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Posts Tagged ‘PAP’

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.

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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 ofthe  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.

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

—————————————–

*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.

“Goodies”, price hikes: it’s a package/ What voters really want?/ SMRT

In Political governance on 16/07/2015 at 4:57 am

I’m sure you’d receive by now a letter from MoF telling you that a cash GST voucher has been credited to yr bank account, and another to yr Medisave CPF account. Senior citizens also get another one credited to their bank account. The letter carries the words “Budget 2015”.

Now the annual Budget in S’pore, and elsewhere is a summary of how the economy is doing; it gives a list of new tax and spending decisions from the government; and it contains a lot of political spin. And a new set of economic forecasts is published.

In an election year (or a probable one) it also allows the govt of the day to play Santa Claus or the God of Fortune by handing out goodies.

That’s what the PAP administration did and making sure we are reminded of it.

But let’s not forget all the price hikes since 2011. See https://scontent.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfp1/v/t1.0-9/p180x540/11040605_707823462655347_6438864457431843130_n.png?oh=4e300144aaa0a5add4d61d2dec39273f&oe=561957B9 for a very comprehensive, op-to-date list.

Especially the fare increases despite the failure to get the trains run on time and the falling price of oil in 2014*.

As PM’s dad once said, when telling SIA pilots that they they had a good deal despite being paid lower salaries than their other furst world counterparts, “It’s a package”.

So tout up the goodies, you’ve been given (remembering that it’s yr money in the first place) since 2011, think of the price increases since 2011 and then decide if the package is about right, or an insult or generous.

All these tots led me to think about what voters really care about.

In the early 1970s, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Norman Kirk laid out a political philosophy which still resonates today. People, he said, don’t want much. They want: “Someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work and something to hope for.”

Relationships and a sense of community, a secure home; a secure job, and a belief that life will get better for us and our children – the building blocks of “the good life”, but what do they mean today as we grapple with globalisation, austerity, immigration, insecurities and uncertainty about the future? Is the job at hand to work out a new formula for fulfilment or to find a way back to these old certainties?

(BBC report before the UK election)

They care about “the good life”, voting for the party that they think can provide with a good life. All the oppo parties bar one mouth the need to help S’poreans get the good life. The WP knows this (hence it positions itself as PAP lite: more accountable and compossinate even if they can’t do accounting and monitoring their managing agent. So does the SDP: it has a whole range of policies**.

The only party that doesn’t care a hoot about the good life is Goh Meng Seng’s party, at least going by his latest attention-seeking tactics. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/07/13/what-amos-and-meng-seng-have-in-common/

Maybe, it’s because he’s based in HK, jetting down (private jet?) to encourage his fellow cybernuts?

————–

*Worse the ex-SAF general who is incapable of getting the trains running on time is getting paid a lot more than his predecessor who to be fair to her allowed her Ferrari to run over her when she failed to get the trains to run on time, insulting us in the process.The present CEO is staying put. In the US, The director of the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has resigned after a massive data breach involving more than 20 million people.

Katherine Archuleta said she would step down on Friday to help the department “move beyond the current challenges”.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33481285

Neither SMRT’s CEO nor the tpt minister is moving on  to  help the SMRT and the MRT system “move beyond the current challenges”.

They think they are part of the solution.

**These papers have been widely reported online and are available on this website. We list them below:

Ethical Salaries For A Public Service Centred Government (2011)
Caring For All Singaporeans: The SDP National Healthcare Plan (2012)
Housing A Nation: Holistic Policies For Affordable Homes (2013)
Building A People: Sound Policies For A Secure Future (2013)
A Singapore For All Singaporeans: Addressing The Concerns Of The Malay Community(2014)
Educating For Creativity And Equality: An Agenda For Transformation (2014)
A New Economic Vision: Towrads Innovation, Equal Opportunity and Compassion (2015)
A Promise To The Residents: The SDP Town Council Management Plan (2015)

In addition, we published Shadow Budgets for 2012 and 2013.

Singapore Democrats

Dr Chee’s analysis of where we were heading in the 90s is a lot more accurate than that of the PAP administration of the time. I had a more middle of the road view but I have to say, I suspect, that for most S’poreans, reading Dr Chee’s 1990s analysis today, they will nod in agreement.

What the first “P” in PAP really stands for?

In Humour, Uncategorized on 12/07/2015 at 4:13 am

It stands for “Prosperity”?

I tot of this when I read

The owners of a high-end jewellery shop nearby strike gold when a customer buys not one but two sparkling necklaces.

Nicole Kharma, 48, is visiting from Singapore and arrived in Greece prepared, carrying a wad of 50 euro notes. As she counts out her hundreds, jewellery dealer Stavros Metaxas explains: “The foreign customers are very important. The Greeks are waiting to see what happens with the crisis and do not want to spend money.”

And shops need cash rather than credit cards to pay their suppliers.

“If they do not get their money, the suppliers have starting taking back their stock,” says Mr Metaxas.

Ms Kharma has been able to withdraw 500 euros a day using her foreign bank card and spend the money in local businesses. But it is “heartbreaking” to watch what is going on around her, she says.

“Leaving the cash machine with a stack of 50s – for 500 euros – when everybody is queuing and getting only 50 euros, it’s very sad.”

(BBC report on Greece)

If she had asked for discount our Harry really would have been proud.

As it is, let’s remember that the prosperity (no not thinking of you cybernuts) that many of us enjoy is in part due to the actions of the administration of  Prosperity Action Party.

Amos: When Nemesis wet Hubris/ Why PAP PR bad

In Uncategorized on 10/07/2015 at 5:35 am

The following passage from a BBC report applies to the PAP administration not just the Chinese one:

The Chinese government, like all governments, worries that public outrage at the scale of the disaster might become directed at the state.

But instead of using normal public relations it uses public information control.

The problem for the PAP is that the public information control has never applied outside S’pore, and there is now cyberspace aka new medis https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/07/05/pm-esm-on-new-media/.

Last Sunday, I posted the PAP administration’s response to an Economist piece on Amos and other freedom of expression issues in S’pore.

Here’s what the High Commissioner in London was made to say about Amos’s case:

Your piece “Zip it” (June 24th) is unbalanced. It champions unfettered freedom of speech without providing the context of cases mentioned. Amos Yee was convicted for insulting the faith of Christians. In a small, highly diverse society like Singapore we guard our social peace jealously and make no apologies for it. We cannot allow people to denigrate or offend the religious beliefs of others: the result is anger and violence, as we have seen elsewhere. Protection from hate speech is also a basic human right.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/07/04/economist-piece-on-amos-etc-dark-side-cousin-responds/

Put it this way, I should be out rooting for Amos. But I didn’t because of the way Amos and mother Mary treated a good Samaritan.

Funnily the PAP administration had a more convincing explanation for the 55 days (as of the day of release): It could and should have said

Here’s a breakdown of the time he spent in captivity and the reasons thereof

— Two days when police investigated his case.

— He was in remand for 18 days because his parents and fans didn’t want to bail him; then when he was bailed by a stranger he broke bail, and then after trial when he was being assessed for probation he broke bail conditions yet again. Even the Joker, Penguin or Lex Luthor are less criminal than Amos.

— Then 21 days remand because he had to be assessed whether he was suitable for reform training given that he refused probation.

— Then 14 days because judge wanted to find out whether he could be given a mandatory treatment order if he was autistic.

If he had accepted probation, he would be home where mother Mary could cater to his every whim and fancy. And if his parents or fans had offered bail, and if he’d not broken bail conditions, he needn’t have spent 18 days in remand.

Hubris met Nemesis and Nemesis won.

(My Facebook avatar posted a variant of this on Facebook, in response to TOC’s and Function 8’s support of Amos the Fantastic. Got quite a few “Likes” and no rebuttal from TOC or F8.)

Seriously here’s the discredible bit about the detention.

He spent two days (police interrogation) away from mummy’s care. Actually, these two days were very unreasonable given the nature of the offences under investigation.

But I suspect, the police wanted to give him a scare, in the expectation, that he’d apologise, repent and the case could be closed with a warning. They didn’t know Amos, his mum and the anti-PAP human-rights activists (aka the ang-moh tua-kees) pulling the strings of Amos and mum, cheered on by the cybernuts.

As to his treatment during the last 35 days, he was treated no better or worse than any convicted offender undergoing examination for a RTO ot MTO.  He wasn’t persecuted.

He spent 53 days in captivity because he was quai lan: he tot he was entitled to do what he liked and not suffer the consequences. The IMH report to the court said Amos is misguided in not appreciating that ‘freedom of expression is not freedom from consequence’https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/amo-what-imh-recommended/.

The system is telling him he is juz another criminal.

In one of John Wayne’s Westerns, he said “Life is tough but tougher if you are stupid”. Amos and Mother Mary should ponder these words of wisdom.

They should also ponder that Hubris always loses to Nemesis. The gods play with loaded dice.

 

PM should ask New Citizen Raj to defend us

In Uncategorized on 06/07/2015 at 4:08 am

“Who will defend us?*” asked PM. I went WTF!

Why doesn’t PM ask New Citizen Raj why he planned to ensure his son avoids NS?

This is what I wrote about New Citizen Raj sometime back:

An Indian former FT who prefers international schools is new citizen, Raj, originally from India. During an interview with TOC [Link], Raj revealed that only he in the family has converted to Singapore citizenship. His wife and daughter remain PRs and his son is on a student pass.

Raj said that if his son was a PR, he would need to serve NS. He preferred to “let his son decide if he wanted to put his roots down in Singapore or go back to India when he turns 21″.

The benefit of having his son on a student pass is that his son can always work in Singapore later as a “foreign talent” and eventually become a PR himself. He will not be considered a second-generation PR since he was not sponsored by his parents in the first place. A second-generation PR who gives up his PR is barred from working in Singapore.

Why the loop-hole, and why hasn’t it been closed? It must be commonly used for this FT to talk publicly about it, is my guess

Now, I RODed in the 70s,  am a bachelor and I don’t have children, but I’m upset at this loop-hole. Imagine the anguish of a parent whose son died while doing NS if he finds out that its so easy for new citizens and PRs to avoid legally NS?

This loop-hole had better be closed, and fast.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/new-citizens-why-doesnt-pm-pap-condemn-this-behaviour-close-ns-loophole/

My understanding is that this loophole still exists and is still being exploited. Why?

My neighbour’s son has juz finished BMT. He is a second generation NS man. And P Ravi’s son is going into NS soon

Why should they do NS to defend New Citizen Raj and his family? Because he like them are ethnic Indians? When their dads and I did NS, we were defending S’poreans, not Foreign Trashes like New Citizen Raj who use our flag to clean their behinds.

And this is unacceptable (lifted from TOC)

 

“NO ENTRY TO ALL NDP UNIFORM PERSONNEL”

The words “ALL NDP UNIFORM PERSONNEL” were also underscored and emphasised.

The notice was signed off, also in capital letters:

‘BY ORDER OF THE MANAGEMENT, LEISURE PARK KALLANG”

Poster at Kallang Wave Mall

Poster at Kallang Wave Mall

Btw, those of us opposed to the PAP’s continued hegemony and anti-PAP activists andcybernuts have one invaluable friend in the pAP: Ah Loong himself?

His recent comments on various topics will have upset the swing voters. More soon.

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*https://sg.news.yahoo.com/defend-us-singapore-pm-asks-society-rapidly-ages-155644893.html

PM, ESM on new media

In Uncategorized on 05/07/2015 at 4:53 pm

The following lament by the Thai PM to the feisty Thai  media sounds familar?

“No one writes about what I have done,” he said, “or when they do, they write so little.”

Sounds like our PM, Khaw, ESM or any PAPpy complaining about new media (including social media)

But they can console themselves with this:”Things will be the same.”*

Sadly for the cybernuts and their heroes Meng Seng, S/o JBJ, Roy etc etc , this is not true here: “You have disrupted and brought down the whole system.”. Here the cybernuts and their heroes provide comic relief from the spin of the PAP.

This was preceded by “It doesn’t matter how many reforms or coups there are. There’s no point.”

 

Where the PAP is wrong, seriously wrong

In Political governance on 02/07/2015 at 4:51 am

One Harry believed that democracy held back growth, citing PinoyLand and India (He could cite Greece if he were alive). His son said that if S’poreans voted too many opp MPs in, he’d be too busy fixing them (Think Aljunied town council though to be fair Auntie and her Sikh failed to notice that the managing agent wasn’t keeping proper accounting records*, thereby allowing the PAP to make all kinds of allegations.) to grow the economy.

They and their PAP would say:

GDP growth in [China] at an average of 10% over the past decade, has easily outpaced that of its democratic emerging-market rivals. India saw annual growth of 6% over the same period; Brazil, just 2%.

In other words: democracies grow slowly; non-democracies grow quickly.

In 1994 Torsten Persson of Stockholm University and Guido Tabellini, then of the University of Brescia, published a paper that argued that in democracies, vote-hungry politicians divert resources away from people who could use them more efficiently by lavishing spending on their constituents in the form of unemployment benefits and pensions. This and political gridlock, another unfortunate aspect of democracy, both tend to slow growth. Another paper published in 1994, by Robert Barro of Harvard University, analysed data from some 100 countries before concluding that the “effect of democracy on growth is weakly negative”

http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21656211-democracy-it-turns-out-good-growth-after-all-have-your-cake-and-eat-it

The Economist, Hard Truths’ more liberal (legalise the use of marijuana and other drugs, allow gay marriages), compassionate (no death sentences) and sophisticated cousin (feed the poor to grow the economy, shumething the PAP is finally adopting to increase its share of the votes), reports on new research that challenges this …. The paper uses a huge dataset (175 countries over fifty years) and makes a number of statistical improvements (that are explained in the column) and concludes that “democratisations” (ie, when a country becomes democratic) improves living standards substantially. As the piece notes:

They find that a “permanent” democratisation—where there is no slide back into autocracy—leads to an increase in GDP per person of about 20% in the subsequent 25 years.

Pro-democracy activists may not get that excited: few fling themselves into campaigning for self-determination in order to boost GDP. But freedom and growth make for a pretty unbeatable combination.

Interesting the piece is entitled “Have your cake and eat it”.

Err we S’poreans can have democracy and a better material life; juz like our millionaire ministers can combine public service with serious money.

As Thomas Piketty, the French economist and rock star asks,  “It’s OK to pay someone 10, 20 times the average worker’s salary but do you really need to pay them 100 or 200 times to get their arses in gear?” Related post ttps://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/only-in-america-personal-kpi-for-ministers/t:

But if we have democracy, they’ll not be able to have their cake and eat it.

So that’s the real reason why they hate democracy?

—-

*Why didn’t it keep proper accounts and why didn’t Auntie and PritamS notice the lack of accounting documentation? These are legitimate questions. No need to allege this or allege that. Just ask these questions and see the response. Taz how incompetent the PAP administration and MND can be.

Harry, 2 popes, Spectrum and Amos

In Political economy, Political governance on 01/07/2015 at 4:30 am
Our very own Harrry and Pope John Paul II (pope in late 80s) had the same view on one topic
Liberation Theology, the controversial movement based on the conviction that the gospels enjoin the Church to put the poor first, which preoccupied and divided Latin America’s Catholics for much of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. John Paul believed it had tempted some priests and bishops into quasi-Marxist and even violent ideology, and as Pope he cracked down on some Liberation Theologians.
Sounds like he would have OKed (I’m not saying that he approved Spectrum, juz that he might have had blessed it if he had been consulted) what our Harry did to our Catholic “Marxists”: Vincent Cheng Kim Chuan, Teo Soh Lung, Kevin de Souza, Wong Souk Yee, Tang Lay Lee, Ng Bee Leng, Jenny Chin Lai Ching, Kenneth Tsang Chi Seng, Chung Lai Mei, Mah Lee Lin, Low Yit Leng, Tan Tee Seng, Teresa Lim Li Kok, Chia Boon Tai, Tay Hong Seng and William Yap Hon Ngian.
Would Harry have arrested the present Pope if he were here then working as a priest?
Jorge Bergoglio rejected Marxism – although he cheerfully accepts that he has many Marxist friends – but accepted many of Liberation Theology’s principles, espousing what Austen Ivereigh calls “a nationalist version” of the movement, or a so-called “Theology of the People”.
And he just issued “Laudato Si” encyclical where Francis says that sins against creation are very different from broken financial promises made between people, and everyone is responsible for everyone else because is a moral debt of the rich to the poor: The obligation is universal and implies a preference to those most in need. That is because the poor gain most from generosity and suffer most from hard-heartedness. http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2015/06/24/edward-hadas-unforgiving-pope-is-right-on-money/
Tell that to Ah Loong who grudgingly spends our money on welfare for ourselves becauses it’s good politics and good for the economy. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/spending-more-on-poor-middle-class-not-juz-cause-ge-coming/
 
Seriously, I now understand why S’pore has a tradition of Catholics fighting for social justice: people like the above and lawyer Peter Low: social justice is in the DNA of the Catholic church:

the economic writings of both John Paul and Francis also reflect the same intellectual tradition – one known as Catholic Social Teaching. It was originally articulated in an 1891 papal document called Rerum Novarum, in which Pope Leo XIII addressed what he called the “spirit of revolutionary change” then sweeping Europe.

Some of it is very clearly designed to be a rebuttal of the communist ideas that were part of that change, but it is also a critique of aspects of capitalism. So it is an unfamiliar mix that does not fit neatly into the left-right divide that dominated the politics of the following century.

Prof Maurice Glasman, a British economist who used to be a close confidant of Ed Miliband, studied Catholic social teaching for his PhD. He was attracted by the way it rejects the conventional ideologies of both left and right.

It’s not communist or even socialist:

“It really opposes this idea that there is just the state or the market,” he says. “It believes in activating society – what it calls solidarity – so that it can resist the domination by the rich of the poor, but through trade unions and vocational associations and what’s called subsidiarity, which is the decentralisation of power.” Glasman says it is opposed to communism because it “upholds private property” and is “anti-collectivist”.

But some Americans (and I’m sure PAPpists) are not impressed:

Glasman has a vivid memory of being attacked by an American economist after giving a paper at a recent Vatican conference on Catholic social teaching. “You know there’s a word for what you’re saying, Baron Lord Professor or whatever you are,” the challenge began. “Yeah, it’s called Communism. You’re trying to interfere with the prerogatives of management, you’re trying to interfere with capital, and you’re trying to interfere with prices. And that’s been tried – and that’s the Soviet Union.”

But Pope and Cardinal Marx believe in social justice.

During the subsequent discussion Glasman was delighted to find himself supported by both the Pope and the Archbishop of Munich, the appropriately named Cardinal Marx.

So what has all the above to do with Amos, son of mother Mary? Given the involvement of the Church in fighting for social justice, it’s reasonable to conclude that it’s highly likely that Amos is really autistic, sliming the church that is no friend of Harry and Thatcher who he also mocks. Only an autistic would put all three in the same category.

Err most PAP Ministers MPs are elected, unlike s/o JBJ, Roy, H3 and Meng Seng

In Internet, Uncategorized on 28/06/2015 at 5:19 am

It was reported on TRE (and on MSM sites) that M’sia’sTourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said that he was elected by his constituents to serve them, which sets him apart from the Crown Prince of Johor who had criticised him for not behaving like the people’s “servant”.

I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of this report appearing on TRE.

While I respect TeamTRE’s efforts to provide alternative angles to the BS of the PAP administration and the constructive, nation-building media in an attempt to show S’poreans that there are credible alternative narratives, analysis , sadly there is a group using TRE tp alienate the swing voters from the Oppo.

These are a group of posters there who think that they represent all the S’poreans that voted for the oppo and whose heroes are Roy Ngerng and his fellow hooligan New Citizen Han Hui Hui, Goh Meng Seng (he regained his popularity with the cybernuts by dancing on the graves of the children who died in Sabah), Amos Yee (now inside Woodbridge for observation) and s/o JBJ.

With the exception of the MPs and ministers from Tanjong Pagar GRC, all the rest of the PAP ministers and MPs won their seats by comfortable majorities bar those in two SMCs where they got in by a nose.

And the failure to contest Tanjong Pagar is the fault of one man who screwed up big time by waiting until almost the close of nomination to file incorrect documents. If he had bothered to come in half-an-hour earlier, the PAP would have had a fight on their hands.

So while ,most of the PAP MPs were elected, who chose the freeloading cybernuts (TRE is always short of funds despite the team paying to serve)  infesting TRE like the rats and bugs infested Bukit Batok.

Spending more on poor & middle class: Not juz ’cause GE coming

In Economy, Political economy, Political governance on 19/06/2015 at 4:49 am

The PAP administration continues to throw our money at ourselves

— Poineer Generation benefits

— smaller SingHealth bills for younger oldies

— extra $ for civil servants

— improving public transport

— “savings” etc etc bonds

Must make Goh Meng Seng, Roy Ngerng, Han Hui Hui and their fellow cybernuts infesting TRE despair, and TOC despair. PAP really spending money on citizens, albeit their own money.

Doubtless post GE, they expect the goodies to stop. And S’poreans will be squeezed again. These will make the cybernuts and TOC happy again, pAP screwing the stupid voters who vote for them.

Well think again. There is a new fashion in economic thinking as this extract shows

[O]n June 15th economists at the IMF released a study assessing the causes and consequences of rising inequality. The authors reckon that while inequality could cause all sorts of problems, governments should be especially concerned about its effects on growth. They estimate that a one percentage point increase in the income share of the top 20% will drag down growth by 0.08 percentage points over five years, while a rise in the income share of the bottom 20% actually boosts growth. But how does inequality affect economic growth rates?

[T]he recent rise in inequality has prompted a new look at its economic costs. Inequality could impair growth if those with low incomes suffer poor health and low productivity as a result, or if, as evidence suggests, the poor struggle to finance investments in education. Inequality could also threaten public confidence in growth-boosting policies like free trade, says Dani Rodrik of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

More recent work suggests that inequality could lead to economic or financial instability. In a 2010 book Raghuram Rajan, now governor of the Reserve Bank of India, argued that governments often respond to inequality by easing the flow of credit to poorer households. Other recent research suggests American households borrowed heavily prior to the crisis to prop up their consumption. But for this rise in household debt, consumption would have stagnated as a result of poor wage growth. Economic eminences such as Ben Bernanke and Larry Summers argue that inequality may also contribute to the world’s “savings glut”, since the rich are less likely to spend an additional dollar than the poor. As savings pile up, interest rates fall, boosting asset prices, encouraging borrowing and making it more difficult for central banks to manage the economy.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/06/economist-explains-11

The Hard Truths ‘ version is

Economists say that some inequality is needed to propel growth. Without the carrot of large financial rewards, risky entrepreneurship and innovation would grind to a halt. In 1975 Arthur Okun, an American economist, argued that societies cannot have both perfect equality and perfect efficiency, but must choose how much of one to sacrifice for the other. While most economists continue to hold that view …

And we know the author, enforcer of Hard Truths has gone to the hall where Mao, Stalin, Lenin, Churchill and Hitler are dining at the high table.

And we got plenty of $ without resorting to a GST increase (https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/after-the-goodies-gst-hikes-acoming-soon/). It’ll come from our NIR

Plenty of money there:

SingFirst is proposing to spend an additional S$6 billion a year – over and above what the government is spending – to tackle what it described as “rising inequality”, funded from the net investment returns (NIR). The NIR allows the government to spend up to 50 per cent of expected long-term real returns on its net assets managed by the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and more recently Temasek Holdings.

SingFirst said the money will be spent to provide free education, higher subsidised child care and higher transport subsidies, among other things. The biggest ticket item is an old-age pension of S$300 a month for 600,000 senior citizens. The party also wants to phase out the Goods and Services Taxes (GST) by increasing taxes on higher income individuals.

(CNA)

Doubtless Meng Seng* and friends will be quoting Philip Ang**, their financial expert,  on why there is no NER.

Funny that Tan Jee Say wants to abolish GST. It’s regressive but that can be overcome by real cash rebates to the poor and middle class, not the PAP’s pseudo rebate to the CPF accounts. In general, economists like GST because of its simplicity and because it taxes consumption, not investment or savings.

—-

*After last GE, Meng Seng said he would monitor and report on Bishan GRC’s spending plans, ’cause he said the projects they promised were more than Bishan could afford. Err not heard anything from him.

**When analaysing London commercial property (when trying to slime GIC), he leaves out the rental yield, saying yield is irrelevant. Well the reason why the Arab SWFs and big property investors love London is that it offers good rental yields.

PAP’s idea of being a “badass”?/ S’pore’s Big Boss

In Uncategorized on 09/06/2015 at 4:47 am

Couldn’t stop laughing when I read the following

George Yeo turned down an offer he couldn’t refuse from Lee Kuan Yew

6 quotes that reveal that George Yeo is a badass at heart.

http://mothership.sg/2015/06/george-yeo-turned-down-an-offer-he-couldnt-refuse-from-lee-kuan-yew/

Double confirms my perception that the well-funded mothership.sg is really nothing more than pary of the PAP’s spin machine juz like ST, MediaCorp or Fabrications about the PAP*.

I mean only a PAP dog, (sorry,  my dogs growled) hackette would say turning down an offer made by Harry shows that BG Yeo’s a “badass”.

Seriously if you go thru the list, it shows more how straight laced is this lady writer. Or how hard she is straining to make BG Yeo look like a “badass” i.e. look normal.

On BG Yeo’s spurning LKY’s offer, two tots:

— How come he can offer BG Yeo a job in Temasek when he has no formal authority in or over Temasek? Double confirms my view that he was the Big Boss, bigger than PM or the cabinet.

— Actually if he is as dedicated to serving S’pore as he claims he is, he’d have taken up LKY’s offer of a job at GIC or Temasek. A former Foreign Affairs minister is really useful in a SWF. Can open doors, smooth ruffle feathers etc.

———————

*There is a story making the rounds that BG Yeo pitched the idea of mothership to one Philip Yeo (the now retired civil servant with whom Harry daughter had a bone to pick). Philip Yeo wrote a cheque for $1m. Other people’s money, despite both of them being wealthy. Most probably taxpayers’ money.

What Father didn’t teach son and Goh

In Political governance on 05/06/2015 at 4:51 am

When I read the u/m I tot of Harry, Son and Goh, and the Chinese legends of the kung fu masters who never passed on all their secrets to their chosen heirs: there was always one secret that they would take to their graves, to ensure that their heirs were never better than them.

Podemos’ [new Spanish party on the left] approach is based on the assumption that, outside politicised bubbles, most do not think in terms of “left” and “right”. Outside the political world, most think in terms of issues to be addressed in a way that is convincing, coherent, and communicated in a language that people understand. Statistics and facts won’t win the support of millions; we’re human beings, we think in terms of empathy. Stories are more persuasive, because they speak to us emotionally. Why else do rightwing tabloids focus on extreme examples of benefit “scroungers”? They know such stories make their readers’ blood boil; they are human stories that connect emotionally, and powerfully

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/27/labour-spain-podemos-winning-streak-inspiring-people

(Emphasis mine)

Remove the word Podemos’ and replace it with “LKY’s, Dr Goh’s and others of the PAP’s Pioneer Generation” and you have the secret of the success of the PAP in the 60s, 70s before the inflow of new blood:  They knew the issues to be addressed in a way that is convincing, coherent, and communicated in a language that people understand.

Because of this, they were able to adopt a strategy that today would lose elections, even in S’pore. Here’s how the Economist describes this sure way to lose elections:

We can blame ourselves as voters for believing unfunded promises. In practice, however, a lot of people don’t swallow the propaganda. So perhaps an honest politician might have success by saying “Look, I don’t control the global economy. If the Middle East blows up, or China crashes, or the Federal Reserve tightens policy too far, then the economy will slump no matter what I do. So I’ll try not to be corrupt, make the trains run on time and not drive employment-creating businesses away, and maybe we’ll be lucky.” But no one has the chutzpah to adopt such a strategy.*

http://www.economist.com/blogs/buttonwood/2015/04/markets-and-left-wing-governments-0

Actually LKY and the old guard did adopt such a strategy. I remember watching LKY on tv telling us all the problems in the global economy, then saying we will affected because we are a tiny, open economy dependent on global factors, and then saying he’ll fix the corrupt, make the buses run on time, not drive employment-creating businesses away and attract employment-creating MNCs to Singapore. All we have to do is to work hard, don’t strike, vote PAP, and don’t listen to JBJ, the ang moh tua kee wind-bag.

But then it was a simpler world then, economicallyand financially, and access to information was limited.

—————————————–

*Here’s the preceding bit: HERE is how politics is “supposed” to work. Party leaders make a whole bunch of promises (tax cuts/spending increases) before an election, only to discover, when in office, that a closer inspection of the books/global crisis/natural disaster (select the most plausible) prevents them from following through on their plans. Repeat the process often enough and you get voter cynicism.

Whose fault is this?

BG Yeo: Bakes cake and eats it too

In Uncategorized on 04/06/2015 at 4:40 am

You’d need three millennia on a British PM’s salary to match the $690 million that Blackstone boss Steve Schwarzman received last year. Any ex-politician without a fortune of his or her own will feel impoverished in the familiar halls of Davos. Typically, elected leaders leave office with small nest eggs, by those standards, and a few decades left to earn serious money.

Since the opportunity and the desire are often there, there will almost certainly be more Politicians Incorporated. That’s worrying. Democracy will suffer if public office becomes little more than an audition for a second truly lucrative career.

By making ministers rich filthy rich, like Mah Bow Tan, at tax payers’ expense is the PAP’s answer to this Western  dilemma.

BG Yeo mocks the PAP by getting a good pension and a well paying private sector job.

Readers might be interested to know that pro PAP publiccation mothership is alleged to have got funding with the help of BG Yeo. Not his own money of course. He asked Philip Yeo (Remember him? He rowed with Harry’s daughter and lost it seems. I was rooting for the gal,) for funding. Philip Yeo, allegedly, obliged using S$1m from some fund he controlled.

Other people’s money.

For JosTeo and other millionaire ministers too?

In Humour on 31/05/2015 at 1:14 pm

United Kingdom-based fitness chain Fitness First recently announced that it would be launching a “first-of-its-kind globally” gym in Singapore. It will be a “private and intimate” place, catering to chief executives who “do not want to be down there in the gym with a lowly clerk”.

Sounds like the place for  JosTeo, GraceF and other PAP ministers like VivianB who sneered at the elderly poor, would like to hang out too.

Called Gravity, the gym is targeted at C-suite and senior executives in the CBD. To join, one has to be invited and pay S$3,000, on top of monthly fees of about S$600 — almost five times more than average monthly membership fees at gyms here.

The new 17,000 sq ft gym will be located on the 38th floor of CapitaGreen tower on Market Street. It will boast services such as on-site wellness consultations, one-to-one personal coaching, and a smartphone application that members can use to track their fitness progress as well as network with one another.

The gym also has a lounge, work stations and meeting rooms. A 6,500 sq ft restaurant is scheduled to open in October, which can be patronised by the public during lunch and dinner hours. Breakfast will be specially catered for members and their invited guests.

In Asia, Fitness First operates gyms in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

Mr Simon Flint, who heads the company’s Asia business, said Singa­pore was chosen as the location for its first “private members’ club” because the Republic was “a thriving international business hub with a large population of business executives who are concerned about their health and well-being”. Today

And millionaire ministers who don’t like to mix with lesser mortals?

 

CPF: FT MP’s constructive, good suggestion

In CPF, Financial competency, Property on 28/05/2015 at 2:05 pm

One of my favourite love-to-hate MPs said something sensible before LKY’s death dominated the news: that the joint consent of both spouses should be required when a member’s CPF withdrawal is linked to a CPF charge on the couple’s jointly owned property.

She should have gone on to say that this principle should also apply where a working couple jointly use their  CPF funds of buy a flat. The right to withdraw funds should be subject to the veto of the other partner. It’s their money that was pooled to buy that flat.

And yes, more financial competency courses so that more will learn about the BS Roy spins.  “The Republic scored 68 points out of 100, a drop of four points from the previous survey conducted in 2013” (Singapore Sees Decline In Financial Literacy: Survey, Matthias Tay).

Seriously, At the moment, concepts taught in schools rarely go beyond the basics of saving and borrowing, and even at the institutes of higher learning the economics subject shares little about day-to-day financial knowledge and skills. Young Singaporeans seem poorly equipped to handle such responsibilities, or – progressively – apply concepts learnt in the classroom.

There is also a common misconception that financial literacy only involves the complicated investments in or management of stocks, debts, or derivatives, though – as the MasterCard index has shown – individuals should be familiar with basic money management, financial and retirement planning, and investment.

https://guanyinmiao.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/decline-in-financial-literacy-worrying/

———————-

*… We are concerned that stay-at-home mothers, not having accumulated much Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings, cannot benefit from the latest CPF enhancements.

They will continue to rely on their spouses’ CPF for their retirement. Therefore, even as the CPF enhancements provide members with greater flexibility, it must be exercised with the goal of also providing retirement adequacy for their spouses.

The Government is encouraging spouses and children to top up the Retirement Accounts of their loved ones, by paying an additional 1 percentage point for the first $30,000 for members above 55.

I have asked that joint consent of both spouses be required when a member’s CPF withdrawal is linked to a CPF charge on the couple’s jointly owned property.

There is still much we can do to educate and encourage couples to optimise their CPF balances. Financial literacy and understanding of the latest CPF changes are essential to help women attain retirement adequacy. The PAP Women’s Wing will start a movement to help women and their families understand the impact of these changes and to make better decisions for the family.

Foo Mee Har (Ms)
MP for West Coast GRC
Treasurer, PAP Women’s Wing Executive Committee

 

 

Harry: Gandhi and “commercial use”/ How PAP uses LKY non-commercially

In Uncategorized on 28/05/2015 at 4:42 am

Before the KPKBing about Harry being protected reaches absurd proportions, here’s something from Derek da Cunha, a really smart observer of the political scene (and he’s no Gillian Koh);

Passing a law to prevent the commercialization, and to protect the misuse of the name and image, of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, after his passing, was something I had discussed with the late publisher Ms Shirley Hew back in 2011. I had said that Singapore could well follow the Indian model in that respect. The misuse of the name and image of Mahatma Gandhi is prevented under India’s Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act 1950.
http://admis.hp.nic.in/himpol/Citizen/LawLib/C093.HTM

(Facebook)

He has a good point in how LKY’s can be protected in a sensible manner but then India is a multi-party democracy, has an interventionist judiciary and a vibrant civil society with many NGOs and people willing to take on the govt or the state.

S’pore is a de-facto one party state with many sheep and where most of the activists turn out to “talk cock, sing song” artistes or bi-polar. Need I say more?

To end, I came across this on Facebook:

I find it really disgusting that characteristic of our leaders, they and their machinery can exploit LKY-images in the name of “common good” but… bread-hungry minions can’t flog LKY-images to earn a few bucks!!!! (Intellectual property discussions, aside. Besides, LKY is a political leader, not a pop star!)

He has a point: what do you think?

LKY, another Immortal?

DSC_0046

PAP’s best “friends”

In Uncategorized on 25/05/2015 at 4:13 am

An independent socio-political analyst (he has written some good books) wrote on Facebook

My only surprise about TRS is that it had existed for so long. The views reflected in the blog postings were increasingly extreme and only surpassed by the shrill tone of the commenters. Anyone who attempted to engage in a decent conversation was simply rebuffed, if not hounded out altogether. When a portal simply becomes a gathering point for only one slanted viewpoint, it does not convert middle ground voters. Instead, it puts off middle ground voters who merely see the same crude point repeated ad nauseam.

Well he could be talking of the cybernut posters on TRE.

They should do well to think carefully. With them around, the PAP doesn’t need friends. They do the job of persuading people to vote PAP:

The Critical Middle

The potential 5% or more vote swing is not enough to unseat the PAP. But remember two important issues.

In the Executive President Election, nearly 35% voted for Tan Cheng Bock, the establishment figure not endorsed by the PAP. This actually demonstrate the healthy beginnings of left and right voting blocs, 30-35% each with the middleground that will decide the final outcome.

The large bloc which voted for Mr. Tan represents those likely angry with the PAP but not particularly enamoured of the opposition. This is the crucial battleground of swing voters that will generate a bigger swing against the PAP if they can be persuaded by the opposition making a positive case for not being afraid of change. Reasonableness and coherent arguments are required to win over the undecided – and association with people perceived by normal voters to be narrow-minded, condemn the fence-sitters nut-cases will not do.

http://www.tremeritus.com/2015/05/20/can-2011-vote-swing-against-pap-continue-2/

Actually, the above has been said by others (self included) but never by a hero of the cybernuts who infest TRE. The writer of the above*, although a hero of the cybernuts, is no nut himself. So hopefully the cybernuts will listen to him and tone down their BS. Best if they sit down and shut up, so that TRE can reach out to the middle ground.

The good news is that the cybernuts have disowned Goh Meng Seng despite him being a founder member of the cybernut movement. He has become even too nutty for them: he wants to form a new party. (Much thanks I got from the cybernuts for pointing out years ago that GMS wants to split the Oppo: remember PE 2911 where he was adviser to deposit loser, Tan Kin Lian.)

Here’s hoping that they’ll disown Roy, New Citizen H3 and Amos, Mummy’s Pet,

——-

*Chris K describes himself thus: Chris is a retired executive director in the financial industry who had mostly worked in London and Tokyo. He writes opinions and commentaries mostly on economic and financial matters.

 

 

PAP administration’s Alice-in-Wonderland policies

In Economy, Political governance, Uncategorized on 08/05/2015 at 3:27 am

Lee Hsien Loong … is trying to persuade the population that they don’t need to go to university to have a good career. After a clampdown on immigration and a slowdown in the economy, he needs fewer graduates and more workers to fill the shipyards, factory floors and hotel desks that keep the country going.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-03/singapore-wants-kids-to-skip-college-good-luck-with-that

Fair enough, except that the PAP administration* at the same time allows FTs in still by the A380 load (used to be by the container load by ship) on the excuse that we need graduate PMEs. The PAP administration wants to further restrict the number of true blue S’poreans getting degrees but then say we need FT graduates? WTF?

Worse, we then have a govt agency (think IDA) defending an FT employee who undeniably has a fake degree on the ground that she didn’t know it was a fake**, and that anyway she got her job because of her first degree from some Indian U, that no S’porean (even from the local Indian community) would ever think of applying to if the S’porean had to study overseas.

Sounds like the PAP administration could be the government in Alice’s Wonderland, not the Red Queen.

As the author of the Alice books was an eminent mathematician, one should not be surprised that our PM has such Alice-like policies.  He graduated from Cambridge University with a first-class degree in mathematics and a diploma in computer science. He can write software to solve Sudoku puzzles. Err what about writing a programme that can explain to voters the “less local grads” policy but more FTs (with fake degrees or sub-standard degrees) policy?

Seriously, if ministers have not been able to calibrate the relatively small number number of local lawyers and doctors to the demands of the economy, how can they realistically try to control the supply of graduates across-the-board to demand?

One can reasonably assume that the “less local grads” policy coupled with the continued welcoming of FTs, fake degrees and all, is meant to “fix” S’poreans in the cause of ensuring that S’pore remains attractive to MNCs because of low costs.

—–

*Harry loved FTs. Maybe, they are the living memorials of Harry? In 1959, only 270,00 out of the 600,000 voters were born here. The PAP is only trying to restore the demographics  to when the PAP came into power.

Interestingly, when one LKY revealed the above fact in 1959, LKY also said,”we must go about our task (of building up a nation) with urgency … of integrating our people now and quickly”. Maybe he repented building a nation of native-borns? https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/when-55-of-voters-were-fts/

**And it seems that the IDA didn’t know that the degree was a fake until netizens pointed that the uni awarding the MBA was a reputable factory mill. Many years ago, a govt agency, Public Service Commission  (I think) had a list of unis whose degrees the govt recognised when employing people. Stat boards and private businesses also used that list. Is there such a list today? If there was such a list, IDA should have known that the degree was a fake.

S&P index fund beats hedgies over 7 yrs/ Hedgies, PAP ministers & monkeys

In Political governance on 07/05/2015 at 1:44 pm

With three years to go, Warren Buffett is comfortably winning his charity bet that a low-cost index tracker would trounce a portfolio of hedge funds over ten years.

Returns from the S&P 500 index fund is beating a portfolio of funds assembled by hedge fund manager Protégé Partners by 63.5 per cent to 19.6 per cent, according to a slide Mr Buffett presented at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting this past weekend.

(Monday’s FT)

Chart: Buffett's bet (Protégé Partners hedge fund selection v S&P 500 index fund)

http://im.ft-static.com/content/images/1dcdf770-f288-11e4-b914-00144feab7de.img

As to what PAP ministers and hedgies have in common? They pay themselves a lot for mediocre performance.

The $11.6 billion which Institutional Investor’s Alpha calculates this ultra-elite [hedgies] was paid last year, an average of $467 million per hedge fund boss, would still seem troublingly high.

Such gains seem out of line with the value of their putative contributions. After all, the modern economy is built on collaborative effort, not to mention supportive governments and central banks. Even the greatest individual contributions would not merit an annual income, including gains from holdings, of about 10,000 times the average American salary.

To add insult to injury, Alpha calculates that at least 12 of the 25 top guys (sorry, ladies, no women in this club) underperformed in 2014. That is not surprising in a highly competitive industry. BarclayHedge, a consultant which monitors about 3,000 hedge funds, reports the average net return in 2014 was 3 percent. The U.S. stock market provided close to 14 percent.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2015/05/05/hedge-fund-pay-hauls-a-political-financial-shame/

We have one Ah Loong (since the 1980s), Lui, Yaacob and Lim Hng Kiang and had Wong Kang Seng, Mah Bow Tan, Raymond Lim and Goh Chok Tong.

Double confirm June GE?/ Respect LKY’s ideals

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 16/04/2015 at 3:55 am

PM needs Ho’s help?

Temasek Holdings Chief Executive Officer Ho Ching will be on “part-time sabbatical leave” for three months ….”She will continue with her Board duties and specific stewardship duties,” according to the statement posted on Wednesday (Apr 15). (CNA yesterday afternoon)

FT suggests, “Arranging the family affairs of the man who led Singapore to independence in 1965 is expected to be a time-consuming process.’

My guess is that PM needs her beside him in the coming GE campaign. I had written earlier: Surely a June 2015 GE is on the cards? After all, that a 49-day mourning period is acceptable in the Confucian tradition. A traditional 100-day mourning period would mean that the Sept school holidays is the earliest possible time for GE. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/lky-how-right-how-wrong-june-or-sept-ge/

“Respect LKY; Respect his ideals; Vote PAP”

“Most importantly, how we honour Mr Lee must be faithful to the ideals he lived by and fought for. Mr Lee made it very clear throughout his life that he did not need and did not want any monument. It was not monuments but ideals that were his chief concern, the ideals upon which he built Singapore: Multi-racialism, equality, meritocracy, integrity, and the rule of law. He hoped these ideals would endure in Singapore beyond him. We can pay no greater tribute to him than to uphold the principles upon which he built this country.”*

CNA 13 April reporting PM’s parly speech).

Want to respect LKY? No need monuments. Respect his ideals. Vote PAP. All the elected seats is a fitting tribute,” will the implicit theme of the GE campaign.

Will the 10% ** of voters that voted for Tan Cheng Bock in PE2011 but who voted for the Oppo in GE 2011 vote PAP?

If they do (And assuming the 60% of the voters continue supporting the PAP and “Why not?”), LKY would have the last laugh. He would have rise from his coffin to help the PAP.

True it wouldn’t match Peanuts Goh’s 75.3% share of the vote in 2001 but it would be a 10%age points swing too.

Better still, due to the large number of uncontested seats in 3001, only 675,306 of the 2,036,923 eligible voters (33.2%) actually voted. In the next GE, all the seats will be contested.

++++++++++++++++++++

*One of these days, I’ll post on why I sniggered when I read this.

**  Tony Tan and Dr Tan each had 35% of the vote: 70% supported these two PAP-aligned candidates. In GE, PAP only got 60% of the vote. Hence the 10% figure.

The best way to respect LKY

In Political governance on 12/04/2015 at 5:51 am

Well today tomorrow PAP MPs* and NMPs will be lining up to propose all manner of tributes to LKY. Wonder what the saka queen, that NMP with useless legs and a sycophantic brain will say? Let’s see if any of them have the balls to say: “Want to respect LKY? No need monuments. Vote PAP. All the elected seats is a fitting tribute to him.  Let’s face it. Whatever we think about him or his achievements, even his most ardent admirers  and the most anti-LKYers will acknowledge that to LKY, “The people, the PAP and the government are one”. So what better tribute or monument to him, if one is wanted, then to restore one-party rule to S’pore. I mean we had a fair bit of this in the 60s and 70s before than vain glorious, ang moh tuakee wind-bag spolided the party by entering parly? And S’pore did pretty well economically didn’t we? And for better measure, why not then change the constitution to make the PAP the ruling party for eternity? DSC_0011 Err I don’t think Harry would want this though. For all his faults, he, like Caesar Augustus, was keen to preserve the facade of proper behaviour and decorum. For those not conversant with him, Augustus was the first Roman emperor but made sure that he operated within the traditions and laws of the Roman republic. Augustus also said: “I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.” I think P(olitican) Ravi would have to agree (through gritted teeth admittedly) that LKY could say without contradiction, “I found S’pore a city of bricks and left it a city of steel and glass.” — *Three PAP MPs will be asking the Government to consider how the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew can be honoured further when Parliament sits. MP Foo Mee Har wants the Government to declare a new holiday called Founder’s Day so as to “provide Singaporeans the opportunity to remember the struggles of the country in the early years and remind us of the nation’s founding values and principles”. [He founded S’pore? Come on Raffles founded modern day S’pore.] She also wants the Singapore currencies, both notes and coins, to bear the face of Mr Lee. MP Lily Neo will also be asking the Government to consider printing Mr Lee’s photo on Singapore’s dollar notes in order to honour him. In addition, Ms Neo wants the Government to consider re-naming Singapore’s airport after Mr Lee. MP Ang Wei Neng agrees with Ms Neo. He will further ask the Government to consider renaming Changi Airport or any other significant buildings or institutions in honour of Mr Lee. [Hello, you disrespect him so fast? He didn’t like this kind of thing. It could a lot of persuasion for the LKY School of Public Policy to be so named.]

LKY: How right, how wrong?/ June or Sept GE?

In Political governance on 10/04/2015 at 4:43 am

Not long after Mao’s death the Chinese Communist Party announced that he had been 70% right, 30% wrong. This official view has not changed despite the changes in China: from underachiever to wannabe great power, challenging US hegemony.

What does the PAP think about how right and wrong LKY had been? Going by the spin by the constructive, nation-building media, one assumes 100% right. LKY did no wrong. He even was a nice, compassionate human being. Btw, readers might like to be reminded that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a prisooner in Stalin’s gulag camps, reported that prisoners cried when Stalin died: there was even genuine grief among those who suffered because of his actions^.

And the vigilantism against those with the “unright” views, shows the PAP IB stroking the genuine respect that many S’poreans feel for LKY. To be fair, some of the anti-PAP views on LKY are going too far. Even at the more reasonable end of the “unright” views, TOC and P(olitican) Ravi seem to want to make him one of the crowd that did great and good things for S’pore. Hello guys, he was the head of the PAP and PM of S’pore. Surely the leader deserves a bit more credit than his team, even if it was a team effort?

Given that a general election could be held soon and he will feature prominently (“Want to respect LKY? No need monuments. Vote PAP. All the elected seats is a fitting tribute.”), what do voters think how right and how wrong he had been is what matters.

Will the 10%* of voters that voted for Tan Cheng Bock in PE2011 but who voted for the Oppo in GE 2011 vote PAP?

Surely a June 2015 GE is on the cards? After all, a 49-day mourning period period is acceptable in the Confucian tradition. A traditional 100-day mourning period would mean that the Sept school holidays is the earliest possible time for GE.

*Tony Tan and Dr Tan each had 35% of the vote: 70% supported these two PAP-aligned candidates. In GE, PAP only got 60% of the vote. Hence the 10% figure.

^Sentence Aadded at 5.30am.

Battle in cyberspace/ Take the money and BS

In Media on 09/04/2015 at 4:55 am

In addition to saturating the newspapers and airwaves, the PAP administration and its minions  were saturating cyberspace with the news of LKY’s death. The constructive, nation-building ST made its online coverage of the death and other related   news available to netizens. And the news coverage on CNA’s website was all about him and the lying-in-state.

Then there was spontaneous outbursr of respect and tribute from social media and bloggers.

Even the cyber-warriors and cybernuts who tried to counter the right narrative added to the saturation coverage.

So Khaw would be happy. During the Parliamentary debate on 10 March, Khaw took the opportunity to KPKB about social media, “In 2011, many Singaporeans were swayed by the social media commentaries, and worried that the Singapore Dream would not be available to future generations .

How can the PAP do better in cybberspace?

For the coming GE, will the PAP pick up tips from the US and Ukrainian govts on how to handle the social media cowboys, Comanches and other renegades?

US State Department’s war on social media against Jihadists

Ambassador Alberto Fernandez is the US State Department’s Coordinator for Strategic Counterterrorism. The Department runs campaigns on Twitter and social media forums to challenge extremists directly, with titles such as “Think Again, Turn Away”.

These have been criticised in some quarters but he believes that engaging the jihadists’ audience rather than ignoring them means they are exposed to alternative views.

But, like the [London]Metropolitan Police team, his staff are few in number, with only around 20 engaging on a daily basis with jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

“We see ourselves as a rag-tag guerrilla organisation waging a hit and run campaign against the adversary,” Mr Fernandez told the BBC. “We’re definitely the David against the ISIS Goliath, which is perhaps somewhat ironic.”

Ukrainian Information Army

The Economist reports Ukraine launched the “Ukrainian Information Army”, a volunteer force of internet commenters tasked with spreading government-approved content and combatting Russian trolls. A recent mission asked the troops to post a propagandistic Ukrainian response to a Russian-made propaganda video.

(Emphasis mine)

Take the money and BS 

Btw, I’m sure MediaCorp and SPH journalists can advise the Ukrainian journalists what to do: Ukrainian journalists have been struggling with how to carry themselves in a war where the media plays an outsize role … Journalists constantly debate whether they can help Ukraine without contradicting their professional standards. “Ukrainian journalism is undergoing a crisis of values,” says Olga Chervakova, a television journalist turned politician, who now sits on the parliamentary Committee for Freedom of Speech and Information.

Juz take the thirty pieces of silver on offer and play whatever tune the paying piper wants you to pipe. Not unique to S’porean journalists: the WP MPs have their own version. They take the MPs’ allowances (about $15,000 per MP per month), and keep quiet even when the PAPpies beat them up publicly: “Sticks and stomes may hurt me but $15,000 a month can buy a lot of kok yok,” seem to be the mantra.

Finally, a piece of advice to the two social media celebrities, and ex-NSP activists who are allowing the Chiams to get blood transfusions from them. Set-up a Bishan-Tao Payoh-Potong Pasir* pages and sites and promote the sites to the people living there: be local.

*Prediction that PP will be merged to the Bishan GRC.

Seek truth from facts, TRE commentators/ Don’t misrepresent me

In Uncategorized on 02/04/2015 at 4:35 am

In response to https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/are-you-better-off-now-than-you-were-in-2011/ which TRE republished,

— Chris K*, a regular TRE contributor, whose analyses of CPF and our SWFs’ are worth reading wrote:

eeerrr leftist mean Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China, meh? Or is that Labour, Social Democrats, Democratic Socialists which is a good thing right? More likely CI falls for the PAP demonology that everything left is communist which is as far from the truth as saying the PAP is fascist and one L*Y is Adolf Hitler. tsk, tsk very disappointing, mate.

— Ng Kok Lim, another regular TRE commentator, screamed out:

CI is making the same unqualified smearing of the Lefitsts by the PAP by labeling them as communists like those in Cuba and so on. Where is CI’s proof that the leftists were actually communists? CI must take note that the PAP could never charge the Leftists as communists in court. They could only lock them up unethically and immorally until the detainees buay tah han and admitted guilt even if they were innocent much like the forcing of the ‘truth’ through torture during medieval times. 

(I had written that LKY and gang and others not leftish enough would have likely to lived to have lunch gatherings or pioneer generation benefits: opponents and intellectuals not sympathetic to the leftists’ cause were, imprisoned, exiled or killed in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China.)

I would ask Chris K, Ng Kok Lim and others who believe the self-serving rubbish of the Coldstore detainees that they were a bunch of social democrat peaceniks with flowers in their hair) to go have a word with students (now in their 60s and 70s) of Chinese High, Chung Ching etc about their time in school. In their clandestine cell groups, did they study the works of leading European and British social democrats or socialists? Nope they would tell you that they studied the works of Mao.

Ask them about the cell leaders who led the discussions. Were they steeped in the tots of the ang moh social democtats or socialists? Nope they were acolytes of Mao, steeped in the doctrines Chinese communism.

Finally Chris K and fellow believers in the peaceful nature of the leftists’ movement here who fought the British and LKY should read the memoirs of the Plen and Chin Peng.

But at the very least they should read http://brokensilencesg.blogspot.ca/2015/03/where-forgotten-heroes-are-born-chinese.html. This blogger is anti-LKY (like Chris K and Ng), yet his view of the students chimes with LKY’s views of the students.

Then come talk to me.

The very serious point I’m trying to make that LKY’s and PAP’s self-serving narrative of our history, is not all rubbish. Like all good propaganda, it has elements of the truth. In the 1950s and earky 1960s

— the Malayan Communist Party and China used the leftist movement here for their own ends;

— the students and other Chinese-educated leftists here were highly influenced by the writings of one Mao. They were not influenced by ang moh social democrats or socialists like the Fabians.

Mao said, “Gather truth from facts”, something I’m sure Chris K was doing when he was working as a risk manager. But I’m sure Ng Kok Lim doesn’t “Gather truth from facts”.

He didn’t read what I wrote: I never called the Coldstore detainees “communists”. Or he decided to misrepresent me? Taz the quality of Ng Kok Lim: either not bothering to read what I wrote or trying to make me say what he  wanted me to say, despite me not writing it,  by accusing me of writing something I never wrote. This is what Ng wrote: CI is making the same unqualified smearing of the Lefitsts by the PAP by labeling them as communists like those in Cuba and so on. Where is CI’s proof that the leftists were actually communists?) 

Where did I call our leftists.

Ng may have wished I called our leftists “communists”, but where’s the proof?

—-

*He describes himself: Chris is a retired executive director in the financial industry who had mostly worked in London and Tokyo. He writes opinions and commentaries mostly on economic and financial matters.

Are you better off now than you were in 2011?

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

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

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

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

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

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

———————————————————————–

Real life examples of what Pioneer Benefits mean:

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

The extended family is happy.

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

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

Will they vote PAP? I didn’t ask.

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

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

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

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

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

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

—————————————————————–

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

—————-

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

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

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

 

Why hedgies attract investors/ Why 60% still vote PAP

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

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

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

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

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

NYT Dealbook

Double confirm: PAP TCs treat biz better than residents

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

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

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

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

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

What do you  think?

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

New yr: A feel good vibe is necessary

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

The lunar year is ending badly for the WP.

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

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

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

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

Anyway more, one of these days, about

— how the lawyers let him down;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—-

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

Moving on from Hard Truths To Hard Choices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——

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

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

 

Actor sacrificed career, $ to be MP

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

Of an Oppo party in South Africa.

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

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

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

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

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

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

How drinking survey was “fixed”

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

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

What an idiotic survey:

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

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

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

Seriously, what the survey shows is that the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Religious harmony: PAP’s, Putin’s way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

PAP that incompetent meh? WP trying to match it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——

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

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

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

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

Peanuts Goh wrong about monkeys

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

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

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

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

If he can get the intelligence of monkeys so very wrong, what else can he get wrong?

Btw, the following reflects badly on people like Grace Fu, Jos Teo and Hen, The study of our primate relatives may help us understand happiness. We know, for example, that sharing of food and favours takes place amongst primates and assumptions have been made that this was always about a clear exchange of one favour for another. But a recent study from the Yerkes National Primate Research Center has noted that monkeys exchange reciprocal favours without necessarily keeping track of who did what for whom. 

Don’t they talk of the need for serious money to get gd ministers? Well monkeys do things for others without calculating the cost, so why can’t Jos, Grace and Fu?.They not as unselfish as monkeys?

Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/assumption-behind-reasonable-pay-for-ministers-badly-flawed-whats-reasonable-pay-for-this-civic-service/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Relevant posts:

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

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

And from FT too

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

PM’s memory is not working

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

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

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

How not to depend on govt? 

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

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

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

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

Electing gd MPs?

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

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

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

Immigration woes our fault?

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

This is what someone posted on Facebook

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—-

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

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

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

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

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

 

Bukit Batok rat and his Aljunied cousin compare TCs

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

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

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

———————–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks.

—————

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

 

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

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

Roy, celebrity and irrationality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Uncle Leong is alive and well, and is still rocking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

Win battles lose war

* Submitted by TRE reader.

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

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

Got “respect” for Roy Ngerng?

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

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

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

Got “integrity” – no fairness and natural justice?

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

“Social responsibility” in employing 80% foreigners?

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

Hypocrisy and double standards?

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

Win battles lose war

* Submitted by TRE reader.

Sounds familiar?

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

—————–

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

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

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

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

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

 

Election in 2016 not 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CNA 7 January 2015

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

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

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

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

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

Rats: Daft S’poreans blamed

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think?

———————————

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

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

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

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

(CNA)

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

 

AhLoong needs his very own superheloo costume?

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think should be his costume?

Update at 5.30am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2cents makes sense on PAP’s tactics

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

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

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

Chris,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Change we Must.
End PAP’s dominance.

SDP right about PSLE streaming/ What works in education

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

SDP’s right

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

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

Surprised?

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

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

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

What works in education

 Doesn’t work

Uniform policy? 

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

Setting and streaming? 

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

Teaching assistants? 

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

Longer lessons (block scheduling, in the jargon )? 

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

Repeating a year? 

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

So what does work?

Meta-cognition and self-regulation? YES.

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

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

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

Feedback? 

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

Peer-tutoring? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And

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

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

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

Rebranding citizens

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

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

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

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

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

 

What connects NEA to Baey, dengue fever and the WP

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

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

NEA:

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

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

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

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

Gd week ahead. Happy feasting.

 

The point of independent directors, commissioners, NMPs etc

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

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

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

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

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

What PM can learn from two other privileged kids

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But he knows what matters and how to say it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Emphasis mine)

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big Data, the PM and the Oppo

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

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

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

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

For “Uber” read “Uber and rival apps”

(A reminder of what LTA has done.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The SDP says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

“News” and “no-news” that annoyed me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The absence of reports on the following is

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

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

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

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

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

Have a gd week.

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

Coming GE: Real problem for the PAP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The reader said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life getting tougher for Singaporeans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Middle-income Singaporeans losing sense of belonging to Singapore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

PAPpies like this breed of pig?

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

Full of fat

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

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

 

PAP voter refusing to pay S&C cont’d

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

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

RedHot:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Samuel S:

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

—-

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ordinary S’poreans can learn

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

— “Family is the most important thing”

A gd, disorganised entry from Wikipedia on him

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

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

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

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

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

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

Someone responded

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Describes two generations of PAP leaders to the T

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

CEO of Norwegian GLC was paid “peanuts”

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

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

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

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

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

PAP administration scores own goal?

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

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

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

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

First a reminder of waz the issue is all about.

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

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

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

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

(PM on 7 November)

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

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

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

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

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

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

And not the right views of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh what a tangle web we weave …

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taz the impression I get after this

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— MediShield being probably not a value proposition

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

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

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

— immigration

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

The Hard Truths behind immigration:

— more people means better growth; and

— S’poreans are daft and lazy.

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

 

 

PAP govt should do what UK govt is doing

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

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

And to other users of oil-based products.

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

Pump prices

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

Petrol pump

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

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

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

BBC Online

line

A PAP MP and the Internet Brigade

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

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

Both it and the PAP deny that they are linked.

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

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

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

Well sounds like the MP had pull at FATPAP.

What do you think?

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

What do you think?

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

My other friend replied

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

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

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

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

Remember the cost of EPL and World Cup footie.

——-

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

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

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

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

But then he says:

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Elections before 9/8/15?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—–

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

 

 

A delusion? PAP confident it regained lost ground

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As the SunT writer puts it

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

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

So how can this be true? [T]he People’s Action Party (PAP) was confident it had regained lost ground since the 2011 general election. Its confidence stemmed, it was said, from a huge survey that it had been conducting over the past few months …  https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/fts-then-1970s-now/

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

PRC GLCs’ CEOs put our ministers to shame

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

CEO pay

As the above shows, they are paid a pittance

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

Need I say more?

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

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

What the SA elections teach us

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

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

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

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

The result is proof of the power of incumbency …

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

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

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

We might not be so lucky after the next GE.

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

 

 

 

 

Thanks Yacoob, Ms Koh

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

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

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

Seriously, if this is the objection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

———

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hen, JosT, GraceF: Money, money, money

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

I tot of the three ministers when I read:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After tot (7 October 4.30 am)

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 —-

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

How moronic and spastic can a PAPpy get?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—-

Vocal minority drowning out voices of majority on TRE

Dear TRE and readers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The gd news that it won’t work.

But let’s begin with the message.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He is right.

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