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Posts Tagged ‘PAP’

Why PM won’t heed Jap PM’s tots

In Economy, Japan, Property on 29/05/2016 at 1:05 pm

Foreword: Chris K (A S’porean FT living in Japan) commented on Facebook on this piece. I’ve worked his comments into the original piece and added some background info. Hence this retitled piece which is an expanded and reworked version of the earlier piece.

…  ….

Prime Minister Abe … in his latest op-ed in the WSJ says that if developed countries are facing a future of low or no growth, and shrinking populations, then perhaps governments should focus on improving living standards and not simply chase high economic growth rates.

Well as S’pore is now facing a future of low growth and a shrinking population, unless FTs are let in by the cattle-truck load, the PAP administration should focus on improving living standards and not simply chase high economic growth rates?

After all Goh Chok Tong said we should be like the Japanese. And PM and ministers cite Japanese practices: here, here and here.

But then the PAP can’t let in its beloved FTs to eat S’porans’ breakfast, lunch and dinner and all snacks in between. FTs are needed to spur S’poreans to be as cheap to hire as FTs are, despite the higher cost of housing etc here. Hard Truths are more important than the well-being of S’poreans?

Here’s what Chris K says about life in a stagnant, past its prime Japan

Lived in Japan 1990-1995 and then again from 2006, the difference between the 2 periods in my view is that it is more livable today than before despite all the “bad news” of stagnation and deflation. Working hours have steadily declined despite shortage of labour. Total Fertility Rate has gone up.

(Btw, a few yrs ago I reported that HSBC showed that Japan was doing pretty well)

Life can be good in a country with a shrinking population and deflation. The PAP juz doesn’t like stagnation, deflation and a shrinking population.

Chris K then goes on to criticise the PAP’s administration policies here. Pay attention to (and think hard about) the section beginning the entire pension and healthcare proposition have under LHL been tied to ever-increasing real estate prices …

But I completely agree with Cynical Investor, the PM won’t be heeding Abe’s advice. Why? Just 2 simple things.

First the government salaries are marked to GDP growth despite the factthat in today’s digital economy GDP is a terrible measure of progress since many improvements and convenience in life comes free (think on-line shopping vs going to shops) or below cost, thus understating the impact on GDP growth. So nuts and bolts, brick and mortar still rule their head even if they have to accept the digital challenge.


Harry and Dr Goh has things easy when  running S’pore. They grew the economy and jobs and wage rises followed.

Nowadays GDP is decoupled from jobs and wages. I wish someone would do a similar chart for S’pore.

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Second, far more importantly, the entire pension and healthcare proposition have under LHL been tied to ever-increasing real estate prices (think downgrades and LBS to finance you and your parent’s healthcare and pensions). That means forget about quality of GDP growth, quantity is the game where large increases in population are required not just for those nuts and bolts, brick and mortar but with the benefit of keeping real estate prices elevated.

If you think we have a real estate bubble that may or may not be deflating, then equally we then must have a bubble in the government’s projections for our retirement and healthcare. Both are inexorably linked, one cannot exist without the other because of the use of CPF for housing. So 6.9m is a done deal, 10m a very likely eventual outcome. More foreign labour supply to hold down wages, a more crowded country, more stresses and greater wealth disparity. At some point this will stop and then this country will have an almighty day of reckoning.

Long term, anything can happen

In Uncategorized on 29/05/2016 at 5:12 am

The PAP administration likes to boast that the PAP’s hegemony in local politics  enables them to plan for the long-term.

Some three-and-a-half centuries ago the Dutch shook hands on what is possibly the most misguided trade deal in history. Pursuing a monopoly in the spice trade, Amsterdam agreed to take one small island in eastern Maluku province from the British in return for another small island in the US — Manhattan.

(FT I think)

But in the short-term the Dutch were right.

Maybe PM should heed Jap PM’s tots?

In Economy on 28/05/2016 at 12:25 pm

Prime Minister Abe … in his latest op-ed in the WSJ says that if developed countries are facing a future of low or no growth, and shrinking populations, then perhaps governments should focus on improving living standards and not simply chase high economic growth rates.

Well as S’pore is now facing a future of low growth and a shrinking population, unless FTs are let in by the cattle-truck load, the PAP administration should focus on improving living standards and not simply chase high economic growth rates?

After all Goh Chok Tong said we should be like the Japanese. And PM and ministers cite Japanese practices: here, here and here.

But then the PAP can’t let in its beloved FTs to eat S’porans’ breakfast, linch and dinner and all snacks in between. FTs are needed to spur S’poreans to be as cheap to hire as FTs are, despite the higher cost of housing etc here. Hard Truths are more important than the well-being of S’poreans?

Making victims of cybercrime pay: So PAPish

In Banks, Humour on 26/05/2016 at 5:08 pm

But it’s the UK, not S’pore.

The FT reports that UK bank customers may have to cover cost of fraud under new proposals. Under the plans, individuals or companies with lax online security could find themselves  without banking services or even excluded from the system under which banks compensate customers whose accounts are hacked.

Bet u this will happen here first. It’s so PAPish. It’s a Hard Truth to favour big biz over the little people, is it  not? Harry must be turning in his metaphorical grave.

Big breasts like triple A status and budget surpluses have a downside

In Financial competency on 25/05/2016 at 1:53 pm

(I’ve juz binned the piece I did this morning and rewritten it.)

When a PAPpy boasts about S’pore’s Triple A rating, e-mail to that PAPpy or post a comment asking: “What benefits do the issuer get for a triple A rating versus a double A and what benefits do they give up?”. A bond strategist at BlackRock quoted by the FT asked this question in the another context. He was talking about corporations issuing bonds, but the reasoning applies to countries too.

Triple A status is a virility symbol like extra-big breasts or muscles. Btw, a UK celebrity (She was the partner of Dwight Yorke — Remember him?) with extra-large breasts had to undergo surgery to make them smaller. She was suffering from backache from her frontal heavy load.

Here’s two FB posts from Chris K who was a capital markets man, and self-confessed geek on the impacts of macroeconomic policies on capital markets that explain why triple A status and budget surpluses are not good for S’poreans. (Emphasis mine)

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing also said at the rally that Dr Chee wanted to give the impression that “we are cheating Singaporeans”. But the market was not stupid, he said.

“Why is Singapore one of 11 countries in world that has triple-A ratings from all three credit rating agencies?” he pointed out.

I’ll answer it for Chan Chun Sing even if he avoided the essential truths of the triple-A rating. That rating is mainly based on

1. The constitution rule that forbids the government from running deficits over the parliamentary term.

2. The massive year-on-year budget surpluses ran by the government, amounting to an average of nearly 10% of GDP per year over the past 15 years alone.

Those budget surpluses that underpins the government finances do not appear out of the blue and they certainly do not result from some magical fiscal policy formula. Those surpluses results from selling land at ever increasing prices, excess returns from investing debt proceeds which includes CPF and low social expenditures.

In other words, those triple-A ratings are paid for by the people and by denying them financial security in retirement and healthcare.

And just to be clear, Norway and Singapore are the only ones among the 11 triple-A rated countries that have long term budget surpluses. That means countries do not need to have budget surpluses to be rated triple-A, sustainable deficits will be enough. Norway’s long term surpluses are from natural endowments, Singapore’s…… let’s put it this way, a transfer of wealth from households to the state.

And

Despite being backed by the nearly 10% of GDP a year long term budget surpluses, the triple A ratings have little direct to benefit to households. The surpluses are not without consequences to households since they are derived from land sales at increasing prices and denial of social benefits both leading to inadequate retirement and healthcare funding, and to an acceptance of high levels of inequality.

Do read the full post

https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-kuan/tax-benefits-and-singapores-barely-useful-triple-a-rating/481998245323602

To conclude,  triple A status and budget surpluses, like big breasts can be a problem.

MU’s woes foreshadow S’pore’s woes post PAP

In Footie, Political governance on 24/05/2016 at 4:54 pm

José Mário dos Santos Mourinho Félix will according to a FT reader, based in his track record, do the following

year 1, build the team and squad that you want and get the players to bend to your will; year 2, win lots of trophies and years 3 or 4, move on. With the possible exception of Madrid, it’s worked every time.

I bet it won’t work for MU too. MU. like Barcelona, Bayern, Real and Milan, are in a different universe From Chelsea, Porto and Inter. The fotmer are clubs that have a history of success since year zero or thereabouts. Mourinho is a great manager of clubs with lesser traditions of success. Real shows he can’t manage the really great clubs.

Interestingly the FT just carried an interview with Munich-bound Carlo Ancelotti. He likes working in “family” footie clubs like Milan (where he won honours — Champions League, Serie A — as a player and manager) and Bayern. Surely that term fits MU?

I always tot he’d be good for MU.  But would MU be good for him? That I doubt because MU is rebuilding after a long period where one man dominated.

In MU. we can see what will happen to S’pore post PAP rule. A real hard slog for S’poreans with lots of trips down blind alleys, and lots of u-turns. And a lot of heart ache and loss of prosperity.

But keeping the status quo (i.e. PAP hegemony based on LKY’s Hard Truths as modified by the natural aristocrats to keep the S’porean rabble contented which is what is happening already what with the increases in spending of the rabble’s own money to keep them from voting for the Oppo) which Ferguson tried with Moysie is not a solution.

Everything has its shelf-life. Ask the USSR communist party or the US Republican Party. Even LKY expressed doubts that the PAP could like Old Man River keep on rolling.

He knows his history. The only party that has survived and thrived for centuries is the Conservative Party of the UK. It had been in power for long periods in the 19th and 20th centuries, and returned to government in 2010. It is successful partly because it had, time and time again, to reinvent itself or become irrelevant. Liberal democracy forced it to change. We know don’t we that the Hard Truths and liberal democracy are incompatible?

 

No need tea parties to recruit top PAPpies

In Uncategorized on 21/05/2016 at 2:21 pm

 

 

Can data crunching tell you the best candidate for a job vacancy?

Any established organisation will have a group of very successful people in it – employees who fit and perform outstandingly well.

They are already there, and every day they generate hundreds of bits of data about the way they go about performing so well – productive salespeople, for example.

So one way of recruiting is to use number-crunching computer power to assess the traits of the outstanding people a company already employs… and then shortlist potential new recruits by comparing them with established corporate high performers.

But doesn’t that lead to companies hiring only people who most resemble what the company is like here and now? Doesn’t the use of Big Data tend to drive out vital diversity?

Not necessarily, says Bill Nowacki, because of the subtlety of the analysis process. At KPMG they’ve built a model which incorporates 10,000 different data points generated by a single individual. That’s millions of bits of data about a group of individuals in a big firm.

Number crunch those intelligently, and important signals may emerge. Bill Nowaki calls that “training” the algorithm by reviewing the data generated by previous recruits and comparing that with the current results – who stayed, who was promoted, who performed well.

You see what’s emerging here? A new complex model of an organisation viewed through the Big Data prism that the people who work for it generate every day. The very practical aspects of their working life, obviously, but also the relationships and interests they mention in their social networking.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-36129046

Chipping away at PAP hegemony

In Political governance on 15/05/2016 at 1:59 pm

But first, a truism: if the public are not buying the product politicians are selling, no end of stunts and clever tricks or lies will convince voters to change their minds. Tan Kin Lian, Goh Meng Seng, s/o JBJ, Roy Ngerng, Tan Jee Say, M Ravi, New Citizen Han Hui Hui. Lina Chiam and, of course, Dr Chee, can testify to this fact. Sadly so too can Dr Paul Thamby, Dr Ang Yong Guan, the WP teams in Marine Parade and East Coast and P Ravi.

Now, having reminded that voters are like consumers of beer or soap in that they have to be persuaded, here’s my constructive, nation-building solution on how to chip away at the PAP’s hegemony. Those challenged for time can skip the next three paras and start at “Cherian George …”

Here I said: My serious point is that Oppo and social activists must realise that Brand PAP is very strong* with easily 60- 70%% of the voting market; and that their own base is, at best 30%, of the voters, with a core but passive base of about 20% of all the voters. The good news is that only 35% of the voters are hard-core PAP supporters like Eunice Chia-Lim and Jason Chua. There is the 35% of the voters that are prepared to listen to the right message delivered by the right person (not any mad dog or Chee): remember they voted for Dr Tan Cheng Bock. And in GE 2011, up to 10 points of them voted for the Oppo, allowing the WP to win Aljunied (which had two cabinet ministers, and one junior minister).

Until the Oppo and social activists realise how the numbers stack up, the PAP’s hegemony is assured so long as the PAP doesn’t mess up too badly.

So being willing to accept reality waz to be done?

Cherian George had an insight that he never developed. In a piece last year he grumbled that the PAP had succeeded in persuading S’poreans that freedom of expression was not a good thing. Actually the list is a lot longer. The PAP has made  Western constitutional democracy, universal values, civil society, neoliberalism and “the West’s idea of journalism”*, progressives ideas allbad products, not suitable for sheep us.

Well if a brand is toxic, what do good marketeers do? Detoxify and repackage i.e, rebrand. Example: In the USA  shareholder [a]ctivism has gone from being frowned upon, something that marks you out as a rogue or a maverick, to almost socially responsible. The shareholder activists rebranded themselves as good responsible corporate citizens, not greedy corporate raiders.

But who can do the rebranding of progressive ideas here? Certainly not the two leading Oppo parties. The WP is too timid and its elected MPs only interested in protecting their sinecures, while the SDP is toxic, so long as Mad Dog Chee leads it. And the minor parties are also useless, the

— Chiams’ Party is only interested in slimimg Dr Chee;

— NSP is discredited so long as it has a president who never told voters of his criminal record and bankruptcy;

— SDA is asleep between election;

— RP, PPP and DPP are one-man shows and

— SingFirst is run by retirees for retirees.

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The French economy minister is ambitious but has no political base Mr Macron has never been elected—he was economic adviser at the Elysée before being appointed economy minister in 2014—and is not even a member of the Socialist Party. He has only a handful of parliamentary deputies behind him, and no local, grass-roots network.

And his party is way behind in the polls.So what does he do? He has started a movement: He insists that, for now, his movement is about ideas, not politics. The plan is to build a virtual network online and through social media, using public opinion to construct support outside traditional structures. Mr Macron, though, is known to harbour his own political ambitions, and France will hold a presidential election in 2017. There is a giant leap between a one-man thinking outfit, however refreshing, and a political movement that can gather sustained electoral momentum.

(Quote from Economist blog)

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In S’pore, those who want political change have no representation in parly except for Leon the Lion and his fellow NCMPs and no local, grass-roots network. So they == I’m thinking of people like Richard Wan, Dr Ang Yong Guan**, Yeoh Lam Keong (the ex-GIC economist), Siew Kum Hong, P Ravi***, Dr Pauk Thamby****, Eric Tan (Remember him?), Peter Teo (WP’s go-to lawyer, Remy Choo (co-founder of TOC and now a lawyer) and Affin Sha — should get together and start a movement … about ideas, not politics. The plan is to build a virtual network online and through social media, using public opinion to construct support outside traditional structures. 

This movement’s big idea should be to market progressive ideas like Western constitutional democracy, universal values, civil society, neoliberalism and “the West’s idea of journalism” professionally and responsibly.  They should also market these values as a package that can promote material well-being not juz human rights.

This package should be marketed like an existing European heritage beer that is popular around the world but reviled here (bad marketing in the past and dirty tricks by the dominant players).

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Here’s an alternative marketing strategy — using a campaign based on shock tactics

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-36024782

But remember, its been tried here before by Dr Chee and JBJ. Remember Dr Chee’s civil disobedience activities? Remember JBJ’s allegations of PAP corruption? And the rabid stuff put up by TOC and TRE regularly?

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The main platforms will be social media and the internet which in S’pore are friendly to progressive ideas. TOC and TRE can play a big part but keep the sabo-king the Indian away. Remember how it fixed Dt Chee with the story about “a Dr Tan Wei Ling” supporting a petition in favour of Dr Chee, plastering a big picture of Harry’s daughter for better effect? She reacted by dissing Dr Chee. The PAP could not have asked for more from Balji, a shareholder of the Indi and an editorial adviser.

This marjeting of progressive ideas campaign will be a peaceful form of the guerilla warfare practiced by Mao, Fidel and Che.

The best insurgency strategy is to win the propaganda war, erode your opponents’ support base and offer an alternative that keeps your supporters onside: taz how I interpret what Mao, Fidel Che as saying about successful guerilla warfare.

They won didn’t they?


*Like the CCP, the PAP is worried about progressive ideas:Western constitutional democracy, universal values, civil society, neoliberalism and “the West’s idea of journalism”

In  China, the CCP’s concerns were made clear in a document that began circulating in secret in April 2013 and was later leaked. Document Number Nine, as it is called, describes “the current state of the ideological sphere” and identifies seven challenges to it. They include Western constitutional democracy, universal values, civil society, neoliberalism and “the West’s idea of journalism”

**I’m assuming he resigns from SingFirst.

***I’m assuming the Chiams kick him out of SPP for giving his backing to Dr Chee in the Bukit Batok by-election when it was clear that Lina Chiam was trying to destroy Chee’s credibility: Oppo sabo Oppo.

****I’m assuming Chee does what he usual does to those than threatrn his power. Think Jeremy Chen and Danny the SDP Bear.

Reasonable to mistrust Pinoys?

In Uncategorized on 14/05/2016 at 5:22 am

After S’pore said that a Facebook post showing Lee Hsien Loong appearing to endorse Mr Duterte was false, he talked about burning a S’porean flag.

Still 77% of the Pinoys working here voted for him.

So many hate us meh? Despite many stealing S’poreans’ breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper and in-between snacks.

Seriously, can we trust the Pinoys whenever they say anything nice about us?

The Pinoys say they adore Pope Francis and the late Corazon Aquino.

Yet Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte said, “Pope, son of a whore, go home. Do not visit us again.”. And in a row with the outgoing president, son of Corazon, he called the president, “son of a prostitute”.

Yet 39% of Pinpys voted for him (an overwhelming number, given there were five presidential candidates).

Reasonable to mistrust Pinoys? Be wary of them? Cut immigration of Pinoys here?

What do you think?

60-70% of the voters happy with trade-off?

In Humour, Political governance on 11/05/2016 at 1:40 pm

But first did you know the ratio of milk produced to manure produced?

2,500 prolific pedigree bovines were producing 30,000 litres of milk a day, as well as a staggering 100,000 kilograms of manure.

(Economist blog)

Translated into Singlish: Want PAP, got to put up with the BS: a lot of it.

But obviously most voters think the deal worth it.

Taz also my summary of  a chim, long-winded piece by a strategist for the M’sian DAP on why S’poreans vote for the PAP.

http://www.academia.edu/22666466/James_Chin_The_2015_Singapore_Swing_Depoliticised_polity_and_the_Kiasi_Kiasu_voter

S/o JBJ is absolutely right

Kenneth J: Stop Complaining, Singaporeans, You Get the Government You Deserve

But he forgot that most S’poreans are matured. They know that there is trade-off, just like between milk and turd.

 

Would this happen in a one-party state?

In Political governance on 10/05/2016 at 1:51 pm

Even in a country like the UK with its long tradition of fair play, an active and usually liberal civil society, and independent institutions, it took almost three decades to uncover a cover-up and a perversion of justice about 96 men, women and children who died in the Hillsborough stadium disaster in April 1989.

The cover-up has taken almost three decades to be torn down. A government inquiry, the Taylor Report, concluded that the disaster was caused primarily by a failure of police control. The inquest into the deaths of the victims was completed in 1991 and recorded a verdict of accidental death. The refusal of the families to accept the inquest’s findings led to a campaign to have the evidence re-examined. This eventually led to the formation of independent panel, which in turn resulted in a High Court decision in 2012 to order a new inquest. That investigation concluded on April 26th with the very different verdict of unlawful killing.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2016/04/economist-explains-18

The critics of the PAP administration would point to the SGH tragedy, the deaths during NS training, the frequent MRT breakdowns as examples of our Hillsboroughs that need exposing.

Even without going so far, the official response to the SGH tragedy “no one is really responsible” (my interpretation of what the Health Minister said in parly leaves a bad taste in the mouth. As does the failure of accountability in SMRT and other TLCs and GLCs when goof-ups occur (think NO and, SGX for starters).

In a one party-state, the party must be protected against the people.

In  China, a de jure one-party state the CCP’s concerns were made clear in a document that began circulating in secret in April 2013 and was later leaked. Document Number Nine, as it is called, describes “the current state of the ideological sphere” and identifies seven challenges to it. They include Western constitutional democracy, universal values, civil society, neoliberalism and “the West’s idea of journalism”

Now isn’t our very own PAP worried about Western constitutional democracy, universal values, civil society, neoliberalism and “the West’s idea of journalism”. 

To end, only in a de facto one party state,

— can the loser in a by-election who lost by 22 points can say “[I]t doesn’t feel like [a] loss”.

= and for anti-PAP cyberwarriots (more likely to be nutty than rational) to proclaim that the PAP should be afraid, very afraid because it only won by 22 points.

Dr Chee thinks we Pinoys isit?

In Political governance on 09/05/2016 at 2:08 pm

Going by his election speeches, he thinks S’poreans want change.

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A plurality of Filipino voters do not, in fact, want continuity: they want change. The current economic boom has failed to trickle down far enough. Poverty—particularly rural poverty—remains endemic. Millions of Filipinos who live far from cities, attending substandard schools, are ill-equipped by education and geography for service-sector jobs.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2016/05/economist-explains-3

“People are tired, people are disillusioned,” Ms Grace Poe a candidate says.

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S’poreans are not  Pinoys, They don’t want change and are not tired pr disillusioned: OK, OK only 70% are happy with the way things are, or going (More spending of our money on ourselves; more room for individualism, less regimentation etc). There are up to 30% of the voters who want change, and within this there has always been a disgruntled angry, vocal but otherwise passive, always unhappy with the PAP and life in general. The latter are about 20% of all the voters?

Whatever, Chee is obviously an avid reader of TRE, the favourite site of born-losers, cybernuts, cyber-rats and bums (the hard-core 20%, who don’t even try to fund TRE, claiming poverty or the right to be frr-loaders.), and TOC, the favourite of the chattering, ang moh tua kee classes (Terry Xu’s an exception. He’s cut from the same mould of those arrested in Coldstore. And another exception is SDP’s Dr Paul who would make a good PAP minister in the Tharman mould.).

My serious point is that Oppo and social activists must realise that Brand PAP is very strong* with easily 60- 70%% of the voting market; and that their own base is, at best 30%, of the voters, with a core but passive base of about 20% of all the voters. The good news is that only 35% of the voters are hard-core PAP supporters like Eunice Chia-Lim and Jason Chua. There is the 35% of the voters that are prepared to listen to the right message delivered by the right person (not any mad dog or Chee): remember they voted for Dr Tan Cheng Bock. And in GE 2011, up to 10 points of them voted for the Oppo, allowing the WP to win Aljunied (which had two cabinet ministers, and one junior minister)

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Throughout my campaign, we focused on the issues that Londoners care about most – the lack of affordable housing, transport infrastructure and fares, the NHS, the need for real neighbourhood policing and pro-business policies. It might seem like stating the obvious, but offering solutions to the challenges most people face every day is the only way to win elections. How can you expect to enthuse an undecided voter, or persuade a previous Tory voter, if you can’t gain their trust on the key issues, or you don’t want to talk about what they care about most?London’s new mayor. Emphasis mine.

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Until the Oppo and social activists realise how the numbers stack up, the PAP’s hegemony is assured so long as the PAP doesn’t mess up too badly.

Actually the first half of the last sentence is wrong. The Worthless Party realised long ago the strength of Brand PAP and beat  the PAP in Aljunied in a year when the PAP wasn’t listening to grievances that were real. “Only noise” and “Astroturfing”, their grassroot leaders assured the PAP ministers and MPs, about the grievances circulating on the internet and social media. There was a mass culling of these leaders, a culling that would have made Mao, Stalin, the Kims and out Harry proud if people were executed, not juz “let go”.

But the elected Wankers MPs are so paralysed with the fear of losing their $15,000 sinecures that they decided to keep quiet and become good social workers. Almost didn’t work. But all the indictions that the elected Wankers WP MPs  will persist in keeping silent. Letting Lion Man and his fellow NCMPs roar.

Waz to be done to weaken the PAP’s hegemony? I hope to address the issue soon.


*If its support were brittle, social media and the internet would have eroded the support of the PAP by exposing the games and misrepresentations (Examples 1, 2)  the PAP administration play. Something that the constructive nation-building media conceals and even aids and abets.

This strong brand answers the question my avatar posted on Facebook about the failure of social media and the internet to help the Oppo cause when one of the usual suspects was KPKBing about Chee losing because of  “hate, fear, ignorance, and greed”.

The excuse used to be that the voters didn’t know the truth because of PAP control of media. Well there’s new media now. So waz the excuse? Or I forgot “hate, fear, ignorance, and greed”. Always ada excuse.

Where Buffett & PAP agree

In Uncategorized on 09/05/2016 at 8:36 am

From NYT’s Dealbook last Monday

WARREN BUFFETT TALKS OF SHARING THE WEALTH Nebraska has just hosted Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting, also known as Woodstock for Capitalists, at a time when Bernie Sanders has beaten Hillary Clinton in the Democratic caucuses and younger generations are questioning the very premise of capitalism.

This has not passed Warren Buffett by, Andrew Ross Sorkin writes in DealBook.

“You should be questioning it at that age,” Mr. Buffett said in an interview.

He acknowledged that the system “left too many people behind,” but said Mr. Sanders’s solutions were “are very off base.”

As for those skeptical young people, he said “The conclusion shouldn’t be to kill the golden goose.” Instead we need to make more eggs and better distribute them.

Now doesn’t “[W]e need to make more eggs and better distribute them” sound like what the PAP is telling us about “Growing the pie”? What do you think?

NYT Dealbiil goes on: Indeed, there was talk at the annual meeting of the businesses that power the economy and spur employment that perhaps required a slightly broader audience.

Mr. Buffett has mostly managed to avoid becoming a political target, in part because he is described as a compassionate capitalist. But critics say his folksy image is just for show, pointing to his partnership with 3G Capital, a company known for running a lean organization, and the wealth he has tied up in Berkshire, which itself is run to limit his tax bill.

But for a new generation entering the workplace with reasonable questions about the opportunities available in the current system, Mr. Buffett could provide another perspective, Mr. Sorkin writes.

“Twenty years from now, there’ll be far more output per capita in the United States in real terms than there is now,” Mr. Buffett said. “In 50 years, it’ll be far more. No presidential candidate or president is going to end that. They can shape it in ways that are good or bad, but they can’t end it.”

White Mare bites Chee

In Political governance on 02/05/2016 at 2:05 pm

Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt”:PAP

He haw. When Dr Chee talked of becoming a full-time MP; and of Murali going to office everyday and being a part-time MP when he would be going to Bukit Batok everyday if he won, I couldn’t help but laugh at his pretentious nonsense. I mean since when has Dr Chee worked full-time since his NUS days? (Now I speak as someone whose mentor said the last time I really worked was when I was studying law: I been skiving since then). And hasn’t he heard of multi-tasking? Or delegation?

So although I’m not a fan of White Mare Grace Fu, I tot this response appropriate in the light of Dr Chee’s comments and his history.

 

It would be good if Dr Chee got into parly. He would show the up the elected WP MPs. We’d get someone who aspires to be more than a highly paid social worker like Kate Spade Tin. But let’s face it, he’s not a typical S’porean.

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

More

But if he were, he wouldn’t have spent the last 3-decades banging his head on a wall would he?  He’d be out trying to earn some serious money to pay for his penthouse and his BMW.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SMRT: Still no hati-kiri meh?

In Infrastructure, Political governance on 26/04/2016 at 3:07 pm

(Update at 4.30 am on 27 April: Came across a great comments on Facebook: When train services were disrupted in 2012, the Board said it hold the CEO and management responsible. A COI was subsequently called. Now trains break down ever so often plus the fact that two staff died on the job, What has the Board of SMRT got to say?

And this: Minister Khaw made a Facebook post about the 100 day achievement but has been oddly silent after the repeated breakdowns right after

But let’s be fair: maybe he realised that his previous “100 day” comment provoked Nemesis to punish him for his hubris. He didn’t want us to suffer because he talks cock.)

Let alone a deep bow of apology?

Mitsubishi Motors President Tetsuro Aikawa bows during a press conference on April 20, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan

(Japanese CEO of Mitsubishi Motors recently apologising for corporate misbehaviour )

Yesterday, when the SMRT reported what went wrong when two trainees died and where thetr was a massive failure of train services, I was reminded that the PAP administration talks the talk of about following Japanese values; while not walking the talk,

GCT was keen to stress Jap values so long as they didn’t apply to the PAP administration and Khaw only when they applied to the WP.

Where was GCT’s and Khaw’s Jap style of responsibility from the head of SGH and the senior official in MoH?

And why no bowing at SMRT?

Actually this is this the kind of Jap behaviour the PAP administration prefers? CEO takes cover.

But I’ll end on a constructive, nation-building note

Here’s something from the BBC on how to admit mistakes without admitting that one has personally made a mistake. PAP ministers and others should take note.

Going back further still, in 1961 John F Kennedy faced a news conference days after the failed CIA-sponsored invasion at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba.

Despite saying he had no more to add on the debacle beyond an initial statement, a reporter asked about conflicting information surrounding a “certain foreign policy situation”.

“There’s an old saying that victory has 100 fathers and defeat is an orphan,” Kennedy said in his reply.

That neither he nor his administration had anything more to say at the time was not to conceal responsibility, he said, because “I’m the responsible officer of the government”.
All in the wording.

Admitting fault is a political minefield. As political scientist Daniel W Drezner wrote in the Washington Post last year, it brings few benefits: an admission is unlikely to change critics’ minds and could damage supporters’ confidence.

While some commentators on the BBC website praised Mr Obama’s candour, others said he should have chosen the healthcare reforms as the focus of his contrition: something he instead picked as a highlight of his presidency.

And long before the 24-hour news cycle, presidents were careful when acknowledging faults.

In a 1876 report on his presidency, marred by political and financial scandals, Ulysses S Grant said “mistakes have been made, as all can see and I admit it”, according to Safire’s Political Dictionary.

Or in other words: “Mistakes have been made. But not necessarily by me.”

Catch-22 for PMETs

In Economy, Property on 21/04/2016 at 2:22 pm

“No country becomes rich after it gets old,” warns Rodrigo Chaves, country director for the World Bank. “The rate at which you grow [with] a whole bunch of old people on your back is much lower than the rate of growth at which you can grow when people are active, are educated, are healthy.”

(FT article on Indonesia)

This is the reality be it Indonesia or S’pore or the US: population growth, not productivity growth drives economic growth. What it means is that S’pore will have problems “growing the pie” (or trickle down) if the demographic profile is not reversed.

If S’poreans who have mortgages (whether on public or private) hope to use their property to finance their retirement, they should be petitioning the PAP administration to allow FT PMETs to flood in by the cattle truck load again, not juz by the A-380 load so that there are a lot more younger people so that the economy can keep on growing.

Waz the value of that property if there’s no demand for housing when the PMETs reach 79?

But then, these S’poreans will find themselves unable to finance their mortgages because FTs steal their breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper.

What to do meh?

Well didn’t the PMETs vote for the PAP consistently. Like Harry’s daughter, they have made their bed and must lie in it.

Vote for Robin Hood anyone?

Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men

Feared by the bad, loved by the good

Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood

 

He called the greatest archers to a tavern on the green

They vowed to help the people of the king

They handled all the troubles on the English country scene

And still found plenty of time to sing

 

Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen

Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men

Feared by the bad, loved by the good

Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood

After all in S’pore, the PAP is viewed as the party “Feared by the poor, loved by the rich”: think VivianB and his sneering at the elderly poor. He’d make a good sheriff of Nottingham in any movie.

But sadly, the nearest we have to a Robin Hood (Dr Chee) will be thrashed by an Indian lawyer in the coming Bukit Batok by-election.

HARD TRUTH that PM & sis must obey

In Political governance on 17/04/2016 at 1:12 pm

PM’s sister last Sunday posted on Facebook that her brother had “no qualms abusing his power to [have] a commemoration just one year after LKY died.”, going on, “If the power that be wants to establish a dynasty, LKY’s daughter will not allow LKY’s name to be sullied by a dishonorable son.”

He answered on Facebook hours later (after his sister’s remarks had been taken down) that,“The accusations are completely untrue.”

There the matter rests, at least publicly. But things are happening behind the scene it’s alleged.

Whatever, inaction and silence is not an option for the PM beyond the short-term. As the WSJ put it: The Prime Minister now faces an awkward decision of whether to take legal recourse against his sister, a former head of the National Neuroscience Institute, since clemency could be construed as favoritism. He and his father always maintained that libel lawsuits are necessary to protect the reputations of the country’s leaders.

A true blue local blogger put it in terms that any member of the PAP’s IB and TRELand’s cybernuts can understand: Yes. Dr Lee had taken down the offending post. But she hadn’t publicly recanted what she had said and apologised for making a baseless allegation. If we were to accept the logic that Roy Ngerng had to do alove [sic] those things so that public and international confidence in the integrity and character of our PM would not be affected, then PM MUST take legal action against his sister to clear his name. Otherwise, the public and international confidence in our PM would be shaken to its core!

Of course, some would say, don’t be silly. PM’s character and integrity both locally and internationally won’t suffer because of what Dr Lee said. That is effectively also saying that there wasn’t a compelling reason to take legal action against Roy Ngerng. A simple refutation of what he said would have sufficed.

So if PM doesn’t take legal action against his sister, there are two possible implications. First, public confidence, both locally and internationally, in the integrity and character of PM would suffer. Secondly, there is double standard – if you belong to the FamiLEE, you get free pass in some ways. If you aren’t, then out comes the hatchet… I mean… If it was Dr Chee and not Dr Lee who made that statement about abuse of power etc, I’m sure he would be staring at a letter from PM’s lawyers by now…

So. What will PM do? Will he vigorously defend his integrity and character?

Should PM Lee sue his sister?

Rumour has it that something is being worked out behind the scenes so that PM can in future sue to protect his reputation without questions being asked about, “Err why no sue sister? Membership got its privileges isit? Why liddatt?”

Whatever, Harry’s Law must be obeyed. His daughter herself said“Pa” was not anti free speech “For the cynics who complain that Pa restricted freedom of speech, you are wrong. If your statement is accurate, fine. If it is slander, l will have to defend my reputation in court.

A Hard Truth that has no exceptions or mitigating circumstances: sue to protect one’s reputation and integrity. Inaction means confirming the allegation.

Expect, if all goes according to plan, an apology from Dr Lee to her brother and a big donation to charity in lieu of damages. And if this doesn’t happen soon, expect a formal letter of demand from PM’s lawyers to his sister for an apology and damages.

Harry would expect no less. And so should me if remaining true to his principles are to have any meaning.

Related post

 

 

 

 

Why doesn’t Harry’s daughter object to this?

In Political governance on 13/04/2016 at 1:48 pm

Dr Lee thinks Pa’s wish not to be venerated is being ignored and that there’s an active campaign by the PAP administration  to venerate him.

As yesterday’s post showed, I take her concerns with a large pinch of salt, finding her rantings funny, in a black comedy way. I think she is genuine in her feelings, but the evidence she cited doesn’t support her.

I tot the u/m touching if kitschy

Two young children pose for a photograph against a mural made out of nearly 5,000 Singapore country erasers forming the likeness of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, during a tribute event in Singapore, 20 March 2016.

Ms Lee singled out the creation of a portrait of her father made up of nearly 5,000 erasers as a commemorative event which she felt uneasy about

Now if she had objected to the workbook titled “LKY: Follow That Rainbow, Go Ride It” (the book on LKY’s values etc that SPH published) that is being distributed to kids up to age 18 (publication run 200,000 copies), I’d agree with her on the issue of veneration. But somehow I don’t see her ever objecting to that book or others of its kind: “Pa” would surely have no problem about a book on him being used to perpetuate the PAP’s hegemonic rule  here.

Veneration, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

====================================

My favourite caroon on the subject

=====================================================

Or maybe she’s thinking like Humpty Dumpty?

“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. “They’ve a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they’re the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”

Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass

The book is not “veneration”, it’s to remind us of his values. Err, I’m sure the same was said of Sun Yat Sen’s mausoleum by those who wanted to revere him.

 

Are Dr Lee’s concerns about “Pa” being venerated justified?

In Political governance on 12/04/2016 at 2:04 pm

Or juz the imagination of a grieving child, used to getting her way?

Let’s look a someone who was venerated: Sun Yat Sen.

Taiwanese media has also reported on the spat between Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong and his sister Dr lLe Wei Ling. Taiwan is a very relevant example. When the father of republican China Sun Yat Sen died in the 1920s, many Chinese mourned him, just as many Singaporeans mourned Lee Kuan Yew when he died one year ago. Sun’s successor, venerated Sun in a way that Lee Wei Ling objected to, by building a huge mausoleum for Sun and asking all chinese soldiers, students and officials to bow to Sun’s photo. Chiang’s idolisation of Sun did not prevent him from forfeiting the mandate of heaven and losing mainland China because of his incompetent and corrupt rule.

(This is a Facebook post by one Toh Han Shi,  an ex-ST journalist now working for the People’s Daily HK edition South China Morning Post (now owned by Jack Ma). I edited it because he doesn’t believe in using capital letters.)

Err somehow I don’t see the PM and the PAP trying to venerate Harry Lee like that.

—————————————

At least 100 events were organised for the one-year anniversary, ranging from solemn ceremonies and a candlelight vigil to tree-planting and kayaking events.

Wax statues of Lee – widely known as LKY – and his wife were put on public display with flowers laid at their feet, a schoolbook teaching Lee’s values was launched, while some ardent fans online even claimed to have seen his face in the clouds.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-36012257

Two young children pose for a photograph against a mural made out of nearly 5,000 Singapore country erasers forming the likeness of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, during a tribute event in Singapore, 20 March 2016.

Ms Lee singled out the creation of a portrait of her father made up of nearly 5,000 erasers as a commemorative event which she felt uneasy about

———————————————

Where’s the huge mausoleum? Where’s the mass forced bowing to LKY’s portrait. Yes I know the Indian alleged one such incident. But come on, the Indi is worse than Jason Chua’s FATPAP, ASS, TRS, STOMP! and TNP combined. And even if true, why no more reports meh?

And really, we wouldn’t stand for Sun style veneration. For starter’s we wouldn’t want to spend money on a huge mausoleum given the cost of land, labour and building materials here

Let me be very clear. I’m not saying that there’s no attempt to venerate LKY. There could be. Funnily Dr Lee doesn’t object to something that can reasonably be seen as deification veneration of LKY. More on this tom.

 

 

Too many Indians in the PAP/ Why no good Chinese?

In Uncategorized on 10/04/2016 at 4:13 pm
(Update at 4.25pm: If anyone is wondering why I’m not posting on the White Horse (mare actually) who is behaving like a bull in a china shop because she didn’t get her way, things are happening at warp-speed that a piece I was planning to post is already irrelevant. And her antics are so amusingly entertaining, that laughter prevents serious analysis. Wonder what “Pa” must think?)
When TRE republished this, it provoked this response from a TRE reader. Is he a racist? What do u think? And if so, one of those Indian supremacists ( In a real meritocracy all the leadership positions in the public and private sectors will be held by Indians)? Or a Chinese tua kee racist?  Upset that the Chinese don’t dominate the PAP and S’pore.
Jom:

I have nothing against our local Indians brothers
But I must add that Indians as a race is over represented in pap
And our elite class

We should be mindful that we should not evolve our country into another Bombay
Or Sri Lanka
Not should it evolve into another province of China
Singapore is apparently being dominated by the Indians
We had two Indian president
Chief Justice is an Indian
Chief of local corp DBS is a foreign born Indian
Dpm is an Indian
Law minister is an Indian
Ex foreign and deputy pm was an Indian
Another ex foreign was an Indian
Chief of mas was and is an Indian
Current foreign minister is any Indian
There are at least 4 mps who are Indians
attorney general is also Indian
Come on don’t tell me pap can’t find a good Local Chinese
Are there too many dumb Chinese
If there are it is the fault of one man
The man who killed all good men like chia thye prof
Lim hock sinew, poh see Kai, Francis seow
And many others
The Malays are under represented as well

I know that one man dislike of local Chinese esp Chinese educated and the Malays
Are we carrying on the legacy of this dead mans hatred
Are we perpetuating his cruel and unfounded reason for being biased towards a certain race and his own
I know the Indian community play a very important role in our society
There were and are brave Indians who made many sacrifices for the country who speak up
And fought for the oppressed, the defenceless
But nowadays it is a dying breed
Indeed it is true of all races
There are only a few good men left

Dr chee is the only one leftMost of them succumb to pressure, money, threats, and self preservation and selfishness
An Indian speaking Mandarin is nothing great to boast about
Character is more important than a snake charming
None of the opposition mps can hold a candle to Dr chee
None of them could even spoke up on issues of national concerns
Like unemployment , immigration
They are just there as a token to the delight of pap

Rating: +20 (from 20 votes)

Whoever wins BB, S’pore is the real winner

In Political governance on 07/04/2016 at 11:02 am

I ended this by asking if Chee is “Coyote” not “Mad Dog”? In North Amerindian myths, Coyote does seemingly mad things fhat turn out well. He is “mad” for a reason.

——————————————–

The coyote features prominently as a trickster figure in the folktales of America’s indigenous peoples, alternately assuming the form of an actual coyote or a man. As with other trickster figures, the coyote acts as a hero which rebels against social convention through deception and humor. The coyote was likely given its trickster role in light of the actual animal’s intelligence and adaptability; pre-Columbian American people observed its behavior, and their folkloric representations reflected its attributes. (Wikipedia)

————————————————

The Bukit Barok bye-election will show that we are really multi-racial society. An Indian who speaks Mandarin will whip the ass of a Chinese who speaks Mandarin and Hokkien. (It goes without saying that Both candidates are English educated,)

This victory will demolish once and for all, the arguments for GRCs and a presidential election where only Malays  can be candidates: even though there’s a Malay that can beat Dr Tan Cheng Bock, the person the PAP die-die doesn’t want to be president.

No matter who wins in Bukit Batok, the result is good for S’pore. Voters either put the final nail into the coffin of race based politics*;  or we get someone who aspires to be more than a highly paid social worker like Kate Spade Tin.

Maybe Dr Chee realised the potential to engineer a defeat for PAP even if the PAP wins and put himself up as the SDP candidate?  In North Amerindian myths, Coyote does seemingly mad things feat turn out well for the common man. He is “mad” for a reason.

———————–

*But then maybe the PAP will say Indians are hyper-achievers so where the candidates are Indian, there can be exceptions to race-based voting. After all two of PM’s trusted lieutenants are Indian and the last time I saw the commanding heights of the administration of justice here are owned by Indians.

 

White Horse fights White Horse

In Political governance on 05/04/2016 at 10:21 am

Who is really ignoring LKY’s wishes?

But first, the spat between Lee Wei Ling and Devandas Nair (example https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10154269480746844&set=a.10150263346906844.370932.581221843&type=3&theater) is starting to sound like

Tweedledum and TweedledeeAgreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.

And how did that end?

Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.

Juz remember: White Horse fights White Horse. Two very privileged kids (who should know better) are rowing pub;ocly about who is upholding LKY’s wishes and who is dissing his wishes.

One White Horse (actually a mare) thinks she is the keeper of LKY’s flame (Funny that she never fulfilled his wish for her: that she marry and have a family.). The other White Horse (Gelding really?) is a paid-up member of the administration that Harry built and which turned on his dad.

—————————————————————————–

Gelding: a male horse that has had its testicles removed

———————————————————————

I’m still thinking about the rights and wrongs of both sides. But here are the two major themes that I’m meditating on:

— By claiming “Pa” was not anti free speech “For the cynics who complain that Pa restricted freedom of speech, you are wrong. If your statement is accurate, fine. If it is slander, l will have to defend my reputation in court.”, isn’t she guilty of building a monument to him? A false one with feet of clay?

— And isn’t the PM and the PAP really doing what “Pa” wanted: trying to ensure PAP hegemony forever and a day by propagating stuff like Follow the Rainbow? I mean he wrote self-serving books too didn’t he? DSC_0011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll end with her failure to understand the regime that Harry built:

My Facebook avatar asked, “She should ask herself why ST “censorsed” her? Fear of the administration where her dad formed and was a leading figure for many a year? She says “For the cynics who complain that Pa restricted freedom of speech, you are wrong.” sounds like something from Evelyn Waugh’s black comedy writings.”

He got two “Likes” from two ex-SPH editors who are pretty decent fellows.

High flyer takes pay cut

In Banks on 28/03/2016 at 10:21 am

CEO of a big UK insurer left to head a big Swiss bank: more prestigious.

He gives  the lie the to Hard Truth that got to pay big bucks to attract talent to be minister. Either that or being minister is not a pretigious job. Btw, I once remarked that ministers needed “danger” money what with LKY’s “Off with his head” attitude even after he moved to the shadows.

FT reported last week:

Credit Suisse’s new chief executive Tidjane Thiam took a big pay cut to join the Swiss bank.

The bank’s annual report shows he was paid SFr1.58m for the six months he worked last year as well as a bonus of SFr2.86m, a package roughly in line with his predecessor Brady Dougan writes the FT’s Laura Noonan.

It annualises to SFr4.57m, a lot less than the £11.8m – or around SFr16.5m – Mr Thiam got for his last year at insurer Prudential. Credit Suisse paid SFr14.3m to buy Thiam out of his Prudential shares, the report showed.

Mr Thiam asked the board to cut his first bonus by 40 percent to reflect the challenging environment the bank was facing, and in solidarity with colleagues including those in global markets where the 2015 bonus pool was cut by 36 percent.

Roy’s case Four questions

In CPF, Financial competency on 23/03/2016 at 2:17 pm

And possible answers

Since Roy had further bouts of verbal diarrhea, after a long spell of good health the noise from cyberspace was supportive of his verbal diarrhea.

Here are four questions that I’ve not heard any anti-PAP warrior, nut or rational ask.

— Why has PM given Roy until 2033 to pay up?

— If PM had not sued, what would have happened in GE?

— If PM had not asked for damages, what would happen in future?

— Why are S’poreans only aroused  when there are allegations of wrong-doing?

Why has PM given Roy until 2033 to pay up?Why has PM given Roy until 2033 to pay up?

In other words, why is PM making payments affordable?

To pay the S$150,000 in damages owed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for defamation, blogger Roy Ngerng will start with payments of S$100 a month for five years, his lawyer said on Monday (Mar 14).

These instalments will start from Apr 1, 2016. After five years – from Apr 1, 2021 – Ngerng will have to pay S$1,000 a month until the full sum is paid, lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam said.

In addition, Ngerng will have to pay S$30,000 by Wednesday, Mar 16 for the costs of the Assessment of Damages hearing.

If he pays all the instalments on time, Ngerng will complete paying by 2033.

Why is PM liddat? Answers please given that the “noise” is not giving him any credit for putting Roy on a “never-never: payment scheme, because to give him credit for making defamation ‘affordable” would imply that Ah Loong’s a really nice guy.

If PM had not sued, what would have happened in GE?

If PM had not sued, Roy and M Ravi, as Oppo candidates in AMK GRC would have been entitled to claim that PM did not sue because Roy’s allegations that he stole our CPF money were true.  And this was a good reason as any other not to vote for PM.

And the other Oppo candidates in other wards could also claim that the allegations “must be true” otherwise PM would sue. And this would be a good reason to vote Oppo, even if that Oppo were members of the NSP, a party led by someone who never told us about his criminal conviction and bankrupty.

As it is, almost as soon as PM sued, Roy apologised to PM, claiming that the allegations were untrue giving the lie that he had done research in the issue. Research? What research?

Related post: In 1959, the PAP alleged wrongdoing by a minister. He sat down and kept quiet. He lost his seat and the PAP thrashed his party.

If PM had not asked for damages, what would happen in future?

“… The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) reiterates that we deplore this practice by the Singapore government of using exorbitant and punitive civil defamation suits to silence its critics”

The problem with not pressing for damages is that it than makes defaming the PM a cheap, effective way of becoming a political “celebrity”. Today, Roy, tom Goh Meng Seng, then New Citizen Han Hui Hui, then s/o JBJ. There’ll be no end of those lining up to defame PM or other ministers because there’s no cost to defaming them. And we know how S’poreans love free things, don’t we?

Why are S’poreans only aroused  when there are allegations of wrong-doing?

Seriously, I think that there’s a more important issue than whether PM should have sued or the quantum of damages.

We all know that people* like Uncle Leong etc (self included) have been posting on the relationship of CPF funds and the monies managed by GIC etc for a long time. But the public never took an interest on a matter that should concern them :their retirement and mortgage payment money.

It took Roy’s allegations that PM stole the CPF monies that made the public aware that they could and should better returns than the average of about 3.3% on their balances**.

Surely shumething is wrong, very wrong with the way S’poreans behave? Only when there is an allegation of wrong-doing, do people get aroused and interested.

When my Facebook avatar posted something like the above, he received this totful response from a leading economist and critic of many a govt policy:

What this indicates is that first there is widespread public confusion and mistrust about the CPF, second the CPF system needs careful examination and reform and third until Roy made crazy allegations the government has not seen fit to respond adequately to these issues

I think it’s not just something wrong with Singaporeans but that it shows poor management of policy and public opinion by the government.

More importantly it indicates that in our polity, there are insufficient real channels of feedback on key areas of policy concern that government is genuinely responsive to.

————————————–

*Even one Harry Lee talked about it in the early noughties when he explained that the govt issued a special bond to CPF and the proceeds of the bond went into the govt’s Consolidated Fund.

*You know when an issue is safe to talk about when an NUS academic is reported in the constructive, nation building ST talking about a topic. Such a topic is the link between our CPF monies and the monies managed by GIC.

As the report on 12 January 2016 is pretty short, here’s almost the full monty from BT:

The government can consider partially pegging returns on the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Ordinary Account (OA) to returns generated by sovereign wealth fund GIC, suggested an academic.

National University of Singapore (NUS) economics professor Chia Ngee Choon acknowledged that GIC returns are already distributed to Singaporeans indirectly through, for example, Budget top-ups to CPF accounts.

But linking GIC to the CPF OA interest rate allows for a more direct channel for Singaporeans to enjoy GIC returns should it do well, she noted. “We don’t want to miss the opportunity of having a higher rate.”

Assoc Prof Chia made the suggestion at an academic symposium on social security at NUS on Tuesday.

——————————

Reminders

OA monies earn either the legislated minimum interest of 2.%  per annum, or the three-month average of major local banks’ interest rates, whichever is higher. 2.5% is currently paid out as bank interest rates have been “peanuts”, with the relevant three-month average at 0.21% from August to October 2015.

An extra 1% is payable on the first S$60,000 of a member’s combined balances, with up to S$20,000 from the OA able to attract the extra interest.
GIC achieved a 20-year annualised real rate of return of 4.9 per cent for the financial year ended March 31, 2015. In US dollar terms, including the effect of inflation, GIC’s portfolio generated an annualised return of 6.1 per cent over the 20 years ended March 31, 2015.

——————————————-

To get higher returns on CPF, Assoc Prof Chia also suggested that Singaporeans can transfer excess money from the OA, which is used for housing, to the Special Account (SA), which is used for retirement and which generally pays a higher interest rate of 4-5 per cent a year. The CPF Board can encourage Singaporeans to monitor their OA and SA account balances more actively through sending text message or e-mail reminders, she pointed out.

However, people mightbe wary of transferring OA monies to SA, because the transfer is irreversible. Those who transferred might want to use the money to purchase a more expensive house, she added. She suggested an option to transfer money from the SA back to the OA, perhaps with a penalty or administrative fee.

 

 

Keep calm, juz carry on masturbating mentally

In Political governance on 19/03/2016 at 10:45 am

A wannabe politican and interner celebrity recently poated on FB:

We need to be alive to the dangers of allowing our political leaders to have too much power. We are asking for trouble if we do not have in place sufficient checks, balances and curbs on executive powers. Writer Catherine Lim outlines the dangers in her recent blogpost*

http://catherinelim.sg/2016/02/28/the-next-pap-leadership-more-of-the-same-or-a-whole-new-game/   A super troll posted: Too late. They already have too much power. And how to claw back when they have 70% of the popular vote?

The super troll has a valid point.

Waz the point of KPKBing about the bloody obvious? Really people like these two wimmin and the cybernuts from TRELand give the lie to what this good-hearted kay poh (Btw her son did time for drugs: Doesn’t charity begin at home?) said recently

Former NMP and founding member of AWARE Dr Kanwaljit Soin talked to 938LIVE’s Bharati Jagdish about her peeves: biases and meritocracy in Singapore, and dealing with OB markers.

Kanwaljit Soin: Well, first of all, whenever you express something is not right in Singapore, the first response of the Government is, “Oh, being critical is not good enough. Give us a better answer.” A citizen, who expresses his or her view about something that he or she feels is not right in Singapore is taking the time and trouble to do that. So we have to listen to them respectfully instead of saying, “Oh, don’t be confrontational. Don’t criticise. Be glad that you are in a safe country and all that.” Because what is the role of a citizen? The role of a citizen is to speak up for his or her country. And whether the establishment agrees with that person is another matter.

As long as we don’t break any laws in speaking up against what we feel is not right in the country, we should be allowed to do that. But, to be dismissed with “Oh, you’re being confrontational. Oh, what better ideas do you have than that”…

You don’t necessarily need to give a better idea. I mean, if you have it, you can. The first thing is to express that things are not doing well here.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/ex-nmp-dr-kanwaljit-soin/2595546.html

With people like these wimmin and TRE rats as enemies, the PAP doesn’t need friends.

 

 

 

Cina president: Fixed our minorities?

In Political governance on 18/03/2016 at 5:36 am

When TRE republished this piece on the Malay PAPPy that can thrash Dr Tan Cheng Bock (I called him “Chin Bock” in the piece: can’t remember why, “An honest mistake?”), it provoked the usual nuts. But there was a totful response which contains an explanation of the “unwritten understanding” between the natural aristocracy and the serfs from the minority races, which really I should have blogged about.

harold:
March 18, 2016 at 12:53 am (Quote)
Singaporeans need to get this clear.

At Independence, the leaders then came to the agreement that the President shall always be appointed from a minority group, because it was assumed – and not wrongly – that the Prime Minister, being an elected position, would more likely than not be a Chinese.

So far, all Prime Ministers have indeed been Chinese.

That alone shows that given the opportunity to vote for their leader, Singaporeans do in fact vote along racial lines.

The elected presidency reneged on the promise made at Independence. Thus if the rules are changed so as to allow for minorities as president – and by that I mean QUALIFIED – minorities, and I say this because it is more often than not assumed that minorities are NEVER AS QUALIFIED as any Chinese, which is RACISM – then all the government would be doing is returning to the promise made at Independence.

To the poster who made the claim that Halimah Yaacob is not even qualified for the presidency (see what I mean about the racism?): She is.

The Speaker is equivalent to a cabinet minister, which then qualifies her as President.

I would fully support a President Halimah Yaacob.

Two good insights on the PAP’s “divide and rule” the races:

dusky landspace lordess:

Change We Must:
PAP is a divisive party, why brought up the issue of races. We are all Singaporeans.

Always felt the policies were along racial lines. The help groups are also along racial lines. Hiring policies are also along racial lines. Political candidates are also along racial lines etc …

But must put me at the top of the list when wealth distribution is done.

It cannot be along racial lines as fancied.

I will come and take my rightful share.

And here’s a good dig about that opportunist extraordinaire, TJS,

jojo:

TCB would be the current President had it not for the stupid Tan Jee Say. He was a bloody spoiler. He doesn’t know what he wants in Politics. Where is he and what is he doing now, by the way?

Have a good weekend.

Malay PAPpy that can thrash Chin Bock

In Political governance on 13/03/2016 at 4:15 pm

So Dr Tan Chin Bock wants to be president (For the record, Ftr, I voted for him in 2011.). He obviously hasn’t been reading PM’s lips: that the next president will be a Malay and that the choice of candidates for president will be limited to Malays.

———————————

Yes, yes, I know a nine-member Constitutional Commission led by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon is reviewing eligibility criteria for candidates, the role of the Council of Presidential Advisers, and steps to ensure minority candidates have a chance to be elected from time to time. Still hasn’t PM stated his govt’s preferences? And for the commission to go against the elected govt’s mandate (more than two-thirds of voters)  is to show disrespect to the govt and the voters.

——————————————–

Fair is fair as there has been no Malay PM since the first president (Ftr again, his widow lives a few houses down the street). Btw, wonder if PM means Malay-Muslim or juz Malay? Unlike in M’sia there is no legal requirement for a Malay to be a Muslim in S’pore.

The thinking behind any restriction is that us Cina would prefer any Chinese to any Malay or Indian, even if it’s someone like Tan Kin Lian who lost his deposit at the last PE. And if the Chinese man is Dr Chin Bock (a compassionate, intelligent,  generous, gentleman) even Indians and Malays will vote for him.

But this Hard Truth is false because there’s one Malay who can beat Dr Chin Bock. with very little effort.

Last December, an anti-PAP paper warrior and I discussed who could beat Dr Tan.

————————–

He so hates the PAP that even when he uses SingHealth, he KPKBs that he must wait: he expects no waiting at polyclinic. I asked him why he uses SingHealth given his KPKBing and hatred of the PAP administration. He says thru gritted teeth, “Cheap” but quickly adds that PAP made him poor so he kanna use SingHealth. Ftr, he owns a landed property and drives a car: poor indeed.

—————————

He of course said, “No-one”. I pointed out that there was one Malay PAPpy who could thrash Dr Tan and that he and I would vote for that person: he had commended her in the past.

Yes the person in Halimah Yacob. Going by her credentials, she’d sew up the union, core PAP vote (“Any donkey so long as he or she is a PAP preferred donkey”) and wimmin vote. And because she’s such an intelligent nice, no-airs, capable and compassionate person, she’d get a big share of the swing vote. Ftr, we attended the same law postgraduate class in 1978.

My friend could only sputter, “Malay men won’t vote for her.” I said, “So what? The Malay wimmin, all wimmin, NTUC members, hard-core PAPPy voters and many swing voters will.” I added that I tot she could get more than 59% of the popular vote (i.e. more than Ong Teng Cheong in 1993)

He kept quiet. Or rather he switched topics: to the persecution of Amos the Fantastic.

But as elections are no sure things, I doubt that we’d get the chance to vote in a Halimah Yacob versus Dr Tan fight. Sad because if I’m right and she wins, it’d  kill forever the Hard Truth that Chinese will only vote Chinese even if the better candidate is non-Chinese. But maybe the PAP doesnt want to show that this Hard Truth has feet of clay?

——————————

Origin of “feet of clay”

Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. (Daniel 2:31-33)

And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.
And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. (Daniel 2:41-43)

——————————

Better for the PAP to play games on racial, cultural matters with the aim of perpetuating its hegemonic rule.

I end by commending this post where a law professor points out that Nathan was never elected” he was an unelected president, same like Devan Nair etc. Only Ong Teng cheong was the real deal.

Putting Kee Chiu in his place

In Uncategorized on 29/02/2016 at 12:43 pm

When addressing university students, minister-without-portfolio and NTUC chief Chan Chun Sing chided S’poreans for being obsessed with academic grades.

He cited the example of the management team at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), saying they do not have straights As results, and Singaporeans should emulate them by constantly thinking about “who is going to take their lunch”.

He grumbled,

I spoke to group of parents who said the system was too difficult, too rigid, too much tuition… So I asked, ‘Will you stop sending your son to tuition?’ And they said yes, they will stop if their neighbours stop first.

…Don’t become a yardstick society in which we aimlessly, blindly chase goals regardless of what we’re good at.

…This is something I fear for our society – where everyone goes after the same thing, the same yardstick, and we end up in what sociologists call a ‘prisoner’s dilemma’.

But the former SAF scholar and Chief of Army also talked about Singapore’s brand of “meritocracy” by citing himself as an example of “a single-parent family child” attaining success.

But what if he hadn’t scored good grades? As a TRE reader gvbhunjimk put it: Kee Chiu, in the first place you yourself try going to ITE/stop schooling right after secondary school/study in private see if you today still can get to become a minister and paper general with same speed/possible at all. If it can, then you come talk to us.

Another reader skin so thick put it this way: Why does this toy soldier general thinks he can lecture against the obsession with grades when it is his grades that got him the OMS & PS? Did he not himself all out pursue his quest for academic excellence = top grades in his salad days, knowing a scholarship will get him and his family out of the working class enclave of Macpherson HDB estate?

If he doesn’t feel awkward about giving such advice, there is something wrong about him. Maybe, as i see it, he came from the bottom 10%, single parent family, poor, no social status, no power, no authority, a nobody. Once he became a scholar, overnight, and on a fast track, everything changed for him. Now he has money, power, authority, career, political star. In between, there is a chasm, from nothing to everything. Perhaps it explains why sometimes, he seems … nouveau riche.

People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Someone who benefited (and still benefis) from the PAP administration’s fixation with academic results, should not tell “strivers” not to strive for similar excellence. Is he trying to close the door after he has become part of the natutal aristocracy?  Whatever, his remarks smack of hyprocisy and invites ridicule. Not the way to bcome a future PM or even a DPM.

Leave the clowning to s/o JBJ, Dr Chee or M Ravi.

Some other good comments by TRE readers

Xmen: The whole education system (e.g. streaming, admissions) is based on grades. What is he talking about?

eltmg: Monetary Authority of Singapore study of the top echelons, does this includes our GLCs, GICs, stat boards, cabinet ministers?

Which parents does not want to groom their children for the opportunity to have the career path you are on?

Mr Chan, pls share with us what you need to do to get a SAF scholarship. This would be a great guide to all parents in Singapore.

nihon: how stupid can he be?

first, he said, ‘the poor need concern not money.’

now, ‘no need 4 As’. so can psc award scholahsleep without considering the grades? hypocrite.

no one has 4 As at mas cos they are the older generation, where 2 As and 2 Bs could score a scholahsleep.

now, 4 As also can’t get any awards, unless with distinctions in s papers and eca/cca scores.

unless you belong …

people has broken the A level code. its just a rote learning exercise. the whole system does not develop thinkers, innovators and entrepreneurs. only exam smart clowns and useless bookworms.

 

 

Easy way of avoiding rogue presidents

In Political governance on 25/02/2016 at 1:31 pm

No need to change the constitution. Juz no preferred candidates who were NTUC secretary-generals.

The two presidents that disgraced the presidency were ex-PAP leaders who were NTUC leaders. Devan was drunk when he fondled the Chief Minister’s of Sarawak’s wife in Sarawak at an official dinner.

Ong had an unhealthy obsession about the extent of his powers as jaga in chief. I’ve always tot that he was wasting everybody’s time on the issue of immovable assets and the sale of POSB to DBS. One of these days, I’ll blog on his obsession about keeping the reserves locked up from S’poreans. He wanted us to starve while looking at the gold, noses pressed onto the reinforced plate-glass? See no touch isit?

Tony Tan is an ex-PAP leader and was a leading member of the cabinet. He is doing what the president should do. and (touch wood) he’ll end his presidency on a high note, making the PAP and S’poreans proud that we had an ex-PAP leader who dignified the office, not degraded it, something Ong and Devan did.

They may have been part of the nation-building team of the PAP but they ended their public careers on a really low note esp Devan. Perhaps they went mad in their NTUC days, trying to manage their role as the champion of the workers with their role as senior managers in Harry’s city?

As to the other presidents, non-politicians all, they all upheld the dignity of the office, performing their duties quietly without getting drunk, fondling women or picking fights with the government that had no legal basis. For the last,  there are others who can do the job. There was JBJ, and today there are s/o JBJ, M Ravi, Roy Ngerng and New Citizen and FT Han Hui Hui.

Double confirm, Ah Loong is lucky

In Economy on 24/02/2016 at 3:56 pm

Oil prices collapsed at the right time.

Here I pointed out how lucky Ah Loong was in calling a GE in 2015 before the global economy took a turn for the worse. Here’s another example of his luck.

Recently, while searching my online archives for some historical data, I came across a note to self that I wrote in very late 2014 referencing a piece in the constructive, nation-building media that reported the slow growth in wages since 2011. I commented to self on how this slow growth in real wages would affect the elections in 2015 (Remember by then I had predicted a  GE in 2015.). Nominal wage growth barely compensated for the growth in inflation. Inflation was a problem.

I tot that the slow real wage growth since 2011 reported in the article would mean that it would not be possible for the PAP to win big in coming GE.

But were the economists (they are still employed in the banks today) quoted in the report wrong, very wrong because in 2015:

The median Singaporean worker has seen “significant real income growth” in the last five years – a “really quite unusual” performance when most other countries have seen little or even negative income growth, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

Since 2010, after the global financial crisis, the median household income in Singapore has grown by 18 per cent in real terms – that is, after adjusting for the increase in the cost of living, he noted at a walkabout at Taman Jurong on Sunday (Sep 3) evening.

“We’ve seen very unusual sustained income growth in real terms, not just for the people at the top, but for the middle class – and in fact, the households in the low-income group have seen slightly faster real income growth than those in the middle,” he said. (CNA)

(I assume he was using the data summarised here.) Note this was said days before the GE.

— The bi-annual survey compiled by Towers Watson’s Data Services Practice also revealed that in real terms, salaries in Singapore will rise 4.4 per cent. The salary increase budget for 2016 is expected to increase 4.5 per cent, according to the survey. (CNA in May 2015).

The collapse in inflation in 2014 and 2015 due to the collapse in oil prices starting in October 2014 changed everything when it came to real wages because even if wage increases were “peanuts”, the collapse in inflation would ensure that wages went up in real terms. And the nominal increase in wages were not “peanuts”: The total wage increase in 2014 stemmed from a basic wage gain of 4.9% in 2014 (a slight decrease from 5.1% in 2013), while bonuses remained unchanged at 2.21 months of basic wages in 2014. (NWC Guidelines 2015/ 2016 published in May 2015)

If anyone is interested, here’s my note to self (Explanation: The Italic bits are the original article which paints a really gloom picture of real wages (remember oil prices had started falling only three months earlier in October 2014). The words in normal font were my comments at the time:

Why not possible for PAP to win early elections big

The PAP is deluded if thinks can win big in an early election. Real wage growth has been slow, really slow.

It’s not the usual suspects raising the issue but the constructive, nation-building media allied to the PAP administration.

For those who have placed the blame for slow wage growth squarely on cheap imported labour, this year’s headline figures in manpower would have been sobering  Despite sharp pullbacks in manpower inflows in the past few years – to the extent that the percentage of vacancies being filled by Singaporeans rather than foreigners this year hit its highest level since 2011 [Can believe Mom’s data meh?].- average pay cheques, after adjusting for inflation, grew by only 0.4 per cent amid tight labour market conditions.

And if Singapore’s struggles with boosting productivity persist, the picture on the wage growth front next year is unlikely to be any rosier, said economists, especially given the poor global economic outlook. The impending cessation of the Wage Credit Scheme (WCS), which subsidises firms for pay raises, will add another chokehold …

The reality

“Companies don’t want their margin to be squeezed. They want to save more, hold on to a profit margin, to prepare for the next year when there’s no more WCS,” said UOB economist Francis Tan. “Once you increase the wages, it will be hard to move them down again. And if the workers are still not as productive as you want them to be, it can be quite dangerous for the existence of the company.”

Labour productivity contracted 0.8 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter, worse than the 0.3 per cent fall in the first half, figures from the Ministry of Manpower showed. The first half of last year registered a 1.3 per cent decline, but this improved to 0.8 per cent growth in the second half.

Why productivity matters [Update in 2016: Still matters, low inflation not withstanding]

The repercussions of flagging productivity, as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned, could extend to the whole of the Republic’s economy. With the tightening of the tap on foreign workers pushing up wages more quickly than productivity, not only will firms pass on the higher costs to consumers, but Singapore’s potential growth and competitiveness could also suffer a blow, the IMF said.

FTs needed

DBS economist Irvin Seah noted: “Businesses are unable to pursue more orders because of this labour crunch. This will also prevent them from increasing their top-line, unless the productivity of the existing manpower is able to improve.”

Besides sluggish productivity growth, OCBC’s Ms Selena Ling said companies face pressure from higher rental costs. Singapore is expected to top the rental forecast for Asia-Pacific cities, with a 25 per cent increase in office rents from this year to 2019, based on a report from property consultancy Knight Frank in September.

In adjusting to these costs, business will take into account the differing flexibility of the various types of business costs. Between rental and wage costs, wages provide a “little bit more room for negotiation”, said Ms Ling.

Agreeing, Mr Tan said many companies have been moving towards higher variable components in wages to help buffer against economic cycles.

Workers who benefit from WCS – those earning below S$4,000 – are not considered as vulnerable as low-wage workers. But given the modest growth prospects next year, some economists speculate that the Government could extend the scheme.

“At this moment, it looks like the United States is showing signs of much more broad-based sustained recovery, while the rest of the world is in different stages of recovery and slowdown,” noted CIMB Research economist Song Seng Wun.

Mr Seah, however, noted that the WCS, which represents a form of government transfer, was never meant to last and that the more sustainable approach to boost workers’ pay is to equip them with the right skills.

PAP returns to its roots

“Although I think our fiscal policies are gradually becoming more socialistic in nature, I think the Government has continued to emphasise the need for self-sufficiency and the notion of meritocracy,” he said. “I think such principles should continue to remain the hallmark of our economic policies.”

Employers kanna pay and pay

Indeed, firms have had no choice but to paymore in the stretched labour market, which workers have been quick to capitalise on.

“And it’s not just the blue-collar workers, but the senior and middle management too,” said RecruitPlus Consulting’s managing director, Mr Adrian Tan.

But inflation is rising too, so no real wage growth/ Growth/ What growrh?

Mr Erman Tan, president of the Singapore Human Resources Institute, added that firms will face pressure to keep wage growth at least on a par with inflation. Core inflation, which indicates the rise in everyday out-of-pocket costs, has been estimated at 2 to 3 per cent next year, higher than the 2 to 2.5 per cent expected this year.

“Inflation is still putting pressure on staff. Firms have to make sure staff have the peace of mind to work, so you can change work procedures, change mindsets and invest in automation, leading to improvement in productivity,” he said.

in the push for wages to grow because of productivity improvement. In September, the cleaning industry became the first to adopt a skill-wage ladder as a criterion to secure licensing, representing a breakthrough in lifting the pay of a group of workers who have seen their income stagnate. The Progressive Wage Model was also announced for security guards and will be implemented in 2016.

Parable of the contented dog/ No need to be grateful to the PAP

In Political governance on 18/02/2016 at 2:11 pm

Dog outside Lampedusa reception centre

The mottled brown dog paws the heavy wire gates of the reception centre and whines to be let in, rubbing his mangy head on the mesh to try to attract the guard’s attention. The young officer grins as he opens the door;

“You just can’t get enough of these guys can you?” he says fondly as the stray dog makes a beeline for the lunch queue and trots expectantly towards a group of migrants who are spooning pasta from plastic pots.

Inside the reception centre, the brown dog chews contentedly on a sock he’s stolen from an asylum seeker. He rolls onto his back in the dust. Tonight these migrants may all be shipped off, but tomorrow, or perhaps the day after, he knows there’ll be more of them, so his future at least is certain.

[Update at 5.oo pm: Dogs are really smart

— “They hitched themselves to us, which was a pretty good gamble as it turned out, because there are about a billion dogs in the world today and probably not even 10 million wolves.”

— I read somewhere that mature dogs are more intelligent than kids below 5.  So dogs are smaerter than a recently built AI  machine rhar has intelligence of  4 yr old kid.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-34464879%5D

When I read the above, part of a BBC article, I couldn’t help but think of the S’poreans who voted for the PAP. They like this dog want an easy life and so are happy to remain behind barbed wire and fences and be dependent on the PAP. They know the PAP will take care of them. After all they can (and rightly)  point out

— Pioneer Gen healthcare benefits which make medical treatment and retirement home care  almost free for the elderly. This is a great saving for the elderly and their children.

— Blended CPF rate of about 3.3%. Try get that kind of risk-free return anywhere.

— Govt is trying to ensure that the BTO flat does not lose value. And trying hard to ensure hat private housing and resale HDB flats don’t suffer big falls in value.

— Public tpt system is being improved.

— Employees get a real wage increase by increasing employer contributions.

Except for the last, remember that it’s our money that is paying for the goodies. Whereas the dog really gets goodies for free, we don’t. We paid for them in advance. It’s like using yr prepaid mobile card.

The dog gets fed because of human kindness. The only reason the PAP is being generous to us with our money is because in 2011, unhappy voters whacked it real hard twivce. In PE 2011, its preferred candidate (a decent, good man) won by only a few hundred votes from another decent, good man.

Take the goodies. But let’s not be grateful for them. We are entitled to them because it’s our money and the PAP wants to maintain S’pore as a de-facto one party state.

Finally if the administration was less fixated on budget surpluses and doling out goodies, we’d have lower taxes. GST could still be at 5%. [Update at 6.00pm: GIC’s ex-chief economist estimates that S’pore’s budget surplus calculated the IMF way is 7% of GDP.]

So for the swing voters who voted for the PAP out of gratitude, juz remember it’s yr money. If you like me are one of those who are not hard core anti-PAP nuts but don’t vote for the PAP, juz take stuff on offer and remember it’s our money.

Related post: Why people vote for the PAP? Appealing to greedy but gullible people works?

PAPpies keep trying trick that’s obsolescent

In Political governance, Public Administration on 16/02/2016 at 3:27 pm

The internet, new media and social media makes the trick ever easier to detect. Yet they persist in treating this trick as a Hard Truth, even though when caught out it makes them look like Phey Yew Kok and friends. Why do they persist? That stupid and complacent isit? Why liddat?

The above were my tots when GIC’s ex-chief economist (now with the Institute of Policy Studies) highlighted this bit in SunT’s report on an environment assessment report which said the effect of soil testing works on animals and plants in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve could be kept to “moderate” levels if measures to reduce impact are strictly implemented when building MRT tracks in the area.

What does “moderate” mean? The roughly 1,000-page report, seen by The Sunday Times, said a moderate impact “falls somewhere in the range from a threshold below which the impact is minor, up to a level that might be just short of breaching a legal limit”.

Assistant Professor Chian Siau Chen of the civil and environmental engineering department at the National University of Singapore said there are usually five categories under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) framework: Major, moderate, minor, negligible and beneficial.

My FB avatar posted

Thanks for highlighting the scale. So Moderate comes after Major ((((( Reminds me of what Financial Times wrote: “The practice of “reservation” — giving answers that are technically accurate but tactically misleading — was honed by medieval Jesuits ….

‘There is a problem with Jesuitical equivocation, as select committee hearings may show. It makes exponents look shifty if they are rumbled.” In the age of the internet the PAP govt should be learning new tricks, not try to use old tricks that no longer work.giving answers that are technically accurate but tactically misleading

(Emphasis mine)

This reminded me about another recent incident where the literal truth misled and S’pore Technologies was made to look shifty.

Remember the story that we we had PRC parachute riggers?

The u/m appeared on a senior lawyer’s wall

“The SAF continues to fully employ its Riggers, particularly for key operations and training. In order to optimise our resources, we have outsourced the parachute-packing function to Singapore Technologies (ST)”.

Question : If the parachute-packing is outsourced to ST, what do the riggers do?

Answer : Dunno. Answer is (probably intentionally) obscure. One possibility is that the riggers check the parachutes – but the SAF’s answer is far from being a model of clarity.

Question : Has the outsourcing of packing to ST reduced the SAF’s need for riggers?

Answer : Almost certainly.

Question : Are there PRC nationals employed by ST to pack parachutes.

Answer : SAF doesn’t say. Who knows.

Question : Do ST packers have to jump with a chute they’ve packed themselves?

Answer : SAF didn’t say.

And

A very direct allegation (that parachute packing is now being done by PRC nationals) was made, and the answer was vague, and did not contain a denial…… Hmmmm.

Why didn’t the SAF simply state that no foreign nationals are employed to pack parachutes? I hope it’s ineptness in public relations rather than clumsy 1MDB style non-denials.

The rather sad thing is that the newspapers pick up on the SAF response and repeat it verbatim as news, without asking any follow up questions trying to understand what it really means in simple terms.

This is the ‘uncritical’ media culture we have … In today’s day and age, where Singapore is trying to promote risk taking and value creation, the newsmedia culture is somewhat outmoded ,,,

My FB avatar chirped:

Someone in another group informed of a deleted comment. It could explain why SAF aswered the way it did./// “I checked into this. Here’s what I was told:
“There are a couple of PRC Riggers who are under IWF (Integrated Work Force) and work for ST. These Riggers are US certified and will be certified again by the SAF if they have met the requirements and standards. Their pack jobs are certified by SAF Riggers who approve that the parachutes are ready and good for jump. They are only basic trained and perform their job according to their level.””///

The internet, new media and social media make giving answers that are technically accurate but tactically misleading easier to catch and this makes exponents look shifty if they are rumbled. In the age of the internet, the PAP administration should be learning new tricks (like telling the tral truth, not just the literal truth), not try to use old tricks that no longer work like giving answers that are technically accurate but are misleading.

 

 

Why ministers feel poor

In Uncategorized on 29/01/2016 at 12:52 pm

They compare themselves to the Clintons and feel poor beside them: remember a PAP MP implied he did not respect people with low pay? From NYT Dealbook

Mrs. Clinton and her husband have earned more than $125 million in income from speeches since 2001 – one-fifth of that in the last two years. Mrs. Clinton’s speechmaking has been a tour through high finance from GTCR, the Chicago private equity firm that the Republican governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, helped found, to Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

Btw, even Americans think the Clintons made too much money

“Although they needed money, I think that Bill was raking in enough that Hillary didn’t have to do it,” said Ed Rendell, a former Pennsylvania governor, who has supported Mrs. Clinton. “To people who earn $200,000 in seven years, it looks ridiculous.”

And tememmber that M’sia’s PM got US$680m and “kept” only about  US$61m.

How he going to respect our PM if he like the PAPpy eye doctor?

Why U-turn on elected president

In Political governance on 24/01/2016 at 1:36 pm

Lasi Thursday, I pointed out that the post of president, whether elected or appointed has been problematic for the PAP because an elected president (Ong Teng Cheong) and an appointed president (Devan Nair) have proved embarrassments to the PAP.

In this post, I’ll explain why I think two PAP apologists are showing off their intellectual deficiencies in their rush to show that the elected president is problematic for S’pore’s political stability.

— Professor Kishore Mahbubani* believes that we should consider the possibility that a rogue president could be elected, and that we should consider having the president be chosen by Parliament once again (“Let’s talk about policy failures and the elected presidency“.

One Herod Cheng, on the issue that an elected presidency doesn’t work for S’pore)

There’ll be great black comedy when the PM has to explain publicly why an appointed president can be a better protector of reserves and minorities than an elected president can. Didn’t the PAP say only an elected president has the electoral mandate to resist Mad Dog Chee’s plans to squander the reserves if said Mad Dog became PM?

Ownself contradict Oneself. Or should it be “Ownself argue against Ownself”?

Before the last PE, I wrote a post (see below) arguing with part of my tongue firmly in my cheek that the voters could change the role of the presidency. The piece was inspired by the bid of Tan Jee Say who was widely perceived to be the preferred choice of the SDP. His rallies looked like SDP rallies. Could it be that Mad Dog Chee was Coyote (the trickster god), realising that the SDP could change the rules of how S’pore is governed by getting its preferred candidate chosen by the people as president.

In a sense the voters really changed the nature of the presidency: by showing the PAP that 65% of the voters didn’t want the PAP’s preferred candidate, even though he was an honourable, likeable, competent and experienced guy. “Anyone but the PAP’s preferred candidate” was the refrain that PM, his dad and the other PAP leaders heard from us the rabble.

This surely has the PAP worried because anything less than 60% of the popular vote is looked upon as a defeat. So the last PE, although its preferred candidate won by a really short nose, was a really a defeat for the PAP.

Hence the apologists are out prostituing their mental deficiencies.

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We the voters will decide what kind of president we want

From films about the Romans, many S’poreans will be familiar with terms like “emperor” , “consul” and “senator”. What most won’t be familiar with is the word “tribune”.

There was a time, when the tribune was the most powerful man in Rome. He derived his authority (which included being above the law) because he was the only leader who had to win a Rome-wide election where all the citizens voted. He was apponted by the will of the people, and derived his powers from the simple fact of winning an election where all Romans voted.

In the S’pore context, even though, those who argue that the president can be an activist president do not have the law (OK the lawyers) on their side, their views could still prevail. In a democracy (assuming S’pore is one), the will of the people matters.

In 1975, Australia had a constitutional crisis which started when the opposition-controlled senate refused to pass legislation allowing the unpopular Labor government to spend money (block supply). It ended when the Labor appointed governor-general sacked the Labor prime minister who still commanded a majority in the house of representatives. An election of both houses of parliament followed, and Labor lost.

Even though the senate retains its power to block supply, and the governor-general the power to dismiss the government, these powers have not been used since 1975.

The reason is that these actions are considered too controversial to try again. The Australian public has decided that whatever the constitution allows, the senate should not block supply, nor should the government be sacked by the governor-general. The government can only lose power in a general election or if loses the support of the majority in the house of representatives.

Putting this into the S’pore context, the role of the elected president can be changed (without changing the constitution) if

– an eligible candidate says he will be an “activist” president;

– he gets elected;

– he walks the walk, not juz talk the talk; and

– the government, instead of removing him or ignoring him or telling him to shut up, listens to him.

Then the role of the president will change by convention (customary practice). And if the government ignores him or removes him, then the voters at the next GE will have the final say. They can remove the government that doesn’t want an activist president.

Is this easier than winning two-thirds of the parliamentary seats and amending the constitution? At least this process doesn’t depend on the People in Blue, the near clones of the MIW.

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Wanted President: Must not embarass the PAP

In Political governance on 21/01/2016 at 1:16 pm

Professor Kishore Mahbubani* believes that we should consider the possibility that a rogue president could be elected, and that we should consider having the president be chosen by Parliament once again (“Let’s talk about policy failures and the elected presidency“.

The assumption is that the elected president can do serious damage to S’pore. The last time a PAP minister addressed the issue before PE 2011, the Pet Minister made it clear that the constitutional position of the president was jaga only. He has very limited powers that he could exercise by himself. And these are of a custodian nature i.e. jada work. So at best a rogue president can embarrass S’pore.

Well, we had one such appointed rogue president, Devan Nair, who behaved inappropriately when drunk in Sarawak. And he was appointed by parliament wasn’t he? Turned out badly didn’t he? A real disgrace to S’pore and S’poreans. Worse, he alleged he was fixed.

(Related post: The other PAP apologist, one Herod Cheng, on the issue of the presidency)

What Kishore and Cheng should tell us is that history shows us is an elected president can embarrass the PAP administration. Think Ong Teng Cheong and the wayang he staged over inmovable state assets to show us he was a good jaga.

That row made Ong Teng Cheong the hero of the anti-PAP nuts. Funny thing is that if he had his way, the reserves cannot ever be touched. Interest, dividends and capital gains would be locked up in the name of capital preservation. And he’s a hero to the anti-PAP mob? They bleat that the PAP steals our CPF. OTC wanted to locked away from use.

So if the two PAP apologists had argued that the elected presidency should be scrapped because a “rogue” president can embarrass the PAP administration, I’d sit down and shut up because they have a point. But they argue this way because it’d mean that they will no longer be able to grovel, “The PAP is always right.”

Seriously, there will be great black comedy when the PM has to explain publicly why an appointed president can be a better protector of reserves and minorities than an elected president can. Didn’t the PAP say only an elected president had the electoral mandate to resist Mad Dog Chee’s plans to squander the reserves if said Mad Dog became PM?

Ownself contradict ownself. Or should it be Ownself argue against Ownself.

The other black comedy will be to see the Worthless Party of very highly paid social workers (Kate Spade Tin is their poster gal: social work more impt than talking cock in parly) sit on their hands leaving Lion Man to savage the PAP. Yes I’m hoping the WP will not castrate Leon the Lion. Rumour has it that he had things he wanted to say about the internal review of the SDH tragedy that was made public but was told to sir down and shut up by the WP leaders. Let’s see if he speaks up when the tragedy is discussed in parly. If he doesn’t, then there’ll be some truth to the rumour of Low muzzling the Lion Man.

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*He accused a US regulator of being a rogue regulator, after the regulator went after StanChart. Shortly, thereafter StanChart admitted it was a rogue bank.  The PAP apologist looked like a real cock.

Anti-PAP people, don’t get excited by DPP victory

In Political governance on 19/01/2016 at 10:25 am

In cyberspace the PAPpy nuts are busy slimimg the DPP and calling the Taiwanese stupid, showing how insecure the nutty PAP 35 points are (expect Herod Cheng to comment on the DPP victory, once he’s told what to think)  while the anti-pAP folks (nuts and rational) are drawing parallels between the DPP and the SDP. Remember that once upon a time, Mad Dog Chee was a puppy beside his DPP counterparts. The DPP and SDP have become responsible adult sheep dogs, intent on protecting their flocks.

Two reasons why the DPP won big time

Taiwanese voters have become wary about giving China too much influence over their island, which was one reason for the KMT’s defeat.

The other was the economy. The elections were mainly fought on bread-and-butter issues, such as stagnating salaries and skyrocketing housing prices. Mr Ma’s inability to use ties with China to revitalise the ailing economy, along with party infighting and a badly run campaign, explains the KMT’s worst-ever defeat. Its candidate, Eric Chu resigned as party chairman. The election showed Taiwan wants change; crowds of Ms Tsai’s supporters roared “New politics, new economy, a new Taiwan” during the vote count.

(Economist blog)

All the focus is on the first reason but think about the second; the economy. If the govt had managed to alleviate or mitigate the effects of stagnating salaries and skyrocketing housing prices could it have won?

I don’t know but S’pore has had the stagnating salaries and skyrocketing housing prices but the PAP administration increased its share of the popular vote by 10 points to 70% despite a slowing economy caused by global problems.

The stagnating salaries problem was mitigated by increasing employers’ CPF contributions by one point and by intriPioneer Gen benefits especially in healthcare. This meant that families spent less on their aged parents (examples here), giving them more cash for other needs.

As to the  skyrocketing housing prices, the govt has built more public housing and introduced measures aimed at reducing the attraction of investing or speculating in property.

It could spend more on us because budget surpluses are equivalent to  7% of our GDP. A budget surplus is seen as a virtue even by Western govts (except those the SDP admire) but in S’pore, it can (and should) be seen as a way of keeping goodies* from the voters in “normal times” so that when the rabble are really unhappy (not juz mutinious) with the elite, there’s the rabble’s money to be spent. Ownself spend other people’s money?

Until people like Dr Paul Thamby, Dr Ang Yong Guan, Terry Xu, P(olitican) Ravi, Alex Au and Richard Wan (remember him?) and other intelligent, agood-hearted kay – understand how the PAP games the budget and reserves ecosystem, and communicates this insight to the swing voter, the PAP will remain in power, forever and a day.

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*Don’t spend so much, cannot reduce GST meh? Why liddat?

 

PAP’s fault? Pinoy cons target 55%

In Uncategorized on 14/01/2016 at 12:38 pm

I Iot the above when I read on CNA’s website

Online scams: Singaporeans easy targets, says one scammer

Janice* told GET REAL why Singaporeans are easier, more “gullible” targets for scammers like her both in and out of the country.

“Australians are quite difficult and snobbish, so I need to adjust to them a lot. I have to sound extra sweet and very loving, unlike Singaporeans. With them (Singaporeans), I can just say anything and they will easily believe me,” said Janice.

Online dating sites are a common choice for scammers who tend to target men.

Even though a large number of Singaporeans are considered relatively Internet-savvy, some seeking companionship turn to online dating sites where many “love scammers” operate, said experts.

The lack of a language barrier has also made Singaporeans particularly easy targets for international cybercriminals to approach for scams, said experts and scammers like Janice.

According to Norton Cyber Security, victims of online crime in Singapore have each lost an average of US$545 in the past year, higher than the international average of US$358 a victim. Note the local average loss is 52% more than the int’l average.

As to the 55% figure, as I see it, 35 points of this 55%  are, based on PE 2011. hard core PAP voters, while based on GE 2015 about 20 points arethe hard core Oppo voters. The former will always believe the PAP, for example when a miniter says “CPF is yr money”, they’ll believe him and forget about the restrictions on its use.

Or they agree with ministers and the HDB that “HDB flata are affordable” because new HDB flats have remained affordable, HDB said. After all, 2014, first-time home buyers used less than a quarter of their monthly income on average to pay for their housing loans, below international affordability benchmarks of 30 to 35%, HDB said. Adding that about 80% of the first-time new flat buyers also service their monthly installment using only their CPF savings, with no cash outlay required.”

Or worse say “PAP knows better than us our needs”.

The hard core anti-PAP voters are happy to vote for clowns like s/o JBJ, Goh Meng Seng, Roy, and M Ravi because they believed Roy when he said PM stold out CPF money. They even still believe it after he said he had talked cock when making the allegation. He’s so ashamed that he has moved on to photography?

These 55%  are the gullible S’poreans that Janice and others target successfully for their bread and batter.

The kaya is provided by the really guilbe men who voted for New Citizen Han Hui Hui because they think she is good-looking or brainy or both. They are the ones that make Janice rich.

Seriously the remaining 45% of S’potean should be asking ourselves why 55% of us are gullible retards. Having ruled S’poe since 1959, the PAP must surely take some (if not most) of the blame for turning 55% of the people into sheep, or keeping them that way?

After all the education system priduces a headmaster like Mr Chia who can’t analyse a simple issue and who resorts to name-calling (like another famous product of the education system: Amos theBoy Fantastic

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* Who is she? Janice (not her real name), a 27-year-old wife and mother in the Philippine capital Manila, carries out online scams on a full-time basis. Like many online scammers, Janice was introduced to the business of online scamming by her friends. The attraction of financial rewards was something she could not ignore. Through online scams alone, Janice makes an average of US$2,100 monthly. In the Philippines, that is equivalent to a senior manager’s monthly salary. So lucrative is her trade that she has since introduced the skill of scamming to her neighbour.

Win, win for PAP and Oppo areas

In Political governance on 04/01/2016 at 10:18 am

The PAP administration’s policy of denying residents (even die hard PAPies ans PAP voters) of Aljunied and Hougang goodies funded by tax-payers (including residents of these areas) has failed miserably. Hougang has remained WP since 1991

 

 

 

. Aljunied still remains WP despite the efforts of the PAP and civil servants.

And Potong Pasir may not have fallen in 2011, if Chiam had stood there yet again. The swing voters seemed to have a personal loyalty to him, and didn’t believe that a vote for Lina Chiam was still a vote for Chiam. And then there were the unhappy grass-root activists and voters who didn’t like how the Chiams treated Desmond Lim.

As for putting the fear of other areas turning against the PAP lest they become slums, didn’t work in Punnggol East and Aljunied did it?

Voters know private property and HDB prices are NOT better in PAP areas. Hougang and Potong Pasir house prices didn’t suffer despite the lack of PAP goodies funded by S’poreans.

Maybe if the PAP wants to win 100% of the seats in parly again* and have 78%  again of the popular vote, it should heed the words of the UK’s Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine on how to be the dominant party for over three centuries.

I was often asked when I was in Liverpool why do you bother, there are no votes for us there. [He was referring to his govt’s attempts in the 1980s to rejuvenate Liverpool, a stronghold of the militant left-wing of the Labour Party. Still controlled by Labour]

“First of all it was right to bother. And secondly, if you are seen to be bothering in areas which are not traditionally your heartlands, it influences the judgment of people on a much wider constituency basis, often way away from the actually affected areas.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-35189867

He should know. As he says of his party,

“It is the most successful political force in the history of democracy. It has held power longer than any other equivalent anywhere in the world.

“They have a nose for power and winning it. I doubt if it will desert them.”

(What he doesn’t say is that party is ruthless in getting rid of leaders once they pass their expiry dates. He played a leading role of getting rid of Thatcher, when she lost her touch of winning elections.)

It is a fact that since the 18th century, the party has seen off the Whigs (extinct), Liberals (almost extinct) and Labour (now in crisis again): a record the CCP, PAP, UMNO and LDP will find hard to match.

So maybe time for the PAP to be the “nice” party, not the “nasty” party, even if the PAP vermin are as nasty as the TRE’s nutty rats. 

And if it does, this guy could be a future minister in a PAP cabinet. 

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*But then Even the Ethiopian government looked a little sheepish when the ruling EPRDF party and its allies won every single seat in this year’s parliamentary election. 

The same BBC report ends

Two African countries which have undergone serious conflict in the recent past and are now doing well in terms of economic growth and lower corruption rates are Ethiopia and Rwanda.

Is it a coincidence that both, especially Rwanda, are highly disciplined and place severe restrictions on political and media freedom?

Why do PAPpy vermin hate S’poreans?/ Related to TRE’s cybernuts?

In Uncategorized on 03/01/2016 at 1:11 pm

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away an emperor of a little red dot said, “Those who go on the internet are unhappy people.”

Three incidents in December reminded me of this saying. And who are the really unhappy people on the internet? They are PAPpies who worship the greatest Sith Lord of all; one Harry Lee. DSC_0011

Remember this? Many S’poreans (self included) were wondering what was a beefy, hulk doing on welfare? But before we found out he was a sick man, the PAPpy dogs (Sorry, my dogs growled) rats and vermin went wild in cyberspace.

They called him and his wife “lazy”, “scroungers” etc and wondered how they deceived their way into getting welfare.

What I found tragically amusing is that these PAPpies had so little faith in the public servants handling the case. It was clear from the video that whatever their failings (and I think there were none), they acted in the belief that he and his wife needed help. If the PAPpies don’t trust public servants administering the welfare policies policies of their beloved 9th immortal, why should the anti-PAP voters trust public servants? DSC_0029

 

 

 

 

Fabrications about the PAP came up with a piece pointing out that although Mrs Chee didn’t work, the family could afford overseas hols. Again the rabid PAppies came out, strong and abusive. Even though I had posted that the Chees could not related to ordinary S’poreans given Mrs Chee’s attitude to “work”, my Facebook avater and other fair-minded S’poreans) pointed out to the vermin that

— the Chees were not on welfare;

— it was the Chees’ choice how they spent their money; and

— maybe Dr Chee was working smart, in line with the govt’s exhortations on producitity.

Surprising the PAPpies fell silent, not turning their abuse on us.

Finally there was the “flag as a table cloth” incident.  Fabrications about the PAP denounced the photos as a fake and made many a seditious statements. Jason Chua’s morons were cheered on by the PAP vermin.

Then Israel apologised after a junior diplomat working at its embassy in Singapore reportedly used the country’s flag as a tablecloth at a party.

You could hear a pin drop as Jason Chua and friends were publicly castrated, and their tecticles hung around their necks.

My question is why the anger and hatred against fellow S’poreans?

I can understand the hatred and anger of s/o JBJ, Mad Dog Chee, Goh Meng Seng, Roy Ngerng, New Citizen Hui Hui, M Ravi, Gilbert Goh, Amos Yee, Constance Singham, Balji (retired imperial stormtrooper general, paper division not happy with his “peanuts” pension?), Tan Wah Piow, Tan Kin Lian, New Old Citizen Pussy Lim, and the cybernuts from TRELand (like Ng Cock Lim, Philip Ang, Dosh and grave-dancer Oxygen).

They are frustrated that 70% of the voters rejected their anti-PAP BS and voted for the PAP.

But the PAP vermin like Jason Chua and friends? What do they have to be angry and unhappy about? They are part of the 70%, so waz there to be upset and angry about? And better still, are the true believers of the Hard Truths* about CPF, and public healthcare, transport and hiusing, keeping the faith when others started having doubts after 2006 GE.

Going by their comments about the Chees and the sick man, I get the sense that despite their chanting of the Hard Truths, they know that they are only one small step ahead of disaster because of the following (Extracts from http://www.aceprofitsacademy.com/5-things-stopping-you-from-retiring-early-s/?cam=outR3hurtS):

Spend too much too soon

Many Singaporeans keep spending away their money, sinking into debt and setting themselves for an insecure financial future. Even without realising it!

And what do many people commonly splurge on? Nice clothes, nice shoes, watches, cars, branded bags. Just so they feel they can keep up with their friends. Or to show off to others.

Or they will feel like they have earned the right to indulge after working so hard. Shopping, restaurants, clubs, bars, and expensive holidays.

And

Letting debt accumulate

Start clearing your debt ASAP, before they creep up on you. Don’t let unsecured debt punch a big hole in your early retirement plans. Most people think they can ‘wait’ till they have enough money to clear their debts. That will never happen, because you’ll end up spending more and more on different things down the road as your lifestyle changes.

And

Lifestyle inflation

Many Singaporeans will spend more money when they have more money to spend. This is called lifestyle inflation and it can do serious damage to your financial future.

They feel entitled, thinking that the more money they can make, the more they have earned the right to treat themselves and their family to better things in life.

I know people who buy better cars after a few years, moved into condos, or travelled further to more exotic destinations.

Even people who are prudent can’t escape lifestyle inflation. For example, after the birth of a child, you need to get a car so it’s way easier to transport your family around. Or after your child starts school, that would mean more money spent on books, allowances, etc. Your situation will change over time and a certain amount of lifestyle inflation is to be expected as your work and family obligations evolve.

And most importantly because of the CPF system, and the public housing and public healthcare systems they worship:

No emergency fund

You need to have plenty of extra money for an emergency fund. This is the money that you need to reserve, in case something bad happens to you. Like getting retrenched, quitting your job, or getting an injury or illness and being forced to stop work. Or the same thing could happen to your family members. And you’d need a large sum of money to tide them over.

(Related post on the fragility of everything)

And maybe also they are long lost siblings of the other bunch of born losers: s/o JBJ, Mad Dog Chee, Goh Meng Seng, Roy, New Citizen Hui Hui, M Ravi, Gilbert Goh, Amos Yee, Constance Singham, Balji (retired imperial stormtrooper general, paper division), Tan Wah Piow, Tan Kin Lian, New Old Citizen Pussy Lim anfd the cybernuts from TRELand (like Ng Cock Lim, Philip Ang, Dosh and grave-dancer Oxygen).

Both groups are the socially excluded of S’porean society, united (without their knowledge) by their envy of other S’poreans, and the belief that they, like Harry Lee, know what is best for S’poreans.

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*Note “Hard Truths” not the “truth” or the facts on the ground.

 

Rating our public servants

In Public Administration on 29/12/2015 at 6:21 am

A family of kids in the US traumatised by a police raid (the police came in with revolvers drawn thinking that there was a captive in the house: seems the police got a hoax call) developed an app, called Five-O, intended to help improve police behaviour and community relations. It lets citizens rate their experiences with officers, record both parties’ race and sex and the purpose of the interaction, and find aggregate scores for county forces.

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21684687-high-school-students-want-citizens-rate-their-interactions-officers-how-three

Hmm maybe our human right kay pohs (think Maruah, Aware, Community Action Network*, Dr Chee) should bring this in? But given that an app of this nature to rate the police, SingHealth staff and other public sector workers will likely show that the public satisfaction with public services is pretty high (think 70% who voted for the PAP), bringing this in wouldn’t suit their agenda of oppression, bad service and intimidation?

Err what about the PAP bringing it in? Or the Institute of Policy studies? Or even Home Team?

Could even give the PAP 75% in next GE.

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*CAN: Shelley Thio, Lynn Lee, Joshua Chiang, Jolovan Wham, Jennifer Teo, Woon Tien Wei, Rachel Zeng, Roy Ngerng and Martyn See. This was formed to support Amos the Fantastic but whennhe dissed them for letting him rot in remand, they moved on.

(Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/fool-them-once-shame-on-amos-fool-them-twice-shame-on-them/)

Why PAP (and PMs) sue and sue

In Political governance on 28/12/2015 at 9:20 am

The decision of the High Court ordering blogger and wannabe politican Roy Ngerng to pay damages to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong following a civil defamation suit brought in 2014, brought an outcry from the overseas kay pohs like ICJ and their local groupies (people like Cat Lim, TOC and the cybernuts and rats of TRE like grandfather Dosh*, Oxygen etc).

While neo-colonial and CIA-front organisations, and good-hearted ang moh kay pohs can be forgiven for not knowing our history, their local groupies cannot. They should know better why the PAP sues. And that it has nothing to do with freedom of expression. It’s all about credibility and winning votes. (But maybe they do know their history and are being intellectually dishonest.)

But for the purpose of this rant, I’ll asumme they are ignorant.

Cat Lim’s rubbishy comments shows her ignorance of S’porean history is one reason New Citizens must be taught our history.

Actually this goes for most S’poreans too (Pioneer Gen excluded).

Why PAP sues and sues? It is because it doesn’t want history to repeat itself. At the very least, the failure of a govt minister to sue one Harry Lee in 1959 is a PAP Hard Truth* as to why the PAP won power in 1959.

The PAP administration’s version as articulated by that fount of knowledge, the National Library Board, a govt agency:

During the 30 May 1959 election campaign at Hong Lim Green, the PAP dealt its knockout blow to the SPA (the coalition of the Labour Front and Liberal Socialist Party) by disclosing that the SPA had received large sums of money from foreigners. The scandal which led to the resignation of Chew Swee Kee, who was then the Minister of Education, gave the perception that the SPA was corrupt and had sold Singapore to the foreigners. The SPA was trounced in the election. In the 1963 general election, the party was wiped out. It was dissolved when Singapore became independent.

http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_1149_2010-06-14.html

Actually the article is wrong about the 30 May date: really sloppy work by a govt agency.

In early 1959, Chew was accused of corruption by the PAP. The claim was that Chew accepted around S$50,000 from “an American source” in New York as a “political gift” in September 1958. Chew resigned from his posts on 3 March, 1959, just before a legislative assembly debate on the matter. He had earlier promised to defend himself. But he sat down (ie resigned as a minister and assembly member) and kept quiet. Not content, one LKY repeated the accustation and went on to make further accusations that again were met by silence by Chew and the govt. The named American bank (today known as Citibank) and US consular officials here denied the initial allegation. LKY accused them of lying and they kept quiet.

The unanswered accusations are credited for causing the Singapore People’s Alliance’s downfall. My primary source is Comber.

Update at 10.00am: A reader who knows his history pointed out that the money was established not to have come from the CIA but from the KMT. I should have reported that.

You should do better than regurgitating the false allegations against Chew Swee Kee. They were exposed as untrue by the Lim Yew Hock government which faced them publicly by appointing the late Justice Buttrose to head a Commission of Inquiry into affair. Kenneth Byrne who spread the rumour was grilled by Mr. Winslow (later the Solicitor-General and High Court Judge ) who led the inquiry for the government’ resorted to lying about being informed by a source in the Income Tax department. He related this to both Dr. Toh Chin Chye and LKY who then raised it in the Legislative Assembly. The money, $500,000/-, was from the Kuomintang, and deposited with Chew Swee Kee, who declared it in his income tax returns. The whistle blower, suspected to be a PAP snitch who rose to high position later, was never brought to justice under the Official Secrets Act. Dr. Toh himself breathed a sigh of relief in his later statement to the editors of the book on the early leaders at the close call. Read the Report of the Buttrose Commision which should be available in the National Library. By the way, JBJ represented the Controller of Income Tax in the Inquiry.

The question remainns why the deposit? Never explained.

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Singapore Correspondent. Political Dispatches from Singapore (1958-1962)
(http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/mai/new-book-singapore-correspondent/)
by Leon Comber*

Publisher:  Marshall Cavendish International Asia

Singapore Correspondent Book CoverSingapore Correspondent” covers five years of Singapore’s colourful political past – a period of living turbulently and sometimes dangerously. It is a collection of eye-witness dispatches, sent from Singapore to London, spanning a time when Singapore was emerging from British colonial rule and moving forward to self-government and independence. Many of the early struggles of the People’s Action Party (PAP) are described as the focus is on the political struggle taking place in which the PAP played a major part. Many important events which have long been forgotten are brought to life. These dispatches prove that political history need not be dull, and indeed can sometimes be entertaining and lively.

* MAI Adjunct Research Fellow
 

He was Han Suyin’s second husband and was the head of the Malayan Special Branch (one of it’s succesors is our very own ISD). He was asked to resign after she published in 1956 And the Rain My Drink, whose description of the Chinese communist guerillas against the British was very anti-British. He, in a 2008 interview, said: “The novel portrayed the British security forces in a rather slanted fashion, I thought. She was a rather pro-Left intellectual and a doctor. I understood the reasons why the communists might have felt the way they did, but I didn’t agree with them taking up arms.”

  ———————————————

Imagine if PM hadn’t sued Roy Ngerng: Roy and the other oppo politicans (think Mad Dog Chee, s/o JBJ, M Ravi, Goh Meng Seng and New Citizen Han Hui Hui) would have been able to say that Roy’s accusation that PM had stolen our CPF money was unchallenged by the PM.

As it is, before the GE, Roy admitted that he was wrong to accuse PM of stealing our CPF monies.And despite the admission by Roy, Dosh and friends are still alleging their CPF monies were stolen.

Related article:

The Chew Swee Kee affair revisited: querying the American involvement in Singapore

Abstract:

In the run-up to the 1959 general election in Singapore, People’s Action Party politicians alleged at election rallies that the incumbent Singapore People’s Alliance government had received monetary gifts from ‘Americans’. Allegations that the government was in the pay of a Western power and the subsequent revelation that Education Minister Chew Swee Kee had misappropriated the funds, critically eroded the integrity of the Singapore People’s Alliance. The incessant emphasis on betrayal and corruption did much to advance the political fortunes of the main opposition party, the People’s Action Party, which eventually carried the election. While the political consequences of the Chew Swee Kee affair have received much attention from historians, the veracity of the charge that the USA had funded the Singapore People’s Alliance remains unexplored. Utilizing American archival documents, this article examines the extent to which the United States government was involved in the Chew Swee Kee affair.

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ip/sear/2002/00000010/00000002/art00004

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*He prefers, on his own admission, to spew anti-PAP BS on the internet, than play with his only grandaugter. How more looney can a person get? This?

**Or at least one of the reasons why the PAP won.

 

PAP must have done shumething right since 1990

In Economy on 15/12/2015 at 4:44 pm

The PAP administration gets whacked regularly for a focus on GDP growth. Well by this alternative measure, it hasn’t done too badly by us has it?

Wage growth: three “myths” are true

In Economy, Financial competency on 10/12/2015 at 5:19 pm

Dollars & Sense a usually financial literate site, published the following PAP administration propoganda on wage growth http://dollarsandsense.sg/debunking-3-myths-about-singapores-wage-growth/?fb_action_ids=429056360617791&fb_action_types=og.comments. Has the site become part of Fabrications About the PAP? Money that good meh? Seriously, a little knowledge (especially of stats) is a dangerous thing.

Myth 1: Wage Growth Has Been Lower Than Inflation

Picture 1

Myth 2: The Lowest Income Families Are Worst Off Because Of Inflation

Picture 2

Myth 3: The Rich Benefitted The Most Compared To The Rest Of Us

Picture 3

Well the myths are not Hard Truths but facts. And the rebuttals rubbish. They are not based on economics.

My friend Chris K*(a retired financial enginner and rocket scientist, once based in London) writes:

Myths 1 and 2 completely failed to account for what is commonly known as hedonic price adjustments. Hedonic adjustments are marginal variations to the inflation rate in advanced, matured economies but are significantly higher for developing nations or those who have transit from developing to developed status like Singapore. Hedonic price adjustments are the increase in prices due to qualitiative and esthetic changes in a product or service. An example is the difference in prices between a hawker centre and a food court. The increase in prices when one transit to the other is NOT included in the inflation rate.

Once you understand the effect of hedonic price adjustments, you can then understand why the increase in the CPF Minimum Sum to account for cost of living runs significantly higher than the inflation rate.

Same with Myth 3 which also failed to account for the role of investable income in relation to total income. The top percentile has a much higher proportion of investable income because of the cap in CPF contributions. In an era of elevated real estate prices, those who can invest in a 2nd or 3rd property are those in the top percentile and they earned outsize returns om their investable income. This is why the labour policies of the present government favours the top percentile because the rate of return on investment exceeds wage growth for the rest of the income distribution.

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*Chris K describes himself thus: Chris is a retired executive director in the financial industry who had mostly worked in London and Tokyo. 

 

 

 

Ministers’ salary benchmark is flawed

In Corporate governance, Political governance, Public Administration on 07/12/2015 at 1:53 pm

So what value the link?

Below is the Letter from Lex of two Saturday’s ago. It’s another nail in coffin of the argument that our ministers and senior civil servants deserve their multi-million salaries which are benchmarked against the private sector. The pay structure at the top of the private sector is flawed, badly flawed.

Letter from Lex: Let’s spin the wheel!
Readers,
It may indeed be better to be lucky than good; don’t assume you can tell the two apart. There is a good-sized pile of academic research devoted to determining what part of corporate success (measured by return on capital, margins, or what you will) is down to the skill of the boss. Social scientists and statisticians stagger towards consensus along a twisting path. Most of the studies do, however, seem to converge on a couple of points: (a) management skill is a wickedly slippery thing to measure and explain, yet (b) skill seems to make a small but significant difference to performance on the margin, although (c) luck plays much bigger role most of the time. Raising these points often elicits one of two responses. The first: “You damn pinko academics/journalists hate capitalism and will say anything to undermine it.” Alternately: “Anyone who has actually worked in a big company knows that a CEO is a dart-throwing chimp whose characteristic skills are climbing the greasy pole and looking good in a suit.”

Both responses may contain elements of truth. In any case, this week gave the Lex column various reasons to reflect on luck, skill and the grey abyss in between:

Emphasis mine.

Three cheers for the PAP

In Corporate governance, Economy, GIC, S'pore Inc, Temasek on 07/12/2015 at 6:21 am

(Or “Why our GLCs work”)

Talking of the UK (where remember LKY and Goh Keng Swee and Toh Chin Chye- the trinity- studied. I’d describe Lim Kim San, from Raffles College, now NUS, as their archangel who did the work they ordered):

There were significant efficiency improvements in nationalising the postal system and the telegraph network, but the nationalisations of the 20th century were much less successful. This was in part due to the rise of trade unions and the move towards a fully democratic political system. While nationalised companies were left to be minded by technocratic-minded officials in the 19th century, politicians with their eyes on elections started fiddling with them in the 20th. Whenever politicians needed tax cuts to win elections they tended to hack back investment in state-owned firms. They also had a free hand to bloat their payrolls in order to help governments achieve full employment in the economy overall, protected by a system of tariffs and monopolies designed to shield them from competition. And trade unions started to demand excessive pay rises and oppose efficiency improvements, knowing that the state, as owner, would always pay the bill to avoid a fuss at election time.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/12/economist-explains-1

Democracy? What democracy? Unions fighting for workers? What are they? Three cheers for elitism.

But this also rings true: parastatals like national airlines tend to be a handy way for government officials to dish out jobs to cronies. Neither the beneficiaries nor the benefactors of this illicit set-up want to ground the gravy plane.

(From anotther Economist blooger)

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.

http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1858123/after-easy-election-victory-real-work-begins-singapore

(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.

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*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.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-34476264

**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.

Daemonic:

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 http://www.asiasentinel.com/politics/could-malaysia-najib-pull-off-snap-election/ 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.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34788197

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.

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*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

Secretary-General
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.

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*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.

http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1858123/after-easy-election-victory-real-work-begins-singapore

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:

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/pms-speech-not-juz-a-change-of-format/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/scoring-pm-14-months-on/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/time-for-opposition-to-rethink-assumptions-lest-it-repents-after-next-ge/

“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.”

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/will-the-real-sdp-dr-chee-pls-stand-up/

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.

http://six-six.com/article/new-cabinet-a-reality-check

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 https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/why-tharman-will-be-the-next-pm/

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**.

http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1858123/after-easy-election-victory-real-work-begins-singapore

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?

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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 https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/social-activist-feminist-in-denial/. 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.”

http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2015/09/is-spore-helpless-about-the-haze-not-really/

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.”

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/will-the-real-sdp-dr-chee-pls-stand-up/

(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.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-34340715

———————————

*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.

http://mysingaporenews.blogspot.sg/2015/09/the-sdp-team-that-could-not-have-lost.html

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 http://m.todayonline.com/ge2015/wp-activists-help-party-grow-grassroots-network

“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

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-ahpetc-saga-070752226.html

—————————————————————————————-

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. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/wps-punngol-east-problem-paps-excuse-king/

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 99.co 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, 99.co 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, 99.co 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 … , 99.co 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?

99.co 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%.  99.co explains: “The data from 99.co 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.

http://m.todayonline.com/ge2015/pap-or-opposition-ward-no-difference-home-value

 

 

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

http://anyhowhantam.blogspot.sg/…/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 https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/wps-punngol-east-problem-paps-excuse-king/.

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: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/the-great-wall-the-oppo-has-to-climb/

(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*.

(CNA)

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. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/pap-wp-dont-do-accouting/

———

*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.]
 
http://www.inconvenientquestions.sg/Archive/2015/9/pap-must-return-to-roots
 
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: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/spot-on-my-2012-prediction/)

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 https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/cruise-ship-pap-first-class-or-cattle-class/)

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: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/spot-on-my-2012-prediction/. 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 https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/wps-landmark-election/.

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

During the GE hustings, I previously posted 2 articles (http://www.tremeritus.com/2015/08/16/pap-will-do-very-well-this-election/ andhttp://www.tremeritus.com/2015/08/22/pap-will-do-very-well-this-election-part-2/) 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 (http://4malmal.com/2015/08/14/thoughts-on-nation-building-from-a-singaporean-mom/). 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 ?

JG

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.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/time-for-opposition-to-rethink-assumptions-lest-it-repents-after-next-ge/

And

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.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/which-voter-are-you/

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.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/pm-visiting-from-bizarro-spore/

 

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

http://www.blackbox.com.sg/wp_new/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/YKA-July-2015.pdf

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.

CONCERNS OVER NEXT 10 YEARS

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.

HEALTHCARE

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.”

HOUSING

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.”

LOSS OF POTENTIAL JOBS TO FOREIGNERS 

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.

(Wikipedia)

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.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/did-the-third-class-passengers-on-the-titanic-have-a-fair-chance-1155678.html

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

https://www.facebook.com/TanChengBock/posts/882555261819010

—–

*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

withyouforyou

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 https://sg.news.yahoo.com/ge2015–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)

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/pap-listening-to-sdp/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/back-to-the-future-lky-dr-chee-the-sdp-agree-on/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/sdp-right-about-psle-streaming-what-works-in-education/

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

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/08/10/pm-aiming-left-to-hit-the-centre-axed-pap-mps-who-dont-get-it/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/08/15/wah-lan-pap-mp-is-more-stupid-than-i-tot-haw-par/

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.

 

https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xfp1/v/t1.0-9/11888065_973540056029404_4782647463966756683_n.jpg?oh=646ce592278df46ec48bb2eb1a135c54&oe=566D1760&__gda__=1449500905_c26ff7b9ef1a86509f1436afec4096a6

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

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/property-tharman-trying-to-crack-jokes-again/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/tharman-trying-to-tell-jokes-again/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/telling-coc-jokes-ministerial-coc-needed/

Related posts

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/why-tharman-will-be-the-next-pm/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/07/24/tharman-also-from-bizarro-spore/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/another-minister-tries-telling-jokes/

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?

 

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*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.

POLICIES HAVE TRANSFORMED OVER THE YEARS

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.

SINGAPORE’S LEVEL OF INEQUALITY NOT HIGH BY INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS

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.”

A MORE INNOVATIVE SOCIETY

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.”

ON FOREIGN WORKERS AND RESKILLING SINGAPORE WORKERS

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.

http://alvinology.com/2015/08/16/ge2015-the-top-battles-to-watch/

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.

(Alvinology)

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?

(Alvinology)

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.”

(CNA)

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.”

(CNA)

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 https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/ahpetc-sadly-pap-ib-gets-it-right/.needs 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? https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/pap-wp-dont-do-accouting/

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? https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/does-ahpetc-have-a-21st-century-it-system/

It turned out that according to the Auditor-General, AHPETC didn’t even an accounting system that was fit for purpose.https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/auntie-good-accounting-is-a-national-issue-toc-bans-avatar-again/

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,

Underemployed

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?

http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2015/08/why-i-have-come-forward/

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.

JG

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 …

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Augean+stables

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.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/augean%20stable

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”:

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/why-khaw-vikram-must-commit-hari-kiri/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/learn-from-japanese-set-example-leh-elites/

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.

(CNA)

**LAPSES IN MANAGEMENT OF TENANCY CONTRACTS

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.

LAPSES IN PROCUREMENT

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.

LAPSES IN ENGAGING TRAINING OPERATORS

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.

LAPSES IN MANAGEMENT OF RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

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.

ISSUES WITH FUND UTILISATION REPORTS

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.

CNA

***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.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33723766

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.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/uk-election-results-makes-pap-look-democratic/

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!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8q_7jwkS8_Q

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. 

CNA)

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.

TOC

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: http://www.straitstimes.com/premium/forum-letters/story/fiscal-sustainability-remains-challenge-20150311#sthash.3jbT6PQa.XLTXdscU.dpuf

**FISCAL DISCIPLINE AND SUSTAINABILITY

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.”

TIGHT REIN ON FUNDING

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.

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33023404

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 https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/pm-visiting-from-bizarro-spore/.

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.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-33621862

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 realityhttp://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2015/08/mrs-seow-peck-leng-spirit-of-mountbatten/

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.

Example

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.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-33621862

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:

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/jan/05/the-price-of-life-in-singapore-city-of-rules-its-a-faustian-deal

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/aug/07/land-starved-singapore-exhumes-its-cemeteries-to-build-roads-and-malls

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

Winston Churchill

Related article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/3626376/History-as-written-by-the-victor.html

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.

http://www.bbc.com/news/33692054

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 https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/tre-poster-blames-parents-for-childrens-deaths/ 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: http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2014/12/paps-victor-lye-given-1-5-years-leave-to-do-grassroots-work/

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:

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/will-hougang-make-the-pap-moan-the-inflation-blues-not-joke-abt-it/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/tharman-trying-to-tell-jokes-again/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/property-tharman-trying-to-crack-jokes-again/

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 https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/scholar-cant-repair-nol-maersk-steams-ahead/ and this in 2015 https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/05/15/nol-versus-maersk-what-can-i-say/

***Think the scholar, general running SMRT who can’t make the trains run on time https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/aqua-lions-no-worries-about-coup-smrt-no-got-this/.

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:

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/learn-from-japanese-set-example-leh-elites/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/pap-pls-do-not-use-tragedy-to-push-yr-agenda/)

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.

(CNA)

**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
Examples:
— 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.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/buttonwood/2015/07/euro-crisis-0

Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/when-democracy-sucks/

——————————-

*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.”

http://www.economist.com/blogs/buttonwood/2015/07/euro-crisis-0

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.

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