Posts Tagged ‘PAP’

E-petitions: Democracy with S’porean characteristics?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All to play for PAP.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




PAP voters are like M’sian Malays?

In Malaysia on 24/11/2015 at 5:15 am

When TRE republished this, there was an interesting response from a reader comparing the M’sian and S’pore body politick. I like the comparison (“similarity” a better word?) between the majorities in both countries. And do read the last para, it’s a gem.


The Malaysian political/judicial/economic system as it is today is in a mess. Forward looking Malaysian Muslims are aware and deeply concerned so much so that some are joining the DAP, a supposedly Chinese dominated party.

But the majority of the Muslims are either apathetic, unconcerned or too brain-washed by their leaders (political and/or religious) to understand the issues. Unfortunately, here lies the similarity between them and many Singaporeans.

If the DAP succeeds in showing Malaysians that a country can be ruled with competence, accountability and transparency (their proposed CAT system of governance) then it will be a blessings for all Malaysians, present and future.

But there is a lot of caveats. Can the DAP itself avoid the scourge of corruption from appearing among its own leaders and ranks? Can it avoid the stigma of being a “Chinese controlled” party amongst the Malays? Can it convinced the majority Malays that it does not have any hidden agenda but is a truly credible and competent party?

Again here-in lies similarities between the DAP and our opposition parties. Can our opposition parties maintain a high level of integrity and competency once voted in? For those not yet in parliament, do they have hidden vendetta and are truly out to serve the people (or themselves)?

The difference between Singapore and Malaysia is that we are not in as big a mess as they are. But it is scary to see the same level of complacency amongst the majority from both countries. One majority made up by race while the other made up by political affiliation.

Here’s how confusing the situation is there that an ang moh thinks that Najib will call a GE soon.

My Facebook avater responded: He’s got 2 and a half yrs in office unless UMNO kicks him out.. If he goes for GE and loses, likely to be prosecuted. Waz that in the context context of adding two and a yrs more?

I’ll add that even if he (or rather his wife otherwise knowwn as FLOM: First Lady of M’sia) wants to double down and wins a GE, he might not last another five yrs. UMNO could still kick him out. And if he (or rather FLOM ) wants to call GE and the IMNO regional leaders disagree, he’ll be out of a job. This ang moh talks cock.

Somewhat related Post: We forgot these lions

PAP are juz gd marketers?

In Uncategorized on 21/11/2015 at 4:55 am

Robert Shiller and his fellow Nobel laureate George Akerlof, have written Phishing for Phools, about how the sellers of cat food and thousands of other products and services “phish” us into buying things we do not want or need.

“Of course they do it,” he says. “If you had a cat food company you wouldn’t say ‘Dried Dead Fish’ on the label…we live in a constructed world that’s filled with deception like this.”

When I read the above, I wondered if maybe, juz maybe, the PAP are juz good at marketing. And 70% of us S’poreans fall for their marketing tactics?

No wonder why Goh Meng Seng, s/o JBJ, Roy, New Citizen Han Hui Hui, Dr Chee and M Ravi get so upset? While the WP MPs juz take the money and keep quiet.

30% keep on KPKBing– Don’t despair

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

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

I’m not joking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Chee Soon Juan

Singapore Democratic Party

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




What the SDP, activists and analysts don’t get

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

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

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

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

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

— communitarianism and 

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

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

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

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


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

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

Another Foreign Trash?/ GE2015: How 5 becomes 10

In Uncategorized on 13/10/2015 at 4:52 pm

A Fellow from the Institute of Policy Studies, one Johannis Aziz wrote on IPS Commons (“Where Minds Meet”), Singaporeans voted in a general election that saw the incumbent PAP government enjoy a 9.8% vote swing in its favour.

Hello what “9.8% vote swing”? While this kind of garbage is common on TRE, TOC or social media, a Fellow of the Institute of Policy Studies should know better. He should not be as financially illiterate a TRE cybernut like Oxygen. And if he’s no moron, he should not use words sloppily, again like cybernuts.

I’ve rebuked cybernuts on TRE, TOC and Facebook for the wrong use of “%”. The swing is 9.8 points or 9.8 percentage-points, not “9.8%”.

I pointed out to them that if they can’t get this simple terminology right, why should anyone trust their analysis? I say the same to Johannes Aziz, a Fellow of IPS. Another FT where the T stands for “Trash”? Like the ex-CEO of SGX and the present president and head of IT at SGX? SGX: the rats’ nest of Foreign Trashes.Maybe, he’ll get a job at SGX soon.

On to something more serious. There is of angst by the anti-PAP crowd about the 10 point swing to the PAP by those who voted the Oppo in 2011. Actually. only voters amounting to 5 percentage-points voted for the PAP instead of the Oppo parties. But this becomes a 10 percentage-point swing because the Oppo lost 5 points and the PAP gained 5 points.

Not that bad leh as a 10% loss.

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think?

Are the 70% of voters delusional?

After all GDP growth has been on the downtrend since 2011

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

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

Recession coming?

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

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

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

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

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


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

The next PM has been unveiled

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

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

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

Look at the evidence

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

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

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

Which other minister has been given so much public exposure?

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

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

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

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

Related post

Brain structures of PM, ministers & TRE cybernuts

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

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

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

Oxygen’s latest rant is a good example

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

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

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

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

Contrast this ranting with the actions of PAP after GE 2011

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

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

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


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

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

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


Haze, 9/11 & TOC

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

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






































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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Yes, the truth is stranger than fiction.

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





Png the troubleshooter

In Accounting, Corporate governance on 25/09/2015 at 4:43 am

But first: when I read the following extract

“This is very much (Mr Low’s) style, he wants to give residents as much face time as possible, and they are also willing to wait to speak to him,” said Ms Ivy Tan, who has been helping out at the Bedok Reservoir-Punggol division since 2012. As such, their MPS often stretch past 11pm.

Mr Chen Show Mao (Paya Lebar) and Mr Muhamad Faisal Manap (Kaki Bukit), meanwhile, set up several stations at their MPS, which are manned by party activists who help to interview residents, transcribe their cases and draft relevant letters..

I couldn’t help but wonder about PritamS style of looking after his constituents. I read the article several times and couldn’t the answer.

Ah well.

Have you noticed that in the last few months, Png Eng Huat is the man beside Auntie, when it came to AHPETC matters? Before that it was always Auntie (chairperson) and Pritam (Both Png anf Pritam are vice-chairpersons). But ever since after the AGO’s report was published, it has been Png beside Auntie. Seems he has been tasked to sort out the mess created by the lack of oversight.


What did the Auditor-General’s report say?
The report found five key lapses in the AHPETC’s accounts:
1. Lack of governance over transactions with related parties;
2. Poor monitoring of S&CC arrears;
3. Poor record and accounting system;
4. Non-compliance with rules on sinking fund;
5. Insufficient internal controls


The PAP had bayed and howled for the the WP to “come clean” (produce the documents), or if the WP was really concerned about its finances, it bring a forensic accountant to reconstruct the accounts. Pritam retorted that they needn’t answer to Parliament, but to residents.

There was  no production of the documents (AWOL? MIA?), and no forensic audit (Too expensive? Concerned about the probable findings?). Instead Png worked with the AHPETC’s auditors and another newly appointed accountant to sort out the mess. The end result was that Auntie could write in the report to the 2014/ 2015 report:

AHPETC has continued to improve its financial processes and management.

AHPETC has cleared most of the disclaimers from the previous annual audits. The remaining observations relate mainly to opening balance issues for which there are still information gaps and legacy issues. There are still areas to work on. AHPETC will continue to improve its financial management.

Still even by the WP’s admission, there’s plenty of work to be done. And the use of the word “mainly” gives the lie to the claim that it’s all the fault of the PAP and PA. Makes one wonder if the WP is afraid of what a forensic audit will uncover?

Never mind the PAP may still force one.

Oppo areas are NOT slums

In Property on 24/09/2015 at 4:35 am

Private property and HDB prices are NOT better in PAP areas.

Research by property website shows, it doesn’t matter whether a property (HDB or private) is located in a constituency held by the PAP or the WP or the Chiams’ Party.

Today reported:

Amid perceptions that Opposition-held constituencies are not upgraded as much as ruling party wards and get fewer amenities, and thus may be seen as being less attractive as a residential area, studied housing price data from the past 10 years and laid to rest concerns among some residents of their homes being undervalued.

The first two graphs show how private housing prices in the four constituencies — Aljunied, Ang Mo Kio, Potong Pasir and West Coast — have changed from July 2006 to July this year.

Both Aljunied and Potong Pasir outperformed the Singapore average in terms of the property price appreciation, noted. In fact, both constituencies are among the best performing areas in Singapore, with its properties more than doubling in price on average over the last 10 years — a growth rate of over 100 per cent.

What about PAP territory?

Choosing Ang Mo Kio and West Coast … , noted that home prices in the former have performed just as well as those in Aljunied, but those in the latter lagged quite a bit behind the national average, growing only about 50 per cent in the last 10 years.

Importantly, the price movements and trend lines in the constituencies have remained in sync with the national average and other wards despite control of Aljunied and Potong Pasir changing hands in 2011.

“The rise or fall of property prices is not dependent on whether the property is in a PAP or an Opposition ward. Rather, the property prices are a factor of the location, and the corresponding supply and demand characteristics at the given point in time,” said Mr Eugene Lim, key executive officer of real estate agency ERA.

What about HDB flats? reported that over the last 10 years, HDB resale prices in almost all wards have appreciated 80 to 100 per cent. With the exception of the spike in Tanjong Pagar due to Pinnacle@Duxtonhaving matured for resale in 2014, the graph lines for all of the wards have been pretty much the same.

HDB resale prices show that whether an estate is in a PAP or Opposition ward doesn’t matter. Prices move in line throughout S’pore, unlike private housing, where the price appreciation has varied widely from 50 to 150%. explains: “The data from clearly indicates that there is no difference in the valuations of residences between neighbourhoods. This likely indicates that common areas such as pavements, drainages and landscaping are being managed to similar standards. Otherwise, over two to three years, the differences will show and valuations in badly managed districts would drop,” said Mr Ku Swee Yong, chief executive of property agency Century 21 Singapore.



Denial continues/ Swing voters not stupid, WP

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

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

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

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

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

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

— start that building more HDB flats raided the reserves;

— introduced the Pioneer Package etc;

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

— curb FT inflows.

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

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

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

Someone posted this on Facebook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that is THE problem for PAP…

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

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

Related post:

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

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

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

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

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

WP’s Punngol East problem/ PAP’s excuse king

In Accounting, Corporate governance on 21/09/2015 at 5:08 am

Forensic audit of AHPETC accounts

As someone who wants S’pore to move from a de facto one-party state to something more pluralistic, I was glad that Aljunied remained WP territory. But I was sad that the WP had escaped a forensic audit of the AHPETC accounts. This would have happened if PAP had won.

But I forgot the Punggol East victory.

Independent auditors may be called in to verify the accounts of Punggol East Single Member Constituency (SMC) only if facts and figures are in dispute, said its newly-elected Member of Parliament (MP) Charles Chong.

How not to dispute? For one, Auntie and Low want a fight over Charlie Chong’s alleged statement of a $1m surplus. A lot of he said, she said, TOC said: so I’ll let it be.

More importantly, while the latest set of accounts are pretty decent, as Auntie has said

AHPETC has continued to improve its financial processes and management.

AHPETC has cleared most of the disclaimers from the previous annual audits. The remaining observations relate mainly to opening balance issues for which there are still information gaps and legacy issues. There are still areas to work on. AHPETC will continue to improve its financial management.,

there will be a need for the SMC to ensure that it is getting its fair share of the APPETC’s assets (and liabilities). Given that all the accounts of the AHPETC are qualified, it is reasonable and legitimate to ask for a forensic audit of the AHPETC accounts in order to calculate the SMC’s fair share of the assets and liabilities.

Three cheers for the swing voters in PE.

Illustration of Singapore 2015 general elections by A Good Citizen

Of course, Auntie and Low could agree to be so generous to the residents of PE (thereby short-changing Aljunied and Hougang) that Charlie would keep quiet.

Zorro Lim: excuse king?

When I read this some time back, I couldn’t help laughing at Zorro’s excuse and wondering why Auntie etc hadn’t used such a similar excuse: “We screwed up, but had good intentions.”

Arrogant meh?

Grassroots leaders involved in financial irregularities were only trying to help, said the deputy chairman of the People’s Association (PA), Lim Swee Say, in Parliament on Monday.

“We can fault (grassroots volunteers) for their non-compliance of financial procedures, but please do not doubt them in their passion and commitment in always doing their best for the community,” Mr Lim said*.


The problem is that while Zorro can get away with “I can say with confidence there is no irregularity at the system level”, the WP can’t, given the Auditor-General’s report and its own auditor’s qualifications.


*More: He said the root cause of these lapses were the “good intentions” of the grassroots leaders.

He went on to tell grandfather stories, by raising various examples of how grassroots leaders were “actually doing their best to serve the interests of the residents and meet the urgent needs of the community.”

… related how grassroots leaders had gone “all around Singapore” to look for face masks when the haze hit the island in 2013.

This was after a community hospital had appealed to the GROs for air purifiers for patients who were being housed in the hospital’s non-airconditioned wards.

When they found a “small store which had limited stock”, the grassroots leaders decided to purchase the masks without first calling for three tenders, which is what is required by the rules.

“… is this a case of non-compliance of financial procedures and rules? The answer is yes,” Mr Lim said. “Is this a case of grassroots leaders and volunteers compromising the interests of the community? The answer is certainly no.”

Backgrounder: PA, where the AGO had conducted test-checks on about 115 grassroots organisations (GROs) under the PA umbrella.Out of the GROs test-checked by the AGO, 30 per cent were found to have financial or accounting irregularities.

Social activist, feminist in denial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Related post:

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

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

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

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

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



Life on cruiser S’pore for next five yrs

In Uncategorized on 13/09/2015 at 4:37 am

So don’t KPKB those 70%ers that voted for cruise ship PAP (Related post

But let’s be fair, Even the Pioneer Generation in Hougang and Aljunied will get their benefits.

Illustration of Singapore 2015 general elections by A Good Citizen


MUST READ: JG explains the results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That to me, is the single biggest factor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Spot on: My 2012 prediction

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Hence the need for stronger effective political competition ..

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Not a PAPpy poll: Govt satisfaction

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

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

Lifted from yesterday’s FT

And read this

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cruise ship PAP: First class or cattle class?

In Uncategorized on 08/09/2015 at 4:31 am

Goh Chok Tong at Aljunied GRC – “If you go with the PAP, you are actually embarking on a cruise ship with a definite destination.”

Problem Mr Goh is that many S’poreans are in steerage

or think that they are by Swiss standards.

Steerage is the lower deck of a ship, where the cargo was stored above the open hold. During the early 1900s many immigrants were too poor to travel on the upper decks, with wealthy passengers, so they were cramped in converted cargo spaces which provided the lowest cost and lowest class of travel. The living conditions on the steerage deck were often horrible, with no bathroom facilities besides pots and pans. These horrible conditions caused many deaths due to unsanitary and cramped quarters. Gradual improvements to steerage class after the arrival of ocean liners led to its replacement by Third Class cabins.


Still as the film “Titanic” reminds us that third class passengers were left to drown. The truth is they were evacuated more slowly,  and there were anyway not enough life boats.

In first class over a third of the men, almost all of the women and all the children survived. In second it was less than 10 per cent of the men, 84 per cent of the women and all the children. But in steerage 12 per cent of the men, 55 per cent of the women and less than one in three of the children survived. Interrogating the figures shows that – despite the strict “women and children first” policy – a greater proportion of first class men survived, than of third class children.

Remember the perception that PAP says,”You die, yr problem”?

Btw, where GCT, Ah Loong and the other aristocrats (natural, unnatural or whatever) lounge.

Lightning Kills

In Uncategorized on 07/09/2015 at 4:14 am

Just had to steal to share this image. Saw it on Facebook.

Didn’t PM’s dad dad say we were daft?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VivianB peeing in his pants?

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

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


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

“How do I vote” by Dr Tan Cheng Bock


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

Ah Loong that popular meh?

In Uncategorized on 05/09/2015 at 4:12 am


Dr Ang Yong Guan,  “Is the Prime Minister so insecure that he must be everywhere?” (referring to the election posters)

No lah,  PAP’s PR team  (remember Mr Selfie* is unemployed having left a PR firm a few yrs ago) must have conducted studies , for this poster to appear all over S’pore. First time since the 60s. It seems LKY’s mug was used in the 60s once. It got defaceded badly and the PM’s photo was never used nation-wide again, until now.


*Remember he got a “Juz for MP special” meal that “bankrupted” stall holder after it became public knowledge, and brown noser had to do NS by making the MP meal available for charity?


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

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

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

This team deserves to get in because of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update at 5.12 pm

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

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

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

Why I won’t be voting for the PAP

In Uncategorized on 02/09/2015 at 4:34 am

Readers will know that I won’t be voting for the WP (first time ever) but that I wouln’t be voting for the PAP. But until GCT opened his mouth, I was thinking of voting for the PAP, juz this once. LKY would have liked it and whatever he did to others, his regime allowed me to stop working in my mid 40s. It would be a good gesture I tot.


Couple that with “Don’t chase after bits of meat thrown by the opposition,” which is extremely disrespectful, likening S’poreans to animals, or dogs. And there was the “nomads” “plundering”.

Here are other reasons for not voting for the PAP.


The PAP’s strategy is sad because the PAP could have made the theme of the election, “We listen. And we hear yr call for spending more of yr money on making life more comfortable for yrself.”

It could have been a celebration of sorts, not mud slinging and invoking Harry.

Profiteering? Dodgy accounts? Forensic audit needed

In Accounting, Uncategorized on 30/08/2015 at 5:38 am

So there’s another round of “he said, she said” about AHPETC’s managing agent. T’ll not comment but remind readers yet again of the underlying very technical and very dry issue. As it’s the weekend, you might want to skip the bolded bit and read to the end. There’s a bit of “She said, he said” asfer this pix.

Recently, representatives from nine opposition parties and the ruling PAP were represented at a three-hour forum organised by the National University of Singapore Society.

“I think in the case of AHPETC, I think what we’ve been hearing are fairly lengthy – I don’t want to say excuses, that doesn’t sound very nice – explanations which I also don’t fully understand. If you were to ask about money then I would say in the case of the AGO audit, all the monies we’ve been talking about has been accounted for, and no money is lost. But in the case of AHPETC, I’m not too sure,”

“I wish that more answers had been forthcoming from AHPETC. Then I think we would have wasted much less time on the issue and I think the population would be much the wiser.”

Have to agree with her.

To be fair, I’ll report what WP’s Mr Gerald Giam said. He pointed out that AHPETC Chairman Sylvia Lim, as well as the elected MPs who are town councillors, “all spoke, all explained various aspects of the report” during a two-day debate in Parliament. He said that this was in addition to “numerous other press statements”, “open letters to residents” and door-to-door explanations.

“I think we have done a lot of explaining already. Just because the PAP does not want to accept our explanations does not mean we haven’t explained,” said Mr Giam. “We have explained every point that has been brought up which demands an explanation and we have spared no effort in that. And with the coming election, I’m sure this issue will be raised up by the PAP and we will respond if we need to.”

Note WP has avoided stating categorically that no public funds have been lost, and no damage suffered. It can’t because AGO has said the accounts are not fit for purpse.

Yet WP has yet to commission a forensic audit, reconstruction of accounts that will tell all. This despite saying that it accepts that the AGO is professional and independent. So it saying AGO is wrong that its accounts are not fit for purpose?

Sadly as DPM Teo has said, only a PAP victory in Aljunied will uncover the truth. Or to be more accurate, a reality that is closer to the absolute truth. Remember the PAP is always out to “fix” the Oppo.

Let the voters In Aljunied and the areas where the WP is challenging the PAP decide. I’ve already decided (somewhere here, near the bottom) what I’m going to do. And voters might want to be reminded that AHPETC does things directly (like Bishan/ TP GRC. It no longer has a managing agent.


Tharman joking again? Or trying to BS us?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember Tharman’s previous attempts at telling jokes

Related posts

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rising prices, stagnant wages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unchecked power

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

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

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

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

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

What’s the solution?

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

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

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

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

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

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

SDP’s values

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

**Rest of CNA report:

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

– CNA/ms

Only 2 GRCs in play/ Only one will change hands

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

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

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

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

East Coast GRC

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

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

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

Aljunied GRC

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

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

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


Marine Parade GRC

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

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

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

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


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

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

The WP made their presence felt.

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

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

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

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

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

Zorro Lim talked recently of personalised outreach in East Coast.

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

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


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

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

(No her, in Marine Parade)

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AIM’s sotong trap

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

 This piece is my reaction to

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

— a letter to TRE from a reader.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What you should know about the AHPETC-AIM saga

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

This is what we know so far.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

However that is only half the story.

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

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

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

Yours Sincerely,


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

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

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

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

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

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


This appeared in NYT’s Dealbook on Monday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2025: LKY’s memorial unveiled

In Environment, Infrastructure on 25/08/2015 at 3:37 am

In a recent blog post,”Where will the energy business be in 2025?” the FT’s energy guru, Nick Butler gave scenarios of the world in 2025. One scenario mentioned us and our dear Harry.

Climate change remains a serious and unresolved issue because of the continued use of coal but the focus of attention has shifted to the impact of climate volatility and extreme weather conditions. Insurance premiums for low-lying areas that could be hit by flooding have tripled. In 2025, Singapore announces that it will proceed with the construction of the 40km Lee Kuan Yew sea wall surrounding the island, which can be raised and lowered according to the level of risk.

The Great Wall of S’pore begins construction on the 10th anniversary of him becoming the 9th Immortal. DSC_0029

Yup cybernuts in TRE and TOC Land, in 2025, the PAP is still ruling S’pore. Grave dancer Oxygen and friends, go bang yr balls and cry. Harry rules OK. DSC_0011

Dare PM say this tonite? It was once possible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And do remember that in 2011 one Harry said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More school visits have been planned for the minister mentor.

– CNA/al

GE 2015, repeat of GE 2001?

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

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

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

Dear TRE and TRE readers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Look at how LTK responded.

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

Look at WP’s message in this GE 2015 –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s the conclusion from all these tea leaves ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

If what I’ve said is true :

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

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

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


Submitted by TRE reader.

Hri Kumar’s Facebook post

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

Good grief! Is he serious?

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Andrew Loh’s response to Hri Kumar

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

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

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

• Why did WP hide information from its own auditors?

– What information did WP “hide”?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PAP trying really hard to fix WP?/ Why NS undermines PAP

In Uncategorized on 21/08/2015 at 4:53 am

On a conservative Facebook group I belong to, some friends of Jason Chua were out trying to make the WP  look “unpatriotic” for not attending the coming National Day Rally. The thread died a natural death when regular members didn’t bother to join in the conversation.

If the regulars had joined in the grumbling, I’d have posted something along the lines of “Don’t forget that historically, opposition MPs were not invited to the NDR,” Siew Kum Hong had posted elsewhere on Facebook.

What I find surprising is the timing of this year’s rally. I think it’s a bit later than it usually is. I had tot it would be held last weekend, not this weekend. Many yrs ago, I told an overseas “wannabe” observer that the National Day speech was rubbish, he should focus on the rally speech if he wanted to see what concerned the PM. I remembered telling him that the rally was held about a week after the NDP, on the weekend.

So could it be that the WP in scheduling their function assumed that the rally would fall on the weekend of the 15th?

“Ms Lim also addressed recent reports that the Workers Party would not be attending the National Day Rally on 23 August. She said, “We planned our dinner – which is a special SG50 National Day dinner – last year, in fact. The date was already chosen, and we think that it’s meaningful for us, especially as an opposition party, to rally our supporters to remind everyone that what we want is betterment for Singapore as a whole.

And that the PAP administration then fixed the rally date to fix the WP? Given the perceived track record in trying to fix the WP. sounds plausible meh?

Here are some other views on the NDR:

— Anyway ndr is use taxpayers money to score points for themselves. Propaganda anyway

— Spot on ))). Maybe PAP trying to fix WP by fixing date after WP fixed their date for bash. Usually BAt Day Rally held week after NDP.

Anyway Auntie is right, “I think sometimes people get confused – they can’t distinguish between national interest and ruling party interest. And we want to underscore the point that even if you’re an opposition supporter, you can be as loyal to Singapore as any PAP supporter.”

For starters, all the Oppo boys (even Garbra Gomez) did NS. Many like JJ, Eric Tan, Tony Tan (Haze; Poa’s hubbie) TJS, Dr Paul and Dr Ang (OK the last two are  MDs) were officers. If they were good enough to be SAF officers*, how dare people like Jason Chua and other members of the PAP IB call the Oppo unpatriotic?


*But SAF has a lot of explaining how Goh Meng Seng became an officer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next tpt minister will be Ah Loon’s successor

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

PAP, WP don’t do accounting

In Accounting on 16/08/2015 at 12:09 pm

As Chairman and deputy chairman of the PA, ah Loong and Zorro should do what Khaw implicitly asked the WP leaders to do and what Lui may or not have done (I’ll blog one of these days on why the Ah Loong administrations sucks in comparison with that of his dad’s: never a clear message). I don’t know if Lui is willingly (or unwillingly) taking the rap for the failures of the MRT system, or he juz going MIA or AWOL to look at his monthly CPF statement and feel happy).

In the Budget earlier this year, the PA’s expenditure was increased 51.3% to over $1 billion.

Minister Lim Swee Say, Minister (Prime Minister’s Office) and Deputy Chairman of PA, said that the budget allocated to the PA “reflects a higher level of commitment by the Government towards promoting social cohesion and racial harmony.”*

Yet the management of the PA didn’t ensure that the systems were in place to ensure that the records on how this money (and earlier funds) were kept in accordance with the PA’s own internal rules.

The Auditor-General (AGO) is not happy. The People’s Association was flagged for various lapses in the Auditor-General’s Report, released on Wednesday (Jul 15), including lapses in management of tenancy contracts in Community Club/Centre Management Committees (CCMCs) and procurement lapses.**

The AGO had conducted audits on only 115 GROs out of the 1,800 over GROs, which as TOC points out “is only 6.39 percent of the total GROs which PA is in charge of”.

As TOC points out, with the recent findings by AGO on the GROs, one would have to be concerned or extremely concerned that public money may be misused or misappropriated due to the lack of understanding of proper accounting practices set by PA’s financial rules.

To recap:

There are 1,800 grassroots organisations under the People’s Association’s umbrella.
That’s a mere 6.4% of all the GROs.The Auditor General audited only 115 of them.

And already, the AGO found almost 40% of them with financial irregularities.

So while PA has said that it would conduct internal investigations and audits of its GROs, a more prudent method to ensure public monies would be lawfully used, is to get AGO along with a 3rd party auditor to audit the whole group of GROs under the PA.

In the meantime, the Minister of Culture, Community and Youth, Lawrence Wong, who oversees the PA, should be accountable and freeze the funds that are meant to be given to PA until the auditors can be sure that proper accounting process can be put in place for the GROs – and that public funds are duly protected from misuse.

Terry Xu

Now given that Khaw had recommended that the AHPETC commit hari kiri, and given that the PM is the chairman of the PA and Zorro Lim is the minister-in-charge of PA, why is Khaw silent on them performing hari kiri? At the very least, he should recommend that they do deep bows and apologies at the National Day rally next week.

But then the PAP believes that “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”:

But to be fair to the PM, Zorro and the PA and the PAP, rather than challenging the AGO and throwing smoke as the WP would (think AHPETC: there is lousy record keeping, so lousy that no-one knows if money has been stolen or not, and Pritam and his Auntie mentor have to do a manual check to report the correct arreas situation), a review by a newly formed Grassroots Finance Review Committee, to prevent a recurrence of procurement lapses flagged in a report by the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) will take three months, the People’s Association said.

“The common lapses found in most of the grassroots organisations test-checked indicate that they may not be familiar with PA’s financial rules,” the AGO said in its report on Wednesday (Jul 15).

A statement released by the PA on Thursday said the committee will be chaired by a member of the PA’s board of management, Timothy de Souza. “Mr de Souza is a trustee of the Eurasian Association of Singapore and an experienced grassroots leader”, the PA said. He is also the auditor of a Neighbourhood Committee.

The other members of the committee are chief financial officer and member of the Auditing and Assurance Standards Committee of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants John Teo Woon Keng and Mr Chiang Heng Liang, director of wealth management at an international bank and chairman of Kolam Ayer Citizens’ Consultative Committee.

The committee will be supported by PA senior officers, and they will be able to tap on expertise from the Ministry of Finance for advice.

The committee will review and recommend refinements to financial and procurement rules and procedures, especially with regard to AGO observations, the PA said. It will also propose measures to enhance compliance of financial rules and recommend measures to strengthen monitoring by staff. And, it will enhance training for staff and grassroots leaders.***

I’m still wondering what the WP are going to fix its accounting systems? Can some cybernut enlighten me? I got rezoned into Marine Parade and me and the neighbours (they are accountants, lawyers etc), and the really real Marine Parade residents I talk to, are wondering if the bad record keeping will continue. We know WP can keep the area clean and tidy, but can it keep proper financial records?

And we want to know if the WP can assure us that the excellent bus links to the other parts of S’pore will continue. Rightly or wrongly, we attribute these links to one Goh Chok Tok who was once the MP of the real Marine Parade.

Finally, the WP kept saying that a vote for the WP is a vote to keep the PAP honest. Who is keeping the WP honest? I mean someone has to take the rap for an accounting system that isn’t fit for purpose?

Will PritamS or his mentor step up for a deep bow? Or both?

But Ah Loong should set a good example, and take a deep bow next weekend. pigs will fly first.


*He said  that out of the $339.6 million or 51.3% increase in the estimated Financial Year (FY) 2015 expenditure of the PA, $239.3 million (70.5%) is meant for the development of facilities for residents’ use.

These include the building of the Tampines Town Hub, construction of nine new CCs and two Water-Venture outlets; as well as to upgrade 28 existing CCs under PA’s 15-year upgrading cycle.

The increase of $100.3 million or 29.5% in operating expenditure will go into implementing the Pioneer Generation Ambassador programme where staff and volunteers reach out to seniors where they live, as well as supporting the work of the grassroots organisations (GROs) and Community Development Councils (CDCs) in assisting the needy and in building and bonding our multi-racial and multi-cultural communities.



Of the 91 CCMCs test-checked by the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO), 35 did not obtain approvals from the relevant approving authorities for awarding 53 tenancy contracts, totalling S$17.78 million. Approvals were either obtained from committees which were not authorised to do so, or whose approval limits were below that of the contract values, the AGO said.

In addition, 10 of the 35 CCMCs did not obtain the relevant approvals for the direct award of 13 tenancy contracts without competition, worth a total of S$3.67 million.

“The number of lapses detected points to a weakness in the People’s Association’s monitoring of CCMCs’ compliance with its financial rules with regard to tenancy contracts,” said the AGO. PA has informed the AGO that is has since obtained covering approvals for the tenancy contracts.


Test-checks of nine grassroots organisations (GROs) – comprising four CCMCs, three Citizens’ Consultative Committees (CCCs) and two Residents’ Committees (RCs) – revealed non-compliance with PA’s financial rules, including the award of nine contracts totalling S$152,600 prior to obtaining approvals; the award of 15 contracts worth S$565,300 from the wrong approving authorities; not seeking approval for 10 direct purchases from suppliers worth a total of S$53,700; and not inviting quotations in writing for 13 purchases totalling S$187,900.

“The common lapses found in most of the grassroots organisations test-checked indicate that they may not be familiar with PA’s financial rules,” the AGO said. “They also reflect a lack of oversight by PA.”

The PA has since informed the AGO that it will review its procurement rules for GROs, to strike the right balance between competitive procurement and “expeditious decision-making” on the ground.


According to the report, the AGO found common lapses in engagement of training operators and the collection of course fees across most of the seven grassroots organisations checked.

For example, four GROs engaged operators directly without calling competitive bids under eight contracts, totalling S$311,800. “Hence, there was no assurance that the GROs were able to obtain the most advantageous bids for the courses,” the AGO said.

One RC awarded a contract for tuition services with an estimated revenue of S$1.11 million to the incumbent operator through a quotation exercise, when a tender was required. There was no evidence other operators were invited to quote, the AGO said.

Four RCs test-checked could not produce evidence that they had carried out audit checks on course fees – totalling S$1.26 million – collected by operators on the RCs’ behalf, according to the report. The PA said that the RCs had conducted random checks on the collection of the fees, but these went undocumented. The course fees have been fully collected from the operator, PA added.

One RC did not take any action when an operator repeatedly delayed handing over course fees collected on behalf of the PA, totalling S$414,700, every month from April 2013 to July 2014. This exposed the RC to the risk of the operator defaulting on the payment of course fees, the AGO said.


The AGO’s checks found that the chairman of a CCC was involved in approving the award of two contracts worth a total of S$32,000 and corresponding payments to a company of which he was a member of the senior management. For one of the awards, another CCC member involved in the approval process was both a director and shareholder of the company, the AGO said.

The CCC chairman also approved payment for a purchase worth S$1,500 from another company where he was both a director and shareholder.

In these cases, the two CCC members involved did not declare their interests in the transactions, the AGO said. “As a result, there was no assurance that the transactions were conducted at arms’ length.”

PA acknowledged that the chairman should not have approved the payments, but checked and found that there was no irregularity in the payments as the amounts tallied with the quotations and the work tendered.

Test-checks revealed seven instances where the CCC chairman was involved in approving his own claims, totalling S$114,767 – a “clear conflict of roles”, the AGO said. In three of these payments, no supporting documents were available.

The PA’s response was that the chairman had inadvertently approved his own claims, and said that the vice-chairman and treasurer will endorse future payment vouchers instead.
MP for Sembawang GRC Khaw Boon Wan said the grassroots leader in question was from Admiralty CCC and that he has stepped down to facilitate a full investigation.

“I am glad that the Investigation Panel found no evidence of dishonesty. Nonetheless, it was a related party transaction that was not declared,” Mr Khaw said in a statement. “The CCC will study the investigation report, and review its procedures to ensure that such lapses do not recur.”

Fellow MP for Sembawang GRC, Vikram Nair said he was saddened to learn of the findings by the AGO and that the grassroots leader concerned has “served with distinction for many years”. The man is giving full cooperation in the investigation, Mr Nair said.


The PA obtained excess funding from the Citizens’ Consultative Committee ComCare Fund (CCF) from the MSF, amounting to S$84,394 over two years, due to errors and omissions in the updating of disbursements at seven CCCs checked.

The errors include duplicate entries of CCF disbursements, incorrect amounts recorded and inclusion of financial assistance that was not to be funded by the CCF. Disbursements were entered into the system by an officer without any independent checks, the AGO found.

These errors led to inaccurate CCF usage reports submitted by PA to MSF, ranging from an overstatement of S$225,703 in some cases to an understatement of S$120,210 for FY2012/13 and 2013/14.

In response, the PA said it was conducting a one-off reconciliation exercise for all CCCs to update and correct the CCF utilisation reports, meant to be completed by June this year.


***The committee will strengthen the supervision of its 1,800 grassroots organisations (GROs). “The committee will also recommend suitable measures that would enable our 37,000 grassroots leaders and volunteers to continue to serve the community’s best interests while maintaining good governance and sound financial practices.”

Additionally, a hotline has been set up to help GROs with queries on correct procurement procedures. The number is now active and has been communicated to GROs internally.

(CNA, I think)

The Great Wall the Oppo has to climb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*I think this TRE reader describes him perfectly:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WP, NSP scared of Kate Spade?

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

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

(Update on 13 August at 2.50pm:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

PM aiming left, to hit the centre/ Axed? PAP MPs who don’t get it

In Uncategorized on 10/08/2015 at 6:22 am

Just right of the bull’s eye (as seen by the viewer) is what the PM is moving the PAP to after years (since 1991 at least) of drifting from the left of Warren Buffett to the right of Donald Trump. If he manages it, the PAP will about where the PAP and daddy were (in terms of their economic, and political thinking) on 9 August 1965.

Going back to the beginning? A journey around a political circus ring?

Sadly as the Budget debate earlier this year showed some MPs are too thick to understand the PM, even after Squealer had tot the sheep PAP MPs the new line, “Compassion is good. We got  the money to do compassion.”

PM has some really stupid MPs who still don’t get it. Liang Eng Hwa is the worse of the lot*. Others are Kate Spade (who else?), Hri Kumat and Arthur Fong.

They don’t understand fiscal sustainability***: they should go read TRE’s Chris K on the topic. Warning: very, very chim. Example:

… contrary to the PAP’s narrative that,

  • With the exception of oil rich Norway, none of Singapore’s peers have surpluses of the same magnitude. They run roughly balanced budgets and yet judged to be fiscally sustainable.
  • Since none of the peers have rules that prohibit debt for spending, spending their debts have not stood in the way of fiscal sustainability
  • Much higher social spending does not impede fiscal sustainability.

Singapore’s extremely high debt is invested and not spent, then there is no issue of fiscal sustainability.

And then there’s the brown-noser of an NMP. I had tot she was stupid but then I concluded she made the speech because she wants to be the first NMP to become the PAP’s first disabled MP. She’s special needs really. Roy, New Citizen Hui Hui and the other young hooligans should feel free to jeer at her. 

Let’s see if she gets to be a PAP candidate: I doubt it. As for Liang, Hri Kumar and Fong, I’m sure, they’ll be axed for not getting it. As for Kate Spade, despite her stupidity, she’s invaluable to the PAP: not not juz because she’s going to campaign in her confinement. I’ll explain why soon.

Coming back to “left” or “right”, maybe as an FT columnist put it “[I]n a world of rapid technological change, we need to rethink our old assumptions about “left” and “right”;  cyberspace is ripping up many ideas about the government and class system.””


*This letter to ST parades his ignorance of how the S’pore budget works. He also plays the man, not the ball: in footie, he’d be red carded. With PAP MPs like him, how dare the PAP call for a “clean” GE campaign?

Fiscal sustainability remains a challenge

MR DONALD Low dismisses the dangers of spending beyond our means (“Budget 2015: In deficit, yet very prudent at heart”; last Saturday).

He is right that the Government is fiscally conservative. But he is wrong to be dismissive about the concerns raised by me and other MPs that social spending must be sustainable.

Government spending is going up steadily. The new social programmes – for example, Silver Support, higher subsidies for health care and MediShield Life, and the Pioneer Generation Package – are necessary and right.

But we must proceed carefully. As our economy matures and growth moderates, revenue growth will slow. Spending programmes, once committed to, cannot be cut back without the utmost pain and political resistance, as seen in every advanced society. There will be constant pressure to spend more; indeed, Mr Low’s article is a prime example.

Moreover, often, more government spending alone has not solved social problems. Many countries went overboard on welfare with the best of intentions but with unintended results, including massive unsustainable deficit. Now they are forced to cut back and restore financial sustainability, with the harshest impact on the young.

Mr Low ignores this and argues that if something cannot be financed sustainably by the Government, with its ability to pool risks, it cannot be done by households either, which is an unacceptable outcome.

This is a false dichotomy between two extreme choices. Every society must support those with less, find the right balance between personal responsibility and state welfare, and muster and safeguard the resources to meet essential needs.

No government can spend to meet all possible wants, or ignore how its spending will impact individual and family responsibility. Singapore is no different.

Mr Low had earlier posted an intemperately worded version of his commentary on his Facebook page which asserted that “there is something inherently flawed with the concept of sustainability”.

Significantly, he omitted this radical claim from last Saturday’s commentary in The Straits Times. But he has not retracted his earlier version, which was circulated widely online. Instead, he described it (on Facebook) as a “rant”, and thanked a Straits Times journalist for turning his “rant against the sustainability prudes into an op-ed”.

How are we to read a commentary which represents, not the writer’s sincerely held position, but a pose to gull us into believing that he holds reasonable views?

Liang Eng Hwa

MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC

Chairman, Government Parliamentary Committee for Finance, Trade and Industry

– See more at:


Opening the debate was chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Finance and Trade and Industry Liang Eng Hwa. He emphasised the need for the Government to uphold fiscal discipline and sustainability.

Mr Liang, who is also an MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, said: “Even as we spend more on our social programmes, the concern among many that I have spoken to is whether we will become a welfare state in no time and whether our people will become less self-reliant.

“Will we lose our economic dynamism and soon descend into the sorry state that some European countries presently find themselves in? How we debate this year’s Budget, in the midst of this strategic shift, can have a bearing on where we would be heading. Where is that fair balance to strike and how quickly should we expand our social programmes?”

In that respect, Mr Liang proposed that there be fiscal sustainability reviews, particularly for spending programmes stretching longer than 10 years. But goodies from the Government do not come at zero expense, noted MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Hri Kumar Nair.

Mr Hri Kumar pointed out that there are limited sources of revenue to fund spending, even as the Government moves to include Temasek Holdings as a contributor to its Net Investment Returns (NIR) framework.

“That will boost our spending power even more. But every additional dollar spent today simply means more than a dollar less for the future. More importantly, we are running out of levers to pull. After Temasek, there is no next,” said Mr Hri Kumar.

MP for Marine Parade GRC Tin Pei Ling also raised concerns about how the move will affect perceptions about the nation’s financial reserves. She said: “I am concerned about whether Singaporeans will take the NIR for granted, and fail to understand that it is something special and rare. I am concerned that Singaporeans will become over-reliant on this source of revenue, and lose the drive to save and invest, and leave something for future generations.”


At the same time, others argued that the Government must keep a tight rein on funding as social spending increases. A miscalculation could mean consequences down the road.

Said Mr Arthur Fong, MP for West Coast GRC: “We are adding on to the shoulders for future governments and Singaporeans to carry. As sure as the 2 per cent tax increase to 22 per cent for high-income earners above S$320,000, we might one day reduce that income threshold and or increase the tax rate at the same time.

“We will face that some day, hopefully not too soon, but I am sure that as the path towards more social spending and ‘topping up’ has begun, we need to be mindful of finding other means towards topping up our state coffers as well.”

The issue of Government spending also led to a discussion on its consequences – potentially creating an unhealthy mindset that the Government will take care of everything. One MP pointed out that this puts an unrealistic and unsustainable pressure on the Government to solve problems – even when that is not the best solution, or may even end up costing more.  

This gets technical but important to understand the PAP’s approach to fiscal sustainability which, in financial terms, underpin its “you die your business” attitude.

In the PAP alternate universe, something akin to religious heresy has been committed against fiscal sustainability due to the estimated 2015 budget deficit of $6.67b caused by “leaning to the left”. The budget is presented to show a big increase in social expenditures but reality is different. As Donald Low of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, rightly pointed out;

Each year, billions are salted away for the future, via top-ups to endowment and trust funds. These are actually capital transfers that do not reflect actual spending for that year. This year, $6 billion went to such top-ups. Discounting this would virtually eliminate the deficit.”

Last year’s $8b Pioneer Generation was also accounted in the budget as spent upfront but in reality $500m pa is spent over 20 years. Again quoting Donald Low;

The Government’s presentation of its fiscal position has tended to downplay just how much fiscal resources the State has at its disposal.”

What is Fiscal Sustainability?

There is no fixed definition of fiscal sustainability because, beyond its economic definition, it is also a fiercely contested political concept. For a neutral, technocratic definition, the writer quotes former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke

Fiscal sustainability is as a situation in which the ratio of federal debt to national income is stable or moving down over the longer term. This goal can be attained by bringing spending, excluding interest payments, roughly in line with revenues……………..Achieving fiscal sustainability, therefore, requires a long-run plan, one that reduces deficits over an extended period and that, to the fullest extent possible, is credible, practical, and enforceable.”

Simply the interplay of revenues, debt and expenditures should allow national finances be solvent over the long run but there is a very crucial point. By “excluding interest payment”, Mr. Bernanke evidence that debt need not be eliminated entirely to achieve fiscal sustainability. Neither did he say budget surpluses are absolutely essential to achieve it. This completely destroy the PAP narrative: neither the deficit spending prohibited by the PAP drafted constitution nor the government’s massive year-on-year surpluses are absolute necessities to achieve fiscal sustainability.

Surpluses not required

If a nation’s fiscal position is judged as sustainable by the two main credit rating agencies, Moody’s and S&P that nation’s sovereign rating is AAA. Here is how Singapore compares to 8 other double AAA rated countries (ignoring those rated split AAA / AA like Finland and the UK) on key measures as percentage to GDP of surplus or deficits, total government debt and social expenditures that are central to the PAP’s fiscal sustainability myth.

Country Surplus / Deficit Debt Social Expenditure
Australia -0.1% 26.3% 19%
Canada +0.3% 56.6% 17%
Denmark +0.4% 48.3% 30.1%
Germany -1.7% 42.1% 25.8%
Luxembourg +1.0% 9.2% 23.5%
Norway +10.1% 33.5% 22.0%
Sweden +0.2% 55.5% 28.1%
Switzerland 0 30.4% 19.4%
Singapore +9.2% 92.6% 2.0%

We can conclude contrary to the PAP’s narrative that,

  • With the exception of oil rich Norway, none of Singapore’s peers have surpluses of the same magnitude. They run roughly balanced budgets and yet judged to be fiscally sustainable.
  • Since none of the peers have rules that prohibit debt for spending, spending their debts have not stood in the way of fiscal sustainability
  • Much higher social spending does not impede fiscal sustainability.

Singapore’s extremely high debt is invested and not spent, then there is no issue of fiscal sustainability.

Infinite Horizon

In the fiscal realm, the state has an infinite horizon to manage its finances because the state exist in perpetuity. Humans on the other hand has a horizon limited to a lifetime. The state therefore has the ability to pool risks and manage social obligations over generations. Further, the state do so at the lowest cost because it can raise revenues and can borrow over that infinite horizon (hence, government bonds in most countries are technically risk-free). The state therefore has insurmountable advantages over citizens and companies to meet social obligations at the lowest cost.

Fiscal Sustainability for who?

A boring technical issue? Perhaps but it lies at the heart of socio-economic problems for the majority of Singaporeans. The PAP’s peculiar concept of fiscal sustainability is financial conservatism of the most extreme. So extreme, it has outsized socio economic consequences. Quoting Donald Low again

If the social needs are real – say, a shortfall in retirement spending or health-care subsidies – then how are those needs to be met? If the Government, with all its risk-pooling and demand aggregation ability, cannot finance that need sustainably, it is almost certainly impossible that households would be able to do so. The only serious alternative, therefore, is that those needs aren’t financed at all – and that many Singaporeans’ lives remain in misery as a result.”

In other words, due to the government’s extreme fiscal conservatism, those social needs are not financed at all, financed minimally by the government or financed by citizens at staggering costs. This is despite the insurmountable advantages conferred on the state. The flow chart below simplifies.

SG50: No right narrative, only many narratives

In Internet, Uncategorized on 09/08/2015 at 1:19 pm

Image result for TOC + SMRT protest

What he said also applies to the narratives that collectively make up the history of S’pore. Victors write the “right” narrative, expecting, hoping it will be accepted, forced down or spun as history.

But the internet (and the new media) makes this more difficult.

History is important, as a BBC commentator says, because there are so many perspectives: history is shaped by continued research. And, of course, it’s also shaped by political will. Last year’s anniversary of World War One’s outbreak and continuing responses to the conflict give us a chance, not only to remember that handful of cataclysmic, world-changing years, but also to witness an ideological tussle between those who feel war is best remembered as the shedding of blood and those who feel it’s best represented as an outbreak of flowers. If history were like arithmetic – two plus two always being four – we’d have a chance to keep it simple and definitive, but it’s so large, it has so many perspectives. It offers so many opportunities to play with our sense of self and our emotions. Manipulated history can offer us clumsy impostures like Piltdown man, or the vile fantasies involved in Holocaust denial. History as a vital, exacting discipline, can show us how whole populations of normal people can be persuaded to behave horrifically, if they’re overwhelmed by histories of past glory, of injustice and suffering at others’ hands. Attack is so much easier to sell, if it’s packaged as pre-emptive defence. Part of growing up involves realising that nation’s futures, good and bad, can leap from their perceptions of the past.

Grumbling about propagandists is easy, but if I look at my own past – especially when I let that be all about me – I’m consistently guilty of propaganda campaigns. If I’m feeling cheerful, the last time I met my gentleman of choice he was pleased to see me, possibly even impressed. Which makes me more cheerful, which makes other memories of him more rosy. If I’m glum, our last encounter dreadful and all is lost. He isn’t just there, being himself but in the past tense – he’s a tall expression of my convoluted ego.

Or as one Harry said, in a less long wided manner,The final verdict will not be in the obituaries. The final verdict will be when the PhD students dig out the archives, read my old papers, assess what my enemies have said, sift the evidence and seek the truth. 

  • Interview with the New York Times, September 2010

Despite all this, Harry wanted to “shape” history’s judgement of him and S’pore*. And so does the PAP. “The Straits Times story is one important strand of the Singapore story.” said PM of the PAP’s unofficial house paper recently

But today of all days, we must remember the alternative narratives that do not fall into the “right” category.

In Harry’s version of history, detained Barisan Sosialis  leaders Dr Poh Soo Kai and Fong Swee Suan were communists who had to be detained without trial.

But former Barisan leader Dr Poh Soo Kai, among those arrested, insists this was not true.

“There may have been some communists in our party, but we were not following their orders. We did not want terrorism, we were committed to constitutional reform,” the 83-year-old says.

Another Barisan leader, Fong Swee Suan, was also imprisoned in 1963 and then lived in exile until the 1990s. He maintains he was never a communist, and also denies the charge that he instigated deadly riots among striking bus workers.

“I want people to be aware that my father has made a positive contribution to Singapore,” says his son Otto Fong, speaking on his elderly father’s behalf.

“He helped workers organise their unions. He only wanted to speak up for their needs, and make the relationship between employees and employers better.”

Then there are the narratives of people like Mrs Seow Peck Leng – Mountbatten’s first MP. A woman ahead of her time, she championed gender equality and was among those who made the Women’s Charter a reality

And never forget Counterfactual history, also sometimes referred to as virtual history, is a form of historiography that attempts to answer “what if” questions known as counterfactuals.


Modern Singapore: prosperous and peaceful, and led by charismatic working-class hero Lim Chin Siong. His political rival, Lee Kuan Yew, is living in exile and ignominy.

This scenario – ludicrous to Singaporeans celebrating 50 years of independence led by Lee – was dreamt up by local artist Sonny Liew in a new book which imagines an alternative history.

This graphic novel reminds us that the “right” narrative is written by the victors, and is often accepted, taught or spun as history.

Related articles:


*I’m reminded of “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it”.

Winston Churchill

Related article:

The above explains why LKY had been spinning his version far and wide.

SG50: Better analogy PM

In Uncategorized on 08/08/2015 at 1:11 pm

Remember PM’s analogy of “natural aristocrats” and “others”?

A large team of ants does the heavy lifting but they lack direction, while a small number of “scouts” intervene and steer for short periods.

Or as the BBC headline to the article, put it “Leaders and lifters’ help ants move massive meals”.

But maybe taz wrong, our leaders don’t help us?

Think about it this National Day.

Would Ah Loong ever say this?

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

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

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

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

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

(Extract from the BBC)

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

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


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

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

Real Oppo politicians/ Creating the grounds for a revolution

In Uncategorized on 29/07/2015 at 5:34 am

A reader of my blof in responding to explained the difference between a cybernut like “Oxygen” and an oppo politician.

To convert a quarter of the pro-PAP voters. Exactly. Except that how are TRE cybernuts or anyone that is closely related to do them going to do it?

There is a distinct difference if you see how opposition parties engage the issue, and how cybernuts do. Real opposition polticians keep their arguments framed against the PAP and it’s policies. All others, civil servants, public/private sectors, they see them also as Singaporeans, people whom they will one day lead and serve.

Cybernuts on the other hand, feel free to mock and trample over their fellow Singaporeans so long as they can get back at the PAP. They are not interested in winning votes to be honest. When you have been busy mocking 60% for being daft, now you say you want to convert them over to your side?

I’m sure he means people like the Chiams, the WP leaders, the NSP leaders, and even Dr Chee. But this description doesn’t fit one Goh Meng Seng.

Seriously, paper  militant Marxists like grave-dancer Oxygen believe that by shouting and cursing at the PAP and ordinary S’poreans, they can change the ground.

It’s a tenet of militant  Marxist activists that if the conditions for revolution are not yet perfect, they can hasten the process of perfection. Using violence, strikes, agitprop etc to weaken the economy, they can force the state into being more repressive, upsetting ordinary citizens. There will come a time when the people are more upset by the tactics of the state than that of the revolutionaries,  then that’s the time to seize power.

Grace-dancer Oxygen and friends are hoping that by cursing S’pore and ordinary S’poreans bad things (like a property crash) will happen. Then S’poreans will rise against the PAP.  They should learn from history. To this day many of the detainees of Operations Coldstore and Spectrum say bad things about the way S’pore is run. But the economy and standards of living remain decent. Could be better though which is why this blog keeps on pricckling the PAP administration.

Victor Lye: junior minister material?

In Uncategorized on 27/07/2015 at 4:53 am

If he heads the PAP’s team in Aljunied, and wins (PAP friendly pollster privately says Aljunied very winnable*), Victor Lye could be made a junior minister. He has the right credentials.

I’m sure you are aware of his latest employer, a subsidiary of Parkway that gave him leave to win back Aljunied for the PAP. If not read this:

I’ll focus on his previous experience and paper (1st class degree leh) to show his ministerial calibre**.

He was the head of the wealth management team at G. K. Goh Holdings*** in 2001. He had joined the Group in 1999 and was “head” of institutional sales and dealing. He served as MD of Peregrine Securities and Santander Securities in S’pore earlier. Before that he was head of sales in S’pore at Crosby Securities, leaving it in 1996.

He joined the broking industry in 1990. Before that he with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore.

He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and an Associate Financial Planner. He has a Bachelor of Economics (First Class Honours) degree from the University of Adelaide, Australia.

He is an Independent Non Executive Director and Lead Independent Director of Superior Multi-Packaging Ltd. since January 8, 2013. 

Junior minister material, and with balls too.


*I suspect the PAP will squeak a very narrow win. Even die hard WP cadres concede that a defeat is possible.

**I only realised earlier this year that he was the “Victor Lye” whom I had spoken to on the telephone in 1998 when he was in Santander and I in PR. I remembered the conversation because he saved me a lot of unnecessary work: someone had asked ask to pitch for Santander’s business, but he called to say “Don’t bother, facts have changed”. Shortly thereafter Santander closed shop here.

A mutual friend has a high opinion of him: she was once in Crosby. In fact, it was a “Like” by her on Facebook, that alerted me that this PAP “Lye” was that “Victor Lye”.

***It was then listed. The MD then and now Mr. Goh Yew Lin is also a Director at Temasek since August 2005.


Why should the PAP listen to feedback

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

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

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

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

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

How pet minister can win votes for PAP

In Uncategorized on 26/07/2015 at 4:19 am

Independent: Human rights for cats and dogs: Spanish town council votes overwhelmingly in favour of defining pets as ‘non-human residents’

As we have a pet minister (his other jobs are aslaw and foreign relations) that’s more effective in looking after pets than the ministers responsible for Malays, Indians and Eurasians, he might want to do something similar.

Given the number of owners of dogs and cats here, this could boost the PAP’s share of the popular vote. Might even help win back Aljunied.


Of course, we have to bear in mind that human rights, as defined here, are different from those of the West and that of the UN: think Amos Yee. I’m sure Maruah would bitch. The members always do.

Waz’s needed to defeat the PAP & why?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Tharman also from Bizarro S’pore?

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

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

Let me explain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Why Khaw, Vikram must commit hari kiri

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Fernvale

— Fixing the WP

— Mourner in chief

— GE planning.


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

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

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

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


**Ok, OK I exaggerate.



PM’s clueless, forgetful: Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

N before they paid themselves big bucks.

Whether PM is clueless, forgetful because he’s busy fixing the Oppo; or because he’s a “natural aristocrat”, living in a different S’pore, the real S’pore has changed.

The working young get paid a lot less than what I and others got in the late 70s when we started work
— A second hand car (3 year old) only cost $17,000 then. Now?
— Cost of buying HDB flats were “peanuts” compared to now. A scholar in a TLC and his wife-to-be can only afford a resale 4-room HDB flat and according to his dad, they’ll have to wait 5 years for a BTO flat, assuming they get a unit this year. In my time, their combined  salaries would mean that they were outside the HDB scheme. In my time, opportunistic, cheapo (OK value) couples would arrange for the gal to stop work for a while so that they could be eligible for a HDB flat.
— I know a lawyer working in a bank who is in his 30s: He can only afford a resale three-room HDB flat (he’s single) and a small car. In my time, he’d have been able to buy a condo, and a sports car.
Maybe, the PAP administration should say “Sorry” for the asser appreciation policy of Goh Chok Tong’s team; where one Ah Loong was DPM and economic and financial czar?
But to be fair,  maybe the stresses of the job* have made PM forget that the world has changed? After all he seems to have forgotten a promise he made early this year:
The next GE must be held by January 2017. Speaking to the Chinese media in an interview on Thursday, Mr Lee said the Government is preoccupied with the SG50 celebrations this year and hence, has had no time to think about when to set up the committee*. “When it’s set up, everyone will know,” he added. 
We only learnt last week that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee was set-up two months ago. “When it’s set up, everyone will know”: two months later?
*To be fair, dad had died in late March and PM was really busy while grieving; and recovering from cancer treatment. So maybe he forgot his promise? Or maybe he’s like Humpty Dumpty in  Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether youcan make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”


PAP: The problem with technocrats

In Political governance on 19/07/2015 at 4:39 am

No, the problem with technocrats is not that they are only good for sticking leech-like onto to their jobs despite being incompetent: Think Lim Hng Khiang, Desmond Kwek and the fatty at NOL*.

The problem with technocrats, especially when it comes to economics, is that there is no “right” answer on which all experts agree. There are also political consequences to technocratic decisions. QE, for example, by boosting asset prices has helped the very wealthiest, who own most of the assets. Bailout programmes are perceived to help banks, a deeply unpopular result, even though the Greek crisis has shown what happens to the economy when the banks are too weak to open.

Related post:


*The performance of NOL’s CEO (scholar, SAF general, Temasek MD) tells the truth about “intelligence” PAP style: it doesn’t work in the real world, only in S’pore.

However, if Temasek succeeds in selling NOL, the new owners are likely bring in their own management team, resulting in the loss of jobs for current NOL CEO LG (NS) Ng Yat Chung and his team at NOL. Temasek may then need to find new GLCs for LG (NS) Ng and his team to helm.

“When democracy sucks”

In Uncategorized on 18/07/2015 at 1:14 pm

When there is an existentialist crisis and unpopular measures have to be taken.

No not from Harry, PM or any other PAPpy.

Writing in the FT today, Glenn Hutchins argued that

“When our economy was most fragile, in the aftermath of the crisis, elected politicians wrangled year after year.

Fortunately, the central bank was independent of politics, which enabled it to act.”

Tomorrow, I’ll explain why “technocracy ” doesn’t work with special reference to s’pore. Visit this blog.

Whatever, the existentialist threats that Israel faced, didn’t prevent it becoming a fractious democracy. Neither did Westminster or Congress close in WWII.

“Goodies”, price hikes: it’s a package/ What voters really want?/ SMRT

In Political governance on 16/07/2015 at 4:57 am

I’m sure you’d receive by now a letter from MoF telling you that a cash GST voucher has been credited to yr bank account, and another to yr Medisave CPF account. Senior citizens also get another one credited to their bank account. The letter carries the words “Budget 2015”.

Now the annual Budget in S’pore, and elsewhere is a summary of how the economy is doing; it gives a list of new tax and spending decisions from the government; and it contains a lot of political spin. And a new set of economic forecasts is published.

In an election year (or a probable one) it also allows the govt of the day to play Santa Claus or the God of Fortune by handing out goodies.

That’s what the PAP administration did and making sure we are reminded of it.

But let’s not forget all the price hikes since 2011. See for a very comprehensive, op-to-date list.

Especially the fare increases despite the failure to get the trains run on time and the falling price of oil in 2014*.

As PM’s dad once said, when telling SIA pilots that they they had a good deal despite being paid lower salaries than their other furst world counterparts, “It’s a package”.

So tout up the goodies, you’ve been given (remembering that it’s yr money in the first place) since 2011, think of the price increases since 2011 and then decide if the package is about right, or an insult or generous.

All these tots led me to think about what voters really care about.

In the early 1970s, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Norman Kirk laid out a political philosophy which still resonates today. People, he said, don’t want much. They want: “Someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work and something to hope for.”

Relationships and a sense of community, a secure home; a secure job, and a belief that life will get better for us and our children – the building blocks of “the good life”, but what do they mean today as we grapple with globalisation, austerity, immigration, insecurities and uncertainty about the future? Is the job at hand to work out a new formula for fulfilment or to find a way back to these old certainties?

(BBC report before the UK election)

They care about “the good life”, voting for the party that they think can provide with a good life. All the oppo parties bar one mouth the need to help S’poreans get the good life. The WP knows this (hence it positions itself as PAP lite: more accountable and compossinate even if they can’t do accounting and monitoring their managing agent. So does the SDP: it has a whole range of policies**.

The only party that doesn’t care a hoot about the good life is Goh Meng Seng’s party, at least going by his latest attention-seeking tactics.

Maybe, it’s because he’s based in HK, jetting down (private jet?) to encourage his fellow cybernuts?


*Worse the ex-SAF general who is incapable of getting the trains running on time is getting paid a lot more than his predecessor who to be fair to her allowed her Ferrari to run over her when she failed to get the trains to run on time, insulting us in the process.The present CEO is staying put. In the US, The director of the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has resigned after a massive data breach involving more than 20 million people.

Katherine Archuleta said she would step down on Friday to help the department “move beyond the current challenges”.

Neither SMRT’s CEO nor the tpt minister is moving on  to  help the SMRT and the MRT system “move beyond the current challenges”.

They think they are part of the solution.

**These papers have been widely reported online and are available on this website. We list them below:

Ethical Salaries For A Public Service Centred Government (2011)
Caring For All Singaporeans: The SDP National Healthcare Plan (2012)
Housing A Nation: Holistic Policies For Affordable Homes (2013)
Building A People: Sound Policies For A Secure Future (2013)
A Singapore For All Singaporeans: Addressing The Concerns Of The Malay Community(2014)
Educating For Creativity And Equality: An Agenda For Transformation (2014)
A New Economic Vision: Towrads Innovation, Equal Opportunity and Compassion (2015)
A Promise To The Residents: The SDP Town Council Management Plan (2015)

In addition, we published Shadow Budgets for 2012 and 2013.

Singapore Democrats

Dr Chee’s analysis of where we were heading in the 90s is a lot more accurate than that of the PAP administration of the time. I had a more middle of the road view but I have to say, I suspect, that for most S’poreans, reading Dr Chee’s 1990s analysis today, they will nod in agreement.

What the first “P” in PAP really stands for?

In Humour, Uncategorized on 12/07/2015 at 4:13 am

It stands for “Prosperity”?

I tot of this when I read

The owners of a high-end jewellery shop nearby strike gold when a customer buys not one but two sparkling necklaces.

Nicole Kharma, 48, is visiting from Singapore and arrived in Greece prepared, carrying a wad of 50 euro notes. As she counts out her hundreds, jewellery dealer Stavros Metaxas explains: “The foreign customers are very important. The Greeks are waiting to see what happens with the crisis and do not want to spend money.”

And shops need cash rather than credit cards to pay their suppliers.

“If they do not get their money, the suppliers have starting taking back their stock,” says Mr Metaxas.

Ms Kharma has been able to withdraw 500 euros a day using her foreign bank card and spend the money in local businesses. But it is “heartbreaking” to watch what is going on around her, she says.

“Leaving the cash machine with a stack of 50s – for 500 euros – when everybody is queuing and getting only 50 euros, it’s very sad.”

(BBC report on Greece)

If she had asked for discount our Harry really would have been proud.

As it is, let’s remember that the prosperity (no not thinking of you cybernuts) that many of us enjoy is in part due to the actions of the administration of  Prosperity Action Party.

Amos: When Nemesis met Hubris/ Why PAP PR bad

In Uncategorized on 10/07/2015 at 5:35 am

The following passage from a BBC report applies to the PAP administration not just the Chinese one:

The Chinese government, like all governments, worries that public outrage at the scale of the disaster might become directed at the state.

But instead of using normal public relations it uses public information control.

The problem for the PAP is that the public information control has never applied outside S’pore, and there is now cyberspace aka new medis

Last Sunday, I posted the PAP administration’s response to an Economist piece on Amos and other freedom of expression issues in S’pore.

Here’s what the High Commissioner in London was made to say about Amos’s case:

Your piece “Zip it” (June 24th) is unbalanced. It champions unfettered freedom of speech without providing the context of cases mentioned. Amos Yee was convicted for insulting the faith of Christians. In a small, highly diverse society like Singapore we guard our social peace jealously and make no apologies for it. We cannot allow people to denigrate or offend the religious beliefs of others: the result is anger and violence, as we have seen elsewhere. Protection from hate speech is also a basic human right.

Put it this way, I should be out rooting for Amos. But I didn’t because of the way Amos and mother Mary treated a good Samaritan.

Funnily the PAP administration had a more convincing explanation for the 55 days (as of the day of release): It could and should have said

Here’s a breakdown of the time he spent in captivity and the reasons thereof

— Two days when police investigated his case.

— He was in remand for 18 days because his parents and fans didn’t want to bail him; then when he was bailed by a stranger he broke bail, and then after trial when he was being assessed for probation he broke bail conditions yet again. Even the Joker, Penguin or Lex Luthor are less criminal than Amos.

— Then 21 days remand because he had to be assessed whether he was suitable for reform training given that he refused probation.

— Then 14 days because judge wanted to find out whether he could be given a mandatory treatment order if he was autistic.

If he had accepted probation, he would be home where mother Mary could cater to his every whim and fancy. And if his parents or fans had offered bail, and if he’d not broken bail conditions, he needn’t have spent 18 days in remand.

Hubris met Nemesis and Nemesis won.

(My Facebook avatar posted a variant of this on Facebook, in response to TOC’s and Function 8’s support of Amos the Fantastic. Got quite a few “Likes” and no rebuttal from TOC or F8.)

Seriously here’s the discredible bit about the detention.

He spent two days (police interrogation) away from mummy’s care. Actually, these two days were very unreasonable given the nature of the offences under investigation.

But I suspect, the police wanted to give him a scare, in the expectation, that he’d apologise, repent and the case could be closed with a warning. They didn’t know Amos, his mum and the anti-PAP human-rights activists (aka the ang-moh tua-kees) pulling the strings of Amos and mum, cheered on by the cybernuts.

As to his treatment during the last 35 days, he was treated no better or worse than any convicted offender undergoing examination for a RTO ot MTO.  He wasn’t persecuted.

He spent 53 days in captivity because he was quai lan: he tot he was entitled to do what he liked and not suffer the consequences. The IMH report to the court said Amos is misguided in not appreciating that ‘freedom of expression is not freedom from consequence’

The system is telling him he is juz another criminal.

In one of John Wayne’s Westerns, he said “Life is tough but tougher if you are stupid”. Amos and Mother Mary should ponder these words of wisdom.

They should also ponder that Hubris always loses to Nemesis. The gods play with loaded dice.

PM should ask New Citizen Raj to defend us

In Uncategorized on 06/07/2015 at 4:08 am

“Who will defend us?*” asked PM. I went WTF!

Why doesn’t PM ask New Citizen Raj why he planned to ensure his son avoids NS?

This is what I wrote about New Citizen Raj sometime back:

An Indian former FT who prefers international schools is new citizen, Raj, originally from India. During an interview with TOC [Link], Raj revealed that only he in the family has converted to Singapore citizenship. His wife and daughter remain PRs and his son is on a student pass.

Raj said that if his son was a PR, he would need to serve NS. He preferred to “let his son decide if he wanted to put his roots down in Singapore or go back to India when he turns 21″.

The benefit of having his son on a student pass is that his son can always work in Singapore later as a “foreign talent” and eventually become a PR himself. He will not be considered a second-generation PR since he was not sponsored by his parents in the first place. A second-generation PR who gives up his PR is barred from working in Singapore.

Why the loop-hole, and why hasn’t it been closed? It must be commonly used for this FT to talk publicly about it, is my guess

Now, I RODed in the 70s,  am a bachelor and I don’t have children, but I’m upset at this loop-hole. Imagine the anguish of a parent whose son died while doing NS if he finds out that its so easy for new citizens and PRs to avoid legally NS?

This loop-hole had better be closed, and fast.

My understanding is that this loophole still exists and is still being exploited. Why?

My neighbour’s son has juz finished BMT. He is a second generation NS man. And P Ravi’s son is going into NS soon

Why should they do NS to defend New Citizen Raj and his family? Because he like them are ethnic Indians? When their dads and I did NS, we were defending S’poreans, not Foreign Trashes like New Citizen Raj who use our flag to clean their behinds.

And this is unacceptable (lifted from TOC)



The words “ALL NDP UNIFORM PERSONNEL” were also underscored and emphasised.

The notice was signed off, also in capital letters:


Poster at Kallang Wave Mall

Poster at Kallang Wave Mall

Btw, those of us opposed to the PAP’s continued hegemony and anti-PAP activists andcybernuts have one invaluable friend in the pAP: Ah Loong himself?

His recent comments on various topics will have upset the swing voters. More soon.



PM, ESM on new media

In Uncategorized on 05/07/2015 at 4:53 pm

The following lament by the Thai PM to the feisty Thai  media sounds familar?

“No one writes about what I have done,” he said, “or when they do, they write so little.”

Sounds like our PM, Khaw, ESM or any PAPpy complaining about new media (including social media)

But they can console themselves with this:”Things will be the same.”*

Sadly for the cybernuts and their heroes Meng Seng, S/o JBJ, Roy etc etc , this is not true here: “You have disrupted and brought down the whole system.”. Here the cybernuts and their heroes provide comic relief from the spin of the PAP.

This was preceded by “It doesn’t matter how many reforms or coups there are. There’s no point.”


Where the PAP is wrong, seriously wrong

In Political governance on 02/07/2015 at 4:51 am

One Harry believed that democracy held back growth, citing PinoyLand and India (He could cite Greece if he were alive). His son said that if S’poreans voted too many opp MPs in, he’d be too busy fixing them (Think Aljunied town council though to be fair Auntie and her Sikh failed to notice that the managing agent wasn’t keeping proper accounting records*, thereby allowing the PAP to make all kinds of allegations.) to grow the economy.

They and their PAP would say:

GDP growth in [China] at an average of 10% over the past decade, has easily outpaced that of its democratic emerging-market rivals. India saw annual growth of 6% over the same period; Brazil, just 2%.

In other words: democracies grow slowly; non-democracies grow quickly.

In 1994 Torsten Persson of Stockholm University and Guido Tabellini, then of the University of Brescia, published a paper that argued that in democracies, vote-hungry politicians divert resources away from people who could use them more efficiently by lavishing spending on their constituents in the form of unemployment benefits and pensions. This and political gridlock, another unfortunate aspect of democracy, both tend to slow growth. Another paper published in 1994, by Robert Barro of Harvard University, analysed data from some 100 countries before concluding that the “effect of democracy on growth is weakly negative”

The Economist, Hard Truths’ more liberal (legalise the use of marijuana and other drugs, allow gay marriages), compassionate (no death sentences) and sophisticated cousin (feed the poor to grow the economy, shumething the PAP is finally adopting to increase its share of the votes), reports on new research that challenges this …. The paper uses a huge dataset (175 countries over fifty years) and makes a number of statistical improvements (that are explained in the column) and concludes that “democratisations” (ie, when a country becomes democratic) improves living standards substantially. As the piece notes:

They find that a “permanent” democratisation—where there is no slide back into autocracy—leads to an increase in GDP per person of about 20% in the subsequent 25 years.

Pro-democracy activists may not get that excited: few fling themselves into campaigning for self-determination in order to boost GDP. But freedom and growth make for a pretty unbeatable combination.

Interesting the piece is entitled “Have your cake and eat it”.

Err we S’poreans can have democracy and a better material life; juz like our millionaire ministers can combine public service with serious money.

As Thomas Piketty, the French economist and rock star asks,  “It’s OK to pay someone 10, 20 times the average worker’s salary but do you really need to pay them 100 or 200 times to get their arses in gear?” Related post ttps://

But if we have democracy, they’ll not be able to have their cake and eat it.

So that’s the real reason why they hate democracy?


*Why didn’t it keep proper accounts and why didn’t Auntie and PritamS notice the lack of accounting documentation? These are legitimate questions. No need to allege this or allege that. Just ask these questions and see the response. Taz how incompetent the PAP administration and MND can be.

Harry, 2 popes, Spectrum and Amos

In Political economy, Political governance on 01/07/2015 at 4:30 am
Our very own Harrry and Pope John Paul II (pope in late 80s) had the same view on one topic
Liberation Theology, the controversial movement based on the conviction that the gospels enjoin the Church to put the poor first, which preoccupied and divided Latin America’s Catholics for much of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. John Paul believed it had tempted some priests and bishops into quasi-Marxist and even violent ideology, and as Pope he cracked down on some Liberation Theologians.
Sounds like he would have OKed (I’m not saying that he approved Spectrum, juz that he might have had blessed it if he had been consulted) what our Harry did to our Catholic “Marxists”: Vincent Cheng Kim Chuan, Teo Soh Lung, Kevin de Souza, Wong Souk Yee, Tang Lay Lee, Ng Bee Leng, Jenny Chin Lai Ching, Kenneth Tsang Chi Seng, Chung Lai Mei, Mah Lee Lin, Low Yit Leng, Tan Tee Seng, Teresa Lim Li Kok, Chia Boon Tai, Tay Hong Seng and William Yap Hon Ngian.
Would Harry have arrested the present Pope if he were here then working as a priest?
Jorge Bergoglio rejected Marxism – although he cheerfully accepts that he has many Marxist friends – but accepted many of Liberation Theology’s principles, espousing what Austen Ivereigh calls “a nationalist version” of the movement, or a so-called “Theology of the People”.
And he just issued “Laudato Si” encyclical where Francis says that sins against creation are very different from broken financial promises made between people, and everyone is responsible for everyone else because is a moral debt of the rich to the poor: The obligation is universal and implies a preference to those most in need. That is because the poor gain most from generosity and suffer most from hard-heartedness.
Tell that to Ah Loong who grudgingly spends our money on welfare for ourselves becauses it’s good politics and good for the economy.
Seriously, I now understand why S’pore has a tradition of Catholics fighting for social justice: people like the above and lawyer Peter Low: social justice is in the DNA of the Catholic church:

the economic writings of both John Paul and Francis also reflect the same intellectual tradition – one known as Catholic Social Teaching. It was originally articulated in an 1891 papal document called Rerum Novarum, in which Pope Leo XIII addressed what he called the “spirit of revolutionary change” then sweeping Europe.

Some of it is very clearly designed to be a rebuttal of the communist ideas that were part of that change, but it is also a critique of aspects of capitalism. So it is an unfamiliar mix that does not fit neatly into the left-right divide that dominated the politics of the following century.

Prof Maurice Glasman, a British economist who used to be a close confidant of Ed Miliband, studied Catholic social teaching for his PhD. He was attracted by the way it rejects the conventional ideologies of both left and right.

It’s not communist or even socialist:

“It really opposes this idea that there is just the state or the market,” he says. “It believes in activating society – what it calls solidarity – so that it can resist the domination by the rich of the poor, but through trade unions and vocational associations and what’s called subsidiarity, which is the decentralisation of power.” Glasman says it is opposed to communism because it “upholds private property” and is “anti-collectivist”.

But some Americans (and I’m sure PAPpists) are not impressed:

Glasman has a vivid memory of being attacked by an American economist after giving a paper at a recent Vatican conference on Catholic social teaching. “You know there’s a word for what you’re saying, Baron Lord Professor or whatever you are,” the challenge began. “Yeah, it’s called Communism. You’re trying to interfere with the prerogatives of management, you’re trying to interfere with capital, and you’re trying to interfere with prices. And that’s been tried – and that’s the Soviet Union.”

But Pope and Cardinal Marx believe in social justice.

During the subsequent discussion Glasman was delighted to find himself supported by both the Pope and the Archbishop of Munich, the appropriately named Cardinal Marx.

So what has all the above to do with Amos, son of mother Mary? Given the involvement of the Church in fighting for social justice, it’s reasonable to conclude that it’s highly likely that Amos is really autistic, sliming the church that is no friend of Harry and Thatcher who he also mocks. Only an autistic would put all three in the same category.

Err most PAP Ministers MPs are elected, unlike s/o JBJ, Roy, H3 and Meng Seng

In Internet, Uncategorized on 28/06/2015 at 5:19 am

It was reported on TRE (and on MSM sites) that M’sia’sTourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said that he was elected by his constituents to serve them, which sets him apart from the Crown Prince of Johor who had criticised him for not behaving like the people’s “servant”.

I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of this report appearing on TRE.

While I respect TeamTRE’s efforts to provide alternative angles to the BS of the PAP administration and the constructive, nation-building media in an attempt to show S’poreans that there are credible alternative narratives, analysis , sadly there is a group using TRE tp alienate the swing voters from the Oppo.

These are a group of posters there who think that they represent all the S’poreans that voted for the oppo and whose heroes are Roy Ngerng and his fellow hooligan New Citizen Han Hui Hui, Goh Meng Seng (he regained his popularity with the cybernuts by dancing on the graves of the children who died in Sabah), Amos Yee (now inside Woodbridge for observation) and s/o JBJ.

With the exception of the MPs and ministers from Tanjong Pagar GRC, all the rest of the PAP ministers and MPs won their seats by comfortable majorities bar those in two SMCs where they got in by a nose.

And the failure to contest Tanjong Pagar is the fault of one man who screwed up big time by waiting until almost the close of nomination to file incorrect documents. If he had bothered to come in half-an-hour earlier, the PAP would have had a fight on their hands.

So while ,most of the PAP MPs were elected, who chose the freeloading cybernuts (TRE is always short of funds despite the team paying to serve)  infesting TRE like the rats and bugs infested Bukit Batok.

Spending more on poor & middle class: Not juz ’cause GE coming

In Economy, Political economy, Political governance on 19/06/2015 at 4:49 am

The PAP administration continues to throw our money at ourselves

— Poineer Generation benefits

— smaller SingHealth bills for younger oldies

— extra $ for civil servants

— improving public transport

— “savings” etc etc bonds

Must make Goh Meng Seng, Roy Ngerng, Han Hui Hui and their fellow cybernuts infesting TRE despair, and TOC despair. PAP really spending money on citizens, albeit their own money.

Doubtless post GE, they expect the goodies to stop. And S’poreans will be squeezed again. These will make the cybernuts and TOC happy again, pAP screwing the stupid voters who vote for them.

Well think again. There is a new fashion in economic thinking as this extract shows

[O]n June 15th economists at the IMF released a study assessing the causes and consequences of rising inequality. The authors reckon that while inequality could cause all sorts of problems, governments should be especially concerned about its effects on growth. They estimate that a one percentage point increase in the income share of the top 20% will drag down growth by 0.08 percentage points over five years, while a rise in the income share of the bottom 20% actually boosts growth. But how does inequality affect economic growth rates?

[T]he recent rise in inequality has prompted a new look at its economic costs. Inequality could impair growth if those with low incomes suffer poor health and low productivity as a result, or if, as evidence suggests, the poor struggle to finance investments in education. Inequality could also threaten public confidence in growth-boosting policies like free trade, says Dani Rodrik of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

More recent work suggests that inequality could lead to economic or financial instability. In a 2010 book Raghuram Rajan, now governor of the Reserve Bank of India, argued that governments often respond to inequality by easing the flow of credit to poorer households. Other recent research suggests American households borrowed heavily prior to the crisis to prop up their consumption. But for this rise in household debt, consumption would have stagnated as a result of poor wage growth. Economic eminences such as Ben Bernanke and Larry Summers argue that inequality may also contribute to the world’s “savings glut”, since the rich are less likely to spend an additional dollar than the poor. As savings pile up, interest rates fall, boosting asset prices, encouraging borrowing and making it more difficult for central banks to manage the economy.

The Hard Truths ‘ version is

Economists say that some inequality is needed to propel growth. Without the carrot of large financial rewards, risky entrepreneurship and innovation would grind to a halt. In 1975 Arthur Okun, an American economist, argued that societies cannot have both perfect equality and perfect efficiency, but must choose how much of one to sacrifice for the other. While most economists continue to hold that view …

And we know the author, enforcer of Hard Truths has gone to the hall where Mao, Stalin, Lenin, Churchill and Hitler are dining at the high table.

And we got plenty of $ without resorting to a GST increase ( It’ll come from our NIR

Plenty of money there:

SingFirst is proposing to spend an additional S$6 billion a year – over and above what the government is spending – to tackle what it described as “rising inequality”, funded from the net investment returns (NIR). The NIR allows the government to spend up to 50 per cent of expected long-term real returns on its net assets managed by the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and more recently Temasek Holdings.

SingFirst said the money will be spent to provide free education, higher subsidised child care and higher transport subsidies, among other things. The biggest ticket item is an old-age pension of S$300 a month for 600,000 senior citizens. The party also wants to phase out the Goods and Services Taxes (GST) by increasing taxes on higher income individuals.


Doubtless Meng Seng* and friends will be quoting Philip Ang**, their financial expert,  on why there is no NER.

Funny that Tan Jee Say wants to abolish GST. It’s regressive but that can be overcome by real cash rebates to the poor and middle class, not the PAP’s pseudo rebate to the CPF accounts. In general, economists like GST because of its simplicity and because it taxes consumption, not investment or savings.


*After last GE, Meng Seng said he would monitor and report on Bishan GRC’s spending plans, ’cause he said the projects they promised were more than Bishan could afford. Err not heard anything from him.

**When analaysing London commercial property (when trying to slime GIC), he leaves out the rental yield, saying yield is irrelevant. Well the reason why the Arab SWFs and big property investors love London is that it offers good rental yields.

PAP’s idea of being a “badass”?/ S’pore’s Big Boss

In Uncategorized on 09/06/2015 at 4:47 am

Couldn’t stop laughing when I read the following

George Yeo turned down an offer he couldn’t refuse from Lee Kuan Yew

6 quotes that reveal that George Yeo is a badass at heart.

Double confirms my perception that the well-funded is really nothing more than pary of the PAP’s spin machine juz like ST, MediaCorp or Fabrications about the PAP*.

I mean only a PAP dog, (sorry,  my dogs growled) hackette would say turning down an offer made by Harry shows that BG Yeo’s a “badass”.

Seriously if you go thru the list, it shows more how straight laced is this lady writer. Or how hard she is straining to make BG Yeo look like a “badass” i.e. look normal.

On BG Yeo’s spurning LKY’s offer, two tots:

— How come he can offer BG Yeo a job in Temasek when he has no formal authority in or over Temasek? Double confirms my view that he was the Big Boss, bigger than PM or the cabinet.

— Actually if he is as dedicated to serving S’pore as he claims he is, he’d have taken up LKY’s offer of a job at GIC or Temasek. A former Foreign Affairs minister is really useful in a SWF. Can open doors, smooth ruffle feathers etc.


*There is a story making the rounds that BG Yeo pitched the idea of mothership to one Philip Yeo (the now retired civil servant with whom Harry daughter had a bone to pick). Philip Yeo wrote a cheque for $1m. Other people’s money, despite both of them being wealthy. Most probably taxpayers’ money.

What Father didn’t teach son and Goh

In Political governance on 05/06/2015 at 4:51 am

When I read the u/m I tot of Harry, Son and Goh, and the Chinese legends of the kung fu masters who never passed on all their secrets to their chosen heirs: there was always one secret that they would take to their graves, to ensure that their heirs were never better than them.

Podemos’ [new Spanish party on the left] approach is based on the assumption that, outside politicised bubbles, most do not think in terms of “left” and “right”. Outside the political world, most think in terms of issues to be addressed in a way that is convincing, coherent, and communicated in a language that people understand. Statistics and facts won’t win the support of millions; we’re human beings, we think in terms of empathy. Stories are more persuasive, because they speak to us emotionally. Why else do rightwing tabloids focus on extreme examples of benefit “scroungers”? They know such stories make their readers’ blood boil; they are human stories that connect emotionally, and powerfully

(Emphasis mine)

Remove the word Podemos’ and replace it with “LKY’s, Dr Goh’s and others of the PAP’s Pioneer Generation” and you have the secret of the success of the PAP in the 60s, 70s before the inflow of new blood:  They knew the issues to be addressed in a way that is convincing, coherent, and communicated in a language that people understand.

Because of this, they were able to adopt a strategy that today would lose elections, even in S’pore. Here’s how the Economist describes this sure way to lose elections:

We can blame ourselves as voters for believing unfunded promises. In practice, however, a lot of people don’t swallow the propaganda. So perhaps an honest politician might have success by saying “Look, I don’t control the global economy. If the Middle East blows up, or China crashes, or the Federal Reserve tightens policy too far, then the economy will slump no matter what I do. So I’ll try not to be corrupt, make the trains run on time and not drive employment-creating businesses away, and maybe we’ll be lucky.” But no one has the chutzpah to adopt such a strategy.*

Actually LKY and the old guard did adopt such a strategy. I remember watching LKY on tv telling us all the problems in the global economy, then saying we will affected because we are a tiny, open economy dependent on global factors, and then saying he’ll fix the corrupt, make the buses run on time, not drive employment-creating businesses away and attract employment-creating MNCs to Singapore. All we have to do is to work hard, don’t strike, vote PAP, and don’t listen to JBJ, the ang moh tua kee wind-bag.

But then it was a simpler world then, economicallyand financially, and access to information was limited.


*Here’s the preceding bit: HERE is how politics is “supposed” to work. Party leaders make a whole bunch of promises (tax cuts/spending increases) before an election, only to discover, when in office, that a closer inspection of the books/global crisis/natural disaster (select the most plausible) prevents them from following through on their plans. Repeat the process often enough and you get voter cynicism.

Whose fault is this?

BG Yeo: Bakes cake and eats it too

In Uncategorized on 04/06/2015 at 4:40 am

You’d need three millennia on a British PM’s salary to match the $690 million that Blackstone boss Steve Schwarzman received last year. Any ex-politician without a fortune of his or her own will feel impoverished in the familiar halls of Davos. Typically, elected leaders leave office with small nest eggs, by those standards, and a few decades left to earn serious money.

Since the opportunity and the desire are often there, there will almost certainly be more Politicians Incorporated. That’s worrying. Democracy will suffer if public office becomes little more than an audition for a second truly lucrative career.

By making ministers rich filthy rich, like Mah Bow Tan, at tax payers’ expense is the PAP’s answer to this Western  dilemma.

BG Yeo mocks the PAP by getting a good pension and a well paying private sector job.

Readers might be interested to know that pro PAP publiccation mothership is alleged to have got funding with the help of BG Yeo. Not his own money of course. He asked Philip Yeo (Remember him? He rowed with Harry’s daughter and lost it seems. I was rooting for the gal,) for funding. Philip Yeo, allegedly, obliged using S$1m from some fund he controlled.

Other people’s money.

For JosTeo and other millionaire ministers too?

In Humour on 31/05/2015 at 1:14 pm

United Kingdom-based fitness chain Fitness First recently announced that it would be launching a “first-of-its-kind globally” gym in Singapore. It will be a “private and intimate” place, catering to chief executives who “do not want to be down there in the gym with a lowly clerk”.

Sounds like the place for  JosTeo, GraceF and other PAP ministers like VivianB who sneered at the elderly poor, would like to hang out too.

Called Gravity, the gym is targeted at C-suite and senior executives in the CBD. To join, one has to be invited and pay S$3,000, on top of monthly fees of about S$600 — almost five times more than average monthly membership fees at gyms here.

The new 17,000 sq ft gym will be located on the 38th floor of CapitaGreen tower on Market Street. It will boast services such as on-site wellness consultations, one-to-one personal coaching, and a smartphone application that members can use to track their fitness progress as well as network with one another.

The gym also has a lounge, work stations and meeting rooms. A 6,500 sq ft restaurant is scheduled to open in October, which can be patronised by the public during lunch and dinner hours. Breakfast will be specially catered for members and their invited guests.

In Asia, Fitness First operates gyms in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

Mr Simon Flint, who heads the company’s Asia business, said Singa­pore was chosen as the location for its first “private members’ club” because the Republic was “a thriving international business hub with a large population of business executives who are concerned about their health and well-being”. Today

And millionaire ministers who don’t like to mix with lesser mortals?


CPF: FT MP’s constructive, good suggestion

In CPF, Financial competency, Property on 28/05/2015 at 2:05 pm

One of my favourite love-to-hate MPs said something sensible before LKY’s death dominated the news: that the joint consent of both spouses should be required when a member’s CPF withdrawal is linked to a CPF charge on the couple’s jointly owned property.

She should have gone on to say that this principle should also apply where a working couple jointly use their  CPF funds of buy a flat. The right to withdraw funds should be subject to the veto of the other partner. It’s their money that was pooled to buy that flat.

And yes, more financial competency courses so that more will learn about the BS Roy spins.  “The Republic scored 68 points out of 100, a drop of four points from the previous survey conducted in 2013” (Singapore Sees Decline In Financial Literacy: Survey, Matthias Tay).

Seriously, At the moment, concepts taught in schools rarely go beyond the basics of saving and borrowing, and even at the institutes of higher learning the economics subject shares little about day-to-day financial knowledge and skills. Young Singaporeans seem poorly equipped to handle such responsibilities, or – progressively – apply concepts learnt in the classroom.

There is also a common misconception that financial literacy only involves the complicated investments in or management of stocks, debts, or derivatives, though – as the MasterCard index has shown – individuals should be familiar with basic money management, financial and retirement planning, and investment.


*… We are concerned that stay-at-home mothers, not having accumulated much Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings, cannot benefit from the latest CPF enhancements.

They will continue to rely on their spouses’ CPF for their retirement. Therefore, even as the CPF enhancements provide members with greater flexibility, it must be exercised with the goal of also providing retirement adequacy for their spouses.

The Government is encouraging spouses and children to top up the Retirement Accounts of their loved ones, by paying an additional 1 percentage point for the first $30,000 for members above 55.

I have asked that joint consent of both spouses be required when a member’s CPF withdrawal is linked to a CPF charge on the couple’s jointly owned property.

There is still much we can do to educate and encourage couples to optimise their CPF balances. Financial literacy and understanding of the latest CPF changes are essential to help women attain retirement adequacy. The PAP Women’s Wing will start a movement to help women and their families understand the impact of these changes and to make better decisions for the family.

Foo Mee Har (Ms)
MP for West Coast GRC
Treasurer, PAP Women’s Wing Executive Committee



Harry: Gandhi and “commercial use”/ How PAP uses LKY non-commercially

In Uncategorized on 28/05/2015 at 4:42 am

Before the KPKBing about Harry being protected reaches absurd proportions, here’s something from Derek da Cunha, a really smart observer of the political scene (and he’s no Gillian Koh);

Passing a law to prevent the commercialization, and to protect the misuse of the name and image, of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, after his passing, was something I had discussed with the late publisher Ms Shirley Hew back in 2011. I had said that Singapore could well follow the Indian model in that respect. The misuse of the name and image of Mahatma Gandhi is prevented under India’s Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act 1950.


He has a good point in how LKY’s can be protected in a sensible manner but then India is a multi-party democracy, has an interventionist judiciary and a vibrant civil society with many NGOs and people willing to take on the govt or the state.

S’pore is a de-facto one party state with many sheep and where most of the activists turn out to “talk cock, sing song” artistes or bi-polar. Need I say more?

To end, I came across this on Facebook:

I find it really disgusting that characteristic of our leaders, they and their machinery can exploit LKY-images in the name of “common good” but… bread-hungry minions can’t flog LKY-images to earn a few bucks!!!! (Intellectual property discussions, aside. Besides, LKY is a political leader, not a pop star!)

He has a point: what do you think?

LKY, another Immortal?


PAP’s best “friends”

In Uncategorized on 25/05/2015 at 4:13 am

An independent socio-political analyst (he has written some good books) wrote on Facebook

My only surprise about TRS is that it had existed for so long. The views reflected in the blog postings were increasingly extreme and only surpassed by the shrill tone of the commenters. Anyone who attempted to engage in a decent conversation was simply rebuffed, if not hounded out altogether. When a portal simply becomes a gathering point for only one slanted viewpoint, it does not convert middle ground voters. Instead, it puts off middle ground voters who merely see the same crude point repeated ad nauseam.

Well he could be talking of the cybernut posters on TRE.

They should do well to think carefully. With them around, the PAP doesn’t need friends. They do the job of persuading people to vote PAP:

The Critical Middle

The potential 5% or more vote swing is not enough to unseat the PAP. But remember two important issues.

In the Executive President Election, nearly 35% voted for Tan Cheng Bock, the establishment figure not endorsed by the PAP. This actually demonstrate the healthy beginnings of left and right voting blocs, 30-35% each with the middleground that will decide the final outcome.

The large bloc which voted for Mr. Tan represents those likely angry with the PAP but not particularly enamoured of the opposition. This is the crucial battleground of swing voters that will generate a bigger swing against the PAP if they can be persuaded by the opposition making a positive case for not being afraid of change. Reasonableness and coherent arguments are required to win over the undecided – and association with people perceived by normal voters to be narrow-minded, condemn the fence-sitters nut-cases will not do.

Actually, the above has been said by others (self included) but never by a hero of the cybernuts who infest TRE. The writer of the above*, although a hero of the cybernuts, is no nut himself. So hopefully the cybernuts will listen to him and tone down their BS. Best if they sit down and shut up, so that TRE can reach out to the middle ground.

The good news is that the cybernuts have disowned Goh Meng Seng despite him being a founder member of the cybernut movement. He has become even too nutty for them: he wants to form a new party. (Much thanks I got from the cybernuts for pointing out years ago that GMS wants to split the Oppo: remember PE 2911 where he was adviser to deposit loser, Tan Kin Lian.)

Here’s hoping that they’ll disown Roy, New Citizen H3 and Amos, Mummy’s Pet,


*Chris K describes himself thus: Chris is a retired executive director in the financial industry who had mostly worked in London and Tokyo. He writes opinions and commentaries mostly on economic and financial matters.



PAP administration’s Alice-in-Wonderland policies

In Economy, Political governance, Uncategorized on 08/05/2015 at 3:27 am

Lee Hsien Loong … is trying to persuade the population that they don’t need to go to university to have a good career. After a clampdown on immigration and a slowdown in the economy, he needs fewer graduates and more workers to fill the shipyards, factory floors and hotel desks that keep the country going.

Fair enough, except that the PAP administration* at the same time allows FTs in still by the A380 load (used to be by the container load by ship) on the excuse that we need graduate PMEs. The PAP administration wants to further restrict the number of true blue S’poreans getting degrees but then say we need FT graduates? WTF?

Worse, we then have a govt agency (think IDA) defending an FT employee who undeniably has a fake degree on the ground that she didn’t know it was a fake**, and that anyway she got her job because of her first degree from some Indian U, that no S’porean (even from the local Indian community) would ever think of applying to if the S’porean had to study overseas.

Sounds like the PAP administration could be the government in Alice’s Wonderland, not the Red Queen.

As the author of the Alice books was an eminent mathematician, one should not be surprised that our PM has such Alice-like policies.  He graduated from Cambridge University with a first-class degree in mathematics and a diploma in computer science. He can write software to solve Sudoku puzzles. Err what about writing a programme that can explain to voters the “less local grads” policy but more FTs (with fake degrees or sub-standard degrees) policy?

Seriously, if ministers have not been able to calibrate the relatively small number number of local lawyers and doctors to the demands of the economy, how can they realistically try to control the supply of graduates across-the-board to demand?

One can reasonably assume that the “less local grads” policy coupled with the continued welcoming of FTs, fake degrees and all, is meant to “fix” S’poreans in the cause of ensuring that S’pore remains attractive to MNCs because of low costs.


*Harry loved FTs. Maybe, they are the living memorials of Harry? In 1959, only 270,00 out of the 600,000 voters were born here. The PAP is only trying to restore the demographics  to when the PAP came into power.

Interestingly, when one LKY revealed the above fact in 1959, LKY also said,”we must go about our task (of building up a nation) with urgency … of integrating our people now and quickly”. Maybe he repented building a nation of native-borns?

**And it seems that the IDA didn’t know that the degree was a fake until netizens pointed that the uni awarding the MBA was a reputable factory mill. Many years ago, a govt agency, Public Service Commission  (I think) had a list of unis whose degrees the govt recognised when employing people. Stat boards and private businesses also used that list. Is there such a list today? If there was such a list, IDA should have known that the degree was a fake.

S&P index fund beats hedgies over 7 yrs/ Hedgies, PAP ministers & monkeys

In Political governance on 07/05/2015 at 1:44 pm

With three years to go, Warren Buffett is comfortably winning his charity bet that a low-cost index tracker would trounce a portfolio of hedge funds over ten years.

Returns from the S&P 500 index fund is beating a portfolio of funds assembled by hedge fund manager Protégé Partners by 63.5 per cent to 19.6 per cent, according to a slide Mr Buffett presented at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting this past weekend.

(Monday’s FT)

Chart: Buffett's bet (Protégé Partners hedge fund selection v S&P 500 index fund)

As to what PAP ministers and hedgies have in common? They pay themselves a lot for mediocre performance.

The $11.6 billion which Institutional Investor’s Alpha calculates this ultra-elite [hedgies] was paid last year, an average of $467 million per hedge fund boss, would still seem troublingly high.

Such gains seem out of line with the value of their putative contributions. After all, the modern economy is built on collaborative effort, not to mention supportive governments and central banks. Even the greatest individual contributions would not merit an annual income, including gains from holdings, of about 10,000 times the average American salary.

To add insult to injury, Alpha calculates that at least 12 of the 25 top guys (sorry, ladies, no women in this club) underperformed in 2014. That is not surprising in a highly competitive industry. BarclayHedge, a consultant which monitors about 3,000 hedge funds, reports the average net return in 2014 was 3 percent. The U.S. stock market provided close to 14 percent.

We have one Ah Loong (since the 1980s), Lui, Yaacob and Lim Hng Kiang and had Wong Kang Seng, Mah Bow Tan, Raymond Lim and Goh Chok Tong.

Double confirm June GE?/ Respect LKY’s ideals

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 16/04/2015 at 3:55 am

PM needs Ho’s help?

Temasek Holdings Chief Executive Officer Ho Ching will be on “part-time sabbatical leave” for three months ….”She will continue with her Board duties and specific stewardship duties,” according to the statement posted on Wednesday (Apr 15). (CNA yesterday afternoon)

FT suggests, “Arranging the family affairs of the man who led Singapore to independence in 1965 is expected to be a time-consuming process.’

My guess is that PM needs her beside him in the coming GE campaign. I had written earlier: Surely a June 2015 GE is on the cards? After all, that a 49-day mourning period is acceptable in the Confucian tradition. A traditional 100-day mourning period would mean that the Sept school holidays is the earliest possible time for GE.

“Respect LKY; Respect his ideals; Vote PAP”

“Most importantly, how we honour Mr Lee must be faithful to the ideals he lived by and fought for. Mr Lee made it very clear throughout his life that he did not need and did not want any monument. It was not monuments but ideals that were his chief concern, the ideals upon which he built Singapore: Multi-racialism, equality, meritocracy, integrity, and the rule of law. He hoped these ideals would endure in Singapore beyond him. We can pay no greater tribute to him than to uphold the principles upon which he built this country.”*

CNA 13 April reporting PM’s parly speech).

Want to respect LKY? No need monuments. Respect his ideals. Vote PAP. All the elected seats is a fitting tribute,” will the implicit theme of the GE campaign.

Will the 10% ** of voters that voted for Tan Cheng Bock in PE2011 but who voted for the Oppo in GE 2011 vote PAP?

If they do (And assuming the 60% of the voters continue supporting the PAP and “Why not?”), LKY would have the last laugh. He would have rise from his coffin to help the PAP.

True it wouldn’t match Peanuts Goh’s 75.3% share of the vote in 2001 but it would be a 10%age points swing too.

Better still, due to the large number of uncontested seats in 3001, only 675,306 of the 2,036,923 eligible voters (33.2%) actually voted. In the next GE, all the seats will be contested.


*One of these days, I’ll post on why I sniggered when I read this.

**  Tony Tan and Dr Tan each had 35% of the vote: 70% supported these two PAP-aligned candidates. In GE, PAP only got 60% of the vote. Hence the 10% figure.

The best way to respect LKY

In Political governance on 12/04/2015 at 5:51 am

Well today tomorrow PAP MPs* and NMPs will be lining up to propose all manner of tributes to LKY. Wonder what the saka queen, that NMP with useless legs and a sycophantic brain will say? Let’s see if any of them have the balls to say: “Want to respect LKY? No need monuments. Vote PAP. All the elected seats is a fitting tribute to him.  Let’s face it. Whatever we think about him or his achievements, even his most ardent admirers  and the most anti-LKYers will acknowledge that to LKY, “The people, the PAP and the government are one”. So what better tribute or monument to him, if one is wanted, then to restore one-party rule to S’pore. I mean we had a fair bit of this in the 60s and 70s before than vain glorious, ang moh tuakee wind-bag spolided the party by entering parly? And S’pore did pretty well economically didn’t we? And for better measure, why not then change the constitution to make the PAP the ruling party for eternity? DSC_0011 Err I don’t think Harry would want this though. For all his faults, he, like Caesar Augustus, was keen to preserve the facade of proper behaviour and decorum. For those not conversant with him, Augustus was the first Roman emperor but made sure that he operated within the traditions and laws of the Roman republic. Augustus also said: “I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.” I think P(olitican) Ravi would have to agree (through gritted teeth admittedly) that LKY could say without contradiction, “I found S’pore a city of bricks and left it a city of steel and glass.” — *Three PAP MPs will be asking the Government to consider how the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew can be honoured further when Parliament sits. MP Foo Mee Har wants the Government to declare a new holiday called Founder’s Day so as to “provide Singaporeans the opportunity to remember the struggles of the country in the early years and remind us of the nation’s founding values and principles”. [He founded S’pore? Come on Raffles founded modern day S’pore.] She also wants the Singapore currencies, both notes and coins, to bear the face of Mr Lee. MP Lily Neo will also be asking the Government to consider printing Mr Lee’s photo on Singapore’s dollar notes in order to honour him. In addition, Ms Neo wants the Government to consider re-naming Singapore’s airport after Mr Lee. MP Ang Wei Neng agrees with Ms Neo. He will further ask the Government to consider renaming Changi Airport or any other significant buildings or institutions in honour of Mr Lee. [Hello, you disrespect him so fast? He didn’t like this kind of thing. It could a lot of persuasion for the LKY School of Public Policy to be so named.]

LKY: How right, how wrong?/ June or Sept GE?

In Political governance on 10/04/2015 at 4:43 am

Not long after Mao’s death the Chinese Communist Party announced that he had been 70% right, 30% wrong. This official view has not changed despite the changes in China: from underachiever to wannabe great power, challenging US hegemony.

What does the PAP think about how right and wrong LKY had been? Going by the spin by the constructive, nation-building media, one assumes 100% right. LKY did no wrong. He even was a nice, compassionate human being. Btw, readers might like to be reminded that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a prisooner in Stalin’s gulag camps, reported that prisoners cried when Stalin died: there was even genuine grief among those who suffered because of his actions^.

And the vigilantism against those with the “unright” views, shows the PAP IB stroking the genuine respect that many S’poreans feel for LKY. To be fair, some of the anti-PAP views on LKY are going too far. Even at the more reasonable end of the “unright” views, TOC and P(olitican) Ravi seem to want to make him one of the crowd that did great and good things for S’pore. Hello guys, he was the head of the PAP and PM of S’pore. Surely the leader deserves a bit more credit than his team, even if it was a team effort?

Given that a general election could be held soon and he will feature prominently (“Want to respect LKY? No need monuments. Vote PAP. All the elected seats is a fitting tribute.”), what do voters think how right and how wrong he had been is what matters.

Will the 10%* of voters that voted for Tan Cheng Bock in PE2011 but who voted for the Oppo in GE 2011 vote PAP?

Surely a June 2015 GE is on the cards? After all, a 49-day mourning period period is acceptable in the Confucian tradition. A traditional 100-day mourning period would mean that the Sept school holidays is the earliest possible time for GE.

*Tony Tan and Dr Tan each had 35% of the vote: 70% supported these two PAP-aligned candidates. In GE, PAP only got 60% of the vote. Hence the 10% figure.

^Sentence Aadded at 5.30am.

Battle in cyberspace/ Take the money and BS

In Media on 09/04/2015 at 4:55 am

In addition to saturating the newspapers and airwaves, the PAP administration and its minions  were saturating cyberspace with the news of LKY’s death. The constructive, nation-building ST made its online coverage of the death and other related   news available to netizens. And the news coverage on CNA’s website was all about him and the lying-in-state.

Then there was spontaneous outbursr of respect and tribute from social media and bloggers.

Even the cyber-warriors and cybernuts who tried to counter the right narrative added to the saturation coverage.

So Khaw would be happy. During the Parliamentary debate on 10 March, Khaw took the opportunity to KPKB about social media, “In 2011, many Singaporeans were swayed by the social media commentaries, and worried that the Singapore Dream would not be available to future generations .

How can the PAP do better in cybberspace?

For the coming GE, will the PAP pick up tips from the US and Ukrainian govts on how to handle the social media cowboys, Comanches and other renegades?

US State Department’s war on social media against Jihadists

Ambassador Alberto Fernandez is the US State Department’s Coordinator for Strategic Counterterrorism. The Department runs campaigns on Twitter and social media forums to challenge extremists directly, with titles such as “Think Again, Turn Away”.

These have been criticised in some quarters but he believes that engaging the jihadists’ audience rather than ignoring them means they are exposed to alternative views.

But, like the [London]Metropolitan Police team, his staff are few in number, with only around 20 engaging on a daily basis with jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

“We see ourselves as a rag-tag guerrilla organisation waging a hit and run campaign against the adversary,” Mr Fernandez told the BBC. “We’re definitely the David against the ISIS Goliath, which is perhaps somewhat ironic.”

Ukrainian Information Army

The Economist reports Ukraine launched the “Ukrainian Information Army”, a volunteer force of internet commenters tasked with spreading government-approved content and combatting Russian trolls. A recent mission asked the troops to post a propagandistic Ukrainian response to a Russian-made propaganda video.

(Emphasis mine)

Take the money and BS 

Btw, I’m sure MediaCorp and SPH journalists can advise the Ukrainian journalists what to do: Ukrainian journalists have been struggling with how to carry themselves in a war where the media plays an outsize role … Journalists constantly debate whether they can help Ukraine without contradicting their professional standards. “Ukrainian journalism is undergoing a crisis of values,” says Olga Chervakova, a television journalist turned politician, who now sits on the parliamentary Committee for Freedom of Speech and Information.

Juz take the thirty pieces of silver on offer and play whatever tune the paying piper wants you to pipe. Not unique to S’porean journalists: the WP MPs have their own version. They take the MPs’ allowances (about $15,000 per MP per month), and keep quiet even when the PAPpies beat them up publicly: “Sticks and stomes may hurt me but $15,000 a month can buy a lot of kok yok,” seem to be the mantra.

Finally, a piece of advice to the two social media celebrities, and ex-NSP activists who are allowing the Chiams to get blood transfusions from them. Set-up a Bishan-Tao Payoh-Potong Pasir* pages and sites and promote the sites to the people living there: be local.

*Prediction that PP will be merged to the Bishan GRC.

Seek truth from facts, TRE commentators/ Don’t misrepresent me

In Uncategorized on 02/04/2015 at 4:35 am

In response to which TRE republished,

— Chris K*, a regular TRE contributor, whose analyses of CPF and our SWFs’ are worth reading wrote:

eeerrr leftist mean Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China, meh? Or is that Labour, Social Democrats, Democratic Socialists which is a good thing right? More likely CI falls for the PAP demonology that everything left is communist which is as far from the truth as saying the PAP is fascist and one L*Y is Adolf Hitler. tsk, tsk very disappointing, mate.

— Ng Kok Lim, another regular TRE commentator, screamed out:

CI is making the same unqualified smearing of the Lefitsts by the PAP by labeling them as communists like those in Cuba and so on. Where is CI’s proof that the leftists were actually communists? CI must take note that the PAP could never charge the Leftists as communists in court. They could only lock them up unethically and immorally until the detainees buay tah han and admitted guilt even if they were innocent much like the forcing of the ‘truth’ through torture during medieval times. 

(I had written that LKY and gang and others not leftish enough would have likely to lived to have lunch gatherings or pioneer generation benefits: opponents and intellectuals not sympathetic to the leftists’ cause were, imprisoned, exiled or killed in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China.)

I would ask Chris K, Ng Kok Lim and others who believe the self-serving rubbish of the Coldstore detainees that they were a bunch of social democrat peaceniks with flowers in their hair) to go have a word with students (now in their 60s and 70s) of Chinese High, Chung Ching etc about their time in school. In their clandestine cell groups, did they study the works of leading European and British social democrats or socialists? Nope they would tell you that they studied the works of Mao.

Ask them about the cell leaders who led the discussions. Were they steeped in the tots of the ang moh social democtats or socialists? Nope they were acolytes of Mao, steeped in the doctrines Chinese communism.

Finally Chris K and fellow believers in the peaceful nature of the leftists’ movement here who fought the British and LKY should read the memoirs of the Plen and Chin Peng.

But at the very least they should read This blogger is anti-LKY (like Chris K and Ng), yet his view of the students chimes with LKY’s views of the students.

Then come talk to me.

The very serious point I’m trying to make that LKY’s and PAP’s self-serving narrative of our history, is not all rubbish. Like all good propaganda, it has elements of the truth. In the 1950s and earky 1960s

— the Malayan Communist Party and China used the leftist movement here for their own ends;

— the students and other Chinese-educated leftists here were highly influenced by the writings of one Mao. They were not influenced by ang moh social democrats or socialists like the Fabians.

Mao said, “Gather truth from facts”, something I’m sure Chris K was doing when he was working as a risk manager. But I’m sure Ng Kok Lim doesn’t “Gather truth from facts”.

He didn’t read what I wrote: I never called the Coldstore detainees “communists”. Or he decided to misrepresent me? Taz the quality of Ng Kok Lim: either not bothering to read what I wrote or trying to make me say what he  wanted me to say, despite me not writing it,  by accusing me of writing something I never wrote. This is what Ng wrote: CI is making the same unqualified smearing of the Lefitsts by the PAP by labeling them as communists like those in Cuba and so on. Where is CI’s proof that the leftists were actually communists?) 

Where did I call our leftists.

Ng may have wished I called our leftists “communists”, but where’s the proof?


*He describes himself: Chris is a retired executive director in the financial industry who had mostly worked in London and Tokyo. He writes opinions and commentaries mostly on economic and financial matters.

Are you better off now than you were in 2011?

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

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

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

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

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

Much good it would do the PM and his PAP administration that these leftists benefit from their policies. These aging leftists would never say anything good about LKY and his legacy. (Related article:


Real life examples of what Pioneer Benefits mean:

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

The extended family is happy.

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

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

Will they vote PAP? I didn’t ask.

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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.,

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

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

Anyway more, one of these days, about

— how the lawyers let him down;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Moving on from Hard Truths To Hard Choices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

His latest piece:


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).

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.

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 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 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).

If he can get the intelligence of monkeys so very wrong, what else can he get wrong?

Btw, the following reflects badly on people like Grace Fu, Jos Teo and Hen, The study of our primate relatives may help us understand happiness. We know, for example, that sharing of food and favours takes place amongst primates and assumptions have been made that this was always about a clear exchange of one favour for another. But a recent study from the Yerkes National Primate Research Center has noted that monkeys exchange reciprocal favours without necessarily keeping track of who did what for whom. 

Don’t they talk of the need for serious money to get gd ministers? Well monkeys do things for others without calculating the cost, so why can’t Jos, Grace and Fu?.They not as unselfish as monkeys?

Related post:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Relevant posts:

And from FT too

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

PM’s memory is not working

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

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

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

How not to depend on govt? 

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

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

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

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

Electing gd MPs?

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

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

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

Immigration woes our fault?

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

This is what someone posted on Facebook

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

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



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.

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


*“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.



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 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.


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:

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”.


**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, 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 and on The Heart Truths’ Facebook page (at

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.

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.


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


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 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.


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.

**To be fair, Low had the experience and help of the Barisan Socialists’ activists. BSoc diissolved itself in 1988 and its activists joined WP . 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

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?]


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:

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.



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