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Posts Tagged ‘PAP’

Are you better off now than you were in 2011?

In Political governance on 24/03/2015 at 4:32 am

I tot of the above when I was reading this piece about

Hundreds of aging leftists gather in a restaurant tucked away in an obscure corner of an old shopping complex. They talk, shout, argue, and rant about the government. One of them goes onstage and demands political change in the next elections; he is greeted with raucous applause and loud cheers.

The attendees are mostly in their seventies or eighties. Several lean on spouses, children, or canes as they hobble to and from their seats …

Given that they are of the Pioneer Generation, the answer to “Are you better off now than you were in 2011?”* should be a resounding “Yes” because of the healthcare and medical provisions for Poneers. Yes, even those locked up in Coldstore etc are entitled to them. The PAP administration is saying, “Let bygones be bygones”? (Which brings me to the tot that if the leftists had won, would they be so magnanimous to Lee Kuan Yew and gang? For a start, LKY and gang and many others may not have been allowed to grow old and bitter. Think Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China, and I think you will get the drift of what I’m thinking: opponents and intellectuals not sympathetic to the leftists cause were, imprisoned, exiled or killed.

Much good it would do the PM and his PAP administration that these leftists benefit from their policies. These aging leftists would never say anything good about LKY and his legacy. (Related article: http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-singapore-change-20150319-story.html#page=1).

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Real life examples of what Pioneer Benefits mean:

— A mother and her autistic son are Pioneers. The son has been in a nursing home for over ten years, ever since his mother became too frail to look after him. The monthly bill was about S$4,000 a month and was borne by his siblings. Now this bill is “only” a few hundred dollars a month. The mother’s medical bills (she’s in her 90s and suffers from various chronic conditions) are now minuscule.

The extended family is happy.

— Another Pioneer used to pay $30 when she visited a polyclinic every three months for her medicine etc. She now pays $7.

— Another lady lives in a home because of Alzheimers. The cash from the sale of her flat was paying the bills. Now there is no worry of the cash running out before she dies. Her monthly bills have been slashed. Her working daughter (with children and an unemployed PMET husband) is breathing a sigh of relief.

Will they vote PAP? I didn’t ask.

Btw1, I’m sure Dr Goh Keng Swee would approve of these measures. As His daughter-in-law and biographer said

During his time as a tax collector in the War Tax Department, Ms Tan said, “He was a bad tax collector. His boss didn’t like him,” to much laughter. Later, after joining the Social Welfare Department, Dr Goh helped to set up ‘People’s Restaurants’, which were canteens where people could buy cheap meals during the working day.

“He was always involved in social work,” she added.

http://www.pweefoundation.com/pwee-foundation-holds-talk-on-dr-goh-keng-swee/

Btw2, As would Lim Kim San, Toh Chin Chye and the other members of the Old Guard, including one LKY.

Btw3, Wonder if one VivianB voted against these measures when they were presented to the cabinet?

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A group that will certainly say they were better off in 2011: PM and his ministers. Somehow I don’t think they would vote Oppo.

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*In a televised debate with Jimmy Carter during the 1980 Presidential election, Ronald Reagan asked viewers a simple question: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

Voters realised they were not and Reagan romped to the White House.

That Reagan line has since become a cliché of political campaigning, second to “the economy, stupid” – the mantra drummed into Bill Clinton’s campaign team in 1992. BBC Online

 

Why hedgies attract investors/ Why 60% still vote PAP

In Financial competency on 13/03/2015 at 1:03 pm

Same reasoning applies: Appealing to greedy but gullible people works?

HEDGE FUNDS KEEP ATTRACTING CASH Hedge funds have underperformed a simple blend of index funds 60 percent stocks and 40 percent bonds for three-, five- and 10-year periods, but the lure of higher returns with lower risk ‒ or even zero risk ‒ continues to beckon, James B. Stewart writes in the Common Sense column. Large investors added $1 billion during January and more than $88 billion in 2014, according to data compiled by the investment consultancy eVestment. Total hedge fund assets are now more than $3 trillion.

Painful memories of the financial crisis and the persistent low interest rate environment may be driving investor interest, said Peter Laurelli, vice president for research at eVestment. Many funds promise to address both issues by blunting the impact of another market crash while generating higher returns than United States Treasury bonds. “Institutions are not only pouring more money into hedge funds, but they also appear to be engaging in a classic pattern of many individual investors, which is to chase returns and shun losers,” Mr. Stewart writes.

He adds: “Of course, how today’s ever-growing universe of hedge funds will perform in the next crisis remains to be seen. Unlike United States stocks and bonds, they are lightly regulated. They aren’t that transparent. Many aren’t that liquid.”

NYT Dealbook

Double confirm: PAP TCs treat biz better than residents

In Political governance on 27/02/2015 at 5:04 am

Thanks to the mouthpieces of the WP, TOC and TRE (temporarily I hope), we now know that the Pet Minister in parly circulated a paper that showed that the managing agent’s commercial and residential rates are the same in PAP managed town councils. They say that this is wrong as there is a difference. in PAP areas between the two rates.

So far, I’ve not heard the PAP administration saying that someone made an “honest mistake” and given the correct numbers.

So I have to assume, at the very least, that the administration believes the numbers: that residents and businesses pay the same rate.

So shouldn’t we conclude that the PAP administration is so pro-biz that it charges businesses the same as residents rather than more as is logical? After all businesses are set up to make money for the owners, unlike residents. Isn’t the WP more people friendly by charging residents less, a lot less?

What do you  think?

Update on 1 March 5.45 am: Reader explains that PAP explained whuy numbers same. They claim the figures presented are weighted average. If there are 20,000 residential units and only 200 commercial units, the weighted average would be very close to the residential rate. WP should ask them to present the average rate for commercial.

New yr: A feel good vibe is necessary

In Corporate governance, Political governance on 18/02/2015 at 4:43 am

The lunar year is ending badly for the WP.

When someone who is no friend of the PAP administration but who was once part of its security appartus (head of ISD) writes

One of the most glaring lapses is the persistent conflict of interest revealed in the AGO’s report between the Town Council and its managing agents the FM Solutions & Services (FMSS) and the FM Solutions & Integrated Services (FMSI).  How on earth could the husband and wife team of secretary and general manager of the Town Council be the majority owners and proprietor of the managing agents at the same time is the serious conflict of interest problem no amount of explanation that the WP Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang and Chairman Sylvia Lim can give convincingly to pacify the electorate. http://singaporerecalcitrant.blogspot.sg/2015/02/the-astounding-lapses-of-ahpetc.html,

the WP should know that it has problem and it should discount its cheer-teams at TRE and TOC*

My advice to Low is to go to the Quan Im temple in Middle Rd and chiam see tomorrow. I’m sure it’ll tell him to sort out the three lawyers on his team (They constitute 33% of the WP’s parly team). It’ll tell him particularly to ensure that PritamS’s vocal cords are cut and not allowed to heal.

Anyway more, one of these days, about

— how the lawyers let him down;

— were they coerced into silence: what Low wants he gets?

Whatever, either way doesn’t say much about all the four of them.

Anyway, M Ravi should be glad to see the year out, and so should the NSP. The NSP will start the new yr with a team that has Islamic and retro themes. As part of the return to the past theme, expect to see Goh Meng Seng return to the NSP.

Finally it looks like was a gd yr of the PAP. PM’s health problem is behind him

And the PAP must be feeling good for whacking the WP as part of SG50, and a prelude to the new lunar year. And as the whacking being around CNY, it is a good  warm-up to the CNY show.

Wonder if the Lunar show will have a video like this the Chinese are seeing

Of course, if you’re … a Chinese citizen with a dream, the Communist Party would like you to know that “The Communist Party is with you”.

Whether you want to open a diner, or you yearn for a blue sky, a world free of war or a beautiful wife, the message of a promotional video which spread online this week is “Chasing our dreams… and shaping the future together”.

Images of lush countryside interspersed with smiling clowns, farmers and bartenders… I couldn’t help feeling it looked a bit like the kind of TV advert that banks make to reassure you that they are looking after your money, your future and your family.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-31450657

And missing from the feel good narrative was anyone who gets on the wrong side of the Party by raising problems or demanding rights.

Of course, “our” vision would have the WP, SDP, the Chiams, M Ravi, Maruah missing.

Anyway, have a stress-free good time. And make $ next yr.

—-

*Wonder if TRE and TOC going to get ang pow, abalone dinner from ex Aljunied MA or from WP for being so supportive of WP. Their parroting of the WP line sounds like ST’s parroting of the PAP administration. We know ST staff are well rewarded for selling their souls, but I suspect TOC and TRE staff are selling their souls for free.

Moving on from Hard Truths To Hard Choices

In Economy, Political governance on 11/02/2015 at 4:40 am

“We have to move on because I don’t think we can tie ourselves to the past forever. The past is there for us to learn from, not for us to be shackled by,”Ms Aung San Suu Kyi recently said to the FT.

The Hard Truths are all about individual responsibility, selfless collective effort (example: LKY’s and other of the old guards’ salaries), lean social security and growth over distribution (growing the pie, not slicing it or eating it: waz the point of not eating it, juz growing it, I must ask?),

Whatever, Hard Truths were the basis of a successful social contract: S’poreans’ voting for and acquiescing in an authoritarian one-party (defacto)  state in return for material prosperity. The critics of the social contract like JBJ and Dr Chee argued (when they were rational and not on ego trips) that the cost was too high: an elected government that captures the courts, silences media critics and tinkers with the constitution to perpetuate its rule.

It was a winning formula notwithstanding their rants (or should they be prophetic warnings?) because many S’potreans (think me, despite having voted Oppo all my life because I tot PAP hegemony would not be good for the PAP and S’pore) judged that the PAP way as the right way to “get on and better ourselves”. After all Dr Chee and JBJ were upper middle crusts, not middle, middle class, lower middle class or working class. The latter even sent his kids to a posh English private school that prided it on turning out upper class English gents. To be fair to him and his sons, the boys didn’t go to the really posh schools, Eton, Winchester or Westminster. They went to a school more akin to St Andrews, where JBJ studied. As for Dr chee, he attended ACS: need I say more?

But, snide remarks aside, “The old order changeth, yielding place to new, And God fulfils Himself in many ways, Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.” (Alfred Tennyson,”Morte D’Arthur”).

The facts have changed. That social contract – optimal for places with young populations, rapid growth, full employment, and rising real wages – “would not be sufficient to ensure equitable and inclusive growth in the face of the changes unleashed by globalization, rapid technological change, and our own policies,”  argued five economists  in a paper released Monday on the IPS website. The authors include academics and former senior civil servants who carry significant heft in policy-making circles, including Manu Bhaskaran, a partner at consultancy Centennial Group and adjunct research fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy; Donald Low, a former senior bureaucrat at Singapore’s finance ministry; Tan Kim Song, an economics professor at the Singapore Management University; and Yeoh Lam Keong, former chief economist at the Government of Singapore Investment Corp.

Analysts widely believe that the days of double- and high single-digit growth rates year-in, year-out are things of the past; Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently said the city-state would do well to average annual growth of over 3% in the coming decade.

(http://blogs.wsj.com/searealtime/2012/01/16/singapore-inc-needs-a-rethink-economists-say/)

In simple English these five were saying (my translation), “What is happening now is that ordinary people no longer have a sense that improving one’s lot in life is possible. Many S’poreans find themselves stuck, not getting on, doing their best not to go backwards.” They were like the Red Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass:running frantically to stay in place.

These economists were making public in 2012 an argument that has been around since the late 1990s and early noughties. Something that s/o JBJ should remember when he claims that his ideas are being “borrowed” by the PAP: there is nothing new under the sun.

Happily for those of us who do not a one-party state, the PAP instead of listening continued to repeat, even louder, the Hard Truths of one LKY, especially the one on FTs being the future.

The PAP forget that politics is all about adapting to changing circumstances and navigating change. It was a deep intellectual failure of the PAP to understand and adapt to changed circumstances. It continued with its politics of growing the pie but not allowing people to eat more.

In 2014, we had Hard Choices. Two Singaporeans,  Donald Low (the same as the one mentioned above) and Sudhir Vadaketh, published a book that argued against the way the PAP govt provides housing and social support, and questioned how it has dealt with values such as meritocracy and identity.

At the launch of “Hard Choices: Challenging the Singapore Consensus”, they said they wanted to encourage us to question the public policy beliefs and practices that had become hard truths.

Low said: “We think that policymakers, and Singaporeans in general, should be less guided by hard truths, the ideologies, policies and practices that have served us well in the past 30 to 40 years, and be more guided by this idea that perhaps there are few hard truths, there are very few eternal truths.

“The far more meaningful debate we should be having is what are the choices we realistically have.”

One such choice is whether Singapore must be a global city, said Vadaketh. He said the antagonism towards foreigners in Singapore is a result of tensions between those who see Singapore as a global city with a global identity and those who want it to have a more local identity. I would disagree with him here, it’s more about the belief that FTs help repress the wages of local PMETs and the PAP’s  administration ignoringpeople’s concerns about the impact on wages and employmentof an FT flood.

Mr Low and Mr Vadaketh wrote most of the 15 essays in the book, which also includes contributions from Dr Linda Lim, professor of strategy at the University of Michigan, and Dr Thum Ping Tjin, research fellow at the Asia Research Institute in NUS.

Mr Low hoped for a return of “the debate that used to characterise the Singapore Government” He referred to a 1972 speech by former deputy prime minister Goh Keng Swee that raised concerns over Singapore’s continued reliance on foreign investments and foreign workers for economic growth. “I think we have regressed,” because debate had been “sucked out of the system” because of the Government’s success.

I disagree with him here. Unlike the likes of Dr Goh, Ngiam Tong Dow, Pillay, Howe Yoon Chong, the younger ministers and senior civil ,servants are more Catholic than the pope. They had to: who chose them to succeed the old guard, ministers and senior civil servants?

But let’s not think that the PAP is doomed like the dodo.

Bear in mind that Donald Low is the associate dean for executive education and research at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Yeoh Lam Keong* is an an adjunct professor there too (in the days of Hard Truths), they’d be in exile to avoid the ISD)  and that Hard Choices saw the light of day (would have been banned)

Finally, pls note the policies advocated in Hard Choices are not too dissimilar in spirit and outline from those that the SDP is proposing (spin on the latest version). They are about

— whether people’s hard work would be rewarded by an improvement in their living standards (or how o make surepeople who worked hard to build a good life for their families got a fair deal); and

— controlling the quantity and quality of people that come into S’pore (which incidentally is a primary duty of government that this PAP administration has seemingly forgotten).

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*One of above five and former chief economist at the Government of Singapore Investment Corp

His latest piece:http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2015/02/singapores-social-compact-trilemma-the-dynamics-of-a-critically-uncertain-national-future/

 

Actor sacrificed career, $ to be MP

In Uncategorized on 01/02/2015 at 4:33 am

Of an Oppo party in South Africa.

South African actor Fana Mokoenam … had to put his Hollywood dreams on hold – and has just missed out on what might have been the biggest role of his career.

“I was supposed to be in Interstellar, with Christopher Nolan. I was going to play the scientist. I forget his name. We were in talks about me taking the role, and then this came up,” said Mr Mokoena with a faraway look in his eyes.

The “this” he is referring to is a new job as an MP for South Africa’s newest, brashest political party – the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31026575

For him being a MP was more important than money. Compensation has come in the form of a generous MP’s salary, which Mr Mokoena said was less than he made as an actor.

Well we have one such high-minded person here, who every weekend is busy handing out walking sticks and even wheel chairsto the Pioneer Generation and others.

How drinking survey was “fixed”

In Humour, Political governance on 30/01/2015 at 5:31 am

Not very long ST reported that a survey showed that the majority of respondents tot that proposed ban on drinking alcohol aftar 10.30 pm in public places (say at barbecue pits) was not on: so another survey was commissioned and it came out with the “right” result. S’poreans wanted it by a huge margin.

What an idiotic survey:

“Respondents were also asked if they felt public drunkenness was a serious issue that required addressing. Eight in 10 agreed the issue needed to be tackled, and a similar proportion believed the regulations would be able to clamp down on cases of public drunkenness.”

It’s like asking if people thought shoplifting was a serious issue that needed addressing; and if chopping off the hands of those caught would reduce shoplifting; then concluding that people supported such upper limb amputation.

Above appeared on Facebook from someone that the unwashed mob (think TRE ranters and other anti-PAP irrational loonies) think of as a member of the elitist class that they are entitled to be members of, but are not.

Seriously, what the survey shows is that the

— PAP administration has not changed its attitude in thinking that S’poreans can and must be manipulated; and

— the complicity of the constructive, nation-building media, and other fellow travellers…

Most importantly, the restrictions show that administration’s panic over a little riot two years ago is not over yet. Come on, get over it. No-one died and it did show that the police hadn’t a clue what to do.

I’m sure a bit of work experience in India, China would help solve the lack of practical experience. Got to prepare for the time when the young hooligans (Roy and New Citizen H3) and Mad Dog Chee decide to call street protests.

And here’s a clueless MP asking a really dumb question:

Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs whether the Ministry will consider allowing alcohol sold in residential areas to be contained in only plastic or tin containers as a safety measure in the event of unruly behaviour or fights in the neighbourhood.

But let’s be fair to him, he’s the very same MP that had to step down from the PAP’s politburo because his CEC position conflicted with the day job’s internal rules. If he doesn’t know the job’s rules, what does he know? But let’s be fair again, he may have tot as a PAP MP, he was above mere, petty rules?

 

Religious harmony: PAP’s, Putin’s way

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 28/01/2015 at 5:11 am

Mr Putin said Russia had been far ahead of its European rivals in establishing a model for co-existence between faiths. In a way, that is true. But co-existence under a common, imperial regime – one that punishes “blasphemers” of all kinds, including those who challenge the regime itself, and colludes with religious authorities to maintain social control – is different from the liberal model of co-existence, where no religion is protected and each must argue its case in an open market-place of ideas.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2015/01/empire-islam-and-russia

Now doesn’t the Russian way sound very much like the S’porean way? Interestingly both are the products of 19th century European imperialism. In the case of Russia, the imperialism of the tsars. In the case of S’pore, British colonalism.

The British and the Russian tsars ruled multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural empires and needed to keep the natives from killing one another or their masters.

So when Harry the ax man became PM, the laws he (and we) inherited from the British suited him to the T: in response to this on the murder of cartoonists in Paris, a reader pointed out rightly in my view,

During LKY’s time he will come out on TV to gloat that this is why we have sedition act and ISD and why he will string you up by the balls anyone who breaks his hard truths and make you wish you had been just simply killed by terrorists.

Well we should be grateful that AhLoong and gang don’t do such things. He juz sent a letter of condolences which had the young hooligans (Roy and New Citizen H3), s/o JBJ and Martyn See screaming their heads off. It seems they were so emotional that somehow M Ravi’s name got attached to the letter they sent to ang moh media that are no friends of the PAP administration or Harry, that the ang mohs tot Ravi signed it. He had to disassociate himself to avoid serious trouble.

Anyway, while I’m not surprised to see the young hooligans and s/o JBJ working together (the former love to tell lies and scream at the function of others, while the latter was happy to compete against another oppo party in Punggol East), I was surprised to see a responsible person like Martyn See associating himself with them.

I do hope he realises that it isn’t good for his reputation among those of us who keep an open mind.

 

 

PAP that incompetent meh? WP trying to match it?

In Uncategorized on 27/01/2015 at 6:49 am

Barely 3 weeks after being co-opted into the PAP’s main decision-making body, MP for Chua Chu Kang steps down, citing “a conflict of interest” with his personal employment position at Ernst and Young which is the PAP’s auditor. (TOC on Saturday)

The PAP’s main decision-making body (the CEC) is the equivalent of a listco’s board of directors.

If a listco appointed someone a director and then found out that he couldn’t be a director, questions would be rightl asked about the competence of the board, the person.in question and the management, and the compliance procedures of the listco.

Is the PAP administration totally confused? I tot PM said elect good people? How can good people make this kind of balls-up? An honest mistake?

Happily for the PAP, the WP decided to match the PAP’s incompetence. It told us that AHPETC lacks is a fully operational computer system to assist AHPETC to do aggregated S&CC arrears reporting in the format required by the Ministry of National Development (MND). In the absence of such a system, all reports submitted to MND before this were prepared by staff based on data generated by AHPETC’s IT system and extracted through manual sorting and counting*.

So this was right https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/does-ahpetc-have-a-21st-century-it-system/. Trumpets and rose pretals pls, from those TRE born-losers who curse me as a PAPpy. And PAP Internet SWAT team (headed by above MP), pls send cheque and retainer contract. I’m a lot better than yr Fabrications about PAP team. I appear regularly in TRE.

——

*But the great news is that WP doesn’t have a 30% arrears problem: AHPETC wishes to announce that its S&CC arrears rate (for 3 months and above) for residential units as of 30 September 2014 is 5.66% of households. The corresponding arrears rate for commercial units for the same period is 7.24%.

We wish to explain that we are sharing the information now rather than earlier, as time was needed to have the data and process reviewed both internally and also by our consultants before release. AHPETC had also undertaken to explain further its arrears situation and management, which we now do.

Our review has found that the above S&CC arrears rates are generated from valid S&CC records that are maintained in the AHPETC’s financial system.

So don’t vote WP if you think they are going to be as heartless as the Pay And pay gang. They juz don’t have a first world IT system.

Peanuts Goh wrong about monkeys

In Humour, Political governance on 25/01/2015 at 4:35 am

Mr Goh Chok Tong in 1993 said: ‘If we do not pay ministers adequately, we will get inadequate ministers. If you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys for your ministers …”. Apart from the the implication that other than our very own AhLoong, all the world leaders including Obama and Xi are monkeys, the assumption is that monkeys are stupid.

Well, A recent study from Yale University shows that capuchin monkeys, unlike humans, aren’t fooled into thinking that higher price automatically implies better quality (these were experimental monkeys who did have to pay for some of their food).

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30655616

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/

How AhLoong’s salary compares to that of ord S’porean

In China, Political governance on 21/01/2015 at 4:24 pm

Yesterday I blogged that despite President Xi getting a 62% pay rise his pay was peanuts when compared to our very own AhLoong  despite AhLoong taking a pay cut in 2012 (US$22,256 a year versus US$1.8m a yr).

Mr Xi’s monthly base income is roughly twice the average annual income of a registered Beijing city-dweller according to the FT relying on official Chinese data.

Using Mom data, for the monthly median salary of an  ordinary S’porean (employer CPF included), it seems PM’s monthly salary is 4 times that of an ordinary S’porean’s median annual income in 2013. In the late 60s , LKY’s monthly salary was about four times that of my dad’s monthly salary.

No need to wonder why there is a growing income gap between the rich and poor here, is there?*

Which reminds me: “If the annual salary of the Minister of Information, Communication and Arts is only $500,000, it may pose some problems when he discuss policies with media CEOs who earn millions of dollars because they need not listen to the minister’s ideas and proposals, hence a reasonable payout will help to maintain a bit of dignity.”

– Dr Lim Wee Kiat, PAP MP for Nee Soon GRC, 24 May 2011 in Lianhe Wanbao.

So when Ahloong meets Xi or the Obama, he will not respect them, their views or their countries despite the US being the hegemon and China a wannabe?

*Readers might like to know that the PAP’s bible has been going on recently about inequality: inequality and the travails of the middle-classes are America’s (and the West’s) biggest problem, has been gaining currency for some time now. So has the idea that one of the better fixes is to begin to overhaul America’s dysfunctional tax code. Indeed, one publication in particular has been saying precisely that for quite a while.

 

Xi gets 62% pay rise, but still paid “peanuts” by AhLoong’s standard

In China, Political governance on 21/01/2015 at 10:06 am

The Chinese president’s new base salary is equivalent to US$22,256 a year, despite a pay rise of 62%.

FT points out that he and Obama are outearned by Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, the world’s highest-paid prime minister, who took a pay cut to S$2.2m ($1.8m), beginning in 2012.

As the PAP likes to say that “Pay peanuts, get monkeys”, so the PAP thinks Obama, Xi and other leaders are monkeys? What do you think?

Relevant posts:

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/hen-jost-gracef-money-money-money/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/05/26/with-mps-like-these-pap-does-not-need-enemies/

And from FT too

What countries pay their leaders (annually/$ excluding benefits)
Singapore 1.8m
Russia 1.76m
US 400,000
European Commission 372,000
Germany 290,000
South Africa 224,000
UK 215,000
France 208,000
Indonesia 64,000
Poland 64,00

PM’s memory is not working

In Political governance on 20/01/2015 at 5:27 am

In what many would consider PM’s opening salvo in the GE campaign (though not me for the reasons stated here, I’ve changed my mind and think an election will be held next yr), our constructive, nation-building media, over the week end, carried reports of an iaudience  PM gave them.

Don’t know about you but lots of his comments upset me because they are self-serving rubbish that flies against the facts. As even thinking a lot  about them now gets my blood pressure into stroke territory, I’ll confine myself to commenting on a few of his commentss every day.

How not to depend on govt? 

PM said that S’poreans should only rely on the govt as a last resort: they should do things for themselves and not rely on govt.

Well when 37% of an ordinary working S’poreans’s monthly salary goes into his or hers CPF account, and the uses that the money, can be used is dictated by the govt, how not to depend on the govt?

And the high prices of private residential property (remember the state controls the supply of land) means that “affordable” public housing is the only option for S’poreans resulting in about 82% of S’poreans living in HDB flats. Again how not to depend on govt?

The govt designs the CPF system so that most S’poreans are dependent on the govt. So PM is at best being disengenous..

Electing gd MPs?

He should the best check and balance to his govt is to elect gd MPs.

Seems he has forgotten that the GRC system forces us to select a team of MPs some of whom are problematic: think the eye doctor who looks down on people that are not paid well and Kate Spade Tin.

His advice is only applicable in SMCs., not GRCs. where voters have to take a team, and where one or two ministers always head the team.

Immigration woes our fault?

PM said he regrets the fact that “Singapore did not build up its infrastructure quickly enough in anticipation of a population growth driven mainly by an influx of foreign workers”

This is what someone posted on Facebook

Come on PM, It is NOT Spore..it is the Govt U led that COCK up..after all WHO approves the policies and are decision makers that allows foreign workers to “tsunami” in here..Sporeans arh? …so let call a spade a spade….Your Cabinet Team LOST the PLOT, so imo, the BUCK stops with U, PM. U cock up BIG TIME. Period.

If this is the opening barrage of the GE, PM is firing blanks, not facts.

 

 

Will M Ravi’s barrage of constitutional challenges change anything?

In Political governance on 19/01/2015 at 4:49 am

Ravi’s latest antics (see below) reminded me that I couldn’t stop laughing when the the go-to, kick-ass, take-no-prisoners constitutional lawyer for a drug mule who think the world owes him a living, hooligans who think it is a human right to disrupt YMCA activities and tell lies, and a gay (Tan Eng Hong) that homely gays don’t want to be associated with (some other gays, see below, didn’t want their case heard with his), said that S’pore is a “democratic society”.

No I’m not joking, M Ravi said, “We are instructed to place on notice our client’s profound sense of regret that in a democratic society like Singapore, her Constitutional rights and freedoms have been curtailed so drastically on a premise that in her submission is flawed, and all her rights are reserved.”

Now I’m not that looney (OK, OK, idealistic or naive) as his client  to think S’pore is a democratic society. It is an authoritarian, de-facto one-party society that allows free, peaceful, intimidation free but “unfair” (here meaning a tilted field where the odds and rules favour the continued dominance of the PAP) elections to choose the next dictator for the next few yrs. And since 1959  by very big or at least decent majorities (save in 1963), the voters have chosen the PAP to rule.

There are some who want to change this state of affairs, not via the ballot box but by getting the courts to reinterpret the constitution. So far they too like Oppo politicans have been banging their heads against a steel door.

Alex Au, a social advocate for change, said, at the end of last yr, on the con-job constitution, “If you sit back and take in the bigger picture, you’ll see that basically our constitution, as long interpreted, offers no protection for civil liberties or human rights: not freedom of speech, not freedom of assembly, not a right to transparent and accountable government, nor even a fair electoral process. The questions rush in. Is there something wrong with the constitution, the interpretation, or both?”

Well I’ve got news for Alex Au, rational activists, and anti-PAP paper activists, whether rational, or irrational and deluded, our constitution was drafted by ang mohs and locals steeped in the tradition that the ruling elite know best, certainly not the demos or mob or masses or ordinary people.

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

Suited one LKY to a T when he came to power.

And here’s where the de-facto one-party state problem makes things more difficult. Think of China where the issue is how to use the law to help the party rule the country. The party sees the law as one of its tools; an instrument meant to help strengthen, rather than check, the power of one-party leadership.

True, we are not China, but the temptation is there.

Coming back to S’pore,then there is the judicial presumption that government actions are constitutional:

The court itself, both in oral arguments last summer and in this ruling, repeatedly expresses unwillingness to consider “extra-legal” and “emotional” arguments, which have their place in the legislative rather than the judicial process. The court’s role, the ruling said, was to be “independent, neutral and objective”, though in the early, throat-clearing section of this ruling, the court noted that it grants the government a “presumption of constitutionality”, because “our legislature is presumed not to enact legislation which is inconsistent with the Singapore Constitution.” In other words, the court will neutrally and objectively weigh the arguments presented by each side, though one side (the government’s) enters with the wind at its back.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2014/10/gay-rights-singapore

I can’t argue against the decision because there are good precedents (no not from China or the USSR or North Korea, but from “white” Commonwealth countries) that lead to this conclusion.

Those who want peaceful change, have to go down the political route, not the constitutional road, in a parliamentary system. Even though the political road is very tough (think GRCs, campaigning rules, funding rules etc), the constitutional road is tougher because of the way the Constitution was drafted and judges’ view that the court “grants the government a “presumption of constitutionality”, because “our legislature is presumed not to enact legislation which is inconsistent with the Singapore Constitution.” In other words, the court will neutrally and objectively weigh the arguments presented by each side, though one side (the government’s) enters with the wind at its back.

Coming back to M Ravi. Every few months, this tot crosses my mind,”M Ravi thinks his grandfather wrote our laws? With JBJ assisting in the drafting?”

The latest occasion was on Friday, when I read that Ravi was escalating his row with PM’s press secretary (Background). He said, “Even as a trainee lawyer, I could understand that the PM’s press secretary was in breach of Section 44 of the Code of Conduct for Civil Servants and the PM is in breach of the same section being subject to the same guidelines of the Public Service Commission. A declaration will be sought in the High Court subsequently to determine the ambit of the said Section 44 and if both the PM and his Press Secretary are in breach of this code the PSC should investigate this matter and dismiss both of them.”

Well I never. Let’s see if Ravi wins (his record is lousy: no outright victories, one score draw: the need to call a by-election). From what my contacts in the Legal Service tell me about the code, he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

The same tots on his grandfather and JBJ drafting the law crossed my mind in late October 2014  when Mr Ravi said (in an interview with TOC [Link]) that NParks had no authority to govern the expression of free speech and had overstepped its powers*.

M Ravi also said he may be taking an application to mount a constitutional challenge against Regulation 23(2)(b) of the Parks and Trees Act on behalf of those celebrity hooligans, Roy and New Citizen Hui Hui.

(For the record, he sent H3’s appeal to the wrong minister and had to resent the BS missive. For the record too, Roy has recently blogged on the latest developments.)

Btw, he added to my merriment when a few days later, he decried the Court of Appeal’s decision when on Oct 29 it ruled that a law (399A of the Penal Code) that criminalises sex between men is constitutional. The ruling covered two cases contesting the law, one brought by two graphic designers who have been in loving relationship for 16 years, and the other by an artistic therapist (whatever that means) who had been arrested for a sordid, quickie sexual act in a public toilet. No need to guess who he represented: the artistic therapist Tan Eng Hong.

Related articles on the Constitution: Gd stuff even though Alex au is not a lawyer

http://yawningbread.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/rule-of-law-in-singapore-is-so-thin-it-holds-no-more-meaning/

http://yawningbread.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/book-authoritarian-rule-of-law-by-jothie-rajah/

—-

*“It is apparent in the Act that the object of Parks and Trees Act is specifically for purposes of regulating the park, example prevent anyone from endangering the park.

No where in the act, the minister has been conferred with any authority to make regulations in relation to speech and assembly.

The Public Order Act has clearly exempted any requirement for permit for speech or demonstration. Therefore the charging of Ms Han and Roy under the Parks and Trees Act is ultra vires the Public Order Act and Public Entertainment and Meetings Act (PEMA).

The regulation in this regard, also violates article 9 of the Singapore Constitution that says that no one shall be deprived of his or her liberty, save in accordance with law.

Therefore the enactment of Parks and Trees regulation under Section 23(2) (b) in relation to speech and assembly are promulgated not in accordance with law.”

 

Bukit Batok rat and his Aljunied cousin compare TCs

In Humour on 16/01/2015 at 4:30 am

The rat infestation episode at Bukit Batok seems to be over – according to Star Pest Control, which carried out the extermination process. (CNA 6 Jan)

But not all the rats were killed. One managed to escape and is staying with his cousin in Aljunied. Here’s a conversation they had after it became public knowledge that AHPETC had sent lawyers’ letters to those in S&C arrears.

———————–

Bukit Batok rat: Wah see you also got problem here. Town Council cracking down on delinquent S&C accounts.

Aljunied rat: No sweat brudder. Plenty of time before people like the owner of this dump has to pay up

BB rat: What you mean? Took PAP guys less than a month after residents complained to clean us out. Surely yr town council as efficient?

A rat: This town council is WP town council. Takes time to do anything.S’preans still waiting for 2013 arrears data. Town Council had said in November 2014 that it was processing the data.

My owner has not been paying his bills since 2011. Why you think there’s so much food around. Life is gd here for us rats.

BB rat: Wah so would have been good for us rats if WP had run Bukit Batok.

A rat: Err wait a minute. [Dials his handphone] Hello, Victor, A rat here. My Bukit Batok cousin says that voting for WP is gd for us rats. Didn’t you tell us at the last PA meeting that PAP is good for us rats?

OK will wait for you to call PAP HQ to find out how to rebut my cousin’s logic.

Thanks.

—————

I’ll keep readers posted of what PAP HQ’s answer is.

 

The Xiaxue of the anti-PAP cyber masses/ Uncle Leong is well

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 14/01/2015 at 6:06 am

Roy, celebrity and irrationality

So Roy and his lawyer M Ravi are back in the headlines KPKBing their rotine lines: Roy (“Juz want a debate on CPF but persecution contines”), M Ravi (“I’m always right because it’s my grandfather’s law”)

Why is Roy such a celebrity while Uncle Leong (Leong Sze Hian) his si fu* is a relative unknown. After all all the best bits of Roy’s CPF “research” are things Uncle Leong (and, to be fair, others) has been talking about and highlighting over the years.

The only thing that was new was the accusation that the PAP administration criminally misappropriated the CPF moneys. Even then he quickly said this allegation is false and completely without foundation. when PM threatened legal action*.

Despite this recantation, Roy remains a hero to the anti-PAP cyber masses.

This, from an Economist blog, explains his appeal: As Drew Westen argued a few years ago in his book “The Political Mind”, political persuasion is all about moving people emotionally, not appealing to their rational faculties.

Roy dared, at no small cost to himself, in public to say what anti-PAP coffee shop and cyber warriors are whispering. .For that act of courage, they are to willing to suspend their critical faculties, if they had any. He is right because he is saying publicly what they don’t dare say. They support him unthinkingly because he validates their view of the way CPF works.

And for that very reason, the PM felt it necessary to sue him even if it annoys many people who think Roy is talking rubbish, and even though suing goes against the kinder, gentler, more liberal view of the PAP administration that he is trying to project. Btw, one of these days, I’ll go into the steel trap that the PAP have set for themselves in the litigation game: they are damned whether they sue or don’t sue.

Uncle Leong is alive and well, and is still rocking

The last piece Uncle Leong wrote was at the end of November. Since then he has been silent causing me and others to wonder or worry what has happened to him. Not like him to remain quiet for even three days.

But read these two pieces that appeared in TRE on Jan 10 and 11

Recently, one of our public hospitals became famous for the action which they took (compared to the immediate sacking of Roy Ngerng citing his defamation of the prime minister as one of the reasons, despite the court hearing had not even commenced yet) in regard to their foreign employee’s Facebook posting against Singaporeans.

There have also been reports claiming that the hospital employs about 70 to 80 per cent of its staff from one foreign country. Actually, some people say that about 80 per cent of their staff are non-Singaporeans (work permits, S-pass, employment pass, PRs, foreign spouses on letter of consent, foreign interns, trainees, etc).

According to the MOH’s web site – this public hospital had the highest total hospitalisation billing for citizens (among all public hospitals excluding the National Heart Centre) for all ward classes (Class C, B2, B1 and A) at the 90th and 95th percentile in 2013.

For example, it was $8,071 at the 95th percentile, against just $4,758 at the lowest public hospital in Class C.

At the 90th percentile – it was $5,220 against $2,901.

Why?

Why is it that this particular public hospital has the highest billing sizes across all ward classes?

Could it be that they employ more non-Singaporeans than other public hospitals?

Win battles lose war

* Submitted by TRE reader.

“Uphold values of respect, professionalism, integrity and social responsibility”

According to the Straits Times report “Health-care workers must ‘uphold values of respect’: Health Ministry” (Jan 10) – “Public health-care professionals, both local and foreign, are expected to uphold values of respect, professionalism, integrity and social responsibility, said the Health Ministry (MOH).”

Got “respect” for Roy Ngerng?

Where was “respect” in the sacking of Roy Ngerng when one of the reasons cited for his sacking was his defamation suit when the hearing had not even commenced yet?

Got “professionalism” in the way Roy Ngerng was sacked?

Where was the “professionalism” in giving Roy Ngerng just hours to leave his job, without any prior notice?

Got “integrity” – no fairness and natural justice?

Where was the “integrity” in not giving Roy Ngerng any opportunity to defend himself against the allegations made against him? Where was the principle of fairness and natural justice in the case of Roy Ngerng?

“Social responsibility” in employing 80% foreigners?

Where is “social responsibility” if it is true that about 80 per cent of the employees are non-Singaporeans (work permits, S-pass, employment pass, PRs, foreign spouses on letter of consent, foreign interns, trainees, etc)?

Hypocrisy and double standards?

Don’t you feel that MOH’s statement reeks of hypocrisy and double standards?

Win battles lose war

* Submitted by TRE reader.

Sounds familiar?

For the record, I’m no Sherlock Holmes. A prominent civic activists drew my retention to one of these pieces.

—————–

*Roy helped co-write Uncle Leong’s pieces for several yrs.

** I recognise that the Article means and is understood to mean that Mr Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore and Chairman of GIC, is guilty of criminal misappropriation of the monies paid by Singaporeans to the Central Provident Fund.

3.I admit and acknowledge that this allegation is false and completely without foundation.

4.I unreservedly apologise to Mr Lee Hsien Loong for the distress and embarrassment caused to him by this allegation.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/roys-defence-has-me-confused/

 

Election in 2016 not 2015

In Economy, Political governance, Uncategorized on 13/01/2015 at 4:36 am

(Or “New Citizen tells us the truth about the economy” or “Funny time for PAP to call a yr-long party” )

I didn’t realise the double burden S’pore (and the PAP administration) is facing economically in 2015 until I read this (emphasis mine):

Speaking at a DBS Private Bank event, DBS’ chief executive officer, Mr Piyush Gupta, said the credit cycle in Asia is turning and Singapore will be affected by higher rates and falling oil prices. Domestically, restructuring would pose further challenges.

… “I really think that 2015 is a very important year for our country. It is important because this whole scope of transitioning the economy and restructuring the economy is very sensitively-poised.”

… “Fundamentally, we are trying to do two things at the same time – restructure the manufacturing sector to be productivity-driven and more technology efficient, and at the same time, slow down the asset prize inflation, particularly in the property market.

“Both of these have deflationary drives and to be able to balance this and nuance these two deflationary engines at the same time is not an easy job.”

CNA 7 January 2015

Not gd news for mortgagees what with rising rates. Maybe taz why Frenvale Lea buyers are trying to rat out of their flats: they are not NIMBYS, juz opportunists. Remember they’d have bot their flats in 2012.

Related article: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/why-oil-price-falls-bad-for-mortgagees/

But oil prices at around these levels or even at US$60 — 80 will help us and the PAP administration. It’s like a tax cut or bonus payment.

All of which means that even though I was one of the few who had suggested (before it became conventional wisdom and at a time when oil was around US$85 having slipped from above 100) that an election could be held in 2015 before National Day, I now predict that PM will delay calling an election until June or August 2016. Lower inflation, more $ to spend and more goodies in 2016 Budget could shore up his support: people are less too lan with him and his party because they got more to spend i.e they’ll be more forgiving because life is more comfortable even if it wasn’t the PAP can’t take credit for the comfort.

Btw, Gupta is the kind of FT (he is now a citizen), we should welcome (Juz like O’Connor, ex CEO of OCBC and this guy). We should boot out Trashes like the CEO, president and head of IT at SGX, and the president of NTU over his use use of the term “academic decision” when talking of NTU’s refusal  to give Cherian George tenure caused a smoldering volcano to erupt.

Rats: Daft S’poreans blamed

In Political governance on 31/12/2014 at 5:08 am

Initially, the big nests of rats in a PAP ward were blamed on stray dogs. After the dogs* fought back (Remember the de facto dog (OK pet minister) has real teeth unlike the ministers for Malays, Indians and Eurasians), the PAP administration via a PAP MP reverted to form by blaming daft S’poreans** living in the area:

Member of Parliament Lim Biow Chuan on Saturday (Dec 27) weighed in on the rat problem at Bukit Batok. He said many do not understand that stray dogs may not finish the food left for them, allowing rats and other pests to flourish.

Mr Lim, member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for National Development and Environment, said: “We should go on an outreach programme to reach out to coffeeshop owners and people living in the area, to say that if they see anyone trying to feed stray dogs, tell them to please make sure that they clear up the food after they have fed the animals. Of course, it’s best if you don’t even feed the animals, because you’re just leaving food around in an unhygienic manner.” (CNA)

I’m sure if the rats’ nests had been in AHPETC, the PAP administration, and its media and NEA allies would be blaming Auntie and her Singh for running the place badly, not daft S’poreans.

But do you think if the problem had arisen in AHPETC, it would have been tackled so speedily and efficently? Remember, ‘We are looking into the arrears data, and will respond to the query on the financial and arrears situation in due course’. Not once, not twice but several times; since a month before Christmas.

What do you think?

———————————

*Stray dogs are not to blame for the rat infestation at Bukit Batok, said the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Singapore, pointing instead to members of the public who feed the dogs without cleaning up the leftover food.

In a letter sent to TODAY on Thursday (Dec 25), the SPCA’s executive director Ms Corinne Fong responded to media reports on the cause of the rodent infestation, calling for greater tolerance towards community animals.

She said: “SPCA wishes to dispute the notion that the community dogs are ultimately responsible for the rodent infestation in the area. Many a time, it has been observed that members of the public have been casually feeding the dogs, without actually cleaning up leftover food.”

She added that there is “already a core group of community feeders (and caregivers tending to the dogs’ basic nutritional needs and care) who would be happy to help in resolving any issue concerning the dogs”.

(CNA)

**Actually thinking about it, the PAP did blame S’poreans from the beginning: the dogs are born-and bred here.

 

AhLoong needs his very own superheloo costume?

In Humour, Political governance on 23/12/2014 at 4:56 am

Recently, I met someone who gave me the best reason why PM was wrong to sue Roy Ngerng. (Btw, the guy is as anti-PAP as Dr Chee and Roy and New Citizen H3 combined, but he isn’t that mad as to believe that Roy’s research and writings bears any semblance to the truth.)

He said that in his opinion, PM sued Roy to show S’poreans that he too was a tough guy like his dad: “Don’t play play with me,” was the message PM wanted to send.

Trouble my friend says is that AhLoong looks and sound like a SuperWimp. Suing Roy to show us he as tough and nasty and mean as dad, juz shows us the difference between him and his dad. He is not the man, for gppd or ill, his dad.

And this does not reflect well on AhLoong: it makes us realise that dad’s SuperThug costume doesn’t fit AhLoong. AhLoong needs his own superhero costume but can’t seem able to afford one despite the millions he’s earned.    .

What do you think should be his costume?

Update at 5.30am

Thinking further about it, the PM should have done what he did after dad went off the rails at GE 2011, threatening the Aljunied voters. LKY was seen and heard no more and PM said that things were different now. On the Roy issue, he could have ended the matter after Roy chickened out, admitting

1.On or around 15 May 2014, I, Roy Ngerng Yi Ling, published on my blog (at http://thehearttruths.com/), an article entitled “Where your CPF Money Is Going: Learning From The City Harvest Trial” (the “Article”). I also published links to the Article on my Facebook page (at https://www.facebook.com/sexiespider) and on The Heart Truths’ Facebook page (at https://www.facebook.com/pages/I-want-the-government-and-people-to-work-together-for-Singapores-future/185331834935656).

2.I recognise that the Article means and is understood to mean that Mr Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore and Chairman of GIC, is guilty of criminal misappropriation of the monies paid by Singaporeans to the Central Provident Fund.

3.I admit and acknowledge that this allegation is false and completely without foundation.

4.I unreservedly apologise to Mr Lee Hsien Loong for the distress and embarrassment caused to him by this allegation.

5.I have removed the Article and the links to the Article and undertake not to make any further allegations to the same or similar effect.

by demanding that Roy pays his legal costs, waiving his rights for damages.

This would send the message that the PM wasn’t in the business of bankrupting people fo protect his reputation, but that defaming him wasn’t cost-free publicity for wanna-be celebrities. They’d have to pay his legal fees.

2cents makes sense on PAP’s tactics

In Political governance on 22/12/2014 at 4:05 am
When TRE republished this 2cents responded to the usual TRE rant that the PAP are stupid.
2cents:

Chris K:
Maybe he is even clueless about his own cabinet. I mean it is sheer political idiocy for his transport minister to sanction a rise in fares in face of a collapse in oil prices. Even if there are legimitate reasons (whatever they are) to hike fares, this is patently not the time to do it. The last thing a real political party would do is to piss off the voters in a run up to elections.

This is the problem with the PAP cabinet: it is full of technocrats who are clueless about political implications of their actions regardless whether those actions are right or wrong. Look at Ah Loong himself. Perhaps Roy got his foot in his mouth and there is a case for libel but given the simmering discontent over the minimum sum and lousy returns, it is political idiocy to actually go ahead with the libel suit.

Chris,

I view the situation slightly different. There are 2 things operating beneath the surface.

One, PAP has always prided themselves and sold the need to make tough decisions which are, to their minds, for the longer good. Another ‘value’ they treasure is to their reputation of integrity (or so they claim).

Hence, they cannot find a way to climb down now from those ‘ideals & values’ that have defined them, or so they think tt some of these minor issues actually hurt those ideals & values.

Therefore, Liu has to volunteer a brave face to talk about raising fares even if he looks truly dumb under current voters’ ire and, yes, declining and declined oil prices.

And LHL just has to sue Roy. That, accdg to Goh CT is the standing order for ministers in the cabinet. (The interesting thing as I noted to Rich is tt Tharman’s face also appeared in Roy’s ‘offensive’ blog but he ain’t suing. Interesting, no?)

Two, I think the PAP knows that the tide is so strong agst them. They are not only desperate for non-deg candidates, animal, arts, environmental lovers etc to fill up the numbers, they look for half the chance to wayang things to their election advantage…if only to secure that one more vote.

So, Liu is deliberately implying tt fare increase is in the works (per reason 1 above), hoping tt tt sets up the expectation in the FMMs’ voter mind.

My dollar is on the Public Transport Council announcing later that no increases for next year. Then, PAP scores, the PTC appointees scores and the PTC’s reputation (independence as a govt-appt committee) scores as well…and, hopefully, voters vote for the PAP…but who knows, the same voters may also end up thinking, ‘woah, with oppo MPs in parliament and voices in the social media, can keep PAP in check, man!)

(I can only urge Oppo parties to speak up and TRE readers to kbkp more on the fare review issue to help sway the FMMs to this line of thinking.)

Change we Must.
End PAP’s dominance.

SDP right about PSLE streaming/ What works in education

In Uncategorized on 19/12/2014 at 4:26 am

SDP’s right

After the PLSE results came out, I tot Mad Dog Chee had a relapse, when the SDP came out against streaming. I mean what could be a no-brainer than streaming? Don’t students learn faster when students of similar ability are taught in a group.

Seems that SDP is right: Dividing pupils into classes of different abilities is a popular approach to improving standards, but research suggests that it leaves students a month behind those in mixed groups. BBC report

Surprised?

This is a the one finding (see below for other findings) of intensive analysis of data from across the world, part-funded by the Department for Education as part of the What Works Network, and recently published by the British government.

And Dr Chee has form in calling things right. In the 1990s, Dr Chee articulateda  dystopian vision of S’pore. sadly the prophesy is more accurate then the than PAP’s administration or my views of how S’pore would look like today.

Too bad, SDP went AWOL under Dr Chee’s leadership. If only he had WP Low’s patience and wisdom to build up a grass-roots based organisation**. The PAP is always lucky in its enemies. JBJ and Dr Chee then. And Low today.

What works in education

 Doesn’t work

Uniform policy? 

Schools that don’t force pupils into blazers and ties are almost unheard of these days. But the best evidence is that a uniform policy makes no difference to attainment. If anything, it holds students back.

Setting and streaming? 

Dividing pupils into classes of different abilities is a popular approach to improving standards, but research suggests that it leaves students a month behind those in mixed groups.

Teaching assistants? 

Research suggests students in a class with a TA do not, on average, perform better than those in a class with only a teacher.

Longer lessons (block scheduling, in the jargon )? 

The evidence is double-chemistry and triple-maths don’t make for more accomplished chemists and mathematicians.

Repeating a year? 

Giving pupils a chance to repeat a year if they are struggling is not only very expensive – on average, it leaves children four months behind.

So what does work?

Meta-cognition and self-regulation? YES.

… that phrase reflects the most effective way to improve educational outcomes, according to the evidence.

Meta-cognition is often described as “learning to learn” and what it means is giving children a range of strategies they can use to monitor and improve their own academic development. Self-regulation is developing the ability to motivate oneself to learn.

On average, introducing meta-cognition and self-regulation into the classroom has a high impact, with pupils making an average of eight months’ additional progress. That is a phenomenal improvement.

Feedback? 

Feedback is information given to pupils about how they are doing against their learning goals. In the workplace it might be part of an appraisal, and the evidence is that a similar approach works wonders in the classroom, increasing educational attainment by around eight months.

Peer-tutoring? 

If pupils work together in pairs or small groups to give each other explicit teaching support, the results can be dramatic – particularly with youngsters who struggle the most. This isn’t about doing away with teachers, but it seems when working with their peers, children tend to take real responsibility for their teaching and their own learning.

Sometimes the tutoring can be reciprocal, with pupils alternating as tutor and tutee. Cross-age tutoring also has advantages for older and younger participants, it turns out. This intervention, on average, improves student performance by a GCSE grade.

One-to-one adult tutoring is, counter-intuitively, less effective and much more expensive than peer tutoring.

Homework in primary school doesn’t make a lot of difference, nor does mentoring, performance pay for teachers, or the physical environment of the school.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-30210514

**To be fair, Low had the experience and help of the Barisan Socialists’ activists. BSoc diissolved itself in 1988 and its activists joined WP .https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/strong-legacy-of-forgotten-dissident-party/. They put up with the antics of one JBJ until there was an opportunity to defenestrate him in 2001.

AhLoong: Clueless in school, 2005 and today? Still no want checkers?

In Political governance on 15/12/2014 at 4:30 am

I received two interesting allegations in response to https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/12/what-pm-can-learn-from-two-other-privileged-kids/#comments

Our PM was going right-left-right while the rest of his band was left-right-left and nobody bothered to correct him except us bunch of kids who were shouting “Botak kayu”, to have his bodyguards come after us from across the school field.

[Er, I tot drum-major is always right, juz like the RSM on the parade square. Bte, anyone knows if SAF still has RSMs?]

And

Well, his kayu days are still very much with him. Like the occasion when inspecting a German guard of honour during a visit to Germany, our sissy PM walked on oblivious to the fact that his escort, German Chancellor Angela Mekel, had stopped and turned to salute her country’s flag as was their country’s protocol! An aide had to fetch him back! That was a prized video clip. I wonder if it is somewhere in the Youtube. I would not rule out the possibility that Lee’s followers must have BOUGHT it off the TV station that owns it to prevent even more Singaporeans from watching it.

Here is a forum comment at that time: http://sgforums.com/forums/8/topics/166923

As to whether he is clueless now about whether he needs better checkers than that provided by the MPs from the Worthless Party, what do you think?
To help you decide, here’s shumething from the Economist letters’ page

Rebranding citizens

SIR – Lexington attributed the rise of public doubts about government in Western democracies to globalisation and the economic wrench it has produced (November 15th). Undoubtedly globalisation has created new strains. However, the erosion of trust dates back earlier than implied. An article in The Economist in 1999 (“Is there a crisis?”, July 17th 1999) described the erosion of trust beginning in the 1960s in America and Sweden. Western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand followed in the 1970s or 1980s. This downward trend continues to the present.

Research suggests that the changes in the values and norms of the public, a shift in the style of interest-group politics and the norms of media reporting have contributed to a secular shift towards a more assertive and sceptical public. The deferential citizen is becoming an endangered species, which is a benefit to democracy.

Russell Dalton
Centre for the Study of Democracy
University of California, Irvine

Finally, FT reported last week, talking about president Xi and the communist part: “On the whole they are nervous. There is a lack of confidence. They know the one-party state is an exception to [global] trends,” say Jean-Pierre Cabestan, head of the government and international studies department at Hong Kong Baptist University. “One of the weaknesses in the party state is the lack of checks and balances . . . Zhou Yongkang clearly enjoyed a huge level of impunity. How do you control that?”

Zhou Yongkang was the security chief under the previous president and was recently arrested, accused of corruption etc.

 

What connects NEA to Baey, dengue fever and the WP

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 14/12/2014 at 5:58 am

This appeared in TRE somretime ago. I was reminded of it when VivianB failed to get elected (yet again) to the PAP’s politburo.

NEA:

Please don’t blame us. We were busy on the most trivial squabble with WP.

This was in response to TRE’s report that Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng has been warded in hospital since yesterday (30 Nov) for dengue fever. He made the same announcement on Instagram.

Mr Baey said his platelet count had fallen below the recommended threshold for dengue patients, and he was warded as a result.

Btw, this coming GE will see VivianB moving on. With him gone, Khaw is the only guy from TeamGCT left. Good riddance to bad rubbish. With the exception of Khaw (I disagree that he is useless), they were all awfully bad. Think Mah, Yeo Cheow Tong, Raymond Lim, Balaji and White Horse Cedric. At least TeamLoong got two super Indians.

Gd week ahead. Happy feasting.

 

The point of independent directors, commissioners, NMPs etc

In Corporate governance, Political governance on 12/12/2014 at 11:19 am

Here’s an extract from the Observer that puts the point of independent directors, members of commissions and NMPs into some perspective:

Shortly after commodity trading firm Glencore floated on the London Stock Exchange, its chief executive (and largest shareholder) Ivan Glasenberg addressed an industry dinner in London. During his speech he told a story about his company’s search for the independent directors needed to represent external shareholders once the company had gone public, which involved an adviser presenting him with a list of potential names for chairman.

“I read them and I said to him, ‘I don’t know any of these people’,” Glasenberg recalled. “To which the adviser replied, ‘That’s kind of the point’.”

With PM’s demanding a blank cheque in the coming GE, he’s obviously belongs to the Glasenberg school of tot. But Glasenberg led a team that made money for investors in Glencore, before and after it floated. Can PM say of the same of S’poreans who for voted the PAP? Excluding his ministerial team of course.

What PM can learn from two other privileged kids

In Political governance on 12/12/2014 at 4:58 am

Here are what two leaders can teach our PM:who like him they came from privileged backgrounds. In fact they came from even more privileged backgrounds of wealth, where their fathers were very indulgent, at least a lot more than LKY.

One is the ruler of Dubai: For a man who does not need to go through that laborious indignity of seeking election or re-election, he is a brilliant “retail politician”. He posed for photos, shook hands with all and sundry, and deployed a warmth and easy charm that many a western politician could only dream of.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-25711379

But then he didn’t get a double first at Cambridge. He too went to Cambridge but spent most of his time at the race track. He now owns the leading racing stable in the world.

Despite being a hereditary ruler, and  a serious player in racing, the sport of kings, he has the common touch, which our PM lacks.

The common, or popular, touch is very important as is shown by India’s PM. He can enthuse the people to vote for him and his party. The common touch is also important when it comes to getting people to forget inconvenient facts. Boris Johnson is the mayor of London. He is a Tory mayor in a city whose voters tend to the left. He is also a rogue (he has a record of fibbing and philandering) and buffon. And he comes from a rich family. But because he has the common touch (takes MRT when here), the voters in London adore him. He might even become PM.

The other is the PM of the UK. His grandfather was a director of HSBC while his maternal grandfather was a director of Chartered Bank (now StanChart). His father and grandfather were the senior partners in a leading City firm of stockbrokers. He went to Eton and Oxford (As did Boris Johnson).

But he knows what matters and how to say it.

“LEADERSHIP,” declared David Cameron, in announcing a series of proposals to curb immigration on November 28th, “means dealing with the frustrations” that millions of Britons to feel on this issue. “Not turning a deaf ear to it,” Economist few months back

Taz about right. Leadership is not about the application of Hard Truths and being vaguely dismissively about our concerns about their application to our daily lives, while asking for “blank cheques” despite not doing the right things by us.

And leadership is also about admitting screw-ups and correcting them. This extract appeared two yrs ago

Cameron, speaking on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, said it took courage for an administration to admit it was “ploughing into the brick wall” and change course on unpopular policies.

[Earlier in the week the chancellor had tom perform three u-turns in a row]

Cameron said, “… Nobody thinks this government lacks resolve, strength and grit.”

“It has all of those things and it also has the courage to say, ‘Look, if we’ve got something wrong, let’s change it; let’s not keep ploughing into the brick wall.'”

He added: “There have been difficulties in the budget and we’ve had to make some changes.

“When you’ve got something wrong, there are two things you can do in government: you can plough on regardless, or you can say, ‘No, we’re going to listen, we’re going to change it, we’re going to get it right.’ And that’s what we’ve done and I think that’s the right thing to do.”

(Emphasis mine)

A final tot. “The British prime minister has four distinct jobs: running the government, leading his party in parliament, leading the national party and being a constituency Member of Parliament,” wrote Sir John Major in his memoirs.

In his recent speech to the party cadres, PM seems to have forgotten that we too would know what he said by way of the constructive, nation-building media. What works for an audience of pigs cadres, doesn’t necessarily work for a audience of sheep voters, 40% of which are not happy with him or the PAP.

But most probably, he tot the sheep S’poreans would respond to the same message as the pigs cadres in a similar way (enthusiastically) because he knew that the media would report the speech.

And he wants “blank cheques”? How to give them to him? When he doesn’t understand that the PAP and the people are not one? Oh I forgot, it’s a Hard Truth that the PAP and S’poreans are one.

 

 

 

Look on the bright side: No wonder PM thinks govt doing a great job

In Economy, Financial competency, Political governance, Property on 11/12/2014 at 6:39 am

Blog E-Jay* posted this on Facebook to prove point that “PAP, will be voting against you again in 2015/2016. Thank you for making my life difficult.”

Well, there are other, reasonable legtimate ways of looking at the chart:

— Wah flat owners got windfall if they willing to retire to Batam or M’sia

— I should have used bonus for one yr to buy 3-room HDB flat for cash in early 90s . Only thing allowed for us oppressed singletons then: maybe taz why I’m so hard on those who KPKB about being discriminated for trivial things like being gay. Only a real sleaze bas got prosecuted by AGC under 377A. Had to client of M Ravi.

— HDB owners so ungrateful: property worth so much all ’cause of SuperLoong and sidekick Mah. Instead of being grateful, HDB owners fret for their children’s inability to afford “affordable” housing. PAP makes them rich, must also make their kids reach. WTF!

Seriously, what the chart tells us is that Ah Loong allowed Mah Bow Tan to screw S’poreans. And he wants us to vote for him? And not to have better checkers than the Worthless Party is now providing. One of these days, I’ll blog on why PM is behaving like scholar Eng, and how two really rich and privileged kids, to the manor born, so to speak, can teach him some humility and common sense. Then maybe, he doesn’t need checkers. In the meantime, we need better checkers than the Worthless Party’s MPs.

But we got to play our party, deprive the PAP of its two-thirds majority.

*Actually, a revised Magnificent 7 list should include him and Uncle Leong [Added at 11.00am]

Big Data, the PM and the Oppo

In Infrastructure, Political governance on 10/12/2014 at 5:19 am

But bear with me first on the LTA and Uber and other taxi apps.

The PAP administrationis  afraid of losingrevenue from CoEs is the reason why LTA is creating its own taxi apps and making life difficult for Uber etc?

Because of Uber and other such apps, “Millions of people may decide that they no longer need to own a car because using Uber will be cheaper than owning one.”? This was said by Travis Kalanick, chief executive of Uber, on a new round of financing which values Uber at US$40m.

For “Uber” read “Uber and rival apps”

(A reminder of what LTA has done.

[A]nnounced plans to put its own taxi app into the growing market just after it announced regulations for the existing players in the industry.

The app, Taxi-Taxi.SG, will launch in mid-December, and will show commuters the number of available taxis near them, as well as signalling to taxi drivers the locations of potential customers. No details on app charges have yet emerged.

The Singaporean market already has t… Uber, local competitor Grab Taxi, and a number of apps from the individual taxi firms and smaller companies. These apps are free, but charge customers a cut of the taxi fare.

The plan comes as Singapore announced a new regulatory framework for private sector taxi apps, which are transforming an old-fashioned industry into a fiercely competitive and lucrative marketplace.

The regulations mean that all booking services must be registered with the LTA, specify their fees upfront, provide customer support services and prevent bidding on nearby taxis.

http://www.futuregov.asia/articles/5792-singapore-land-transport-authority-takes-on-uber-with-own-app)

Somewhere in the mix of measures,  the govt commended the LTA for its use of big data analytics to monitor travelling patterns and demand from commuters.“With this insight, LTA was able to perform targeted injection of bus capacity, which saw a 60 per cent reduction in the number of bus services with persistent crowding in spite of year-on-year increase in average daily bus ridership,” LTA.

Well if the data had been publicly available (and not confined to LTA, the transport regulator), perhaps the public good would be better served.

PM talks big about the use of big data analytics in developing S’pore. But my impression is that in S’pore, unlike in the UK, the data is only available to the right people: govt, state agencies and GLCs. In the UK and the West, big data is publicly available so that anyone can access the data to make sense of it, or develop apps, or both.

But if that happens here, the PAP administration will no longer have the monopoly of the data that is needed to formulate policy. Oppo parties like the SDP, NSP can come up with detailed policies based on the data. Now that would be a problem for the PM who has said the opposition have not articulated a vision for Singapore.

The SDP says:

This is untrue. The SDP published Dare To Change: An Alternative Vision for Singapore in 1994.

Dr Chee had also recently described a new vision for Singapore in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal. Mr Lee ignores these and claims that the opposition has not articulated one.

But more than just a vision, the SDP has laid out concrete and comprehensive alternative policies in key areas such as housing, healthcare, population, the Malay community, education, Ministerial salaries, and (soon-to-be launched) the economy. The SDP’s campaign for the next GE will focus on these alternative policies.

The SDP, NSP and TJS’s gang have come up with policies: the problem is that lackof access  to basic data (something often available in the West but not here despite S’pore being a first-world state) makes their policy papers little more than motherhood statements.

Thinking about it, the PAP should treasure the Worthless Party, not rubbish or fix it. All it wants is to check the PAP administration, something where the WP talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk, and hopes that the PAP needs it as coalition partner.

If the PM can’t live with this, what does he want? A PAP dictatorship? Even LKY never went that far. He juz he made sure he won big in elections, something son has a problem doing.

 

 

“News” and “no-news” that annoyed me

In Humour, Malaysia on 07/12/2014 at 4:45 am

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has received a “clean bill of health” from his doctor after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer, and is now back at work. (CNA)

You mean he working? Doing what? Talking cock is work?

2 Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng told CNA that even though he gives people the impression that he is a very active and sociable person, he is actually an introvert.

“I think I give people the impression that I’m a very active, sociable person… doing a lot of things. But I’m actually quite an introvert. Really! It’s just that I’m active online so there are certain posts people remember and they form certain impressions about me,” said Mr Baey chuckling.

As TRE pointed out,  netizens have nicknamed him “Selfie King” because of his penchant for taking photos of himself at various events and at every opportunity, posting them online. He frequently makes postings of himself on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, sometimes multiple times a day.

3 Bit rich, what coming from a M’sian publication that is in same group as NST which promote special rights for the “right” race:.

“What does this policy say to us? That Filipinos can be maids but not servers? Indians are good for being construction coolies but we don’t want to see them as hotel staff? This is why you see Mandarin-speaking servers struggling to pronounce Palak Paneer across the curry houses of Singapore.”

I was juz talking to a retired Bumi financier and he was musing that Bank Negara has never had a Chinese governor, despite many capable deputy Chinese governors.

4 In an interview, PM Lee said that his children “have not yet” expressed an interest to enter politics.

When asked if he would influence or encourage his children to join politics, Mr Lee said, “They will have to make choices.”

“Every child is different. Of course parents would wish for their children to be successful but they all have different natures. Some may be more interested in arts while others could be keen on computing or science. This is something that will have to be developed based on their preferences.” (PM Lee was interviewed by Yang Lan on Beijing Satellite TV while he was in Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit last month but aired here last Sunday)

So he telling us that he trying to persuade one of his sons to go go into politics? Like the way LKY persuaded him to get into politics? To be fair to him, the rumours are that that his wife has political ambitions for one of her sons. It’s also rumoured that his bro’s wife has political ambitions for one of her sons. Rumours also say that the bros are really relaxed about their sons not wanting to S’pore.

The absence of reports on the following is

Last Saturday was another Return Our CPF gig at Hong Lim Green. The MSM didn’t report it. But neither did TOC, ot TRE or Roy and New Citizen H3. So did anyone turn up?

And still no word from the WP on the arrears issue. Mgt systems must really be lousy.

And I’m surprised Goh Meng Seng is not attacking WP on this issue. But then maybe he focuses only on of inconsequential matters, not serious issues.

Now this had me smiling: Roy says  he is stopping blogging. His verbal diarrhea finally sucumbed to SingHeath’s tablets. (subsidised)?

But then Roy talks cock? Remember his research that PM stole our CPF money? Then he said he was talking rubbish and that the allegation wasn’t true?

Have a gd week.

Btw, if this post sounds familiar it’s ’cause I first posted something similar on Friday. Something went wrong and it disappeared. It ended up between two posts, days ago. So I reposted it with some amendments.

Coming GE: Real problem for the PAP

In Economy on 04/12/2014 at 4:42 am

“GDP is growing, but you can’t eat GDP. You can’t even eat employment. Incomes you can eat, if you spend them,” says the Economist, the PAP’s bible, in a post on the US economy, two days ago.

Well going by this tot, the PAP should be afraid, very afraid going into 2015 and a probable election before 2016.  The recent data released by MoM. S’porans have no growth in real income to eat. And if they don’t have real growth in income before next GE, 60% mark may not hold.

Because going by MoM’s data, S’poreans are seeing “peanuts” real growth in wages in 2014.

S’pore’s real median income (i.e, income after adjusting for inflation) growth is at its slowest pace since 2009 with the real median earnings rising to just 0.4%, inclusive of the employer CPF contributions.

A DBS economist said that the real income growth of 0.4% for this year is disappointing, compared with 4% last year. “Should the trend continue, it will raise questions over whether the policies made so far to boost productivity, and real median incomes, are working.”

A Barclays Capital economist blamed the slowdown in growth and the property sector as the main reasons for median incomes stagnating. “There are a lot of professionals in the sector, such as lawyers and bankers. When property slowed down, companies were not able to pay good raises since the profit margins were constrained at the top.”

Worse, the “exceptional” 4% in 2013 was partly pulled up by the initial effect of the Wage Credit Scheme launched last year, whereby the Government co-funds the wage increases given to Singaporean employees.

Good piece from TRE (it’s editorial stuff is usually very decent: taz the adv of having a scholar, unlike TOC which has no scholars, only anti-PAP fruscos) dated 29th November.

*MOM said, “The employment rate rose to a new high, as more women and older residents were in the labour force amid a tight labour market and low unemployment. There was sustained growth in incomes in the recent five years, with the income growth of lower income earners keeping pace with that at the middle.”

However, upon reviewing the data, it was observed that Singapore’s real median income (i.e, income after adjusting for inflation) growth is actually at its slowest pace since 2009 with the real median earnings rising to just 0.4%. This is inclusive of the employer CPF contributions.

A DBS economist said that the real income growth of 0.4% for this year is disappointing, noting that it was 4% last year. He said, “Should the trend continue, it will raise questions over whether the policies made so far to boost productivity, and real median incomes, are working.”

A Barclays Capital economist blamed the slowdown in growth and the property sector as the main reasons for median incomes stagnating. He explained, “There are a lot of professionals in the sector, such as lawyers and bankers. When property slowed down, companies were not able to pay good raises since the profit margins were constrained at the top.”

However, the “exceptional” 4% in 2013 was partly pulled up by the initial effect of the Wage Credit Scheme launched last year. Under the scheme, the Government co-funds the wage increases given to Singaporean employees.

The following table was drawn up by ST in its news report today (29 Nov) quoting figures from MOM’s Singapore Workforce report:

Notice that MOM did not report the figure for the real median income growth if the employer CPF contributions were excluded (i.e, employees’ take-home pay does not include employer CPF. It’s locked inside the CPF till old age). ST reported it simply as “n.a.” or “not available”.

However, thanks to a TRE reader, Win battles lose war, he was able to work out that the real median income growth excluding employer CPF contributions is actually -0.6% for this year.

The reader said:

“Actually, you can calculate this missing statistic from the data in the table.

Since nominal and real income growth (including employer CPF) was 1.8 and 0.4% respectively – doesn’t it mean that inflation was 1.4% (1.8 – 0.4%)?

Therefore, with nominal income growth (excluding employer CPF) at 0.8% – doesn’t it mean that the real income growth was -0.6% (0.8 – 1.4%)?”

“What is the reason for this statistics becoming ‘n.a.’ (disappeared)?” he asked.

“Could it be because it may be embarrassing for real income growth to be negative, despite inflation being at around a 6-year low?”

The reader further illustrated that the real income growth is getting worse for Singaporeans in the past 5 years (2009 to 2014) compared to the previous 5 (2004 to 2009):

With this missing statistic, and the real income growth (excluding employer CPF) at -0.1, 1.3, 2.6, -1.9 and 5.8% from 2009 to 2013, we can calculate the annualized real income growth from 2009 to 2014 as 1.4%, compared to the 1.9% (including employer CPF) in media reports.

Even so, with this 1.9% annualized real income growth (including employer CPF) in this past 5 years (2009 to 2014), it is worse when compared to that of the previous 5 years of 2.5% (2004 to 2009).

And these numbers would even be worse for the corresponding figures of real income growth (excluding employer CPF)!

Note that the salary figures in the table above only reflected the incomes of full-time workers. Those of part-time workers were not included.

The reader asked a pertinent question – are the policies of PAP government working? Whatever happened to the following usual rhetoric from the government?

  • curtailing foreign labour influx will raise incomes
  • a tight labour market will raise incomes
  • numerous productivity initiatives and schemes will raise incomes
  • the Wage Credit Scheme will raise incomes
  • Skills upgrading will raise incomes

Life getting tougher for Singaporeans

Retiree Michael Ng, 67, reportedly told a Financial Times reporter that life has become “more stressful” of late [Link].

Mr Ng said, “My children have to work very long hours. People have to work hard to maintain their lifestyles, transport costs have already increased these past two years and housing has gone up a lot.”

Indeed, the Public Transport Council (PTC) announced this month that it has started the annual fare review exercise. Public transport operators may submit their applications for fare review to the PTC for consideration by Dec 19.

SMRT’s Vice-President Patrick Nathan told the media, “We seek a better alignment of fares and operating costs, and will be submitting our application for a fare review in the coming weeks.”

Public transport fares were only last adjusted in Apr this year. There was a fare increase of 3.2% – just half of the total fare cap of 6.6%. It means the remaining 3.4% will be brought forward to this year’s fare review exercise.

And MOE has just announced that students entering polytechnics and the ITE next year will have to pay more school fees, with tuition fees raised by 2 to 5%.

Locals enrolling in the polytechnics next year will pay $2,500 in tuition fees per year, up from the current $2,400. For ITE, students will have to pay about $17 and $13 more for the Nitec and Higher Nitec courses respectively. But those hoping to enrol in the ITE’s technical diploma course will have to pay $106 more annually.

Middle-income Singaporeans losing sense of belonging to Singapore

Even the academics noted that the sense of security typically associated with being middle-class has given way to anxiety among such Singaporeans.

“When we think about the middle class, we think of security, comfort and social mobility. But all these are sort of in decline,” said NUS sociologist Tan Ern Ser at a recent forum, which focused on the state of Singapore’s middle class.

Exacerbating the anxiety is the rise in living costs, which has led to many middle-income Singaporeans no longer being able to afford what they think they deserve.

“If the middle class itself is facing threats of long-term unemployment and socioeconomic insecurity, then its value as an aspirational category becomes open to question,” said Dr Lionel Wee, the vice-dean of NUS’ Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

SMU economics professor Ho Kong Weng also noted that middle-class Singaporeans now feel less proud about their national identity. Prof Ho said they felt a weaker sense of belonging to the country. And unlike the more mobile rich, they may not have the option to leave the country, Prof Ho said.

Meanwhile, the MOM report also mentioned that unemployment for Singapore residents in their late 20s stood at 5.8% this year, the highest since 2009. For those under 24, the rate was 8.8 per cent.

Related post:https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/a-delusion-pap-confident-it-regained-lost-ground/

 

 

 

PAPpies like this breed of pig?

In Humour on 23/11/2014 at 4:48 am

Full of fat

Seriously, nice video on Mangalica – famed as the “Kobe beef of the pork world”. It was bred for emperors. Nearly went extinctwhen the communists ruled Hungary, but made a come-back when the fat cats (or should it be Fat pigs? returned.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30042761

 

PAP voter refusing to pay S&C cont’d

In Political governance on 21/11/2014 at 4:55 am
TRE republished this and below are three great responses to the PAppy’s reasoning on why he refuses to pay S&C charges: he didn’t vote for the WP and he and other PA PAP supporters want to use non-payment to force the WP out of Aljunied GRC.
Wolaiye:

WP should send people to scout the homes that don’t pay their S&CC. If homes are well furnished and no sign of poverty, must be PAP supporters who deliberately refuse to pay. After a month or two, cut of their power and water supply and charge them extra admin and penalty cost. No need for lawyer letter and waste money paying the lawyer fee like what pap town councils do.

RedHot:

This Idiot words:
” I am an Aljunied resident living with my parents. Lately, due to some disagreements I had with the TC, I have been asking my parents not to pay the S&C fees. My reasoning is simple. Why should we pay to an administration body that we did NOT vote for??? Let those people who voted for them pay for them.

I can only imagine the sheer number of people who feels the same way. I hope these people continue to withhold payment and hopefully we can shame the Workers Party out of parliament.

Why can’t Aljunied have a “normal” and competent town council like other constituencies??”

I can say that he should eat the rubbish in his mouth. National Processed Bills are to be observed whether in opposition or ruling party ward. It must be some uneducated bums who made this statement and a shame to the country.

It has been suggested that the writer is a member of the anti-PAP cyber warriors brigade, pretending to be a PAPpy. He could be but I think not because, Why can’t Aljunied have a “normal” and competent town council like other constituencies??, seems to have a ring of authenticity about it. Normality and competency is equated with PAP rule by die-die PAPpiess.. Anything else is abnormal and incompetent. It could be the PM speaking at a PAP election rally, or Temasek’s chairman at a PAP PA organised function in Aljunied.

Finally, while the WP’s cont’d silence on explaining the arrears is worrying (PritamS deleted the files? An “honest mistake”?*) so is Khaw’s and other ministers’ silence on the PAPpy’s rationale for not paying:

Samuel S:

Can PAP ministers, especially KBW, please comment if it is right for those pro-PAP not paying S&C. This is important and must quickly communicate to all citizens in this Singapore.

—-

*Seriously as the Honorary Secretary of a club, that only had one full time accounts clerk and a part-time accountant, I could easily access financial data such as arrears collection. The delay in explaining what happened could be because the records are in a mess, or that mgt wasn’t reading the reports produced.

As to the deficit, I await the WP’s comments. TOC’s piece on the deficit sounds like Roy’s research on CPF, full of para-facts. Standards have dropped at TOC, I’ve informed TOC. Since the return of a co-founder, TOC has become to the WP what Patir and Fabs about the PAP are to the PAP administration.

 

Why WP Low is silent about almost everything/ Silence is no longer golden

In Political governance on 20/11/2014 at 4:18 am

Amended on 21 November 6.40pm to reflect MND’s explanation of the law. My “honest mistake”).

“[I]t is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood: there will always be some who misunderstand you”, Karl Popper*, an influential philosopher of the 2oth century said.

PAP’s ministers (think Desmond Lee**) and elders (think Temasek’s chairman**, and ex-minister and ex-NTUC leader), Roy Ngerng and Goh Meng Seng should memorise Karl Popper’s words because they talk too much cock. .

It’s obvious that WP Low, the man of Tao, takes these words to heart and opts to remain silent most of the time: he cannot be misunderstood because there is nothing to misunderstand seems to be his reasoning.

Trouble is that the silence of Low (and by extension that of the WP because it too practices silence, even PritamS) nowadays is itself is now being interpreted, given its number of MPs and NCMPS it has; often in ways that don’t flatter. Example from TRE sometime back

ake the AIMgate for example. They knew of AIM but kept quiet until they were given bad report. Then started to talk of AIM in disjointed way. Took netizens in particular Alex Au and Voiddecker and Lucky Tan to marhall the arguments. If this my watch-dog, I’d put it down for not doing its job. If this my jaga, I’d sack him, suspecting he bakat-bakat with robbers. Choice of term co-driver is apt. He is part of team: Team PAP that is.

“I am pleased that all the Prime Minister has to say about the WP is to lament that we have not done enough in Parliament.” ~WP chief Low Thia Khiang telling us he pleased with KPI that PM and him agreed behind “clsed doors”****

So I hope the WP will soon explain why arrears collection in its area is so bad***. It’s taking too long time to get the facts, something Auntie is saying WP will do before commenting. PritamS deleted the relevant files? An honest mistake, or  the usual incompetency from Mr Singh?

——-

*Another saying, one that encapsulates his contribution to intellectual thought, particularly the philosophy of science, “No number of sightings of white swans can prove the theory that all swans are white. The sighting of just one black one may disprove it.”

Scientists now look for black swans and if they cannot find any, they can feel reasonably confident that their theory is right, although not yet proved. It is, in the present state of knowledge, the best approximation to the truth.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2002/apr/27/artsandhumanities.highereducation1

**”Before merger, Aljunied had an operating surplus of $3.3m. Within two years, the merged AHPETC’s financial position has deteriorated rapidly. The operating surplus of $3.3m Aljunied had in FY10 had turned into an operating deficit of $734,000 in FY12, ” Desmond Lee.

Temasek’s chairman said the same thing. Mr Lim Boon Heng said that the WP-run town council’s (AHPETC) swing from an operating surplus to a deficit in the short span of 3 years is worrying. “It begs many questions,” he told reporters.

Well they ignored the fact that the WP did not inherit any surplus. Rightly, the surplus after an election has been locked up to ensure prudence. .

According to the Town Council  Act if after an election, the new MPs are from the same political party as those of the previous town council, then 80% of its surpluses shall be transferred to the sinking fund.

If, however, as in the case of Aljunied, the new MPs elected are from a different political party, then “all its surpluses” – ie, 100% of the surpluses – “shall be transferred to the prescribed sinking funds of the Town Council.”, Section 34 (4) of the act, should the area of a town be changed due to electoral boundary changes, the 80% and not 100% figure applies.

Under the Act, it states: “Where the boundaries of any constituency within a Town are altered under the Parliamentary Elections Act and there is an election in any or every new constituency so formed …  the Town Council shall transfer 80% of its surpluses to the prescribed sinking funds of the Town Council.”

***The charge by MND is that the “sharp decline” in the S&CC arrears situation in AHPETC as being “of grave public concern”. Aljunied’s S&CC arrears rate rose from 2.6% in FY10 to 8.4% in FY11 and FY12, after Aljunied merged with Hougang. This was significantly above the national norm of about 3%, the MND noted.

The arrears rate rose further to 29.4% at the end of April 2013. “From May 2013, the TC stopped submitting its monthly S&CC arrears report altogether, despite repeated reminders.”

To me as an honrary club treasurer, once upon a time, this doesn’t look gd. But the devil is in the details. So I’ll not pass judgement on the WP until I hear its side of the story. But its silence is deafening.

****He goes on, A good guard dog need not be the loudest barker. Most loud barkers are mad dogs and will either give you rabies or get put down if the neighbours don’t call the police or poison the dog first. If I want to have a good guard dog guarding my home and family, I’d get one that is smart and sensitive and knows how to protect my family best. That said, I certainly won’t vote in anyone I deem as volatile to represent me in parliament and to run my country. I will vote in someone with heart and think for the country while having a rational, guided and dignified approach. In any debates and arguments, the one who loses the temper first loses his audience. WP is matured and rational. They bid their time
proper. If they eventually have to run the country, that’s how the people can trust them to do so.

What Scrooge McDuck can teach PAP ministers, TRE born losers etc

In Financial competency on 19/11/2014 at 4:05 am

In the 60s and the 70s, I loved getting my hair cut once a month in the Arcade at Clifford Pier. One LKY had his hair there too but the reason why I loved going to the the barber was the comics the shop had. A particular favourite comic hero was Scrooge McDuck, the maternal uncle of Donald Duck, and the grand-uncle of Huey, Dewey and Louie, Donald’s nephews.

Recently, I learnt that he and Warren Buffett are connected.

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/103014/what-can-investor-learn-ducktales.asp?utm_source=coattail-buffett&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=WBW-11/6/2014

The PAP administration and all managers (TLCs, GLCs, SMEs and MNCs) can learn from this story

In “The Curse of Castle McDuck” Uncle Scrooge and his nephews make a trip to Scotland to visit his birthplace. Along the way Uncle Scrooge finds his first piggy bank, and says “my life of thrift began with this very bank.” When our adventurers get to Castle McDuck, they discover the old pile is haunted by a glowing hound that terrorizes the locals, and at night druids perform secret rites within the castle walls.

Uncle Scrooge and the nephews trap the druids and their magical hound (which is, in fact, just a dog), and ask them why they drove the McDucks from Castle McDuck after it was built. It turns out that Silas McDuck, who first built Castle McDuck, did it on top of the druids’ stone circle “to cut costs.” Uncle Scrooge blushingly acknowledges that cost-cutting runs in the family. 

Realizing that the McDuck clan has been in error for centuries, Scrooge McDuck offers to share the site with the druids. During the day it will be a tourist site to make money, and at night the druids can perform their ceremonies. In the end, everybody wins.

Scrooge likes to say there is “always another rainbow”, something the born-loser rabid anti-PAP paper warriors should take to heart: stop KPKBing and start working, not skivving at work, or if enemployed, looking for work.

Perhaps PAP ministers can learn from him that money is not the most important thing in life.

Ordinary S’poreans can learn

— “Work smarter, not harder” (so can the PAP administration in its productivity drive)

— “Family is the most important thing”

A gd, disorganised entry from Wikipedia on him

PAP voter stops paying S&C charges to force out WP/ Oppo supporters shld imitate?

In Uncategorized on 14/11/2014 at 4:16 am

In response to this, the following was posted by someone who it seems voted for the PAP in Aljunied and who refuses to accept the election result and refuses to pay his S&C fees:

I am an Aljunied resident living with my parents. Lately, due to some disagreements I had with the TC, I have been asking my parents not to pay the S&C fees. My reasoning is simple. Why should we pay to an administration body that we did NOT vote for??? Let those people who voted for them pay for them.

I can only imagine the sheer number of people who feels the same way. I hope these people continue to withhold payment and hopefully we can shame the Workers Party out of parliament.

Why can’t Aljunied have a “normal” and competent town council like other constituencies??

Someone responded

‘why should I pay for a TC that I did not pay for?”

Wow..by that very same logic, then 40% of us can also stop paying for all our taxes to a govt that we didn’t vote for lah! Apparently PAP voters are even more nincompoop.

By the way, SMRT during Saw Phiak Hwa’s time also boasted a good corporate governance. What shit does that do for the consumers in terms of service and safety delivery?

But I’ll leave the last word to the PAP voter.

Don’t be stupid. When did I say you can don’t pay your taxes? I’m talking about S&C charges, paid to a party-run town council. NOT taxes, which is paid to IRAS, a non-partisan statutory board. The two are DIFFERENT things. IRAS will always be around, regardless of who governs. PAP does not own IRAS. But AHPETC (what a stupid acronym) will be gone once Worker’s Party is voted out. Please don’t compare apples and oranges. Clear??

Wonder if he has cleared this with the chairman of the PAP, who is also the MND minister. Or is he like Jason Chua of Fabrications about the PAP, both disowned by the PAP yet where a PAP MP has “pull”.

I reproduce the MND grading so that readers can decide if the WP estate is as well run or worse than a PAP one.

 

 

Describes two generations of PAP leaders to the T

In Economy, Political governance on 12/11/2014 at 4:53 am

I came across the u/m in FT. It was a reader’s comment on the UK political scene. But it applies here too.

“The current generation of politicians understand two things: how to attain power and to use the powers of office to retain power. There is very little evidence that they understand how government might be used for the public good, or the underlying mechanics of the economy and society that they are supposed to be governing.”

GCT and LHL (and their gangs) knew that to get into positions of power and retain the posts, they had to get top grades from one LKY. To do this end they applied his Hard Truths.

But they didn’t understand (like he and the Old Guard did) “how government might be used for the public good, or the underlying mechanics of the economy and society that they are supposed to be governing.”

So Hard Truths were applied mechanically as a way to pass their exams and earn the “reasonable” mega-salaries

Take the issue of globalisation and the rise of income inequality. The PAP administration until recently, did not really acknowledge inequality as a problem that merited serious policy action; simply blaming globalisation for the growing wealthy disparity here. It only started doing something because the voters were unhappy.

If it had not applied LKY’s Hard Truths mechanically, it could have realised, that the world has experienced two great eras of globalisation. The first combined minimal redistribution with minimal political power for non-elites. The second combined universal suffrage with substantial redistribution. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to conclude that redistribution is the price democracies pay for globalisation. - See more at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2014/07/inequality#sthash.7O8p4Lrl.dpuf. Emphasis mine.

In an essay in “Governing Asia: Reflections on a Research Journey” by Donald Low, author of “Hard Choices”, Donald Low wrote,That Goh Keng Swee was so ready and willing to question not just the country’s growth model but also its population strategy in 1972 – seven years after Singapore’s independence – speaks volumes about the state of the policy discourse in Singapore today. Goh’s remarks also hint at the fact that we have many more policy options than subsequent generations of government leaders have presented to Singaporeans, that our economic choices are not as stark and binary as they are made out to be, and that we are better off – as a society and economy – to have a robust and vigorous debate on these issues.

In 1972, there were no Hard Truths, juz pragmatic ideas to solve real and serious problems. Hard Truths hadn’t chiseled into tablets of stone to be memorised and deified by succeeding generations of PAP leaders.

 

 

CEO of Norwegian GLC was paid “peanuts”

In S'pore Inc on 11/11/2014 at 1:53 pm

PM said recently said it is not about high salaries, but ones that are “realistic and correct”, in order to find the right people who are “most capable”, and “most trustworthy”.

Well, the new CEO of BG, a UK energy group,  will earn 10 times his Statoil salary even though  BG has only a fifth of the Norwegian company’s revenue. His replacement will not be paid substantially more. Even though listed, Statoil, is controlled by the Norwegian state.

PM and PAP ministers, and S’poreans should take note.

Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/hen-jost-gracef-money-money-money/

PAP administration scores own goal?

In Financial competency, Political governance on 11/11/2014 at 5:03 am

(Update on 12 november 2014 at 4.30am; U/m makes a mistake (“an honest mistake”) in assuming that “yellow” in the table means “gold” or “best”. It actually is an “amber” sign”. Hence the amendments shown.)

Don’t the MND KPIs show WP has a “heart of gold” and competency while proving that the competent PAP town councils have hearts of granite?

This is a plausible reasonable view despite the framing by wannabe Sith Lord turned wannabe Jedi Knight as“I wonder what is more important to the Aljunied/Hougang voter : the need for a contrarian voice in Parliament or a well-run housing estate.”. She is ignoring the fact that the one and only WP estate is as well run as any PAP estate by the three KPIs that should matter to residents: even better than some including the PM’s very own estate. But then she was once upon a time a serious contender to be ST’s editor.

First a reminder of waz the issue is all about.

The bureaucrats in a ministry (MND) in the PAP administration failed the one and only WP town council on two KPIs out of  five  devised by said bureaucrats and the governing party: arrears collection and governance.

Methinks, that the WP’s results will make voters reflect hard on whether

— “The PAP will always be on Singapore and Singaporeans’ side.”

— “The PAP will always do its best for Singapore and Singaporeans.”

(PM on 7 November)

As far as governance, the issue is a very technical accounting issue (which may or may not have financial implications, that may be serious or not) and the WP is playing hard ball. But then wimps* too sometimes have their boiling points. And whatever the PAP and stooges allies may say, this “red” card doesn’t affect the daily lives of residents.

As to the issue of arrears collection, the charge by MND is that the “sharp decline” in the S&CC arrears situation in AHPETC as being “of grave public concern”. Aljunied’s S&CC arrears rate rose from 2.6% in FY10 to 8.4% in FY11 and FY12, after Aljunied merged with Hougang. This was significantly above the national norm of about 3%, the MND noted.

The arrears rate rose further to 29.4% at the end of April 2013. “From May 2013, the TC stopped submitting its monthly S&CC arrears report altogether, despite repeated reminders.”

To me as an honrary club treasurer, once upon a time, this doesn’t look gd. But the devil is in the details. So I’ll not pass judgement on the WP until I hear its side of the story. But its silence is deafening.

Here’s what the PAP should be afraid of: what if LKY’s “daft” S’poreans decide

Those running AHPETC must have hearts of gold to hold back from driving those unable to pay to the wall. Thus demonstrating a caring spirit that others only mouth.?

And not the right views of

Would this seeming inability to collect what is due to the AHPETC make them shake their heads and vow never should this brand of incompetency be allowed to run our country?

Or would the revelations make some among the discerning voters think one or all of the following:

1) There must be a concentration of poor people in AHPETC

2) There must be a concentration of canny skivvers in AHPETC who are able to keep delaying paying what they owe

3) Those who want to be successful should move far away from AHPETC for poverty and dishonest skivving could be as infectious as SARS

http://singaporegirl.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/red-for-mnd-town-council-press-release/

On the KPIs of cleanliness and lift performance it was second to none: being equal to PAP estates. In estate maintenance it was better than five PAP managed councils, including PM’s very own AMK.

So based on MND’s KPIs, one can reasonably conclude that

Those running AHPETC must have hearts of gold to hold back from driving those unable to pay to the wall. Thus demonstrating a caring spirit that others only mouth; and

— The WP is juz as competent, if not better, than any PAP town council in providing services.

Oh what a tangle web we weave …

Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/arrears-collection-governance-aljunied-voters-will-decide/

 

PAP like StanChart not broken, just in for 10-year service?

In Political governance, Temasek on 10/11/2014 at 4:26 am

The chairman of StanChart said to 300 of the bank’s senior managers in Singapore last week, “We’re making changes. But all you have to do is go out in the field, go out into our markets, and you very quickly realise that it’s not broken. It just needs to go in for its 10-year service and we are in there for that 10-year service now … it’s a question of going through this difficult period, gritting our teeth”.

He said: “Humility is a very important word. It’s very important that we recognise we make mistakes”.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/nov/07/standard-chartered-chairman-john-peace-bank-humility.

(And Chairman Sir John Peace was in Singapore last week insisting the bank is not ‘broken’. Three profit warnings say otherwise  http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/nov/09/standard-chartereds-charm-offensive-may-not-save-sands)

Well the PAP has been making changes, gritting fangs and sheathing claws since 20111: spending more of our money to make life more comfortable for ourselves.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/analysing-pms-coming-rally-speech/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/trust-has-to-regained-pm/

But it doesn’t ever do humility (OK PM did apologise once during a 2011 GE rally speech, but hey he had an election to win). It won’t even admit that the PAP’s Hard Truths need servicing every now and then. It’s all a question of new blood to uphold Hard Truths.

Taz the impression I get after this

— “Today is the time to re-dedicate ourselves to the party and to Singapore. In the next 60 years, the path ahead will be different.”

— “One thing has not and will not change, that is the need for good leadership. The PAP commits to provide the leadership and serve Singaporeans better…The PAP will always be on Singapore and Singaporeans’ side.”

— “The PAP will always do its best for Singapore and Singaporeans.”

PM made these statement at the Victoria Concert Hall on 7 Nov in celebration of PAP’s 60th anniversary.Victoria Concert Hall was the venue because this was where the PAP launched way back in 21 November 1954, with its inaugural political meeting held there.

So because the PAP is not prepared to service its Hard Truths to see if they need throwing out, we are stuck with

—  a CPF annuity where the Standard Plan is lousy, really lousy https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/will-pm-tonite-give-peace-of-mind-on-cpf-life-standard/

And where it’s our money but CPF Life solvency is our problem –https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/will-pm-tonite-give-peace-of-mind-on-cpf-life-standard/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/will-pm-tonite-give-peace-of-mind-on-cpf-life-standard/

— Medisave’s incentive to spend on medical insurance that may not be needed

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/daft-sinkies-dishonest-insc-agents-or-medisave-sucks/

— MediShield being probably not a value proposition

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/medishield-totful-tots-on-loss-ratio-to-determine-premiums/

— Medishield’s lifetime limit [This item added at 7.00am]

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/no-needed-three-fixes-to-show-the-pap-really-cares/

— immigration

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/population-white-paper-2030-will-resemble-1959/

The Hard Truths behind immigration:

— more people means better growth; and

— S’poreans are daft and lazy.

The Hard Truth behind the other difficulties S’poreans face listed above is that govt should not spend tax-payers money on “welfare”, only on toys for the military and govt running expenses (which includes ministers’ and civil servants salaries).

 

 

PAP govt should do what UK govt is doing

In Economy, Political economy, Political governance on 07/11/2014 at 5:10 am

Telling oil cos that the oil price falls MUST be passed on to motorists.

And to other users of oil-based products.

But as this is S’pore, pigs will fly first. PAP doesn’t do populism even when its the right thing to do economically and popularly. The Hardest of Hard Truth is “Be popular by being unpopular”.

Pump prices

The Daily Telegraph’s front page story focuses on a Treasury warning to petrol companies and supermarkets that oil price cuts must be passed on to motorists.

Petrol pump

The main UK fuel suppliers and distributors have denied pump prices have not been reflecting recent falls in the price of oil but Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, is to write to them.

The Daily Mail suggests critics are likely to say that Mr Alexander should be proposing further cuts to fuel duty rather than just pleading with the petrol giants.

And the Sun concurs. Its leader column also says there is “plainly scope for more cuts” from the fuel companies and wonders about the “crippling fuel surcharges airlines slapped on flights” when the wholesale prices soared.

BBC Online

line

A PAP MP and the Internet Brigade

In Uncategorized on 27/10/2014 at 4:33 am

Fabrications about the PAP is considered by netizens as the fat, ugly face of the PAP’s IB.

Both it and the PAP deny that they are linked.

Here’s some evidence that indicates they are linked with the PAP hierarchy being the alpha male.

Sometime back, a tua kee blogger, posted on Facebook an interesting tale. He had felt that he had been defamed by FATPAP and  he approached a PAP MP and asked if this MP had any influence over this group.

The MP replied me that the group is not part of his Party and that the creator of that page is not a PAP member as well, but said that he will try and reach him on the matter. The MP replied me little later saying that he had sent an email to FAPAP setting out the “right facts. Shortly thereafter FPAP took down the posting.

Well sounds like the MP had pull at FATPAP.

What do you think?

It also shows how dumb (though well meaning and decent) the PAP MP is. A really smart MP would have simply said, “Can.t help. because FPAP is not part of the PAP and that the creator of that page is not a PAP member. And anyway, PAP not that dumb and clueless as FPAP.” But by doing a gd deed he showed that FPAP was part of the PAP.

What do you think?

Being serious again, if FATPAP is the PAP’s cyber-insurgency commando strike force to fight the comboys and Comacheros of the internet, all anti-PAP paper warriors should celebrate. It will take less than 15 yrs to break the dominance of the PAP because FATPAP are akin the the paper ranters on TRE. And juz as useless. Reminder: despite all the protestations of gratitude to TRE, the ranters have not talked the talked on funding. TRE still hasn’t raised the funds it needs for 12 months. Most of the $ raised so far came from one person who donated US$10,000.

 

PAP’s “servant leadership” like SingTel’s service?

In Political governance, Telecoms, Uncategorized on 22/10/2014 at 6:13 am

Oxymorons, both. Yet why do S’poreans buy into both?

The day before I read Ho Kwon Ping’s speech*, the following conversation occurred on Facebook between friends

One friend asked another friend on her views on buying a Samsung Galaxy note 4 here. The first friend has daughter working here.

My other friend replied

If she doesn’t already have a plan that she is locked into .. she shld jus sign up for one or recontract if it’s due for renewal. The subsidy for the fone is pretty gud. I only paid S$48 for my note4. I use Singtel even tho I have endless issues with them but I feel it is still better than the other 2 telos we have here. 

When it comes to voting for the PAP, 25- 35% of S’poreans, I suspect think like her. Plenty of problems with PAP (like Singtel’s service, the PAP’s servant-leadership sucks). But then there are compensations (like bullying bullying hooligans like Roy and H3: no human rights BS for them; low taxes**; can leave doors unlocked even when no-one in the house; uncongested roads, safe streets etc etc).

And what are the alternatives to the PAP? The Worthless Party that doesn’t to become the governing party, even in coalition with other oppo parties (only loyal courtier leh); SDP whose leader can still go wacko (remember Dr Chee’s remarks about Punggol East); and even NSP (a sensible party after Goh Meng Seng*** moved on and started sliming it) can do strange things. NSP is KPKBing about nothing impt (a lawyer, I’m told, refuses to declare how rich rich she is). Makes one want to weep.

Coming back to SingTel: I couldn’t help but think “Singtel screws footie fans but gives peanuts to disabled?” when I in July I read , Singtel announced yesterday a donation of S$1.1 million to SG Enable, an agency which provides services for disabled people, with the money going towards the setting up and running of the Enabling Innovation Centre (EIC).BT 23 July.

Remember the cost of EPL and World Cup footie.

——-

*”Is Ho Kwon Ping saying all that much? 15 years from now means 2029/30. That’s at least three general elections away!” was posted on facebook by a friend.

**Don’t buy into the BS that CPF is a tax. It has elements of a tax (think retention, limited use and pay now, get back in future when value is deminished), but until the day one the govt stops monies in CPF account being inherited in cash, tax it ain’t. Sorry to disagree with Uncle Leong. I respect or agree with many of his views, but not on CPF being a tax.

***Goh Meng Seng can contradict himself in same paragraph.

It is truly enlightening to see that BOTH people from the “Third World” and “First World” places like Malaysia and Hong Kong are shunning Singapore for “retirement”. But as Singaporeans, do we have a choice at all? We are born in Singapore and we have little choice but live, retire and die in Singapore. However, under PAP rule, we are going to suffer, after decades of contributing to Singapore’s development, we will die poor, having to be forced to sell off our HDB flat for our retirement.

But then he says:

I guess the ultimate aim of PAP has been leaked before, they wanted us to retire in JB (Johor Bahru)!

So waz this about … as Singaporeans, do we have a choice at all? We are born in Singapore and we have little choice but live, retire and die in Singapore.

Come on Goh Meng Seng, think before write. Or at least read back what you just wrote, a second ago.

And we do have a choice to retain our citizenship and live abroad in our old age. M’sia and the Philippines have “silver-hair” programmes fot foreigners. I also know of S’poreans who have sold off their HDB flats and moved onto NZ, Oz and Canada.

As you are personally aware (having sold yr HDB flat to fund the NSP’s campaign in 2011), the high prices of HDB flats gives options to many S’poreans. Whether they take advantage of it, is up to them. If they die, die want to remain here, they have to accept whatever govt, the majority of their fellow S’poreans prefer. At the moment, 60 — 70% prefer the PAP. And with anti-PAP activists like you and the person you advised, Tan Kin Lian, who can blame them?

 

 

 

 

 

Elections before 9/8/15?

In Economy, India, Indonesia, Political economy on 21/10/2014 at 6:13 am

Conventional wisdom is that the next GE will be held after the 50th anniversary celebrations of S’pore’s independence which will be a celebration of all things PAP. So the Oppo parties are not gearing up for an early GE (end of this yr or before Aug 9 next yr.)

And this piece of news doesn’t disturb the narrative:With the January 2017 deadline for the next General Election looming closer, the Elections Department (ELD) has been calling up public servants for training to be election officials, as part of the electoral process … , the ELD said in an emailed statement: “ELD prepares and organises the Public Service to conduct elections in Singapore. Amongst other work, ELD selects and trains public officers on an ongoing basis to perform election duties during an election.” (CNA 17 October)

There have been early training sessions before with no elections following. The conducting of training sessions is a lousy leading indicator.

But think about the economic prospects of S’pore  and the training could be a sign of early elections.

No govt wants to hold a general election in a recession or when a a recession is likely. Already the growth rates for this yr and next yr have had to be trimmed because the global economy isn’t doing too well.

And things could get worse: The global economy is in a woeful state [Skip the next few paras if pressed for time or an illiterate in finance and economics]. The euro zone, fully 17% of global GDP, is predicted to expand just 0.8% in 2014 according to the IMF. China and Japan, together 25% of global GDP, are slowing. Emerging markets are floundering: a report on the synchronised slowdown from the Fund puts much of it down to weak trading partners (a sort of trade contagion). As the world slows, America seems a prudent place to park cash. Chinese and Japanese holdings of US Treasury bonds—now $2.5 trillion—have doubled in five years, according to the TIC data.

… the euro area. Inflation is just 0.3% and the area is already awash with unemployed workers … end up with both fiscal and monetary policy being relatively tight.

What would happen next? American exporters would get hit twice—first by weak demand from abroad, then as their goods get pricier for foreigners to buy as the dollar continues to rise. But since America is a relatively closed economy, the impact abroad could be bigger. The big risk is that a runaway dollar topples emerging-market economies just as it did in the 1980s and 1990s. A pessimist would argue that many of the conditions now are exactly as they were then. Many emerging markets borrow by issuing bonds in dollars, rather than their own currency. Appetite for these higher-yielding dollar bonds has been strong in recent years: in January 2014 Indonesia issued its largest dollar bond since 1998; according to its Finance Ministry data, India has dollar debts of around $273 billion (15% of GDP). As the dollar rises, the local-currency cost of these debts goes up.

Floating exchange rates make things a little different when compared to the Asian crisis, but would not help that much. Take a country like Brazil, which has inflation of 6.75% (see the WSJ on this) and yet an economy in recession. If its currency continues to depreciate against the dollar then inflation builds up further. The central bank ends up in a bind: raise rates to cut inflation and stem the depreciation, or keep rates low to get the economy back on track. Both paths would be risky, and could cause a wider stress if the contagion of previous emerging-market crises is any guide.

With any luck none of this will happen. But it all could happen. And if you are in the business of forecasting and stress testing, you should prepare for the worst.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2014/10/pessimistic-forecast

So what about the fact that oil prices are close to US$80 from US$105 a few weeks ago

[M]ajor Asian economies, though, will look at falling oil prices less as a stimulant and more as a signal that global growth is faltering. For export-dependent Asia, lacklustre worldwide demand could end up being highly disinflationary.

That’s a big worry for the likes of China, Hong Kong and Singapore. These economies have all seen private credit rise rapidly since the 2008 crisis and need tolerably healthy inflation to help bring down the real value of debt. But China’s 1.6 percent inflation rate is now the lowest since February 2010, while the annual rate of increase in Singapore’s consumer prices has slipped below 1 percent. South Korea, which has historically had a problem of high household debt, can’t afford to allow its meagre 1.1 percent inflation rate to slide further.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2014/10/17/cheap-oil-is-no-tonic-for-sluggish-asian-economies/*

So I wouldn’t be surprised if 50th anniversary celebration events come fast and furious early next yr: to remind S’poreans of the role of the PAP in S’pore’s development from the second largest port in Asia to a global city state, with property prices to match those of global cities like NY and London.

But I’d be surprised if the PAP reminded us one LKY said in 1959,”we must go about our task (of building up a nation) with urgency … of integrating our people now and quickly”, because he said this when revealing that only 270,00 out of the 600,000 voters were born here. 

—–

*Btw two countries where I have investments will benefit: The big exceptions are India and Indonesia. Both governments supply gasoline and diesel to their consumers at fixed, affordable rates. For them, the 25 percent slide in the price of a barrel of Brent crude over the past four months translates into significant budgetary savings, which could be channelled into much-needed infrastructure investment.

 

 

A delusion? PAP confident it regained lost ground

In Financial competency, Political governance on 20/10/2014 at 5:41 am

Surely not when S’poreans in their 20s and 30s and their parents have difficulties in the PAP’s version of paradise? If these two groups have problems how can the PAP expect to hold the line at 60% of the popular vote? Let alone improve it to 65-66%*.

Speaking at a seminar organised by the Singapore Exchange and SIM University sometime back, one Mr Kevin Scully (who has been around in financial services so long that I wonder if he is related to Dracula) puts it: “You cannot rely on your children for financial support because they probably have more debt and cashflow problems than you. My daughter is getting married, and she needs $700,000 to pay for her flat.”*

http://www.cpf.gov.sg/imsavvy/infohub_article.asp?readid={489390965-20577-4829937219}

As the SunT writer put it very succinctly, “My generation has enjoyed the Singapore miracle, so to speak, when big-ticket items such as HDB flats cost a fraction of what they are worth now. If we have difficulties financing our retirement, the next generation will have an even rougher ride.”

And their parents while benefiting from asset appreciation (or inflation, if one is a die, die anti PAP cyber warrior) have a problem, illustrated also by Kevin Sculley:

the costs of food and health care have vastly outpaced the six- and 12-month fixed deposit rates over the past 10 years.

“We need to get returns of at least 3 to 5 per cent on our investments just to stand still. Clearly, this will not come from bank deposits.”

As the SunT writer puts it

He flagged another problem for those of my generation – people in their 40s and 50s – namely, the likelihood that many of us may run out of money during retirement because of inflation.

It was a sobering thought for those of us at the seminar organised by the Singapore Exchange and SIM University.

So how can this be true? [T]he 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 …  https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/fts-then-1970s-now/

But then S’poreans could be like the victim in a long-term relationship with an abusive partner. A bit less abuse, a bit of tender loving care and the victim is ready to accept more abuse in future.

*I’m assuming that the PAP believes that it needs a clear, biggish majority to ensure that it retains the “moral” right to continue paying PAP ministers their relatively huge salaries while not doing too much to deserve the money (think RI boys Hng Kiang and Yaacob). If it doesn’t, it could resort to very serious gerrymandering so that the 35% core vote (die, die must have PAP) keeps the PAP in power, with the help of egoists Tan Kin Lian (and Goh Meng Seng, his PE 2011 adviser), s/o JBJ and Tan Jee Say, who are more than happy to split the Oppo vote.

We [Barisan Socialists] won thirteen seats at the elections, averaging 15.000 votes to each seat. The PAP won thirty- seven seats, averaging 7,000 votes to each seat. The United People’s Party, whose function was to split the left-wing votes, campaigned on a programme that was somewhat similar to ours but more extremely put. Only their leader, Mr. Ong Eng Guan, was elected. We received 201,000 votes (35 per cent) and the PAP 272,000 votes (47 per cent). The difference is only 70,000 votes out of a total electorate of nearly 500,000. The UPP took away 49,000 votes (8 per cent), causing us the loss of seven constituencies (apart from Mr. Ong’s), and saved four PAP Ministers from defeat.

http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/29th-november-1963/23/the-situation-in-singapore

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/want-a-pekatan-here-its-disunited/

 

 

 

 

 

PRC GLCs’ CEOs put our ministers to shame

In China, Humour, S'pore Inc on 14/10/2014 at 5:22 am

CEO pay

As the above shows, they are paid a pittance

Yet FT reports that as their pay is being cut by up to 60%, “The biggest difference between China and western countries is that we pursue the goal of getting rich together,” Fu Chengyu, head of the country’s largest refiner, told reporters. “If you want to earn big sums, you should not be an SOE executive.” (“SOE” is State Owned Enterprice i.e a GLC or TLC).

Need I say more?

[M]oney is by far the least [important factor]” when choosing where to work. At this level it can’t be painful, right? The job we’re doing is a vocation. All of us like to be paid whatever is deemed competitive in the market, but it’s not the main driver.”” said the CEO of Switzerland’s third largest bank who has had to cut his pay by 12% because shareholders were unhappy.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/hen-jost-gracef-money-money-money/

What the SA elections teach us

In Political governance on 22/09/2014 at 6:10 am

Earlier this year there was a general election in South Africa which should be a dose of reality for those anti-PAP cyber-warriors who say that in the next GE, the PAP will be out, without them having to do anything except rant at the PAP.

The election will confirm to the WP, SDP NSP and the Chiams, the obstacles they face, while making the PAPpies smile.

The governing African National Congress (ANC) lost a few percentage points nationally compared with 2009, but when you consider the bad headlines – from the police shootings in Marikana, to violent service delivery protests, to President Jacob Zuma’s alleged corruption, to the government’s failure to deliver text books to school children – it is not unreasonable for the party to spin its 62% of the vote as a formidable victory. (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-2733971)

The result is proof of the power of incumbency …

Even Heart Truths will not be able to argue that S’pore has SA levels of unemployment (24%), inflation (6% and climbing fast) and crime (murder rate of 3.1 per 100,000 people). Though given Roy’s (https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/roys-defence-has-me-confused/), and Hui Hui’s (3,000 can become 6,000 and 500 become 1000) ability to conjure up “facts”, I wouldn’t be surprised if he can come up with similar figures.

Meanwhile Heart Truths and many other bloggers continue to blind themselves and other anti-PAP paper activists to the reality that the PAP, is adapting to the new environment. As someone who does not want any party controlling two-thirds of the legislature, I can only hope the PAP refuses to change its “We love FTs” policy. If it does change this policy (or pretends to and manages to fool us), and continues spending our money on ourselves, the best I can hope for in the next GE is that light blue clones of the MIW retain their seats. 1996 all over again? Sigh.

So pls Heart Truths and other anti-PAP cyber warriors pls go buy Hard Choices and understand the enemy you are facing. Don’t let the efforts and hopes of 2011 be squandered, like the the hopes and efforts of 1991 were squandered by the antics of JBJ and the SDP. Only Chiam and Low kept the flame of dissent alive until 2006, 10 yrs later.

We might not be so lucky after the next GE.

Meanwhile, TRE readers are not willing to cough up the money to keep the site going for 12 months. They came up with $ to keep it going for 3-4 months. Worse they donated “peanuts”. Of the $17,000 raised, there was a donation of $10,000 from one person. How to defeat PAP?

 

 

 

 

Thanks Yacoob, Ms Koh

In Political governance on 15/09/2014 at 5:10 am

If I were the people featured in “To S’pore With Love”* and the film maker, I’d be sending flowers and fruit to Yaacon and Ms Koh Lin-Net the CEO of MDA, as a token of my appreciation, cause nothing could have created more interest in the film than banning it.  (To be ppedantic, it seems  the film has not technically been banned: only “public” screenings are banned; private screenings are OK. While we can have doubts on how the authoriies will intrepet “private” let’s not KPKB like the usual anti-PAP suspects. Wait and see.)

But given the views of those featured, it seems that they are not the kind of people who appreciate any gd deed of the PAP govt; always have to complain.

Seriously, if this is the objection

The Media Development Authority said it took issue with the film’s version of history. “The MDA has assessed that the contents of the film undermine national security because legitimate actions of the security agencies to protect the national security and stability of Singapore are presented in a distorted way as acts that victimized innocent individuals,” the agency said in a press release on Wednesday.

“The individuals featured in the film gave the impression that they are being unfairly denied their right to return to Singapore,” the agency said. In fact, it added, former Communists can return “if they agree to be interviewed by the authorities on their past activities to resolve their cases” while other “criminal offenses will have to be accounted for in accordance with the law.”**

(http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/10/film-about-exiles-is-banned-in-singapore/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&smid=nytimesarts&_r=2&)

what’s so difficult about having a statement read out before each public screening setting out the “right” view?

MDA could also arrange for relevant extracts of Men in White*** to be handed out to the audience before the screening.

And get MediaCorp to rescreen the documentaries on the Hock Lee Bus riot and the 1964  race riot. Or maybe insist that public screenings of the “wrong” version of history, be preceded by the screenings of these MediaCorp documentaries. But then Maruah would bitch that this would constitute “cruel and unusual punishment”: and I would have to agree with this complaint.

“Banning” is a really lazy, outdated, stupid way of handling alternate, unofficial narratives especially in the era of YouTube.

But it’s the Hard Truth way of doing things. And a reflection that the only way is the Hard Truth way. Even China, since the 1980s, has moved beyond  the tots of Mao, We still live with the unthinking application of Hard Truths, whether relevant or not.

———

*A documentary about the lives of Singaporean exiles has been banned in Singapore on the grounds that it undermines national security. [Actually the film has not technically been banned: only “public” screenings are banned; private screenings are OK. But I don’t expect Americans to be so subtle.]

To Singapore, With Love” by the Singaporean filmmaker Tan Pin Pin was classified as NAR, the Media Development Authority said Wednesday. NAR stands for “Not allowed for all ratings,” meaning it can neither be shown nor distributed in Singapore.

Ms. Tan had traveled to the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Thailand to film the lives of nine Singaporeans, in their 60s and older. Among them were trade unionists, student leaders and Communists who fled in the 1960s and 1970s, for fear of being imprisoned under Singapore’s Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without trial.

In the film, they speak about their homeland, and how they cope in exile – by frying up a plate of Singapore rice noodles, or flying in to meet loved ones in neighboring Malaysia.

(http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/10/film-about-exiles-is-banned-in-singapore/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&smid=nytimesarts&_r=2&)

**“A number of these self-professed ‘exiles’ were members of, or had provided support to, the proscribed Communist Party of Malaya (CPM). The CPM sought to overthrow the legitimate elected governments of Singapore and Malaysia through armed struggle and subversion, and replace them with a communist regime,” MDA said.

“One of the interviewees in the film claimed that he had no choice but to join the CPM after he left Singapore when in fact, he was an active CPM member even before he left Singapore. Indeed, as another interviewee who left Singapore in similar circumstances admits, a number of Barisan Sosialis activists then were already members of the Malayan National Liberation League, the CPM’s political wing, before they fled Singapore with its help and subsequently joined the communist guerrilla forces.”

“Two of the individuals in the film conveniently omitted mentioning the criminal offences which they remain liable for, like tampering with their Singapore passports or absconding from National Service,” MDA said.

In its statement, MDA also said that the individuals featured in the film were not “forced” to leave Singapore, “nor are they being prevented from returning”.

The Singapore government has made it clear that it would allow former CPM members to return to Singapore if they agree to be interviewed by the authorities on their past activities to resolve their cases. Criminal offences will have to be accounted for in accordance with the law, it said.

“These facts had been published at the time of these events, and are on public records, even though some Singaporeans today may be unfamiliar with these cases,” MDA said

***Written by three ST men, and published by SPH, the book contains extensive interviews of PAP cadres, many of whom moved on out of the PAP to oppose it . I met two of the authors in May and commended them for calling these cadres as “leftists”, rather than the term “communists”, the term used by LKY and his gang.

Here’s another alternative narrative http://singaporerebel.blogspot.sg/2014/08/the-nature-of-paps-governance-is.html by someone who has called these “leftists”, “progressives”. Waz so progressive about adopting Mao’s tots or USSR’s practices? Btw, I don’t dispute his thesis that the PAP govt adopted the colonial apparatus; neither does the govt.

I hope this gets banned, so that more S’poreans will get to know that it exists, and watch it, hopefully.

Hen, JosT, GraceF: Money, money, money

In Humour on 13/09/2014 at 12:56 pm

I tot of the three ministers when I read:

WSJ Wealth Advisor’s Veronica Dagher explains in an article and accompanying video that “core expenses” for a family of four in Chicago – like an $850,000 mortgage on a $1.2m house, $24,000 a year in property taxes, $25,000 in home maintenance and $30,000 in groceries – really add up.

Then there’s discretionary spending, such as $25,000 a year for two vacations, $15,000 a year for car payments, $10,000 for entertainment and $12,000 in “club dues”. (Who are we kidding? I bet that paltry amount won’t even get you a golf membership with real live caddies. What are we, savages?)

The Daily Kos’s Weinenkel says the entreaty to “cut your spending” is the best part of the video:

“Let’s forget that the median middle-class household income peaked at $56,080 in 1999 and it stands at roughly $50,017 now. Welcome to examples of the shrinking middle class, Wall Street Journal.”

If that wasn’t a strong enough dose of wealth hubris, Dagher provides plenty of examples of six-figure families living beyond their means.

“Sylvia Flores was earning more than $200,000 a year overseeing website content for retailers and tech firms when she got into trouble,” Dagher writes. “She had a personal chef and a housekeeper, and took her husband and two children to Hawaii for frequent vacations.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-29168898

So the Hen, Jos Teo and Grace Fu shouldn’t pretend that they are public-spirited for taking less pay by becoming PAP ministers, but others are not, or may not be. Juz be silent on the issue of ministerial loot salaries: like Tharman and Shan. But then they are local Indians, the other three are local Chinese. Indians have a reputation of being more political savvy.

After tot (7 October 4.30 am)

I came across this quote while reading FT last week, “money is by far the least [important factor]” when choosing where to work. At this level it can’t be painful, right? The job we’re doing is a vocation. All of us like to be paid whatever is deemed competitive in the market, but it’s not the main driver.”” said the CEO of Switzerland’s third largest bank who has had to cut his pay by 12% because shareholders were unhappy.

 

Swedish minister: Why public sector pay shldn’t be benchmarked to private sector

In Political governance, Public Administration on 03/09/2014 at 4:52 am

Peter Norman is Sweden’s financial markets minister. He is reforming Sweden’s state pension schemes, known as the AP funds; cutting five funds into three. Despite a background in financial services, he is against benchmarking public sector pay to that of the private sector: FT reported on Monday

Adding insult to injury for those working at the AP funds, whose jobs are now at risk, Mr Norman also wants to cut the salaries of those who will remain at the three buffer funds drastically.

He believes their salaries should not be benchmarked against private sector companies but against other public authorities, such as the central bank, where pay is far less generous. He does not buy the argument that this will result in a “brain drain”.

“Take SMHI, which delivers the [Swedish] weather forecasts,” he says. “Surely there is a weatherman in the US who is considered the best in the world and who earns an astronomical salary, but that doesn’t mean someone at SMHI should earn the same. We need discipline.”*

Benchmarking salaries in this way would cut the pay for AP staff in half, according to those inside the funds. “It is a tough pill to swallow,” says Mr Norman, who has spoken out against excessive pay in the financial industry frequently.

 —-

*Reminds me of the time when ministers salaries were linked to remiser king, Peter Lim’s take-home pay. Wong Kan Seng, Mah Bow Tan, Yaacob and Raymond Lim that gd meh?

How moronic and spastic can a PAPpy get?

In Humour on 22/08/2014 at 4:24 am

Based on someone who claims that he voted for the PAP (letter to TRE appended below), so spastic and moronic that he is happy to reveal his dumbness publicly

I take great personal offence at this bit: the 39.9% vocal minority should be the less successful sour grapes who prefer to spend their time as armchair generals on Internet criticizing our great Government instead of improving themselves and their careers and lives.

I’m certainly someone who has always voted Oppo (even a discharged looney guy in the days when one JBJ recruited such people and bicycle thieves to stand as MPs) because I have always felt that giving the PAP a hegemony is no good for S’pore. The mismanagement of the 2Ps (Peanuts and Pinkie) prove my point: the chickens are coming to roost e.g. on CPF, public transport, immigration. Remember that Pinkie was DPM (and responsible for economic and financial matters) when Peanuts was PM.

I’m also certainly a loud critic (often bitchy) of the PAP govt.

But as to being tarred as”less successful sour grapes” juz because I am among the 39.9% who voted Oppo, what can I say except this PAP voter is a moron. What’s his evidence that I and all 39.9% are “less successful sour grapes”?

There are are a whole bunch of other RI boys like Drs Ang Yong Guan, Paul Thamby (SDP member and full professor at NUS/ NUH) and Wong Wee Nam who I can confidently assume did not vote for the PAP (Not everyone like WP’s philandering Yaw, remember him? He voted for PAP when he stood as WP candidate. And he got promoted to Low’s Hougang seat as a reward?). Are they “less successful sour grapes”? And Siow Kum Hong is from RI too: a successful guy (got landed property, car, and share options in US tech co). He showed up the worthlessness of Auntie and Low as “co-drivers” when he was NMP.

And then there are NJC boys Show Mao and Richard Wan; and scholars Tony Tan, Gerald Giam and Hazel Poa?

They all “less successful sour grapes”? Come on.

If anybody is “less successful” think Jason Chua: he was unemployed when he founded a pro-PAP website. Or Lionel de Souza (never made police inspector despite being given “acting” rank), the PAP branch secretary at Hougang. Now taz a born loser.

I’m sure that there “less successful sour grapes” among those who vote oppo, juz as there are fruscos who become active opponents of the PAP (think Tan Kin Lian; Tan Jee Say; Andrew Loh and s/o JBJ), but juz as Jason Chua and Lionel de Souza show, such people are also found among the ranks of PAP activists.

—-

Vocal minority drowning out voices of majority on TRE

Dear TRE and readers,

I am a member of the 2011 60.1% majority voting for our world class PAP government. Once in a while, I dropped by TRE to size up the other side. While I found TRE to be highly hilarious and entertaining in the past, recently, I found the voices to be troubling, protectionist and bordering on xenophobic.

Right now, there are so many threads on TRE that are so negative on Singapore, a country that is highly rated by many international organizations, this is unfair to our country and could cause our great international reputation as a liberal, open economy, meritocratic society to be tarnished for no good reason!

While CHEAPER BETTER FASTER sounds a bit cruel, we need to bear in mind that without this, our inflation will be higher and a bowl of mee pok could be $7-8! In fact, my north India acquaintances are earning upwards of $6000 per month and using salary level as indicator of ability, it is fair to say that they are more expensive while better and faster than many locals who are less capable!

In any countries, there will always be a minority who is unable to do well due to their inherent ability, education level, IQ and EQ. With their lack of education, lower earning powers and subsequent lower social status, it is no wonder that they feel that Singapore is being unfair to them!

Actually, the MAJORITY of Born and Bred TRUE BLUE Singaporeans are doing well, grateful to our great world class PAP government and demonstrated it by voting 60.1% enmass in 2011! Most of the time, we are successful in our careers and hence do not have the time to waste on Internet forums.

On the other hand, the 39.9% vocal minority should be the less successful sour grapes who prefer to spend their time as armchair generals on Internet criticizing our great Government instead of improving themselves and their careers and lives.

Till now, I refrained from using any rude words. I hope everyone can be civil and play fair.

To my bros the 60.1% who voted for PAP in 2011: feel free to add your comments to show the 39.9% what you really think. Otherwise, the 39.9% vocal minority will just keep on saying unfair things and mislead people into thinking that many people are unhappy with PAP when facts show that 60.1% majority support the Party!

To the 39.9% in 2011: I hope you will refrain from commenting, and instead, let the 60.1% to comment for once. I am quite sure we, the 60.1%, will surprise you with our strong support for government.

Take on PM’s NatDay message: Trying to lull us into complacency

In Political governance on 10/08/2014 at 5:01 am

The gd news that it won’t work.

But let’s begin with the message.

In the 1999 science fiction film “Matrix”, the Matrix is a simulated world created by machines to keep humans complacent. In S’pore today, is the PAP is trying to receate a Matrix here to lull us into complacency: things can only get better under cont’d hegemony the PAP? This tot crossed my mind when I read this CNA report. My comments are interspersed

Singapore’s economy grew 3.5 per cent in the first half of the year, bringing the growth forecast for the rest of the year to between 2.5 and 3.5 per cent. That is narrower than the forecast by the Trade and Industry Ministry in February this year of between 2 and 4 per cent. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said this in his National Day Message on Friday (Aug 8) ahead of Singapore’s 49th birthday. [Growth for the full year will be below last year’s 4.1%: at best growth be 15% lower than last yr.]

Mr Lee outlined some priorities for the country, including giving Singaporeans greater peace of mind in their retirement years and helping everyone achieve their potential, regardless of their family background or circumstances. Ahead of his National Day Rally, Mr Lee also hinted at several policy changes to come. 

In enhancing retirement adequacy, Mr Lee said his team is studying how to make it more convenient for retirees to get cash out of their flats, in a prudent and sustainable way. Currently there is the Lease Buy back scheme. It is a monetization option to help low-income elderly households unlock part of their housing equity, and receive a lifelong income stream to supplement their retirement income. Response to the scheme though has been somewhat lukewarm, with just over 300 households signing up for it since it was enhanced in February last year. [Well it’s pretty mean.]

The Prime Minister will also talk about ways the Central Provident Fund system could be improved at the National Day Rally in a week’s time. [It doesn’t need tweaking, it needs to be retot. Mad Dog Chee is right to say that retirement has to be delinked from housing and healthcare: CPF puts these three issues into one pot. 

“Stronger safety nets are not just to give you peace of mind, but also to build confidence to hope and dare,” said Mr Lee. “Our system will help you shoot for the stars. Everyone will have full opportunities to fulfil your potential, regardless of your family background or circumstances.”  [Believe this and you believe that the the PAP is socialist or that the moon is made of green cheese.]

Mr Lee said education is a big part of achieving this. To that end, a committee tasked with reviewing polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education studies is expected to announce its recommendations to help young Singaporeans acquire the relevant skills, to succeed in a constantly changing, economic environment. [Juz let more people who can meet the standards get in the local unis. And don’t suppress the pay of skilled technicians like plumbers and electricians. And don’t import FTs by the A380 cattle class. 

“You are talented, passionate and confident. You deserve to chase your dreams and be the best you can be. The academic route is not the only way up. We will also help you upgrade yourselves while you work. We will help you master specialised skills, and earn advanced qualifications as you progress in your careers,” said Mr Lee. [Why love FTs meh if Singkies so good? Why have to spur S’poreans?]

But Mr Lee said this is also a matter of social values: “As Singaporeans, we must judge a person not just by his educational qualifications but also by his skills, contributions and character. This is how we keep Singapore a land of hope and opportunity for all.” [Give me a break. Scholars get all the best jobs. ]

He added Singapore will succeed, only if its citizens stand together as one united people. There was a rallying call by the Prime Minister for Singaporeans to come together despite their differences and to uphold the spirit of the Pioneers who built this country. … said Singapore has changed, so there also needs to be a reassessment of its position, direction and strategies. Err, what about rethinking the need for PAP hegemony? And the emphasis on the “right” tots.The problem is very existence of Hard Truths: Tony Blair last month said “A Changing world means changing policies and a changed party.”]

… even as Singapore has made strong progress since independence, it has not reached its limit. As the country turns 50 next year, Mr Lee observed that many Singaporeans intend to embrace and mark the special occasion in their own ways. [Migrating?]

He said it is this collective sense of ownership and belonging, that will take this country forward, in a changing world. collective [Sense of ownership and belonging? What sense of ownership and belonging?]

The gd news that that it’s difficult to make us complacent is because the govt is always making too conservative and unreasonable assumptions when it comes to “safety net” issues . Take CPF Life; S’poreans “invested” in CPF life bear the risk of fund going bust.while knowing little of its inner workings. And Medishield is starting to look too expensive with reserves of 200%. this means higher than optimal (for us) premiums.

Oh btw, Ang Yong Guan (remember him?) on Facebook recently said govt’s “share on health is 35% and the Health Minister intends to bring it to 40%. That means our OOP (out of pocket) is 60%. That’s still high for citizens. It should be the other round 60-40% and not 40-60%. 4% of GDP on health and they are damn proud of it. For health, they can go higher than that.”

He is right.

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