Posts Tagged ‘Dr Chee’

Dr Chee’s kind of Us president

In Uncategorized on 26/11/2015 at 10:19 am

Spend and Spend not Pap And Pay.

A Bernie Sanders White House would be $8 trillion in the hole over a decade. The socialist U.S. presidential hopeful wants to shake up the U.S. economy with dramatically more spending. His promises from free college tuition to a government health system, which he is likely to outline during Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate, would cost far more than additional taxes would bring in.

The Vermont senator’s most expensive idea is to convert the American healthcare market to a national system with the government as the single payer. Sanders would essentially extend the current Medicare program, which is for retired people, to everyone. Breakingviews calculates that this would cost some $9.6 trillion more than current projections over the usual 10-year budget period, based on 2010 healthcare spending and other assumptions including a 25 percent discount thanks to Medicare-style negotiating power and price controls.

Sanders wants another $1 trillion to spend on infrastructure. U.S. roads, bridges, trains and the like need investment, but it’s still a hefty sum. And Breakingviews estimates that his call for free public college for everyone who wants it will cost almost as much again, while universal daycare will weigh in at around $500 billion. Along with four other proposals, this yields $12 trillion in new spending. That’s about 25 percent more than currently projected over 10 years.

The candidate running under the slogan “Feel the Bern” isn’t shy about boosting government revenue, too. He would institute a Wall Street trading tax, aiming to raise $1.5 trillion over 10 years. His corporate tax plan would eliminate most loopholes and deductions but leave today’s 35 percent rate intact and applicable to global profit, which Breakingviews calculates would bring in another $1 trillion. Lifting the income ceiling for Social Security payroll tax would bring in a similar amount. All-in, Sanders would lift revenue by about $4 trillion over a decade.

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.














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).

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.

Salute these Oppo warriors

In Uncategorized on 20/09/2015 at 5:00 am

Unconquerable souls who took on the Empire. They were thrashed badly on 9/11

All hail, Dr Chee, Dr Paul. Dr Ang, P Ravi and Jeannette Chong, and their families. Hopefully,  the last three will retire from the fray for their own sakes and that of their families. They don’t the backup that Dr Chee and Dr Paul have: the SDP.

The SDP activists too should be saluted.


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

(by Henley)


Photoshopped movie poster on the Singapore 2015 election by PixelGod





Chee: Mad Dog morphs into Loong

In Uncategorized on 09/09/2015 at 5:47 pm

From a TRE reader, which about sums up what I feel about Chee

September 9, 2015 at 1:33 am (Quote)
Like many of our older generation, I have always had doubts about CSJ. In the early years he appeared rash and even arrogant and brash especially armed with, I believe, his PhD in neuroscience.
Since then he has gone through hell and back and some of us thought he deserved what he got because he gave the impression of being manipulative and hence could not be trusted. Even today, he somehow does not seem to be able to naturally endear himself easily. There is something still too deliberate and even contrived about him. Spontaneity does not come easily. Yet, amidst all this one can still catch bits of the real man underneath his various personas. He has mellowed and with that allowed us glimpses of his true self and his sincerity.
I watched his lunchtime speech yesterday and was deeply moved by his words and his candid sharing. My tacitly negative image of him now no longer hold sway. Here was someone who had endured gross mistreatment and yet he did not allow bitterness to cloud the singularity of his focus. Much to admire, yet at the same time I wished he wouldn’t occasionally flash his ‘overdone’ broad smile; something that feels more like a cover for all he has been through.
CSJ now displays a degree of wisdom that was not evident before. He grasps the problems and concerns of ordinary people and addresses them with conviction and constructive proposals. He has become worldly wise. He speaks with passion and compassion. He is the change Singapore needs. Vote him and Paul in to Parliament. They will do the country a powerful world of good.
Majullah Singapura!

He’s got this guy to thank

And his family:

VivianB peeing in his pants?

In Uncategorized on 05/09/2015 at 10:28 am

Surely this handshake should narrow for the SDP the 20 points gap in Holland Bukit Timah (based on last GE) to a winnable 10 points?.


If only Dr Chee and him shook hands, it’ll be a level playing field. And SDP has been taking Dr Tan’s advice* that they didn’t walk the ground enough prior to last GE.

“How do I vote” by Dr Tan Cheng Bock


*I was told juz after last GE, that before results came out, Dr Ang Yong Guan (then a SDP paratroop candidate asked Dr Tan (they know one another, if not friends) if SDP could win. Dr Tan asked for details of SDP’s out-reach and concluded that SDP didn’t walk the ground enough.

Oppo slate that deserves to win/ PM rooting for them?

In Uncategorized on 03/09/2015 at 5:01 am

SDP team will be lead by Dr Chee Soon Juan. Other members in his line-up include National University of Singapore Yong Yoo Lin School of Medicine Professor Paul Tambyah, compliance auditor Sidek Mallek, and healthcare administrator Chong Wai Fung.

This team deserves to get in because of

Someone who thinks (like me) but who acts (unlike me).

Update at 2.45pm: Yahoo! talks to him–paul-tambyah-of-the-singapore-democratic-party-092334114.html

Secondly, the SDP has a comprehensive list of alternative policies that challenges the PAP’s Hard Truths.

Now if the SDP gets into power there is a chance that these policies may be a danger: The People’s Action Party’s (PAP) Dr Vivian Balakrishnan had harsh words for the policies proposed by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), saying that they are “tax and spend” programmes that will ultimately lead the country to bankruptcy.

He may be right (if the SDP wins a GE) but the SDP is not coming into power anytime soon, so why not let it’s ideas be tested in parly and see if they are found wanting?

(Btw, bit rich to talk of overspending. Didn’t he overspend on the Youth Olympics? $60 million to $300m? So who remembers anything of it and what was the net impact?

And this is not all, he sneered at the elderly poor, making fun of them. The same people the PAP is now honouring because it needs their votes: votes lost by the sneerer.

Whatever it is, the SDP is planning to spend our noney on ourselves, unlike VivianB who spent our money oney on fat cat foreigners from the Int’l Olympic Council. And to whose gain?)

Sorry for digression. After all the SDP has been right (sort of)

And as I’ve said before, Dr  Chee in his 1990s articulated a vision of S’pore today is closer to the reality than that of the PAP or mine (and I was a lot more pessimistic than the PAP).

Finally the SDP has proven that it can change. A bunch of nutters have changed their thinking, that even someone like me thinks SDP Bahru has some good ideas that deserve consideration.

Fyi, I plan to go buy the book “Men In White” to compare in detail the ideas of the PAP in 1959 and the ideas of the SDP today. I don’t think the PAP then would have been happy to have someone who sneered at the elderly poor in its ranks.

Update at 5.12 pm

Seems PM wants Dr Chee and Paul in parly. From this we can infer he wants Oppo tigers in Patly

Pointing to the Opposition’s “disappointing” performance in Parliament, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday that they were voted in to be a tiger in a chamber, but ended up being a “mouse in the House”.

Going by Paul’s and Dr Chee (remember I called him Mad Dog) one can assume that he wants them to beat the sneerer and an MP banker who disagrees with Tharman

Tharman joking again? Or trying to BS us?

In Economy on 30/08/2015 at 4:39 am

But before I go to Tharman, let me quote Dr Chee on the problems facing some, many S’poreans (certainly not me)

the 2014 report by Credit Lyonnaise Securities Asia which showed that almost half of households in Singapore live from paycheck to paycheck with little or no savings. This is middle class that we’re talking about. They are just one major bill away from financial ruin. This can come in the form of an accident, health problem, or some other foreseeable catastrophe.

What is less surprising is the report’s finding that the majority of our elderly indicated that they are not saving. How can they when they have hardly anything to live on after they’ve paid up their HDB loan? What’s more, the little that they have is withheld under the Minimum Sum Scheme.

But what’s particularly disturbing is the finding that a high proportion of Singaporeans in their 30s and 40s are also unable to save.

How did all this come about? The cost of living in Singapore, of course, plays a major role. In 2001, we were the 97th most expensive city in the world. In a short span of just over 10 years, we hopped, stepped and jumped to becoming the most expensive city in the world, according to the Economic Intelligence Unit.

Full text of speech at *. I commend it for your reading.

Singapore’s social and economic policies, which work hand-in-hand, are long-term strategies that have been in place long before the 2011 General Election. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam made this point on Friday (Aug 14) in a speech at the SG50 Special Distinguished Lecture, organised by the Economic Society of Singapore.

He spoke of support for the very young, starting with broad-based quality in the public school system in Singapore. When a person enters the workforce, there is Workfare where the Government tops up the wages of low-income workers. In housing, the Government went about it in a “very determined way” to ensure homes remained affordable for low- and middle-income couples, Mr Tharman said.

For seniors, the Central Provident Fund remains a critical pillar of support and the Government has introduced features like the Pioneer Generation Package and the permanent Silver Support Scheme, for the low-income elderly.

“This has been a shift that started a full 10 years ago and step-by-step, we moved up our support by intervening with people who are young, intervening in the working years and increasingly now in the senior years. It’s not just an innovation in the last five years,” Mr Tharman said.

“And I recognise of course, there’s some political cunning, saying this all came about because of GE 2011. I’m sorry it didn’t. The world did not start in 2011. We made very clear our intentions and our motivations in 2007. We made clear it was going to be a multi-year strategy and step-by-step, starting from the kids when they are young, through working life, into the senior years.

“We have been moving towards a more inclusive society step by step and we intend to continue on this journey. Learning from experience, improving where we can. But this is not a result of 2011.”** I also commend you read the rest of CNA article below because it’s a good summary of the PAP’s views on “Life, the Universe and Everything”.

Now you know why I put Dr Chee’s remarks first. How can the recent goodies be part of a 10-yr plan given the dates of the reports quoted by Dr Chee: in or around 2914.

If the PAP administration had been working since 2005 or 2006, why weren’t the results not shown in the data?

Remember Tharman’s previous attempts at telling jokes

Related posts

But maybe, Tharman the real aristocrat (no not juz s “natural” one: he like VivianB are from ACS), thinks we are daft peasants and workers?



*Full text of Dr Chee Soon Juan’s speech at the SDP’s 35th Anniversary Dinner on 15 August 2015:

Mr Jeffrey George, Chairman, SDP, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

In 1995, during the Ordinary Party Conference at which I was first elected Secretary-General of the SDP, I gave an address about the need to invest our time and effort building up a strong foundation for the party.

I related the fable of the Three Little Pigs and how it was important to erect our house with bricks rather than with sticks and straw. Only with a sound foundation could we build a premier party that we all wanted to see the SDP become.

By foundation, I meant that we had to ground the party on principles – principles that allowed the people the freedom to think and express those thoughts, principles that ensured that we enhanced opportunity for all to succeed, not just the privileged, and principles that grounded us on the idea that power is measured by our ability to care for the weakest among us.

By foundation, I also meant taking the time and having the discipline to put up considered policy papers by conducting research and consulting the people.

In the years that ensued, I was repeatedly criticised – even by those in opposition circles – for being out of touch with the masses and being too academic in my approach. My critics also argued that Singaporeans were interested only in bread-and-butter issues; democracy and political freedom were Western concepts unsuited to the Asian mind.

I never bought the propaganda because unless someone can show me that Singaporeans are somehow different from the rest of the human race or possessed DNA that made us inherently desirous of being constantly told what to do, I cannot but conclude that these views are propagated by the powerful few who want to keep the status quo.

Rising prices, stagnant wages

I have maintained that without our political rights, we cannot protect our economic interests and well-being. Recent trends have proven me correct.

Take, for example, the 2014 report by Credit Lyonnaise Securities Asia which showed that almost half of households in Singapore live from paycheck to paycheck with little or no savings. This is middle class that we’re talking about. They are just one major bill away from financial ruin. This can come in the form of an accident, health problem, or some other foreseeable catastrophe.

What is less surprising is the report’s finding that the majority of our elderly indicated that they are not saving. How can they when they have hardly anything to live on after they’ve paid up their HDB loan? What’s more, the little that they have is withheld under the Minimum Sum Scheme.

But what’s particularly disturbing is the finding that a high proportion of Singaporeans in their 30s and 40s are also unable to save.

How did all this come about? The cost of living in Singapore, of course, plays a major role. In 2001, we were the 97th most expensive city in the world. In a short span of just over 10 years, we hopped, stepped and jumped to becoming the most expensive city in the world, according to the Economic Intelligence Unit.

This is not just happenstance. It came about through deliberate planning by the PAP. For instance, the Government rewrote the Banking Act and Immigration policy to court High Net-Worth Individuals to Singapore. As a result, we have the highest proportion of millionaires and billionaires in the world. The massive inflow of foreign capital places enormous upward pressure on prices in the country.

At the same time, we imported en masse cheap foreign labour to do the lower-skilled jobs. This puts downward pressure on wages of the locals. It also has the unintended effect of lowering labour productivity levels. The government has often repeated that wages cannot outstrip productivity. The result is that real wages continue to languish.

This double whammy of rising costs and stagnating wages is what is making lives financially so tough for Singaporeans.

And what about our youth? The future looks anything but hopeful. They now have to compete with foreign students – who are getting generous financial assistance from the state – for places in our universities. And when they graduate, they have a tough time finding jobs. If they do end up with a job, many are underemployed engaging in low-paying or low-skilled positions.

And with the high HDB prices, housing has become largely unaffordable for young couples.

All this means that for our younger generation, opportunity is diminishing while stress and anxiety are increasing.

This has caused many Singaporeans to leave the country. Unfortunately, they are ones whose talent and skills we need most. Lee Kuan Yew, himself, admitted that this development is a serious problem.

So what does the Government do? Instead of examining its policies that gave rise to these problems in the first place, it opens up our immigration doors to let foreigners in by the millions ostensibly to augment innovation and job creation.

But the more people we let in, the greater the competition for opportunity, the more stressful life in Singapore becomes, the more Singaporeans choose to leave and on goes the downward spiral.

The situation has deteriorated to the point that the PAP acknowledges the problem. Both Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Hsien Long have said that without foreigners, we cannot attract investments and create jobs.

Unchecked power

How did we come to such a tragic state? After more that 50 years of uninterrupted PAP rule, we cannot produce a citizenry, or at least retain one, which can keep our country going without having to rely on foreigners?

But even as the SDP saw the situation deteriorate, our hands were tied. There was little we could do because our rulers decreed that the media had to be controlled, political parties could operate only under the most restrictive of conditions, and fundamental freedoms were tightly proscribed.

As a consequence, the ruling party’s power was unchecked. The result is a slew of problems, of which I have just mentioned a few, that our society has to grapple with.

Authoritarian control has another effect that is less obvious, perhaps, but no less damaging to our nation. It has to do with our effort to build a knowledge-based society. The fact that we are so reliant on foreigners and foreign corporations to drive our economy is more than a subtle hint that we’ve not been very successful in this endeavour. This is because a political system which demands conformity does not, and cannot, admit of knowledge creation.

Which leads me back to the point that I made at the beginning of my address, it is the same point that I have been making for the last 20 years: Without political freedom, that is, freedom of speech, assembly and association, we cannot regenerate our economy.

What’s the solution?

The question is not whether the present system will continue to serve Singapore well because clearly it can’t. Even PAP stalwarts like George Yeo have openly called for its reform.

Rather, the question must be how are we going to go about making the necessary changes. There are several areas that we must deal with if we are going to get out of the rut in which we currently find ourselves. But I will confine my answer to the one that is most obvious and immediate: elect SDP candidates into office in the coming elections.

I will point out two incontrovertible facts to underscore why it is crucial to have the SDP in the next Parliament. The first is that we are the only party that has consistently iterated that our political rights and our economic progress are two sides of the same coin, they are inextricably bound. Without advancement in our political rights, problems regarding our economic and social well-being cannot be addressed.

Second, we are also the only party to have drawn up a bold new vision for this nation and crafted alternative policies to take the country closer to that vision. There is nothing worse than asking voters to vote for change when they don’t know what that change is or might look like. We have articulated for society a future that can be better and more secure than the one we have presently. We are advocating a system where the people have the means and the responsibility to shape their own future.

In other words, we want to give voters a reason to vote for the SDP, not just against the PAP.

We want to build a system where debate, reasoned argument, and free choice is highly valued; thick on logic and persuasion, thin on rhetoric and coercion. We want the government to listen – really listen – and be responsive to the wishes and needs of the people. This can only happen with a competent, constructive and compassionate opposition in Parliament – an opposition like the SDP.

SDP’s values

But while it is important to ensure that our future is one predicated on prosperity, we don’t want to advocate ideas that focus exclusively on material wealth – not if it means having to lose our soul and the very essence of being human. And being human is to care for our fellow human beings, to show compassion to those less fortunate than us.

When did we become so callous to suffering? When did we become numb to the fact that our elderly have to clear our tables and wash our toilets or collect cardboard just to live out their remaining years on this earth? I don’t believe that we are such a nasty people. I believe that we have been led astray. We have become so indifferent to the plight of the weak and the powerless because we’ve been told for decades that no one owes us a living, that it’s every man for himself.

We must find our way back, we must find our soul again because a people without a soul is a people who will not find life, life in its most profound sense.

We must impart wisdom that invites an individual to enter the door of his conscience – the conscience that speaks loudly and clearly of our values – that people come before profits, rights before riches and wisdom before wealth.

This is who we are, this is what we stand for and it is what we must strive to uphold. These values keep us united as Singapore Democrats, it is what is going to help us succeed as a party and, most importantly, it is what is going to bring this Republic of Singapore a better future.

It has taken us time to get to where we are today but it has been necessary. We have toiled hard, tilled the soil, planted the seed and with the sweat of our brow and the tears of our spirit, painstakingly cultivated the tree of democratic progress. May it bear fruit this election.

Thank you.

**Rest of CNA report:

He added that what is unique about Singapore is that there is “broad-based upliftment”, with jobs, rising incomes and homes for every Singaporean.

“Without social strategies, without strategies that made it possible for people to develop their potential, through education, without the housing policies that gave everyone a sense of ownership, provided a sense of equity in our society, it would have been impossible for our economy to have succeeded,” said Mr Tharman.


He noted that Singapore’s policies have shifted over the years. The first three decades were focused on the basics – economic survival, job creation, and providing education and housing. And the poor received few subsidies, he said.

“It worked because our economic strategies worked. Jobs were created, incomes did rise and homes went up in value steadily and the economy improved. Social well-being went up without the whole array of social policies, by just focusing on the fundamentals,” Mr Tharman said.

Social policy came to the fore in the 1990s. The Government rolled out policies such as the Edusave scheme for young Singaporeans and Medifund for those who could not afford hospital bills. They also introduced housing grants for the resale market to help more Singaporeans own homes.

“But it is only in the last 10 years, starting from around 2006, 2007, that we made more decisive shifts, a more decisive rebalancing in order to ensure we remain an inclusive society. We needed to mitigate inequality. We had seen in a decade earlier in the mid-1990s when inequality had risen, similar to the trend in most advanced countries. We needed to do more to mitigate inequality,” he said.


But Mr Tharman noted that Singapore’s level of inequality, before taxes and Government transfers, is not particularly high by international standards.

He said: “The question then is, what happens after taxes and transfers? Because all governments do want to mitigate inequality, have some redistribution, in order to reduce them. And we do too. There are some countries that in fact achieve a very large reduction in their Gini coefficient, which is about distribution through taxes and transfers.

“The classic cases in Scandinavian economies and to some extent in the United Kingdom and other European economies – those have seen a significant reduction. But the first point we must recognise is that the reduction in inequality that they have seen, the reduction in their Gini coefficient goes hand-in-hand with a very heavy burden of taxation on their population. It is not just about taxing the rich – it is the middle, the broad middle class in the society that pays a very high tax rate. Consumption tax and income tax.”


Mr Tharman also spoke of the need for a more innovative society, for every company and person to “unleash their innovative spirit” to move from adding value, to creating value through research and development and new products.

That is how Singapore will survive, said the Deputy Prime Minister. He said the country is already beginning to see some results. For example, there are aggressive schemes to support start-ups and help small and medium-sized enterprises upgrade and internationalise.

He said the Government will also take the lead to invest in all Singaporeans – throughout their life.

He noted: “This is why SkillsFuture is a major investment to our future. A major social and economic investment in our future. We are not anywhere near maximising our potential. In fact, no country is anywhere near maximising their potential and we intend to be in the lead by continuously investing in every Singaporean.

“Not many of us, let’s invest in every Singaporean. So we keep improving through life, keep learning something about ourselves, we did not know about. A strength, ability, an interest. And we are going to provide the resources, the facility all around the island to make this possible.”


Following his speech at the Economic Society of Singapore, Mr Tharman fielded several questions from the audience, including one on foreign workers in Singapore. He said they play an important role in keeping Singapore globally competitive.

Said Mr Tharman: “There are many jobs where you just won’t be able to find enough Singaporeans to do it. And second, because there are many foreign employees who come with expertise and long track records in particular fields that really add to the global teams in Singapore being competitive globally.

“So that is the real strategy,” he said. “In Singaporeans’ own interest, you must have globally competitive teams in Singapore. But if it’s all foreigners, you do not have Singaporeans in the team. Then that is not a sensible economic strategy. So our strategy is to have a balance. Make sure Singaporeans are at the core system – core not just in a regular jobs, core not just in back-end office work, but core in innovative teams and in order for them to be in globally competitive teams.”

Mr Tharman also explained why it is important to reskill Singapore workers. “It is a good thing that we are able to add labour-saving technologies in a labour-short economy,” he said. “We are a labour-short economy so we need every form of labour-saving technology. And the right solution is to make sure that anyone whose job becomes redundant because technology takes over is reskilled, and is able to have another good job.

“And we tend to be as active, as energetic as we can in this through SkillsFuture and through our subsidies as well to help people tide over and learn a new skill.”

He said the society has to help everyone keep up with the pace of change. “Make sure they are not treated as an unemployed statistic becoming an employed statistic, but they are citizens who must feel that they are all part of the team, and if you lose your job, we take care of you and ensure you can be part of another team. That culture of respect for blue collar workers is really something we need to develop.”

– CNA/ms

“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.

AHPETC story: Two chatter-boxes are silent

In Uncategorized on 03/03/2015 at 4:35 am

In all the noise surrounding AHPTEC, two noisy S’poreans are silent..

Dr Chee was quick to defend Roy when he led a bunch of hooligans in disrupting YMCA’s function at Hong Lim Green,  but is strangely silent on coming out in support of the WP over the AHPETC incident: remember that when he didn’t take his anti-Mad Dog pills a few yrs ago, he proposed that if the SDP won the Punggol East by-election, he would allow the then AHTC to run Punngol East.

Maybe that’s why he’s so silent: pai seh that he trusted the WP.

Goh Meng Seng was also pretty quick to defend the actions of Roy, New Citizen H3 and the other hooligans who disturbed the YMCA’s activities. He is also very anti-WP: always looking to say nasty things about the WP and its leaders. Example: when news broke that Auntie and Quah Kim Song had become a couple, he KPKBed about it while others were, rightly, congratulating the couple, wishing them well. Then there was the time when he criticised the People’s Princess Nicole Seah, in the guise of giving her advice.

So his silence especially when when there is an opportunity to slime the WP, is really strange. Has he had his vocal cords cut?

As to the possible reason for  his silence, watch this space. It’s connected to why four NSP young Turks walked out of the NSP and were seen campaigning for the Chiams.


Back to the future: LKY, Dr Chee & the SDP agree on …

In Political governance, Public Administration on 26/02/2014 at 4:28 am

One LKY in 1957 said in the legislative assembly :

For cheap labour, they [the British] allowed unrestricted immigration without any plan, without any policy and without any intention of creating or preserving the self. I do not condemn the immigration as such, but I condemn the government which has no regard for the people of the country who have been assimilated and did not bother to educate or to provide education for those coming in. Today, with the renaissance of the motherland of each of the immigration groups, chauvinist tendencies are incited. Yet at this critical juncture we have to call upon these immigrants to give this country their undivided loyalty.

(S’pore Notes:

In 2013, at Hong Lim Green (the people’s parly?), Dr Chee said, “A word of caution, I ask all of us here in Singapore to be the people that we truly are, the tolerant people that we are and if we attack, we attack the policy, we point out the flaws in the policy, not against the people who are here for work.”, can be simplified to “We disagree with the govt’s pro-FT policy, not the foreigners working here. We are unhappy with the “FTs first, citizens last” attitude of the govt because …”

Dr Chee got CIA time machine? Went back in time to influence LKY?

Seriously, by raising the issue of the PAP’s govt immigration policies on S’pore society, Dr Chee, the SDP and many others are juz reflecting what LKY tot in 1957.

After all, S’pore could be returning to a similar situation to that in 1957. In 2013, I wrote: A Citigroup report noted that the White Paper projects the dilution of Singapore-born citizens from 62% of the population to just 55% in 2030 based on number of new FT citizens that the govt plans to bring in projects to come in naturally: 15,000 – 25,000 annually.

In 1959, according to Singapore Correspondent. Political Dispatches from Singapore (1958-1962) only 270,00 out of the 600,000 voters were born here i.e. there only 45% of the voters were born here. The rest were the FT “new” citizens of the day. (

Just a few “honest mistakes” by Home Team officers (we know that they can be unfit for purpose: recent riot*and border and internal security**, etc***) and in 2030 the voters born here could be 45%, not 55% juz like in 1959 (two yrs after LKY made the above statement. In all probability, in 1957, true blue S’poreans were 45% of the voters.


*“The police had arrived,” Mr Selvam said. “They stood there and did nothing. Ah, the police approve of what I am doing,” he said, suggesting what the rioters would or might have been thinking then, as they continued to hurl projectiles at the bus and at the officers, and eventually setting security vehicles and an ambulance on fire.

“[The rioters] had full freedom to do what they wanted – namely, to burn the bus, burn the vehicles, attack you,” the former judge said.

“A lot of things were wrong,” Mr Tee said. “Are you showing weakness and emboldened them? That could be the reason why they became more violent.”

Mr Selvam said, “They were rioting. What did you do?” [Former Supreme Court judge G. Pannir Selvam is the COI’s chairman, while former Police Commissioner Tee Tua Ba, is a member of the COI] )


***All the problems at Home Team over recent yrs (corruption, Ang Moh tua kee attitude, PR status for possible criminals etc etc) show that it was badly run when Wong Kan Seng was the Home minister. There should be a claw-back of the millions he earned as a minister.

LKY and Dr M ain’t that bad

In Political governance on 20/08/2011 at 11:10 am

LKY and Dr Mahathir may have played very rough with their opponents, but he didn’t hound them until they committed suicide.

This man made a fool of Hitler in court. He was persecuted until he commited suicide. Dr Chee is still standing tall. So is Anwar.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 259 other followers