their hero but now considered by even cybernuts to be a zero) can trash Tin Pei Ling if he stands in MacPherson.

Obviously going by their recent decisions regarding the SMC by the WP and NSP, the WP and NSP never consulted the cybernuts.

Sylvia Lim explains why the WP did not attend the opposition meeting on Thursday.

She says that her party had offered to let the National Solidarity Party contest Macpherson if the latter withdrew its intention to contest Marine Parade.


Funny that they were prepared to give away Macpherson while wanting to fight in Marine Parade. There is a 14 points gap to overturn in Marine Parade, two more than Aljunied in 2011.

If Tin is so easy to beat, shouldn’t the WP prefer to contest a winnable SMC? WP knows can’t win in thisSMC?

And now NSP double confirms the view that Tin is unbeatable, by not wanting to contest in this SMC. It could have challenged Kate Spade with u/m in Macpherson, but didn’t. I hear a lot of apeks in area upset she isn’t standing.

Seriously, before the WP came out with the above statement that it was willing to “give” Macpherson to the NSP, my Facebook avatar posted (when someone was making fun of Kate Spade): TPL will win. She’s a very good foot soldier PAP MP i.e. social welfare worker. Area is traditional PAP stronghold. And given the large number of older, less well off S’poreans here, the Pioneer Gen goodies will have an impact. If the PAP had two social welfare worker MPs in Aljunied in 2011, the result would be different. Instead it had two women from hell. One was union bureaucrat, other was rich in her own right.

Someone seconded my avatar saying: My old neighbours said who live there now view her in a new light. She’s bern working doubly hard and going the extra mile.

Double confirm: even the No Substance Party ignores the cybernuts. And do remember Goh Meng Seng left the WP because it wasn’t happy her was going nuts in cyberspace: rowing in cyberspace.

S/o JBI is another drama queen?/ SingFirst is first class

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 11/08/2015 at 6:22 am

Looks like RP will have two drama queens. Roy is a well known drama queen and is expected to stand in AMK for the RP. “We also hope that RP would consider fielding Roy Ngerng to contest in Ang Mo Kio. He is energetic and is passionate about the CPF issue. No doubt, the CPF issue is a major concern for all Singaporeans today,” said SingFirst’s TSJ.

But s/o JBJ is proving himself to be just as good a drama queen as Roy.

S/o JBJ walked out in a huff last Thursday night when SingFirst said it wanted to contest AMK. In the last GE, RP put its “tissue paper” marker there. Three reasons why SingFirst has every moral right to contest AMK and needn’t have pulled out*.

S/o JBJ declared before GE 2011 that he didn’t believe in the “chop” system (Tot that he like WP, can remove the tissue paper used as a marker?). He put his words into action when he contested the by-election Punggol East and lost his deposit. There were more spoiled votes than votes for him (third best candidate).

He did not want to contest in AMK in 2011. He was dragged screaming into the fight by foul mouth Alex Tan (Remember him? His language makes Amos look like a choir boy.) who had left SPP (Mrs Chiam had said he was “like a son”) to join RP, having been assured that RP would contest AMK.

S/o JBJ then told him that RP had no money for AMK fight. But Alex Tan found backers to fund the deposits . S/o JBJ had to agree to an AMK fight.

Finally, RP doesn’t have anyone from the Alex Tan team as a member anymore.

All in all, AMK doesn’t belongs to RP.

Btw, I quite like SingFirst having once been concerned that they might split Oppo votes.

Even if I have doubts about its leader TSJ, I have a lot of respect for Dr Ang Yong Guan.

Relate post:


*On 10 August SingFirst announced that it will not be contesting in Ang Mo Kio GRC for the upcoming GE It said that it would withdraw its interest to contest in Ang Mo Kio GRC and focus its resources on Tanjong Pagar and Jurong GRCs, leaving the 6 member GRC to RP.

Budget 2015: Did you know?

In Economy, Political governance on 07/08/2015 at 4:25 am

The International Monetary Fund notes, our budget surplus, as large as 8% of GDP in 2012, will shrink to less than 2% this year. Note that this “surplus” is the real surplus, as defined by internationally accepted norms, not the definition of the PAP administration.

To be far to the administration, I’m willing to accept the argument that the sale of public land should not be reflected as “current income”. It’s a sale of “capital”. But I also believe it shouldn’t be locked up in the reserves either.


Dissidents (to the Chiams) People’s Party/ People’s Parachutist Party

In Political governance on 04/08/2015 at 5:02 am

The Democratic Progressive Party and the People’s Power Party are misleading voters about themselves.

The Democratic Progressive Party should rename itself the “Dissidents (to the Chiams) People’s Party” or the “Take Revenge Party” or the “Ng Kum Guan Party”, while Meng Seng should rename his party “People’s Parachutist Party”.

Let me explain

Dissidents (to the Chiams) People’s Party, “Take Revenge Party” or the “Ng Kum Guan Party”

In addition to Fengshan SMC, DPP Secretary-General Benjamin Pwee told reporters at a press conference yesterday (25 Jul) that they want:

Potong Pasir SMC
Hong Kah North SMC
Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC
Tanjong Pagar GRC

Except for Tanjong Pagar GRC, the other 3 wards were contested by the Chiams’ party, the Singapore People’s Party (SPP), in the last GE*.

When the possibility of 3-cornered fights with SPP was pointed out to DPP, Pwee (he was the chairman of the PAP Youth Wing in the Thomson area, according to Wikipedia) didn’t disagree saying“We will put a candidate in Potong Pasir because we believe we can put somebody who is a lot stronger than Mrs Chiam.”

More on FengShan below but the plan to contest Potong Pasir is definely an attepmt to fix the Chiams.

Three very senior members of the DPP were members of the SPP and fought along side Chiam in Bishan (5 MP GRC). They are:

  • Chairman – Mohamad Hamim bin Aliyas
  • Secretary-General – Pwee Yek Kwan Benjamin
  • Assistant Secretary-General – Leung Wei Lit Wilfred

They had left the SPP in a huff in 2012 when Chiam refused to relinquish power in the SPP, retaining power in the Chiam family**

As far as competing in Bishan, the DPP has as much right as the Chiams’ Party to compete in the area. Pwee and Leung are in the DPP team for the area: the others are expected to be named soon.

But not in Potong Pasir. Mrs Chiam has been walking the ground in Potong Pasir since before Chiam’s victory in thev8os and she deserves to be the only Oppo candidate. Having said that isn’t it strange that the Chiams (and many S’poreans, especially cybernuts) regard Potong Pasir as the Chiams, personal fiefdom, even though the voters narrowly favoured a PAP man over Mrs Chiam. The cybernuts are comfortable with the Chiams way of keeping  things in the Chiam family, while cursing the Lee dynasty, as they see it. Double standards?

Background on DPP

DPP was a zombie party until 2013. The last time it contested a GE was in 2001, 14 years ago.

According to Wikipedia, the party was founded in 1973 by some unhappy WP members  led by Seow Khee Leng. It was then called the United Front (UF).

UF contested in the 1976, 1979 and 1980 GEs garnering 12.3%, 25.3% and 19% of the valid votes respectively. After being renamed Singapore United Front (SUF) in 1982, it contested in the 1984 GE, garnering 34.2%.

In January 1988, its members joined the WP to contest the 1988 GE. But it was still registered as a political party.

In 1992, after the 1991 GE, Seow Khee Leng again led some members out of the WP and revived SUF, and renamed it once again to DPP. He really has a thing against the WP.

The DPP contested in the 1997 and 2001 GEs,winning 12.3% and 14.3% of the valid votes respectively. DPP contested 2 constituencies each in 1997 and 2001: DPP candidates lost their election deposits. One of the DPP candidates who contested both times was Tan Lead Shake, who wore slippers into the nomination centre to hand in his nomination form. Whatever happened to him. Maybe he joined Meng Seng’s party?

After more than a decade of inactivity, the DPP has been revived by a few former SPP members. In December 2012, Seow Khee Leng invited them to join the DPP. Benjamin Pwee was immediately appointed the party’s Acting Secretary-General in January 2013. Two months later, he was elected Secretary-General. In 2011, he joined SPP to contest in the 2011 GE. In January 2012, he left SPP. He became Secretary-General of DPP in 2013.


It was also pointed out to DPP that it might clash with WP there. DPP announced that it would be fielding its party founder, 75-year-old Seow Khee Leng, in Fengshan.

Mr Pwee explained to the media that going to Fengshan was to “fulfill Mr Seow’s desire to run there”. Mr Seow chipped in, “I have been walking there for more than 4 to 5 years and I live around there too.”

And going by the history of the DPP narraated above, he’s got a grudge against the WP.

People’s Parachutist Party

Ain’t only the PAP that parachutes candidates in at the last minute. Even Goh Meng Seng does it, jetting in (in his private jet?) from his base in HK, and parachuting into the wilds of Choa Chu Kang***. His only connection with the area was that he was sec-gen of the No Substance Party which contested in that area in 2011.

Let’s see if he can do better than the two scholars (husband and wife) that helmed the NSP team. Or will he, like presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian, to whom he was an adviser, lose his deposit?


*Potong Pasir SMC – SPP got 49.6% of valid votes
Hong Kah North SMC – SPP got 29.4% of valid votes
Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC – SPP got 43.1% of valid votes

**The six former Singapore People’s Party (SPP) Central Executive Committee members who resigned from the party last week have acknowledged the response given by its former secretary-general Chiam See Tong on Wednesday night.

Following Chiam’s clarification that the SPP had received legal advice to confirm the constitutional legitimacy of its Central Executive Committee (CEC) election at the party’s Ordinary Party Conference (OPC) last Sunday, the group said on Thursday morning that his clarification and accountability “bodes well for the SPP’s credibility”.

The six, which consist of the party’s former first and second assistant secretary-generals Wilfred Leung and Benjamin Pwee, organising secretary Ting Sze Jiang, Malay/Muslim affairs head Mohamad Hamim bin Aliyas, his wife and businessmen affairs head David Tan, made clear in their statement that their differences held with the party over leadership styles had never been with Mr Chiam.–maintains-continuity.html

Related post: The planned handover that went wrong:

***Heard he landed in a manure heap in some hobby farm.


Would Ah Loong ever say this?

In Political governance on 02/08/2015 at 1:59 pm

About the pay of his millionaire ministers and of  previous president Nathan*?

Lord Green (Ex HSBC CEO and Chairman, and lay methodist preacher) admitted that the issue of high pay packages for bank employees had disturbed him: “It certainly kept me awake.

“For me this issue of remuneration was the most difficult one we wrestled with. How could anyone be comfortable with a situation where you’ve got very senior people being paid very large amounts of money or indeed quite young people being paid large amounts of money – an enormous multiple of, let’s say the head of large inner city school?

“There’s no possible way on moral grounds of justifying this. Did that leave me uncomfortable. You bet it did.”

(Extract from the BBC)

Btw, someone from TRE has a new moniker for the PAP: Pure Aristocratic Party.

One think I must say about our elitist departed Harry, he’d never use the term “aristocracy” even if caveated by “natural” to describe his idea of an ideal society.


*His presidential salary cannot ever be justified: the pay cut Tony Tan took shows the obscenity of the salary that Nathan took. To be fair to him, it seems he donated most of his salary to “charity”, whatevewr this means. But that is not the point. He shouldn’t have been getting $2m a year juz because he’s the head of state with some powers.

At least in the private sector, salaries are in theory tied to the “profits” (value) made by person or team. What value did Nathan bring?

The state of the Oppo parties

In Political governance on 31/07/2015 at 5:18 am

It’s a good, short and sharp analysis by a TRE reader, who is definitely not a cybernut.

“Firstly, not all opposition parties have the same status”, says Harold who I quoted yesterday on the SPP and Mrs Chiam. As promised here are his tots on the other parties. Headings and non -Italic font are mine.


The strongest opposition party at the moment is the WP which has 7 parliamentary seats and 2 non-constituency members of parliament. The WP is stable, has good leadership, party discipline, a strong brand name, strong grassroots network and has managed to attract a critical mass of skilled professionals. These factors explain why the WP has a better image and thus a better chance of winning than the other opposition parties. As was seen in the Punggol East by-election, in a multi-cornered fight, the WP candidate will attract a much larger share of votes than the minor opposition parties.

All this is spot-on. The problem is that the MPs never slapped the driver (in fact they kanna slap by he PAP)  and their accounting, corporate governance management skills suck. It still irritates me that three hotshot lawyers (one of whom was a partner in a leading US firm albeit in its Beijing office, not in NY or London) didn’t see the dangers in the way the town council dealt with the managing agent*. Even more irritating is that Auntie and her Singh (lawyers both) didn’t ensure that the managing agent kept proper records**.

All these hotshot lawyers are actually lawyers buruk.

Seriously, can anyone credibility offer to be a accountability watch dog when they can’t keep proper records. Remember no proper records cannot detect irregularities easily.

Related post:

But voters decide and “liberated” zone is pretty much to PAP standards overall:

The PAP has always asked to be judged in the context of eveything it has done, so should the WP.


Next in the ranking of the opposition parties, is the SDP. Why? Because this is a party with a history, alternative policies and a clear ideology. SDP’s grassroots potential is underused but not lacking, as it seems to be able to attract social activists and other liberals. Say what you may about the SDP but at least it does not give the image that it is an unstable party that lacks people. The party website is well designed and is kept up to date. SDP’s decision to pull out of the Punggol by-election and avoid being a spoiler earned it goodwill from opposition supporters and thus the SDP’s image was not tarnished by a great defeat. The SDP may have committed some blunders such as implying that they were unwilling to run a town council, but they have corrected that mistake! They realized that they have to turn their attention to municipal matters too. And thus, earlier this year, they published a paper detailing their plans on running a town council. The SDP is not perfect, but if your constituency is not contested by WP, it’s your best bet if you want an opposition win.

Again, I agreem almost. If only Dr Chee would retire:

Related post:


All the other opposition parties are not main contenders. NSP received a lot of bad publicity after GE2011 because they went through a change of 5 secretary generals in such a short time and furthermore lost almost all their top candidates in the last GE to other political parties. Singfirst and PPP are new parties with no history and swing voters usually stick to established parties when they vote. RP and SDA have been discredited by their secretary generals losing their deposits in the Punggol by-election. These parties will be entering the upcoming GE with voters perceiving them to have a low chance of winning. They have a lot of hard work ahead of them. It will be an uphill task for them to win a seat in parliament.


SingFirst needs another 10 years of work before it becomes credible. Do the present leaders (Dr Ang and TJS are contemporaries of mine at RI: I was in Arts they were in the scholarship class) have the stamina to slog for another five years and then pass on the baton to a younger generation of leaders?

Related post:

A dream oppo party would we SDP and SingFirst with Dr Chee and his team of loonies moving on out gracefully and TJS suppressing his ego. Fat hope. Pigs will fly first.


*I’m assuming that they didn’t raise corporate governance and PR concerns because they were happy with the arrangements. If they did, but were overruled and they kept silent, that raises another can of worms.

**They are the two MPs running the operations of the town council and I’m assuming that they didn’t raise the accounting, record keeping issues of the managing agent because they were clueless: remember that they are lawyers, not accoutants***. If they did, but were overruled and they kept silent, that raises another can of worms.

***Not that many lawyers know the basics of accounting.

Time for the Chiams to step back?

In Political governance on 30/07/2015 at 4:49 am

A very common view in cyberspace and in the real S’pore of Lina Chiam even if I’m quoting a newbie SPP member (a friend and likely GRC candidate):

During the last GE, I was quite unsure about Mrs Lina Chiam, if she was the best SPP had, to be fielded in Potong Pasir. My doubts were soon proven wrong.

She has done exceptionally well in the constituency. She has regular meet the people sessions, tries to solve residents problems, and never turns away anyone who comes to her for help.

As a Parliamentarian, Mrs Chiam has been recognised for being one of the most active MPs in Parliament, having risen more than 80 times to either raise a Parliamentary Question, seek clarification, participate in Bill and motion debates, or to raise COS cuts during Budgets.

Those who have suggested that someone other than Mrs Chiam should be fielded in Potong Pasir have either taken issue with Mrs Chiam’s gender, age or supposed lack of qualifications. Such comparisons are unfair discrimination.

I personally cannot think of anyone stronger the Opposition can field in Potong Pasir.

I have always felt that it is in the best interest of Singapore to have a strong opposition in Parliament, which is why I helped Jeannette Chong-Aruldossin her campaign for Mountbatten SMC during the last GE.

This time, if I had to, I would support not only Jeannette’s campaign, but also Mrs Chiam’s. Why? Because she is a good leader, who is able to commiserate with the residents in Potong Pasir.

Contrast this minority view of Mrs Chiam by a TRE reader, Harold:

Why did I not list the SPP which has 1 NCMP as the second pick for opposition supporters? [He had praised and commended the WP and SDP: I’ll post his tots on them tomorrow, maybe]Last GE, we saw a nationwide 6.5% vote swing AWAY from the PAP. Thus, every constituency that was also contested by the opposition in 2006 saw a larger percentage of the votes gained by the opposition in 2011. All constituencies save for one – Potong Pasir. SPP instead saw their votes in Potong Pasir drop by 6%, leading to their narrow loss of a safe seat to the PAP’s Sitoh Yi Pin!

This is largely due to the choice of SPP to field Lina Chiam who was intended to be Chiam See Tong’s successor. This is widely perceived to be the reason why SPP lost. Mrs Chiam was not eloquent enough at her rallies. Nor did she attack the PAP candidate sufficiently. Most importantly, she did not manage to convince the swing voters that she had a good chance of winning against the PAP candidate. That was why there were 242 spoiled votes. If just half these votes had gone to SPP, she would have won!

I’m not against SPP but I’m just saying that SPP has to deal with these REAL perceptions if they intend to field Mrs Chiam in Potong Pasir again. A party only stands a decent chance if it can generate hype among its supporters. Supporters and swing voters have to be convinced that the party can win. Remember, Sitoh Yi Pin has been the incumbent MP for Potong Pasir for 4 years now and he has a huge advantage over Mrs Chiam. It is no longer 50-50 as was the case in 2011. Even other opposition parties like the DPP are doubting Mrs Chiam’s ability to win again. That is why these opportunists want to cause a multi-cornered fight in Potong Pasir.

SPP can still win back Potong Pasir if they field someone younger, whose appeal to the voters is stronger. If they wish to revive Mr Chiam’s legacy while renewing SPP, then why not field Mr Chiam’s daughter? As Nicole Seah proved in the last GE, it is possible for a young, eloquent and inspiring female politician to generate sufficient hype to shift the vote towards her party, even against a strong incumbent from the ruling party.

SPP has been gifted with the entry of strong opposition personalities like Ravi Philemon and Jeanette Chong-Aruldoss, who is poised to give the PAP a tough fight at Mountbatten SMC once again. So why not build on that to renew the party’s overall image? I hope SPP can see the bigger picture and try to attract back swing voters.

I agree with Harold that the SPP must move on from the Chiams (though not to their daughter who anyway seems uninterested in politics) even if Mrs Chiam has proved a better driver slapper than Low, Auntie, Show Mao, Baiyee and the other Worthless Party MPs. And even though she has grown in the job.

Isn’t it strange that cybernuts jeered at LKY because although he was frail he wanted to carry on bullying, while they cheer on a younger but even frailer Mr Chiam who insists on dominating his party?

Btw, given the face Mr Chiam was rightly given at LKY’s funeral, it would have been very petty for Poptong Pasir to have “disappeared”. Maybe there was a provision in LKY’s will (or letter of wishes) stipulating that Potong Pasir SMC should not be abolished?

Why should the PAP listen to feedback

In Humour, Political governance on 26/07/2015 at 1:11 pm

In TRE la-la land home of the cybernuts, like dancer and singer over children’s graves, Oxygen, there is always the gleeful complain that the PAP administration doesn’t listen to feedback. Actually, it’s a common refrain (albeit not gleefully) among S’poreans.

Could this refusal to listen be because Ah Loong and his dad before him, and the rest of the PAP tot of themselves as aristocrats? Natural ones by merit, of course, not hereditary ones

The Daily Mail’s then owner Vere Harmsworth was asked why did he not just survey readers, ask what they wanted and give it to them? This would not produce a good paper, Harmsworth replied: “Getting someone else’s newspaper is like stepping into their bath after they have just left.”

He was an aristocrat by birth.  He was the 3rd Viscount Rothermere. The 1st Viscount Rothermere, when he was a peasant, founded the UK’s Daily Mail. But Vere Harmsworth would also would have been a “natural” aristocrat. He was a good newspaper proprietor, knowing what the public wanted before they knew it, and then selling it to them. Bit like Steve Jobs and our dear Harry. He was also a shrewd investor. The Mail group still has an interest in a North Sea oilfield (almost deleted), whichhe bought when the North Sea oil projects were in their infancy.

Waz’s needed to defeat the PAP & why?

In Political governance on 25/07/2015 at 1:11 pm

“As Maidan* showed, a revolution comes not from 100,000 people standing around, but 1,000 radicals taking action,” a Russian activist told the FT.

I doubt there are 1000 radicals here. In that sense, our dear Harry was right to launch Operation Spectrum in 1987. While I know it got some middle class friends into Oppo politics, it showed the price of being a radical, even of the mildest and peaceful sort, was really very high.

As the cybernuts from TRE Land only sing and dance over the graves of dead children (think Oxygen and his mates) and talk cock, sing song about being radical, the PAP has nothing to be afraid of. I mean Roy, the hero and these cybernuts, quickly raised the white flag of surrender after being sued for saying the PAP administration stole our CPF money (my choice of words, not his). Remember that JBJ and Dr Chee never raised the white flag: they fought and lost.

As to the oppo parties only the SDP has a comprehensive list of alternative policies but it’s handicapped by a mad dog as a leader, albeit one that is now heavily sedated. But he still escapes his RI doctors, witness his support for Roy, New citisen Hui Hui and the other young hooligans.

All this is sad because the continued hegemony of the PAP has creates cosy (not necessarily illegal) internal and external relationships that profit (not necessarily illegally) those participating in the relationships more than ordinary S’poreans.


*The protests in Kiev in late 2013 and early 2014 that overthrew the then Ukrainian govt.

Tharman also from Bizarro S’pore?

In Currencies, Economy, Financial competency, Political governance on 24/07/2015 at 5:26 am

(Or “Weakening economy? Uniquely PAP solution: reverse quantitative easing”)

Let me explain.

The US had a massive quantitative easing (QE, a respectable form of printing money to stimulate the economy) exercise to save the US (and the world from recession) and is now easing back on QE and planning interest rate hikes soon because the US economic is doing But Japan, the Eurozone and China have some form of QE because of worries about their economies.

Our economy is not looking good. S’pore’s economy contracted sharply in the second quarter as manufacturing slumped and is at risk of tipping into technical recession. Price pressures are subdued and expectations are building for the central bank to ease policy once again at a twice-yearly review in October. As S’pore focuses on the exchange rate, not monetary policy. an easing of S$ is called for.

But if anything the S$ could strengthen. S’pore’s plan to launch a savings bond* to encourage long-term retail savings is worrying domestic banks and those like Citi, HSBC, MayBank and StanChart who have big retail operations here, and economists who fear this bond will push interest rates up and suck cash out from an already anaemic economy.

This could cause a flight of cash from bank deposits into these bonds and force interest rates higher as banks compete to attract savers. Higher S$ rates will attract money, strengthening S$.

“Launching a retail savings bond now is almost like reverse QE,” said Chua Hak Bin, an economist with BofA Merrill Lynch here, Reuters reports.

He points to the already slowing deposit growth in the banking system, with just S$3.8 billion (US$2.8 billion) of deposits being added in the first five months of 2015, just 20 percent of the total growth last year.

He suspects the government would invest the savings bond flows overseas** (more money for HoHoHo to double down her bets at the casino***). That would further pressure loan growth, by tightening available cash and triggering a rise in deposit rates, he said.

“So the timing is not ideal. The economy has stagnated in the first half and this will worsen the situation.”

Citibank analysts expect that of a total S$559 billion of deposits in the banking system, 36 percent are savings deposits held by households. If on average the central bank issued about S$6 billion worth of bonds each year, S$30 billion would flow from the deposit base into bonds over five years, they estimate.

MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon played down fears the bond will cannibalise bank deposits.

“The savings bonds issuance numbers pale in significance compared to the total size of the banking deposits,” he said but note that the government says it will issue a maximum of S$4 billion worth of bonds this year, which is still more than a fifth of deposit growth in 2014.

Whatever, down right bizarre this decision to issue the bonds. now. But then a GE is coming.

And the bond is really good for savers. “The Singapore Savings Bond is bending the risk-reward paradigm in investors’ favor,” said Zal Devitre, head of investments at Citibank in Singapore.Government bonds yield about 0.95 percent for one-year and 2.6 percent for 10 years. Bank deposits fetch around 0.25 percent for a year and just double that for 24 months.

Other evidence that Tharman (and Hng Khiang for that matter) are aliens from Bizarro S’pore:

Backgrounder from Wikipedia: The Bizarro World (also known as htraE, which is “Earth” spelled backwards) is a fictional planet appearing in American comic bookspublished by DC comics. Introduced in the early 1960s, htraE is a cube-shaped planet, home to Bizarro and companions, all of whom were initially Bizarro versions of Superman, Lois Lane and their children and, later, other Bizarros including Batzarro, the World’s Worst Detective.

In popular culture “Bizarro World” has come to mean a situation or setting which is weirdly inverted or opposite to expectations.


*The new bond, which will begin selling in October, will have a term of 10 years. It will offer the same yields as government bonds or ten times the returns on bank deposits, and can be redeemed without penalty at any point. They are are aimed at meeting a long-felt need for long-term investment options in the low-yielding economy. “The Singapore Savings Bond is bending the risk-reward paradigm in investors’ favor,” said Zal Devitre, head of investments at Citibank in Singapore.Government bonds yield about 0.95 percent for one-year and 2.6 percent for 10 years. Bank deposits fetch around 0.25 percent for a year and just double that for 24 months. the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has set a cap of S$100,000 on individual investments in the bond.

**Bizarro bonds: “Guaranteed to lose money for you”

***The late Dr Goh Keng Swee called the stock market a casino.

Double confirm: PM’s really from Bizzaro S’pore

In Political governance, Public Administration on 23/07/2015 at 4:51 am

Yesterday, I speculated that our PM’s from Bizzaro S’pore*. Well u/m double confirms this suspicion:

Speaking at a FutureChina Global Forum, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the Government had “Singaporeans’ interests at heart” when it came to immigration and population policies.

He said “it makes sense to take in foreign labour and immigrants” purely from the perspective of numbers.

“We have explained the reasons many times. I think people may not necessarily want more explanations.”

“But from an emotional standpoint, it is not easy for people to accept, to agree and support.”

Now isn’t the above in line with the Bizarro Code?

In the Bizarro world … society is ruled by the Bizarro Code which states “Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!” In one episode, for example, a salesman is doing a brisk trade selling Bizarro bonds: “Guaranteed to lose money for you”**. Later, the mayor appoints Bizarro No. 1 to investigate a crime, “Because you are stupider than the entire Bizarro police force put together”***. This is intended and taken as a great compliment.

I belong to a Facebook group that is pretty conservative and members cut the PAP administration a lot of slack particularly on healthcare, law and order, and welfare (well-off leh and mean) issues. But members don’t cut the PAP administration any slack when it comes to immigration and population policies. While they believe talents are needed and there is a need for immigration, they feel that too much trash is coming in. The belief is that the primary reason for immigration is to keep costs down.

When PM says “I think people may not necessarily want more explanations”, he isn’t talking about this Facebook group. He is talking about Jason Chua and his Fabrications aboyt the PAP? Btw, Jason Chua was kicked out from this group for posting runbbish from FATPAP. He then complained that the group considered supporting the PAP as a crime. My avatar posted to loud acclaim that his stupidity was criminal.

My serious point is that PM is deluded if he thinks the PAP administration has explained away why we need FTs by the container load: even a Facebook group that cuts the PAP a lot of slack doesn’t accept the “right” explanations.

He thinks we S’poreans too from Bizarro S’pore, like him?


*The Bizarro World (also known as htraE, which is “Earth” spelled backwards) is a fictional planet appearing in American comic books published by DC comics. Introduced in the early 1960s, htraE is a cube-shaped planet, home to Bizarro and companions, all of whom were initially Bizarro versions of Superman, Lois Lane and their children and, later, other Bizarros including Batzarro, the World’s Worst Detective.

In popular culture “Bizarro World” has come to mean a situation or setting which is weirdly inverted or opposite to expectations.

**Think the scholar, general, Temasek MD running NOL. I wrote this in 2013 and this in 2015

***Think the scholar, general running SMRT who can’t make the trains run on time

PM visiting from Bizarro S’pore?

In Media, Political governance on 22/07/2015 at 4:32 am

Backgrounder from Wikipedia: The Bizarro World (also known as htraE, which is “Earth” spelled backwards) is a fictional planet appearing in American comic books published by DC comics. Introduced in the early 1960s, htraE is a cube-shaped planet, home to Bizarro and companions, all of whom were initially Bizarro versions of Superman, Lois Lane and their children and, later, other Bizarros including Batzarro, the World’s Worst Detective.

In popular culture “Bizarro World” has come to mean a situation or setting which is weirdly inverted or opposite to expectations.

I tot of Bizarro World when PM said ST must maintain its ‘hallmark of credible, balanced, objective reporting’.


Even more bizarre, he told the audience that surveys (from Institute of Policy Studies? North Korean, Vietnamese think tanks affiliated to IPS?) show that Singapore newspapers, including ST, enjoy high credibility and respect.

Err if ST etc enjoys high credibility and respect, why then does Reporters Without Borders give Singapore a ranking of 153 – a drop of 3 places from last year’s ranking of 150 – in the World Press Freedom Index? 153 out of 180 is the lowest ranking Singapore has ever got.

Coming back to ST: The very newspaper which he praised as a ‘hallmark of credible, balanced, objective reporting ‘ was the subject of a US State Department cable which became a WikiLeaks document.

The ST Bureau Chief in Washinton D.C., told a member of the American Embassy in Singapore that reporters were frustrated with the obstacles they face in reporting on sensitive domestic issues. They had to be careful in their coverage of local news, as Singapore’s leaders would likely come down hard on anyone who wrote negatively about the government or its leadership.

He disclosed that there was a growing disconnect between ST’s reporters and its editors, with the reporters wanting to do more investigative and critical stories than the editors would allow. He said that the ST editors had all been groomed to be pro-government supporters and were careful to ensure that reporting of local events adheres closely to the official line: none of the editors had the courage to publish any stories critical of the government.

He also said that the government exerted significant pressure on ST editors to ensure that published articles toe the government’s line. For example, ministers routinely call ST editors to ensure that media coverage of an issue comes out the way they want it. He said that no editors had been fired or otherwise punished for printing articles critical of the government because all of them have already been vetted to ensure their pro-government leanings. The ST Bureau Chief even conceded that he would likely never advance higher up the ladder at ST due to the ‘expectations’ placed on editors.

The cable also revealed that another ST reporter had confirmed the disconnect between editors and reporters. For example, following the death of opposition icon JB Jeyaretnam in September 2008, she highlighted an internal debate inside ST over the amount of coverage ST should dedicate to JBJ’s death.

While the editors agreed with the reporters’ demand for extensive coverage of JBJ’s political career and funeral, they rejected the reporters’ suggestions to restrict the amount of coverage to eulogies by government leaders. The said reporter lamented that in the end, statements by government leaders took up a significant portion of the allotted space on the pages in the way the editors had wanted.

She also confirmed that most censorship was done by the editors. She was discouraged with life as a Singapore journalist and wondered if she would stay in the profession for long. She lost her job.

But maybe PM was praising ST for reporting news reliably and objectively over the years because he was being a gracious guest, unlike one GCT*. After all he said these words of praise at the launch of an exhibition on Wednesday (15 Jul) to mark the Straits Times’ 170th birthday. His mum tot him manners.

Or maybe he was trying to tell tasteless jokes like Tharman and Hng Khiang:

Seriously Tharman will make a good PM Must be the Indian mafia at work


*I was at the 5th anniversary dinner of MediaCorp’s freesheet. Goh Chok Tong was the guest of honour and he sneered at the freesheet’s short history. I kid you not.




Why Khaw, Vikram must commit hari kiri

In Political governance, Public Administration on 21/07/2015 at 4:31 am

Findings highlighting several lapses at Admiralty Citizen’s Consultative Committee (CCC) in the Auditor-General’s Report are being taken seriously, said Members of Parliament for Sembawang GRC Khaw Boon Wan and Vikram Nair*.

The grassroots leader “resigned” from his post but going by the u/m post on Facebook, Khaw and Nair should take responsibility Japanese style (something Khaw, who asked the WP’s leaders to commit hari kiri over the issues at their town council**. and the PAP – think ESM– advocate when it doesn’t involve a PAPpy or a scholar:

I was in grassroots from 1992 til mid 2008.. I held positions ranging from Exco, Secretary, Treasurer n Auditor.. If the cc n the adviser were doing their respective jobs.. This cannot happen.. We needed to submit reports, accounts n statements for everything.. We had only certain banks which we could deposit our monies into n a minimum of two signatures was ALWAYS required.. We were always fearful of being audited and found to be dishonest n so we would work into the night to ensure our submissions were fit for clearance.. To be fair we had access to plenty of training as to how to discharge our various duties n so I’m shocked .. As for the monies involved.. We had a balance of several tens of thousands n a monthly accounts of several thousands.. We not only ran several classes n day care (and we were not even that busy or aggressive) and we could bank in some hundreds every month easily. And we also used to receive funds from the various affiliates n grassroots organizations n eve the near by temple would donate funds for community events. Also the monies involved are not surprising for Why do you think the PA’s annual budget is so huge.. I quit coz I got disillusioned with the grassroots.. I felt I was no longer serving my residents but the .. Ahhh but then that’s another story..
*please note that this sharing is based to the best of my recollection and it’s not meant to disparage anyone fingered and I don’t in any way mean to cast aspersions on those folks especially since they’ve resigned :)) WAhahahahahah :)) T

What the post implies is that if Vikram and Khaw had been “on the ball” in carrying out their duties, the incident should not have arisen. It was a failure of the managers, not a system failure.

They also have to take responsibility for not ensuring that staff were trained to follow the “right” procedures. CNA reported that only after the report was released, did staff and volunteers at Admiralty CCC familiarise themselves with the financial procedures.

Again if Khaw and Vikram had been more on the ball … But let’s be fair to both of them. Vikram may still be suffering from the after-effects of drinking water from the tank where an FT went swimming and drowned, polluting the water supply of residents. And Khaw had a lot of work recently:

— Fernvale

— Fixing the WP

— Mourner in chief

— GE planning.


*Mr Khaw, who is also National Development Minister, said Admiralty CCC fully cooperated with the People’s Association investigation Panel. The report highlighted that the CCC chairman had awarded two contracts worth S$32,000 to a company at which he was linked to. He had also approved S$114,767 of his own claims.

The grassroots leader involved has stepped down and Mr Khaw said he was “glad” the Investigation Panel found no evidence of dishonesty.

Mr Nair said he was “saddened” to learn of the findings and said the grassroots leader concerned has served with distinction for many years. “I am relieved to note that there was no dishonesty found on his part by the investigation,” he said.

The PA said the non-declaration of conflict of interest is a serious lapse and that the staff involved have been reprimanded.


**Ok, OK I exaggerate.



PM’s clueless, forgetful: Why?

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 20/07/2015 at 4:51 am

Because he’s busy fixing the Oppo? Or because he’s a “natural aristocrat”, living in a parallel world?

I tot the above when I read, While young people he meets sometimes tell him that they are anxious about their future, they have so much more than their parents and grandparents did, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Speaking at the launch of the English edition of Chasing Rainbows today (July 16) at the National Library building, Mr Lee said he found the anxiety of the young worrying. The young today, he said, have more resources, are more educated, and have more opportunities to achieve something special for themselves and for Singapore. (CNA)

A member of a very conservative Facebook group that is usually sympathetic to the the PAP (Examples: Amos deserved what he got and many went to pay their respects to LKY) wrote:

Our parents didn’t have to contend with a large foreign workforce and mass middle class immigration,

N before they paid themselves big bucks.

Whether PM is clueless, forgetful because he’s busy fixing the Oppo; or because he’s a “natural aristocrat”, living in a different S’pore, the real S’pore has changed.

The working young get paid a lot less than what I and others got in the late 70s when we started work
— A second hand car (3 year old) only cost $17,000 then. Now?
— Cost of buying HDB flats were “peanuts” compared to now. A scholar in a TLC and his wife-to-be can only afford a resale 4-room HDB flat and according to his dad, they’ll have to wait 5 years for a BTO flat, assuming they get a unit this year. In my time, their combined  salaries would mean that they were outside the HDB scheme. In my time, opportunistic, cheapo (OK value) couples would arrange for the gal to stop work for a while so that they could be eligible for a HDB flat.
— I know a lawyer working in a bank who is in his 30s: He can only afford a resale three-room HDB flat (he’s single) and a small car. In my time, he’d have been able to buy a condo, and a sports car.
Maybe, the PAP administration should say “Sorry” for the asser appreciation policy of Goh Chok Tong’s team; where one Ah Loong was DPM and economic and financial czar?
But to be fair,  maybe the stresses of the job* have made PM forget that the world has changed? After all he seems to have forgotten a promise he made early this year:
The next GE must be held by January 2017. Speaking to the Chinese media in an interview on Thursday, Mr Lee said the Government is preoccupied with the SG50 celebrations this year and hence, has had no time to think about when to set up the committee*. “When it’s set up, everyone will know,” he added. 
We only learnt last week that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee was set-up two months ago. “When it’s set up, everyone will know”: two months later?
*To be fair, dad had died in late March and PM was really busy while grieving; and recovering from cancer treatment. So maybe he forgot his promise? Or maybe he’s like Humpty Dumpty in  Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether youcan make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”


PAP: The problem with technocrats

In Political governance on 19/07/2015 at 4:39 am

No, the problem with technocrats is not that they are only good for sticking leech-like onto to their jobs despite being incompetent: Think Lim Hng Khiang, Desmond Kwek and the fatty at NOL*.

The problem with technocrats, especially when it comes to economics, is that there is no “right” answer on which all experts agree. There are also political consequences to technocratic decisions. QE, for example, by boosting asset prices has helped the very wealthiest, who own most of the assets. Bailout programmes are perceived to help banks, a deeply unpopular result, even though the Greek crisis has shown what happens to the economy when the banks are too weak to open.

Related post:


*The performance of NOL’s CEO (scholar, SAF general, Temasek MD) tells the truth about “intelligence” PAP style: it doesn’t work in the real world, only in S’pore.

However, if Temasek succeeds in selling NOL, the new owners are likely bring in their own management team, resulting in the loss of jobs for current NOL CEO LG (NS) Ng Yat Chung and his team at NOL. Temasek may then need to find new GLCs for LG (NS) Ng and his team to helm.

“Goodies”, price hikes: it’s a package/ What voters really want?/ SMRT

In Political governance on 16/07/2015 at 4:57 am

I’m sure you’d receive by now a letter from MoF telling you that a cash GST voucher has been credited to yr bank account, and another to yr Medisave CPF account. Senior citizens also get another one credited to their bank account. The letter carries the words “Budget 2015”.

Now the annual Budget in S’pore, and elsewhere is a summary of how the economy is doing; it gives a list of new tax and spending decisions from the government; and it contains a lot of political spin. And a new set of economic forecasts is published.

In an election year (or a probable one) it also allows the govt of the day to play Santa Claus or the God of Fortune by handing out goodies.

That’s what the PAP administration did and making sure we are reminded of it.

But let’s not forget all the price hikes since 2011. See for a very comprehensive, op-to-date list.

Especially the fare increases despite the failure to get the trains run on time and the falling price of oil in 2014*.

As PM’s dad once said, when telling SIA pilots that they they had a good deal despite being paid lower salaries than their other furst world counterparts, “It’s a package”.

So tout up the goodies, you’ve been given (remembering that it’s yr money in the first place) since 2011, think of the price increases since 2011 and then decide if the package is about right, or an insult or generous.

All these tots led me to think about what voters really care about.

In the early 1970s, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Norman Kirk laid out a political philosophy which still resonates today. People, he said, don’t want much. They want: “Someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work and something to hope for.”

Relationships and a sense of community, a secure home; a secure job, and a belief that life will get better for us and our children – the building blocks of “the good life”, but what do they mean today as we grapple with globalisation, austerity, immigration, insecurities and uncertainty about the future? Is the job at hand to work out a new formula for fulfilment or to find a way back to these old certainties?

(BBC report before the UK election)

They care about “the good life”, voting for the party that they think can provide with a good life. All the oppo parties bar one mouth the need to help S’poreans get the good life. The WP knows this (hence it positions itself as PAP lite: more accountable and compossinate even if they can’t do accounting and monitoring their managing agent. So does the SDP: it has a whole range of policies**.

The only party that doesn’t care a hoot about the good life is Goh Meng Seng’s party, at least going by his latest attention-seeking tactics.

Maybe, it’s because he’s based in HK, jetting down (private jet?) to encourage his fellow cybernuts?


*Worse the ex-SAF general who is incapable of getting the trains running on time is getting paid a lot more than his predecessor who to be fair to her allowed her Ferrari to run over her when she failed to get the trains to run on time, insulting us in the process.The present CEO is staying put. In the US, The director of the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has resigned after a massive data breach involving more than 20 million people.

Katherine Archuleta said she would step down on Friday to help the department “move beyond the current challenges”.

Neither SMRT’s CEO nor the tpt minister is moving on  to  help the SMRT and the MRT system “move beyond the current challenges”.

They think they are part of the solution.

**These papers have been widely reported online and are available on this website. We list them below:

Ethical Salaries For A Public Service Centred Government (2011)
Caring For All Singaporeans: The SDP National Healthcare Plan (2012)
Housing A Nation: Holistic Policies For Affordable Homes (2013)
Building A People: Sound Policies For A Secure Future (2013)
A Singapore For All Singaporeans: Addressing The Concerns Of The Malay Community(2014)
Educating For Creativity And Equality: An Agenda For Transformation (2014)
A New Economic Vision: Towrads Innovation, Equal Opportunity and Compassion (2015)
A Promise To The Residents: The SDP Town Council Management Plan (2015)

In addition, we published Shadow Budgets for 2012 and 2013.

Singapore Democrats

Dr Chee’s analysis of where we were heading in the 90s is a lot more accurate than that of the PAP administration of the time. I had a more middle of the road view but I have to say, I suspect, that for most S’poreans, reading Dr Chee’s 1990s analysis today, they will nod in agreement.

Economist piece on Amos etc: Dark Side cousin responds

In Political governance on 04/07/2015 at 11:32 am

This appears only online in the letters section of the latest issue of the Economist (cousin of Hard Truths Btw, either Economist or High Commissioner didn’t use “spell check” for “Authority”

Singapore and the media

Your piece “Zip it” (June 24th) is unbalanced. It champions unfettered freedom of speech without providing the context of cases mentioned. Amos Yee was convicted for insulting the faith of Christians. In a small, highly diverse society like Singapore we guard our social peace jealously and make no apologies for it. We cannot allow people to denigrate or offend the religious beliefs of others: the result is anger and violence, as we have seen elsewhere. Protection from hate speech is also a basic human right.

The Media Developement Authroity (MDA) suspended TRS because it had published articles deliberately stirring up anti-foreigner sentiments. It fabricated stories to boost traffic and advertising revenue.

Mr Lee Hsien Loong’s defamation suit against Roy Ngerng is a completely separate matter. The Court found that Roy Ngerng had defamed Mr Lee Hsien Loong. Freedom of speech does not extend to freedom to defame others. Yet despite Mr Ngerng’s questionable tactics, the government has not shied away from debating questions about the Central Provident Fund. Ngerng himself engaged Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on the topic at a public forum, an exchange carried by the national broadsheet.
In seeking “wise conclusions through open debate”, integrity and honest reporting are as important as the right to speak freely.

High Commissioner for Singapore

Where the PAP is wrong, seriously wrong

In Political governance on 02/07/2015 at 4:51 am

One Harry believed that democracy held back growth, citing PinoyLand and India (He could cite Greece if he were alive). His son said that if S’poreans voted too many opp MPs in, he’d be too busy fixing them (Think Aljunied town council though to be fair Auntie and her Sikh failed to notice that the managing agent wasn’t keeping proper accounting records*, thereby allowing the PAP to make all kinds of allegations.) to grow the economy.

They and their PAP would say:

GDP growth in [China] at an average of 10% over the past decade, has easily outpaced that of its democratic emerging-market rivals. India saw annual growth of 6% over the same period; Brazil, just 2%.

In other words: democracies grow slowly; non-democracies grow quickly.

In 1994 Torsten Persson of Stockholm University and Guido Tabellini, then of the University of Brescia, published a paper that argued that in democracies, vote-hungry politicians divert resources away from people who could use them more efficiently by lavishing spending on their constituents in the form of unemployment benefits and pensions. This and political gridlock, another unfortunate aspect of democracy, both tend to slow growth. Another paper published in 1994, by Robert Barro of Harvard University, analysed data from some 100 countries before concluding that the “effect of democracy on growth is weakly negative”

The Economist, Hard Truths’ more liberal (legalise the use of marijuana and other drugs, allow gay marriages), compassionate (no death sentences) and sophisticated cousin (feed the poor to grow the economy, shumething the PAP is finally adopting to increase its share of the votes), reports on new research that challenges this …. The paper uses a huge dataset (175 countries over fifty years) and makes a number of statistical improvements (that are explained in the column) and concludes that “democratisations” (ie, when a country becomes democratic) improves living standards substantially. As the piece notes:

They find that a “permanent” democratisation—where there is no slide back into autocracy—leads to an increase in GDP per person of about 20% in the subsequent 25 years.

Pro-democracy activists may not get that excited: few fling themselves into campaigning for self-determination in order to boost GDP. But freedom and growth make for a pretty unbeatable combination.

Interesting the piece is entitled “Have your cake and eat it”.

Err we S’poreans can have democracy and a better material life; juz like our millionaire ministers can combine public service with serious money.

As Thomas Piketty, the French economist and rock star asks,  “It’s OK to pay someone 10, 20 times the average worker’s salary but do you really need to pay them 100 or 200 times to get their arses in gear?” Related post ttps://

But if we have democracy, they’ll not be able to have their cake and eat it.

So that’s the real reason why they hate democracy?


*Why didn’t it keep proper accounts and why didn’t Auntie and PritamS notice the lack of accounting documentation? These are legitimate questions. No need to allege this or allege that. Just ask these questions and see the response. Taz how incompetent the PAP administration and MND can be.

Harry, 2 popes, Spectrum and Amos

In Political economy, Political governance on 01/07/2015 at 4:30 am
Our very own Harrry and Pope John Paul II (pope in late 80s) had the same view on one topic
Liberation Theology, the controversial movement based on the conviction that the gospels enjoin the Church to put the poor first, which preoccupied and divided Latin America’s Catholics for much of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. John Paul believed it had tempted some priests and bishops into quasi-Marxist and even violent ideology, and as Pope he cracked down on some Liberation Theologians.
Sounds like he would have OKed (I’m not saying that he approved Spectrum, juz that he might have had blessed it if he had been consulted) what our Harry did to our Catholic “Marxists”: Vincent Cheng Kim Chuan, Teo Soh Lung, Kevin de Souza, Wong Souk Yee, Tang Lay Lee, Ng Bee Leng, Jenny Chin Lai Ching, Kenneth Tsang Chi Seng, Chung Lai Mei, Mah Lee Lin, Low Yit Leng, Tan Tee Seng, Teresa Lim Li Kok, Chia Boon Tai, Tay Hong Seng and William Yap Hon Ngian.
Would Harry have arrested the present Pope if he were here then working as a priest?
Jorge Bergoglio rejected Marxism – although he cheerfully accepts that he has many Marxist friends – but accepted many of Liberation Theology’s principles, espousing what Austen Ivereigh calls “a nationalist version” of the movement, or a so-called “Theology of the People”.
And he just issued “Laudato Si” encyclical where Francis says that sins against creation are very different from broken financial promises made between people, and everyone is responsible for everyone else because is a moral debt of the rich to the poor: The obligation is universal and implies a preference to those most in need. That is because the poor gain most from generosity and suffer most from hard-heartedness.
Tell that to Ah Loong who grudgingly spends our money on welfare for ourselves becauses it’s good politics and good for the economy.
Seriously, I now understand why S’pore has a tradition of Catholics fighting for social justice: people like the above and lawyer Peter Low: social justice is in the DNA of the Catholic church:

the economic writings of both John Paul and Francis also reflect the same intellectual tradition – one known as Catholic Social Teaching. It was originally articulated in an 1891 papal document called Rerum Novarum, in which Pope Leo XIII addressed what he called the “spirit of revolutionary change” then sweeping Europe.

Some of it is very clearly designed to be a rebuttal of the communist ideas that were part of that change, but it is also a critique of aspects of capitalism. So it is an unfamiliar mix that does not fit neatly into the left-right divide that dominated the politics of the following century.

Prof Maurice Glasman, a British economist who used to be a close confidant of Ed Miliband, studied Catholic social teaching for his PhD. He was attracted by the way it rejects the conventional ideologies of both left and right.

It’s not communist or even socialist:

“It really opposes this idea that there is just the state or the market,” he says. “It believes in activating society – what it calls solidarity – so that it can resist the domination by the rich of the poor, but through trade unions and vocational associations and what’s called subsidiarity, which is the decentralisation of power.” Glasman says it is opposed to communism because it “upholds private property” and is “anti-collectivist”.

But some Americans (and I’m sure PAPpists) are not impressed:

Glasman has a vivid memory of being attacked by an American economist after giving a paper at a recent Vatican conference on Catholic social teaching. “You know there’s a word for what you’re saying, Baron Lord Professor or whatever you are,” the challenge began. “Yeah, it’s called Communism. You’re trying to interfere with the prerogatives of management, you’re trying to interfere with capital, and you’re trying to interfere with prices. And that’s been tried – and that’s the Soviet Union.”

But Pope and Cardinal Marx believe in social justice.

During the subsequent discussion Glasman was delighted to find himself supported by both the Pope and the Archbishop of Munich, the appropriately named Cardinal Marx.

So what has all the above to do with Amos, son of mother Mary? Given the involvement of the Church in fighting for social justice, it’s reasonable to conclude that it’s highly likely that Amos is really autistic, sliming the church that is no friend of Harry and Thatcher who he also mocks. Only an autistic would put all three in the same category.

Muslim radicialisation fault of FT policy? Minster seems to say so

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 30/06/2015 at 4:44 am

In his latest remarks urging our Muslims to be alert to radicals, the Second Minister for Home Affairs, Masagos Zulkifli, warned of the growing presence of and threats posed by “absolutists” in the community.

He advised that Muslims should not easily “succumb” to the views and opinions of “absolutists”.

“They may look attractive, they may look correct,” he said, “but do not be gullible.”

Mr Masagos warned that these “absolutists” interpret the teachings of Islam in a rigid way, and that those who disagreed with their views were seen as “un-Islamic”, for example.

The emergence of these “absolutists” could be a result of religious teachers coming here from “all over” the world.

“The variations of Islam they embrace are ‘very cultural’, and some of the conflicts experienced in other countries are brought to Singapore”, he told CNA on Sunday.

An Indian Muslim friend tells me that the FT religious leader for his community can only come from a paerticular village and can only speak the dialect of the area he comes from. His Koranic knowledge comes from memorising the Koran. How does this amount to a talent policy?

Btw, the NUS Law School should seriously look at stopping the import of foreign trash. I mean a law professor who has regular sex a student and claims he has academic integrity? And claims he was fixed because he criticised our judges? Academics are not supposed to have sex with their students, ever.

And now another FT faculty member beats up a taxi uncle.

SG50: “Freedom” Harry’s way

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 28/06/2015 at 12:47 pm

One of Napoleon’s Marshalls, Lefebvre said on entering a town in Germany, “We have come to bring you Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. But don’t let it go to your heads. The first person to step out of line will be shot”.

Our Harry could have said this in 1959 when the PAP won power, or during Coldstore, or in 1965 when S’pore was kicked out of M’sia or during Spectrum.

Spending more on poor & middle class: Not juz ’cause GE coming

In Economy, Political economy, Political governance on 19/06/2015 at 4:49 am

The PAP administration continues to throw our money at ourselves

— Poineer Generation benefits

— smaller SingHealth bills for younger oldies

— extra $ for civil servants

— improving public transport

— “savings” etc etc bonds

Must make Goh Meng Seng, Roy Ngerng, Han Hui Hui and their fellow cybernuts infesting TRE despair, and TOC despair. PAP really spending money on citizens, albeit their own money.

Doubtless post GE, they expect the goodies to stop. And S’poreans will be squeezed again. These will make the cybernuts and TOC happy again, pAP screwing the stupid voters who vote for them.

Well think again. There is a new fashion in economic thinking as this extract shows

[O]n June 15th economists at the IMF released a study assessing the causes and consequences of rising inequality. The authors reckon that while inequality could cause all sorts of problems, governments should be especially concerned about its effects on growth. They estimate that a one percentage point increase in the income share of the top 20% will drag down growth by 0.08 percentage points over five years, while a rise in the income share of the bottom 20% actually boosts growth. But how does inequality affect economic growth rates?

[T]he recent rise in inequality has prompted a new look at its economic costs. Inequality could impair growth if those with low incomes suffer poor health and low productivity as a result, or if, as evidence suggests, the poor struggle to finance investments in education. Inequality could also threaten public confidence in growth-boosting policies like free trade, says Dani Rodrik of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

More recent work suggests that inequality could lead to economic or financial instability. In a 2010 book Raghuram Rajan, now governor of the Reserve Bank of India, argued that governments often respond to inequality by easing the flow of credit to poorer households. Other recent research suggests American households borrowed heavily prior to the crisis to prop up their consumption. But for this rise in household debt, consumption would have stagnated as a result of poor wage growth. Economic eminences such as Ben Bernanke and Larry Summers argue that inequality may also contribute to the world’s “savings glut”, since the rich are less likely to spend an additional dollar than the poor. As savings pile up, interest rates fall, boosting asset prices, encouraging borrowing and making it more difficult for central banks to manage the economy.

The Hard Truths ‘ version is

Economists say that some inequality is needed to propel growth. Without the carrot of large financial rewards, risky entrepreneurship and innovation would grind to a halt. In 1975 Arthur Okun, an American economist, argued that societies cannot have both perfect equality and perfect efficiency, but must choose how much of one to sacrifice for the other. While most economists continue to hold that view …

And we know the author, enforcer of Hard Truths has gone to the hall where Mao, Stalin, Lenin, Churchill and Hitler are dining at the high table.

And we got plenty of $ without resorting to a GST increase ( It’ll come from our NIR

Plenty of money there:

SingFirst is proposing to spend an additional S$6 billion a year – over and above what the government is spending – to tackle what it described as “rising inequality”, funded from the net investment returns (NIR). The NIR allows the government to spend up to 50 per cent of expected long-term real returns on its net assets managed by the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and more recently Temasek Holdings.

SingFirst said the money will be spent to provide free education, higher subsidised child care and higher transport subsidies, among other things. The biggest ticket item is an old-age pension of S$300 a month for 600,000 senior citizens. The party also wants to phase out the Goods and Services Taxes (GST) by increasing taxes on higher income individuals.


Doubtless Meng Seng* and friends will be quoting Philip Ang**, their financial expert,  on why there is no NER.

Funny that Tan Jee Say wants to abolish GST. It’s regressive but that can be overcome by real cash rebates to the poor and middle class, not the PAP’s pseudo rebate to the CPF accounts. In general, economists like GST because of its simplicity and because it taxes consumption, not investment or savings.


*After last GE, Meng Seng said he would monitor and report on Bishan GRC’s spending plans, ’cause he said the projects they promised were more than Bishan could afford. Err not heard anything from him.

**When analaysing London commercial property (when trying to slime GIC), he leaves out the rental yield, saying yield is irrelevant. Well the reason why the Arab SWFs and big property investors love London is that it offers good rental yields.

UK election results makes PAP look democratic

In Political governance on 10/06/2015 at 4:44 am

At least here, the choice of the majority of voters gets to govern.

Anti-PAP cybernuts (like OXYGEN, Dosh), their heroes (Mad Dog Chee, s/o JBJ), rational activists opposed to the PAP (Yes, there are many like SDP’s Dr Paul Thamby and Dr Wong Wee Nam, Dr Ang Yong Guan, P Ravi, TeamTRE etc), and most neutral political analysts bemoan the system here: with only 60% of the votes the PAP won 81 seats (93%) of the seats at the last GE. The WP with 12% of the vote won 6 seats. And although the Oppo had 40% of the vote, these 6 seats were all they won. This pattern is consistent in all the elections since 1959.

Well the UK, is supposed to be a bastion of democracy but in the last election

— In Scotland, the SNP had only 50% of the votes but won 56 out of 59 seats (Labour lost 40 seats). 50% of the voters ended up with only 3 seats.

— In the country as a whole, the Tories had only 37% of the vote, yet have a 12 seat majority over the combined opposition share of the seats. 63% voted against them, yet the Tories formed the govt.

Makes PAP’s 60% of popular vote and 93% of the seats look more “democratic”, a lot more. At least 60% of adult S’poreans voted for the PAP. And don’t you forget that OXYGEN and the other cybernuts infesting TRE, sctounging off and undermining TeamTRE’s efforts to make S’pore a less PAP friendly place.

In the UK, even if they all formed a coalition, the Oppo had less seats than the Tories. But that’s not all. If Labour had gotten 37% of the votes instead of 30%, and had not lost 40 seats in Scotland, it would have likely won the election. In that case the 63% who did not vote Labour would have to accept a Labour govt.

What Father didn’t teach son and Goh

In Political governance on 05/06/2015 at 4:51 am

When I read the u/m I tot of Harry, Son and Goh, and the Chinese legends of the kung fu masters who never passed on all their secrets to their chosen heirs: there was always one secret that they would take to their graves, to ensure that their heirs were never better than them.

Podemos’ [new Spanish party on the left] approach is based on the assumption that, outside politicised bubbles, most do not think in terms of “left” and “right”. Outside the political world, most think in terms of issues to be addressed in a way that is convincing, coherent, and communicated in a language that people understand. Statistics and facts won’t win the support of millions; we’re human beings, we think in terms of empathy. Stories are more persuasive, because they speak to us emotionally. Why else do rightwing tabloids focus on extreme examples of benefit “scroungers”? They know such stories make their readers’ blood boil; they are human stories that connect emotionally, and powerfully

(Emphasis mine)

Remove the word Podemos’ and replace it with “LKY’s, Dr Goh’s and others of the PAP’s Pioneer Generation” and you have the secret of the success of the PAP in the 60s, 70s before the inflow of new blood:  They knew the issues to be addressed in a way that is convincing, coherent, and communicated in a language that people understand.

Because of this, they were able to adopt a strategy that today would lose elections, even in S’pore. Here’s how the Economist describes this sure way to lose elections:

We can blame ourselves as voters for believing unfunded promises. In practice, however, a lot of people don’t swallow the propaganda. So perhaps an honest politician might have success by saying “Look, I don’t control the global economy. If the Middle East blows up, or China crashes, or the Federal Reserve tightens policy too far, then the economy will slump no matter what I do. So I’ll try not to be corrupt, make the trains run on time and not drive employment-creating businesses away, and maybe we’ll be lucky.” But no one has the chutzpah to adopt such a strategy.*

Actually LKY and the old guard did adopt such a strategy. I remember watching LKY on tv telling us all the problems in the global economy, then saying we will affected because we are a tiny, open economy dependent on global factors, and then saying he’ll fix the corrupt, make the buses run on time, not drive employment-creating businesses away and attract employment-creating MNCs to Singapore. All we have to do is to work hard, don’t strike, vote PAP, and don’t listen to JBJ, the ang moh tua kee wind-bag.

But then it was a simpler world then, economicallyand financially, and access to information was limited.


*Here’s the preceding bit: HERE is how politics is “supposed” to work. Party leaders make a whole bunch of promises (tax cuts/spending increases) before an election, only to discover, when in office, that a closer inspection of the books/global crisis/natural disaster (select the most plausible) prevents them from following through on their plans. Repeat the process often enough and you get voter cynicism.

Whose fault is this?

Shouldn’t this mum get serious money?/ Don’t let kids suffer for mum’s sins

In Political governance, Public Administration on 03/06/2015 at 4:49 am

In S’pore, money talks, BS walks as Amos Yee pointed out when castigating the good-hearted kay pohs, anti-PAP ang moh tua kees like Roy Ngerng, Shelly Thio, Lynn Lee and Kirsten Han who did everything to help him except stand bail. Since then, they have become very quiet about him. When asked about “Amos Yee, freedom fighter, Harry slimer”, they mumble that he went beyond the pale ’cause of the false accusation he made that his bailor molested him, and his flip flops about an apology.

Why do you think, they treat him like a leper? Because that the slimer of Harry turns out to be foul-mouth brat who speaks the truth about the hypocrisy of the ang moh tua kees, and not a knight in shining armour out to defeat the evil dragon Harry?

Seriously given the exhort ions to S’poreans to breed more, and the incentives given to couples breed, it’s surprising that this lady with six kids is in such dire straits. She should be paid prize money for having six kids, not made to suffer, for having six of them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sad for the kids too.

We don’t know whether she had some or all of the kids out of wedlock. But if the govt can on pragmatic grounds decide not to prosecute under 377A (despite saying that the majority of S’poreans have public morality problems with gays), why can’t it ignore any issues of public morality in her case and provide her with more funding. And if she had the kids in wedlock, then the govt’s behaviour is disgusting.

Whatever the circumstances of the case, the govt  should give her a free four room flat. After all she is doing something that the govt wants S’poreans to do: breed more. If more were like her, we’d not need FTs. But then maybe taz the real reason for not funding her: the PAP administration wants FTs.

And she can’t be a bad mom because if she was one I’m sure my RI PreU class-mate, Ang Bee Lian, would have made orders to remove the children from her care.


Foreign brides cause social problems? FT families don’t? WTF!

In Political governance on 20/05/2015 at 4:18 am

Foreign brides cause social problems even though sons do NS like their fathers?

But FT families can come in by the cattle truck load and then sons can avoid NS like what new citizen  two timing Raj was planning to do? And FT fathers don’t do NS.

Wah lan PAP sure love FTs.

Those tots crossed my mind when I read some of ESM Goh’s comments at the launch of the Social Service Research Centre (SSR), National University of Singapore on Friday (24 Apr).

He said more older men are at his MPS asking for a long-term visit pass or permanent residency for their younger, foreign wife. He worried about potential problems resulting from such marriages and their effects on children and society. (ESM Goh Chok Tong told the audience that he could see “an avalanche of social issues coming” of which foreign wives was one. See below for details.*)

Well given the problems that the PAP’s very liberal immigration policies have resulted in new citizens like two timing Raj, fake degree holder and celebrated new citizen model IDA employee Nisha, and Roy Ngerng’s sidekick Han Hui Hui; and PRs who beat up taxi drivers and rob locals: WHY single out the problems that can happen when S’porean men marry younger, foreign women**?

The men are true blue S’porean men who have done NS. Surely, we as a society (and in particular the PAP) should try to accommodate them what with them spending two years to provide cheap labour to the PAP administration? And whose sons will do NS.

Here’s a Mother’s Day Tribute that appeared on FB to foreign born mums with S’porean kids which I agree with

There are many Singapore citizens whose mothers are living in Singapore on long-term-visit-passes. Some of these male citizens have even served their national service. These LTVP mothers appear not to have as much “merit” as some foreign students with no blood ties to Singapore. The reverence for mothers and motherhood that some in Singapore society and leadership proclaim, is to me the epitome of hypocrisy.

As a citizen of Singapore, I apologise to all LTVP mothers for this lapse in our national integrity. May your acknowledgement come swiftly.


*He said, “I can see an avalanche of social issues coming. We started out young and hungry, poor and illiterate. Now we are relatively affluent and educated, older and perhaps less energetic.”

“The social challenges of Singaporeans in the next 50 years will be drastically different from those in the last 50. We need to think ahead of the curve, and evolve a new social service infrastructure,” he added.

Mr Goh is advisor to the newly launched SSR.

He said that Singapore has undergone a sea change and it is now shaped by 3 major shifts in the areas of demography, technology and social expectations.

Mr Goh identified 3 key drivers of the current social climate change in Singapore:

1. Ageing Population

Mr Goh said Singapore has an ageing and declining population, and a big jump in cross-border marriages across cultures and socio-economic groups.

He mentioned that more older men are at his MPS asking for a long-term visit pass or permanent residency for their younger, foreign wife. He worried about potential problems resulting from such marriages and their effects on children and society.

2. Social Media

The second is the use of mobile smart devices and social media, which will influence how people interact with each other, he said.

Already, even the elderly are using smart phones in their daily lives.

3. Rise of Middle Class

Third, many more Singaporeans count themselves as middle class now, he noted.

But with this comes mid-life insecurity and fear about their economic future and their children’s, he said.

Also, expectations tend to increase as more Singaporeans become middle-class income earners.

NUS provost Tan Eng Chye said the centre was timely as it comes amid growing public scrutiny of social issues here. SSR will work with policy makers and social service agencies to pilot social programmes.


**Didn’t that stelwart of the PAP, Dr Gog Keng Swee, divorce his wife and married a M’sian born much younger lady? If he can, why can’t lesser mortals?

PAP can learn from Thai generals?

In Political governance on 09/05/2015 at 5:09 am

Maybe the PAP should add these to its list of institutions to make sure voters make the right choices and if they don’t (think Aljunied) to protect them from the consequences of their actions, whether they reprent or not voting in the oppo (think Aljunied again). Obviously the PA system is not working in Aljunied: otherwise no need to take WP TC to court.

Ten or so other institutions will help to baby-sit the politicians, including a “National Moral Assembly” which will punish those who act unethically, a catch-all term that could be used against government critics. Three-quarters of the 120 seats in a new “National Reform Assembly” will be reserved for toadies now serving in one of the junta’s various conclaves. Their job will be to prevent any future government deviating from a legislative programme that the generals are now laying down.

PAP administration’s Alice-in-Wonderland policies

In Economy, Political governance, Uncategorized on 08/05/2015 at 3:27 am

Lee Hsien Loong … is trying to persuade the population that they don’t need to go to university to have a good career. After a clampdown on immigration and a slowdown in the economy, he needs fewer graduates and more workers to fill the shipyards, factory floors and hotel desks that keep the country going.

Fair enough, except that the PAP administration* at the same time allows FTs in still by the A380 load (used to be by the container load by ship) on the excuse that we need graduate PMEs. The PAP administration wants to further restrict the number of true blue S’poreans getting degrees but then say we need FT graduates? WTF?

Worse, we then have a govt agency (think IDA) defending an FT employee who undeniably has a fake degree on the ground that she didn’t know it was a fake**, and that anyway she got her job because of her first degree from some Indian U, that no S’porean (even from the local Indian community) would ever think of applying to if the S’porean had to study overseas.

Sounds like the PAP administration could be the government in Alice’s Wonderland, not the Red Queen.

As the author of the Alice books was an eminent mathematician, one should not be surprised that our PM has such Alice-like policies.  He graduated from Cambridge University with a first-class degree in mathematics and a diploma in computer science. He can write software to solve Sudoku puzzles. Err what about writing a programme that can explain to voters the “less local grads” policy but more FTs (with fake degrees or sub-standard degrees) policy?

Seriously, if ministers have not been able to calibrate the relatively small number number of local lawyers and doctors to the demands of the economy, how can they realistically try to control the supply of graduates across-the-board to demand?

One can reasonably assume that the “less local grads” policy coupled with the continued welcoming of FTs, fake degrees and all, is meant to “fix” S’poreans in the cause of ensuring that S’pore remains attractive to MNCs because of low costs.


*Harry loved FTs. Maybe, they are the living memorials of Harry? In 1959, only 270,00 out of the 600,000 voters were born here. The PAP is only trying to restore the demographics  to when the PAP came into power.

Interestingly, when one LKY revealed the above fact in 1959, LKY also said,”we must go about our task (of building up a nation) with urgency … of integrating our people now and quickly”. Maybe he repented building a nation of native-borns?

**And it seems that the IDA didn’t know that the degree was a fake until netizens pointed that the uni awarding the MBA was a reputable factory mill. Many years ago, a govt agency, Public Service Commission  (I think) had a list of unis whose degrees the govt recognised when employing people. Stat boards and private businesses also used that list. Is there such a list today? If there was such a list, IDA should have known that the degree was a fake.

S&P index fund beats hedgies over 7 yrs/ Hedgies, PAP ministers & monkeys

In Political governance on 07/05/2015 at 1:44 pm

With three years to go, Warren Buffett is comfortably winning his charity bet that a low-cost index tracker would trounce a portfolio of hedge funds over ten years.

Returns from the S&P 500 index fund is beating a portfolio of funds assembled by hedge fund manager Protégé Partners by 63.5 per cent to 19.6 per cent, according to a slide Mr Buffett presented at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting this past weekend.

(Monday’s FT)

Chart: Buffett's bet (Protégé Partners hedge fund selection v S&P 500 index fund)

As to what PAP ministers and hedgies have in common? They pay themselves a lot for mediocre performance.

The $11.6 billion which Institutional Investor’s Alpha calculates this ultra-elite [hedgies] was paid last year, an average of $467 million per hedge fund boss, would still seem troublingly high.

Such gains seem out of line with the value of their putative contributions. After all, the modern economy is built on collaborative effort, not to mention supportive governments and central banks. Even the greatest individual contributions would not merit an annual income, including gains from holdings, of about 10,000 times the average American salary.

To add insult to injury, Alpha calculates that at least 12 of the 25 top guys (sorry, ladies, no women in this club) underperformed in 2014. That is not surprising in a highly competitive industry. BarclayHedge, a consultant which monitors about 3,000 hedge funds, reports the average net return in 2014 was 3 percent. The U.S. stock market provided close to 14 percent.

We have one Ah Loong (since the 1980s), Lui, Yaacob and Lim Hng Kiang and had Wong Kang Seng, Mah Bow Tan, Raymond Lim and Goh Chok Tong.

Double confirm June GE?/ Respect LKY’s ideals

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 16/04/2015 at 3:55 am

PM needs Ho’s help?

Temasek Holdings Chief Executive Officer Ho Ching will be on “part-time sabbatical leave” for three months ….”She will continue with her Board duties and specific stewardship duties,” according to the statement posted on Wednesday (Apr 15). (CNA yesterday afternoon)

FT suggests, “Arranging the family affairs of the man who led Singapore to independence in 1965 is expected to be a time-consuming process.’

My guess is that PM needs her beside him in the coming GE campaign. I had written earlier: Surely a June 2015 GE is on the cards? After all, that a 49-day mourning period is acceptable in the Confucian tradition. A traditional 100-day mourning period would mean that the Sept school holidays is the earliest possible time for GE.

“Respect LKY; Respect his ideals; Vote PAP”

“Most importantly, how we honour Mr Lee must be faithful to the ideals he lived by and fought for. Mr Lee made it very clear throughout his life that he did not need and did not want any monument. It was not monuments but ideals that were his chief concern, the ideals upon which he built Singapore: Multi-racialism, equality, meritocracy, integrity, and the rule of law. He hoped these ideals would endure in Singapore beyond him. We can pay no greater tribute to him than to uphold the principles upon which he built this country.”*

CNA 13 April reporting PM’s parly speech).

Want to respect LKY? No need monuments. Respect his ideals. Vote PAP. All the elected seats is a fitting tribute,” will the implicit theme of the GE campaign.

Will the 10% ** of voters that voted for Tan Cheng Bock in PE2011 but who voted for the Oppo in GE 2011 vote PAP?

If they do (And assuming the 60% of the voters continue supporting the PAP and “Why not?”), LKY would have the last laugh. He would have rise from his coffin to help the PAP.

True it wouldn’t match Peanuts Goh’s 75.3% share of the vote in 2001 but it would be a 10%age points swing too.

Better still, due to the large number of uncontested seats in 3001, only 675,306 of the 2,036,923 eligible voters (33.2%) actually voted. In the next GE, all the seats will be contested.


*One of these days, I’ll post on why I sniggered when I read this.

**  Tony Tan and Dr Tan each had 35% of the vote: 70% supported these two PAP-aligned candidates. In GE, PAP only got 60% of the vote. Hence the 10% figure.

Sympathy vote? What sympathy vote?

In Financial competency, Political governance on 14/04/2015 at 4:01 am

The constructive, nation-building media are quoting the “experts” as saying that there will be a sympathy vote* for the PAP. The anti-PAP cybernuts are cursing their luck that their wish came true (LKY died) but are worried that the PAP will not now lose the GE as they had expected: taz how deluded or nutty they are.

Let’s cut to the chase and analyse nthe available data shall we?

First, the data on LKY’s lying-in-state and funeral

About 1.5 million people paid tribute to Mr Lee at sites around the country this week the government said.

  • 454,687 people filed past the coffin as it lay in state in parliament, averaging 6,500 every hour according to government
  • 1.1 million people paid tribute at 18 community sites around the country – a fifth of the population

[T]ens of thousands lined the streets to view the funeral procession carrying Mr Lee’s coffin through the city-state.

(BBC article)

Now the analysis.

If all the 1.5m that paid their respects were citizens and voters, that may conceivably result in the PAP getting 70% of the popular vote in next GE.

Not good news for the WP (their MPs would lose their cushy, well-paid jobs where the only KPI is how silent they are), Dr Chee’s SDP, people like me who want an end to the PAP’s hegemony, and the cybernuts.

But we can reasonably assume that there were people below the voting age who paid their respects. And we can also reasonably assume that of the 1.5m in attendance, only 0.96m are of voting age (In 2011, 2.1 m out of 3.3m citizens were of the voting age i.e. 64%)

Even if we assume that there were no FTs paying tribute (Impossible because, after all, he did say that FTs are more hardworking than S’poreans: respect begets respect) and no anti-PAP people paid their respects (but we know at least the Chiams, P(olitian) Ravi, Jeannette Chong anfd New Citizen Han Hui Hui** did go to some tribute), 0.96m is a lot less than the 1.2m who voted for the PAP in 2011. In fact, it represents only 45.7% of the popular vote.

Where’s the missing 14.3 of the popular vote that voted for the PAP?

Now 0.96m is higher than the 35% of the popular vote that die-die must vote for the PAP (the voters who voted for Tony Tan the PAP’s (and it’s rumoured LKY’s) preferred presidential candidate. But it’s a lot less than the 70% or 1.5m that voted for Tony Tan and Dr Tan Cheng Bock. Dr Tan has never renounced his PAP past, unlike Tan Kin Lian who lost his deposit, so we can assume that the 35% of the voters who voted for Dr Tan are willing to back the PAP.

So sympathy vote? What sympathy vote? Where’s it coming from?

There may be one, but how to prove it?

Seriously, what I’ve tried to show** is that the 1.5m figure (a very good turnout in the context of a population of 5.5m) can be explained by the turnout of the core PAP supporters, their children, and FTs.

Given LKY’s high regard for FTs and that the FT PMEs live the good life here, it’s a fair bet that many FTs paid their respects. I mean even the Indian manual workers (who we are told are bullied and exploited) hold him in high regard: their villages back home honoured him in their traditional ways.  Ways which annoyed at least one anti-PAP activist who is ethnic Indian.

As I wrote at  and there are other factors that should help the PAP increase their share of the popular vote in the coming GE. If the PAP does better than in 2011, there is no need to talk of a sympathy vote.

The experts should not BS about the sympathy vote without any evidence. Now if they had access to the results of polling and analysis of focus groups which they or third paries like IAD or PA conduct, fair enough: but if they don’t they should juz sit down and shut up. And think.

Related posts:

*Actually so did I. On the day of the funeral I tot the PAP could get 70% of the popular vote if the election is held in June or September: until I tot about the matter.

**She cursed him on Facebook sometime back, saying she was hoping he’d die soon. Well she got her wish, so maybe taz why she went to the lying-in-state? Her way of dancing on his grave?

***Of course, my assumptions can be challenged. Challenge them please.

The best way to respect LKY

In Political governance on 12/04/2015 at 5:51 am

Well today tomorrow PAP MPs* and NMPs will be lining up to propose all manner of tributes to LKY. Wonder what the saka queen, that NMP with useless legs and a sycophantic brain will say? Let’s see if any of them have the balls to say: “Want to respect LKY? No need monuments. Vote PAP. All the elected seats is a fitting tribute to him.  Let’s face it. Whatever we think about him or his achievements, even his most ardent admirers  and the most anti-LKYers will acknowledge that to LKY, “The people, the PAP and the government are one”. So what better tribute or monument to him, if one is wanted, then to restore one-party rule to S’pore. I mean we had a fair bit of this in the 60s and 70s before than vain glorious, ang moh tuakee wind-bag spolided the party by entering parly? And S’pore did pretty well economically didn’t we? And for better measure, why not then change the constitution to make the PAP the ruling party for eternity? DSC_0011 Err I don’t think Harry would want this though. For all his faults, he, like Caesar Augustus, was keen to preserve the facade of proper behaviour and decorum. For those not conversant with him, Augustus was the first Roman emperor but made sure that he operated within the traditions and laws of the Roman republic. Augustus also said: “I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.” I think P(olitican) Ravi would have to agree (through gritted teeth admittedly) that LKY could say without contradiction, “I found S’pore a city of bricks and left it a city of steel and glass.” — *Three PAP MPs will be asking the Government to consider how the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew can be honoured further when Parliament sits. MP Foo Mee Har wants the Government to declare a new holiday called Founder’s Day so as to “provide Singaporeans the opportunity to remember the struggles of the country in the early years and remind us of the nation’s founding values and principles”. [He founded S’pore? Come on Raffles founded modern day S’pore.] She also wants the Singapore currencies, both notes and coins, to bear the face of Mr Lee. MP Lily Neo will also be asking the Government to consider printing Mr Lee’s photo on Singapore’s dollar notes in order to honour him. In addition, Ms Neo wants the Government to consider re-naming Singapore’s airport after Mr Lee. MP Ang Wei Neng agrees with Ms Neo. He will further ask the Government to consider renaming Changi Airport or any other significant buildings or institutions in honour of Mr Lee. [Hello, you disrespect him so fast? He didn’t like this kind of thing. It could a lot of persuasion for the LKY School of Public Policy to be so named.]

LKY: How right, how wrong?/ June or Sept GE?

In Political governance on 10/04/2015 at 4:43 am

Not long after Mao’s death the Chinese Communist Party announced that he had been 70% right, 30% wrong. This official view has not changed despite the changes in China: from underachiever to wannabe great power, challenging US hegemony.

What does the PAP think about how right and wrong LKY had been? Going by the spin by the constructive, nation-building media, one assumes 100% right. LKY did no wrong. He even was a nice, compassionate human being. Btw, readers might like to be reminded that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a prisooner in Stalin’s gulag camps, reported that prisoners cried when Stalin died: there was even genuine grief among those who suffered because of his actions^.

And the vigilantism against those with the “unright” views, shows the PAP IB stroking the genuine respect that many S’poreans feel for LKY. To be fair, some of the anti-PAP views on LKY are going too far. Even at the more reasonable end of the “unright” views, TOC and P(olitican) Ravi seem to want to make him one of the crowd that did great and good things for S’pore. Hello guys, he was the head of the PAP and PM of S’pore. Surely the leader deserves a bit more credit than his team, even if it was a team effort?

Given that a general election could be held soon and he will feature prominently (“Want to respect LKY? No need monuments. Vote PAP. All the elected seats is a fitting tribute.”), what do voters think how right and how wrong he had been is what matters.

Will the 10%* of voters that voted for Tan Cheng Bock in PE2011 but who voted for the Oppo in GE 2011 vote PAP?

Surely a June 2015 GE is on the cards? After all, a 49-day mourning period period is acceptable in the Confucian tradition. A traditional 100-day mourning period would mean that the Sept school holidays is the earliest possible time for GE.

*Tony Tan and Dr Tan each had 35% of the vote: 70% supported these two PAP-aligned candidates. In GE, PAP only got 60% of the vote. Hence the 10% figure.

^Sentence Aadded at 5.30am.

Jogging alone can be illegal?

In Political governance, Public Administration on 07/04/2015 at 4:48 am

If wearing the wrong tee-shirt or singlet?

Try waling 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.


*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.


Why PAP didn’t do well in 2011, but will do better

In Economy, Political governance, Uncategorized on 06/04/2015 at 4:10 am

The anti-PAP cybernuts who expect the PAP’s share of the popular vote to fall below 60% will bang theirs balls in frustration. The PAP’s share of the popular vote will go up.

And taz not even taking account of the LKY effect induced partly (but not wholly) by the saturation coverage in our constructive, nation-building media, aided by various Facebook pages run by allies. The anti-PAP websites help the PAP by adding to the sheer weight of coverage even as they they denigrate LKY, often in really stupid ways. More on GE and the LKY effect one of these days.

Nor is this even taking account of our money being spent on us. Think public transport, Pioneer Generation benefits for starters.

It’s economics that drove the PAP’s share of the vote to 60% and will lift it in the coming GE.

The PAP didn’t do well in 2011* because there was no real wage growth from 2010 to 2012, mirroring a drop in FDI flow. But look at the rebound in both. And remember the increase in employers’ contribution by 0.5% from 1 September 2011. And  that there is a further 1% increase this year.


*Yes, yes of course the rising prices of public housing and the crowded trains and buses and the arrogance of the PAP especially one LKY (remember his “repentance” comments?) didn’t help. Funny even the cybernuts don’t raise his “repentance” comments. Scared his ghost will haunt them?

Related post:

Holding highly paid to account

In Corporate governance, Political governance, Public Administration on 05/04/2015 at 4:53 am

Hmm, maybe PM should think of adapting these ideas for himself, his ministers, senior bureaucrats and CEOs of TLC and other commercial GLCs.

HOLDING EXECUTIVES ACCOUNTABLE Should top executives be required to contribute a chunk of their pay to a pool that would pay penalties if misdeeds were later uncovered at the company? That is a nonbinding proposal that Citigroup shareholders will vote on next month, notes Gretchen Morgenson in the Fair Game column.

A somewhat similar idea can be found in a law journal article by Greg Zipes, a trial lawyer for the Office of the United States Trustee. Mr. Zipes proposes that top executives sign a contract pledging to pay back 25 percent of their gross compensation in the event of major corporate misdeeds. Such proposals, Ms. Morgenson says, are intended to combat the “perverse incentive” that encourages executives to take on huge risks in order to earn rich pay and bonuses, safe in the knowledge that the consequences won’t be costly.

Maybe there should be pools for the ministers, senior bureaucrats and CEOs where they contribute part of their gross remuneration.

If their peers cock up, the money in the pool gets forfeited to the Consolidated Account.

Maybe ministerial peer pressure can keep Lui on his toes. And the ex-SAF generals running SMRT and NOL. CEOs of DBS, SIA, Keppel, CapitaLand etc will make sure that incompetent peers are “moved” on.

SG50/ BKR50: Buffett, LKY & Ah Loong

In Financial competency, Political governance on 31/03/2015 at 5:03 am

(Or “Ah Loong imitated Buffett, not dad”)

When business leaders make mistakes, they have nothing to lose from a proper apology

Thus runs the subtitle of a an aricle in an article sometime back FT which goes on: One business leader who has no problem detailing his mistakes is Warren Buffett. He regularly does it in his annual letter to shareholders. This year’s marked the golden anniversary of his and Charlie Munger’s control of Berkshire Hathaway so he dredged up 50 years of mistakes.

They included investing in dying textile companies and seeing acquisition “synergies” evaporate.

More recent mistakes included holding on to Tesco shares even though he knew it was likely that the UK retailer’s initial problems were just the first in a series. “You see a cockroach in your kitchen; as the days go by, you meet his relatives,” he wrote.

The reasons Mr Buffett gave for his mistakes were not poor advice, or lapses by his managers, but his own “thumb-sucking”, “childish behaviour” and “I simply was wrong”.

The advantage of pointing out your own errors is not only that it deprives others of the opportunity but that it makes it plain that business is hard, that we make mistakes and that only by examining them can we reduce, but not eliminate, our chances of making them again.(FT extract)

Well it didn’t work in politics for our PM did it?

Ah Loong in 2011 departed from dad’s Hard Truths of “Never explain, never apologise”, “PAP is never wrong”, “The message is always right. Blame the messenger, not the message”, “THE LKY way or the highway”, and “It’s the song, not the singer”..

In an attempt to avoid losing a GRC and setting a new record low for the popular vote, he said, “If we didn’t get it right, I’m sorry. But we will try better the next time.” 

It was an apology that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong saw fit to repeat twice on Tuesday during the People’s Action Party (PAP) first lunchtime rally at Boat Quay next to UOB Plaza.

PM Lee acknowledged some of the government’s initiatives have resulted in “side effects”, such as problem gambling among Singaporeans due to the opening of the Integrated Resorts.

He also cited the congestion in public transport because of the increased intake in foreigners.*

Fat good it did him or the PAP say the hardliners in the PAP and other “Lee Kuan Yew is always right” groupies: the PAP only got 60% of the votes (PAP’s worst result ever) and lost a GRC that had two ministers and one junior minister.

Worse in the presidential vote that followed, the PAP’s preferred candidate (Dr Tony Tan) won by a handful of votes from Dr Tan Cheng Bock. They shared 70% of the vote, showing that with the right formula, the PAP could do well.

The problem is that the PAP don’t have the right formula.

So apologising doesn’t always work, FT writer. The problem for Ah Loong is finding the right formula. More on the right formula soon.


*“These are real problems, we will tackle them.  But I hope you will understand when these problems vex you or disturb you or upset your lives, please bear with us, we are trying our best on your behalf,” said PM Lee to a crowd of about a thousand.

The secretary-general of the PAP continued, “And if we didn’t quite get it right, I’m sorry but we will try better the next time.”

Pushing on with a message he had for voters on Monday, PM Lee also admitted the government had made two other high-profile errors.

“We made a mistake when we let Mas Selamat run away. We made a mistake when Orchard Road got flooded,” he said.

“No government is perfect… we will make mistakes. But when it happens we should acknowledge it, we should apologise, take responsibility, put things right. If we are to discipline somebody, we will do that, [Err, the train services are getting worse under the “new” CEO and tpt minister, but no-one is being fired] and we must learn from the lessons and never make the same mistake again,” said PM Lee.

Yet, he explained the difficulties in making decisions with incomplete information.

For instance, if the government knew there would be a sudden surge in demand for HDB flats in mid-2009 and that foreigners would have created such congestion on the roads, it would have ramped up plans for more flats and MRT lines.

“We’re sorry we didn’t get it exactly right, but I hope you will understand and bear with us because we are trying our best to fix the problems,” he said.

The government will build 22,000 flats this year and open one new MRT line every year for the next seven years however, the government “has been right more often than wrong,”


LKY: Lest we forget the Dark Side

In Media, Political governance on 30/03/2015 at 5:04 am

I have very little time or patience for Teo Soh Lung’s views but I agree with her comment “let us remember that there is another side to the man”.I reproduce her piece below because it shows S’poreans who want to remind other S’poreans of the Seth Lord or Sauron in Lee Kuan Yew how to do it: stick to the facts, not descending to abuse and vulgarity.

It’s important that anti-PAP cyber-warriors, and those (self-included) who believe in objectivity and balance (and who have no patience with BS) butt into the NatCon that the PAP administration and its allies (especially the constructive, nation-building media) is imposing on S’poreans. We must not let the “right” narrative remain unchallenged.

But we have to do it factually, and entertainingly, not boring fellow S’poreans to sleep. And we have the eyeballs*.

Ms Teo Soh Lung’s Facebook post (apologies for not getting her approval)

I watched the television for several hours today. The tv was off for nearly a week and I thought I really should not miss this historic occasion.

As I watched the two sons of Lee Kuan Yew gave their eulogies in praise of their father, I cannot help thinking of the following people who were arrested and imprisoned for decades without trial by their father:

1. Dr Lim Hock Siew was arrested and imprisoned for 20 years. His son was only 5 months old. He left his wife to look after their son for two decades. His medical career was completely ruined.

2. Pak Said Zahari had a young family and his wife was pregnant with their youngest child when he was arrested and imprisoned for 17 years. His youngest daughter was born while he was still in prison and he did not hold her till 17 years later. His promising career as editor of Utusan Melayu and writer ended. His wife became a hawker in order to keep the family alive.

3. Lee Tee Tong, Legislative Assemblyman was imprisoned for 18 years leaving his parents to fend for themselves.

4. Dr Poh Soo Kai was imprisoned for for 17 years. His marriage was ruined and he was deprived of having a happy family. His career as a brilliant gynaecologist also ended.

5. Ho Toon Chin @ Ho Piao was imprisoned for 18 years. His parents were deprived of his support and his career as a trade unionist ended.

6. Chia Thye Poh, a legislative assemblyman and Physics lecturer was imprisoned for 32 years. As the eldest son and one who consistently did well in school and university, his parents had hoped that he would support them financially. Instead, they had to visit him in prison.

7. Loh Miaw Gong, a legislative assembly woman and trade unionist was imprisoned for 7 years. Her family was deprived of her support.

8. Chng Min Oh @ Chuang Men Hu, Trade unionist was imprisoned for 13 years leaving his wife to look after 2 young children and a third who was born while he was in prison. His wife had to work as a hawker and construction worker, holding other odd jobs to keep the family afloat. She was struck with cancer shortly after his release and committed suicide three years later, unable to accept her illness.

Thousands were thrown into jail and tortured just because Lee Kuan Yew was afraid of their presence in parliament. Their families left to fend for themselves. Many more lived or died in political exile, separated from their loved ones for 30 years and more.

While Singaporeans sing praises of Lee Kuan Yew, let us remember that there is another side to the man.


*Mr Cheong Yip Seng (LKY’s favourite newsman, ex-ST chief editor) recently told us of an incident which showed that LKY was aware of the impact of new media. One November evening in 1999, Mr Lee telephoned Mr Cheong. He was troubled by a new information phenomenon, which was threatening to overwhelm the traditional media industry: eyeballs were migrating from print newspapers to cyberspace. Mr Cheong said that LKY was anxious about how the information revolution would impact the Singapore traditional media.

“He was anxious to find a response that would enable the mainstream media to keep its eyeballs. He wanted us at Singapore Press Holdings to think about the way forward.”

Well SPH, and the rest of constructive, nation-building media didn’t do what they were ordered to, did they? That despite throwing serious money and other resources at the problem.

LKY: A most fitting tribute

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 25/03/2015 at 4:35 pm

The Minister for Home Affairs, DPM Teo, prohibited public speaking at the Speakers’ Corner with effect from 5.30 a.m. 23 March 2014. (Details below).

The registration page of NParks’ website [Link] explained that this is because Hong Lim Park is one of the “designated community sites” to be used for remembering LKY.

I would like to think that the real reason is that someone in the PAP administration tot that this would be

— a fitting tribute; and

— what this would be what he would have wished for.

He had little confidence in the ability of Singaporeans to listen to different points of view, evaluate them and form correct opinions, which is to say, his opinions.

“Many people are uncritically imitative,” Lee said in an address in 1971 to the International Press Institute in Helsinki. “A report of an airplane hijacking leads to a rash of hijackings in other unexpected places. A report of a foreign diplomat kidnapped for ransom by dissident groups is quickly followed by similar kidnapping in other countries.” He pointed to examples in Singapore, where in his view press reports sparked riots, which led to deaths.

To put it another way, he had no time for the the masses:

“If you can select a population and they’re educated and they’re properly brought up, then you don’t have to use too much of the stick because they would already have been trained. It’s like with dogs. You train it in a proper way from small. It will know that it’s got to leave, go outside to pee and to defecate. No, we are not that kind of society. We had to train adult dogs who even today deliberately urinate in the lifts.”

LKY on Singapore society, The Man & His Ideas, 1997

If Ah Loong wants to show his filiality, he should make the revocation order permanent. No more opportunities for Roy Ng, New Citizen H3, S/oJBJ, Tan Kin Lian and Goh Meng Seng to mislead the masses. Anfd rename the spot, “Harry’s Corner”.

Are you better off now than you were in 2011?

In Political governance on 24/03/2015 at 4:32 am

I tot of the above when I was reading this piece about

Hundreds of aging leftists gather in a restaurant tucked away in an obscure corner of an old shopping complex. They talk, shout, argue, and rant about the government. One of them goes onstage and demands political change in the next elections; he is greeted with raucous applause and loud cheers.

The attendees are mostly in their seventies or eighties. Several lean on spouses, children, or canes as they hobble to and from their seats …

Given that they are of the Pioneer Generation, the answer to “Are you better off now than you were in 2011?”* should be a resounding “Yes” because of the healthcare and medical provisions for Poneers. Yes, even those locked up in Coldstore etc are entitled to them. The PAP administration is saying, “Let bygones be bygones”? (Which brings me to the tot that if the leftists had won, would they be so magnanimous to Lee Kuan Yew and gang? For a start, LKY and gang and many others may not have been allowed to grow old and bitter. Think Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China, and I think you will get the drift of what I’m thinking: opponents and intellectuals not sympathetic to the leftists cause were, imprisoned, exiled or killed.

Much good it would do the PM and his PAP administration that these leftists benefit from their policies. These aging leftists would never say anything good about LKY and his legacy. (Related article:


Real life examples of what Pioneer Benefits mean:

— A mother and her autistic son are Pioneers. The son has been in a nursing home for over ten years, ever since his mother became too frail to look after him. The monthly bill was about S$4,000 a month and was borne by his siblings. Now this bill is “only” a few hundred dollars a month. The mother’s medical bills (she’s in her 90s and suffers from various chronic conditions) are now minuscule.

The extended family is happy.

— Another Pioneer used to pay $30 when she visited a polyclinic every three months for her medicine etc. She now pays $7.

— Another lady lives in a home because of Alzheimers. The cash from the sale of her flat was paying the bills. Now there is no worry of the cash running out before she dies. Her monthly bills have been slashed. Her working daughter (with children and an unemployed PMET husband) is breathing a sigh of relief.

Will they vote PAP? I didn’t ask.

Btw1, I’m sure Dr Goh Keng Swee would approve of these measures. As His daughter-in-law and biographer said

During his time as a tax collector in the War Tax Department, Ms Tan said, “He was a bad tax collector. His boss didn’t like him,” to much laughter. Later, after joining the Social Welfare Department, Dr Goh helped to set up ‘People’s Restaurants’, which were canteens where people could buy cheap meals during the working day.

“He was always involved in social work,” she added.

Btw2, As would Lim Kim San, Toh Chin Chye and the other members of the Old Guard, including one LKY.

Btw3, Wonder if one VivianB voted against these measures when they were presented to the cabinet?


A group that will certainly say they were better off in 2011: PM and his ministers. Somehow I don’t think they would vote Oppo.


*In a televised debate with Jimmy Carter during the 1980 Presidential election, Ronald Reagan asked viewers a simple question: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

Voters realised they were not and Reagan romped to the White House.

That Reagan line has since become a cliché of political campaigning, second to “the economy, stupid” – the mantra drummed into Bill Clinton’s campaign team in 1992. BBC Online


Noble CEO gets it, ministers don’t?/ Noble a Buy?

In Accounting, Political governance on 20/03/2015 at 12:12 pm

“We unfortunately live in world where knowing that you run your business professionally is not enough,” the CEO of Noble wrote in a letter to stakeholders in February. “You must be able to prove it.”

But will he walk the talk? Two big funds* think so and have been buying. Maybe they have been assured on the following?

[A] chunk of the profits Noble reports comes from non-cash gains created by “marking to market” long-term contracts (eg, to supply coal) and derivatives it holds. Iceberg is not accusing Noble of fraud, but it is questioning how realistic these valuations are and asking how much of the company’s reported profits are the result of this practice. Noble reported that at the end of 2014 the net fair value of these positions was $4.6 billion, equivalent to 91% of its book value.

It is hard to tell from what Noble discloses in its accounts whether its valuations are indeed fair; and since it is also unclear how much of its profits come from such changes in valuation, it is difficult to assess how robust its profits are. Noble did not respond to requests from The Economist for comment. The firm’s cashflow has been weak. Over the past three years it has booked net profits of almost $1 billion but negative cashflow of almost $2 billion, after working-capital, capital-investment and interest costs.

On March 5th it issued an 11-page rebuttal, suggesting that a disgruntled ex-employee was behind Iceberg. It also gave more detail about the “fair value” positions. They reflect over 12,000 individual contracts, almost half of which mature within two years. Over the past three years the firm has realised $800m of cash from such positions. Yet the rebuttal omitted a vital piece of information: how much profit has been booked from these positions. Without this nugget it is hard to form a sensible judgment about Noble’s books or health.

Emphasis mine

*A unit of insurer Prudential, and Invesco increased their stakes in the company. [Added at 1.40pm]

Aqua Lions?/ No worries about coup/ SMRT no got this

In Infrastructure, Political governance on 20/03/2015 at 4:47 am

So the SAF was upset that the swimmers called their team “Red Lions”, the description that SAF’s parachuting team uses? And the swimmers decided to drop the name.

What the heck? Given that it’s a swimming team, “Red Merlions” is more appropriate? Or “Blue Lions” or “Water Lions or “Aqua Lions”?

What do you think? A lot better than “Sea Lions” that GCT suggested? [Last sentence added at 7.15am].

Actually, this storm in tea cup could have been engineered by the SAF’s special ops team to divert attention from the fact that three ex-SAF commanders are showing themselves to very incompetent: the tpt minister and the CEOs of SMRT and NOL.

Shouldn’t Khaw be calling fot Lui* to commit hari-kiri? Or resign? But then our leaders always talked cock about Japanese style responsibility: only for the “little people” not them.

But let’s look on the bright side of the incompetncy of the transport minister and the CEO’s of NOL and SMRT

Given that they  are scholars and two are ex-generals and one an ex-admiral, and given the problems that the tpt ministry and NOL and SMRT are facing, SAF generals and admirals are sure to cock-up any coup attempt**.

Seriously, the u/m report amazwd me

Transport operator SMRT said on Friday that it will accelerate the setting up of a new maintenance operations centre, which will provide swifter responses to rail incidents.

Experts stationed at the centre will be able to communicate directly with maintenance teams on the ground, and provide in-depth diagnostic advice to speed up service recovery.

The centre is expected to be ready in the coming year, SMRT said in a press briefing which was called in light of the recent spate of train disruptions.

Only one other metro has such a maintenance operations centre, SMRT added, while declining to say which one.

– See more at:

Given that Kuek was an ex-SAF general, I’m surprised he didn’t make establishing such a centre a priority given the situation he was left by the previous Ferrari driving CEO. This FT told commuters to bugger-off if they weren’t prepared to be crammed like sardines, pointing out that they had a choice not to take the train, and anyway trains were more packed elsewhere.

If as an army general, he doesn’t know the importance of a state-of-the-art command-and-control operations centre, what does he know?

Kuek would never have made it into the German general staff: From the mid 19th century to the end of WW II, the train section, an elite section,  of the elite general staff had to ensure that the trains would run on time when war came. When the Kaiser on the eve of World War I asked his chief of general staff if he could stop the mobilisation, he was told that the train schedules wouldn’t permit it. Now if Kuek had been in charge of the train section, the trains would have delayed and WWI prevented.

*I suspect post GE, he’d join Raymond Lim.

**Fortunately, Indon and M’sian generals and admirals are just as incompetent as our SAF ones: think the MH 370 incident (military radar not switched on, or if it was no-one was watching); or the inability of the Indon navy to curb piracy and sand smuggling.

SG50/ HDB: PAP man didn’t take salary? Kidding me leh?

In Infrastructure, Political governance on 18/03/2015 at 5:20 am

Continuing the theme of the HDB and public housing, let’s remember Lim Kim San.

I had tot of him when I read this a few weeks ago: My grandfather sold his plot of land to the government in the 1960s and moved into a HDB or Housing Development Board home, thousands of which were sprouting up all over the island. It was an affordable way for Singaporeans to buy property and raise their standard of living.

“We had a huge task when we first started in 1960. At that time our population size was 1.6 million, out of that, 1.3 million lived in squatters – not to count thousands of others living in slum areas and old buildings,” says Liu Thai Ker, who was known as Singapore’s “master planner” in the 70s and 80s. The new HDB towns that Liu oversaw came with their own schools, shops and clinics. The high-rise buildings introduced many Singaporeans to the miracles of flushing toilets and clean water at the turn of a tap.

By 1985, in just one generation, Liu says, the HDB was so successful in its rehousing policy that Singapore could claim to have “no homeless, no squatters, no poverty ghettos and no ethnic enclaves”.

Sad that Lim had not been mentioned. Maybe the BBC writer, an FT of S’pore origin, didn’t know about him because I get the impression that he has been moved into the margins of the right narrative of our history despite being highly  praised by one one of the Government’s past “political entrepreneurs”, who had seized opportunities using powers of analysis, imagination, a sense of reality, drive and character, “He has a lively, practical mind …”

Let’s start at the beginning. He volunteered  in 1960 to be the HDB’s first chairman and was not paid for three years (but (Jos, Grace and Hen should take note) it seems. But then he was rich, very rich and as an Oz tycoon said A$5m is enough money to live on, though I’m sure Jos and Grace will disagree: money always not enough say the aunties.

He was in charge of the massive construction of high-rise, low-cost (Note: not affordable) housing that made the PAP popular with the masses.

LKY said he could organise and plan. But his planning was “rough and ready”: using simple estimates, not derived from detailed stats (there were none then) and detailed analysis (not that number of number and data crunchers around, and there were no computers).

Critics said he could not build 1,000 units a year because the HDB did not have the capability and the materials to reach the target. By the time a committee published its report on whether HDB could reach the target, the HDB had already completed 1,000 units of housing.

I’ll let his Wikipedia entry tell the rest of the  story.

In the first Five Year Housing Program, HDB achieved its goal of completing 5000 units of housing by 1965. The largest project at that time was Queenstown, a satellite town of more than 17,500 apartments capable of housing close to 22,000 people. The new neighborhood was built as a self-contained entity, with all amenities and shops built along with the houses, so people will not need to travel to other areas for basic necessities, thereby lowering traffic congestion. This philosophy (which was ultimately extended with the concept of regional centre), is generally accredited by many to have significantly contributed to the lower rate of congestion and burden on the central business district than before. [If so good why CBD charges introduced? And then island-wide tolls? Raise monney isit?]

In May 1961, the Bukit Ho Swee Fire broke out and some 16,000 people became homeless. Under Lim’s guidance, the relocation and reconstruction of the lost housing was completed in just over four years, and 1200 housing flats were made available to those who lost their homes in the fire.

The success of the housing project was considered by some to stem mainly from the standardized architectural designs that were used. Another important factor was Lim’s decision to use private contractors rather than employing construction workers directly. This allowed the HDB to supervise the contractors to ensure standards, rather than dealing with minute problems. Also, overall cost was kept low by using a large pool of contractors and different sources of building materials.

There are some who said that by solving Singapore’s housing problem, Lim saved the PAP in the process. However, Lim himself was more modest, saying the success of the housing programme was also due to government funding, as housing was, and still is, a top priority.

Part of Lim’s success at the HDB was that he had the trust of the Prime Minister at the time, Lee Kuan Yew. He also worked closely with the Minister of Finance at the time, Goh Keng Swee. These connections allowed Lim keep the housing program well-funded. Another political factor that allowed the success of the Housing Project was that Lim managed to cut through bureaucratic red tape and rigid regulations that would have otherwise hindered the housing program.

As to why he’s almost invisible? Maybe because he didn’t take a salary for three yrs? I mean with Grace, and Grace, you can figure out why he can’t be that popluar among younger PAP ministers. .

Redrawing electoral boundaries in the East

In Political governance on 13/03/2015 at 6:21 am

(Map added on 14 March 4am)

I won’t be too surprised if bits of Moulmein-Kallang GRC, and Joo Chiat SMC are merged into Marine Parade GRC. Reminder: PAP retained Joo Chiat by about three hundred votes, so merging it into Marine Parade would mean that there is one less SMC it could lose. Moulmein is a pretty safe PAP area.

Also expect Potong Pasir SMC to be merged into Bishan-Tao Payoh GRC. I think the PAP’s victory in Potong Pasir in the last GE means that the PAP administration’s promise not to merge Potong Pasir into a GRC no longer stands. Again this will mean a SMC is not lost. Bishan, like Marine Parade and Moulmein is safe PAP territory.

Wonder if safe PAP areas from other GRCs will be transferred into Aljunied GRC to dilute the WP vote? Bit risky as it affects safe PAP areas.

Things can really go wrong for the PAP.

When Opera Estate was transfered to Joo Chiat SMC and some bits of Joo Chiat transferred to Marine Parade, it was seen as ensuring that the East Coast GRC would be made safer (Opera Estate was inhun territiry) and moving troublemakers from Joo Chiat. Well Joo Chiat was almost lost.

And George Yeo’s Aljunied problems started when before 2006 GE, the ward Hwee Hwa was looking after was transferred from Marine Parade to Aljunied. It was tot to be a safe PAP area: turned out to be nest of anti-PAP Indian vipers.

Curbing COE anger/ Shumething from the PAP’s bible

In Political governance on 09/03/2015 at 4:19 am

Since “populism” is no longer a dirty word for the PAP administration (juz look at Tharman’s budget measures that had tai-tai Kate Spate Tin and other PAP MPs upset) here are two more measures that will make ordinary S’poreans happy:

Curbing COE envy while raising $

Not only do anti-PAP cybernuts get worked up with envy of people that can afford CoEs, even usually rational people like P Ravi can go over the top in their grumbling about the unfairness of the COE system: that it favours the rich especially the really filthy rich.

Ferraris are common on the streets of Singapore

Ferraris are common on the streets of Singapore – but the gap between rich and poor is growing. BBC Online

Here’s how to make S’poreans less envious of those with flash cars: Finland’s speeding fines are linked to income, with penalties calculated on daily earnings, meaning high earners get hit with bigger penalties for breaking the law. So, when businessman Reima Kuisla was caught doing 103km/h (64mph) in an area where the speed limit is 80km/h (50mph), authorities turned to his 2013 tax return, the Iltalehti newspaper reports. He earned 6.5m euros (£4.72m) that year, so was told to hand over 54,000 euros.

The premises for the law are pretty solid

— sports cars are expensive toys;

— rich people are more likely to buy sports cars than ordinary people;

— people who drive sports cars are likely to drive over the speed limit;

— the standard fines are “peanuts” for the rich.

We could go further and calculate monetary punishment for motoring offenses, not involving death or injury, on daily earnings, hitting high earners (like ministers, or ex-MPs working as advisers to TLCs) with bigger penalties for breaking the law.

This system of fines is even more necessary to curh COE envy as S’pore is expected to see the world’s largest influx of super-rich individuals over the next 10 years, with 1,752 people joining the ranks of the so-called ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) by 2024, according to a report by property consultancy Knight Frank

 The projected addition to Singapore’s wealth brigade is higher than that of cities such as Hong Kong, New York and London, and will see the number of people with net assets of US$30 million (S$41 million) or more here soar by 54.3 per cent to 4,979 in 2024, said the Wealth Report.
Combine this measure with the u/m and tai- tai tin and friends will quit the PAP. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Free public tpt

And it’s from the PAP’s sacred text: the Economist

Making buses and subways free … would increase passenger numbers, opening up space on the streets for essential traffic and saving time by reducing road congestion.

In New York, the idea of free buses and subways dates back to at least 1965, when Ted Kheel, a lawyer, first floated the idea—and pushed for a doubling of bridge and tunnel fares to make up for lost revenue. Kheel died in 2010, but the modern version of his plan, which would include a congestion charge for cars and trucks entering the Manhattan business district, lives on. The big push by New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, for congestion-pricing was blocked by the state legislature in April 2008; in 2009 he proposed making cross-town buses free, but that idea has yet to be implemented. It’s worth a second look.


*Member of Parliament for West Coast GRC Mr Arthur Fong has raised concerns over whether the programmes announced during the recent Budget can be sustained.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday (Mar 3) during the Budget debate, Mr Fong said the Government must keep a tight hold on the reins as Singapore moves in the direction where more social spending is beginning to feature in its budgets. He said a miscalculation of such spending will be hard to address for future governments.

Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC Chia Shi-Lu has said he supports the Silver Support Scheme but is concerned over its long-term sustainability.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday (Mar 3) during the debate on the Budget statement, Dr Chia asked if having such a permanent scheme will mean increasing the burden for Singapore – given the ageing population and a shrinking tax base.

MP for Marine Parade GRC Tin Pei Ling said in Parliament on Tuesday (Mar 3) that with Temasek Holdings expected to contribute another S$4 billion to S$5 billion to Government coffers after being included in the Net Investment Returns (NIR) framework, she is concerned that Singaporeans would take the nation’s financial reserves for granted.

Ms Tin also says that there is a need to ensure that Singaporeans do not set unrealistic expectations of what can be drawn from the NIR and end up depleting the reserves.

“We may need to set controls to stop ourselves from making further rule changes, like in 2009 and this year, which enable us to draw more NIR each time we need more revenue to fund new needs.

“We need to explain to Singaporeans that the NIR comes from our reserves which are extraordinary and precious, and should not be taken for granted, and also that the Singapore spirit that has enabled us to build up such levels of reserves is also extraordinary and precious, and we must sustain this spirit.

“I hope that the Finance Minister can give an assurance that we can do all these, even as we increase the NIR to fund our new priorities.”

Ms Tin also questioned if using the financial reserves will result in Singaporeans losing their resilience.

“Studies have shown that countries which have abundant natural resources often do not do well over the long term, because their people do not have to work hard and apply their wits, and gradually lose their vitality and initiative,” said Ms Tin.

“Singapore may not have oil reserves, but we must take care that our financial reserves can also have the same corrupting effect on our drive and resilience.”

Jos Teo’s double standards/ Walk the talk, Chiams

In Political governance on 04/03/2015 at 4:40 am

One for people like herself* and another for the “little” people?

More than 100 Singaporeans gave their feedback on Budget 2015 at a forum on Thursday (Feb 26), organised by feedback unit REACH … Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo was also present …

While she noted the importance of giving NSmen recognition, Mrs Teo said service for the country cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

Right so why you, Hen and Grace have bitched about the sacrifices you made to serve S’poreans:

I’ll leave the final word on her words to a tua kee blogger who posted on Facebook:

Our National Servicemen who are compulsorily enlisted have it far worse. While the Budget for Defence spending keeps going up year-after-year, most NSmen are paid far less than cleaners.

While our Ministers command top-dollars for their service to the country, they suppress a more appropriate allowance for our citizen-soldiers for the very same reason – that service for the country cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

And I hope the Chiams make him the communications director of their SPP. Not only will it be good for the Chiams**, it will show that they are walking the walk in their talk of renewing the party. Mr Chiam has been talking of new blood since the 1990s, but all that happens is that blood is sucked out from younger talents who join him: ask Wilfred and Desmond. Pwee was too smart to allow his blood to be sucked for free: he forced the renewal pretty soon after he joined up and left when it was clear that the Chiams were not changing: smart guy. But then he is a scholar.

As the person in question has good new media credentials and was denounced by a minister in parly, the Chiams have no excuse in not giving him a chance to show what he do for the SPP and themselves. They can’t say that he is not proven talent, or is not “Political” or not brave. They can’t even say that he has yet to prove his loyalty:. he has been a friend of the Chiams for several yrs, even defending them against my sniping about them refusing to walk the talk. He’s also my friend.


*To be fair to her, this blogger says she is a gd MP

She may be one, but a gd junior minister?

**They have plenty of goodwill online despite not having a presence online. Imagine their influence if they had a new media decent presence

After the goodies, GST hikes a’coming soon

In Economy, Political governance on 02/03/2015 at 5:05 am

So says tax expert: PricewaterhouseCoopers tax partner Koh Soo How … said any hike would probably take place in 2016 or 2017*. (CNA last week)

And constructive, nation-building MediaCorp:While the Government has raised income tax rates for top earners in Singapore for a more progressive tax system, taxes paid by a broader swathe of Singaporeans, such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST), will probably go up in the coming years to pay for social spending, said tax experts and economists.

The GST could go up after next year to 9 or 10 per cent, in line with the Asia-Pacific average. Other taxes the Government could raise include consumption taxes, stamp duties and property taxes, they said. (CNA)

Err, wonder if Mr Koh and the MediaCorp executives are secretly rooting for the SDP which said around the same time:The people must also beware that while the Government makes these concessions before the elections, it can always make the money back after the next GE through a myriad of taxes, fees and levies.

Is Jos Teo also a subversive and secret SDP member?

Jos Teo double confirms GST rise?

At a forum on 26 Feb organised by government feedback unit Reach to discuss Budget 2015, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo said that Singapore is in the unusual position of being able to tap more sources of revenue to fund its increased spending needs.

“Many other countries around the world actually need additional revenue sources to help pay for programmes that benefit citizens, but not that many have the courage to raise taxes,” she added.

“But we think that it is the responsible thing to do.”

Seriously, it’s very, very important, as I said last week, to ask loudly and at every appropriate opportunity :“After GE, will the PAP administration raise GST rates and by how much?”

The answer, we should want to hear is what Tharman said in 2011 about future GST rises:“As Finance Minister, I have made that very clear in Parliament that at least for the next five years – it does not mean we will raise it in five years’ time – but at least for five years, there is absolutely no reason to raise the GST, because this was the whole idea – we strengthen our revenue base in time. (CNA)

If we don’t get this answer, then we can expect GST rises after the GE, as sure as Zorro smiles at his monthly CPF statement everytime he receives it.

If we get this answer , then this lady is right:Ernst & Young Solutions head of tax Chung-Sim Siew Moon does not expect a hike in the GST before 2020. “The minister has indicated that the revenue measures that have been put in place will be sufficient for the increased planning needs until the end of the decade,” she noted.

But in the long term, we have to be be realistic if we want more welfare for the born-loser cybernuts who expect something while biting the hand that feeds them: Nanyang Technological University economist and Assistant Professor Walter Theseira said taxpayers can expect to pay more in the medium and long term, with higher-income earners contributing a larger share. The proceeds can fund social initiatives to help the unemployed, and support medical expenses and retirement provisions for middle- and lower-income groups.











Another reason for GE in 2016, not 2015?

In Political governance on 01/03/2015 at 4:41 am

The rising cost of EPL footie starting in 2016-2017 season and the PAP’s wooing of the EPL fans?

Let me explain.

British broadcasters will be paying an average of £10.2m per EPL match from the 2016-17 season.

The 70% increase announced by the Premier League in the value of its UK television rights means that prices for int’l rights will rise again. Interestingly the last time (3 yrs) ago, when the UK rights were tendered, the rise was 70%.

Sky is paying an average of £10.8m for each of the 126 Premier League games it will broadcast each season from 2016-17 until 2018-19, and BT will pay around £7.6m for each of its 42 matches, BBC

So doubtless Singtel will over-bid again and blame the int’l market prices.

So more will flock to the PA centres (including the cybernuts who curse the PAP online: after all how can born-losers with a sense of entitlement afford to watch at home or the pub or the coffee shop when prices go up further?) where EPL matches are screened when the 2016-2017:begins. I’m assuming  SingTel will do the right thing and extend, enlarge the present arrangement of screening EPL games.

So a publicity campaign telling the masses about the free EPL footie in the PA centres in early 2016 for the next season should help the PAP connect with the EPL fans: the PAP cares for EPL fans.


Double confirm: PAP TCs treat biz better than residents

In Political governance on 27/02/2015 at 5:04 am

Thanks to the mouthpieces of the WP, TOC and TRE (temporarily I hope), we now know that the Pet Minister in parly circulated a paper that showed that the managing agent’s commercial and residential rates are the same in PAP managed town councils. They say that this is wrong as there is a difference. in PAP areas between the two rates.

So far, I’ve not heard the PAP administration saying that someone made an “honest mistake” and given the correct numbers.

So I have to assume, at the very least, that the administration believes the numbers: that residents and businesses pay the same rate.

So shouldn’t we conclude that the PAP administration is so pro-biz that it charges businesses the same as residents rather than more as is logical? After all businesses are set up to make money for the owners, unlike residents. Isn’t the WP more people friendly by charging residents less, a lot less?

What do you  think?

Update on 1 March 5.45 am: Reader explains that PAP explained whuy numbers same. They claim the figures presented are weighted average. If there are 20,000 residential units and only 200 commercial units, the weighted average would be very close to the residential rate. WP should ask them to present the average rate for commercial.

Budget: Ask in a very loud voice:

In Economy, Financial competency, Political governance on 25/02/2015 at 4:34 am

“After GE, will the PAP administration raise GST rates and by how much?”

After all, an ally and cheer leader of the PAP administration wrote about the Budget:

Mr Tharman flagged this gap … about the 1 percentage point projected gap between long-term revenues and long-term spending. The latter is tipped to go up to 19 to 19.5 per cent of GDP from now, as Singapore opens its coffers to spend on health care, retirees, and on infrastructure and investment in education. The former hovers around 18 to 18.5 per cent of GDP.

How to make up the shortfall of about 1 per cent of GDP?

This is a structural issue that will have resonance beyond this Budget.*

As it’s unlikely that the Wayang Party will raise the issue about the rise in GST rates after the GE in Parly* because it may still be hoping to curry favour with the MIW by not asking difficult questions, responsible bloggers and cyber-warriors should ask the question.

So should all voters (pro PAP or anti-PAP alike, GST affects everyone) who meet their PAP MPs and their PA grassroot hangers-on when they come to lobby for votes. Especially when the MPs and hangers-on boast of all the goodies voters are getting, parroting a gushing a PAP apologist, if ever there was one,who wrote in ST:.

I tried frantically to keep up with noting down the giveaways as Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam reeled them off as he announced the Budget 2015. …

All in, it can be said to be a sensible yet generous Budget, albeit at the expense of the very high-income. It may disappoint those who wanted a big SG50 Bonus to celebrate the nation’s Jubilee. But it does give out a mass hongbao to all Singaporeans, via top-ups to education funds for children and students, and via the new $500 SkillsFuture Credit for workers. – See more at:

The answer we want to hear is what Tharman said in 2011

Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has reiterated that the goods and services tax (GST) will not be raised for at least another five years …“As Finance Minister, I have made that very clear in Parliament that at least for the next five years – it does not mean we will raise it in five years’ time – but at least for five years, there is absolutely no reason to raise the GST, because this was the whole idea – we strengthen our revenue base in time. (CNA)

And finally let’s remember that all this money the PAP administration is throwing at us is our money, not that of the PAP’s administration.

*Yes, Yes I know: Mr Tharman has a way to close that 1 per cent gap: Use projected long-term returns from Temasek Holdings.

The Net Investment Return formula framework was implemented in 2009. He said: “Under the framework, the Government is allowed to spend up to 50 per cent of the expected long term real returns on its net assets managed by MAS and GIC.”

Temasek was left out as it was undergoing a major change in investment strategy. Mr Tharman said it was a good time to add Temsek to the mix.

So this Budget is important for signalling the long-term gap in revenue and spending.

It is also significant for using a new framework that allows Singapore to tap a wider pool of money from expected investment returns on its reserves into the future. 

“The move will bolster our fiscal resources at a time when we have to fund long-term critical infrastructure and develop the human talent and capabilities to secure our future.”– See more at:

Doubtless, the cybernuts will say that their heloo, Roy the Hooligan is responsible for this change in govt policy, though I’m sure s/o JBJ would dispute this, saying Tharman stole his idea.

But do remember that the other cybernuts’ hero Ong Teng Cheong wanted all the returns from the resreves locked away for good. It’s in the DNA of the PAP to make life tough for us. So unless we get the PAP to rule out a GST increase after the election, we could get screwed.

This  is what a FT based here says: Ten years ago, the Singapore’s preferred choice would have been to raise its goods and services tax. Levies on consumption are easier to collect and less flighty than the incomes of high-earning expatriates. But that option is now politically infeasible. The People’s Action Party, which has ruled Singapore throughout its 50-year history as an independent nation and must call an election by January 2017, is wary of upsetting voters.

But this cock (Trash?) forgets that the administration can raise GST after the GE, if no-one holds its feet to the fire on the issue in the run up to the GE.

**Mrs Chiam may have other issues that she thinks are more important and this batch of NMPs are not the kind to rock the boat. And I don’t blame them, if the co-driver (each MP getting $15,000 a month) sets a bad example, what can one expect?

What the parly debate about AHPETC’s accounts really tell us

In Political governance on 24/02/2015 at 5:09 am

That, Low and gang tot they had a deal with the PAP administration to

“Let sleeping dogs lie”;

“I scratch yr back, you scratch my back”; and

“We both see, hear, talk no evil”?

Taz what I can reasonably conclude after Low told us that the handover in Aljunied was not easy and that the WP faced many problems of the PAP’s making in response to the PAP administration telling us of the problems with AHPETC’s accounts..

As a long time observer of the PAP, his complaints ring true. These problems came as no surprise to those of us who worry that if the PAP loses a general election, the handover to the new govt will not be easy.

What annoys me is that the WP kept quiet over these problems for over two years. Why did it keep quiet? A responsible oppo party who says it’s a co-driver who believes in accountability and transparency, would have publicised much earlier the problems it faced. But it kept silent until after the the PAP administration threw mud at it, in an attempt to fix it. It then started to tell the truth about the handover.

Seems reasonable to conclude that if the PAP had not slimed WP in an attempt to fix it, we would never have been told by the WP of the problems it faced or how dastardly the PAP administration can behave when it loses?

At the very least it shows us the WP was prepared to let sleeping dogs sleep, and sweep matters under the carpet if the PAP didn’t try to fix it.

Could this explain why the WP did not

— call for the nationalisation of the public transport system, a WP manifesto call, when the PAP administration used public funds to buy buses for listcos;

— harass aggressively the PAP administration on the inadequacies of CPF system, Medishield*, education, and the affordability and  timeliness** of public housing;

— ask more questions about corruption in the public service in the light of court revelations?

Could it be that the WP tot they had a deal with the PAP? WP would help PAP wayang voters in return for the PAP keeping mum on the way the WP managed conflicts of interest and the accounts of AHPETC?

The WP couldn’t care less about the “little people” who expected them to be a co-driver, holding the PAP to account?

What do you think?

Was the WP behaving like the Wayang Party rather than the face-slapping co-driver we were promised?

Does the WP realise support for the opposition comes from disenchantment with the PAP administration rather than vote of confidence for itself and the other opposition parties, and cynically using this insight to lead the good life in parliament and the AHPETC?

No matter what it does, it’ll retain enough supporters to enable some members to leave the good life?

What do you think?

And finally to all those WP apologists who made excuses for the WP or claimed that the WP was playing the long game, what say you?

Next polling day, I’ll be travelling. Sorry JJ, I think you are a good guy, but the WP sucks. This is from from someone who voted for the WP when it was made of ex-Woodbridge nutters and bicycle thieves, led by an egoistic wind-bag.

*It’s response to the govt’s answers to the WP’s questions on Medishield was most disappointing. The actuarial consensus seems to be that Medishield’s premiums are a lot higher than they should be given the level of benefits.

**I’ve been told that a couple would have to wait five years, from time of application, to move into a BTO flat. And Khaw says the supply and demand for public housing are almost in balance?


A long standing CPF sore remains untreated

In Financial competency, Financial planning, Political governance on 23/02/2015 at 5:29 am

On Friday, someone (no PAP rat) mumbled something about rising expectations as though it was a bad thing. I said given high ministerial and civil service salaries, very high expectations and standards must be the quid pro quo for the salaries especially as ministers and civil servants seem to have security of office despite non-performance (think Yaacob, Mah Bow Tan, Raymond Lim, Lim Hng Khiang). He conceded the reasonableness and fairness of the link.

Yesterday, I read something in TRE which should have been solved a long time ago by the PAP administration (ministers and senior bureaucrats) but not: S’poreans, after the age of 55, having to make HDB* mortgage payments in cash , even though they have some money somewhere in the CPF accoint which remains locked up..

I been driving taxi for the past 5 years now and recently turned 55. For the past 9 years, I have had zero CPF contributions and have slowly used up all the remaining balance in my CPF Ordinary Account to pay for my monthly HDB loan. I even had to give up all my insurance policies, since I couldn’t afford to pay the premiums any longer.
Earlier in the year, I sought assistance from my PAP MP to use my CPF Special Account, which still had about $90K balance left but which is utterly useless since it falls far below the stupid Minimum Sum of $155K. After my MP’s appeal, CPF Board allowed usage of my Special Account to pay my monthly HDB loan (of course la, appeal from PAP MP what!).
To my huge surprise, I have now received an officious letter from HDB asking me to pay cash for my monthly housing loan because of my turning 55. This means that my Special Account has now been converted into a “Retirement Account” and because it falls way short of the $155K Minimum Sum, I could no longer use my stupid CPF to pay for my HDB loan. This is how idiotic the law works against those Singaporeans like myself who are struggling to make ends meet everyday.

On Facebook someone posted this in sympathy:

Many people will not have that minimum $155k in their CPF when they turn 55 because a lot of it will have been used to pay for housing. Unless they bought their house at the age of 25, many will still be serving their home loans when they reach 55**.

So, if they do not have the minimum $155,000 in their CPF by the time they are 55, does that mean they must use cash and cannot use the monies in their CPF?

What if after using cash, they only left with a few hundred dollars each month?

Who knows? Maybe after 55, they start to get pay cuts and their children are in their early 20s and servicing their own education loans?

I cannot fault the logic of these complaints.

There should be provision within the rules to ensure that someone in this situation can automatically keep on using his “Retirement Account” to fund his HDB mortgage payments. “Lose the flat so that he got retirement fund”: WTF?

Sadly the whole CPF system is in such a mess that the following extract from the FT about the USSR reminds me of the problems of reforming the CPF system: Before the Soviet Union collapsed, Russians compared the problem of breaking free from their Communist past to a frog in a swamp that wants to jump out but finds it has a hippopotamus stuck to its backside.

The PAP will only tinker with this sacred cow and Hard Truth.

But will S’poreans trust an Oppo coalition (assuming the WP joins such a coalition) to solve the problem? Somehow I doubt this too.because support for the opposition comes from disenchantment with the PAP administration – and is not a vote of confidence for the opposition parties.

So the tinkering goes on but let’s hope this sore is treated soon.

*Actually all mortgage payments but if one has private property, one can look after one’s self.

**And do remember that the really rich minister said a HDB flat was affordable because it could paot-off over 30 yrs. The HDB now restricts the period to 25 yrs.

New yr: A feel good vibe is necessary

In Corporate governance, Political governance on 18/02/2015 at 4:43 am

The lunar year is ending badly for the WP.

When someone who is no friend of the PAP administration but who was once part of its security appartus (head of ISD) writes

One of the most glaring lapses is the persistent conflict of interest revealed in the AGO’s report between the Town Council and its managing agents the FM Solutions & Services (FMSS) and the FM Solutions & Integrated Services (FMSI).  How on earth could the husband and wife team of secretary and general manager of the Town Council be the majority owners and proprietor of the managing agents at the same time is the serious conflict of interest problem no amount of explanation that the WP Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang and Chairman Sylvia Lim can give convincingly to pacify the electorate.,

the WP should know that it has problem and it should discount its cheer-teams at TRE and TOC*

My advice to Low is to go to the Quan Im temple in Middle Rd and chiam see tomorrow. I’m sure it’ll tell him to sort out the three lawyers on his team (They constitute 33% of the WP’s parly team). It’ll tell him particularly to ensure that PritamS’s vocal cords are cut and not allowed to heal.

Anyway more, one of these days, about

— how the lawyers let him down;

— were they coerced into silence: what Low wants he gets?

Whatever, either way doesn’t say much about all the four of them.

Anyway, M Ravi should be glad to see the year out, and so should the NSP. The NSP will start the new yr with a team that has Islamic and retro themes. As part of the return to the past theme, expect to see Goh Meng Seng return to the NSP.

Finally it looks like was a gd yr of the PAP. PM’s health problem is behind him

And the PAP must be feeling good for whacking the WP as part of SG50, and a prelude to the new lunar year. And as the whacking being around CNY, it is a good  warm-up to the CNY show.

Wonder if the Lunar show will have a video like this the Chinese are seeing

Of course, if you’re … a Chinese citizen with a dream, the Communist Party would like you to know that “The Communist Party is with you”.

Whether you want to open a diner, or you yearn for a blue sky, a world free of war or a beautiful wife, the message of a promotional video which spread online this week is “Chasing our dreams… and shaping the future together”.

Images of lush countryside interspersed with smiling clowns, farmers and bartenders… I couldn’t help feeling it looked a bit like the kind of TV advert that banks make to reassure you that they are looking after your money, your future and your family.

And missing from the feel good narrative was anyone who gets on the wrong side of the Party by raising problems or demanding rights.

Of course, “our” vision would have the WP, SDP, the Chiams, M Ravi, Maruah missing.

Anyway, have a stress-free good time. And make $ next yr.


*Wonder if TRE and TOC going to get ang pow, abalone dinner from ex Aljunied MA or from WP for being so supportive of WP. Their parroting of the WP line sounds like ST’s parroting of the PAP administration. We know ST staff are well rewarded for selling their souls, but I suspect TOC and TRE staff are selling their souls for free.

GE: Not before end August 2015

In Corporate governance, Political governance, Public Administration on 16/02/2015 at 4:44 am

At the very earliest. My earlier take that it would be in June next yr.

This is my latest guess based on the fact that AHPETC will not get any S&C funds until it can furnish clean accounts by end August 2015. This is what Khaw said:

“Make restitution to the residents for the losses to their town council. Submit a clean set of accounts for FY 2013 to Parliament by Jun 30, 2015. Submit your accounts for FY 2014 on time by Aug 31, 2015. Account to Parliament, account to your residents and those in this House.

“These are not high hurdles. These are the basic requirements for any organisation, for anyone seeking to run for office in any organisation. Every town council has been able to do this, including those run by opposition MPs in the past. This is what supporting the Motion means.”

Actually, they are very high hurdles given that AGO reports

  • Inadequate oversight of related party transactions involving ownership interests of key officers, hence risking the integrity of such payments;
  • Not having a system to monitor arrears of conservancy and service charges accurately and hence there is no assurance that arrears are properly managed;
  • Poor internal controls, hence risking the loss of valuables, unnecessary expenditure as well as wrong payments for goods and services; and
  • No proper system to ensure that documents were safeguarded and proper accounts and records were kept as required by the Town Councils Act.

After the CNY hols, if no-one else has blogged on the matter, I’ll try to explain the problems the WP faces in getting clean audit reports given the AGO’s comments. To tease readers: there needs to be a forensic audit (Guess what PAP rats MPs are calling for?), or a really nasty write-down coupled with a promise to “recover” monies from Low’s friends.

It’s that or allow residents to suffer. Because no govt grant (S&C rebate based on HDB units in the area) until then: “Until the weaknesses are addressed, there can be no assurance that AHPETC’s accounts are accurate and reliable, or that public funds are properly spent, accounted for and managed.”*(AGO)

The issue is will Aljunied voters repent voting WP? Or will they be so annoyed that die-die will support WP. Before answering, do remember that the PAP only needs a 5 percentage points swing to win back the GRC.

Meanwhile Auntie and her Singh will have to haul the garbage bins. Let’s hope they are better cleaners than lawyers. Seriously as a trained lawyer, I’m appalled that they and Chen Show Mao allowed this

  • inadequate oversight of related party transactions involving ownership interests of key officers, hence risking the integrity of such payments


The town council did not fully disclose the related party transactions in its financial statements, nor did it adequately manage the conflicts of interests of related parties arising from ownership interests of its key officers, in contracts amounting to about S$25.9 million in total, the AGO said.

For example, the AHPETC Secretary was the owner of FM Solutions and Integrated Services (FMSI) – one of two companies engaged to carry out managing agent services, as well as essential maintenance and lift rescue (EMSU) jobs. The Secretary, General Manager and Deputy General Manager of AHPETC were directors and shareholders of the other company, FM Solutions and Services (FMSS), the AGO said.

“The key officers of AHPETC who had ownership interests in FMSS and at the same time performed a role (for AHPETC) in approving payments to FMSS were in clear conflicts of interests,” the AGO said. For example, the town council’s General Manager both issued payment claims as director of FMSS while approving the payment as AHPETC staff.

As I said, if this had happened at the club where I was Hon Treasurer, not only would have the Committee been booted out but I’m sure members would have lodged a police report, and complained to the registrar of societies. Btw, a PAP MP was the chairman.

Can readers help me by telling if among the WP’s many words, they apologised for the failure to manage the many conflicts-of -interest better. I can’t find any “We goofed. Sorry.”

For the record: My other election guess in the past (2013)

*Another example of the anti-PAP cyber-nuts’ thinking. When AGO was appointed, the by the PAP administration, they said AGO would clear WP. Now they calling AGO part of “fix” WP team.

Khaw: Personal beliefs and governance in a secular state

In Political governance on 15/02/2015 at 4:33 am

Of all the PAP dogs ministers, I like Khaw best. (Btw, I do wish the anti-PAP cyber-nuts stop calling the PAP “dogs”, while implying that dogs have a nasty, brutish lives. All the dogs I know live great lives. But that’s why I guess these born losers are cyber-nuts. They don’t even know the truth about how well dogs live here because most of the time they are in la-la land with M Ravi.)

Sorry, coming back to Khaw, I hate his referring to the depth of his religious feelings when he carries out his ministerial duties. He did this again when denying S&C fees to AHPETC*: “I’m also a very religious man.”**

What have his personal belies have to do with the price of eggs? If my mum’s egg seller keeps on harping that he is a religious man while reassuring her that the eggs are from chickens that are not fed with antibiotics , she’ll worry that she is getting eggs filled with antibiotics because they come from chickens fed only on antibiotics.

Which takes me to the role personal beliefs play in the governance of a secular state.

Mr Cuomo, a Roman Catholic, offered an eloquent defence of abortion. He spoke out against an “unyielding adherence to an absolute prohibition”, and explained that his faith did not mean he had to comply with church teachings in his role as politician. “To assure our freedom we must allow others the same freedom, even if occasionally it produces conduct by them which we would hold to be sinful.” He asked his listeners at Notre Dame University, a Catholic institution, “Are we asking government to make criminal what we believe to be sinful because we ourselves can’t stop committing the sin”? The church was not pleased. For a time there was talk of excommunication.

*Given that the WP doesn’t even bother denying that its accounting system is not fit for purpose, he can’t be faulted for doing shumething that helps the PAP as distinct from the PAP administration in the performance of his ministerial duties.

**Which reminds me of Mathew 23, something that may have crossed the minds of WP’s MPs: at least the ones who know their bible. :

23 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! 17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? 18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? 20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. 21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. 22 And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.

23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. 25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26 Thoublind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 30 and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute themfrom city to city: 35 that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Moving on from Hard Truths To Hard Choices

In Economy, Political governance on 11/02/2015 at 4:40 am

“We have to move on because I don’t think we can tie ourselves to the past forever. The past is there for us to learn from, not for us to be shackled by,”Ms Aung San Suu Kyi recently said to the FT.

The Hard Truths are all about individual responsibility, selfless collective effort (example: LKY’s and other of the old guards’ salaries), lean social security and growth over distribution (growing the pie, not slicing it or eating it: waz the point of not eating it, juz growing it, I must ask?),

Whatever, Hard Truths were the basis of a successful social contract: S’poreans’ voting for and acquiescing in an authoritarian one-party (defacto)  state in return for material prosperity. The critics of the social contract like JBJ and Dr Chee argued (when they were rational and not on ego trips) that the cost was too high: an elected government that captures the courts, silences media critics and tinkers with the constitution to perpetuate its rule.

It was a winning formula notwithstanding their rants (or should they be prophetic warnings?) because many S’potreans (think me, despite having voted Oppo all my life because I tot PAP hegemony would not be good for the PAP and S’pore) judged that the PAP way as the right way to “get on and better ourselves”. After all Dr Chee and JBJ were upper middle crusts, not middle, middle class, lower middle class or working class. The latter even sent his kids to a posh English private school that prided it on turning out upper class English gents. To be fair to him and his sons, the boys didn’t go to the really posh schools, Eton, Winchester or Westminster. They went to a school more akin to St Andrews, where JBJ studied. As for Dr chee, he attended ACS: need I say more?

But, snide remarks aside, “The old order changeth, yielding place to new, And God fulfils Himself in many ways, Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.” (Alfred Tennyson,”Morte D’Arthur”).

The facts have changed. That social contract – optimal for places with young populations, rapid growth, full employment, and rising real wages – “would not be sufficient to ensure equitable and inclusive growth in the face of the changes unleashed by globalization, rapid technological change, and our own policies,”  argued five economists  in a paper released Monday on the IPS website. The authors include academics and former senior civil servants who carry significant heft in policy-making circles, including Manu Bhaskaran, a partner at consultancy Centennial Group and adjunct research fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy; Donald Low, a former senior bureaucrat at Singapore’s finance ministry; Tan Kim Song, an economics professor at the Singapore Management University; and Yeoh Lam Keong, former chief economist at the Government of Singapore Investment Corp.

Analysts widely believe that the days of double- and high single-digit growth rates year-in, year-out are things of the past; Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently said the city-state would do well to average annual growth of over 3% in the coming decade.


In simple English these five were saying (my translation), “What is happening now is that ordinary people no longer have a sense that improving one’s lot in life is possible. Many S’poreans find themselves stuck, not getting on, doing their best not to go backwards.” They were like the Red Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass:running frantically to stay in place.

These economists were making public in 2012 an argument that has been around since the late 1990s and early noughties. Something that s/o JBJ should remember when he claims that his ideas are being “borrowed” by the PAP: there is nothing new under the sun.

Happily for those of us who do not a one-party state, the PAP instead of listening continued to repeat, even louder, the Hard Truths of one LKY, especially the one on FTs being the future.

The PAP forget that politics is all about adapting to changing circumstances and navigating change. It was a deep intellectual failure of the PAP to understand and adapt to changed circumstances. It continued with its politics of growing the pie but not allowing people to eat more.

In 2014, we had Hard Choices. Two Singaporeans,  Donald Low (the same as the one mentioned above) and Sudhir Vadaketh, published a book that argued against the way the PAP govt provides housing and social support, and questioned how it has dealt with values such as meritocracy and identity.

At the launch of “Hard Choices: Challenging the Singapore Consensus”, they said they wanted to encourage us to question the public policy beliefs and practices that had become hard truths.

Low said: “We think that policymakers, and Singaporeans in general, should be less guided by hard truths, the ideologies, policies and practices that have served us well in the past 30 to 40 years, and be more guided by this idea that perhaps there are few hard truths, there are very few eternal truths.

“The far more meaningful debate we should be having is what are the choices we realistically have.”

One such choice is whether Singapore must be a global city, said Vadaketh. He said the antagonism towards foreigners in Singapore is a result of tensions between those who see Singapore as a global city with a global identity and those who want it to have a more local identity. I would disagree with him here, it’s more about the belief that FTs help repress the wages of local PMETs and the PAP’s  administration ignoringpeople’s concerns about the impact on wages and employmentof an FT flood.

Mr Low and Mr Vadaketh wrote most of the 15 essays in the book, which also includes contributions from Dr Linda Lim, professor of strategy at the University of Michigan, and Dr Thum Ping Tjin, research fellow at the Asia Research Institute in NUS.

Mr Low hoped for a return of “the debate that used to characterise the Singapore Government” He referred to a 1972 speech by former deputy prime minister Goh Keng Swee that raised concerns over Singapore’s continued reliance on foreign investments and foreign workers for economic growth. “I think we have regressed,” because debate had been “sucked out of the system” because of the Government’s success.

I disagree with him here. Unlike the likes of Dr Goh, Ngiam Tong Dow, Pillay, Howe Yoon Chong, the younger ministers and senior civil ,servants are more Catholic than the pope. They had to: who chose them to succeed the old guard, ministers and senior civil servants?

But let’s not think that the PAP is doomed like the dodo.

Bear in mind that Donald Low is the associate dean for executive education and research at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Yeoh Lam Keong* is an an adjunct professor there too (in the days of Hard Truths), they’d be in exile to avoid the ISD)  and that Hard Choices saw the light of day (would have been banned)

Finally, pls note the policies advocated in Hard Choices are not too dissimilar in spirit and outline from those that the SDP is proposing (spin on the latest version). They are about

— whether people’s hard work would be rewarded by an improvement in their living standards (or how o make surepeople who worked hard to build a good life for their families got a fair deal); and

— controlling the quantity and quality of people that come into S’pore (which incidentally is a primary duty of government that this PAP administration has seemingly forgotten).


*One of above five and former chief economist at the Government of Singapore Investment Corp

His latest piece:


Conflicts of interest? What conflicts?

In Corporate governance, Political governance on 10/02/2015 at 4:57 am

Two months ago, I pointed to evidence that indicated that AHPETC did not have an IT monitoring system

Turns out I was spot-on because the Auditor-General pointed out, inter alia, that AHPTEC did not “a system to monitor arrears of conservancy and service charges accurately and hence there is no assurance that arrears are properly managed”.and “No proper system to ensure … proper accounts and records were kept as required by the Town Councils Act.” Trumpets pls.

And what does WP say?

We understand that there will be a motion filed in Parliament to debate the matter on Thursday 12 February 2015.  That being the case, the Town Council will give its response in Parliament.


09 February 2015

Seriously, of all of AGO’s observations*, one to focus on is

  • Inadequate oversight of related party transactions involving ownership interests of key officers, hence risking the integrity of such payments


The town council did not fully disclose the related party transactions in its financial statements, nor did it adequately manage the conflicts of interests of related parties arising from ownership interests of its key officers, in contracts amounting to about S$25.9 million in total, the AGO said.

For example, the AHPETC Secretary was the owner of FM Solutions and Integrated Services (FMSI) – one of two companies engaged to carry out managing agent services, as well as essential maintenance and lift rescue (EMSU) jobs. The Secretary, General Manager and Deputy General Manager of AHPETC were directors and shareholders of the other company, FM Solutions and Services (FMSS), the AGO said.

“The key officers of AHPETC who had ownership interests in FMSS and at the same time performed a role (for AHPETC) in approving payments to FMSS were in clear conflicts of interests,” the AGO said. For example, the town council’s General Manager both issued payment claims as director of FMSS while approving the payment as AHPETC staff.

If this had happened at the club where I was Hon Treasurer, not only would have the Committee been booted out but I’m sure members would have lodged a police report, and complained to the registrar of societies.

Doubtless, WP will give an explanation that will be acceptable to the anti-PAP die-hards, but I hope the WP realises that the rabble does not matter (They’ll vote for any monkey even Roy, M Ravi or New Citizen H3, so long as the monkey is anti-PAP). WP has to give a satisfactory explanation to the swing voters: the 24 –35% of the voters whose minds can be changed.

All to play for, WP. How can a co-driver have moral authority if it lacks integrity?

And if the WP fails to give a decent explanation? Then 2011 GE will be another false dawn: like 1991 GE.

Btw, I’m sure one Goh Meng Seng will soon have something to say. And Eric Tan (remember him?) will be smiling. And rightly so. Though I do wish he’d stop allowing himself to be tagged with anti-WP stuff coming from an ally of the PAP. It makes him look petty, something he is not.

*The Auditor-General highlighted five “major lapses” in governance and compliance:

  • Failure to transfer monies into the sinking fund bank accounts as required by the Town Councils Financial Rules;
  • Inadequate oversight of related party transactions involving ownership interests of key officers, hence risking the integrity of such payments;
  • Not having a system to monitor arrears of conservancy and service charges accurately and hence there is no assurance that arrears are properly managed;
  • Poor internal controls, hence risking the loss of valuables, unnecessary expenditure as well as wrong payments for goods and services; and
  • No proper system to ensure that documents were safeguarded and proper accounts and records were kept as required by the Town Councils Act.

“Until the weaknesses are addressed, there can be no assurance that AHPETC’s accounts are accurate and reliable, or that public funds are properly spent, accounted for and managed.”

PM drunk? Or juz trying on new superheloo costume?

In Political governance on 05/02/2015 at 4:25 am

PM’s interview with a German newspaper (see below) reminded me of this

And a very strange speech he made in December.

No, I’m sure you like me were puzzled by SuperWimps’s AhLoong’s ramblings about the coming GE at a PAP party during December. Reminder this is what he told PAP cadres:

— It will be a “deadly serious” fight between the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) and the opposition.about who forms the government, and not just how many seats the opposition gets;

— too many checkers results in him and the PAP administration being unable to get things done (For whom, we may ask? For themselves? For S’poreans?). “You will have a lot of checkers, you have no workers… There will be gridlock, like in other countries,” he said. – See more at:

I wondered if he should consult M Ravi’s doctor or talk to his sister at the Mental Health Institute.

I mean since when did any except the really anti-PAP nutters believe that the PAP would lose the next GE (even the SDP and NSP* doesn’t believe that the PAP will lose power in next GE), or that the Worthless Party are effective checkers**?

So maybe he was drunk on the fumes of dried BS turds that the PA  grassroot leaders were burning in the convention hall in lieu of incense?

But after I read a comment on BBC Online by Prof  John Shattuck***. I realised that Ahloong may be trying to tell us something.. Prof  John Shattuck said the challenge (in Eastern Europe) is to “understand what is appealing about a more authoritarian approach….”.

He believes it is driven by “fear of change, fear of economic retrenchment… and when you feel insecure you want someone to solve your problems without having to think about them yourself”.

Well when he was talking about “fear of change, fear of economic retrenchment … insecure”, he could be talking about S’poreans.

So maybe PM thinks we are craving for a strong leader (Sheep of S’pore Farm We want someone to solve our problems without having to think about them ourself”) like Hitler, or Stalin, or Mao or PM’s dad? And his speech was an attempt to remake himself into a authoritarian leader like his dad, if not a dictator. Like dad, Hitler, mao and Stalin, no checkers pls.

Sadly because he isn’t his dad, his words make him come across as this guy. An undated handout picture released by the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on 27 April 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) looking at a computer screen along with soldiers of a long-range artillery unit at an undisclosed location in North Korea.

Stranger than fiction intro

About right for a guy who is alleged to have marched out of step with the band of which he was drum major?

As to the use of checkers, maybe he hould talk to the ordinary people of Zimbabwe, not the president who was holiday here in December or his very rich ministers?

In a wide-ranging interview with German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung on Tuesday (Feb 3), Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke about integrating new citizens, religious harmony …


“We set the tone. In terms of our social policies, we make it an objective to facilitate this integration. For example in our public housing estates, which is where 80-plus per cent of the population live, we make sure there are no pure neighbourhoods. We enforce integration, enforce diverse neighbourhoods, and integration in terms of race, also integration in terms of proportion of non-citizens so that you will not have an enclave. So you force people to have to live together.

“When the British built the colony their policy was to keep the different groups apart. To go from that to a modern Singapore where they are all integrated together, where every neighbourhood is integrated, was active social policy. We could do it because we had public housing programmes. We cleared the old villages and slums. We resettled the whole population, so in that process we had the opportunity to cause everybody to mix together.”


“All the major religions of the world are in Singapore. So we have to get along together and one of our basic principles is that there has to be tolerance and compromise. If you insist on absolute requirements, then we are not going to be able to live peacefully together. That means in terms of your practices, your customs and your celebrations.

“We are also not purists on freedom of speech, so if you say things which go out of your way to denigrate or attack some other faith, that is an offence.”


“In Germany, the employers have a model. They look for people, they work with them in the institutions, they work with them on an apprenticeship programme, and the people who are employed after that, completing their apprenticeship, expect to work for quite a long time with the company. They do not go and wander off straight away because somebody else is paying them another 5 or 10 per cent more.

“We do not have such a culture in Singapore. We are trying to move in that direction and get the employers more engaged in the training of the people, even in the institutions and have internships and immersions as a person graduates. We are making some progress, but it’s a long way to go.”


*And the WP doesn’t even want the Oppo to win a GE. It wants its MPs to remain as highly paid, ineffective co-drivers.

**Actually the WP is mixing up “checking” (co-driving) with accountability. The WP should be holding the govt to account not trying to “check”. Example: The WP is in no position to prevent a public tpt fare rise. But after the minister said that fares will go up by 2.8% (discount leh, should be 3.4%), WP should be publicly asking why when the price of oil has fallen from US$115 in June to around US$60. Instead the WP only speaks out when its direct interests are affected by the administrations actions.

***He is the president of the Central European University, an American human rights lawyer, law professor, diplomat and former assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration.

George Soros, the Hungarian-born investor and philanthropist, funded the creation of the Central European University, with the specific aim of promoting the values of an open society and democracy.

But the challenges have changed. If the university was created on a rising tide of democracy, it now has to examine liberal values under pressure. In parts of Eastern Europe, the voices of authoritarianism and nationalism are getting louder.


PM must be doing shumething right, right? ))))

In Economy, Financial competency, Humour, Political governance on 02/02/2015 at 11:30 am

Top destinations for foreign direct investment in 2014

China $128bn
Hong Kong $111bn
US $86bn
Singapore $81bn
Brazil $62bn
UK $61bn
Canada $53bn
Australia $49bn
Netherlands $42bn
Luxembourg $36bn

$= USD

Money keeps on rolling in despite what the anti-PAP cyber warriors claim about mismanagement of the economy. And it’s not “hot” money but the most desirable type

And since I’m smiling while looking at my bank and CPF statements, he (and Tharman and others) must really must doing something right. I’m juz not grateful, isit? And 40% of voters are like me?

S’poreans told to clean up FTs’ trash? PM so pro FTs meh?

In Humour, Political governance on 02/02/2015 at 4:32 am

Or juz as clueless as clueless as a certain Catholic High drum-major whose band allegedly ignored him when he and they marched to a different rhythm?

These were my tots when I read PM’s comments* about the garbage at the Laneway Festival because

— I had tot it was for expats, their SPGs, and local ang moh always tua kees: true blue S’poreans from the Hearlands, not welcomed (even if there wasn’t a sign saying “Dogs and Hearlanders banned”; and

— how come no cleaners? I mean even the Pinoys employed cleaners to clean up after their 2013 do at Hong Lim Green a few yrs ago.

Sweiously, two comments on Facebook that I agree with:

Simply put, Why accuse Singaporean in the first place? They already make this country open internationally and why claim only Singaporean are the one that cause the damage? Isn’t this accusation uncalled for especially from the top man of the land? I find it shameful for such well educated man to accused without being there, what is he trying to stir?

And a very totful

On one hand, we can’t discount that the littering problem may the exacerbated by a more varied and transient demographic profile with little attachment to the place. But, this needs more targeted research and serious surveys. Nationality aside, perhaps we may have to look at more undercurrent structures that may have stifled the collective sense of public ownership and initiative in a pathologically manicured state that required a very heavy hand to keep the place clean. Although there are community efforts in cleaning up beaches and swamps, the initiatives that we see in the very ordinary efforts Japanese and Burmese in cleaning their own mess in foreign lands seem absent for Singaporeans in general. why?

And even more seriously seriously, does he want us to employ cleaners, and then not use them?

But to be fair to him, the PAP administration which he heads expects us to pay ministers and senior civil servants and senior executives govt agencies millions of dollars to make decisions like

— awarding land slated for a temple to a listco for commercial purposes; or

— raise public transport fares when oil prices have collapsed.

Maybe PM should have done us a favour and become a top mathematician or scientist or master computer programmer** or anything except to be a PM whose default mode is to blame S’poreans for the Trashies he let into S’pore, or appointed to high office (with us paying them  millions)  and then being blamed for not cleaning up for them.


*Last Saturday, the 2015 Laneway Festival was held at the Meadow at Gardens by the Bay. The left pic shows what the 13,000 festival goers left behind.

It takes continuous effort to keep Singapore clean. We need to progress from being a cleaned city to a truly clean city. All of us can play a part – picking up our own litter, educating our children and grandchildren, and reminding others to do the right thing. Visit thePublic Hygiene Council‘s page to find out how you can help.

**When he was an army officer, he programmed a HP scientific calculator to do trigonometry calculations that had to be done using pen, paper and calculator or slide-rule: . Sadly the HP calculator ,as the US army could have told him wasn’t (isn’t) rugged enough for military use, even in the paper SAF. At least he didn’t try progamning the TI scientific calculator. It’s fragile.

How drinking survey was “fixed”

In Humour, Political governance on 30/01/2015 at 5:31 am

Not very long ST reported that a survey showed that the majority of respondents tot that proposed ban on drinking alcohol aftar 10.30 pm in public places (say at barbecue pits) was not on: so another survey was commissioned and it came out with the “right” result. S’poreans wanted it by a huge margin.

What an idiotic survey:

“Respondents were also asked if they felt public drunkenness was a serious issue that required addressing. Eight in 10 agreed the issue needed to be tackled, and a similar proportion believed the regulations would be able to clamp down on cases of public drunkenness.”

It’s like asking if people thought shoplifting was a serious issue that needed addressing; and if chopping off the hands of those caught would reduce shoplifting; then concluding that people supported such upper limb amputation.

Above appeared on Facebook from someone that the unwashed mob (think TRE ranters and other anti-PAP irrational loonies) think of as a member of the elitist class that they are entitled to be members of, but are not.

Seriously, what the survey shows is that the

— PAP administration has not changed its attitude in thinking that S’poreans can and must be manipulated; and

— the complicity of the constructive, nation-building media, and other fellow travellers…

Most importantly, the restrictions show that administration’s panic over a little riot two years ago is not over yet. Come on, get over it. No-one died and it did show that the police hadn’t a clue what to do.

I’m sure a bit of work experience in India, China would help solve the lack of practical experience. Got to prepare for the time when the young hooligans (Roy and New Citizen H3) and Mad Dog Chee decide to call street protests.

And here’s a clueless MP asking a really dumb question:

Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs whether the Ministry will consider allowing alcohol sold in residential areas to be contained in only plastic or tin containers as a safety measure in the event of unruly behaviour or fights in the neighbourhood.

But let’s be fair to him, he’s the very same MP that had to step down from the PAP’s politburo because his CEC position conflicted with the day job’s internal rules. If he doesn’t know the job’s rules, what does he know? But let’s be fair again, he may have tot as a PAP MP, he was above mere, petty rules?


Religious harmony: PAP’s, Putin’s way

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 28/01/2015 at 5:11 am

Mr Putin said Russia had been far ahead of its European rivals in establishing a model for co-existence between faiths. In a way, that is true. But co-existence under a common, imperial regime – one that punishes “blasphemers” of all kinds, including those who challenge the regime itself, and colludes with religious authorities to maintain social control – is different from the liberal model of co-existence, where no religion is protected and each must argue its case in an open market-place of ideas.

Now doesn’t the Russian way sound very much like the S’porean way? Interestingly both are the products of 19th century European imperialism. In the case of Russia, the imperialism of the tsars. In the case of S’pore, British colonalism.

The British and the Russian tsars ruled multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural empires and needed to keep the natives from killing one another or their masters.

So when Harry the ax man became PM, the laws he (and we) inherited from the British suited him to the T: in response to this on the murder of cartoonists in Paris, a reader pointed out rightly in my view,

During LKY’s time he will come out on TV to gloat that this is why we have sedition act and ISD and why he will string you up by the balls anyone who breaks his hard truths and make you wish you had been just simply killed by terrorists.

Well we should be grateful that AhLoong and gang don’t do such things. He juz sent a letter of condolences which had the young hooligans (Roy and New Citizen H3), s/o JBJ and Martyn See screaming their heads off. It seems they were so emotional that somehow M Ravi’s name got attached to the letter they sent to ang moh media that are no friends of the PAP administration or Harry, that the ang mohs tot Ravi signed it. He had to disassociate himself to avoid serious trouble.

Anyway, while I’m not surprised to see the young hooligans and s/o JBJ working together (the former love to tell lies and scream at the function of others, while the latter was happy to compete against another oppo party in Punggol East), I was surprised to see a responsible person like Martyn See associating himself with them.

I do hope he realises that it isn’t good for his reputation among those of us who keep an open mind.



Peanuts Goh wrong about monkeys

In Humour, Political governance on 25/01/2015 at 4:35 am

Mr Goh Chok Tong in 1993 said: ‘If we do not pay ministers adequately, we will get inadequate ministers. If you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys for your ministers …”. Apart from the the implication that other than our very own AhLoong, all the world leaders including Obama and Xi are monkeys, the assumption is that monkeys are stupid.

Well, A recent study from Yale University shows that capuchin monkeys, unlike humans, aren’t fooled into thinking that higher price automatically implies better quality (these were experimental monkeys who did have to pay for some of their food).

If he can get the intelligence of monkeys so very wrong, what else can he get wrong?

Btw, the following reflects badly on people like Grace Fu, Jos Teo and Hen, The study of our primate relatives may help us understand happiness. We know, for example, that sharing of food and favours takes place amongst primates and assumptions have been made that this was always about a clear exchange of one favour for another. But a recent study from the Yerkes National Primate Research Center has noted that monkeys exchange reciprocal favours without necessarily keeping track of who did what for whom. 

Don’t they talk of the need for serious money to get gd ministers? Well monkeys do things for others without calculating the cost, so why can’t Jos, Grace and Fu?.They not as unselfish as monkeys?

Related post:

How AhLoong’s salary compares to that of ord S’porean

In China, Political governance on 21/01/2015 at 4:24 pm

Yesterday I blogged that despite President Xi getting a 62% pay rise his pay was peanuts when compared to our very own AhLoong  despite AhLoong taking a pay cut in 2012 (US$22,256 a year versus US$1.8m a yr).

Mr Xi’s monthly base income is roughly twice the average annual income of a registered Beijing city-dweller according to the FT relying on official Chinese data.

Using Mom data, for the monthly median salary of an  ordinary S’porean (employer CPF included), it seems PM’s monthly salary is 4 times that of an ordinary S’porean’s median annual income in 2013. In the late 60s , LKY’s monthly salary was about four times that of my dad’s monthly salary.

No need to wonder why there is a growing income gap between the rich and poor here, is there?*

Which reminds me: “If the annual salary of the Minister of Information, Communication and Arts is only $500,000, it may pose some problems when he discuss policies with media CEOs who earn millions of dollars because they need not listen to the minister’s ideas and proposals, hence a reasonable payout will help to maintain a bit of dignity.”

– Dr Lim Wee Kiat, PAP MP for Nee Soon GRC, 24 May 2011 in Lianhe Wanbao.

So when Ahloong meets Xi or the Obama, he will not respect them, their views or their countries despite the US being the hegemon and China a wannabe?

*Readers might like to know that the PAP’s bible has been going on recently about inequality: inequality and the travails of the middle-classes are America’s (and the West’s) biggest problem, has been gaining currency for some time now. So has the idea that one of the better fixes is to begin to overhaul America’s dysfunctional tax code. Indeed, one publication in particular has been saying precisely that for quite a while.


Xi gets 62% pay rise, but still paid “peanuts” by AhLoong’s standard

In China, Political governance on 21/01/2015 at 10:06 am

The Chinese president’s new base salary is equivalent to US$22,256 a year, despite a pay rise of 62%.

FT points out that he and Obama are outearned by Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, the world’s highest-paid prime minister, who took a pay cut to S$2.2m ($1.8m), beginning in 2012.

As the PAP likes to say that “Pay peanuts, get monkeys”, so the PAP thinks Obama, Xi and other leaders are monkeys? What do you think?

Relevant posts:

And from FT too

What countries pay their leaders (annually/$ excluding benefits)
Singapore 1.8m
Russia 1.76m
US 400,000
European Commission 372,000
Germany 290,000
South Africa 224,000
UK 215,000
France 208,000
Indonesia 64,000
Poland 64,00

Can the PAP get away with annulling an unfavourable GE

In Political governance on 21/01/2015 at 4:58 am

Going by the Sri Lankan experience it all depends on whether a few good men are willing to stand in his way if the PAP PM of the day wants to declare a state-of-emergency if the PAP loses a general election..

Sri Lankan voters ejected Mr Rajapaksa in a presidential election on January 8th. Mr Rajapaksa was dismayed: according to Mangala Samaraweera, Sri Lanka’s new foreign minister, as the results became clear the soon-to-be former president discussed whether he could call a state-of-emergency and scrap the election. The attorney-general, the head of police and the army commander all refused, and thus “saved the country”, he says. By contrast, suggests Mr Samaraweera, the chief justice was ready to co-operate with the scheme to suspend democracy. (Mr Samaraweera should know what he is talking about: some years ago he was himself closely associated with Mr Rajapaksa’s camp.) 

In S’pore, the president should be added to the list of the chief justice, attorney-general, the head of police and the armed forces commander: people who will have to agree with the PM if he wants to call a state-of-emergency.

The President under Article 150 of the Constitution can call for a state-of-emergency. And if the cabinet advises him to do so, he legally has no choice.  But a president who flatly refuses to sign, and emails TRE of his decision can cause a train wreck in the PM’s plans.

Even if he agrees, the police and armed forces chiefs have to agree because the police and armed forces are needed to enforce the state-of-emergency: “Might is right”.

The chief justice’s and attorney-general’s support is needed to give a veneer of legality to the state-of-emergency.

A few good men can thwart any attempt to call a state-of-emergency: “Might is not always right”.


PM’s memory is not working

In Political governance on 20/01/2015 at 5:27 am

In what many would consider PM’s opening salvo in the GE campaign (though not me for the reasons stated here, I’ve changed my mind and think an election will be held next yr), our constructive, nation-building media, over the week end, carried reports of an iaudience  PM gave them.

Don’t know about you but lots of his comments upset me because they are self-serving rubbish that flies against the facts. As even thinking a lot  about them now gets my blood pressure into stroke territory, I’ll confine myself to commenting on a few of his commentss every day.

How not to depend on govt? 

PM said that S’poreans should only rely on the govt as a last resort: they should do things for themselves and not rely on govt.

Well when 37% of an ordinary working S’poreans’s monthly salary goes into his or hers CPF account, and the uses that the money, can be used is dictated by the govt, how not to depend on the govt?

And the high prices of private residential property (remember the state controls the supply of land) means that “affordable” public housing is the only option for S’poreans resulting in about 82% of S’poreans living in HDB flats. Again how not to depend on govt?

The govt designs the CPF system so that most S’poreans are dependent on the govt. So PM is at best being disengenous..

Electing gd MPs?

He should the best check and balance to his govt is to elect gd MPs.

Seems he has forgotten that the GRC system forces us to select a team of MPs some of whom are problematic: think the eye doctor who looks down on people that are not paid well and Kate Spade Tin.

His advice is only applicable in SMCs., not GRCs. where voters have to take a team, and where one or two ministers always head the team.

Immigration woes our fault?

PM said he regrets the fact that “Singapore did not build up its infrastructure quickly enough in anticipation of a population growth driven mainly by an influx of foreign workers”

This is what someone posted on Facebook

Come on PM, It is NOT is the Govt U led that COCK up..after all WHO approves the policies and are decision makers that allows foreign workers to “tsunami” in here..Sporeans arh? …so let call a spade a spade….Your Cabinet Team LOST the PLOT, so imo, the BUCK stops with U, PM. U cock up BIG TIME. Period.

If this is the opening barrage of the GE, PM is firing blanks, not facts.




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 259 other followers