Posts Tagged ‘Vivian Balakrishnan’

VivianB’s other folly: F1

In Economy, Tourism on 20/09/2015 at 11:20 am

Dr Chee rightly put down the guy who sneered at the elderly poor (Pioneer Package was PM’s way of saying sorry?) by reminding everyone who was responsible for overspending on the Kiddie Games by S$300m. (Btw, we never got to find out about the truth about the food poisoning of volunteers as promised did we?)

But lest we forgot, F1 was VivuanB’s idea too.

And it’s been another folly. Worse, S’pore is still paying the costs of having F1.

Singapore pays US$65m (S$83.3m) a year to bring F1 here. Only Malaysia and Abu Dhabi pay more.(BBC report).

Monaco is the only place that doesn’t pay.

So our “iconic” race is not cheap. Remember this when you read how much money F1 brings here.

The cost for organizing each race is approximately S$150 million dollars, with the government paying about 60% of the costs. And the fee is 55.6% of the cost). The government claims that each race generates about S$150 million in tourism receipts. So sounds like breakeven to me only, without taking into account the inconvenience to commuters and the lost sales at Suntec*.


It’s not as though there is a huge savings gap. In fact it’s more expensive to stage a street race, even without taking account of the economic losses.

However, the annual running costs of a street race are greater than those of one on a permanent circuit: temporary grandstands need to be built and the roads need to be upgraded to F1’s high safety standards. The biggest single expense for the operators is staffing (c£10m), followed by rental of grandstands (c£8m) and construction of safety barriers and fencing (c£5m). 

In total, the annual operating cost of an F1 street race is in the region of £36m. Then comes the hosting fee, which is paid to the F1 rights holder. The average hosting fee came to £17m in 2011 but the sting in the tail of the contracts is that the price accelerates by as much as 10 per cent every year. Most new F1 race contracts are for ten years, so by the end of the agreement the annual fee comes to around £40m thanks to the escalator clause in the contract. That means that over the ten-year duration the bill for hosting fees totals an estimated £272m (see below) with the cost of running the races coming to £360m. That makes a total over ten years of more than £600m.

With annual running costs that are far lower than those for a street race, the total cost of building a Grand Prix circuit and hosting an F1 race over a ten-year period comes in at around £560m. But promoters need to dig deep to fund that initial track construction… … how much the key elements of a brand new Grand Prix circuit are likely to cost… [£164m]

So the difference is spending S$80m more over 10 yrs to “save” on the cost of building a permanent track. Of course, I ‘m assuming the cost of the circuit land is zero or nominal. But this being S’pore where giving away the land for public housing would be “raiding the reserves” (Mah Bow Tan), this is a non-starter. Anyway the usual suspects would shout “corruption” even if the govt was willing to lease land at a nominal price.

So, the end result is that the “little people” who have to commute by way of public transport, get screwed, So waz new?

And in a meritocracy, he’s still a minister? Can sneer at the elderly poor, overspend, miscalculate badly benefits and still be a minister? Why liddat PM?

Btw, the people who come for F1

*So how abt sharing the benefits with the losers?  Especially since F1 will bring S$1b “additional value-add” for economy, says Iswaran. (S’pore expects expenses to drop about 15% to 20%, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The cost of the race is about $150 million, with the government co-funding 6o% of the amount, reminded S. Iswaran, “Singapore’s second trade minister, who’s responsible for developing the tourism industry”. What he didn’t say is that hotels have to pay a special levy of 30% on room rates during F1 period, if they are “track-side” hotels and 20% for the others. )

Compensate the retailers at Suntec City  and those who work in the city? Tax rebates for them? If no such sharing of the benefits, then it’s some private profits, and big state windfall (via taxes and other levies), and public inconvenience and some private losses. Readers might also like to know that it costs at least US$120m to build a dedicated F1 circuit (excluding, it seems, land costs), so by inconveniencing commuters and some retailers, the government is passing on the one-off cost of building a F1 track to some S’poreans annually. Whoever said there isn’t a free lunch? More reason to offer compensation.

VivianB peeing in his pants?

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

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


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

“How do I vote” by Dr Tan Cheng Bock


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

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

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

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

This team deserves to get in because of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update at 5.12 pm

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

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

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

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.


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.


Anton Casey chooses wrong PAP minister to emulate?

In Humour on 03/02/2014 at 4:17 am

What is the link between Anton (masculine, not sheltered, babyed and childish like local men according to wifey Bernice “Beauty Queen” Wong), the Pope and two PAP ministers?

Pope Francis is a Jesuit, a Catholic order which has traditionally, among other things, served the rich and powerful as teachers and confessors. At its best, a Jesuit education inspires the mighty to serve the lowly. The Pope’s address to the business and political leaders assembled at the World Economic Forum at Davos fits right into that tradition.

He flatters the “innovative” for “improving the lives of many people by their ingenuity and professional expertise.” Then he hits. Davosians, he says, “can further contribute by putting their skills at the service of those who are still living in dire poverty.”

In other words, if you are clever enough, and determined enough, to rise to Davos-level, you should do more to help those who cannot help themselves. It’s hard to disagree. (Emphasis mine)

Almost all the delegates have a surplus of something valuable – money, knowledge or influence. Almost all of them waste that surplus, by the Pope’s standards. Francis thinks they should invest the surpluses in what the bishop of Rome calls “the life of humanity.” If they wanted to they could do much more to promote: “an inclusive approach which takes into consideration the dignity of every person and the common good.” (Economist)

The Pope’s views reflect the values of one K Shanmugam Sc:

I have been asked what I thought of Mr Anton Casey and his statements. Like many Singaporeans, I am terribly upset and offended by what he has posted. Deeply offensive, wrong, and unacceptable. Those who have done well in life should always be looking out for others – especially the less well-off or needy. It is basic human decency. Instead Mr Casey showed contempt. Having money and a Porsche, does not automatically mean that one is superior. Character is important. I am glad the community has come together to condemn what he has said. He has attempted to apologise to Singaporeans. But some feel that the manner of his apology showed a lack of sincerity. And I think there is some basis for thinking that …

They are role gd models for anyone, especially for Casey: They could have tot grammar schoolboy (English schools — mostly fee paying) where entry is by way of competitive exams like our PLSE) Anton Casey the meaning of not sneering at those less off or less fortunate or smart or pushy or any combination thereof.

But maybe his role model was another PAP minister born into privilege and wealth? What do you think of someone who makes the u/m remarks about the “Pioneer Generation” praised by PM who fell on bad times, then went on to overspend on the Kiddie Games, food poisoning included? Remember them?

Dr Lily Neo:

Sir, I want to check with the Minister again when he said on the strict criteria on the entitlement for PA recipients. May I ask him what is his definition of “subsistence living”? Am I correct to say that, out of $260 per month for PA recipients, $100 goes to rental, power supply and S&C and leaving them with only $5 a day to live on? Am I correct to say that any basic meal in any hawker centre is already $2.50 to $3.00 per meal? Therefore, is it too much to ask for just three meals a day as an entitlement for the PA recipients?

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan:

How much do you want? Do you want three meals in a hawker centre, food court or restaurant?

Deaf frog recovers hearing and other ministerial tales

In Wit on 25/10/2011 at 5:55 pm

Wonder when “Deaf frog” Lim Swee Say ( “We are deaf to criticisms”) got back his hearing? After the 2011 GE, when a swing of a few more percentage points could have meant the loss of millions of dollars?

Seriously, it’s strange that so long after croaking “cheaper, better, faster”, he has only last Friday explained that he was referring to “products and services”, not to the people who make them. Given the context when the remark was made (FTs allowed in by the cattle-truck load), many (self included) thought he was referring to S’porean workers and PMETs: Telling them (I’m a capitalist) to be “cheaper, better, faster” than the FTs beloved of MM. 

Can believe him or not?

Will one VivianB now tell us that we all misunderstood him when in response to Lily Neo’s plea for more help for the elderly poor, he made the infamous rhetoric query about the elderly poor wanting “hawker or restaurant food”? Will he now tell us that he was asking a genuine question and that if Lily Neo had said, “Yes”, he would have ensured that the elderly poor got such food, even if the food was unhealthy for them.  Blame Lily Neo for them not getting help, not him.

And how will  Ng Eng Hen respond to the implicit rebuke by PM?

Just seven months ago, during the Budget debate, then Education Minister Ng Eng Hen – in the same Chamber – strenuously debunked notions that social mobility is stagnating.

As evidence, he cited how among PSLE pupils from the bottom one-third of socio-economic backgrounds, one in six makes it to the top one-third of PSLE scorers.

‘The Singapore Story continues for this generation,’ he then declared.

Yesterday, Mr Lee made it clear that inequality and social mobility are not so easily delinked. Those from poor families are disadvantaged from the start. ST 21 October 2011, Hitting the reset button, by Li Xueying.

“My data was wrong. I took it from my ministry’s website,” perhaps?

Coming back to the Deaf Frog. Now that he has regained his hearing, he should explain to us how come he is so privileged to get a CPF statement every month? “Every month when I see my CPF Statement I feel so happy because I know…” Or was it “an honest mistake”?


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