2/27/2015

Singapore got only one banking and finance talent


When the CEO of Stanchart’s position was vacant, one name came up as a suitable replacement. When the CEO position of the SGX is empty, the same name came up as the worthy candidate for the job. And the candidate is already sitting pretty and happily as CEO of another big bank.
 

It seems that Singapore has only one citizen that is good enough to fill the position of CEO in a bank or a big financial organization. And he is not even a Singaporean 2or 3 years back. He is a new citizen, taking up the citizenship after being offered the lucrative and plum job of CEO of DBS.
 

Is this a happy thing or a sad thing? Where have all the native Singaporean bankers gone, or is there any left? What kind of silly country is this when it keeps bragging about being the financial centre of Asia but got no native talent good enough for any top banking job? In fact most of the CEO jobs in the banking and finance industry are filled by foreigners and the next native that could be good enough or would be trained for it would be one in the late twenties because the Minister of Finance realized recently that there is a dearth of talents among the natives in the banking and finance industry.
 

I bet the CEO of SGX would probably come from a little village somewhere in SE Asia or Asia, a village bumpkin, as the real talents can only be found in little remote villages where the top banker is likely to be a money lender without a shop front. And the good thing, maybe they are beefing up the 3 top local world class universities to equip them with the resources and academics to start to train native Singaporeans for the future CEO positions in finance and banking, and be ready in 30 years time.
 

We are always planning way ahead of our time, so they quipped, a lot of foresight and aftersight, or backside, 30 years ahead but forgot that we need these talents today. There is no top native talent in the banking and finance industry in the financial centre of Asia!
 

What is happening? Ya, no skills set in banking and finance among the natives in the island. The best local talent available was recently appointed to be the Chairman of Temasek while another sitting pretty in the Istana. The local banking and finance talents have either gone the dinosaur way, extinct or fossilized!
 

A huge hot air balloon has been floated into space calling for a foreign talent to fill the job in SGX if the best and only ‘local’ talent in DBS does not want the job.

50 years, still a little tart


Immediately after SGX announced the impending departure of Magnus Bocker it followed up with another piece of news, that it had appointed a foreign recruitment agency to hunt for a replacement worldwide. This is like a reflex action. No one good enough in SGX or in Singapore, or there must be a better foreigner out there. Go, get me a foreigner quick. Shouldn’t it be looking for a Singaporean first, in house or within the industry or from the pool of brilliant scholars in the govt and if that yields no result then go hunting elsewhere? Why must it be that the SGX must look elsewhere first and not in house?
 

After 50 years, the little tart is still a little tart, looking for the shoulder of a foreigner for security. She probably feels very safe and comfortable hiding behind a foreigner. If a foreigner were to stand in front of the little tart, she would probably wet herself, urinating controllably and trembling in fear. Would it help if she pastes a million dollar on her face for that façade of paper thin dignity?
 

When the pioneering leaders came on board, it was all about self reliance, about independence, about our ability to run our own country with our own people and talent. And they made it a point to stand shoulder to shoulder with the foreigners, as equals. Today, things have degenerated so far that the little tart, instead of growing up, is highly dependent on the foreigners to hold her hand and to lift her head high. The insecurity and lack of confidence are hard to miss. Look over the shoulder and you will see a little tart grabbing the hands of a foreigner tightly, so afraid to let go, like the security blanket.
We don’t have good students, we don’t have good professors. So to make our universities look good, we import the professors and the students, lock, stock and barrel. Nice one, tart.
 

Initially I thought it was a colonial handover of sort. But today, any foreigner will do, even from the 3rd world countries. The little tart has lost all self respect and confidence of herself and her ability. What is the point of paying her million dollar salary when she continues to behave like a clueless little tart? Would she need another 50 years to grow up?
 

It cannot be a fetish craze for foreigners after 50 years of growing up unless it is a kind of degenerative trait, premature ageing and getting senile prematurely. Would the little tart be asking for a foreigner to be the PM or the President when the incumbents vacate their seats? Would it have to take another 50 years to grow up and be on our own? What are we celebrating SG50 for? For more good years and forever as little tarts?
 

What is wrong with our native Singaporean talent? Singapore got no talents? Yes, I am asking you, little tart.

2/26/2015

LKY – The most controversial man at a critical moment of his life


There was a big stir last night that LKY had passed away only to be proven wrong. He is still in ICU being watched closely by his doctors. It is good that we keep an even keel in this blog without getting ourselves embroiled in the controversies by two opposing camps lampooning at each other over the merits and demerits of this man. He had done many things that people would remember him for good, and many things that his enemies or victims would not forgive him. In fact many Singaporeans have benefitted from his rule, some more, some less. I am not going to say much about those that crossed his path. They would have their own stories to tell.
 

At this very moment everyone is watching with uneasy feelings on when he would move on and what would happen after that. Would things go on as normal as if nothing happens, a non event? Or would hell break loose and all the knives and hatchets unsheathed? There are angers and hatred in some quarters, in some corners. How bad are they? Some comments in cyberspace were very harsh and very crude, a sign that some had a bad time from him or his policies.
 

This is like a lull before a storm. The initial reaction should LKY pass on would be a flurry of reports on him in the main media, in the papers and on air, eulogies and weepings from those who appreciated his contributions and made a difference to their lives. Then they would be the ceremonial processions for the man that was no longer the Prime Minister for many years but still living in the Istana as a permanent resident, a right only he deserved against all state protocol. He is still bigger than his MP title.
 

When the sound and glory are over, it would be the turn of the sound of fury. Would there be a different set of eulogies from a different viewpoint surfacing, not in the main media of course? Would there be hard thumpings and different versions of hard truths to challenge the official hard truths?
 

Fortunately I think all these happenings are likely to be academic, all sound and fury and nothing more than that. It is unlikely to be anything more after the steam was let off. Then soberness and sadness will fill the air for the passing of a national leader that had risen to the top of the heap only to close the chapter with a controversial ending.
 

This is a very busy and tense moment for many who are involved in one way or another, a moment they have prepared for and waiting to happen. This could be the most important event in our history that cannot be eclipsed by the SG50 celebration other than a shocking and controversial result in the next GE, if there is going to be one at all. There are expectations and this time, with the passing of the LKY’s era, the expectation is high, anything is possible. It will be a new ball game, the beginning of a new chapter in our history.

Next chapter, the changing of the guards.

Mysingaporenews Collection – Book launch update


30 copies snapped up in 3 days. I would need to have 300 copies to get this book off the ground unless I can find a sponsor to pay for the printing cost.
Some of the topics to be included in the book would be as follows:
 

1. CPF, your money or OPM
2. Medishield Life – paying for a life time
3. Population White Paper
4. Hong Lim Park Protest Rallies
5. Roy Ngerng and friends in Hong Lim Park
6. Plight of PMEs, taxi drivers
7. Education
8. Gems of Parliament
9. High cost of living
10. The flawed and dying stock market
11. Public housing, appreciating or depreciating asset?
12. Political development and change
13. Disappearing true blue Singaporeans
14. Whither Singapore
 

There will be many other hot topics that are dear to Singaporeans in the book. The crowdfunding will end by 31 Mar. I need more orders to make up the first 300 copies.
 

Thank you.
Redbean

Blind spot in Parliament?


Shanmugam were vicious in tearing down the WP for the lapses in AHPETC. He threw at WP everything he got that could put the WP in a very bad light. And the ST did its best as the prime newspaper to inform the readers of every detail that happened in Parliament, on the TV over and over again. The WP was in defensive mode and was kept really busy to ward off the blows. Where got time to engage in other issues or to talk about other issues or even to prepare for the GE? The election campaigning has started, and in case the opposition parties are still sleeping, the PAP is on a campaign march. Read the ST and the coverage of the ministers and PAP will tell you what is happening.
 

Back to Shanmugam’s performance in Parliament. There were so many things that are worthy to be gems of Parliament and I would take time to cover them. Let me just touch on the set of fees that Shanmugam obtained from the MND to attack the WP. In that chart, the fees payable by residents and commercial units were exactly the same. Sylvia Lim spotted the difference as it is a norm to charge commercial organizations a different rate in practically everything, water, electricity and of course S&CC. The big question, is there a mistake in Shanmugam’s chart?
 

Shanmugam did not think so and it was reported that he had double checked and confirmed there was no mistake. The residents and commercial units were charged the same S&CC in PAP wards in 2014. Please correct me if I am wrong on this with the latest.
 

There are many reasons for me to accept that the data were accurate. First, the MND would not give such an important set of data to be used in Parliament to accuse the WP for mismanagement or over charging to Shanmugam. It would be very embarrassing if untrue and found out to be untrue. A public apology would be needed. And the WP could say the same thing, sorry not enough, please explain.
 

Shanmugam, being a top notch lawyer, would not miss the error and would have corrected them before presenting them to Parliament as a weapon. He would not embarrass himself with a set of wrong data in public, in Parliament.
 

And mind you, so many ministers and MPs must be privy to this chart and it is unbelieveable and unbecoming that no one is diligent or clever enough to spot the huge mistake if there is one. Everyone must know that there was no mistake. It could not be a case that there was a mistake but no one thought a need to tell him and wanting Shanmugam to make a fool of himself in Parliament. It also could not be a case of idolizing Shanmugam and looking gaga when he spoke, assuming that this god like lawyer could not make mistake, everything he said must be carefully thought out.
 

Unless there is any announcement to this, I must presume or assume that the chart must be right. Now who was the person that produced some data and letters claiming that the changes to lower the fees for PAP Town councils, especially the part for commercial units, were done recently? How recent and why? Or was that just another assumption of fabrication to prove Shanmugam wrong? There is no way to prove the chart wrong unless it is wrong. This is factual and no one can lie about it.
 

Is there another truth? Is there a blind spot in Parliament?

Malaysia’s 1MDB crisis


The husband is the PM and the wife is the Chairman of a sovereign fund. They thought having a sovereign fund with a lot of borrowed money must surely make money. They may be doing a copycat operation after visiting the rich southern state with two successful sovereign funds to boot. So the husband and wife team copied the successful formula of their neighbor, to every small detail, to borrow billions to set up 1MDB, after Khazanah, to invest with OPM. With so much money to make money, how to lose, or at least statistically it should make money in the long run. Even if the money is lost, so what when it is OPM?
 

Somehow sovereign funds have the same bad habit of buying high and faced with immediate fall in value and then hoping for a good return in the long long run. This formula never fails. 1MDB is no exception. But no worry, the long term would be ok, and they went investing recklessly, buy all kinds of shit that the snake oil sellers threw at them, even hot air.
 

The PM and his wife are now accused of corruption openly. Everyone is talking about it, from the kampong folks to the lawmakers. And they did not mince their words and were very generous in the use of the fear term, ‘corruption’. I was viewing the video clips of presentors Haris Ibrahim and Rafizi Ramli and their interviews with Tony Pua on the subject of 1MDB. My God, if you want to know what democracy and freedom of speech are you must google for these names to know what we are missing.
 

Najib and Rosmah are involved in this corruption case amounting to 42 billion ringgits in unexplained debt, and the audience roared with the approval. And why was Mahathir complaining? Because he did not have his fair share, that’s why. And who topped the list in the total value of bad debts to be bailed out by the Govt? Mahathir pipped Najib by a nose but only because he ruled the country for more than 20 years. Najib did what he did in 2 years. And the good news, Najib is catching up fast. Wow, can this kind of language be used in our little island of democracy and free speech? I don’t think anyone would dare to say these things even in Hong Lim’s Speakers’ Corner. Oops, not true. I am sure there will be brave people, given the permit, to stand in Hong Lim’s famous little mound to say Najib, Rosmah and Mahathir are corrupt. Sure can.
 

Tony Pua and Rafizi even claimed that the ruling party was treating the Malaysians as daft, a familiar note, not being able to understand how the money was transacted through many layers to lose its trail, till no one know what to ask, where it went. At least our MPs and ministers know how to ask where is the money going. Everything is secret and there was no transparency in 1MDB’s activities to talk about. Is that new? But Tony Pua and his gang were still able to trace the highly questionable investments in oil fields in Altantuya’s Mongolia and the Caspian Sea with equally questionable companies operated by unknown and questionable individuals.
 

The facts that were revealed and confirmed, according to Tony Pua, were that a govt sovereign fund under the charge of the wife of the PM has been involved in questionable dealings and the PM could go down with it, and they are going after Najib and Rosmah for accountability. Tony and Rafizi also claimed that the 42b ringgit of debt by the sovereign fund could bring down the Malaysian govt and affecting every Malaysian adversely. This part I find it quite unbelieveable for such a big country, with oil wealth oozing out from the sea, to be at crisis level all for a miserable 42b in ringgits which is not even 20b Sing dollars. That only proves how rich Singapore is compares to Malaysia. Even without oil oozing out from the sea, we don’t even bat an eyelid with the officially announced lost of $50b or $60b Sing dollars during the financial crisis. In ringgit terms that would be more than $100b! What crisis are they talking about?
 

Anyway, it was an eye opening experience to know the generous space available to talk about corruption of a PM and his wife involving billions of public money, OPM. And they are not even charged, just assumptions and insinuations. And as if God wants to push the knife deeper, the falling oil price would only accentuate the severity of the miserable 42b ringgits and made it a bigger crisis.
 

Malaysia boleh, at least in democracy and in free speech, and the wide berth to play around for the opposition lawmakers in Parliament. The speakers were so casual when they made the corruption charges as if the PM and his wife were already guilty. This is a plus point for the Malaysians. The names of Najib, Rosmah and Mahathir and other senior politicians were freely and loosely used for condemnation with no hesitation, no restraints or the need to self regulate, with no fear of being sued to bankruptcy. They were telling them like jokes in a kopitiam but on youtube and in public forum.
 

Can’t imagine a similar scenario happening in Sin City. The husband and wife team’s days are numbered and it is only a matter of time for more disclosure of 1MDB’s debt problem. They can’t keep manipulating the accounts to show profit when there is no profit or hide under non disclosure or secrecy. And there is a limit to how much they can squeeze from the provident fund and the number of assets they can transfer to the sovereign fund to make it look good. Everything is hidden, secret, no need to tell. And this is what made Rafizi and Tony giggled. Secret lah! When no one knows what is happening, something seriously wrong is likely to be happening.

2/25/2015

Who decides who is fit to be the next govt?


I want to follow up with Boon Wan’s statement that the Town Council is the PAP’s way of testing the opposition MPs’ability to run a country. Is running a Town Council a necessary or effective way to gauge a party or MP’s ability to run a govt? LKY never run a Town Council and so did Goh Keng Swee. Maybe that was why the country was so badly run then compared to how well it is run today by the new leaders with the privilege and experience of running a Town Council.
 

To me, running a Town Council is a piece of cake for any reasonably clear thinking individual. The difficult part is to navigate through the landmines, traps, obstacles and avoiding snipers and ambushes along the way. But to be serious, to really want to manage a Town Council to resemble running a country, to benefit from the experience, then it should go all the way. Let the Town Council be run like a mini state, collect its own taxes or be awarded its fair share of the tax collection, let them run their own police and mini civil service etc etc. That would really be a meaningful training experience.
 

The current structure of running a Town Council is more like how to overcome the problems and difficulties in an obstacle course when things were just being difficult, when they have no autonomy in finance and in having very little bargaining chips in their dealings with other govt agencies. How fair is the playing field for opposition parties to run their Town Councils and how fair is the test of their ability to run a Town Council like running a mini state? Heard of playing against a loaded dice?
 

By the way, does an opposition party need to gain the approval from the ruling party in how to run a country, to pass the test set by the ruling party, and then be given a pass grade to go ahead to run a country? Who decides which party is suitable to run a country? The ruling party or the voters?
 

An alternative party does not need the blessing and consent of the ruling party to be the elected govt. It is not the power of the ruling party to set the conditions and to say the alternative party is not good enough. It is the right and will of the people to decide who they want to run the country. This is a democracy, not a monarchy or someone’s grandfather’s company whereby the family call the shot and decide who is fit or not fit to take charge. Maybe I am wrong and Boon Wan is right. The ruling party would decide who or which alternative party is able to run the country.
 

I have a suggestion. The alternative party should send their candidates to PAP for tea, for a fee of course, to be certified fit and able to form and run a govt like the PAP candidates, everyone chopped with the PAP quality seal and ISO 9001 certified.