Posts Tagged ‘Human Resources’
Other than the PAP administration, who else should be blamed for the flood of FTs here
What if workers are unprofitable?
Here’s something else to think about. Mike Ashley the boss and controlling shareholder of UK sports retailer Sports Direct is getting a lot of bad publicity in the UK because the co paid workers less than the minimum wage at the warehouse the co operates. Working conditions were also bad. Adding to these problems, the co awarded lucrative contracts to his relatives.
But many of the people employed in the warehouse are not doing profitable work, reports the FT.
The popularity of internet shopping is forcing retail chains to supplement their shops with large-scale industrial operations, where the economic calculations are uncertain and the best employment practices have yet to be worked out.
Some retailers, such as Sports Direct, have opted to build rudimentary facilities and employ an army of low-paid workers to take on the laborious task of picking low-value products from miles of warehouse shelves.
Some are automating but that involves huge amounts of capital up-front.
And are locals really that good?
Well in addition to these problems: the locals can’t proof their work
The following is a Facebook post by Madam Ho Ching, head of Temasek Holdings and wife or Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
And are hopeless in grammar
Mr. Soon Chwee Guan – who is unemployed – had married Ms. Diao Yanmei in a marriage of convenience sometime in October 2012 for an initial sum of $4,000. Guy is dead.
His resignation was confirm by the party’s Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang, who asked that all queries pertaining to the resignation be directed to Mr Chen personally.
Who to blame? Greedy employers? FTs are cheap. Or lazy bums reading TISG or TRE and posting comments instead of working or looking for work.
Several Tuesdays ago, I read in ST that SBS had no issues about the retirement age being raised to 67. It has lots of oldie drivers.
I also read on the same dat that SMRT will raise its basic starting salary for all its Singaporean and Permanent Resident (PR) bus captains by 20 per cent to S$1,950 from Sep 1, it announced in a press release on Monday (Aug 28).
SMRT said the revised salary package will see new bus captains earning a monthly gross salary of up to S$3,540. Existing bus captains will also have their basic pay increased by at least S$300 “in recognition of their service to the company”, SMRT said.
This comes on the heels of similar pay hikes by Singapore’s two other public bus operators as competition for local bus captains intensifies.SBS Transit increased its starting salary from S$1,775 to S$1,950 in June while UK-based bus operator Go-Ahead increased its starting salary from the S$1,865 it announced in February to S$1,950 in July.
This reminded me that LTA is exploring the use of self-driving buses*. No for SBS or SMRT to employ oldies or PRC FTs, and no need to compete on wages. They both had to taise wages because of an ang Moh bus operator “spoiling” the market. More FT operators pls.
But technicians to service these self-driving buses sure to be FTs. Cannot blame companies or govt given situations like this? Employing locals can be problematic.
*But pls keep SMRT away from this project. Look at its problems with self-driving trains on the Circle Line. I mean self-driving trains work in other cities.
This is good news, the Indians will return to India. IT department here all belongs to Indians already, no longer a Singaporean job. We got sold out long ago.
Rating: +18 (from 20 votes)
He was responding to a Bloomberg report carried by TRE that said Barclays intends to cut approximately 100 IT jobs here
The report said that the employees are part of the Information Technology Operations team.The IT function will be moved to India to save on costs.
Barclays has since confirmed in a statement that it is in the process of cutting jobs here saying “identified a number of additional roles that carry out global activity in Singapore which can be relocated”
As I’ve reported before, in the early noughties, the PAP administration allowed the likes of Merrill Lynch, Citi and Beutsche to import cattle truck-loads of Indian IT FTs, in return for the banks promising to set up big chunks their global back office IT ops here.
As I reported beforem one shop in Suntec City had to fold after Citi retrenched its Indian ITs during the financial crisis. The owner’s biz model was premised on Indian FT techies.
Carrefour also closed its section selling freshly made Indian food that it opened a year earlier.
These two businesses show the kind of spin-offs of having FTs here. And what happens when they leave.
In general, the benefit of FTs coming in is the money they spend on entertainment, rent etc. When they leave, this spending is lost.
Did you know that FTs account for 35% of the Zika cases here? OK 34.78% leh
Taz the conclusion based on the u/m facts reported in the FT
— the total number of confirmed cases rose to 115 in the largest single outbreak of the virus in Asia; and
— 21 Chinese nationals, 13 Indian citizens and six Bangladeshi nationals among the Zika cases in Singapore, according to authorities.
Waz strange* is that TISG is not using these facts to “attack” FTs to attract eyeballs; something that it was perceived to be doing in the recent past. Whatever, good that it is not trying inadvertently “to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Singapore”.
*Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”
Silver Blaze by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Uodate at 2.00pm: Reader pointed out that the mozzies don’t like FT blood: Considering that 40% of the total population is foreigner, and 55% of the working adult population is foreigner …. this means that a smaller proportion of foreigners compared to Sinkies are being infected. Either foreigners have stronger genes or they exercise better mozzie control than Sinkies or the local mozzies can’t stand the smell/taste of foreigner blood.
FT reports that Goldman has 62 per cent of its “strategic location” headcount in Bangalore, 22 per cent in Salt Lake City, 8 per cent in Dallas/Irving, 7 per cent in Singapore and 1 per cent in Warsaw.
We are “hewers of wood and drawers of water” for Goldie. PAP administration will say that we must thank the FTs for this. Given our world beating rankings in academic excellence, who is responsible for ensuring that we (because of the FTs) can only be “hewers of wood and drawers of water”?
The PAP administration is a reasonable answer given its claim that the rankings shows the PAP administration’s long-term planning. To be fair, in the early noughties, the PAP administration sought to make S’pore a global hub for banks IT operations. FT Indians were let in by the cattle-truck load because Merrill Lynch, Citi and Deutsche agreed to use S’pore as global hub. I know someone in Suntec City whose biz model depended on the FT Indians Citi employed. When Citi retrenched, he closed his biz. As did the spot in Carrefour that sold great Indian cooked food.
Singaporeans have spoken and Bishan’s adorable otter family is their pick to represent the country on its 51st birthday. ST
I’m happy about the choice. I find them adorable.
But are they really representative of S’poreans? If S’poreans bred like them, the PAP would not have the excuse of allowing in FTs by the cattle-truck load to “fix” locals.
“Tight labour markets are the best social programme, as they force employers to hire the inexperienced,” says Larry Summers in an article in today’s FT. He is Charles W Eliot university professor at Harvard and a former US Treasury secretary.
Here employers can hire FTs to replace not only the inexperienced but also middle-age PMETs.
MORE than half of Singapore companies have experienced staff who are physically present but mentally absent*. BT
That’s a lot.
We learnt this camouflage technique during NS because we had no choice but to do what we were told to do. We became experts at “switching-off”; something even SAF regulars do. Remember the radar operators and the commander of a naval vessel that got rammed by an oil tanker? The courts found they were “switched-off”.
We carry this ability to “switch-off” over to civilian life even if as an ang moh expert from recruitment firm Robert Half rightly says,.employees also need to take responsibility for their satisfaction at work. “If an employee finds they have accepted inner resignation, then they should identify the cause of their dissatisfaction and raise the matter with their employer during their performance review. If the issue cannot be resolved then they are better off seeking a new job than lingering in a role they are unhappy with.”
So could one reason for S’pore’s really bad productivity record be the NS training we receive to be physically present but mentally absent? We switch-off too much?
And where we did learn other harmful productivity habits like skiving and coffee breaks? NS.
But let’s not put all the blame on the PAP administration for low productivity. Another probable good reason for lousy productivity is bad management.
Economists reckon that about half the productivity gap between Britain and America is down to bad management. A paper by Nick Bloom of Stanford University and others shows that the David Brents can learn from the Jack Welches: when they take over British firms, American multinationals bring better technology and practices, lifting productivity by up to 10%.
Bad management is partly responsible for the “switching-off” problem :“Inner resignation is often overlooked by employers, especially in workplaces where employees are left alone to get on with their jobs,” explained senior managing director David Jones. “Employers need to be more vigilant in looking for signs that an employee is mentally disengaged, such as a lack of motivation for bonuses or advancement or a drop in productivity.”
Whatever it is, S’poreans are never at fault.
*This …”inner resignation”, has been observed in 57 per cent of Singapore businesses, according to recruitment firm Robert Half.
It tends be more common in large- and medium-sized companies, with 68 per cent of companies seeing it, compared to 32 per cent of small organisations. The findings came from its survey of 100 chief financial officers and finance directors in Singapore, as part of an international workplace study.
“Inner resignation is often overlooked by employers, especially in workplaces where employees are left alone to get on with their jobs,” explained senior managing director David Jones. “Employers need to be more vigilant in looking for signs that an employee is mentally disengaged, such as a lack of motivation for bonuses or advancement or a drop in productivity.”
I got the above impression after reading the Indian’s (Sorry TISG”S) description of IT at SGX. Go to “New people taking over SGX’s IT systems” http://theindependent.sg/2-senior-tech-fts-left-sgx-end-of-last-year/
We can only hope this won’t tuen out to be like this A*STAR, NTU fiasco where FT “Kena stripped of PhD. Boss at NTU and A*STAR who is also a foreign talent, contract kena terminated” http://retractionwatch.com/2016/07/13/harvard-researchers-phd-revoked-former-group-earns-three-more-retractions/
The trio at the centre of the scandal are Professor Ravi Kambadur, 54, who was with the Nanyang Technological University (NTU); Dr Mridula Sharma, who was associate professor at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine; and former NTU researcher Sudarsanareddy Lokireddy. (ST)
Truly the T stands for Trash. All relared to IDA’s Nisha?
Maybe our homegrown Indian talents (People like Dr Paul, the CEO of DBS, the CJ, the AG, Tharman, P Ravi and Shanmugam; though not s/o JBJ, Pritam Singh and M Ravi) can help MoM and Home Team to profile the characteristics of ethnic Indian talent rather than ethnic Indian trash? Then we can get the right kind of Indian talent.
Must be joking
Singapore must respond quickly and take advantage of technologies so as to create better jobs for Singaporeans, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Monday (May 30)*.
Looks like he’s trying to tell jokes again.
So long as there is a flood of cheap FT labour for PMET tasks, why should employers bother? It’s only when labour is expensive that capital-intensive technology and processes are used: A -levels econs.
Tharman is the Joker
Isn’t his comments on govt acting quickly on property prices, bit like his jokes on inflation, wages?
Disconnect on FT numbers
Like other S’poreans, I feel that the govt’s claims of ever decreasing FT inflows doesn’t chime with reality: there is a disconnect.
I came across this report from CNA that may help to partially bridge the gap:
Another factor that may affect older workers is that their compensation packages may be higher than for younger workers with less experience, which may play a role when companies are trying to cut costs,” he added.
In particular, older Professionals, Managers, Executives, and Technicians (PMETs) have borne the brunt in terms of job losses and re-entry into employment as businesses restructure amid a slowing economy.
“It is a reflection of the economic structuring,” Credit Suisse economist Michael Wan told Channel NewsAsia. “As companies continue to cut headcount amid the economic headwinds, older PMETs continue to be retrenched.”
About 46 per cent of residents made redundant in the fourth quarter of 2015 found jobs by March, down from 50 per cent in the previous quarter – marking the lowest since June 2009.
“Amid softer economic conditions and as the economy restructures, redundancies are expected to rise in sectors affected by weak external demand,” MOM said, adding that it will continue to work closely with tripartite partners to help those laid off find jobs.
FT PMET numbers may be down, but when FT PMETs come in, they replace older S’porean PMETs.
Not Uniquely S’porean
But falling productivity is an uniquely S’porean issue . It’s a global problem. Even if there are no FTs, there’d still be a productivity problem.
*At the annual Pre-University Seminar, DPM Tharman said in most advanced countries, there is a “real fear” that in 10 to 20 years from now, jobs losses will exceed the number of jobs created, resulting in higher unemployment.
“We can avoid that. First, because we have an advantage of being a small society but with a global market. And secondly, we can avoid that by responding in advance to what is coming – respond quickly to technologies, take advantage of technologies and make sure that we create better jobs for everyone,” he said.
He added that there is a need to “use technology rather than be used by technology” – and this means using technology “to enhance human abilities in every job and to create satisfying jobs.
And limiting civil servants access to the internet is using technology
Chinese Bank Staff Beaten for Poor Performance on Course A motivational trainer in China beat eight rural bank employees with a stick, shaved the heads of the men and cut the hair of the women after they performed poorly on a training weekend.
Don’t PAP ministers insist that minimum wages will destroy the S’pore economy?
These tots crossed my mind when I read the headline:
Singapore Loses to Hong Kong in Race for Most Competitive
But after reading the report, more nuanced tots came to mind.
One tot: S’poreans want to restrict the flow of FTs but this it seems makes S’pore less competitive.
Singapore’s stricter rules on hiring foreign labor, which adds to business costs.
“The key difference between the two territories is Singapore’s restrictions on importing foreign labor, and their policy of boosting labor costs to discourage companies from being dependent on foreign labor,” said Brian Tan, an economist at Nomura in Singapore. “When you push labor costs, that’s going to have an effect on competitiveness.”
… Hong Kong’s labor market as more competitive than in Singapore, with the China-controlled territory improving from 2015 on scores such as working hours, skill levels, unemployment legislation and immigration levels.
Hong Kong also leads Singapore on business efficiency, including productivity and here PAP administration can’t blame the plebs management practices, according to IMD.
Next, there seems to be a disconnect between what the local PMETs (and even this retiree) feel and the “experts” say: FT policy to us is not restrictive what with FTs being allowed to become drivers and barbers.
Another tot:“It’s not just the economy, stupid,” says a poster by the Brexit campaign in the UK. And one of its charismatic leaders surely is right when he says, “We need to value people’s quality of life and standards of living and not just national GDP figures.” (But Brexit would say these rhings. The conventional economic wisdom is that the UK is doomed economically if it leaves the EU.)
Coming back to HK’s liberal FT policies: HK is Goh Meng Seng’s paradise on earth. Funny he doesn’t laud HK’s liberal immigration policies. He’s got his family there but thinks he is entitled to lecture us on the failings of the PAP. Surely the PAP in doing the popular thing (restricting FTs) is doing the wrong thing, and HK , GMS’s paradise on earth, the right thing?
Juz remember for S’poreans now:“It’s not just the economy, stupid. and”“We need to value people’s quality of life and standards of living and not just national GDP figures.”
MoM should ban all employees from chatting about the weather, babies, holidays, or anything not wotk-related.
A rule was introduced banned staff from talking about anything not work-related. Sounds so PAPish but no,not in a S’pore co but in a UK local govt (think town council) office. Wonder if NTUC would object if a company introduced this rule?
From BBC Online
A rule introduced at the beginning of 2011 banned staff at Carlisle City Council from talking about anything not work-related.
If employees wanted to discuss the weather, holidays or babies (the three categories specified in the instructions), they were told to clock-out – so they would not be paid for time spent chatting.
An e-mail sent to 31 workers by two team leaders in the city’s benefits department also warned staff “to be aware of the reason why they are here, which is to work and not to treat the office as a day-to-day holiday camp”.
The GMB Union representative at the council, Ged Craig, said the message was “ridiculous and a disgrace – it is suggesting that if, for example, you are standing in a queue for the photocopier having a chat you should clock out.”
The e-mail went on to say that the way staff previously worked could not be sustained in the “current economic climate”.
Following the outrage of the staff and the involvement of the union, the rule was dropped.
Productivity improvement must be a KPI for NTUC leader, Kee Chui, so maybe he won’t pobject if S’porean cos implement this.
Foreword: Chris K (A S’porean FT living in Japan) commented on Facebook on this piece. I’ve worked his comments into the original piece and added some background info. Hence this retitled piece which is an expanded and reworked version of the earlier piece.
Prime Minister Abe … in his latest op-ed in the WSJ says that if developed countries are facing a future of low or no growth, and shrinking populations, then perhaps governments should focus on improving living standards and not simply chase high economic growth rates.
Well as S’pore is now facing a future of low growth and a shrinking population, unless FTs are let in by the cattle-truck load, the PAP administration should focus on improving living standards and not simply chase high economic growth rates?
But then the PAP can’t let in its beloved FTs to eat S’porans’ breakfast, lunch and dinner and all snacks in between. FTs are needed to spur S’poreans to be as cheap to hire as FTs are, despite the higher cost of housing etc here. Hard Truths are more important than the well-being of S’poreans?
Here’s what Chris K says about life in a stagnant, past its prime Japan
Lived in Japan 1990-1995 and then again from 2006, the difference between the 2 periods in my view is that it is more livable today than before despite all the “bad news” of stagnation and deflation. Working hours have steadily declined despite shortage of labour. Total Fertility Rate has gone up.
(Btw, a few yrs ago I reported that HSBC showed that Japan was doing pretty well)
Life can be good in a country with a shrinking population and deflation. The PAP juz doesn’t like stagnation, deflation and a shrinking population.
Chris K then goes on to criticise the PAP’s administration policies here. Pay attention to (and think hard about) the section beginning the entire pension and healthcare proposition have under LHL been tied to ever-increasing real estate prices …
But I completely agree with Cynical Investor, the PM won’t be heeding Abe’s advice. Why? Just 2 simple things.
First the government salaries are marked to GDP growth despite the factthat in today’s digital economy GDP is a terrible measure of progress since many improvements and convenience in life comes free (think on-line shopping vs going to shops) or below cost, thus understating the impact on GDP growth. So nuts and bolts, brick and mortar still rule their head even if they have to accept the digital challenge.
Harry and Dr Goh has things easy when running S’pore. They grew the economy and jobs and wage rises followed.
Nowadays GDP is decoupled from jobs and wages. I wish someone would do a similar chart for S’pore.
Second, far more importantly, the entire pension and healthcare proposition have under LHL been tied to ever-increasing real estate prices (think downgrades and LBS to finance you and your parent’s healthcare and pensions). That means forget about quality of GDP growth, quantity is the game where large increases in population are required not just for those nuts and bolts, brick and mortar but with the benefit of keeping real estate prices elevated.
If you think we have a real estate bubble that may or may not be deflating, then equally we then must have a bubble in the government’s projections for our retirement and healthcare. Both are inexorably linked, one cannot exist without the other because of the use of CPF for housing. So 6.9m is a done deal, 10m a very likely eventual outcome. More foreign labour supply to hold down wages, a more crowded country, more stresses and greater wealth disparity. At some point this will stop and then this country will have an almighty day of reckoning.
I know a FT (M’sian PR) married to local. He has a SME business. A few yrs ago he employed a local as a company car driver: the first time he employed a company driver. He was grumbling about how lazy the driver was: didn’t want to wash car etc. He claimed to have paid the going rate.
Recently, I learnt that he has since had two FT drivers. I was surprised as I didn’t realise that FTs could get the papers to be drivers. But apparently they can. And it’s not applying the papers for another job and then switching jobs on the quiet.
Now here’s another interesting bit. The present driver is an Indian FT graduate. I mean if can get FT graduate to be driver, who wants a local boy with only vocational school skills? .
And the business is in the construction field. Tot FT supply restricted in this area?
Can data crunching tell you the best candidate for a job vacancy?
Any established organisation will have a group of very successful people in it – employees who fit and perform outstandingly well.
They are already there, and every day they generate hundreds of bits of data about the way they go about performing so well – productive salespeople, for example.
So one way of recruiting is to use number-crunching computer power to assess the traits of the outstanding people a company already employs… and then shortlist potential new recruits by comparing them with established corporate high performers.
But doesn’t that lead to companies hiring only people who most resemble what the company is like here and now? Doesn’t the use of Big Data tend to drive out vital diversity?
Not necessarily, says Bill Nowacki, because of the subtlety of the analysis process. At KPMG they’ve built a model which incorporates 10,000 different data points generated by a single individual. That’s millions of bits of data about a group of individuals in a big firm.
Number crunch those intelligently, and important signals may emerge. Bill Nowaki calls that “training” the algorithm by reviewing the data generated by previous recruits and comparing that with the current results – who stayed, who was promoted, who performed well.
You see what’s emerging here? A new complex model of an organisation viewed through the Big Data prism that the people who work for it generate every day. The very practical aspects of their working life, obviously, but also the relationships and interests they mention in their social networking.
S’pore aircraft lessor to launch IPO in HK.
Another blow to SGX where with the exception of CEO, senior managers are FTs.
Singapore-based leasing company BOC Aviation is planning an initial public offering (IPO) worth $1.5 billion-$2 billion …, according to an application filed with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE).
BOC Aviation, the Bank of China’s aircraft leasing division, will place the offering on the HKSE through the Goldman Sachs banking group. It said it will create up to 50% of the offering as new shares, with the remainder offered from within the tranche of existing shares held by BOC Aviation.
The company prospectus said IPO proceeds would concentrate on its “core business model of focusing on purchasing new, fuel-efficient, in-demand aircraft at competitive prices directly from aircraft manufacturers” for operators across the region and further afield.
Established in 1993 as Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (SALE), BOC Aviation has seen solid growth and is now one of the top 10 global leasing companies with 270 aircraft on its books valued at up to $12 billion.
The original SAL company was sold to BOC in 2006 for $965 million. In 2015 the company posted a net profit of $343 million, up 11% year-on-year.
BOC Aviation has agreements with 62 operators in 30 countries; in January 2016 it placed a $3 billion order for 30 Airbus A320 aircraft. It has also committed to acquiring more than 240 more aircraft in the coming years to be serviced by its Singapore, Dublin, London, Seattle and Tianjin offices.
After S’pore said that a Facebook post showing Lee Hsien Loong appearing to endorse Mr Duterte was false, he talked about burning a S’porean flag.
Still 77% of the Pinoys working here voted for him.
So many hate us meh? Despite many stealing S’poreans’ breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper and in-between snacks.
Seriously, can we trust the Pinoys whenever they say anything nice about us?
The Pinoys say they adore Pope Francis and the late Corazon Aquino.
Yet Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte said, “Pope, son of a whore, go home. Do not visit us again.”. And in a row with the outgoing president, son of Corazon, he called the president, “son of a prostitute”.
Yet 39% of Pinpys voted for him (an overwhelming number, given there were five presidential candidates).
Reasonable to mistrust Pinoys? Be wary of them? Cut immigration of Pinoys here?
What do you think?
I was recently at my barber and it reminded me that LKY was talking cock about service jobs. Many yrs ago he said that service jobs like cutting hair and waiting at tables could not be exported i.e. locals could not lose their jobs doing these things. (He was talking when the disk drive manufacturers were relocating out of S’pore, retrenching workers, and the govt was moving towards creating more service jobs. The move resulted in two casinos. A good thing in my view.)
Well the lady cutting my hair (for $6) is M’sian*. And so was the previous barber I used ($10). And it’s a fact that hair cutters and dressers in S’pore are from M’sia.
We want services to be cheap and good, and so have to import people willing to work for peanuts (by our standards). The PAP administration is very happy to oblige us by allowing FTs to eat our breakfast, lunch dinner and supper; and all snacks in between..
And now robots will be replacing humans. So FTs will be replaced not by locals, but by robots.
True it’s in the US but it’ll come here.
Now to the Foxes. They have a British core: 9 of 23 are British. Better than the core S’poreans in S’pore businesses, NTUC and MoM should note.
The club’s Thai owners, King Power, have spent little on players, but lavishly on coaching, scouting and training facilities.
Must have lessons for S’pore.
*Yes I know there are locals who will cut hair for $6. But they tend to be druggies who not only look high but are probably high. So I prefer FTs.
“No country becomes rich after it gets old,” warns Rodrigo Chaves, country director for the World Bank. “The rate at which you grow [with] a whole bunch of old people on your back is much lower than the rate of growth at which you can grow when people are active, are educated, are healthy.”
(FT article on Indonesia)
This is the reality be it Indonesia or S’pore or the US: population growth, not productivity growth drives economic growth. What it means is that S’pore will have problems “growing the pie” (or trickle down) if the demographic profile is not reversed.
If S’poreans who have mortgages (whether on public or private) hope to use their property to finance their retirement, they should be petitioning the PAP administration to allow FT PMETs to flood in by the cattle truck load again, not juz by the A-380 load so that there are a lot more younger people so that the economy can keep on growing.
Waz the value of that property if there’s no demand for housing when the PMETs reach 79?
But then, these S’poreans will find themselves unable to finance their mortgages because FTs steal their breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper.
What to do meh?
Well didn’t the PMETs vote for the PAP consistently. Like Harry’s daughter, they have made their bed and must lie in it.
Vote for Robin Hood anyone?
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men
Feared by the bad, loved by the good
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood
He called the greatest archers to a tavern on the green
They vowed to help the people of the king
They handled all the troubles on the English country scene
And still found plenty of time to sing
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men
Feared by the bad, loved by the good
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood
After all in S’pore, the PAP is viewed as the party “Feared by the poor, loved by the rich”: think VivianB and his sneering at the elderly poor. He’d make a good sheriff of Nottingham in any movie.
But sadly, the nearest we have to a Robin Hood (Dr Chee) will be thrashed by an Indian lawyer in the coming Bukit Batok by-election.
But first the Economist reports that a new paper shows that a higher minimum wage may not be as effective in tackling poverty as many hope. Low-wage workers don’t all belong to low-income families. I’m sure the PAP administration and its running dogs* in the constructive, nation-building media and academia will tell NTUC members, PMETs and other S’poreans this.
But NTUC members, PMETs and other S’poreans won’t hear from them that
— An impact of higher minimum wages is higher productivity.
Still there are other potential impacts of higher minimum wages;one is higher productivity. Some British companies that voluntarily shifted to a higher living wage found that staff absenteeism and turnover rates reduced, and productivity improved. It is hard to disentangle cause and effect here; are better-paid staff better motivated or are employers forced to become more efficient to absorb the cost of higher wages?
So if Tharman wants to improve productivity, as he says he wants** to, he should have minimum wages and set them high.
— One possible explanation why productivity has not been increased by new technology could be the sluggishness of wage growth; labour is so cheap that employers have less incentive to replace it with capital. Think the PAP’s administration very liberal FT policy both in numbers and quality: T often stood for “Trash”. Think SGX.
The main function of liberal FT immigration policies is wage repression. Why employ a local if FT is 20% cheaper (OK, I exaggerate because levies are paid, but still cheaper.)
How FTs affect the wages of the young here and their productivity
This conversation appeared on Facebook
I think it is unfair to compare our youths with those from other countries. They are earning a lot more here than they would at home due to our exchange rate . When they return, they will be very rich. In contrast, Singaporeans need more money to buy a house here, afford necessities and save up for retirement here.
While I think Singaporeans should not accept lower pay, I am not in any way saying that Singaporeans should earn more than foreigners. I think both should earn equally good pay.
A first world economy where businesses survive largely because wages are kept low is simply unsustainable.
It elicited this response from a tua kee: Yeoh Lam Kong (Once GIC’s chief economist. he’s now in Harry’s School of Public Policy)
It also disincentivises firms from upgrading to higher skilled, more sophisticated operations needing experienced, high level staff as well as lowers the return in engineering or computer science vocations so that local grads have less incentive to take these key subjects at university or as a profession, lowering the supply of locally trained engineering graduates.
So not only is this unfair to Singaporean youth; it also likely retards our manpower and industrial development as well as comparative advantage in key sectors longer term.
Another lady added:
Thank you Jeraldine for expressing so well what I always wanted to say on the “foreign talent” working in Spore. It very true that we are not entitled n lazy.
It very true that till there are control over the lax rule on S n employment pass, co had no incentive to automate as the easy way is simply to hire cheaper FT.
The civil servants post should be open to these FT so that our spoiled n well sheltered civil servant had a taste of their lax altitude to easy approval of FT S n employment pass.
Btw, wondering why the cybernuts from TRELand like Dosh, Oxygen, Ng Cock Lim and Philip Ang are incapable of discoursing like this? No wonder Richard Wan (ex scholar) and Chris K have moved on out of TRELand and associate themselves with TOC.
— And maybe Higher minimum wages could stimulate the economy and boost wages, for example. Or if employers focus on high-skilled workers in the short term, that could boost productivity and the economy in the long term, eventually providing jobs for the low skilled.
(All quotes from: http://www.economist.com/blogs/buttonwood/2016/04/minimum-wages)
Yet despite all this wage repression, the Oppo parties not could win more than 30% of the popular vote and in many wards had only the “THe PAP is always wrong” voters voting for them.
S’poreans daft? No: article on how the oil price collapse in 2014 helped the PAP
*Apologies to the real dogs. Blame Mao for using the term to denote rats and other vermin who take human form.. apparently he didn’t like dogs.
**On Friday Tharman sais Data shows that outward-oriented sectors such as logistics and manufacturing saw productivity growth of 3.2 per cent each year over the last five years. However in domestically-oriented sectors, such as retail and F&B, productivity has fallen by about 0.6 per cent each year in the last three years.
DPM Tharman said that there is a need to close this gap as it can help to ensure income growth for Singapore over the long term.
He added that lessons from the most innovative firms should be shared with other companies and the focus will be on developing more breakthroughs, deeper innovations and more disruptors. This could see some firms having to exit to make space for the most innovative players. (CNA)
Because Israel puts strict limits on hiring skilled non-Jewish foreign workers, tech companies find it easier to recruit in the under-tapped minority Arab and ultra-Orthodox communities. (FT)
Well here, the immigration policy here is still lax enough for employers to prefer FTs because they come wothout the 17% CPF contribution (the imposts on using FT is less than this) ….
Talking about the infocomm industry Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim on Friday (Mar 4) said the industrt needs to fill as many as 30,000 new positions by 2020. He said “some companies today still want to recruit only university graduates. We know from assessments that our polytechnic graduates can hold their own against university graduates when they are judged by competencies, not qualifications. Companies who ignore this will miss out on a well-qualified pool of talent.”
The part about employing poly grads and not grads sounds sick in the light of what a reader responding to this (on the terrible prospects of getting a job in our neighbourhood) said
Singapore is really a city paved with gold for foreigners with degrees but coming from smaller cities and towns. My job sometimes involves overseas mass recruitment and interview exercises (largely paid for by S’pore tax payers, haha). These foreigner profiles typically get imported into Singapore on S-Pass getting about $2,300-$2,500 per month. Essentially these foreigners are direct competition against local fresh diploma grads or even the lousier degree holders e.g. private uni, or lousy grades etc.
Comparing the pay of most of these foreign graduates in their home towns, the $2,300 they’re getting here is equivalent to at least 1 year’s pay in their home towns/smaller cities.
Imagine your monthly salary is $100K or whatever your annual remuneration is, and you get some idea of what motivates these foreigners.
Well so long as employers can recruit FT grads why will they bother about local diploma holders and inexperienced local grads?
But Yaacob also said the infocomm talent pool can be grown through skills conversion and upgrading*, and that companies must look beyond the traditional sources of manpower.
Could the bit I bolded be a code to employers: No more FT Indians? A few years ago, a social activist who works in the IT sector told me that until the 1998 regional crisis, local PMETs in this industry had a great time because there was little competition from FTs: govt was strict on employment passes. Then, the govt allowed in FTs (primarily from India) to help companies cut costs and also to encourage banks to set-uop their regional, global back-office hubds here.
That he said screwed our locals.
So could the govt really be reversing this “FTs first and foremost” policy? What do you think?
— the Government will also introduce new programmes in April to help the industry; and
— there is a need for companies to review their HR (human resources) to meet the needs for the future.
Look at the ptoblems they have getting jobs ar home.
Oil prices collapsed at the right time.
Here I pointed out how lucky Ah Loong was in calling a GE in 2015 before the global economy took a turn for the worse. Here’s another example of his luck.
Recently, while searching my online archives for some historical data, I came across a note to self that I wrote in very late 2014 referencing a piece in the constructive, nation-building media that reported the slow growth in wages since 2011. I commented to self on how this slow growth in real wages would affect the elections in 2015 (Remember by then I had predicted a GE in 2015.). Nominal wage growth barely compensated for the growth in inflation. Inflation was a problem.
I tot that the slow real wage growth since 2011 reported in the article would mean that it would not be possible for the PAP to win big in coming GE.
But were the economists (they are still employed in the banks today) quoted in the report wrong, very wrong because in 2015:
— The median Singaporean worker has seen “significant real income growth” in the last five years – a “really quite unusual” performance when most other countries have seen little or even negative income growth, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Since 2010, after the global financial crisis, the median household income in Singapore has grown by 18 per cent in real terms – that is, after adjusting for the increase in the cost of living, he noted at a walkabout at Taman Jurong on Sunday (Sep 3) evening.
“We’ve seen very unusual sustained income growth in real terms, not just for the people at the top, but for the middle class – and in fact, the households in the low-income group have seen slightly faster real income growth than those in the middle,” he said. (CNA)
(I assume he was using the data summarised here.) Note this was said days before the GE.
— The bi-annual survey compiled by Towers Watson’s Data Services Practice also revealed that in real terms, salaries in Singapore will rise 4.4 per cent. The salary increase budget for 2016 is expected to increase 4.5 per cent, according to the survey. (CNA in May 2015).
The collapse in inflation in 2014 and 2015 due to the collapse in oil prices starting in October 2014 changed everything when it came to real wages because even if wage increases were “peanuts”, the collapse in inflation would ensure that wages went up in real terms. And the nominal increase in wages were not “peanuts”: The total wage increase in 2014 stemmed from a basic wage gain of 4.9% in 2014 (a slight decrease from 5.1% in 2013), while bonuses remained unchanged at 2.21 months of basic wages in 2014. (NWC Guidelines 2015/ 2016 published in May 2015)
If anyone is interested, here’s my note to self (Explanation: The Italic bits are the original article which paints a really gloom picture of real wages (remember oil prices had started falling only three months earlier in October 2014). The words in normal font were my comments at the time:
Why not possible for PAP to win early elections big
The PAP is deluded if thinks can win big in an early election. Real wage growth has been slow, really slow.
It’s not the usual suspects raising the issue but the constructive, nation-building media allied to the PAP administration.
For those who have placed the blame for slow wage growth squarely on cheap imported labour, this year’s headline figures in manpower would have been sobering Despite sharp pullbacks in manpower inflows in the past few years – to the extent that the percentage of vacancies being filled by Singaporeans rather than foreigners this year hit its highest level since 2011 [Can believe Mom’s data meh?].- average pay cheques, after adjusting for inflation, grew by only 0.4 per cent amid tight labour market conditions.
And if Singapore’s struggles with boosting productivity persist, the picture on the wage growth front next year is unlikely to be any rosier, said economists, especially given the poor global economic outlook. The impending cessation of the Wage Credit Scheme (WCS), which subsidises firms for pay raises, will add another chokehold …
“Companies don’t want their margin to be squeezed. They want to save more, hold on to a profit margin, to prepare for the next year when there’s no more WCS,” said UOB economist Francis Tan. “Once you increase the wages, it will be hard to move them down again. And if the workers are still not as productive as you want them to be, it can be quite dangerous for the existence of the company.”
Labour productivity contracted 0.8 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter, worse than the 0.3 per cent fall in the first half, figures from the Ministry of Manpower showed. The first half of last year registered a 1.3 per cent decline, but this improved to 0.8 per cent growth in the second half.
Why productivity matters [Update in 2016: Still matters, low inflation not withstanding]
The repercussions of flagging productivity, as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned, could extend to the whole of the Republic’s economy. With the tightening of the tap on foreign workers pushing up wages more quickly than productivity, not only will firms pass on the higher costs to consumers, but Singapore’s potential growth and competitiveness could also suffer a blow, the IMF said.
DBS economist Irvin Seah noted: “Businesses are unable to pursue more orders because of this labour crunch. This will also prevent them from increasing their top-line, unless the productivity of the existing manpower is able to improve.”
Besides sluggish productivity growth, OCBC’s Ms Selena Ling said companies face pressure from higher rental costs. Singapore is expected to top the rental forecast for Asia-Pacific cities, with a 25 per cent increase in office rents from this year to 2019, based on a report from property consultancy Knight Frank in September.
In adjusting to these costs, business will take into account the differing flexibility of the various types of business costs. Between rental and wage costs, wages provide a “little bit more room for negotiation”, said Ms Ling.
Agreeing, Mr Tan said many companies have been moving towards higher variable components in wages to help buffer against economic cycles.
Workers who benefit from WCS – those earning below S$4,000 – are not considered as vulnerable as low-wage workers. But given the modest growth prospects next year, some economists speculate that the Government could extend the scheme.
“At this moment, it looks like the United States is showing signs of much more broad-based sustained recovery, while the rest of the world is in different stages of recovery and slowdown,” noted CIMB Research economist Song Seng Wun.
Mr Seah, however, noted that the WCS, which represents a form of government transfer, was never meant to last and that the more sustainable approach to boost workers’ pay is to equip them with the right skills.
PAP returns to its roots
“Although I think our fiscal policies are gradually becoming more socialistic in nature, I think the Government has continued to emphasise the need for self-sufficiency and the notion of meritocracy,” he said. “I think such principles should continue to remain the hallmark of our economic policies.”
Employers kanna pay and pay
Indeed, firms have had no choice but to paymore in the stretched labour market, which workers have been quick to capitalise on.
“And it’s not just the blue-collar workers, but the senior and middle management too,” said RecruitPlus Consulting’s managing director, Mr Adrian Tan.
But inflation is rising too, so no real wage growth/ Growth/ What growrh?
Mr Erman Tan, president of the Singapore Human Resources Institute, added that firms will face pressure to keep wage growth at least on a par with inflation. Core inflation, which indicates the rise in everyday out-of-pocket costs, has been estimated at 2 to 3 per cent next year, higher than the 2 to 2.5 per cent expected this year.
“Inflation is still putting pressure on staff. Firms have to make sure staff have the peace of mind to work, so you can change work procedures, change mindsets and invest in automation, leading to improvement in productivity,” he said.
…in the push for wages to grow because of productivity improvement. In September, the cleaning industry became the first to adopt a skill-wage ladder as a criterion to secure licensing, representing a breakthrough in lifting the pay of a group of workers who have seen their income stagnate. The Progressive Wage Model was also announced for security guards and will be implemented in 2016.
–TODAY 29 December 2014
“What a sense of entitlement: “We drove the business so hard, and this is what we get,” said one banker…” ST reported.
I mean the chairman of Barclays had said “not performing — and we don’t like things that actually don’t make money”.
Barclays retrenched people here from equities broking (now called “cash equities”. I was in this line and the deal then and now is “Hard work is BS. Revenue talks”. Then as now, job security and hard work, meant nothing. Bring in the revenue and get rewarded.
Staff of fund mgrs globally took a pay cut of almost a fifth in 2015 as the industry grappled with its worst year of profitability since the financial crisis. US and Asian-based staff suffered most/
And still willingly vote for the PAP? I doubt it.
But first, Trump, Le Pen and American and European “fascists” say some cultures are hostile to Western culture and values. While they are not exemplars of the best of Western culture and civilisation (I’ll readily admit that I’m an admirer of much of the values of the West). there is evidence that supports their views.
1.Two men from the Middle East who came to the US as refugees have been charged with supporting terrorism.
2.Then there are the attacks on women in Cologne where the assailants were of African and Middle Eastern origin.
Even the UK’s Guardian (“White establishment always wrong, terrorists often got right on their side”) is forced to say: A statement issued by Cologne police on Saturday night said the number of reported cases of violence had risen substantially to 379 – 40% of them involving sexual assault. Police earlier said 31 people had been identified as being involved in the violence, of whom 18 were asylum seekers suspected of crimes ranging from theft to assault. None of the asylum seekers was suspected of committing sexual assaults.
Times: Migrants ‘planned sex attacks’ in Cologne
It took the better part of a week to acknowledge that asylum seekers were among the suspects.
The police certainly knew the reality of who had been on the streets. On the night some young men had shown police their asylum documents.
An internal police report describes a man telling the police: “I am Syrian. You have to treat me kindly. Mrs Merkel invited me”. (BBC report)
3. BBC reports that In Germany Although the figures are not up to date, it does not appear so far that the crime rate among asylum seekers is higher than among similar groups in the native population.
In S’pore, while we don’t have the problems that the Eurpeans have with immigrants (luckily because look at the way the Little India riot was handled), we do have a problem in that 37% of a S’porean’s wages are locked away to be spent only in ways the PAP administrations think are the “right” ways to spend our money
This means an FT can price himself 37% below a local and still achieve the same take home pay*. He can see S’pore as a place to come and work for a few yrs, and then go home, a rich man, or move to a real first world country.
And OK there are govt levies etc on emploters employing FTs but do they add up to 37%? I doubt it. If anyone knows anyone in HR pls ask for me. As I understand it, employing FTs is always cheaper.
Until this issue of income disparity is addressed by the govt (only after the majority of the S’porean public realise that the locking away of 37% of an employee’s income is problematic for S’poreans and S’pore), all the govt’s measures to “tighten” inflows of PMET FTs, or measures to help S’poreans compete is just so muck sticking plaster or worse wayang. http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2016/01/skillsfuture-credit-scheme-may-end-up-a-disappointment/
How likely do you think he will be able to get this job with a good pay after finishing his SkillsFuture Credit course on web design?
… the main purpose of Jobs Bank is to mandate employers who want to recruit foreigners on EP to advertise on it for Singaporeans first. But it does not necessary guarantee that Singaporeans will be employed. This is explained on MOM’s website:
Before you submit Employment Pass (EP) applications, you must advertise the job vacancies on theJobs Bank administered by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).
Also, do take note that there is no quota imposed on hiring foreigners on EP currently.
So, after 6 months of non-success in trying to find his dream web designer job, Mr Zulkipli simply gives up. The next thing he may be asking himself is, what is the use of this SkillsFuture Credit Scheme?
I’ll end with this good point on not being Politically Correct, something people like Trump, Le Pen, and our home-grown wannabe s pride themselves on being.
It is often a code to want to be nasty to women and minorities. Right my kaleng, mat and ah quah friends? There’s a place, in moderation, of being PC.
So what value the link?
Below is the Letter from Lex of two Saturday’s ago. It’s another nail in coffin of the argument that our ministers and senior civil servants deserve their multi-million salaries which are benchmarked against the private sector. The pay structure at the top of the private sector is flawed, badly flawed.
Letter from Lex: Let’s spin the wheel!
It may indeed be better to be lucky than good; don’t assume you can tell the two apart. There is a good-sized pile of academic research devoted to determining what part of corporate success (measured by return on capital, margins, or what you will) is down to the skill of the boss. Social scientists and statisticians stagger towards consensus along a twisting path. Most of the studies do, however, seem to converge on a couple of points: (a) management skill is a wickedly slippery thing to measure and explain, yet (b) skill seems to make a small but significant difference to performance on the margin, although (c) luck plays much bigger role most of the time. Raising these points often elicits one of two responses. The first: “You damn pinko academics/journalists hate capitalism and will say anything to undermine it.” Alternately: “Anyone who has actually worked in a big company knows that a CEO is a dart-throwing chimp whose characteristic skills are climbing the greasy pole and looking good in a suit.”
Both responses may contain elements of truth. In any case, this week gave the Lex column various reasons to reflect on luck, skill and the grey abyss in between:
Most of the debate on this topic centres around whether as a result there are less jobs being created. The evidence is mixed.
For S’poreans there should be another more pressing issue in a pay and pay city.
Business reaction has been mixed. Some sectors like care homes, pub chains and more broadly the hospitality industry said that the increases could mean laying off staff or increasing prices.
(Explanation: In the UK, the “minimum wage” is being rebranded as “Llving wage”: another concept really, though related.)
As a retiree, I don’t like rising prices.
“Add your own distinct experiences, skills, abilities – contribute to the Singapore story and together, make a better future here for all of us,” said PM Lee Hsien Loong to the new citizens on Saturday (Oct 24).
He is celebrating New Citizen Raj’s attempt to ensure his son avoids NS?
PM should ask New Citizen Raj to defend us
In Uncategorized on 06/07/2015 at 4:08 am
“Who will defend us?*” asked PM. I went WTF!
Why doesn’t PM ask New Citizen Raj why he planned to ensure his son avoids NS?
This is what I wrote about New Citizen Raj sometime back:
An Indian former FT who prefers international schools is new citizen, Raj, originally from India. During an interview with TOC [Link], Raj revealed that only he in the family has converted to Singapore citizenship. His wife and daughter remain PRs and his son is on a student pass.
Raj said that if his son was a PR, he would need to serve NS. He preferred to “let his son decide if he wanted to put his roots down in Singapore or go back to India when he turns 21″.
The benefit of having his son on a student pass is that his son can always work in Singapore later as a “foreign talent” and eventually become a PR himself. He will not be considered a second-generation PR since he was not sponsored by his parents in the first place. A second-generation PR who gives up his PR is barred from working in Singapore.
Why the loop-hole, and why hasn’t it been closed? It must be commonly used for this FT to talk publicly about it, is my guess
Now, I RODed in the 70s, am a bachelor and I don’t have children, but I’m upset at this loop-hole. Imagine the anguish of a parent whose son died while doing NS if he finds out that its so easy for new citizens and PRs to avoid legally NS?
This loop-hole had better be closed, and fast.
My understanding is that this loophole still exists and is still being exploited. Why?
My neighbour’s son has juz finished BMT. He is a second generation NS man. And P Ravi’s son is going into NS soon
Why should they do NS to defend New Citizen Raj and his family? Because he like them are ethnic Indians? When their dads and I did NS, we were defending S’poreans, not Foreign Trashes like New Citizen Raj who use our flag to clean their behinds.
And this is unacceptable (lifted from TOC)
[A]ccording to the MOM’s findings (see excerpt in Figure C), their conclusion is that overall labour force growth will slow down significantly by the end of the decade. Therefore, it is not unrealistic to interpret this to mean that the current tightening of foreign labour influx might be just a short term solution for the next few years, before the ‘unsustainable slow growth’ is used as a reason to open up the landscape to more foreign labour. Clearer indication as to the government’s plan for the labour force direction for the next five to 10 years is therefore necessary at this point in order for the citizens of Singapore to better weigh their future.
The above gives the numbers to the feeling I’ve always had: that there’s a lot of wayang and smoke and mirrors about the FT policies. And that the PAP administration is itching to open the floodgates again. And that the current FT restrictions are aimed to show that we need more New Citizens like Raj who are out to screw us.
To be absolutely fair to the PAP, at the end of this article there are three extracts quoting PM and Zorro on immigration.
But this is the reality: 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?
What the PM, Zorro say (from CNA)
— Speaking at the National Day Rally on Sunday (Aug 23), PM Lee acknowledged that the Singapore’s immigration policy will remain an issue for a long time.
“It is a very sensitive matter and not an easy thing to talk about, even at NDR,” he said. ” Singaporeans understandably have strong views on it. The Government has heard them, but on this matter, there are no easy choices. Every option has a downside.”
He cited policy changes that had been made. The Government has upgraded infrastructure, slowed down the inflow of foreign workers, tightened up on the approval of permanent residency and citizenship applications, and made sure that Singaporeans are fairly treated at work.
He noted that if the Government is too liberal with its immigration policy, then society can come undone. Singaporeans would be crowded out, workplaces would feel foreign and our identity would be diluted.
“If we close our doors to foreign workers, our economy will tank,” he said.
Companies would not have enough workers and some would close, meaning jobs lost. Foreign workers are also needed to build homes, he said.
So, we have to find something in between, he said. Companies would still find costs going up and would have to pass some of this on to consumers; they would also have to pass up opportunities because they can’t find the workers.
Yet, because some foreign workers would still be coming in, “some Singaporeans would still feel that Singapore is changing too fast, and would still resent having to compete with non-Singaporeans. Whichever option we choose will involve some pain,” said Mr Lee.
“Yet, I believe that I am doing what Singapore needs and what best safeguards your interest. If I did not believe that, I would not be doing it. It is my responsibility to make this judgment and act on your behalf. And having acted, I owe it to you to account to you for my decisions, for doing what I did.”
— It is the Government’s duty to grapple with the “very difficult issue” of getting the inflow of foreign labour right – and at the same time maintaining the unique identity of the nation, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
“It is an issue where honestly speaking, there are no easy choices. There are trade-offs,” said Mr Lee, speaking on Friday (Jul 31) in a television interview with Ambassador-at-Large Chan Heng Chee, chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities.
“I would like to keep this a Singapore-Singapore … it has to maintain that Singapore character.”
— The Manpower Ministry is looking at ways to help companies transfer expertise and know-how from foreign professionals to the local workforce, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say, as he spelt out what the ministry is doing to help strengthen the Singaporean core in the workplace.
Mr Lim said in Parliament on Monday (Jul 13) that his ministry is doing a closer analysis of the national Jobs Bank, including the number of jobs that are eventually taken up by Singaporean Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs).
The process, he said, will help authorities identify early signs of skills deficit among the local workforce. The information would be shared with sectoral tripartite partners to look into manpower development plans.
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 http://www.theguardian.com/books/gallery/2015/aug/08/the-bodleian-treasures-online-in-pictures 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: http://stats.mom.gov.sg/Pages/Labour-Force-Summary-Table.aspx).”
|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|
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?”
– 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?
Certainly not Harry, nor the old guard. They played their part in building S’pore.
It was the common man* (and woman with apologies to JG and Passerby) who did it, and are still doing it despite not being paid million-dollar ministerial salaries, and despite being cursed by cybernuts for being slaves.
This has always been the case: the ordinary people did the great deeds that “great” men are credited with.
So said Bertolt Brecht a leading 20th century German poet, playwright, and theatre director. He was a transforming playwright, and theatre director. He was also the kind of guy our Harry would have had locked up: he was a Marxist even if he had problems with the East German authorities. (Btw, he was Hollywood screen writer when he gled to the US to escape the Nazis. He returned to East Germany after WWII)
A Worker Reads History
Who built the seven gates of Thebes?
The books are filled with names of kings.
Was it the kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?
And Babylon, so many times destroyed.
Who built the city up each time? In which of Lima’s houses,
That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it?
In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished
Where did the masons go? Imperial Rome
Is full of arcs of triumph. Who reared them up? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Byzantium lives in song.
Were all her dwellings palaces? And even in Atlantis of the legend
The night the seas rushed in,
The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.
Young Alexander conquered India.
Caesar beat the Gauls.
Was there not even a cook in his army?
Phillip of Spain wept as his fleet
was sunk and destroyed. Were there no other tears?
Frederick the Great triumphed in the Seven Years War.
Who triumphed with him?
Each page a victory
At whose expense the victory ball?
Every ten years a great man,
Who paid the piper?
So many particulars.
So many questions.
It’s the common man (and woman with apologies to JG and Passerby) that does great deeds.
Another poem that is very relevant here what with the still very liberal immigration policies:
“Die Lösung” (The Solution), a disillusioned Brecht writes:
After the uprising of the 17th of June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed in theStalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts.
Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?
Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/ngiam-galileo-galilei-gen-giap/
*To be fair to the PAP administration, the Pioneer Generation is getting some decent goodies. My ninety something mum (property, share owner) is still marveling she only gets charged $7 when she goes to a polyclinic for her regular check-up and medicine. But then there is a GE coming. But to be fair, her shares and property have done well because we had Harry as the boss for a long time.
Employers and jobless S’porean PMEs KPKB about the difficulty to fill available vacancies because the unemployed have difficulties knowing waz available, while employers don’t know what experience is outb there.. Even NTUC says, echoing the public, that merely requiring employers to post an advert on the MOM Jobs Bank for 2 weeks does not necessarily do anything to ensure S’poreans are employed before foreigners partly because of the way the system works in matching jobs to those looking for jobs.
Matching those looking for jobs with the vacancies is a world-wide problem, not unique to S’pore.
Here’s a solution that suggests using online dating software (modified of course).
Economists believe that much of this difficulty lies in matching the supply of graduates to the available jobs. In 2010 Peter Diamond, Dale Mortensen and Christopher Pissarides won the economics Nobel prize by demonstrating that unemployment can stay high in times of vacancies. It is not possible to assume that buyers and sellers of labour immediately find each other; in many markets this only happens after a costly and lengthy search process. To understand this problem, economists have started to look in a surprising direction for inspiration: online dating.
With its complex matching processes, costs of looking around, and emotional highs-and-lows, a job search shares many characteristics with the world of virtual love (or virtual world of love). In both, there are search costs. It takes time and effort to create an online dating profile, just as it takes time and effort to create a curriculum vitae. And then there is the problem of so-called “mutual choosing options”. Those looking for love and careers cannot simply make their choice and be done with it; they need the person or employer they like to also pick them as well.
But if digital dating suffers from many of the same afflictions as the graduate job market, it may also offer solutions. In 2012 Sean Rad, a college dropout, created Tinder, which shows users photos of potential suitors nearby and matches those who mutually “like” each other’s pictures. Now it has accumulated over 50m users.
As a result, graduate recruiters are falling over themselves to copy the idea. Among the new crop is Switch, which allows candidates to thumb through job listings: flick left if uninterested and right to register for a potential work match. A competitor, Jobr, which also employs the swipe-if-you-like model, uses information from LinkedIn to recommend jobs that candidates might find interesting. Since its launch last year, Jobr has submitted more than 100,000 job applications for its members each month. Large firms are joining in, too. Last year, Zappos, an online retailer based in Nevada, scrapped formal job postings and replaced them with a new site encouraging candidates to engage with each other and the firm in a way not dissimilar to existing online-dating forums.
For the anxious 21-year-old leaving campus for the last time, the worlds of economics and online dating have a few lessons. First, pick a thick market. Just as the most successful lonely hearts go to the apps with the highest-number of potential suitors, so should graduates also head to where the most job opportunities are. Second, just as online daters “signal” their qualities by posting photos, job applicants should also try to communicate their strengths to employers effectively. And finally, settle. Expend the costs of searching for a partner or job only if those costs are outweighed by the expected benefits of a new opportunity or lover. Who said economics wasn’t romantic?
MoM if it really prefers locals to FTs can fund some software development. Or maybe NTUC?
Maybe Richard Wan (MD of of software developer) of TRE could also do something along these lines, sourcing funds from the cybernuts who infest TRE . Juz joking, pigs will fly first before the cybernuts fund anything*.
Meanwhile TeamTRE has to fund itself while also working for free to give Goh Meng Seng (founder member of the Cynernut Movement) and his fellow nutters the opportunity to help the PAP win votes from the swing voters.
*Reminds me of Amos’s ang moh tua kee friends? Where Amos Yee was absolutely right was when he F***ed the ang moh tua kees that were posturing on social media about how concerned they were about him, while he rotted in remand: none offered bail.
The ang moh tua kees and the cybernuts are related? Talk cock, sing song.
An ang moh company wanted to recruit people from the less elite unis in China. This is what it did
This year, the 33,000 applicants for the 70 places on the company’s Chinese graduate recruitment scheme have been asked to save themselves the paper, the printer ink and the pain.
Instead, they were asked to answer three simple questions via their smartphones.
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.
“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.
Ministers like to point out to the German industrial system (world class SMEs, R&D, apprentice system, productivity, employer union co-operation) as a model that S’pore is folllowing or trying to. After all we are the Prussians of Asia: dour, prickly, and efficent (es SMRT).
Err so why not minimum wages here? The Germans introduced a minimum wage this year, and the economy’s still powering ahead.
Germany’s labour market is defying orthodox economic wisdom. For years, most mainstream economists warned that a proposed minimum wage of 8.50 euros per hour would price up to a million workers out of their jobs. But so far the wage floor, which came into force in January, has not stopped Europe’s largest economy from churning out additional jobs.
Following up on https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/improving-productivity-try-this-pm-tharman-possible-reasons-for-peanuts-real-wages-growth/, the latest findings by experts like Stephen Cecchetti, an economist at the Brandeis International Business School, have found that a very large financial sector tends to precede weaker growth in productivity. “When pay on Wall Street is so high relative to the rest of the economy, you’re creating incentives for people to go into that industry that may not be the best for society over all,” Mr. Cecchetti said.
Or as recent paper by him says high-growth financial industries hurt the broader economy by dragging down overall growth and curbing productivity.
But you can have too much of a good thing. The 2012 paper suggests that when private sector debt passes 100% of GDP, that point is reached. Another way of looking at the same topic is the proportion of workers employed by the finance sector. Once that proportion passes 3.9%, the effect on productivity growth turns negative. Ireland and Spain are cases in point. During the five years beginning 2005, Irish and Spanish financial sector employment grew at an average annual rate of 4.1% and 1.4% respectively; output per worker fell by 2.7% and 1.4% a year over the same period.
— Domestic credit to private sector (% of GDP) in Singapore was last measured at 112.57 in 2011, according to the World Bank. Domestic credit to private sector refers to financial resources provided to the private sector, such as through loans, purchases of nonequity securities, and trade credits and other accounts receivable, that establish a claim for repayment.
— The financial sector employs about 5% of the total workforce.
No wonder the PAP administration has always wanted to link pay rises to productivity? They know that in an economy where finance is so important, productivity increases are not possible?
More details below*
The u/m is typical of what the PAP admin says about productivity:
Even as the Singapore economy grew moderately well at a “new normal” for 2014, Singapore is falling behind in productivity, said Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang … Singapore is “not achieving the two to three percent (labour productivity) growth rate that we’re aiming for”.
The 10-year annual target set by the Economic Strategies Committee for 2010 to 2020, however, has remained unchanged.
“In some some sectors, the performance is very decent; for example in the financial services and insurance sector, productivity growth is above 2 per cent per year. Because they are facing international competition, they have to restructure quickly”
However, he pointed out that the domestic sector is still not showing “very good results”. This was particularly in the manpower-dependent areas of construction, retail, as well as food and beverage.
… voiced concern about the transport engineering sector ,,,”this is a very cyclical business and now with oil prices coming down, their order book is still good for the next three years. But there will be a down cycle soon, and that will affect their productivity if they don’t restructure fast enough.”
And to help businesses, the Minister said the government has rolled out programmes on a broad scale, such as the Productivity and Innovation Credit scheme, as well as more targeted approachs like SPRING Singapore’s Capability Development Programme where individual companies get advice on their business growth.**
*Really chim stuff. The new paper examines why this might be. One part of the thesis is a familiar complaint, neatly summarised in the 2012 paper
people who might have become scientists, who in another age dreamt of curing cancer or flying to Mars, today dream of becoming hedge fund managers
In short, the finance sector lures away high-skilled workers from other industries. The finance sector then lends the money to businesses, but tends to favour those firms that have collateral they can pledge against the loan. This usually means builders and property developers. Businessmen are lured into this sector rather than into riskier projects that require high R&D spending and have less collateral to pledge. On a related note, see our recent Free Exchange on how bank lending has become more focused on residential property.
A property boom then develops. But property is not a sector marked by high productivity growth; it can lead to the misallocation of capital in the form of empty Miami condos or Spanish apartments. In a sense, this echoes the research of Charles Kindleberger who showed that bubbles are formed in the wake of rapid credit expansion or Hyman Minskywho argued that economic stability can lead to financial instability as financiers take more risk. And it reinforces the recent McKinsey report which shows that too much total debt (not just government debt) can be bad.
In specific terms, the authors suggest that
R&D-intensive industries – aircraft, computing and the like – will be disproportionately harmed when the financial sector grows quickly. By contrast, industries such as textiles or iron and steel, which have low R&D intensity, should not be adversely affected
The paper looks at two indicators for finance sector growth – the ratio of bank assets to GDP and that of total private credit to GDP. For industries, they examined financial dependence (the need for outside capital to finance growth rather than retained cashflows) and the R&D intensity. They find quite a large effect.
The productivity of a financially dependent industry located in a country experiencing a financial boom tends to grow 2.5% a year slower than a financially independent industry not experiencing such a boom.
This is highly significant, given that most developed economies would love to gain 2.5 points of productivity especially in a world where demography may be constraining growth.
As the authors conclude
there is a pressing need to reassess the relationship of finance and real growth in modern economic systems
This seems right given the whole focus since 2008 has been about reviving and stabilising the banking sector so it can lend to small businesses. Instead (or at least as well) it should have been about channelling finance to those industries that can expand and employ more workers. On this point, it is encouraging that the European Commission has issued a green paper on capital markets union today, hoping to diversify the financing of small businesses away from banks. But perhaps the last word should be left to Winston Churchill, who spotted this problem nearly 90 years ago when he said that
I would rather see finance less proud and industry more content
The usual BS (Since then: On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted annualised basis, the economy expanded at a slower pace of 1.1 per cent compared to the 4.9 per cent in the preceding quarter, according to advanced estimates from the Ministry of Trade and Industry.)
Based on advanced estimates, the Republic’s economy grew by 2.1 per cent on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of 2015, announced the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in a press release on Tuesday (Apr 14). This is the same rate of growth as achieved in the previous quarter, it added.)
But in February, the MTI minister said:
When asked if the official forecast of 2 to 4 per cent economic growth in 2015 is realistic, Mr Lim said: “This is our typical range going forward, around 2 to 4 per cent … so this is the kind of new normal that we are aiming at and this year we expect growth at about the same rate as last year, because the global environment is still challenging.”
He noted that the US was the main driver of growth for last year, and is likely to remain so this year. “Essentially it’s only the US economy that’s doing well. Europe and Japan are having a big challenge and China is managing to have a soft landing at best. So the external environment is at best slightly better than last year, but not that much better.”
“HIGHER QUALITY GROWTH”
Looking ahead to the Economic Strategies Committee’s target of 3 to 5 per cent annual growth for Singapore between 2010 and 2020, Minister Lim said that “if you look at our performance in the 10 years between 2000 and 2010, the economy grow around 6 per cent per year. But if you look at the last 4 years we are averaging around 3 per cent.”
He added that the government had worked towards slower, but higher quality growth. This included reducing the flow of foreign workers, and growing at half the rate that the country did 10 years ago.
One bright spot for the economy this year could be in oil prices. Mr Lim said the recent monetary easing by the Monetary Authority of Singapore was in response to the drop in commodity prices, and a low inflation environment. As a result, exports should benefit from a lower Singapore dollar.
“Lower oil prices, we think its net plus for the economy, because we are an oil importing country, it’s a net plus for the businesses because electricity prices will come down, transport prices will come down. So businesses will do much better their input costs will come down”
But Mr Lim also cautioned that the low interest rate environment would end soon, “it’s likely that in the US the interest rate will be raised sometime this year…at some point in time, we must adjust to a more normal situation where interest rates have to reflect the cost of people lending you money.” He added that this is the reason why MAS has taken steps in the last few years to ensure personal debt remains healthy.
Amid the uncertainties in the global economy, Mr Lim said the focus for Singapore’s economy as she celebrates her golden jubilee is to perhaps emulate the US economy.
“We are having a more developed economy structure, our demographics are very similar to Japan and Europe – we are ageing very rapidly. So how do we try to have an economy that is more innovative, more dynamic, more like the US economy and less like the European and Japanese economy. That’s our big challenge.”
– 938LIVE/ly in February
And steal our dinner (having stolen our lunch thanks to the PAP administration)
And things are already really bad. A Pinoy “foreign law expert” wrote very arrogantly “According to our kababayans, Singaporeans really look at Filipinos as their competition given that we are diligent and speak better English. You really have to be careful about what you say. Also you have to consider that there are an average of 4 different cultures in that country: Indians, Malaysians, Chinese, and Filipinos. You have to be careful not to offend anyone with your remarks.”
Peenoys “diligent and speak better English”? And Peenoy culture ranks with our cultures?
Sorry, back to the reason why Ello’s relations will be coming here
Growth in the Philippine economy slowed in the first quarter of the year to its weakest annual pace since 2011, official figures showed.
The economy expanded 5.2% in the first three months from a year ago, which is the slowest rate since the last quarter of 2011, when growth was 3.8%.
The figure was also well below market forecasts for 6.6% growth.
The economy was hit by weak growth in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, the government said.
Growth on a quarterly basis was the lowest in six years. The economy grew by just 0.3% in the quarter on a seasonally-adjusted basis, compared with 2.5% growth in the October to December period.
Will Ello Ello be stirring his fellow Peenoys to kick us out.? Will the PAP administration pretend not to hear?
In response to https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/05/19/mom-thinks-we-that-stupid-or-they-really-that-stupid/, a regular reader and most intelligent commenter explained why degree mills are not “unaccredited institutions” as Zorro and the staff at MoM is insisting the are. He says (Emphasis is mine. My comments are within [ ] in normal print):
Aiyah, it is factually wrong to say all degree mills are unaccredited institutions. Why?? Because degree mills are mutually exclusive from all & any educational institutions. You can say that unaccredited institutions are a subset of educational institutions, but it is false to say that degree mills are a subset of educational institutions.
[Zorro and his officials are talking cock, real cock. Meritocracy? What meritocracy?]
Degree mills are scam jobs, pure & simple, just like pyramid schemes. The perpetrators know it and the consumers know it. Any person with average intelligence who participates in it will realise something is not right, even if he benefits. A consumer who pleads innocence and “sincerely believes it is genuine” is merely being disingenuous and acting in self-preservation.
[Heard that IDA about its beloved new citizen Nisha.]
And yeah it’s easier (& cheaper) to fake work experience than fake degrees. In my younger days, I was bumming around doing odd jobs & contract jobs for about 2 years in-between “real jobs”. When I went for job interviews later, I got so fedup with having to explain & justify my 2 years “hole” in my resume that I put in fake work experience with a fake company. And I got a good pal to act as my ex-supervisor in case any prospective company wanted to check. No company ever checked & my pal never got any calls.
Lim Swee Say also says that MOM conducts 100% checks on papers from known unaccredited institutions or degree mills. What about fake degrees obtained from degree mills?? I can get a bona-fide look & feel posh degree scroll + academic transcripts from the University of Sydney by paying some Peenoi degree mill US$350. US$500 if I also want someone to impersonate as my professor with Aussie accent & fake Uni letterheads & fake email account to act as my reference.
[If you think the last two para are rants,
Woman entered Singapore under false identities
She had fled over fake degree, but returned using various passports
She fled the country after being charged in 2002 with using a fake degree to apply for permanent residency. But that did not stop Lin Lifen, 39, from repeatedly coming back to Singapore over the next 12 years using different identities. She is now appealing against a 16-week jail sentence for her offences.
And all these doesn’t even touch the millions of sub-par & 3rd-rate ahneh, cheena, peenoy, burmese graduates from the mass of “accredited universities” that have so lax academic & ethical standards that you can get 1st class honours 4.0 GPA without studying if you’re willing to prostitute yourself, either with your body or with your money.
[Steady bro, don’t want FT lovers and ang moh tua kees like Kirsten Han and Lynn Lee making police complaints against this blog. LOL]
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?
Or they juz trying their luck, throwing smoke, hoping to confuse S’poreans? And hoping smoke also protects FTs with fake degrees?
I mean if people fake their qualifications, why should they be trusted not to fake their work experience (see Zorro’s comments in parly below*? I would say even likeier because it is easier to fake work experience than to fake qualifications. They could pay ex-supervisors or ex-employers to issue fake reports on his experiences, etc. Or they could fake reports themselves. How to verify meh?
On to something very serious: Not all unaccredited institutions are degree mills
A TRE reader points out there is a difference between an “unaccredited” institution and a degree mill, and that it’s wrong for MoM to say that they are the same: The Ministry of Manpower is now trying to pass off degree mills as “unaccredited schools” through its infographic (link). (In the extract* below, Zorro says the same thing as his staff: As for qualifications obtained from an unaccredited institution (degree mill) …)
The TRE reader goes to explain that while all degree mills are unaccredited institutions, not all unaccredited institutions are degree mills citing our very own SIM and SMU who are “unaccredited” in NZ.
SIM, SMU, which both teach undergraduate courses in Singapore, are by all means bona fide educational establishments. Their courses require rigour and a level of standard befitting a tertiary qualification. Ask any SIM or SMU graduate and they will tell you there was nothing fake about their educational experience at these institutions. They were required to submit assignments, pass exams, and complete internships if the course calls for one.
That said, both SIM and SMU are considered “unaccredited” universities in New Zealand for the purpose of immigration and/or employment in licensed sectors for example, teaching, health and law. I am sure SMU or SIM graduates will strongly disagree that it is because their course is not rigorous or of a poor standard. More importantly, their course was not fake. The “unaccredited” status just means New Zealand authority has little understanding of the rigour of these courses and their entry requirements or deems the learning outcomes are not at a level New Zealand recognises as compatible to the skills the country seeks in its immigrants and workforce. This, in no way illegitimise the qualifications from these institutions.
A qualification obtained from a degree mill, on the other hand, reeks of non-existent education experience and absent rigour. Degree mills have long been considered fraudulent schemes which are really “dollar for paper” printing machine. One need not mug through exams or sweat through assignments. There probably aren’t much course readings to do, even. There is no internship or practicum to speak of. The tuition fee you pay does not give you face-to-face support from a tutor or lecturer, not even by distance through Skype. What it does give you is that piece of paper to “qualify” you as a graduate in a certain field of study whether you have actually studied it or not.
Degree mills are not new. They have been around for many decades. Singaporeans had previously not heard much of it because the laws of our land are so strict that few would contemplate jeopardising their future by buying into such a scheme**. We have been brought up to mug, to burn the midnight oil and to put in the hard mile. The government always prided itself for having built a nation of honest, hardworking citizens with integrity.
The Ministry of Manpower is now trying to pass off degree mills as “unaccredited schools” through its infographic (link). The government may have brought Singaporeans up by the rod but it certainly is handling its adopted children with cotton gloves.
No, I will not let the authority pull wool over my eyes. Degree mills are not merely “unaccredited schools”. They are fraudulent schemes and people who use them to gain entry into our country or workforce should be recognised as such and properly chastised.
Been There Seen It
Thank God for IDA’s and now MoM’s attempts to defend FTs with fake degrees. They are helping to offset the “feel good” factors of Harry’s funeral and the PAP administration’s spending of our money on ourselves that were working in the PAP’s favour in making the ground sweet for GE.
Here’s two constructive suggestions to make us feel good: free “S’pore” Lego kits for all voters, not just teachers, and throw Amos into a cell without internet access and throw away the key.
*“As for qualifications obtained from an unaccredited institution (degree mill) that does not ensure that its students are properly qualified, MOM conducts 100% checks and disregards these qualifications completely,” Mr Lim assured.
“They will have to meet more stringent criteria in terms of experience and salary in order to qualify for the EP or S Pass.”
In other words, foreign applicants with qualifications from degree mills can still qualify for a work pass based only on their experience and salary.”
**I remember a few years back when a degree mill was exposed, ST reported S’poreans who were taken in, resigning from their jobs, before their private sector employers found out and asked them to leave. Some of them had proper degrees and took the “fake” course to better themselves.
Now S’poreans who kanna sien can point out to Nisha and IDA. WTF MoM.
And it’s for the PAP administration to prove that FTs don’t lower our wages. All the data with the administration, not with us.
It’s not a xenophobic nut in the UK that says foreigners lower wages for locals. It’s the governor of the UK’s central bank.
The Daily Mail summarises Mark Carney’s remarks as “foreign workers drag down UK wages.
And the BBC reports: As long ago as last October, the Bank’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, acknowledged that immigration depresses pay.
He noted that one respected study, by Dustmann, Frattini and Preston, found that each 1% increase in the share of migrants in the working age population leads to a 0.6% decline in the wages of the 5% lowest paid workers.
And to be clear, the general point that an influx of workers from abroad represents a weight on the pay of the indigenous population is a statement of the overwhelmingly obvious: it is simply a version of the law of supply and demand, that the price of anything falls when supply rises relative to demand.
So there is nothing terribly revelatory in Mark Carney saying, at the Bank’s three-monthly news conference on its Inflation Report, that immigration had held down the rise in wages and living standards.
(Btw, he is a FT in UK. He was governor of the central bank in Canada. During the 2008 financial crisis, Canada did not have any problems in its financial sector.)
But cybernuts note: Mr Carney told the BBC’s Today programme that he would “really dampen down” the argument that foreign workers were to blame for lower productivity.
Btw2, the UK Sun has a pie chart showing that of 573,000 new jobs created in the last year, only 279,000 went to UK workers. Here we can only guess what proportion of new jobs created go to FTs and PRs.
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? https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/when-55-of-voters-were-fts/
**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.
As you can see from below (via a FT article), the best performing public pension fund paid its CEO US$O,45m (18.66% return). The worst paid its CEO 16.3X more at US$7.4m. Yet the fund returned only 10.9%.
The fund that paid peanuts got a good CEO. The fund that paid serious money got a monkey.
But the problem with high pay relative to performance is cynicism about the people getting it. Our millionaire ministers should ponder the closing words of an FT article about an annual oil “bash” in London last week:
Even as the champagne flowed during the week … “Our clients invited us to this party and they’ve clearly spent a lot of money on it,” said a marine services company executive at one bash. “But why are they not paying us our $80,000?”
I would add: After a while, one stops believing.
Here’s an interesting quote from a rich Oz “After you have about $5m to $10m, your lifestyle doesn’t really change that much,”says Clive Palmer. He’s juz dropped off the top 50 richest Ozzies.
[A] senior family planning official in northern Shanxi province believes the one-child policy should be fully relaxed, with all married couples being strongly encouraged have two children.
The comments by Mei Zhiqiang, deputy head of the province’s family planning commission, sparked a heated debate in the papers and social media.
We could start by insisting that all married teachers have at least one kid. Two if they want promotion?
Esp in SMEs: They are not daft.
The latest figures show the manufacturing sector contracted by 2% in the same period, a reversal of the 1.7% expansion seen in the previous quarter. On a quarterly basis, manufacturing contracted by 5.8%, the MTI said.
And this very late Dec CNA report paints a gloomy picture of the sector. Better not to work, rely on parents and KPKBed against PAP administration in cyberspace?
The Republic’s manufacturing sector has been undergoing a transition as manufacturers seek to revamp their businesses and move up the value chain. With an uneven global economic outlook, analysts have said growth in the sector could continue to remain depressed.
This year, Singapore manufacturers continued to grapple with rising labour costs and structural shifts in the economy.
Some firms are starting to look ahead, in the hope that regional initiatives such as the ASEAN Economic Community could unlock more opportunities.
Mr Douglas Foo, president of the Singapore Manufacturing Federation, said: “It continues a work in progress in terms of transformation. With the ASEAN Economic Community 2015, there will be on-stream a lot more harmonisation within the whole ASEAN community, and that actually creates a huge opportunity because right now, there are a lot of different barriers, trade barriers and different types of areas which people have to manage and work with in terms of challenges.”
“But with that push at the top end to move and try to harmonise the whole ASEAN Economic Community, I think the manufacturing (sector) will have a very key potential in playing a much bigger role in how you place yourself within that bigger ecosystem,” Mr Foo added.
Electronics – a mainstay of manufacturing – accounts for almost a quarter of output annually. However, the cluster has remained sluggish in 2014, partly due to a global shift in technological preferences from computers to mobile devices.
Economists said restructuring efforts and a concerted shift toward manufacturing services are especially critical for the cluster if it wants to remain relevant.
Mr Francis Tan, an economist from United Overseas Bank, said: “Increasingly, we are seeing semiconductor firms transforming themselves, no longer making the product in Singapore but doing a lot more higher value-added services in Singapore.”
“By that I mean looking at things like research and development, or design or even looking at the logistics distribution or product testing capabilities, and these are actually the kind of services that will attract even higher value-add. And if you attracting even higher value-add, it means you are seeing an increase in the labour productivity, and I think in the long term, this is a good strategy and a good way to go,” he added.
ECONOMISTS WARN OF POSSIBLE PERIOD OF MUTED GROWTH
Looking ahead, economists said an uneven global recovery going into next year would continue to weigh on the manufacturing sector.
With the majority of manufacturing going to Singapore’s external economy, they warned that if global conditions do not pick up, the sector could be in for a period of muted growth.
Ms Selena Ling, head of treasury research and strategy at OCBC Bank, said: “If you still continue to see that uneven growth and demand trajectory you saw in 2014, then you are going to see some of these pockets of volatility in the manufacturing sector.”
“So I am cautiously optimistic but I will not say I am really optimistic about manufacturing per se, because I think the growth story for Singapore going forward is going to be one that is fairly steady, but not quite spectacular. So you will not get any outperformers on a sectoral basis like what manufacturing used to do in the past recoveries,” she added.
Manufacturing remains a key pillar for Singapore, contributing almost 20 per cent of the country’s GDP. In the third quarter of this year, the sector grew 1.9 per cent year-on-year, mainly driven by the biomedical and chemicals sectors.
CNA 26 December 2014
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: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/assumption-behind-reasonable-pay-for-ministers-badly-flawed-whats-reasonable-pay-for-this-civic-service/
(Or “Pinoy Pride at work: OK for Pinoys to threaten, insult S’poreans but not vice versa)
The Filipino embassy told a Filipino nurse to be “extra careful with his social media usage”*, days after the nurse, Edz Ello, made some insulting and threatening comments about S’porean on social media. He has alleged that he did not post the comments, alleging that he was hacked.
An intelligent TRE poster (glad to see more of them posting: too many fools talking cock posting rubbish) pointed out the difference between the official Pinoy response and the official Chinese response when a PRC juz flamed S’poreans:
Sunny Day: During dog incident, one of PRC embassy staff Madam Zhou gave stern rebuke to Sun Xu, had asked him to apologize to Singaporeans, NUS, his teachers and friends and everybody. So contrary to Pinoy govt response. You can be sure that Filipino govt soft action means they don’t disagree with ezo ello totally.
I’d add that China is a regional power and is seen by the US as threatening its regional and global hegemony; yet its officials knows how to behave towards a host country. So unlike the Pinoy officals here, whose country has to run crying and grovelling to the US whenever the Pinoy govt threaten China and get kicked in the face by China for their threats against China. And they still wanted in 2012 Chinese tourists to come gamble in Manila? Btw, Chinese said the country is not safe.
What accounts for the arrogance of the diplomats and Ello here? They think they own the place juz because they think the first “P” in the “PAP” stands for “Pinoy”?
Whatever it is, we know where people like Ello get their inspiration: their diplomata, who refuse to condemn threatening and insulting behaviour when made by Pinoys but are quick to KPKB about“the few Singaporeans” who have lashed out, and condemned the blog that suggested abusing Filipinos.
“I think it was unfair and racist and discriminatory,” he said, adding that the blogger had still not been identified.
(My take on the interview https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/pinoy-tua-kee-gives-the-finger-to-govt-meng-seng-2/)
Well shouldn’t he condemn the language used in Ello’s Facebook (even if Ello alleged it wasn’t him), by saying that guests must respect their hosts? Instead the embassy merely tells Ello to be “extra careful with his social media usage”: this could simply mean “keep yr threats and insults about S’poreans among the Pinoy community”?
Maybe the diplomats are like this
We Filipinos are famous for being onion-skinned or easily slighted at perceived insults. While it’s perfectly normal for us to taunt and criticize others, we can’t handle the same when it’s being hurled back at us. Incidents showcasing our extra-sensitivity to insults usually involve a foreigner making either a bonafide racist remark or a humorous jab at us Filipinos. True to form, our reactions would range from righteous indignation to excessive grandstanding. While it is alright to feel incensed, throwing a fit in front of the world would inevitably do us no good at all.
*The Philippine embassy in Singapore has told a Filipino nurse to be “extra careful with his social media usage”, days after disparaging remarks about Singaporeans appeared on his Facebook account, which he said was hacked.
The Facebook post called Singaporeans “loosers” (losers) and expressed hope that “disators (disasters) will strike Singapore”. The Tan Tock Seng Hospital nurse has reported to the police that his account was hacked.
The Philippine embassy added that it has reiterated its previous advisories on the use of social media.
“Since the matter is under police investigation, the embassy advised the person concerned to cooperate fully with the SPF (Singapore Police Force).”
Tan Tock Seng Hospital has said it is working with the police on the investigation.
Double standards of the Pinoy leader in S’pore?
The Philippines ambassador to Singapore, Antonio A Morales … expressed concern about “the few Singaporeans” who have lashed out, and condemned the blog that suggested abusing Filipinos.
“I think it was unfair and racist and discriminatory,” he said, adding that the blogger had still not been identified.
(My take on the interview https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/pinoy-tua-kee-gives-the-finger-to-govt-meng-seng-2/)
Well, how about the ambasador expressing concern and condemning the fact that Pinoy Ello Ello wants to drive out S’poreans from S’pore and replace them with Pinoys? Or at least since Ello Ello is alleging he was hacked, to remind Pinoys here that they are guests here, not the governing master race, and behave appropriately. The fuuny thing is that in their home country, the American military are the governing master race: their dollars talk.
But let’s not be too unkind to the Pinoy leader here, when we have someone like William Wan:
Given the PAP administration love of FTs, one wonders why he never was made NMP. Maybe PAP found his love of FTs over S’poreans a tad too much with an election pending?
We need FTs like Krystyn Olszewski, not like the Trashes like the CEO, COO and head of IT at SGX or Pinoy Ello who has problems spelling but can get a job as FT at a local hospital. .
Krystyn Olszewski was a town planner that played an important part in the development of S’pore’s urban landscape.
This appeared in ST 27/12/2014.
In recognition of their role in the success of Singapore, special tribute is paid to the pioneer generation who contributed to Singapore’s achievements since the early days.
One individual who played a less-known role in Singapore’s early development is my compatriot, Krystyn Olszewski.
He was a Polish architect and town planner who contributed with his craft and expertise to building modern Singapore in its initial years as an independent state.
He was a Pole by birth but Singaporean at heart. He spent here in Singapore a total of 15 active years of his professional career and contributed to the current design of the Lion City in many ways: from the comprehensive long-term city plan for the island’s development to the local project of the Singapore Science Park and the design details of the first MRT stations.
A Pole among Singapore’s pioneers, one may say.
A graduate from the department of architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology, with extensive international experience in regional, urban and transport planning, Mr Olszewski first came to Singapore in 1968 at the invitation of Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
He was a member of a United Nations team of consultants to the State and City Planning Office and was appointed chief designer of Singapore’s Comprehensive Long-Term Concept Plan. The plan was officially announced in 1971 and most of its fundamental proposals have since been successfully implemented, leading to Singapore as we know it now.
It envisaged the development of new townships in a ring formation around the central water catchment area, a network of expressways and a mass rapid transit system to provide islandwide interconnectivity, and a new international airport to be located in Changi. The main features of the plan can already be found on the map drawn and signed by Mr Olszewski in 1969.
On April 9, 1971, The Straits Times quoted Mr Olszewski as a stern advocate of moving the international airport to Changi, in expectation of rapid development of air traffic and the airport’s growth.
In the article, Mr Olszewski also suggested a new traffic arrangement in the city centre, with different levels of pedestrian and motor traffic, special pedestrian lanes and areas as well as a rail-based MRT system. At the same time, appreciating the beauty of Singapore’s central area, he urged for preservation and rehabilitation of parts of Chinatown, retaining the liveliness of the Singapore River and controlling the height of buildings around.
Subsequently, Mr Olszewski acted as UN planning consultant to the Urban Renewal and Development Sub-project when he originated the concept of Marina City. He was also a planning consultant with Jurong Town Corporation and designed the masterplan of the Singapore Science Park in Kent Ridge. He also did pioneering studies on the environmental impact of industrial development.
In 1984, he assumed the position of senior architect with the Mass Rapid Transit Corporation and was responsible for the architectural design and implementation of seven of the elevated MRT stations. It was with great satisfaction that he could witness in 1987 the commencement of MRT system operations – the idea he had helped to put on paper 17 years earlier.
Singapore’s 50th anniversary is an excellent opportunity to celebrate Singapore’s planners and builders. I would like to express a deep hope that Mr Olszewski, whose ideas and designs helped to shape some of the most successful urban features of Singapore, will not be forgotten on that occasion.
I believe that, for example, a street in the city centre that he helped to reshape – or one of the MRT stations that he designed – could be named after him, even if his Polish surname seems difficult to pronounce.
To make it easier, I can suggest a simple method that Mr Olszewski came up with to help his Singaporean friends remember and pronounce his name: He would tell them, all you need to remember is just three English words and say it as if it was one word: “All-chefs-ski”.
The writer is Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Singapore.
– See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/archive/saturday/premium/opinion/story/the-story-polish-architect-singapore-20141227#sthash.bK3zUhFB.dpuf
When S’poreans complained to Tan Tock Seng Hospital that a Pinoy radiologist there had ranted about S’poreans on his Facebook page, the hospital reported on Facebook, “Dear all, the staff concerned is one of our nurses. He has reported to the police that his Facebook account has been hacked. We are cooperating with the police on the investigation. Thank you for the alerts and concern.”
Three points about the alleged hacking:
— So easy to hack Facebook meh? My understanding is that Facebook’s defences against hacking are pretty robust and only sophisticated hackers could do such a hacking.
— So why would a sophisticated hacker waste his or her time on an unknown Pinoy FT? Making it seem as though he was insulting S’poreans?
— Seems that anti-S’porean comments have been posted on the now “hacked” FB page in the past. You mean Ello the Pinoy never reads his own FB page? So page has been “hacked” and Ello only juz realised it. He is as clueless as a certain drum-major* from Cathoic High, whose band is alleged to have ignored him because they knew he was wrong, not them?
Seems to me that Ello the Pinoy would be more believable if he had claimed, “Not my page. I’m being fixed.”
Seems to me the Pinoy ambassador who talks provocatively of Filipinos … moving into more sectors of employment at a time when there is mounting concerned that FTs are favoured over locals in the job market has a lot to answer for: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/pinoy-tua-kee-gives-the-finger-to-govt-meng-seng-2/
Pinoys will undoubtedly play the victim, citing fear. Let me remind these professional victims and theit allies like Kirsten Han: there are no goons with guns here. That is the Pinoy way, not the S’porean way.
PM Lee warned Singaporeans of the economy’s weak productivity after registering a negative 0.5 per cent performance for the third straight year.
Mr Lee reiterated that economic growth remains important for Singapore. While it is “not the be-all and end-all”, growth helps provide resources to improve on social well-being and social safety nets for citizens. (CNA a few days ago).
Well productivity has been a problem here since the days when he became DPM in 1990.
He has tried all the Hard Truths to improve it and failed.
Productivity: The New Age way
Less fear (including fear of losing job to cheaper FTs) and shorter working hours are the key to increased productivity
Life@Work: Why Fear Kills Productivity It’s in any company’s self-interest to create a culture that minimizes fear, Tony Schwartz writes in the Life@Work column.
As the productivity expert Edward Deming once put it: “Drive out fear, so that everyone may work more effectively and productively.” It’s in any company’s self-interest to create a culture that minimizes fear. Obvious as that seems, it isn’t always the intuitive move.
In the endless quest to minimize costs and maximize efficiency, companies demand more of us than ever. But the fatigue and feelings of being overwhelmed that result often push us into survival mode, bring out our worst instincts, and actually diminish our capacity and effectiveness.
Trauma theory has applicability here. “A continuum exists between mental health and mental illness related to the degree of stress a person is forced to endure,” writes Sandra L. Bloom,a psychiatrist and leading thinker in the field of trauma. “To develop normally, children require environmental stress sufficient to promote skills development and mastery experiences (positive stress) combined with sufficient buffering to prevent them from being overwhelmed.”
Adults are no different. The enemy of sustainable productivity is not stress. Rather, it’s the absence of intermittent rest and renewal — and not just physically.
At the emotional level, the most powerful source of renewal is the experience of feeling valued and appreciated, which explains why studies consistently show that the most engaged employees are those who answer “yes” to the survey question “My boss genuinely cares about my well-being.” When leaders deeply care, it serves their own interests as well as their employees.
Conversely, leaders who express anger, frustration and impatience – even in relatively small doses – may prompt action, but those emotions also drive their employees into states of fear and survival. People perform best when they feel best. Leaders’ negative emotions not only leave a long tail, but also progressively deplete the reservoir of capacity and motivation their employees bring to the table.
Reducing hours, say, from 55 to 50 hours a week, would have had only small effects on output. The results are even starker when we are talking about very long working hours. Output at 70 hours of work differed little from output at 56 hours. That extra 14 hours was a waste of time.
“Of course longer hours reduce productivity. As an employer I am certainly under no illusions about that. Above a certain threshold, longer hours ultimately reduce output and increase employee churn. But my experience is that the threshold is well above 40 hours per week.”—on “Proof that you should get a life”, December 9th 2014
Remember earlier this yr, when GMS, Gilbert Goh and various anti-PAP paper warriors were proclaiming victory when the Pinoys called off their “trespass” (taz how GMS spun a Pinoy plan to hold a party at a public space in Orchard Rd)?
They were cock-a-hoop, trumpeting their “victory”. Pinoy pride was badly hurt.
Very recently, the Philippines’ ambassador to Singapore Antonio A Morales says that Filipinos are moving into more sectors of employment
The estimated number of Filipinos working in Singapore tripled in the past decade to about 167,000 as of 2013, according to Philippines census data.
Filipinos are willing to take on jobs for lower salaries, with working conditions unacceptable to Singaporeans.
The trend has made Filipinos “easier to exploit”, disadvantaging both them and Singaporeans, said migrant rights activist Jolovan Wham.
And this at a time when the PAP adminitrastion is saying that it,s tightening FT employment rules. If so how come Pinoys are are moving into more sectors of employment
So it seems the Pinoy colomisation of S’pore continues despite what the PAP administration and Meng Seng says.
What do you think?
Btw here’s more about the PAP administration love of FTs, and Pinoys sliming us. I wrote this in July 2014 but decided not to publish it as I didn’t want to come across as anti-Pinoy (I like being served by Pinoy service staff), nor did I want to be associated a man who helped ensure the PAP’s preferred candidate won the presidential election (I had no issues with the Pinoys partying at Orchard Rd if they could meet the requirements).
But since the ambassador is raising the temperature with his comments (the embassy has form in this respect), I’ll add my my two-pence worth on the issue of Pinoys sliming us and the PAP’s administration love of FTs.
Pinoys vilify us
The education minister said last week [week before 26 July] it is important to go beyond understanding the “main races”.in embracing diversity.
“Singapore has thrived because of our openness to international trade flow, knowledge and cultures, all of which have brought us opportunities and progress. As Singapore moves towards a more diverse landscape, it is important that we continue to embrace diversity,” said Mr Heng.
“We also need to go beyond understanding the main races to respecting all people regardless of race, language or religion, who live and work in Singapore – for the happiness, prosperity and progress of our nation.”
Given that there are about 200,000 Pinoys working here, the largest group outside the “main races”, one can only assume, he is trying to tell us to be nice to the Pinoys.
No wonder there are Pinoys who think that the PAP stands for “Pinoy Action Party”.
It’s the Pinoys in PinoyLand who should learn to understand S’poreans.
Two recent examples of Pinoys defaming us.
Singaporean officials* has assured the Philippines their government is taking steps to address the hate campaign on Filipinos working there.
The assurance was made by the Singapore delegation who participated in Informal Consultations on the Philippines-Singapore Action Plan (PSAP).
Hate campaign against Pinoys meh?
So how come they were laughing and chatting away last week-end at Lucky Plaza. And Goh Meng Seng is still in HK, and quiet? Juz like Gilbert Goh. Surely if there is a hate campaign, these two men would be shouting themselves hoarse?
What more Pinoys in PinoyLand want? An excuse to burn our flag in PinoyLand and then give us two fingers? They not happy no get visas to come here to earn money and live in a place without fearing goons with guns. Are they being stirred by Pinoys here unhappy that what they tot were the Pinoy Action Party, Pinoy Minister, Pinoy Minister’s Office and Pinoy Police Force they make sure that Pinoys could party in a busy shopping area on a Saturday afternoon. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/pinoys-still-ng-kum-guan-about-8-june-fiasco/
And this vilification of us is only the latest. A few weeks ago, former ambassador Roy Seneres said the OFW Family party-list will file a protest with the International Labor Organization for violations of relevant ILO conventions relative to the right of workers to decent work and to be treated as human beings not as slaves and/or chattels.
Seneres, founder of the party-list, was reacting to reports that Filipino service workers in Singapore are being put on display in malls in the city-state to attract prospective employers.
Singapore must come out with a clear-cut statement that they have stopped the despicable practice or else the OFW Family party-List will file a protest with the [ILO]” on the matter.
He obviously doesn’t read the newspapers or if he does, doesn’t trust what a S’pore-based diplomat said, or the S’pore govt.
This report appeared a day earlier in the same newpaper.
The Singaporean Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said a Filipino diplomat in Singapore cast doubt on an online news report that Filipina household workers were being displayed for sale at some of the city-state’s malls.
In a statement, MOM responded “to recent Filipino media reports, based on an online Al Jazeera story, about the treatment of Filipino foreign domestic workers (FDWs) while they are placed with employment agencies (EAs) in Singapore.”
The statement said “we note that when contacted by The Straits Times, the Filipino labor attaché in Singapore, Mr. Vicente Cabe, was quoted as saying that based on his observations, the online article ‘doesn’t seem to have basis’ and that while he saw some FDWs sitting on one side of a room at some agencies, waiting to be interviewed by clients, “ . . . it seems a bit exaggerated to say that there is anything wrong with that.”
The MOM said it visited the EAs in the two shopping centers concerned and did not find any inappropriate “displays of FDWs.”
Its statement added that “the Al Jazeera story also mentioned that some FDWs could be seen demonstrating household or care giving chores within the premises of EAs. As some EAs have training facilities in the same premises as their front offices, it is not unreasonable for FWDs to be performing such chores at the EA’s premises.”
Furthermore, “the same story also suggested that some FDWs were not treated well while in their EA’s care. MOM’s rules are clear that EAs have to ensure the well-being of FDWs in their case.”
The ministry said “inappropriate display of FDWs” at EAs’ premises or advertising them as being “available for hire at cheap or discounted prices” are unacceptable practices. MOM requires EAs to be responsible and accord basic respect in their practices to both their clients—the employer and the FDW—and expects them to exercise sensitivity when marketing their fees or services.”
Btw, S’poreans don’t go round decribing mixed-parentage S’poreans as mongrels. Pinoys call mixed race Pinoys “mongrels”.
Juz go home pls: Bank president Jim Yong Kim has described the Philippines as the next “Asian miracle” and a global model in fighting corruption, as it emerges from decades as a regional economic laggard.
Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/event-planning-pinoy-style/
*I pass no comment on whether our officials agreed there was a hate campaign. I sincerely hope that our officials will always defend S’pore and S’poreans against such comments.
Abyssinians, also known as Habshis in India, mostly came from the Horn of Africa to the subcontinent. Dr Sylviane A Diouf of the Schomburg Center says Africans were successful in India because of their military prowess and administrative skills.
“African men were employed in very specialised jobs, as soldiers, palace guards, or bodyguards; they were able to rise through the ranks becoming generals, admirals, and administrators,” she says.
“Africans sometimes did seize power for their group like they did in Bengal – where they were known as the Abyssinian Party – in the 1480s; or in Janjira and Sachin (on the western coast of India) where they established African dynasties. They also took power on an individual basis, as Sidi Masud did in Adoni (in southern India) or Malik Ambar in Ahmadnagar (in western India),” she adds.
We’ll have a Pinoy cabinet and S’pore will be like Manila, full of goons with guns, corruption and filth.
And I’m sure we’ll soon see a local version of this
Beijing store ‘bans Chinese customers’
Further to this, another measure that the govt could consider is rental rebates for conceiving couples renting HDB flats. More temporary flats will be set aside for couples waiting for their new Housing Board flats under a rental programme which, as National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan put it, has been “delivering results, and babies”.
Under the rental programme, called the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS), more than 100 babies were born to those living in 1,000 or so flats – a hit rate of 10 per cent.
Better still do things the Hard Truth way: no conceive, rents doubled?.
This appeared in Forum on 17 December
Act on rising cost of raising children in Singapore
I am a parent of three children, two of whom are attending pre-school. It disturbs me that their fees are rising yet again next year – by a significant 20 per cent.
I tried to look for another pre-school that was near my home, and found out that those that had not raised their fees were planning to do so.
It was reported in September that three of five major pre-school chains – which are required to keep fees affordable in return for regular government grants – will increase their prices next year (“3 major pre-school chains raising fees next year”; Sept 27).
This comes after the median monthly fee for full-day childcare rose in a year by $80 – the biggest increment in at least eight years – to reach $830 last year.
The other two pre-school chains are not raising their fees because their current fees have hit the maximum allowed for anchor operators.
What is the Ministry of Social and Family Development doing to stem the fee increases?
More families have parents who are both working and have no choice but to enrol their children in pre-schools. Moreover, a cheaper school may not be an option as there may be no vacancies, or the family may live too far away.
The article (“It costs twice as much to feed your baby today”; Monday) reported that the average price of baby milk has more than doubled in the past decade.
Clearly, the cost of raising children has risen exponentially over the years.
While the Government may be powerless to stop milk powder prices from rising, it should step in where it can exert control, such as childcare costs, especially since it aims to get Singaporeans to have more children.
Ng Keng Nam
And the really Hard Truth way to make sure couples conceive during sex:
Update at 6.40am: Just read in ST that some lovely old flats (in a shady area) in Tiong Bahru have been assigned as “love nests”. The govt should do the same for the flats in the Old Airporty Road area that it’s taking back. Another romantic spot.
It has three FTs in the most impt areas:
— CEO is ang moh FT, brought in for his tech expertise;
— president (COO) is Indian FT (Anyone knows his background?); and
— Chief Operations and Technology Officer is Indon FT (Brought in for his financial expertise*?)
Btw, when the first computer cock-up happened and TRE KPKBed about the Chief Operations and Technology Officer’s lack of hands-on IT experience, I pointed out to Richard Wan that by that line of reasoning, Richard, an IT scholar, shouldn’t be handling editorial matters at TRE.
At the National Youth Integration Forum on 22 November, Social and Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing spoke to some 300 local and foreign tertiary students at the ITE College East, urging them (and other S’poreans) to embrace the opportunity to learn from foreigners, “They can share different perspectives and provide new ideas. The interplay of those ideas with our ideas will help Singapore stand out as a global city.”
So S’poreans can learn from these three-highly paid Foreign Trashes that its OK to balls-up** continuously and still not get the sack?
Bet you some true-blue S’porean manager will be held responsible for the IT cock-ups. Taz why SGX still has Singkies, need scapegoats for FTs. FTs can do no wrong.
Pmk should say to these three FTs:
We command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place.
Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! … lock up the doors.
In the name of God, go!
*Going by his CV (courtesy of TRE)
In September 2012, SGX announced the appointment of Timothy Utama as its Chief Operations and Technology Officer, effective 1 December 2012 [Link]. Mr Utama joined SGX’s senior management team and reported to the Chief Executive, Magnus Bocker.
“We are pleased to welcome Mr Utama to our management team. His diverse and global experience and knowledge will help further improve our operations and technology capabilities,” Mr Bocker then said.
Mr Utama actually started his career in banking with Bank of Trade (LippoBank) as Senior Credit Analyst/Account Executive in Los Angeles from 1989 to 1991 [Link].
In 1991, he joined Standard Chartered. For the next 13 years, he held various positions there:
- SCB Indonesia from 1991 to 1992
- Profit Improvement Unit Officer SCB Regional Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia from 1992 to 1993
- Head of Trade Services from 1993 to 1995
- Senior Manager Middle Market from 1995 to 1997
- Senior Manager, Trade Products Group Trade Banking from 1997 to 1998
- Head of Service Delivery from 1998 to 2000
- Head of Global Clients from 2000 to 2002
- Head of Banking Operations from 2002 to 2003
- Senior Manager, Service Excellence from 2003 to 2004
He then moved to ANZ Bank in 2004 for the next 4 years:
- Head of Trade Service Delivery from 2004 to 2007
- Head of Trade Sales from 2007 to 2008
He rejoined Standard Chartered in 2008 as the Head of Wholesale Banking Operation of Standard Chartered India based in Chennai.
After his stint with Standard Chartered, he joined Indonesian bank PT Bank Permata Tbk in 2010. There, he was on its Executive Board of Directors as their Technology and Operations Director from 2010 to 2012. In December 2012, he jumped ship to SGX where he now serves as its Chief Operations and Technology Officer.
Mr Utama holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accountancy and Finance from Texas A&M University, College Station, USA.
**Partial list of balls-up
— attempted takeover of ASX
— Thai exchange now biggest exchange in SE Asia
— penny stock fiasco
— not many major IPOs
— two computer failures in two months
My Facebook avater posted something on FB to the effect that “It waz vigilantism that won the Wild West. Without concerned, fed-up citizens taking action, the US wouldn’t have had the rule of law.” Of course, he was talking rubbish.
It’s well documented that innocent people were killed by posses of outraged citizens because they just happened to be “outsiders” like blacks, Jews or atheists.
And here are two examples of the Dark Side of vigilantism here
Whatever happened to due process and sub judice for FTs?
Let’s castrate Yang Yin, now that rabid anti-PAP paper warriors and other cyber-nuts, have found Yang Yin guilty of being a scheming, cheating PRC FT.
I tot of the above when I saw this
(A stencil showing a group of pigeons holding anti-immigration banners towards an exotic-looking bird appeared in Clacton-on-Sea in England in October. But it was quickly removed by Tendring District Council, which said someone had complained it was “racist”. Turned out it was by Banksy, a famous UK street artist who is no racist).
Funnily these same people are demanding justice for Roy Ngerng and New Citizen H3, and insisting that the MSM is not observing sub judice rules regarding them.
Even a rational, thinking anti-PAP warrior, Ms Teo Soh Lung (human rights campaigner, among other things, who had been KPKBed that the govt had broken sub judice rules in Roy’s case (Many other legally trained people disagree, including me).is silent when it comes to Yang. He hasn’t been found guilty of anything yet Unless being a PRC FT is a crime?
Btw, Goh Meng Seng seems to have gone AWOL in Yang Yin’s case? He usually leads from the front where FTs are concerned. Going by his choice of words on Facebook, I get the impression that he takes pride in being called a xenophobe. But then he is now busy on Facebook battling for justice Roy, New Citizen H3 and the other hooligans.
Btw, Gilbert Goh is busy with humanitarian work. Gd for him.
But returning to this
In the u/m from TRE, the vigilantes would seem to be Pinoy FTs, and a Singapore the outsider: and in our own country too: Uniquely S’porean. Sigh.
A brave Singaporean, Mohd Bin Japar, decided to tell his story to Gilbert Goh, the founder of transitioning.org, after 7 of his Filipino colleagues at the Great World City branch of Cold Storage allegedly ganged up to bully him.
Gilbert posted the following video interview with Mohd on his Facebook page:
Mr Mohd Bin Japar – a department manger with Cold Storage spoke to us about the tussle with his Filipino staff at Great World City supermarket outlet.
He called the police on 5 Nov when 7 Filipino staff surrounded him during a work dispute.
The police came and the matter has been referred to the MOM for investigation.
He just started his stint as department manager on 25 Oct and is still undergoing training.
The whole video interview lasted ten minutes.
Mr Japar is aware that he will face the sack after the release of this video online.
Despite the possibility of being sacked by Cold Storage after going public with his story, Mohd felt that it was necessary to let Singaporeans know they need to stand up for their rights in the face of the huge influx of foreign workers into Singapore.
In the video interview, Mohd said that he works as a department manager at the Great World City branch of Cold Storage.
While undergoing his managerial training at Great World City on 5 November 2014, he had a dispute with one of the Filipino cashiers. For some reason, the Filipino cashier then shouted at him.
Afterwards, Mohd reported her to his training manager, who is also a Filipino. However, instead of reprimanding the cashier for insubordination, the training manager sided with her. Mohd’s complaint had sadly fallen on deaf ears.
Mohd said that the other Filipino staff then joined in the dispute and surrounded him. Altogether, 7 Filipinos – 4 women and 3 men – surrounded him. They were all speaking in Tagalog, supposedly talking about Mohd.
Feeling threatened, he immediately called the police.
When the police came, it was determined that Mohd was not harmed physically. The police advised Mohd to lodge a report with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), which he did.
MOM is reportedly investigating the matter.
Mohd shared with Gilbert that many of his colleagues in Cold Storage are foreigners and at least one came to Singapore on a tourist visa before securing employment at Cold Storage.
Apparently, this Filipino woman came to Singapore as a tourist and went to an agency in Lucky Plaza to help get her a job. Not long after, she got a job and is currently said to be working as a manager at the Jelita branch of Cold Storage in Holland Road. Mohd said that she had to pay some money to the agency to get the job.
“This is happening in Singapore right now under our nose – how Singaporean jobs get robbed by foreigners… don’t tell me the govt doesn’t know this is happening,” Mohd said in the interview.
Mohd also revealed that he was spoken to by the GM of Cold Storage and was told that he should not have called the police.
Mohd expects to be terminated by Cold Storage for his decision to bring the matter to public attention through Gilbert.
He said he is not afraid to be sacked because he feels he is doing the right thing by bringing the matter to the attention of Singaporeans – that foreign workers in a workplace can actually gang up to bully Singaporeans, who are increasingly becoming a minority in their own country.
Editor’s note: There is this thing called “Filipino pride”. Filipinos, in general, are proud of being Filipinos. As such, they are quite united. There are even articles on how not to offend their pride, which may get a visitor to their country in trouble: tenminutes.ph/ndy-10-ways-offend-filipino-pride
Seriously, I doubt S’poreans would be so tolerant of the u/m. GG would go red in the face and GMS would call this a trespass on our sovereignty. Well at least we know that GMS’s sojourn in HK hasn’t made him as friendly to the Pinoys as the Hongkies he so admires.
A COMMUNAL sit-in of sorts blocks the streets of Central, the main financial district of Hong Kong. The assembled crowd is peaceful. Some play cards or paw at their smartphones. Others lie under umbrellas, catching up on sleep. While the world in recent weeks has come to know the alliance of electoral-reform advocates who call themselves Occupy Central, this is something different. And it has been going on for years.
These participants are foreign domestic helpers, called “amahs” locally. There are about 320,000 of them in Hong Kong, almost exclusively female and mainly from the Philippines and Indonesia. Many spend their single day off each week sitting on flattened-out cardboard boxes, acquired from trolley carts pulled around by local entrepreneurs. Some build elaborate temporary houses with room partitions and outer walls. Anywhere else in the world this cardboard city would raise eyebrows, but not in Hong Kong.
The South Korean annual budget to boost birth rates has reached an equivalent of US$13.85bn this year, says Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s largest and oldest daily.
Though is almost sevenfold increase since 2006, the number of births has actually dropped by almost 12,000 to 436,500 last year. The birth rate, or the number of births per 1,000 people per year, also fell to 8.6. This is the lowest level since records began in 1970, and also among the world’s lowest indicators, according to World Bank data. http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-29598172
According to Chosun Ilbo, the main reason why the government appears to be failing in its efforts to boost the birth rate is because most of the money is allocated to childcare subsidies, rather than making Koreans want to have more children.
Well by going waz happening here, the problem here is the same: the incentives are allocated to childcare subsidies, rather than making S’porean couples want to have a child, lrt alone, more children. They prefer to have pets.
So what are the ways that the govt can persuade S’poreans to want to have children? What about a bigger “subsidy” and fast-tracking for that “second” bite at a “subsidised”HDB flat. The more kids a couple have, the bigger the “subsidy” and the faster they can get a second flat? (And the govt can give incentives to private property developes to offer bigger discounts to couples with more kids.)
And what about a discount on that CoE for a prime mover? The more kids a couple have the bigger the discount? Ten kids are a CoE is effectively free?
Finally, what about abolishing the maid levy if parents have a third kid? And a “free” maid if they have 10 kids?
Finally, cut working hours so that couples have more time for sex. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/improving-productivity-try-this-pm-tharman-possible-reasons-for-peanuts-real-wages-growth/
Sadly, a Hard Truth for the PAP is that populism is out. Only bullying, haranguing the voters allowed. Which is why the Pioneer Generation package, spending on public tpt and other “goodies” is a puzzle. PM is a populist in disguise? https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/minister-you-thinking-of-yr-govt/
Or are we going to get screwed with a huge GST increase after the next GE. Remember 2006? A great piece by scholar on how the extra 2 percentage points increase in GST never went into social welfare as promised. http://thereformparty.net/blog/2010/12/24/further-tax-burden-to-enhance-our-social-safety-nets/. The piece was written in 2010 and my admittedly back-of-the-envelope calculations shows that the position is the same today. Perhaps someone should ask Uncle Leong or Roy to update the data.
Whatever it is, remember to ask the PAP when campaigning begins for next GE, “Will you raise GST after the elections, if you win?”
Shorter working hrs, greater productivity. Evidence cited below.
S’pore should try this if PM and Tharman and the govt is really seious when they say that “no stone will be left unturned” in the search to improve productivity. . But then it’s against the Hard Truth that hard work makes people happy. Actually I suspect the Hard Truth was propogated to ensure that S’poreans didn’t have the energy to engage in political activities. Sadly it also ensured that they didn’t have the energy to have unprotected heterosexual sex.
There is a growing body of evidence that shorter work weeks actually lead to more productive employees.
Right now, the US seems to value long work weeks for the sake of long work weeks. We put in more time at the office than other Western nations, but with less to show for it than one would hope.
According to Melissa Dahl, writing in New York Magazine, “The US is one of the most productive nations on the planet, second only to Luxembourg, but Americans work almost 20% more hours than individuals in Luxembourg. We’re working longer days, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re achieving more.”
An earlier report found that there was little correlation between hours worked, productivity, and wages. Writing in MarketWatch, Quentin Fortrell calculates that Germany works almost 45% fewer annual hours than Greece, but is 70% more productive, while annual German salaries are higher.
Reducing work hours has also reduced unemployment, he says, noting that “countries with the largest reduction in work hours had the largest increase in employment rates since the Great Recession”.
The shorter work week is an idea that both corporate fat cats and tree-hugging environmentalists can love. Billionaires Carlos Slim and Larry Page have spoken publicly in support of shorter weeks, while CNBC cites a recent survey showing “that more than 69% of millionaires surveyed (those with investible assets of $1 million or more) said they believed the four-day work week is a ‘valid idea’.”
Btw1, here’s something to ponder about on productivity.
Productivity in financial services and other services miscalulated?
On a very technical issue could financial services and other services be miscalculated? Remember measuring productivity in services is not easy. That could be happening in the UK. See below.
Btw2, the UK’ could also give some clues as to why the growth here in real wages sucks.
Real wages not improving
UK has come out of a recession when real wages fell … as productivity tanked. but unemployment wasn’t as bad as feared.
The economy’s recovering, But those in work are now badly in need of some respite.
Possible explanations abound for the curious trend. Britain has more liberal labour markets than most European countries, which may have meant companies found wages easier to cut, keeping employment high. Some sectors, such as financial services, may have mismeasured productivity before the crisis. And low investment probably contributed too.
One mooted explanation for low wages is particularly controversial. UKIP, Britain’s insurgent anti-EU party, claims that immigration from Europe is holding down pay. Evidence on this is mixed: conflicting studies have separately found both a small increase and a small reduction in average wages as a result of migration. But there is better evidence that its effects are unequal; the lowest-paid workers, who face the fiercest competition from migrants, find their wages held down by the arrival of foreign workers. Higher earners are more likely to benefit. Division, it seems, is rife.
[Update on 30 May at 3.00 pm:
Experts experts like Stephen Cecchetti, an economist at the Brandeis International Business School, have found that a very large financial sector tends to precede weaker growth in productivity. “When pay on Wall Street is so high relative to the rest of the economy, you’re creating incentives for people to go into that industry that may not be the best for society over all,” Mr. Cecchetti said.
Or as recent paper says high-growth financial industries hurt the broader economy by dragging down overall growth and curbing productivity
In a response to the PM’s latest remarks on FTs (“no more tightening” and “don’t blame FTs for everything”) at a public lecture organized by the National University of Singapore Society on 3 October, a TRE poster wrote
In the 70s and 80s, Singapore already had FTs (Japanese, Germans etc) into our country. They were few and they were the real talents; working alongside our Singapore workers and also taught us their skills and knowledge.
He has a point. I had a friend who was a PR in the 80s. Despite winning a gold medal from NUS, she didn’t find it that easy to get a job because she needed an employment pass. It wasn’t easy for anyone without working experience, even a gold medalist, to secure one in the late 70s. It was “S’poreans first and last when it came to fresh graduates”. And it wasn’t that easy to become a citizen either. Heck, it wasn’t even easy to get PR status unless one was a M’sian Chinese professional or an extremely rich Indonesian Chinese. Nowadays, PR is juz toilet paper: even a slutty looking, violent, cheating shop assistant can secure one.
Today, we have all the fake talents from PRC, India and Philippines and even from Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam and also Europe and US – all with dubious degrees, knowledge and skills. Worst still, these are the people who are taking away the PMET jobs and also our fresh grads jobs. Lee Hsien Loong – let me repeat this into your ear again ! We didn’t say no FT – please can you define what FT is and bring in only the real FT ok ? Not your open leg policy in allowing any Ah Nieh or Ying and Yang to come into SG please.
I agree with the sentiments expressed, esp the bit about faked qualifications.
SG does not belong to everyone and certainly SG does not belong to you or … ! We will kick your butt out in the next GE !
Lots of S’poreans still want to kick PM’s butt. Issue is how many more (or as is more likely) less from GE and PE 2011 (Sadly, S’porans are easily satisfied, or shld it be conned?). A few weeks ago Alex Au blogged, heard from a friend who heard from another friend (whom I also know – this one’s in academia) that the People’s Action Party (PAP) was confident it had regained lost ground since the 2011 general election. Its confidence stemmed, it was said, from a huge survey that it had been conducting over the past few months and which, by the next general election, will have reached every household in Singapore …
Actually I had heard about the result of this “survey” but had not heard of anyone who had been approached, So I kept quiet. Alex gives more details. http://yawningbread.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/survey-asked-about-my-confidence-in-the-lee-hsien-loong-government/
The govt has been throwing more of our money at S’poreans what with Pioneer Generation “goodies”, public tpt etc spending. Juz try to remember that our money the PAP govt is spending on S’poreans is “peanuts”. We’ll have another budget surplus this yr, not the estimated tiny “deficit”. I can say more about the peanuts we are getting, but I’ll leave it for another time.
Especially not FTs like Hui Hui.
Government figures released by the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD — the same people who came up with the population White Paper that was rubbished by scholars) last Thursday show that the total population grew at its slowest pace in 10 years, expanding just 1.3% to 5.47m as of June this year and generally painted a picture of doom and gloom.with have negative repercussions on the economy.
But according to the unhelpful, not constructive BT (26 September), * some economists say the situation may not be as dire as generally predicted, since more older citizens are opting to work past retirement age.
Said UOB economist Francis Tan: “The support ratio worsening is just one side of things. Other factors are also at play here: the government is incentivising older workers to stay employed; people are questioning whether their retirement savings are enough so they’re continuing to work; the government’s foreign worker quotas are forcing companies to provide higher wages and that has enticed more elderly people at the margins to join the job market.
“Taken together, these conditions should make us less worried about this scary 5.2 old-age support ratio. I’m not saying the downward trend is not a concern, but I think we can’t look at population numbers purely on their own – we need to look at labour market trends too.”
Indeed, according to figures from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the total labour force participation rate of residents aged 65-69 have increased dramatically from a decade ago. While this stood at 19.5 per cent in 2003, it climbed to 27.5 per cent five years later in 2008, before spiking up to 40.2 per cent in 2013.
After all despite or because of the tight labour market, MOM said in January this year that the labour force participation rate rose to a new high in 2013, driven by women and older residents, BT pointed out.
Noted OCBC economist Selena Ling: “If the retirement age changes to 67, that will skew the ratio for sure as more elderly (persons) rejoin the workforce. Then the reality may not be as bad as what the (population) numbers suggest.”
Whatever it is Mr Tan, Ms Ling, and other economists are concerned about the nation’s lacklustre fertility rate and swiftly ageing population.
Said DBS economist Irvin Seah: “This demographic shift is perhaps the biggest challenge facing Singapore… The situation isn’t easy to reverse, and it will take more than conventional economic policy to resolve. Mindsets will have to change.”
On this they are right
When I started work in broking in the late 80s, ex-Japan, HK and S’pore were the leading stock mkts. Today, we are not even the leading exchange in SE Asia. Thailand has a bigger exchange despite its political, economic woes.
I note SGX is led by two FTs, an ang moh and and Indian Indian. any surprise if “S’poreans hate Foreign Trashes to pieces”.
The above was the headline by a Guardian (a UK newspaper whose views would chime with the SDP, NSP, AWARE, Maruah, Alex Au, TOC and the other usual suspects) journalist on a blog piece on the UK economy: economy growing, property prices flying, FTs flooding in, but real wages stagnant. Sounds familiar?
The statement is very true here here as the following excerpts from BT (16 Sept) quoting the govt (who incidentally still denies that FTs don’t affect the real wages of S’poreans: cognitive dissonance or is it double-speak?)
The tight labour market in Singapore has resulted in more jobs and higher salaries for locals, while the growth in foreign worker employment fell to its slowest quarterly pace since 2009.
So less FTs result in higher wages for local talents, and more jobs: “noise” correct.
Here comes the spin:
But productivity gains saw a reversal in the second quarter of 2014 with negative growth of 1.3 per cent, bringing to an end a run of three straight quarters of positive growth.
Local employment growth remained strong at 41,000 (4.2 per cent year-on-year growth in June), with the services sector accounting for nearly 90 per cent of the jobs created, said the Manpower Ministry (MOM) on Monday.
Last year, the real median gross monthly income for full-time citizen workers went up by 4.6 per cent, the ministry said as it released details of Singapore’s labour market situation for the first half of 2014.
The seasonally adjusted citizen unemployment rate was stable at 2.9 per cent in June, while the resident long-term unemployment rate remained among the lowest in the world at 0.6 per cent.
Total employment grew by 27,700 in the second quarter of 2014, moderating from the growth of 33,700 in the same quarter last year, but comparable to the 28,300 in the first quarter of the year. This brought total employment to 3.55 million in June 2014, 3.8 per cent higher than a year ago.
The spin continues:
The latest numbers are indicative of the government’s ongoing push to progressively raise the quality of the foreign workforce [Govt admitting we have Trash like the SGX CEO and the president?] and reduce the reliance on foreign labour.
This, said MOM, is in line with national efforts to achieve quality economic growth driven by sustained productivity improvements … the ministry said that it expects the strong hiring of Singaporean workers to continue for the rest of this year.
This is due to a confluence of foreign workforce constraints [And govt still saying FT influx doesn’t affect locals’ wages?] , higher wages, and employers adopting flexible work arrangements to attract more women and older workers into the labour force.
MOM … wages are expected to continue moving up, but these increases could only be sustained over the long term by improving productivity.
As for foreign …, MOM said that their total employment growth slowed to 11,200 for the first six months of 2014, which was less than half compared to the same period in 2013 … foreign employment growth in the second quarter of 2014 came in at just 3,800 … lowest quarterly expansion since the third quarter of 2009 during the global financial crisis, when only 700 foreign worker jobs were created.
[700 seems about right, though to Goh Meng Seng and Gilbert Goh, even one is one too many.]
OCBC economist Selena Ling said that foreign employment growth was at a low as firms continue to adjust to manpower policy constraints, although the transition process for selected labour-intensive services and construction sectors was “probably more accentuated”.
“The consolidation process for firms will likely continue in the interim as the productivity performance of these few sectors are still falling short of targets,” she said.
The productivity push, meanwhile, hit a roadblock in Q22014 with negative growth of 1.3 per cent. This ended a period of three straight quarters of positive gains.
[Post next GE, this will be excuse to lewt the FTs in]
“Overall productivity growth is expected to remain uneven,” said MOM in its outlook for the rest of the year.
Michael Smith … employment services provider Randstad, said that, in order to maintain productivity, employers should continue to offer workforce-relevant upskilling and career growth opportunities to help fill the gaps for skills that are in demand.
Ho hum, this makes it clear that the FT influx made this upgrading of skills unnecessary.
On the whole, MOM said that the current manpower-lean environment in Singapore will continue to be a feature of the economy in the coming years.
Come on, after next GE, the floodgates will open. Remember the population White Paper of 6m people?
“As the economy restructures, some consolidation and exit of less-productive businesses are expected. MOM and the Workforce Development Agency stand ready to help displaced local workers re-skill and upgrade so that they are positioned to take on the new jobs created.”
So long as FTs are allowed in by the A380 or 747 cattle-class load, this won’t help.
“Against the many racial and religious conflicts elsewhere that we read about almost every day, the state of affairs here in Singapore is truly extraordinary. We must treasure it,” said Minister Khaw at a ceremony to hand out 194 citizenships to new arrivals. A total of about 3,150 new citizens were given their citizenship
dog-tags slave collars papers in ceremonies across the island last weekend.
It’s precisely because we want to avoid racial and religious conflicts that we are concerned with the creation of new citizenas, the way we plant “instant” trees. The latter is good, while the former harks back to the bad old* days.
In 1959 (the 50s and early 60s* were according to the PAP and the constructive, nation-building media bad. (Actually they were
paid bad according to my parents, only PJ Thum, TOC’s favourite authority on the period, seems to think that juz because S’pore was second biggest port in Asia, things were great then.). In 1959, only 270,00 out of the 600,000 voters were born here. 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”.
So waz his son doing? I tot it took the third generation to destroy the prosperity, fortune built up by the patriarch. Is Pinky trying to destroy dad’s legacy in the second generation, even if as it seems dad may have repented of his decision to integrate S’poreans?
So the PAP and other FT lovers like Kirsten Han and William Wan should stop calling those who are concerned about immigration, xenophobes. They should be talking about the unfairness of PRC thugs bullying old-age aunties trying to earn a living: the PRCs it seems came here to do what the old aunties were doing, scavenge for cardboard waste. Tot PM says S’pore imports FTs to do jobs S’poreans can’t, or wont do. So how come PAP govt allows these PR FTs to steal from aunties, the way Indian, Pinoy FTs steal jobs from local PMEs?
But being FT lovers, they won’t. Btw, be thank for small mercies: the FTs still don’t have their very own NMP since William Wan didn’t get to becpme NMP. Taz far, if the hard core anti-PAP voters didn’t get Roy Ngerng, FTs too shouldn’t get their very own MP.
*Racial tensions, racial riots, political riots, massive unemployment.
A simulation by the South Korean parliamentary research service, shows the population there will decline from 50m today to 5m in 2172, 100,000 in 2379 – and total extinction before 2750. (Backgrounder: South Korea’s fertility rate of 1.3 children per woman, according to a 2012 World Bank estimate, which puts the country joint last in the birth stakes alongside nations including Singapore, Spain and Greece.)
I’m surprised that neither the population and talent unit in PMO nor the Institute of Policy Studies have done such a study in order to alarm the
sheep 60% who vote for the PAP.
The population unit and IPS have been known to do some really outlandish stuff. Remember the former’s Population White Paper was criticised by several scholars (Think Donald Low, ex civil servant and now in LKY School; and Yeoh Keong Lam, the retired chief economist of GIC.) for not being sound. Likewise, IPS’ defence of the White Paper was rubbishy.
Maybe, ST should be more constructive and nation-building? Or that wannabe Onion, New Nation?
Something for the parents: packets of secretly punctured condoms.
BTW, Jap economists say immigration is the only way to tackle Japan’s old age problem.
Update at 6.20am: How parenting has changed in half a century in the US. Do watch this info-grahpic
Restrict HR, recruitement jobs to true-blue S’poreans
Because people tend to look favourably on candidates similar to themselves, a significant reduction in discrimination in the labour market may require the hiring of new recruiters in order to increase diversity among those who screen applicants. However, this study suggests that there is trouble ahead if prospective recruiters are to be evaluated by the current ones.
So if the govt is serious about restricting the growth of FTs here, it should not allow businesses to employ FTs in HR and recruitment posts. Plenty of stories about Pinoys flooding mgrs with only Pinoy applicants. M’sian Chinese and Indian Indians too are allegedly big offenders. As are ang mohs. PRCs got good record here as only $ talk, blood doesn’t.
No wonder S’pore NSman is a rare and endangered species in the corporate suite. AWARE wimmin will be very happy, esp for their FT partners.
MoM’s data proves that liberal FT policies hurt S’poreans
On 14 June, BT reported that
In April, MOM had put the preliminary figure of March’s jobless rate at 2.1 per cent.
But in its Labour Market First Quarter 2014 report released yesterday, MOM noted that its final figure for March was still higher than that of December.
It attributed this to more Singaporeans – particularly the less educated – joining the labour market seeking employment because more jobs with higher wages had opened up, thanks to the tightening of the tap on foreign workers.
Salaries in the private sector grew 5.3 per cent on the back of a tight labour market and improved economic conditions last year, up from 4.2 per cent in 2012.
Taking into account lower inflation, real total wages rose by 2.9 per cent in 2013, after declining by 0.4 per cent in 2012, according to the latest report on wage practices released by the Ministry of Manpower’s Research and Statistics Department.
As of December 2013, 77 per cent of private establishments with employees earning a monthly basic salary of up to $1,000 gave or intended to give wage increases to these employees in 2013, up from 60 per cent in 2012.
This included the 57 per cent that gave at least $60 built-in wage increase as recommended by the National Wages Council in 2013, up from the 28 per cent that gave at least $50 recommended in the preceding year.
Rank-and-file employees received a basic wage increase of 5.4 per cent, the highest in 16 years and up from 4.3 per cent in 2012. This was the first time since 2002 that the basic wage increase for the rank-and-file exceeded that of the non rank-and-file at 4.7 per cent.
DBS economist Irvin Seah said that the salary growth was in line with his expectations. “In terms of real wage growth, it is quite a significant improvement as inflation was actually higher in 2012. This reflects an improvement in productivity and a tighter labour market,” he said.
Toby Fowlston, managing director of Robert Walters Singapore, said: “There has been an increased focus on hiring local talent, resulting in greater competition for this limited talent pool, especially in certain sectors with high demand. This drives wages up, but not for every industry.”
And flexi-wages remain a WIP
The MOM report also revealed that there has been a general uptrend in the implementation of flexible wage measures. In December 2013, 86 per cent of private sector employees worked in establishments which had at least one of the flexible wage components recommended by the tripartite partners – employers, workers and government.
Having a narrow maximum-minimum salary ratio was the most common wage recommendation adopted at 63 per cent. This was followed by linking variable bonus to Key Performance Indicators (51 per cent) and having the Monthly Variable Component (34 per cent) in the wage structure.
Bonuses did not go up as much as basic wages in 2013 as the annual variable component in the private sector averaged 2.21 months of basic wage in 2013, up by 0.9 per cent from the 2.19 months in 2012. Consequently, the annual variable component formed a slightly higher share of total wages at 15.6 per cent in 2013, than the 15.4 per cent in 2012.
Cham Hui Fong, assistant secretary-general, National Trades Union Congress, said that the labour movement will continue to push for the Progressive Wage Model to be pervasive in all sectors.
“This will not only raise productivity and upgrade skills, our workers can also look forward to better wages and better career progression. We also call on employers to tap on the various funding schemes and programmes, so as to achieve higher productivity growth,” she added.
Economists like Selena Ling, head, treasury research and strategy at OCBC Bank, added that the wage growth is expected to continue.
“The economic and business cycle is picking up globally, albeit at a choppy pace, and it is not unexpected that more firms are turning the corner. Real wage growth should be sustained this year, especially since inflation is subsiding. It will be very encouraging if the wage share increases over time as well,” she said.
No Country for above 40s
49% of unemployed S’poreans are above 40
MoM’s Labor Market survey showed that there were 29,000 unemployed residents older than 40. This is equivalent to 49% of the 59,300 unemployed residents for March 2014.
There are also more older residents who suffer from long-term unemployment. MoM’s data showed that out of 12,900 residents who had been looking for work for more than 25 weeks, almost 8,700 were older than 40.
It’s the school hols and on TRE recently, I came across a SDP piece complaining about our education system. As usual with such pieces, it puts all the blame on the PAP govt, as though parents’ expectations are divorced from govt education policy.
There are two things that are not widely talked about about the education system both by the govt and its critics
One is class size. I was shocked, last yr, to find out that in govt schools, secondary and primary, the average class size is 40, the same when I went to school in the 60s and 70s. In independent schools, the class size is about 25. So how can education help help level up the poor, PM? Oh I juz read on FB that there are now primary schools with 30 students in Pr 1.
Neighbourhood schools should have more teachers. But then that goes against the Hard Truth of meritocracy: yr merit in exams entitles the student to smaller class sizes (and better teachers). Meritocracy has its privileges..
And the hours teachers “work” are longer than the hrs S’poreans normally work even taking into account the school hols. . Recently I read this on the BBC: For secondary head teachers, it stretches to an average of 63.3 hours per week – the longest of any of the teaching jobs. Primary classroom teachers worked longer hours – 59.3 hours – than their secondary school counterparts, who worked for 55.7 hours per week. The hours in a secondary academy were slightly less, at 55.2 hours.
I sent the link to a friend whose wife teaches in a neighbourhood primary school. He wrote:”59.3 hrs/week actually seems low, since she’s in school 7am-6pm and then also does work on weekends [during] term-time — it’s much more relaxed during holidays (only 2 weeks guaranteed off in June and ~3 weeks in December).
So she works 55 hrs a week (Mon to Fri) albeit with 30 days holidays. But this still works out to over 50 hrs a week after taking into account the 30 days off and the time when they don’t teach but have to go to work during the school hols.
Taz almost like the hours research analysts worked when I was in broking. They were well paid but one analyst complained that it was “blood” money, given the hours. And teachers don’t get paid as much.
And teaching isn’t exactly an enjoyable job: the author of The Lord of the Rings (a personal fav) wrote: “All teaching is exhausting, and depressing and one is seldom comforted by knowing when one has had some effect. I wish I could now tell some of mine (of long ago) how I remember them and things they said, though I was (only, as it appeared) looking out of the window or giggling at my neighbour”.http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/12/jrr-tolkien-teaching-exhausting-depressing-unseen-letter-lord-rings)
I’m sure if our teachers were FTs, Constance Singham, Kirsten Han, William Wan and other FT lovers would be protesting at the long, hard, inhuman hours FT teachers work. but as our teachers are in the main true-blue S’poreans, these FT lovers remain silent.
Coming back to the SDP article, there were the usual anti-PAP rants, but a TRE reader responded as follows
June 2, 2014 at 1:00 am (Quote)
Which model do we wish to copy when the whole world is descending here to learn of our education system?
We tops the world education ranking yr after yr
From maths to science.
From pr to university.
The high number of foreign students here speak volume.
Even our mediocre students who fail to gain entry into our local unis studying abroad come up tops there.
Our Maths textbooks are sought after in many developed countries!
Nothing venture nothing gain.
In any competitive system there is bound to be some attrition.
Check out the Far East.
From S Korea to China to Japan.
The suicide rate is simply atrocious.
No choice in a truly meritocratic system meant for selecting the best & allowing people’s highest potential to surface.
Remember Spore is where it us today because of our human resource NOT mineral resource.
Tempering with it like our neighbour will spell doom.
The flaw in any subjective exam or project work is its reliability & accuracy or credibility.
We arent dealing with 1 candidate and a Sherlock Holmes assigned. It could be plagiarized work.
The tutors’. The teachers’ (because of ranking) The parents’ or siblings’. Copied.
Strict or lenient assessment or appraisal however beautiful the rubrics.
The solution. Stick to the pen & paper as its dominant plus a variety of other subjective assessments.
Our 1st world status is a product of pen & paper leaders like LKY, LHL, etc. Double First at Cambridge.
Dont take risk and reinvent radically when the system pays.
Look at how rotten the whole world is today and youll be thankful for our educational system.
No amount of criticism (reasonable and unreasonable) can disguise the fact that we got a great system: for a significant minority of students. The issue is catering for the others, and or their pushy parents.
Even FTs are trying out our system. Here’s a link to a story about FTs sending their kids to local schools: http://features.insing.com/feature/foreign-students-take-on-too-tough-singapore-education-system/id-a43d3101/?utm_source=OB&utm_medium=content_stories&utm_campaign=features-rss
To end, if anti-PAP cyber warriors want to help the Oppo persuade the 35% of S’poreans that can be persuaded not to blindly support the PAP, they should never demonise anyone who is not blindly and unquestionably anti-PAP. They must remember that the core anti-PAP is around 30%, of which 5% are lunatics (they voted for Tan Kin Lian in PE 2011).
They are “warmer” to China and Japan, both much bigger trading partners and investors.
China narrowly eclipses Japan … with 31% of the votes, versus 28% for Japan (Singapore is third, with 12%). China also enjoyed a jump of six percentage points, to 60%, with Australians expressing “warm feelings” towards the country, despite its recent “assertiveness” in the region. (Economist)
A US tech entrepreneur based in the Philippines says of Pinoy IT talent, “The good ones have left for Singapore or Hong Kong. It makes it hard for tech entrepreneurs to operate here,” he says.
So that Pinoy IT Trash working here is actually a Talent back home.
So TRE readers and other anti-PAP paper activists, are the analysts mentioned in u/m Bloomberg articles (and the many others who hold these views) PAPpy moles?
My point is that on the issue of FTs (esp in the manufacturing sector), the govt ‘s pro FT stance has the support of conventional wisdom.
One striking fact is that even among the best performing metropolitan areas, overall increases in output per capita have been hard to come by. They have been limited to a handful of very brainy cities, especially West Coast tech centres. In general, growth has been a product of population increase large enough to offset falling output per person.
That the conventional wisdom may be flawed is another issue though.
But those of us who don’t want FTs by the container or cattle truck load or even by the 747 or A380 cattle class, must recognise that the govt’s view is that of conventional wisdom.
“This manufacturing recovery that we’re all hoping for seems to be sputtering again,” said Chua Hak Bin, a Singapore- based Bank of America Corp. economist who worked at the country’s central bank for six years. “Foreign-worker restrictions will be tightened further in July. We think Singapore may not be able to fully capitalize on a global demand upswing because of these constraints.”
Singapore in February said it will tighten rules for companies hiring foreign workers for a fourth straight year, with the next round of measures scheduled to take effect July 1. Manufacturers including Western Digital Corp. have moved operations to other Southeast Asian nations, as employers on the island grappled with the restrictions that raised costs and helped push unemployment to a five-year low in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Singapore’s exports declined in nine out of 11 months last year, faring worse than neighbors from South Korea to Malaysia. Manufacturing output shrank in the fourth quarter from the previous three months, and has grown at about 60 percent the pace of the services industry in the past two years as companies struggled to expand, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
“The restructuring has diluted our overall competitiveness,” said Irvin Seah, an economist at DBS Group Holdings Ltd. in Singapore. “It’s not just higher labor costs but it’s also the labor crunch, because when you don’t have enough workers, how are you going to meet that order?”
This tot crossed my mind when I read that the general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM), Dr William Wan, is applying for the post of Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP). He told the media that his nomination papers were submitted yesterday (14 May).
SKM’s mission is to inspire graciousness through spontaneous acts of kindness, thus making life more pleasant for everyone [Link]. The patron of SKM is PM Lee Hsien Loong and its adviser is Minister Lawrence Wong.
As to why he could be a Trojan Horse (albeit an unwitting and unintended one) for FTs, here is the evidence that made me conclude (reasonably I hope) that he believes, “In S’pore, FTs are more equal than S’poreans”.
— Dr Wan came out to defend Anton Casey (‘SKM condemns ‘online lynching’ of Anton Casey‘).
The Straits Times then carried an article by Dr Wan in which he condemned the online behaviour of Singaporeans. He felt that Singaporeans had shown a lack of empathy towards Anton Casey.
Casey had described Singapore MRT commuters as “poor people”. He said, “Normal service (after getting his Porsche back from the workshop) can resume, once I have washed the stench of public transport off me FFS!” (FFS is an acronym for “for f**k’s sake”.)
In his article, Dr Wan lamented that “something has gone wrong with us Singaporeans”. He said incidents like Anton Casey “reiterate the need for us to reassess our social media habits”. Defending Casey, Dr Wan surmised that he was perhaps “simply being thoughtless and careless” when he posted the offensive remarks … (TRE)
— He ignored suggestions to show that he cared for S’poreans down on their luck by doing for them a totful, gracious act that he did for FTs.
[T]o show empathy for foreign workers, SKM and Coca-Cola Singapore delivered free cans of Coke to foreign construction workers at a high-rise work site via drones [Link].
Dr Wan said, “What we hope to do is to encourage Singaporeans to make showing appreciation to foreign workers part of our daily lives.” (TRE).
I applaud him (and Coke) for providing the foreign manual workers with cold drinks. It was a totful, gracious gesture.
But I find it strange that he then ignored suggestions that he should arrange for some drinks for S’poreans too. I’ll let TRE tell the story:
TRE has suggested that perhaps he should show empathy for his displaced fellow Singaporeans too (‘How about showing empathy for displaced SG workers?‘).
One suggestion would be to get his volunteers to hand out cans of Coke to Singaporeans seeking employment help at the Workforce Development Agency. There is no need to use any high-tech flying drones in this case – his volunteers just need to stand at the door and give out canned drinks to our fellow Singaporeans who need help and comfort.
He does totful, gracious gestures only for FTs? Doesn’t charity begin at home?
When it was reported that PM got flak for saying on the occasion of an Indian festival: “Singapore belongs to all of us, Singaporeans, new arrivals, people who are on permanent residence here, people who are on employment pass here.”*, I tot that the complainants were going too far. I tot they read too much in the word “belonging” and were being extremely petty and mean.
But, if as it is likely, William Wan, gets to be an NMP, I now can understand and even sympathise with those S’poreans unhappy with the PM’s comments, even if I disagree with their views and pettiness.
BTW, wonder why PM left out those on S Passes and work permits, many of whom are Pinoys, and Indians when he said, “Singapore belongs to all of us, Singaporeans, new arrivals, people who are on permanent residence here, people who are on employment pass here.”? Very strange given that he was talking on the occasion of an Indian festival and given the data
[T]here has been a significant increase for S Pass holders between Dec 2011 to Dec 2013.
47,000 to be exact.
This is 15,900 or 51% more, as compared to the period of Dec 2009 to Dec 2011.
Work permit holders increase substantially too, by 77,000 during the period of Dec 2011 and Dec 2013. It’s a 47% or 24,700 increase from previous 2 years.
Our total foreign workforce increased by 123,700 between Dec 2011 to Dec 2013 – that’s more than 60,000 each year.
An honest mistake by PM? Or should we read something in his omission of S Pass and Work Permit holders? What do you think?
*At a grassroots event in Ang Mo Kio to celebrate the Indian New Year, Mr Lee was reported to have said that “the event was an embodiment of the theme as well as on a larger scale where everyone participates as one big Singapore family” and that Singapore was a place “where we all celebrate one another’s festivals and happy events together.”
He added that “Singapore belongs to all of us”, which he said included “Singaporeans, new arrivals, people who are on permanent residence here, people who are on employment pass here.”
Al least for finance and accounting professionals.
Salaries for finance and accounting professionals in Singapore are expected to rise, with the tight labour market likely to force companies to increase wages to attract and retain employees, said recruitment firm Robert Half on Thursday in a press release.
55 per cent of companies in Singapore plan to increase wages for professionals in their finance and accounting department. Only 1 per cent of firms plan to cut wages, while the remaining 43 per cent plan to maintain salaries.
This is in contrast to the other five markets surveyed. (CNA last week). These markets are China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia and Brazil.
So waz this rubbish that welcoming FTs with open arms helps S’poreans get better wages? The extract implicitly shows that a liberal Ft policy helps repress wages of locals PMEs; and even ST reported that the liberal FT immigration policy deprive young of jobs:https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/proof-that-fts-displace-sporeans/.
An example of tightening polices: a Pinoy couple and their son are PRs, but their young two-month old child only has a long-term pass. The couple are KPKB about discrimination and fear. I think they are barking up the wrong tree. But then they are Pinoys , playing the “victim” game, like PIDCS . ST reported:
PIDCS is currently being targeted, presumably by Singaporeans who oppose the staging of the event (‘Organisers of Philippine event targeted’, 17 Apr).
PIDCS is said to have received anonymous phone calls demanding the cancellation of the event. The organisers have reportedly felt harassed.
“The callers say we have no right to hold the event in Orchard Road,” a PIDCS spokesman said. “We do not dare to pick up phone calls now if we don’t recognise the number.”
As I told a Pinoy community adviser, “S’poreans, unlike Filipinos, don’t go round shooting people in malls. Nor do they go round burning the Filipino flag. So pls tell the organisers not to BS their fear. This is S’pore not Manila or Mindanao.”
But let me end constructively. Three cheers for OCBC and may others follow it. I’ll let BT tell the story
For the first time, a local bank will be giving its employees payouts from the Wage Credit Scheme (WCS), instead of using the funds for training and development initiatives.
OCBC Bank will be disbursing $3 million of its first WCS payout to 1,500 eligible Singaporean employees of the bank and its securities subsidiary …
Introduced in Budget 2013 as part of the three-year Transition Support Package, the $3.6 billion WCS helps firms cope with rising wages in a tight labour market. It also encourages businesses to channel resources towards enhancing productivity and subsequently share productivity gains with employees. The WCS payouts co-fund 40 per cent of pay rises given to Singaporeans who earn a gross monthly income of $4,000 and below.
The 1,500 recipients of OCBC’s WCS payout make up about 25 per cent of OCBC … total staff strength in Singapore. Most of these recipients are junior executives and unionised employees, serving as assistant managers, bank officers and clerical staff in the bank’s consumer financial services as well as operations and technology divisions. They will receive the payouts in June and July.
Recipients can opt to have their payout credited to their Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts or to invest in shares through the OCBC Blue Chip Investment Plan, which is open to all employees of the bank. Employees can choose only one of the two payout options.
I have it on good authority that the the Pinoy organisers of the 8 June party (a party that Goh Meng Seng says “trespasses” on S’pore’s sovereignty, while Gilbert Goh says our sovereignty is being threatened) have applied for a police permit. This is despite not having raised the $50,000 or thereabouts to pay for the premises and ancillaries. And despite the telcos (TLCs, GLCs) being nervous about seen sponsoring an event that upsets Goh Meng Seng, Gilbert Goh and their friends.
Maybe they took the advice of one GMS who advised them on Facebook to apply for a permit?
Seriously, because GG, GMS and friends have made the location an issue of sovereignty (as defined by them*, not int’l law) the Pinoy organisers are apparently not backing down. If their govt can stand up to China over some rocks, despite having a useless navy, so can they stand up to GG, GMs and friends, seems to be the reasoning.
Could the Pinoy organisers’ garangness could also be because they think that the PAP govt is on their side on the issue of the party’s location? If so blame it on some junior civil servants.
I have it on more good authority that junior officers from PMO are assuring the Pinoy community that the Pinoys have nothing to fear. And it’s not my argument that “S’poreans in S’pore, unlike Pinoys in their country, don’t carry or use guns”. Seems these junior officers are saying that “we treasure Pinoys”. Wonder who the “we” encompasses?
Certainly not me. While I have no problem about the Pinoys wanting to party at Orchard Rd, to me those working here are “hewers of wood and drawers of water” (Joshua. 9:21) i.e. menial drudges; labourers. I don’t treasure them, even if there are at least 50,000 new citizens** who are Pinoys. I appreciate them for their gd service and low cost, but treasure them I do not.
Jokes aside, wonder what will GMS, GG and friends do? Behave like the Filipino govt over the said rocks? Jus KPKB? Might is right as the Chinese govt said to the Filipino govt.
Update at 6.20am: BTW, I juz came across this
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
“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 you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.” Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. “They’ve a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they’re the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”(Thru the Looking-Glass)
This is Ibaraki, the garden of Japan. The deep alluvial soils can produce up to five vegetable crops a year if properly looked after … a line of young men are bent double, a knife in one hand a basket in the other. They are rapidly cutting the tall, green spinach and placing each bunch carefully in a basket. The only Japanese man working here is Yoshinori Kitajima, the farm’s owner. All of the others are Chinese.
For the last 10 years Mr Kitajima has been hiring Chinese “trainees” to work on his farm. He admits his business would not survive without them. Young Japanese simply would not do this sort of work anymore.
Working side by side with the young men from poor villages in central China has given Mr Kitajima a new regard for his Chinese neighbours.
“When I work with these trainees, I can feel they are pure and genuine,” he said.
“They remind me of Japanese people from a previous generation. They still have the spirit of working together. This is something we in Japan have lost.”
He calls them trainees because officially they are here to study and can only stay three years. But across the country, there are now at least 100,000 Chinese “students” working on Japan’s farms and in Japanese factories.
(Apologies no attribution for this. Forgot to record at time of cutting and pasting, many moons ago: sorry leh, lazy to google. Suspect was Economist)
Well one LKY would agree with him.
They should remember that PRC workers while no slouchers are quite happy to riot (overturn police cars, damage private property) and strike. They are not docile sheep, unlike Japa and S’poreans.
BTW, these trainees remind me of the use of Pinoys, PRCs etc in our super markets once upon a time: on training in S’pore meh. Now no need such excuse. when these practice returns, I’m willing to believe govt that it ‘s tightening FT inflow
I’m thinking of Ronald McDonald (a FT turned true blue S’porean who if he had a son with dual citizenship would surely insist that his son dows NS, unlike Yaacob who tells us only that he hopes his son will do NS) and again my beef (rendang flavoured) is with the way the S’poreans who don’t dream the “right” dreams” or think the “right” tots are being ghettoised and discriminated against by the PAP govt.
Let me explain.
I avoided going anyway near a McDonald’s store on Monday because it was the start of the latest “Hello Kitty” promotion. I had memories of what happened in 2000:
Fist fights broke out while frustrated patrons threatened store managers, damaged restaurant property and compelled the fast-food outlets to hire private security firms to police crowds. At one outlet, at least seven people were injured after a glass door they were leaning on shattered.
Singapore, which keeps tight curbs on public speech and famously bans most sales of chewing gum to keep its streets clean, was caught by surprise. While public demand was heated for similar promotions in Hong Kong and Taiwan, few expected law-abiding Singaporeans to turn so catty—or for the issue to claw its way to the top ranks of power.
“We should not get too carried away,” said then-Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who later became prime minister. “Even if you want the Kitty, there is no need to fight fiercely to try and get one,” he told local media at a public event.
In Parliament, a lawmaker asked the environment minister if he planned to stop McDonald’s from selling Hello Kitty dolls. “It’s not under my purview,” the minister replied.
And only last yr
… things got heated again when McDonald’s rolled out a so-called “Fairy Tales” Hello Kitty set, featuring six versions designed after popular folklore. The last one—a black kitten sporting a skeletal motif—sparked mayhem as security personnel were called in to deal with heated squabbles caused by widespread line-jumping. McDonald’s wrote a letter to a local newspaper apologizing for the chaos and promised to do better next time.
Finally, an online sale, I tot, was a warning of the public order problems that would ensure on Monday.
To improve buyers’ experience and curb black-market sales, the company also is offering online sales for a collector’s set featuring all six toys, Ms. Low said.
But the online sales drive was overwhelmed by the weight of orders, forcing the fast-food chain to temporarily suspend sales after less than two hours.
Hundreds of disgruntled Kitty-lovers hurled abuse on McDonald’s Facebook page, accusing the fast-food chain of sloppy customer service.
So you’d have tot that the police would conclude, “Three strikes and you’re out, Ronald.”; the police having the power to prevent such a commercial event from being held if they had concerns about “public disorder and mischief”, that “may disrupt community life”.
But, Pledging to prevent a repeat of ugly scenes that plagued past promotions, McDonald’s says it has engaged private-security firms to provide crowd control and prepared line-management plans for its staff. It is also boosting its toy supplies by roughly 50% .compared with last year.
In the event, the police were right in their judgment in allowing the promotion to go ahead, nothing untoward happened on Monday and Tuesday.
But my point is that given the track record of problems in 2000 and 2013, and the very recent online bad-tempered, why did our police not insist that McDonald cancel the event?
some S’poreans are routinely not allowed to hold events in public spaces (other than in Hong Lim) because of concerns of public order. Even the light-blue clones of the MIW were not allowed to hold an event in a park in 2007 because of concerns of public order.
When WP chairman and NCMP Sylvia Lim raised a question over the issue in Parliament, she (and we) was told that such activities “have the potential for public disorder and mischief, and may disrupt community life.”*
Yet the police, it seems, had no such concerns with the MacDonald’s promotion, despite MacDonald’s track record of being the cause of public “disorder and mischief”, that disrupted “community life” in 20000 and 2013.
My point is that shouldn’t these S’poreans (who are not PA or NTUC activists) be given the opportunity as the Filipinos and McDonald of proving the police wrong. After all many of these S’poreans who dream different dreams or think different tots have served NS, defending the country.
Shouldn’t they be given the opportunity to show that they can behave in the right way in public like the Filipinos? https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/fts-more-equal-than-the-wrong-sporeans-why-liddat-pm/
And why is Ronald McDonald given the benefit of the doubt despite his track record of causing problems (albeit unintentionally and indirectly) in 2000 and 2013?
And yet the “wrong” S’poreans are presumed to be dangerous to public order? Doesn’t their honourable discharge from full-time NS mean that they deserve to be treated like Filipinos and Ronald, and be given the presumption of good behaviour?
One could reasonably argue (I’m not) that such an attitude to NS men sucks, and is most insulting from a govt that says it values those who do NS. Just recently, the media reported that Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said a package of “meaningful” benefits is being considered for operationally ready NSmen. “We want to centre the recognition benefits by giving them a greater stake in Singapore, whether it is housing, health or education,”…
The various contradictions and inconsistencies that have mutated from the Hard Truths on which the PAP has governed S’pore since 1959 are coming to haunt the PAP; contractions and inconsistencies which have especially multiplied since the “FTs are betterest” policies were introduced to repress the wages of local PMETs. Appropriately, the ghosts are appearing juz as the PAP govt is planning to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our enforced independence, as a prelude to its next GE campaign.
*”Police requirement is that such party activities be held indoors or within stadiums, so that any law and order problems will be contained. This policy applies to all political parties,” Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs Ho Peng Kee.
Quite a number of S’preans (think TOC, TRE posters, and Goh Meng Seng) were incensed at the Filipinos’ attempt to “capture” or “trespass” (GMS’ choice of word) a public space for one day.
They also mentioned, in passing, at the the double standards in, as they tot, [A]llowing all FTs to hold events in public spaces while preventing some S’poreans (Think the PAP’s light blue clones and various civil groups) from doing the same on the grounds of “law and order” issues, even if the FTs in question are from a country where people believe in the power of the people to overthrow elected govts while the S’poreans are juz sheep who dream different from the “right” dreams.
Turns out no permit has been sought, so far, this yr. My take.
Took the wind out of their sails.
But the validity and reasonableness of this argument remains (I wish these unhappy S’poreans had it made it the core argument not talk about sovereignty etc and then mention it in passing, and had kept on talking about the point. They didn’t, so I’m elaborating on it).
If Filipinos think they can be allowed to hold an event in such a public space (even if it is across the road from
Filipino Lucky Plaza) why can’t the “wrong” S’poreans hold events in public spaces (other than Hong Lim Green) too?
FTs more equal than the “wrong” S’poreans is it, PM, PAP? While Filipinos can party in public year after year, those S’poreans not thinking the “right” tots (despite many of them having done NS) are being ghettoised in Hong Lim? Juz because they don’t think the “right” tots, like PA or NTUC
running dogs activists? Apologies to the dogs. My dogs complain that I’m defaming them by comparing them to PA and NTUC activists.
True, no incidents arose.in the past when the Filipinos were granted permission to hold events in public spaces.
But given the track record of “people power” in the Philippines in overthrowing elected presidents, why were the Filipinos given permission in the first place, while the “wrong” S’poreans are denied the opportunity to show that they too can be as peacefully and law abiding as Filipinos? Many of these S’poreans did NS, people like GMS, Gilbert Goh, KennethJ, M Ravi, Garbra Gomez. They were trusted with live rounds and M16s. So shouldn’t they be given the benefit of the presumption that they, like the Filipinos, can be trusted not to cause public order problems? OK, OK, I concede that based on some commentates that was put up on his FB wall (now taken down), there is every right to be concerned that GG is advocating violence. [Update at 5.46am GG makes police report allegung posting was fake http://singaporenewsalternative.blogspot.sg/2014/04/singapore-activist-gilbert-goh-made.html%5D
A TRE poster makes another point on this “FTs more equal” attitude
Problem with Singapore is that we are harsh on our own people and soft to the point of bending over for foreigners. If an organisation has planned for such event and advertised in social media, the Police would have called up the organisers and “advise” them to apply for permit first. Police may threaten to charge the organisers. See what happened in this case. All quiet. So, what is the super efficient government’s position? Don’t just take the million salary and keep quiet when we want answers.
This allegation is one that I’ve heard over the yrs: that the police are pro-active in monitoring some S’poreans’ tots to hold public events. Doesn’t take an application to get asked to discuss their plans with the police. I’ve heard allegations that even talking among “friends” about organising an event in a public space could lead to call to have a cup of coffee.
Now I applaud such pro-active behaviour: if applied to everyone. But I’m left wondering why the police doesn’t seem (at least going by their statement) to have been more pro-active with the Filipinos despite the Filipinos making it clear of their intention to party on 8 June in a public space despite not yet applying for a permit (I’m sure they have every intention of applying for the licence and will cancel the event if they don’t get approval)? Shouldn’t the polic3e be calling the Filipino ornaisers? FTs more equal than the “wrong” S’poreans?
Wonder if FTs realise that there are S’poreans (numbers unknown, and who include rational, conservative people like me, thru the woolly, good-hearted, soft middle like TOC and P Ravi, thru to GMS, to Gilbert Goh, nutter, and friends) who think that the govt treats them better than it does S’poreans because FTs help repress the wages of locals esp PMETs, thereby making S’pore a more attractive place for MNCs and landlords?
But maybe they do realise this but think that with people like Kirsten Han, and BG MoM on their side, labeling S’poreans, “xenophobes” and “bigots” for daring to question the govt’s FT policies, they can safely give S’poreans the bird. Sadly, they are unlikely to be wrong.
Somewhat related post
From 1987 to 2012, some 3,400 minors a year on average were granted Singapore citizenship while also holding foreign citizenship, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean said. He was responding to a question in Parliament by Non-Constituency MP Lina Chiam. (CNA a few months ago, January 2014 to be precise)
Could Mrs Chiam or any NMP ask how many of them were males and did NS, like Chen Show Mao?
These tots (and more) crossed my mind when I read that the SPF (
Sarong Party Singapore Police Force) had issued a statement on its Facebook page [Link] today (22 Apr) saying that as at 10am, no permit application has been received for the 116th Philippine Independence Celebration on 8 Jun 2014 at Ngee Ann City.
“Neither have the event organisers shared any plans related to the event with the authorities,”
I called a Filipino community adviser (a true blue S’porean who married a Filipino, so he kanna do NS by his wife) and asked him how come the Filipino organisers dare publicise the venue of the 8th June event even before they had applied for a police permit? Think they own S’pore and the police is it? .Juz because Lucky Plaza is Filipino Plaza? (FYI, Lucky Plaza is across the street from the proposed venue, and so is a natural, rational choice for any Filipino do.)
He said the organisers are Filipinos, not S’poreans. S’poreans know how to organise, and do things the right way; Filipinos only know how to party. Taz why S’pore so rich and the Philippines so poor. I said if this is Foreign Talent organisers at work, waz the Trash like at work? He tot my comment unfair and harsh because every yr there is a new organising committee.
Not like S’pore where there is old blood mentoring the new blood: like LKY mentoring GCT and LHL and GCT mentoring LHL, even though LHL had apprenticed under both for a long time,as did GCT under LKY.
And the organisers are volunteers, who have full time jobs, not civil servants whose job is to organise events.
(BTW, this is how bad the Philippines govt can be in handling a hostage crisis http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27114551)
I then asked him, if the Filipinos had raised the money to pay for the stage and venue? Last time, we met he said that these would cost $55,000.
He said, think any GLC or TLC dare sponsor? Our telcos (esp SingTel) are usually big sponsors of Pinoy events because of the traffic the Filipinos generate: they love to talk, not work.
Again, if this is Foreign Talent organisers at work, waz the Trash like at work? S’poreans would have raised the money before publicising the event. And after getting a permit.
Now my real beef with the organisers: Are the organisers right to be fearful they are of the threats against them? And to KBKW about these threats?
I say “No” because the
— draconian laws on murder and the use of firearms (Maruah take note) and the way the SPF and judiciary work means there are almost no murders or serious violent crimes here (unlike in the Philippines); and
— nutters (my view of them) threatening the organisers don’t go round shooting, killing, beating or even publicly abusing Filipinos in public (they are typical S’porean sheep, in that sense, albeit mad sheep, bleating BS anonymously. So let’s not get carried away with the threat they pose to public safety, and FTs in particular. I’m thinking of BG MoM and Kisten Han. We should, like PM, condemn them, but not profile them as a genuine threat to people and law and order.
At a lunch last Thursday with the above Filipino community adviser, he had to concede my point that S’poreans don’t go round with guns shooting people unlike what the Filipinos (“goons with guns”) do in the Philippines. I told him to tell the organisers not to BS the threats to get public sympathy because fair-minded S’poreans (not FT lovers and FT tua kees like BG Tan and Kisten Han), will not believe them. Am I right on this?
And if the organisers are genuinely are afraid? Are they rational, given how safe S’pore is. I was once at a McDonald’s with an activist who is always criticising the govt. He left his bag (with top end lap top inside) at a table out of sight from the counter where we were lining up. I said bag might be stolen. He said, “S’pore, not US”.
Again, if the organisers are Foreign Talents at work, waz the Trash like?
As to why the adviser didn’t advise the Filipinos on the right way of doing things here? He typical S’porean. If he is asked for advice, he will respond. Otherwise, like a typical S’porean he minds his own biz.. He not like Filipinos who are always free with their advice.
As Easter Island’s tourist industry has taken off, Chileans have moved from the mainland to live here, opening hotels, bars and restaurants.
They now outnumber the Rapa Nui – the original Easter Islanders of Polynesian descent.
That has created tensions. Mr Pakarati describes the islanders as “victims of indiscriminate immigration” from Chile which, culturally, has little in common with the island.
“There isn’t enough space for everyone, enough drinking water, enough fuel,” he says. “This is about sustainability and quality of life.”
Like other Rapa Nui, Mr Pakarati says the number of immigrant residents should be restricted and the locals should have more say in how the island is run.
“Our conflict is not with the Chileans, it’s with the inefficient Chilean state,” he says. “The Rapa Nui are one big tribe, and our territory should belong to us.”
The above, I think, encapsulates the feelings of many PMETs who work with FT PMETS, co-operating and at the same time competing against them. In S’pore, it’s not about enough drinking water, enough fuel; but it’s about wage repression*, cost and asset inflation, crowded public tpt : “This is about sustainability and quality of life.” And that FTs are treated better by the govt and the privileged
This, General MoM and Kirsten Han, you may like to know is why there are S’poreans who are not happy that FTs are allowed in by the container-load. Nothing to do with bigotry or xenophobia. It’s all to do that they, unlike you two, find life hard for themselves and their families in an environment where the presence of FTs keeps real wages from rising, while adding to cost and asset inflation, and crowded public tpt.
Pls don’t call these S’poreans names. Be like PM, he rightly condemned a certain group of S’poreans that deserved being labelled and tarred and thrown into jail. But unlike you, he, an even more privileged S’porean than you, (and ST) didn’t tar everyone who doesn’t the FT policies of his govt https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/unacceptable-apalling-daft-behaviour/, bigots and xenophobes.
Don’t prize FTs until like that. They like S’poreans are human beings, not tua kees to be worshiped.
I’m sure you will deny such labeling of locals, but go reflect on yr choice of words. And be more precise in future.
“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 you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
Four-score Men and Four-score more,
Could not make Humpty Dumpty where he was before.
Privilege has its limitations.
Sigh, sad is the day when this critic of the PAP’s policy of bringing in FTs (where the “T” stands for “Trash”, think of SGX’s CEO, and president) by the container load* has to agree with the PM on an FT related-issue (see his comments at **). And this after agreeing with ST https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/sts-right/. Drove me to drink.
My Facebook avatar posted these (among other comments he made to Goh Meng Seng’s comments that the Filipinos’ event is an attack on S’pore’s sovereignty and speculating of the troubles that could occur if the Indians and PRCs wanted to celebrate their national days in public spaces
— I for one have no issues with any overseas group wanting to celebrate their national day here so long as they do so in compliance with the law. Fact that they are obeying the law of S’pore shows that sovereignty is not an issue. Sovereignty is only an issue when our laws are not respected, and flouted. Of course if they are found breaking the law, they should be deported ASAP and Maruah should sit down and shut up.
— Juz because there are more Indians and PRCs doesn’t make that a problem in itself. There seems to be an assumption that their numbers make them organising a do a problem. Well shouldn’t we assume that they want to organise something peaceful and festive? Or are we assuming that whatever they do they will only riot? And that our police are daft?
He also responded to P Ravi’s http://www.raviphilemon.net/2014/04/hypernationalism-does-no-one-no-good.html as follows:
I don’t think “hypernationalism” or even “nationalism” is the issue. There is a group of very vocal S’poreans who will use any excuse to “whack” the PAP. Sadly ’cause of the way the PAP govt does things, the size of this group is not known. But we do now that based on PE 2011, there are 35% of S’poreans who can be swayed from the “right” way. I’m sure PM and the PAP are having a gd laugh. The people who are denouncing the Filipinos because they hate the PAP are helping the PAP. SIGH.
I like PM am appalled. He at the trolls. Me at the trolls for being so daft as to hand a PR victory to the PAP. Anger at the FT policy is understandable, but verbally abusing FTs and helping the PAP is unacceptable.
But let’s not be too hard on the trolls.They could be confused by what they are hearing from the govt and social media. I’ll be blogging soon on some of Goh Meng Seng’s comments on the matter that have me confused. He seems to be opposed to the event while at the same time encouraging the organisers to go ahead. But I need to clear my head first. Drank too much malt.
**PM’s Facebook message
PM Lee posted a Facebook message on 19 April saying that he was appalled to read about netizens “harassing” the organisers of the Philippines’ Independence Day celebrations.
“They are a disgrace to Singapore,” he said; adding that fortunately, it appeared to be the work of a “few trolls”.
He said, “We must treat people in Singapore the way we ourselves expect to be treated overseas. Many Singaporeans live overseas, and are warmly welcomed in their adopted homes.”
He then talked about the recent Singapore Day celebration in London, “How would we have felt if British netizens had spammed our website, and abused Singaporeans living in Britain?”’We must show that we are generous of spirit and welcome visitors into our midst, even as we manage the foreign population here. Otherwise we will lower our standing in the eyes of the world, and have every reason to be ashamed of ourselves,” he said.
PM Lee’s Facebook post [Link]:
ST wrote an editorial denouncing the ranting against FTs especially the attack on the Filipinos’ planned do. [Update on 20th April 2014 at 6 am:Curb the anti-foreigner ranting ST editorial]
I agree with ST. Last yr I wrote “Pinoys been doing it legally for yrs, so why the rants now?” and I reproduce it below. BTW, the Filipinos cleaned up the park after their event, unlike our environmentalists who talk the talk of honouring the environment but who are no better than litter-bugs https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/litter-bugs-honour-earth-hour/
It’s not often that LKY and Dr Chee agree on anything but they do on one issue
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.
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 …” https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/easy-to-avoid-xenophobe-label/
Pinoys been doing it legally for yrs, so why the rants now?
In Uncategorized on 26/05/2013 at 1:18 pm
There has been plenty of noise and rubbish posted online about the Filipinos’ plan to celebrate the 115th Philippine Independence Day at Hong Lim Park. There are those calling it illegal, cursing the Pinoys, and accusing the police of not doing anything to prevent it. Some of the rants veer toward xenophobia or sedition. All because TRE asked legitimate questions about whether the event was legal.
Why the rants only now when this event has been held for at least two years , if not longer, at Hong Lim*? Just google for that fact. So our police allow an illegal event? This is S’pore, not the Philippines, Thailand, M’sia or Indonesia where can suka suka party or riot anywhere, anytime. This is S’pore where Harry’s Law** is enforced.
I asked a police contact whether a permit was needed to stage it, and was told that a permit was needed. Another contact told me that every yr since it began, the Filipino embassy had applied, and been given permission, for the event to be held.
It is not like the Merlion
riots demonstrations where garang, qua-lan, and lazy and cowardly (don’t want to go to JB) M’sian FTs working here, unhappy that Anwar lost the M’sian elections, broke the admittedly, very draconian and KS law on the staging of public events without a police permit.
The Filipinos played it by the book, so let them enjoy themselves***, just like other govts allow S’poreans to enjoy themselves on our National Day in their countries’ public spaces.
We may not like the PAP govt’s perceived pro-FT policy, that Pinoy HR managers in MNCs prefer to employ Pinoys, and that Pinoy (and Indian and M’sian and PRC) FT PMETs are taking away jobs or keeping salaries low here: but let’s not be like our constructive, nation-building media (example from Alex Au) or the Todds, who have lost all credibility because they talk rubbish.
Netizens should have a lot more sense than our local media or the Todds. Otherwise, netizens deserve our local media, and the PAP govt.
*When I pointed out to TRE that this event had been an on-going event and gave them the above link, so that TRE could give its readers the facts, the editor asked me to write about it. I don’t blame TRE for not googling before writing its piece because it is a two-person outfit. One man focuses on IT and the other on content. Both have full time jobs, and families. Worse, they have to spend their own money keeping TRE alive: tee-shirts and donations don’t cover the IT costs. And if TRE closes down because of a lack of funds, it’s netizens fault! Open yr wallets. Don’t juz post that you will donate or have donated, then do nothing.
**Everything is prohibited, unless allowed.
***Our NSmen need their Filipino (and SRi Lankan, Burmese and Indon) maids to carry their gear when our NSmen go on route marches.
DBS Bank yesterday said that it will buy the Asian private banking business of Societe Generale for US$220 million, accelerating its ambition of becoming a leading wealth manager in Asia.
The deal will also widen the gap with DBS’s closest rival, the Bank of Singapore, a unit of OCBC Bank.
The price represents about 1.75 per cent of assets under management (AUM), based on the AUM of Societe Generale Private Banking Asia (SGPB Asia) of US$12.6 billion as at last Dec 31. This is a steal: OCBC in 2oio paid US$1.46bn which represents 5.8% of the unit’s assets under management, after adjusting for surplus capital of US$550m*.
Last Tuesday’s BT went on: DBS’s AUM will go up by about 23 per cent to S$85 billion from the current S$69 billion with the purchase, seven months after it was reported the French lender wanted to divest the business to redeploy capital into its core markets.
Swiss bank UBS is the largest private bank in Asia-Pacific, followed by Citi Private Bank and Credit Suisse, in that order according to trade journal Private Banker International in a 2012 survey.
That survey ranked DBS and Bank of Singapore ninth and 10th, respectively.
DBS is onto a winner with this FT and his FT COO. Well DBS deserves it, given the FTs it has had where “T” stands for Trash. SGX needs that kind of luck where both its CEO and COO are FTs where “T” certainly doesn’t stand for Talent. They did Temasek no favours by saying everything was kosher about the share price movements of Olam (More on this next week).
Coming back to OCBC. Its CEO is a Hongkie FT with great credentials. But he hasn’t shown whether the “T” is for Talent or Trash. So far the mkt inclines to the latter. OCBC’s share price crashed (and have yet to recover) when OCBC annced purchase of Hong Kong’s Wing Hang Bank few months ago. Deal is still pending. Hopefully, it dies a natural death.
My fav bank is still UOB where the chairman and CEO are true blue S’poreans. But UOB has limited visions which suits my taste here. DBS is for those who want to own a bank can be the leading regional bank in place of CIMB. It always had the vision but the FTs leading it let it down. Gupta has the talent (and luck) to make it the leading regional bank despite DBS not having significant presences in Indonesia and M’sia. It’s expansion plans in Indonesia were thwarted. S’pore has to play ball with Indonesia (allowing Indonesian banks more privileges here) for DBS to be able to buy Temasek’s Bank Danamon stake.
Finally, yesterday’s BT had a story about the difficulties our three banks were facing. UOB’s finance director said “Funding pressures will serve as a growth constraint for mid-sized banks like us outside of Singapore, particularly amid a backdrop of tightened liquidity conditions in the region. UOB has always emphasised funding stability. We must also be selective in the customer segment we engage in and avoid large concentration risks.” Taz straight talk.
So is [C]ompetition in US-dollar funding is likely to intensify, given the anticipated growth in trade financing, and the liquidity requirements of Basel III, says OCBC’s Mr Tan. Trade financing is still mostly greenback-denominated.
DBS’s Ms Chng says: “The so-called ‘balkani-sation’ of the financial landscape is an emerging risk, potentially resulting in captive capital and liquidity pools within each jurisdiction and impacting the pursuit of synergies across regional operations.”
But sadly they couldn’t resist sprouting PR rubbish
“From a capital perspective,” says Darren Tan, chief financial officer of OCBC Bank, which is negotiating to buy Hong Kong’s Wing Hang Bank, “we prefer to acquire majority stakes where possible. However, in instances where a majority stake is not immediately available, we will still give the opportunity due consideration if there is strategic value in the acquisition.”
United Overseas Bank’s approach to overseas growth is to expand the platform for customers to tap trade flows within the region, says its CFO, Lee Wai Fai.
DBS puts priority on pursuing organic growth, and adopts “a disciplined approach” to M&A, says Chng Sok Hui, its CFO … She adds that DBS is adopting a digital strategy to expand its footprint in growth markets.
What do they mean?
*My 2010 analysis: But maybe OCBC shld have waited. The purchase of ING’s Asian private banking business could come to haunt OCBC. A few days before this deal was annced, ING sold its European biz, at a fraction of the multiple that it got for Asia. Only time will tell if the growth in Asian wealth and OCBC’s ability to grow the private banking biz will justify the hefty premium that OCBC paid.
It paid US$1.46bn which represents 5.8% of the unit’s assets under management, after adjusting for surplus capital of US$550m. This compares with the 2.3% measure paid by Julius Baer for ING’s Swiss assets which is in line with another European purchase by an American private equity group of a smallish private banking outfit — RHJI’s purchase of Kleinworth Benson from Commerzbank.
Trumpets pls. BTW, I don’t blame the previous FT CEO of OCBC, Richard O’Connor. He was retiring. In such circumstances, usually the CEO would not take the lead in such a move: he’d go with the flow. Rightly, as he wouldn’t be the person running the show.. This is what happened here, I’m reliably informed. BTW too, he did a great job. Ngiam Tong Dow (remember him) called him an honorary S’porean, I think.
… Google managers need to keep their staff happy because, Mr Teller says, you don’t need your manager’s permission to leave a particular section if you believe they are behaving in an obnoxious manner.
“Not only will you leave but everyone will leave and that guy is going to find himself voted off the island by his own people,” he adds. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25880738) Emphasis mine.
Hmm bit like general elections. Opps forgot that we got the GRC system. So we can’t vote the PAP out even if another 11% of the voters change their minds about the PAP in the next GE. Those who predict that in the next GE, the PAP will lose power should remember this in their lucid moments when they lapse into sanity.
Seriously, maybe the number of true blue S’poreans, migrating (https://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/spore-inc-are-local-talents-emigrating-too-fast/) and the low birth rate* is the way S’poreans are telling the PAP that the PAP sucks? Even if 60% of the voters continue voting for the PAP.
But never mind, maybe PAP is thinking like this?
After the uprising of the 17th of June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed …
Stating that the people
Had thrown away the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?
(The writer, Bertolt Brecht, was a famous playwright, a Hollywood screen writer in the golden years of Hollywood in the 1930s) and a Marxist activist.) https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/rewriting-lkys-views-on-fts-and-if-so-why/
Coming back to the Google manager:
You must reward people for failing, he says. If not, they won’t take risks and make breakthroughs. If you don’t reward failure, people will hang on to a doomed idea for fear of the consequences. That wastes time and saps an organisation’s spirit.
Finding new transformational ideas is like sending out a team of scouts to explore uncharted terrain for new mountains to climb, he says.
“If you shame them when they come back, if you tell them that they’ve failed you because they didn’t find a mountain, no matter how diligently they looked for or how cleverly they looked for it, those scouts will quit your company.”
But this is no excuse for those in Home Team. They are not creative types: they are employed to prevent things happening (breach of border security) or escalating (senior police commanders). From the I(ndian?) http://theindependent.sg/review-the-home-team/
BTW, I’m glad the
Indian stopped the self-defeating habit of not allowing one to read its article unless one “Liked” it. I always moved on. I mean how to “Like” something before one read it? So PAPpish or CCP, not the spirit of the world’s largest democracy.
*Update at 5.00am: Juz read this
Now the big problem is a rock-bottom low birthrate — with a fertility rate under 1.2 – barely half that necessary to replace the current population, which threatens to turn this ultra-dynamic city state into a giant old-age home.
The reasons for this plunge, according to demographer Gavin Jones at the National University of Singapore, lie largely in such things as long working hours and ever-rising housing costs, something that has been boosted by foreign purchases of private residences. With large apartments increasingly expensive, Singaporeans, particularly those with children, often think of emigrating to less expensive or at least roomier places such as the United States, Australia and New Zealand. One recent survey estimated that over half of Singaporeans want to migrate; the World Bank estimates upward of 300,000 Singaporeans have moved abroad, accounting for almost one in 10 citizens. …
.One key element relates to focusing on how to nurture families once again, and to recapture that sense of Singaporean-ness that makes the place so special. It is not so much a matter of financial incentives — these have not worked — as in controlling housing costs, expanding space for families, and most importantly, finding better ways to balance life and work.
Already some initial steps to humanize the metropolis are taking place. These include a remarkable expansion and improvement of green space, and attempts to decentralize work around the newer state housing estates and commercial developments. Steps to increase the size of apartments, repurpose aging shopping and office structure for housing as well as encouraging more home-based work could also prove helpful. These changes will be critical if the world’s most successful city wants to remain so in the decades ahead.
It’s time for the govt to release productivity data on the various sectors rather than juz harp that productivity levels are not gd enough.. We can then see if the govt is telling us the truth that productivity increases lead to pay rises.
Cleaning and F&B are examples, however, of Singapore’s less productive sectors. These and sectors such as construction, security and retail have been hiring more workers and thus continue to pull down Singapore’s overall labour productivity growth, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Lim Swee Say.
This is why Singapore’s labour productivity was flat last year, a cautionary sign that despite “healthy signs that the economy is shifting to a new trend … we are not full steam ahead yet”, said Mr Lim. Singapore thus needs a “greater and broader sense of urgency” in its productivity efforts, he said.(5 March wed BT)
I read some where recently that Japan is one of the most productive nations as a result of aging and the refusal to let in the
dogs FTs. The Japs use robots, lots of them.
But despite Japan’s success in growing per capita better than other Western countries (something we don’t hear from our Jap bashing ministers and their media allies) giving the lie that more FTs are needed, we need to accept that the PAP is not BSing completely when it comes to the consequences of ageing population and immigration.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore has to strike a balance between maintaining its competitiveness and caring about the less well-off as it strives to reduce the income gap. (CNA report a few weeks ago: More extracts at end oif article).
And the Budget statement and the spin that the conastructive, nation-building media has been putting on it esp the Pioneer package is along the same lines.
We all know that an election is coming round the corner and we know the PM (remember the 2011 “Sorry”, followed after the GE with massive tpt breakdowns and the population white paper, the latter issued juz before NatCon?)
So PM and the PAP has to walk the walk, not juz talking the talk.
The benefits for the pioneer generation are a gd, if a belatedly and niggardly start. Still got to start sometime and somewhere. It helps the pioneers and their children.and grandchildren who are caring for them**. Here are some things that PM can do to show the govt cares. They cost nothing going by what ministers said when defending these rules.
–Scrap the MediShield limit. It doesn’t cost anything as a minister has admitted but will give S’poreans peace of mind.
Since the inception of Medisave-approved Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) in 2005, no IP policyholder has reached his lifetime claim limit.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said this in a written reply to a Parliamentary question from Hougang Single-Member Constituency MP Png Eng Huat about the number of Singaporeans who are no longer insurable under MediShield or Medisave-approved Integrated Shield Plans.
This could be due to exhausted benefits and claim limits upon diagnosis of major illnesses.
Mr Gan said that the MediShield lifetime limit was increased in 2005, and more recently in March last year from S$200,000 to S$300,000. (CNA sometime back)
— Fix the flaw in CPF Life Plans
There is a provision in the law governing the CPF Life Plans which states that payouts are contingent on the Plans being solvent. This is because premiums that are paid in to get the annuities are pooled and collectively invested. If the plan you chose doesn’t have enough money to pay out, you die. This is unlike the [Minimum Sum] scheme, where account holders are legally entitled to the monies in their CPF accounts … (https://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/best-cpf-life-plan/). Even if the rules to access these monies make a mockery of the ownership, at least (so far) the beneficiaries can inherit the monies. (Remember that when Roy Ngerng again asserts (as he regularly does) that CPF contributions should be classified as a social security tax. He would wouldn’t he? He thinks the PAP is oppressing us, even though as a critic and self-outed gay, ISD is ignoring him.)
The government has said the provision on solvency is only a precaution unlikely ever to be used. If so, why have it? Again, this is a peace of mind issue. It was again Gan who made this assurance when he was MoM.
Finally, the PM should apologise for VivianB’s sneer at the elderly poor all those yrs ago
Or make him make a fulsome apology.Even ex-Red Guards are apologising for their actions in the Cultural Revolution.
Even if … made amends for selfish or political reasons, their words and gestures are still important, says [a historian]. “It is still better than those who refuse to repent until they die. The conflict and hatred should be solved. The nation must move forward.”
Why, I am I not asking him to be sacked? He is actually a gd environment minister. For starters, there are no more 50-yr floods***. Secondly, in my area (Marine Parade, East Coast), there are now regular cutting of shrubs and grass at empty plots of land and along pathways. There is also an attempt to ensure that in spots where ponding regularly occurs after the rain: attempts are made to fill in the spots and re vegetate them. Yaacob and his French cook of a chef never bothered.
And Vivian did get the Indons to do something about the haze by practicising megaphone diplomacy https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/haze-pm-silence-is-not-a-solution/. Yaacob was sensitive to Indonesians’ attitude to S’pore and kept quiet: he always liddat. Took PM to rebuke his dad on Malay integration. Yaacob muttered, “Worse case scenario”.
*He made the comment in an interview with China’s New Century — a magazine by Beijing-based media group Caixin — which was published a few Mondays ago.
Mr Lee said there is a need to keep a balance between the yin, which he described as caring for one another, and the yang, which is the “competitive element that drives the society forward”.
“If you go too much towards competitiveness, you lose that cohesion and sense of being Singaporeans together,” Mr Lee said.
“If we go… the other way and say, well, we don’t compete… I think we will all be losers.”
He acknowledged that the competitive environment in Singapore is getting fiercer and conditions are getting more challenging for middle and lower-income groups in many societies.
Alluding to the concept of yin and yang, he said Singapore needs to do more to “tilt the balance towards the yin side” — the element of care and concern for others.
This means greater help for the low-income groups as well as keeping society more open, so that the people who have talent can move up and will not be daunted by the gaps in incomes between the rich and poor, which is what Singapore has been doing, he added.
In reply to a question, Mr Lee acknowledged that while the income gap in Singapore is wider than most other countries, it was not as wide when compared to other cities.
But rather than bringing those in the higher income bracket down, he said it is important to focus on levelling-up the wider population.
He also said Singaporeans have to stay connected to the rest of the world, particularly the Asian region as it offers many opportunities.
Describing Singaporeans as hardworking and talented, he said: “I think the best way to make use of their talents and their abilities is not just to confine (them) within Singapore, but to connect to what’s happening around us.
“So if a company sets up an operation in Singapore, it’s not just for our market, but for the region.
“And if our people have abilities as managers and leaders, they can be managers and leaders not just in Singapore, but they can go out and there are many operations, many companies all over the region which will find a good Asian executive a very considerable asset.”
Prime Minister Lee believes as society changes, so too will Singapore’s political structure, as he cited how it has evolved over the years.
He said: “I think as we go forward, we will probably have to make further adjustments, surely, because our society will change.
“I believe that there will be a greater degree of competition, there will be a greater desire of Singaporeans to participate in the political process. And we ought to accommodate that, because it’s good that Singaporeans care about the affairs of the country and which way Singapore is going.
“But whatever we change, we still want a system where you encourage good people to come forward — you encourage voters to elect people who will represent their interests well, and you encourage the government to act in a way which will take the long-term interests of the country at heart.
“And that’s not easy to do.”
**A constructive suggestion: “Will eldercare be as common as childcare?” (BBC Online)
***OK it hasn’t been raining.
Singapore Business Federation chief operating officer Victor Tay said: Measures taken to tighten the inflow of foreign PMETs “are already quite comprehensive and align with the American and European standards” and he doubts the government will go further. (Monday’s BT).
Can GG tell us if Victor Tay is telling the truth? And if he (GG) is satisfied?
If he isn’t satisfied, pls tell us why. If he is, no need to organise demonstrations that no-one attends. Juz tell local PMETs to vote PAP in next GE. They listen.
Err pigs will fly first or GG becomes attractive to S’pore wimmin. LOL.
(And so is Paper General Tan)
Yesterday, I blogged about a HDB owner worried that he would lose money on his HDB flat and wanted assurances from govt that this wouldn’t happen.
When even a property mogul asks the govt to review restrictions, it’s clear that Khaw is getting something right. Last Saturday BT reported the following:
IT is time for the government to tweak some of its property cooling measures such as the additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD), given concerns over the global economy and signs that the property market here is slowing down, said Kwek Leng Beng, executive chairman of Hong Leong Group Singapore and property developer City Developments.
He suggested that the government consider lifting the hefty stamp duties imposed on foreigners when they buy property here, and replace it with a tax on sellers who offload their property three or four years after snapping it up.
“Everybody is attracting foreigners today to their countries. We should attract foreigners. But if . . . you penalise them by having to pay additional tax, then they (will) say you don’t welcome me.
“So why don’t you (the government) just say, if you sell within three years, four years, then I tax you. You come in (and buy property) I don’t want to tax. I think this is one way,” said Mr Kwek, who was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (Redas) Spring Festival lunch yesterday.
The government can also consider lifting ABSD for locals – who are subject to the additional tax when they purchase more than one home – and permanent residents, he said.
“I don’t think there is a lot of speculation. The prices are high because developers have got no land stock . . . in the land bank. (At the same time) they have to survive, they cannot let business come to a standstill.
“So I think for some of these, we will (need to) have a dialogue with the government . . . I think the government has the bigger picture. We leave it to them. They are trying their best. They want a stabilised market. We will cooperate with them.”
Mr Kwek’s comments come amid signs that the housing market is slowing down. Statistics from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed that for the last three months of 2013, private home prices fell 0.9 per cent – the first quarterly drop in about two years. For the full year, URA’s overall private home price index ended 1.1 per cent higher – a smaller gain compared with the 2.8 per cent recorded in 2012.
And when developers talk like this you know that they are concerned that MoM is monitoring their work practices:
Besides working closely with the government to build a healthy property market, developers will also work closely with the government on the next phase of nation-building and real estate development to achieve a “distinctive, high-quality living environment for all”, said Chia Boon Kuah, president of Redas.
This means that construction activity will remain at high levels and continue unabated for several years, making it “ever more important to re-focus our collective attention on workplace safety and welfare of the some 30,000 migrant workers in our industry”, he said.
“As developers, we should support our contractors in showing duty of care for the health, safety and welfare of these workers. This enhances productivity, which, in the long run, translates into benefits for all.”
Last month, a worksite accident in Sentosa left one foreign worker dead and 10 others injured.
The death of the worker takes the number of fatalities at worksite accidents to nine in just over a month, prompting Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin to write on his blog that the recent spate of accidents was “not tenable”.
Developers and contractors should, therefore, “up the ante on workplace safety training and communication” and “recognise the contributions these workers make to our country”, said Mr Chia, who is also group president and chief executive of developer GuocoLand.
Redas would hold a forum to identify and discuss common causes behind construction workplace accidents, challenges to risk reduction and best practices, he said.
Two cheers each for Khaw, Mom Tan and of course their boss, the PM. Three cheers for each is a cheer too far.
two cheers for
“Sorry”. For what specifically you may ask? There are many things the PAP should repent for after all.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will announce the details of the Pioneer Generation Package on Sunday. Social and Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing said the package will take care of the seniors for the rest of their time as Singaporeans.
Mr Chan said: “It is not about giving them something for one year and that’s it. It is more than that. It is a package… to take care of them for the rest of their time as Singaporeans, and the rest of the time they are with us.
“We want to make this commitment because it is a testimony to what we believe as a nation, that as the Chinese say, ‘yin shui si yuan’, (meaning) when we drink from the well, we will remember the source.”
Mr Chan was speaking at a Lunar New Year dinner for residents from Tanjong Pagar GRC.
He added that a key focus of the package will be on healthcare costs, noting that this will help those who are taking care of the pioneer generation.
Mr Chan said: “And we also understand that for many younger parents, the younger generation people who are supporting the pioneer generation, that healthcare has been a main focus for them.
“And because of this, we will focus the first step of the Pioneer Generation Package on giving the pioneer generation and their families a sense of assurance that their healthcare (needs) will be taken care of by the society as a whole.” CNA
Of course the devil is in the details, and it could be juz spin. But I’ll give the PAP and the govt the benefit of the doubt ’cause the general election is round the corner: 2015 is my prediction.
Here’s a constructive, nation-building, and vote-winning suggestion for the PAP: If the PM really wants to show his sincerity, he should, on behalf of the cabinet, apologise to the pioneer generation for his then welfare’s minister’s sneering words aimed at the unfortunate members of the pioneer generation.
Dr Lily Neo:
Sir, I want to check with the Minister again when he said on the strict criteria on the entitlement for PA recipients. May I ask him what is his definition of “subsistence living”? Am I correct to say that, out of $260 per month for PA recipients, $100 goes to rental, power supply and S&C and leaving them with only $5 a day to live on? Am I correct to say that any basic meal in any hawker centre is already $2.50 to $3.00 per meal? Therefore, is it too much to ask for just three meals a day as an entitlement for the PA recipients?
Dr Vivian Balakrishnan:
How much do you want? Do you want three meals in a hawker centre, food court or restaurant?
To add insult to the pain of this slap, said minister was overspending on his pet project: the Kiddie Games: S$387m (more than 3x the estimated S$122m). To be fair, the original budgets of these kinds of events are always works of fiction. The sponsors always keep demanding more, while the organisers always underestimate: ome reason why it seems one LKY never had S’pore bid for such prestige events.
The minister did not apologise. Nor did the PM or any other minister rebuke the minister in public or disown his remarks: though to be fair to the govt, Lily Neo did get her wish: there was a relatively big increase later. This could be the govt repenting privately?
But if it waz private repentance, doing it quietly doesn’t do the PAP any gd. A public apology for the remarks made by that rich, privileged ACS kid would be a gd start to the PAP’s GE campaign, showing that it really, really appreciates the pioneer generation. It should because its intl’ reputation as a successful govt, and grip on power owe much to the pioneer generation willingness to “eat bitter”, something that their children (increasingly) and grandchildren (100%) are unwilling to do anymore. Blame, partially, the mega-rise in ministerial salaries in the 90s. Only partially because better education and the internet have led them to expect more from the govt. On its part the PAP failed to keep the basics affordable: look at the cost of education, public tpt and public housing. On healthcare, decent healthcare has always been expensive.
(Update on 23 January 2014: TOC has confirmed that his present employer is Crossinvest*: Mr Casey’s firm Crossinvest Asia is investigating his comments and is set to take “appropriate action” once the review is completed, British newspaper, The Independent reported.
In a statement, Managing director Christophe Audergon said: “Crossinvest does not condone the comments. We believe they were made in poor taste.”
I’m very certain, he will be moving on from Crossinvest given that: The Company was created out of a Swiss single family office with almost three decades of leading experience and presence in Switzerland. We operate based on the finest Swiss Private banking traditions.
Well among the finest Swiss Private banking traditions are
— discretion; and.
— operating in the shadows, leaving no fingerprints behind.
Don’t see Casey meeting these standards.
As to my thinking he worked at HSBC, it was an honest mistake.)
I am a long-time shareholder (since 1984) and a client (since 1981), and am someone who has had friends working there: locals and international officers, and am writing this letter more in sorrow than anger.
I hope HSBC does the right thing by S’poreans especially its local customers, and moves on the FT (where T stands for Trash not Talent) by the name of Anton Casey out of the bank. His so-called attempt at humour does not reflect well on the bank because he is holding a senior position in wealth management.
One would be reasonable in wondering of the quality and discretion of HSBC’s management when such a senior executive exercises such an appalling lack of judgement and sensitivity. Especially since HSBC prides itself on being the “global local bank”.
His behaviour also insults the international officers. I knew and worked with a few of them in the early 1980s on various projects. They were all minor public school boys who would never ever stoop to such insulting behaviour which they would have rightly called ‘hooliganish” and “racist”.
HSBC has always had a tradition of good customer service: it even built larger-than-usual cashier windows in Mexican branches to get more notes through, making it easier for the drug barons to deposit cash.https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/hsbc-returned-to-roots/
So in the spirit of serving the customer and being the “global local bank”, move him out of the bank. His apology should not excuse his most unbecoming behaviour.
CI aka E.K. Tan
It might be the season to be jolly and of peace and goodwill, what with the Christmas and NY hols gone and the CNY hols coming, but the human rights activists have really got my goat.
The contrast between their vocal support for FT deportess, and their seeming indifference to S’poreans detained without trial make me sick.
Last Friday, it was reported by CNA that, “MHA has placed the son of Singapore Jemaah Islamiyah leader Mas Selamat Kastari under a two-year detention. Masyhadi Mas Selamat, 25, was detained on 21 November 2013 on an Order of Detention under the ISA.”
The silence on his detention from the usual human rights kay pohs is deafening.
TOC, Maruah, Vincent Wijeysingha, Rachel Zeng, Kirsten Han etc etc were all up in arms demanding justice for the manual migrant workers detained by the police after the riot. They were upset many of those detsined were then given air-tickets to move on out of S’pore, rather than sent for trial. Some had the charges withdrawn and the court granted them discharges amounting to acquittals and then were deported, while many were never charged, just deported. They demanded “due process” for these FTs, even though as someone posted on Facebook, ” Rightly or wrongly, deportation is more lenient than jail and caning.” A lot more, so is it fair to insist as the kay pohs do that the courts must be involved in “due process”? One could even argue that the govt is being easy on “alleged” rioters.
The deportation law is draconian but there are more draconian laws that true blue S’poreans are subject to: the Internal Security Act and the Criminal Law Temporary Provision Act.
They allow the govt to detain almost indefinitely people who never had the benefit of a trial. The former is nowadays used to detain alleged “Islamic” terrorists, while the latter is used to detain Dan Tan (the guy alleged to have fixed footie matches) and alleged drug dealers (mules get murdered, judicially, after due process if they don’t have useful evidence).
Yes, yes, I know that TOC and Maruah have spoken out against these laws (albeit once upon a time) and have called for their abolition (again once upon a time), and I’m sure Vincent, Kirsten, Rachel etc etc, if asked, will say they oppose these laws and want them abolished.
Still, their silence*, or indifference(?) whenever the govt and mainstream media report these detentions (and they do) when contrasted with the chorus of disapproval and outrage over what is happening to the alleged rioters, and deportees is disturbing at the very least. Double standards?
I have never heard any activist say about Dan Tan, Masyhadi or any other alleged Islamic terrorist, or drug dealer, “Activists, while often faced with heart-wrenching stories, are not just bleeding hearts. Behind the criticism lies a much bigger issue: that of access to justice and due process … But we are obliged to ensure that they have access to justice.” (Kirsten Han in http://sg.news.yahoo.com/blogs/singaporescene/did-deported-workers-deserve-time-court-015254163.html)
As I wrote last year: The coming deafening silence [referring to Dan Tan’s case] of the usual human rights kay pohs will tell us a lot of their prejudices: they are supportive of FT drug mules, and middle class anti-PAP activists. But not working class criminal suspects (no-one is complaining that Vui Kong’s alleged drug lord is held under
ISA CLTPA) or those whom the govt alleges are Islamic radicals. Touch a FT or a middle class anti-PAP activist, and the screams will be deafening, even if it’s juz a policeman paying a home visit.
Are S’poreans too not worthy of “justice and due process”, Ms Han? They too like FTs are human
59 not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,
60 dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with
61 the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
62 to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
63 warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as
64 a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
65 if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison
66 us, do we not die?
(Shylock in The Merchant of Venice)
A wicked, cynical, unworthy and doubtless mistaken tot. Could it because our kay pohs know that ang mohs are not too fussed when alleged drug dealers, footie fixers and Islamic terrorists are detained? Only when migrant workers are? http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2013-12-18/human-rights-activists-accuse-singapore-of-failing-to-recognise-the-rights-of-rioters/1236768
Since the CIA and MI6 are pretty relaxed about working with countries that do not give alleged Islamic terrorists “access to justice and due process”, one can legitimately (if unreasonably) ask if these agencies have managed to influence our kay pohs.
Let me be clear, the kay pohs like Ms Han etc have every right to champion and fight any cause they like: if they want justice for FTs, taz their right. They also have the right not to want justice for S’poreans. They are free to do what they want to do. But I, and other S’poreans, are entitled to make judgements based on their actions, silence and inaction.
My judgement is that “FTs tua kee” attitude is not confined only to the govt: our kay pohs too take pride in it too. Why like that meh? Hath
59 not a S’porean eyes? hath not a S’porean hands, organs,
60 dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with
61 the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
62 to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
63 warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as
64 a FT is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
65 if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison
66 us, do we not die?
*WP asked about Dan Tan in parly getting the standard non-answer. BTW, surprised that DPM Teo didn’t ask Auntie, “Bookie ask WP to ask question meh?”. But then, DPM Teo’s late father was a gentleman and must have brought up DPM Teo the “right” way. BTW2, I understand that Maruah had planned to denounce Dan Tan’s detention, but that the media release got lost. An honest mistake, I assume? Like holding a seminar in Little India on “struggle for workers’ rights” weeks after a riot there, albeit on a day unlikely to have many workers in the area?
Two Saturdays ago, I blogged:
After the general election (GE) in May, Malaysia was put on notice by the international rating agencies that it had to get its fiscal discipline right. Prime Minister Najib Razak responded by first cutting fuel subsidies and raising petrol prices by 10 per cent in September.
In his October Budget, Mr Najib abolished sugar subsides and pledged to cut total subsidies by 17 per cent in the financial year. The Budget did not achieve that, so most commentators expect more fuel subsidy cuts possibly in the second half of the year. Mr Najib also promised a 6 per cent goods and services tax (GST) by next April.
Indonesia too has a problem with its fuel subsidy: it’s eating up a growing share of the budget, and meanwhile Thailand has a problem with its rice subsidy for farmers. It’s so bad that there are reports that there are farmers not receiving the subsidy. The govt doesn’t have the money.
S’pore govt doesn’t have this problem: the govt doesn’t do subsidies (except in public housing, healthcare and public tpt*: though even PAP Wormtongues** like that Jason chap cannot explain where the subsidies are in healthcare and public housing: they can only repeat parrot-like the govt’s statements about the subsidies, which is there is a subsidy).
The govt claims a more focused, targeted approach in helping the needy.
But sadly in its targeted, focused approach in helping the needy, it believes in the values of Scrooge as I blogged here. I won’t go into the details on its meanness in helping poorer or older S’poreans ’cause Uncle Leong has repeatedly provided the numbers detailing its Scrooginess. But juz to remind, here is one example: Workfare is gd in principle (better than minimum wage) in my view, but too mean.
And even when it increases welfare spending by a few pennies: Acting Culture, Community and Youth Minister Lawrence Wong has cautioned against getting Singapore into debt, even as the government ramps up social assistance.
He said state spending has to be kept sustainable to avoid passing the burden to future generations.http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-must-be-careful/889756.html
M’sia, Indonesia and Thailand have got their finances messed up because of the use of subsidies but they understand one thing: that spending on welfare is an investment in human resources. What they got wrong is welfare by way of subsidies.
Our govt has got the right idea on subsidies: they are often wasteful, always juz grow and grow, and, often, the people who don’t need them benefit the most, example middle class people and the wealthy benefit the most from any fuel subsidy, not the poor.
But it hasn’t got it: that spending on welfare can be an investment in people. This is something that developed countries, our Asean neighbours, China, India understand. But our govt doesn’t seem not to understand: it’s a Hard Truth thatwelfare spending is a waste of resources. The money could be given to Temasek and GIC to punt the markets is another Hard truth.
If the PAP wants to reconnect with the 40% of voters who voted against the PAP in the last GE, and please its base (including the 35% that “Die, die must vote PAP” , it should rethink its Hard Truth that welfare spending is consumption, not investment. However anti-PAP paper activists should be glad that the govt is unlikely to change its thinking.
As ex-scholar Donald Low put it: “What all this points to is that we really need a more robust welfare system that gives Singaporeans much greater assurance of income when they are unemployed, old or sick. The low fertility rate and the desire of even well-to-do Singaporeans to retire somewhere else are signs that the state needs to craft a new social contract with Singaporeans, that it needs to develop more mechanisms to pool risks and give Singaporeans security.
The argument that we cannot afford all these because the population is ageing is mostly a bogeyman. It is partly because we don’t have a proper welfare system that the population is ageing as rapidly as it is. This has also been the experience in much of East Asia – where the relative absence of social security led to falling fertility rates and eventually, rapid ageing.”
But anti-govt activists should be worried that he is Associate Dean (Executive Education and Research) at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Maybe, juz maybe, there’ll be changes in the mentality of the PAP.
*Even the S$1.1bn spent on tpt is spare change as it’s spread out over five yrs, I think.
**Wormtongue is a minor character in The Lord of the Rings: his name describes his character.
It’ll soon be a month since the disturbance in Little India which has rattled S’poreans (that they over-reacted). Even the PM was rattled, so much so that he still talked a lot of cock about it at Christmas http://singaporedesk.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taking-easy-way-out.html.
Here are some relevant facts that I’ve discovered that are not reported in our constructive nation-building media or in the usually anti govt alternative media that I hope will help S’poreans towards a right understanding of the riot and surrounding issues:
— Alcohol is available in the dormitories’ supermarkets. I had tot they were banned from selling alcohol. The most popular brands are two imported brands from India (one is Kingfisher, the other I can’t recall), followed by our very own ABC. Needless to say, the beers are not yr normal strength beers: they have alcohol content sof 10-12% versus the usual 4%.
— To avoid problems, the beer is only sold in cans, not bottles. For those who’ve not been involved in drunken brawls: broken beer bottles are useful in a fight. Just grab the handle of an empty bottle (no point wasting gd beer), and smash it against a wall and you are ready to maim or kill. But if the police catch you with it even if no-one is injured by it, it’s the cane after “due process”.
— Despite these sales, there are no reports in the alternative media about brawls, scenes of drunkenness near the supermarkets. Maybe, the workers are responsible drinkers? Or TOC, TRE reporters don’t do dorm visits (unlike Lianain Films)? As for ST and other MSM publications reporting such fights, they wouldn’t report such frights even if they happened outside their doorsteps would they? They will call Yaacob and ask,”Is there a fight? What are the right facts for us to report?”?
— The Little India shopkeepers (and their landlords) made great money off these workers. I’ve heard that a small shop selling veggies could gross S$90,000 in sales on a gd weekend day. When you hear media reports of the bizmen in the area moaning, bear this in mind. BTW, I understand that the dorm supermarkets’ prices of Indian, Bangladeshi favourites and staples are competitive. It’s juz that the workers love shopping in Little India: it’s their home away from home.
— Prior to the riot, Little India on weekends wasn’t a nice place to hold seminars on “the struggle for workers’ rights” (Maruah tried to hold its do on a Monday) or for romantic dates. A beer marketing executive,who regularly tours outlets, says that fights and drunkenness were a common occurrences in the area. Guess minister Lui didn’t speak up about too many alcohol outlets because of the previous observation about the profits being made. Let me very clear, if Boat Quay or Clarke Quay were as crowded as little India on weekends, they too would be unpleasant places. No ang moh tua kee pls. Besides our manual worker guests don’t beat up taxi-drivers for sport: only drunken ang mohs do it, then flee or plead they are depressed.
— Since the riot, I’ve seen more workers going to and returning from the the Marine Parade sea front on weekends and public hols. I expect the area to remain peaceful and crime free.
They come hear to earn a living, a hard one: not to get drunk, brawl , steal or molest. They are like us
59 not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,
60 dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with
61 the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
62 to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
63 warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as
64 a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
65 if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison
66 us, do we not die?
(Shylock in The Merchant of Venice)
Readers will know I support deportation* as an administrative measure in lieu of being charged for criminal offences. Still as someone in agreement with the govt’s stand, the Law Minister’s explanation on the use of deportation, as reported here, is most shocking and disturbing:
Mr K Shanmugam, the minister in question, reportedly said that “repatriation happens on a regular basis.”
Of the 53, he said:
“If every case has got to go to court and a judge makes a decision, then repatriation decisions becomes [sic] judicial rather than administrative. Then every foreigner is entitled to stay here at taxpayers’ expense, housed here at taxpayers’ expense, it could stretch on a year or more.” (CNA)
By talking of the cost of judicial process for migrant workers, isn’t the govt telling us they are lesser mortals, where only cost is an issue? Hath
59 not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,
60 dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with
61 the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
62 to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
63 warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as
64 a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
65 if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison
66 us, do we not die?
(Shylock in The Merchant of Venice)
As Terry Xu of TOC put it on Facebook:
The total foreign worker levies collected were S$2.5 billion for the Financial Year 2011 and S$1.9 billion for the Financial Year 2010. Similar to other sources of Government revenue, the foreign worker levies are not ringfenced for any specific purposes. All Government revenue collected would go into the Consolidated Fund used to fund Government expenditures in general.”
And it goes up even more in the year 2012, 2013 given that there are more workers and that the levies have increased since then.
So yup, all these money does not include paying for the fair trial of workers who have contributed to this total collected sum of money, cause that is the government’s money and have to consider the tax payers money instead.
Terry Xu has a valid point even if I disagree (see above link) with him that the use of the workers’ levy is a reasonable use of the money.
The minister would have been on safer ground if he said, “Deportation is a lot less severe that imprisonment and caning. So why involve the courts?” He could have added, “Give FTs airfare home, kay pohs also bitch. What more do the kay pohs want?”.
*Actually, the kay pohs’ call for judicial due process in deportation cases ignores the fact that there is the possibility of judicial review as kick-ass, take no-prisoners, superhero lawyer, Ravi, has shown. He has asked for judicial review of a case where his client has been deported.
(Or “The govt is its own worst enemy: it can’t communicate the right facts”)
Recently I blogged on why
Scrooge the Grinch government can do more, a lot more to help the manual workers who gift us S$2.5bn++ a year.
But on the use of the deportation law on alleged “rioters”; I’m on the govt’s side with one important caveat. The cavaet is: What the hell were the police commissioner and DPM Teo talking about?
— [The Police Commissioner] explained that this group is less “culpable” than those who were charged, as the latter were “active participants” in the riot, “violent” and “had attacked uniformed personnel and vehicles, damaged property, and had incited others to do so”. So what did they actually do?
— Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean noted that those who were to be repatriated had “impeded the riot control and emergency rescue operations” and that “their actions and conduct had threatened public order, Did they or did not riot?
I looked up what the official statement and only then I understood why there were deportations, not charges for most of those detained: they were alleged rioters that the police considered should be treated more leniently (those charged can be jailed and caned if convicted).
Group Two consists of 53 persons whom Police has identified to have participated in the riot and who failed to disperse despite Police’s orders to do so. They had knowingly joined or continued to participate in the riot, after being ordered to disperse, impeding the riot control and emergency rescue operations. Their actions and conduct had threatened public order, thus making their continued presence in Singapore undesirable. They were all rounded up in a Police operation in the early hours of this morning. They will be repatriated after being issued a stern warning. They will be prohibited from returning to Singapore.
The Police Commissioner and DPM Teo, scholars both, should be ashamed of their explanations which only made it easier for the activists to attack the govt. And s/o of Devan Nair is not doing doing his job as the govt’s PR man.
Coming back to the deportees, fair enough that they are deported without judicial “due process” as far as I’m concerned for two reasons.
Firstly, as someone posted on Facebook, ” Rightly or wrongly, deportation is more lenient than jail and caning.” A lot more, so is it fair to insist as the kay pohs do that the courts must be involved in “due process”? One could even argue that the govt is being easy on “alleged” rioters.
Next, given that he has shown himself as a most compassionate chap, I’m sure the Pet minister is ensuring that the ministerial discretion of banishing people from S’pore is fairly exercised, and with appropriate regard for non-judical due process. I’ll go on to assert that he has ensured that the police behave fairly, and with appropriate regard for due process (non-judical), when investigating the cases which result in banishment orders.
Though I must admit charging a few people, then not proceeding with the cases and then allowing them to be given “discharges not amounting to acquittals, then deporting them look slip-shod. They shouldn’t have been charged, juz deportrd. And if, as happened, they were charged, and the police then realised that officers had made “honest mistakes”, the police should have asked for “discharges not amounting to acquittals”, and then deported them. That would have prevented the usual anti-govt activists from shouting “acquitted but still deported”. Technically, the kay pohs are right, though the govt has a point when it says the “acquittals” did not result from trials, but by the police withdrawing charges. I suspect the police tot, “Heck these guys are not coming back here, so might as well allow discharges amounting to acquittals”: little knowing that the kay pohs would seize on this technicality to agitate against the govt.
Given his track record on looking after the interests of dogs even where a possible dog killer is a FT (example), the HR kay pohs should cut him a lot of slack. Now if the minister was the ACS boy who sneered at elderly, poor S’poreans, I’d agree that the kay pohs have a point about the need of ensuring that justice is done. Hey but this is a most compassionate minister (he loves dogs and, even cats) from RI, not an ACS rich kid. What more do they want?
And there is still the possibility of judicial review, shumething that kick ass, take-no-prisoners superhero M Ravi is pursuing in several cases. So kay pohs should sit down and shut up.
No trust police and Pet Minister is it? AG should think of suing said activists for making defamatory innuendos about the minister and the police.
By now I’m sure you know that I’m no supporter of using a bit of billions the manual workers gift us to pay for “due process” for the deportees. We have to do right by the manual workers, but there are limits, something the kay pohs seem to refuse to acknowledge. I’m sure in their heart of hearts, they want the detainees to be detained in a 5-star hotel with access to the best lawyers, all at the expense of us tax-payers. Their ang Moh
masters mentors would expect no less.
If the anti-govt kay pohs really cared about the migrant workers they should have been advocating and campaigning from yrs ago that some spare change from the S$2.4 bn++ that the govt gets from the manual workers goes to helping them: without them S’pore would have to pay more, a lot more, for labour intensive jobs. Instead, the said activists want the spare change to be used on judicial “due process”. Some thing is not right about their priorities?
As I pointed out in the earlier piece, there could be a medical insurance fund, and a general welfare fund. BTW, a SDP doctor tells me that the SDP healthcare plan (involving an insurance fund and comprehensive coverage) would cover manual FTs (all FTs in fact) too. Before GG and friends, and TRE readers get upset with the SDP, they should remember that the SDP has also called for a policy of putting locals first and tightening the use of FTs by businesses.
Let me end by returning to said kay pohs: substitute the term “activists” for “management” in the following quote from a famous American psychologist* and you will know why I’m uneasy about their motives and actions: “This is what I get vaguely uneasy about in the reading on management, namely a certain piety, certain semireligious attitudes, an unthinking, unreasoning, a priori kind of ‘liberalism’ which frequently takes over as a determinant, thereby to some extent destroying the possibility of maintaining the sensitivity to the objective requirements of the actual, realistic situation.”
*Update at 8.43 am on # January 2014:
Think I’m unfair on the activists? Yesterday, I wrote: Here’s an interesting piece from a TRE reader on the appropriateness of the original venue of its seminar on “the struggle for workers’rights”. . I agree with the sentiments expressed within it, though to be fair to Maruah the date of said seminar was on 23 December. Somehow I don’t think that there would be many FTs in the area on a Monday. One of these days I’ll blog on why Maruah and the police deserve each other: both have lousy public communication skills, though the police’s skills iare a lot better than Yaacob’s finest, who only know how to slime.
They may be anti-govt, but we shouldn’t be on their side juz ’cause they got the balls to take on the govt publicly. Their actions and motives have to be analysed and scrutinised, juz like the govt’s, even though we should not hold them to the standards we expect of the govt. They don’t have the resources of the govt.
*Abraham Harold Maslow (April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970) was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization. Wikipedia
(This is a follow-up to this on how Santa 2.0, the govt and Scrooge are related.)
TOC’s Terry Xu commented on Facebook a few days ago: The total foreign worker levies collected were S$2.5 billion for the Financial Year 2011 and S$1.9 billion for the Financial Year 2010. Similar to other sources of Government revenue, the foreign worker levies are not ringfenced for any specific purposes. All Government revenue collected would go into the Consolidated Fund used to fund Government expenditures in general.”
And it goes up even more in the year 2012, 2013 given that there are more workers and that the levies have increased since then … (Thanks Terry for this info. I’d been meaning to check up the quantum and use of the levies, but never got round to googling)
This means the govt can do more, a lot more, to ensure that these workers have better living and work environments, and are not exploited (This is how bad things can be: http://www.lianainfilms.com/2013/12/the-singapore-way/), without increasing the tax burden on S’poreans and others living here, or on the workers’ employers, and biz in general.
Surely some of this money can be used to set-up a medical insurance fund and a general welfare fund for these workers? Surplus for our SWFs to use to place bets on juz a bit smaller. True, we pay them wages but those wages are off-set by the Hard Truth that if they were not available, we’d be paying serious money to get workers or robots to do what they are currently doing for “peanuts”.
But I would like to remind the activists that there are worse places that migrant workers are willing to go to.
A November report produced by Amnesty International, the British-based rights group, found the Qatari construction industry to be “rife with abuse”, including forced labour and virtual slavery. Workers complained that their salaries were half what they were promised, or that they had not been paid at all for months. Others said their wages had been docked for taking five-minute breaks during 18-hour shifts in the searing summer heat. Sponsors routinely confiscate their employees’ passports, preventing them from changing jobs or leaving the country. In the most extreme cases, workers have paid with their lives: this summer 44 Nepalese migrants died in two months from heart failure or work-related accidents. The International Trade Union Confederation warns that as many as 4,000 labourers could perish during the next nine years of construction.
I’m not using the fact that are are worse places than S’pore to defend the S’pore Way: juz to try to put things in perspective. We are not “Swiss” enough, but we are not cruel slave masters, far from it. Interestingly, about 10 yrs I met an Iraqi who was working in ST. We got talking and somehow touched on employer/ employee relations: and he reminded me that the people of the Gulf had only stopped owning slaves legally in the early 20th century, and that there was a slave, master mentality there even in 2003.
Workfair and Maruah should campaign for the use of some of the $2.5bn to be used to provide medical insurance and other benefits, not against the deportation without, what they claim, is due process. I’ll blog on the deportation issue next week.
Remember LKY saying Johor was full of crime?
Well whatever the truth of that, at least FTs have not rioted in M’sia. Taz, the message MediaCorp’s ST Lite has reported on an inside page: The police and Immigration Department have been put on alert at foreign worker enclaves across Malaysia after the riot in Singapore last week, the country’s Home Minister said in a report in The Star newspaper yesterday …
Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said officers have been instructed to monitor areas where foreign workers congregate, especially those identified as potential hot spots for outbreaks of violence.
Dr Ahmad Zahid was quoted by The Star as saying: “We are always observing the activities of foreign workers and are ready to overcome any potential threat … We are also looking at workers’ quarters nationwide, so the public need not worry.”
Locations under surveillance include landmarks in the heart of the capital, such as the Kuala Lumpur City Centre, which houses the iconic Petronas Twin Towers.
Between May 30 and June 4, three Myanmar nationals were killed and several others injured in fights in various areas in Kuala Lumpur. The authorities subsequently arrested more than 1,000 Myanmar nationals during raids in Kuala Lumpur and parts of Selangor. [Had to tell us this]
But ST Lite saboed our govt’s attempts to say that there was no evidence working conditions were a cause of the riot (How ministers know leh? If so why call CoI?) by reporting: Growing discontent among foreign workers in Malaysia due to poor working conditions, discrimination and low wages is like a “time bomb”, Bernama yesterday quoted the leader of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) as saying.
MTUC President Khalid Atan said the riot in Singapore should serve as a wake-up call and the organisation called on the Human Resource Ministry to hold a tripartite meeting between the government, employers and employees to map out a strategy to prevent rioting by foreign workers.
He said the MTUC felt the government should take steps to reduce and even curtail the recruitment of foreign workers until it has a plan to address their basic needs and rights.
Anyway, let’s cheer on our LionsXII. Looks like the game against Laos was the exception due to the courage of Laos’ ten men. Credit to Laos, not shame on our LionsXII. If our XII do well in this tournament (gold medals) Fandhi will have a problem. But taz his problem, not ours.
But first, really I expect more of the president and the police commissioner
— President Tony Tan Keng Yam has urged Singaporeans not to let the violence in Little India last night undermine their confidence in the society. Instead, he said, the people should redouble their commitment to keep Singapore safe, peaceful and strong.
— Police commissioner Ng Joo Hee said of the riot,”It is not the Singapore way.”
Lest they forget, the riot was not started by S’poreans. “Police in Singapore have arrested 27 South Asian suspects after hundreds of people took part in a riot sparked by the death of an Indian national …About 400 foreign workers took to the streets, hurling railings at police and torching police cars and an ambulance.” BBC report.
So why should the president ask us to redouble [our] commitment to keep Singapore safe, peaceful and strong? What did we do wrong? Taz the typical reaction of a PAP govt minister: blame S’poreans. But the president? He is above politics.
Of course ,”It is not the Singapore way.” The rioters were FTs.
And what by the way, one can reasonably ask is the S’porean way in a place where the foreign workforce is 25% of the population?. There are 1.3 million FTs as of June, out of a total 5.3 million people: 25% of the population. The 1.3m figure excludes the 0.54m (as of 2011) PRs who are counted as local. Include them as FTs and at least 35% of the population is foreign.
But I won’t go into a tirade about the presidency or the police because I’m willing to assume that the president and the police chief are like most S’poreans (self excluded) shell-shocked by said riot.
Let’s start at the top. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong directed the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to convene a Committee of Inquiry (COI), which will look into the factors that led to the unrest and how the incident was handled on the ground. “It will also review the current measures to manage areas where foreign workers congregate, whether they are adequate, and how they can be improved.
After all, he did say it was an “isolated incident caused by an unruly mob”.
The riot was contained pretty fast and efficiently with no loss of life except of that of the accident victim. One could have reasonably wondered why the police allowed their vehicles to be overturned so easily. I tot they should have fired warning shots which might have “sobered” the rioters. But I’m happy with the explanation that the police took a deliberate decision to be “restrained” even if such restraint resulted in my friend’s car being burnt and police-cars being overturned. So I ask again , why a CoI?
Waste of time and tax-payers’ money with money being spent on expensive lawyers, if as I expect, lawyers are allowed to be used.
And at the other end of the spectrum, the human rights kay pohs are filled with angst and self-examination. They are talking (they great at talking the talk, bit like the PAP govt on FT policies) of organising shumething, anything, to achieve reconciliation and gd karma. What for?
The vast majority of the visitors to riot area are not violent, aggressive people. They are there to have a gd time after labouring hard.
And in between, TRE and TOC readers are blaming the govt for everything, Gilbert Goh’s fans are stroking hatred of non-S’poreans, and PAPpists are blaming S’poreans (esp netizens) for being anti-FT and anti-PAP. Mercifully, none of the usual suspects are shouting, like some of them did, at the height of the panic for face masks (remember that?) thaz it’s OK to spread allegations to Facebook friends and that by so doing they are helping the govt. They argue that the govt can counter the rumours that said activists are spreading to their “friends”. If the actions weren’t dangerous, reckless behaviour, the self-justifications would be laughable.
That there has been no riot since 1969 prior vto this riot is neither here nor there. Given that S’pore has always been one of the most densely packed places in the world, there was (and is) the possibility that something like this could happen at any time. That it didn’t happen could be due to luck (juz like two once-in every-50- yr floods occurring in the space of months). Or it could be due to the way LKY ruled the place (remember he retired as MM only two yrs ago and he approved of how Deng Xiaoping dealt with the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests*)? Or it could be due to the changing composition of S’pore’s work force** and population.
My personal view is that we were juz lucky especially in having
Sheep S’poreans whose reaction to the fatal accident that started the riot would be to take a look, take a few pics and then move on muttering: “Not my biz”. If Napoleon had S’poreans in Animal Farm, he wouldn’t have needed such brutal dogs.
Wouldn’t it be better to have for the CoI to look into whether the changing demographics of S’pore have caused cultural and societal changes, building-up tensions that can explode given the right mixture of ingredients.
But then PM isn’t that shell-shocked.
I wonder if the PAPpy FT academic calling for a population of 8m by 2030 will be allowed to continue shouting his message. If there is a riot (a riot that causes so much angst) in a population of 5.3m, 25% of whom are FTs, imagine a scenario where there are 8m people here where 37% are FTs***? If one includes PRs, then the percentage of FTs would jump to 53%. I’m use simple extrapolation to derive these numbers.
Update at 8.50am after first publication
Related article that I urge social media users and the usual suspects who argue that sharing rumours helps the govt rebut them:
Sharing information without context can inflame a situation
While the riot in Little India has saddened and shocked many Singaporeans, all of us must be responsible when we share information on social media. I have always reminded my children that “a text without context is a pretext”.
For example, one website used emotional words to describe how the riot was handled. Others were more responsible and reported only the facts, so as not to stir up unnecessary anger against all foreign workers.
Based on what was trending on Twitter, I am glad that most Singaporeans possessed the critical faculty to check for the facts and not believe everything they read.
For example, it was claimed at one point that three civilians and two policemen had been killed. Thankfully, that message died in time.
Most Singaporeans are angry that police cars and an ambulance were overturned and burnt.
It is easy to share such graphic videos online. But let us press the pause button, and ask ourselves what our purpose would be in sharing a video, photo or tweet and whether we are aware of the outcome that would be achieved. What about unintended outcomes? Is there a hidden agenda to the information provided on social media and are we being manipulated?
Do I have all the information on hand to make a rational, informed opinion or am I only parroting some views that excite us but, on deeper reflection, are untrue? Finally, when will the information be processed into accurate knowledge?
Discrete data shared without context can inflame a situation, and perhaps now is a good time to be reminded of the story of the blind men feeling an elephant for the first time.
While our individual, subjective experience can be true, such experience is essentially limited by its failure to account for the whole truth.
*He took over, and he said: ‘If I have to shoot 200,000 students to save China from another 100 years of disorder, so be it.
**An ex-policeman wrote a commentary in MediaCorp’s ST Lite that “[S]ome may be tempted to link the large presence of foreign workers at Little India to the population augmentation strategy. Again, this is a far stretch. Foreign workers, on work permits, have been a presence in Singapore for decades. They are essential to the urban renewal effort in Singapore. Their numbers today are not much larger than the historical mean.”
The ex-cop obviously never studied maths at other than a very basic level. If he had, he would realise that using this “fact” would be an insult to the intelligence of more literate S’poreans. The “mean” especially the “historical mean” (whatever this means) is not an argument that one should use in dismissing that the argument of the growth of the FT population is a worry. Example: Isn’t the fact that 25% of the population is foreign a better indicator of anything to do with population than the “historic mean”?
***Given that S’poreans (even new citizens according to LKY) don’t want to breed babies. S’poreans prefer keeping dogs and cats, so much so that there is now a Minister for Pets.
(Update 10 December at 6.50am: Great summary of article quoted below by a TRE reader: The Wobbly Guy:
Let us decode the Beeb study:
‘non-segregated’ = assimilated
‘relatively prosperous’ = educated middle-class
So we find that assimilated and educated middle-class people have high social capital regardless of ethnicity. Gee, like that wasn’t obvious from a look at a typical HDB estate and what the immigration realists have been saying all along.)
One of the arguments made against the govt’s liberal FT policy by us citizens of “cowboy towns” is that it is bad for community cohesion.Well the FT riot* yesterday would seem to be proof of this. S’poreans would not resort to such violence. They would shrug their shoulders, take a few pixs and, like sheep, move on.
Seriously,it is accepted wisdom globally that there is a negative correlation between diversity and community cohesion with studies proving that link. Even the govt accepts this as a Hard Truth: otherwise how to explain its quota system in public housing for Indians and Malays, and its constant emphasis on the need to maintain racial and religious harmony, given the British legacy of bringing in FTs. It’s juz that this Hard truth is over-ridden by the Harder Truth that FTs are needed, never mind the side effects.
So here’s an interesting article on, “Is diversity good or bad for community cohesion?”, which would make Gilbert Goh more frus because the findings of a study in the UK say it is gd.
“In ethnically diverse neighbourhoods residents of all races tend to ‘hunker down’,” Putnam’s study concluded. “Trust (even of one’s own race) is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friends fewer.”
But now comes new academic research looking at London which turns this idea on its head.
Social cohesion in the capital, it concludes, is “significantly higher in more ethnically diverse neighbourhoods”, once deprivation has been taken into account.
This is a startling assertion. The accepted wisdom among academics and policy makers, as the paper reminds readers, is that “ethnically diverse communities are characterized by distrust, low levels of social cohesion and disputes regarding the equitable provision of public goods”.
But diversity may not be the cause of social tension. “In fact, in the highly diverse neighbourhoods that characterise modern London, the opposite appears to be the case,” the research finds.
Diversity emerges as a positive predictor of social cohesion, the paper asserts, a finding that runs counter to the large majority of published studies.
But what this paper suggests is that where you have non-segregated and relatively prosperous communities, diversity is likely to improve community life, not damage it.
Taz the key, if everyone has a highish standard of living, diversity is gd. But mix rich and poor and one is asking for trouble. Here in S’pore, the highish gini is not gd news for the govt’s very liberal immigration policy. Yes, I’m sceptical that the govt is walking the talk on tightening its immigration policies until I see a decent, medium-term decline in the numbers. Something I doubt would happen.
*The bare facts as reported by BT: Singapore Police Force has classified Sunday night’s unrest at Little India as a case of rioting with dangerous weapons, and has arrested 27 subjects from South Asia. The SPF says it expects to make further arrests “in the hours and days that follow”.
Yesterday’s riot was sparked by a fatal traffic accident involving a private bus and a pedestrian, who was a 33-year-old male Indian national. The police say the unrest was not pre-meditated, and no Singaporean presence has been established amongst the rioters.
The mob-which swelled to a 400-strong crowd-damaged and burned police and SCDF (Singapore Civil Defence Force) vehicles, and left 10 police officers injured, out of the 300 who were deployed to the site.
Bare facts added after first publication.