Lawlessness in Singapore

A LTA officer was seen beating up an old Uber taxi driver in full uniform. This was caught on video and is being circulated around like wild fire.  What is happening to Singapore when a govt official thought he could go around beating a citizen? When criminal intimidation without hurting another person is a serious offence, now you had an officer beating a citizen as if he was the law, acting like he was above the law.

While beating up the old man, all the LTA officer was concerned with was that he would not mind losing his job. He probably knew that that was the worse he could get. He would not be arrested or charge in court for a crime, for beating an old man while on duty. Just like Jover Chew of Sim Lim fame, he knew the law and nothing would happen to him.

What would the ministers be saying? Vile, or good, acting beyond the call of duty? What would the police say? Got offence or no offence? Or shall the old Uber driver get a lawyer to sue the LTA officer or sue LTA, settle it in the court, no crime was committed. The old man did not seem to be badly hurt, just a lot of blood on his face, loosen tooth, so not serious, not a seizable offence.  Why is this LTA man not arrested? He was just relieved of his duty pending investigation.

The streets of Singapore used to be very safe, at least save from thugs and hoodlums. Now who is making the streets of Singapore unsafe?

Watching the video is so scary. As an old uncle myself, I must stay away from such uniform officers to be safe. Better don’t argue with them. When they say move, quickly move and say sorry for causing any inconvenience to them.

This is what my Singapore is turning into. It is safer to stay indoors with my computer.

School bus operators to raise fees next year

I thought I heard it over the news that school bus operators will raise their fees next year by 10% to 20%.  Just wonder what would be the reasons for the hike when petrol prices have gone down so much. Can it be rental, wages or COEs that are forcing them to hike the fees? Or are they paying their top management millions and needed the parents to pay for their high pay?

It was also reported that an operator serving a primary school in Jurong would be raising fees by 100% or more. And the reason, they lost some contracts and therefore must make up for the loss of revenue. Also the bus operator needs to make more trips for students attending ECAs.

It was also reported that the School Bus Association will be talking to this school bus operator. Maybe raising by 100% is too much. How about 90% or 80%? What about the reasons, losing other contracts can pass the cost to the parents?

My neighbourhood chicken rice stall closed down another stall in another food court. So now he is raising his chicken rice from $3 a plate to $5 to make up. This is an easy way to run a business.

Uniquely Singapore!

PS. Can the school terminate such unreasonable bus operator and engage another operator? I think cannot. I don’t think it even occur to them that they can do so.


Another Bloomberg China bashing article in the Today paper

I am just curious, why would a main media be so happy to publish stupid articles that are outright dismissive, mischievous and unfriendly to another sovereign state, and repeatedly doing so? What would such media seek to gain or what is the agenda of the media? Just a few day’s back I posted an article by a Singapore teacher lamenting that our young have been fed with an Anglophone diet and are looking at the world unconsciously through the western perspective.

There is an article in the Today paper by Bloomberg on 27 Nov with the title ‘China’s leaders lay foundation of new Silk Road’. It also presented boxes to show the mind boggling figures of 60 countries involved in 900 massive projects with an estimated value of $1.25 trillion. With so many countries willing to participate in this One Belt One Road project by China, would it be a good thing or bad thing? If bad, why would the leaders of 60 countries be interested in these projects and to spend the money and resources on them?

Of course it must be bad, according to the Bloomberg article. And the words used were most crude and inappropriate for a supposedly serious article. The fact that 60 countries saw great benefits in the OBOR is not material. The fact that China is willing to pour in ‘gush of money’ in risky and not well governed countries with ‘poorly conceived plans’ is immaterial. What is material to the author of the article is that it is bad, bad that China is throwing money to build the infrastructure, bad that these countries would now be closely binded to China, bad that China would be building better relations with these countries and having more influence on these countries.  It is also bad that it is in China’s interest to cut its transportation cost by building land roads and no longer needs to depend on the costly sea lanes for access to goods, raw material and markets.  The countries involved also have nothing to gain. Their leaders are stupid to be involved in the projects, and some will have to pay for them with their natural resources.

And worse, let me quote a Scott Kennedy, a director of the Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, ‘Any time the Chinese dangle yuan in the face of foreign officials, they kind of swoon.’ The Americans would never swoon in the face of money? It must be. And it is so bad that ‘All along the Silk Road they have opened their hearts to the Chinese.’ Really bad! They should be opening their hearts to the Americans by buying more American weapons for war.

What else is new?  The questions to ask, what would the leaders of these countries do with their natural resources, sleep on them? Who is there to buy them if not the Chinese, the Americans? And would it be good if the Chinese could also bring in their technology to build the infrastructures they needed to trade with the world?  Or should they be signing military alliances with the Americans, to allow the Americans to station troops in their countries to protect them in exchange for their natural resources and to compromise their independence?

These are poor countries, lack of technology and know how, lack of financing, and yes, the countries are not well organized or well run. Who would be willing to pour money into them and risk losing their investments? The Americans, with no strings attached?

What are the risks China is taking for pouring money and investments into these countries?  According to the report, ‘With many projects destined for economically weak countries with dubious governance, China’s money could get lost to corruption or be wasted in poorly conceived plans, … Nor is there guarantee that China’s cash will win it camaraderie….China’s infrastructure bonanza also presents dangers to its own economy.’

With all the negatives, would it be better for China and these countries not to be part of the infrastructure development? The countries can continue to keep their natural resources forever and China need not bother throwing money at them?
Or would it be better that, according to Derek Scissors, an AEI scholar, “The Chinese are going to work very hard – throw money at any and all problems – to make sure prized ‘belt and road’ projects all work out….That could turn China’s grand Silk Road dreams into an even grander disappointment.”

Now what is so bad when China is the only loser, throwing money at poor and badly governed countries, helped them to develop, to build their infrastructure and losing money and influence and friendship? And what is so bad to these countries that are going to get everything at the expense of the Chinese with the Chinese working extremely hard for them? The Chinese must be real stupid, only know how to make money in the trillions and only know how to throw them away to these poorly governed countries that the Americans are not interested in, in the mind of the Bloomberg author.

Greed is the slippery road to ignominy

Can Singapore continue to flourish as it goes down the slippery road of greed? The Americans could do it, paying their CEOs and top management hundreds of millions and still sustainable, but for how long? There are some factors that allowed the Americans to bathe themselves with money, the greenback as the international currency and the money printing machine and the fraudulent financial market and industry that are trading junk bonds and worthless derivatives. But all the signs are there that the end is near.

Singapore is a tiny little red dot. Can Singapore survive by paying its top people millions of dollars for being unproductive? Think how costly it is to support a bunch of unproductive people at the top, the board of directors, the CEOs and the top management? How productive are these people, what is their contribution to the revenue and bottom line?

On top of this multi million dollar payout, there are the very high cost of land and transportation. Added together, how many businesses can survive, be they private or public, public private or private public? When the cost to keep the top management happy is so high, where is the money coming from? There is no free lunch, someone must pay.

In order to keep paying, either cost must be cut or revenue must go up. In the finance industry, just look at what they are doing to make money? All the rules of good governance, of ethics and morality, of transparency and accountability have been broken. They even break their own rules and regulations on good practices. Selling snake oils, selling toxic products, selling fake notes, selling gambling chits, cheating, frauds, lack of transparency, allowing computers to trade against the masses, whatever that is not permissible by the law, are all acceptable and marketable.

We are not like the Americans with a lot of cushion to absorb all the indulgence and extravagance, before the American economy collapses, our economy will go down first. A house of cards cannot withstand the gust of wind. One big huff and all will be blown away. How could so few feed so many at the top with so many millions for doing so little? They are desperate and are resorting to foul tactics and practices to find the money to pay themselves, gambling, cheatings, deceits, frauds, crimes etc etc.

Sustainable? You tell me.


Killing Chinese abroad is fair game

The attacks on Chinese nationals overseas, the killing of one Chinese by ISIS, and three died by a terrorist attack in Mali have put China in a quandary. China has been projecting itself as the next superpower that would not abuse its power to bully other countries or to intervene in the domestic affairs of sovereign nations. China would not want to be seen to be another USA or western powers, wielding a stick everywhere it goes. The world is asking what would Xi Jinping do with the recent killings of Chinese nationals by terrorist groups.

Australian National Security College expert was quoted by AP as saying, ‘For China, intervention would be a real game changer…Frankly, I think Xi is in a very difficult position here.’ China has been shunning getting involved in international squabbles when the use of force is necessary. According to Professor David Shambaugh of George Washington University, Chinese diplomacy is ‘hesistant, risk averse and narrowly self interested’ to the point that it is causing the West to lose their patience when China refused to join the gunslingers firing from the hips. This avoidance in getting involved in the use of force in the international arena is seen as ‘aloofness’ by Clarke and I quote, ‘If China remains aloof, questions will continue as to whether China is in fact, ready to play a global role.’

To play a global role, the West is expecting China to participate more aggressively, to be ready to use force when necessary. With the Chinese nationals increasingly showing their presence all over the globe as tourists or doing business, the risk of them being killed will grow and the demand for China to take action will also increased. The China of today has the capability to intervene when its nationals are at risk abroad.

Historically China had been inactive when Chinese nationals were massacred all over the world, particularly in South East Asia. It was then weak and unable to do much. The Chinese diaspora is also part of the Chinese civilization and when they are facing threats of genocide and ethnic cleansing, China would face further pressure to act.  When would China pick up the glove and stand up for its nationals and the Chinese diaspora abroad, to act and behave as a responsible global power?

There is no running away from such troubles and sooner or later China would have to take a new course in its non involved diplomacy. A super power must act like a super power, and to protect its citizens and its assets everywhere when called upon to do so.

Can Singapore rely on Self Check to protect the rights of its citizens?

‘Detention of match fixing kingpin ‘unlawful’’ This is the headline in the media on 26 Nov. The release of Dan Tan after being detained for 24 months without trial under the Criminal Law(Temporary Provisions) Act(CL/TPA) has very serious implications to the enforcement of law and order in the city state and question the rationale of ‘Self Check’ as the best check on the system. The Court of Appeal headed by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Appeal Judges Chao Hick tin and Andrew Phang Boon Leong ruled that Dan Tan’s detention under the CL/TPA was unlawful.  This means that the Law Minister that invoked this law was wrong and a citizen was detained unlawfully for two years.  The first thought coming to mind, can Dan Tan seek redress and compensation against the Minister or the govt?

Dan Tan’s detention was debated in Parliament, a kind of self check in the system to ensure that the law is enforced fairly and equitably and lawfully. And for it to go to Parliament, many legal minds and experts in MOH must have gone through the law with due diligence and found it right and lawful to detain Dan Tan. And Parliament, a few questions, allowed it to pass.

If this Dan Tan did not have the money and the able lawyers to defend him, he would still be locked up without trial, on the ground of threatening public safety, peace and order in Singapore. The CL/TPA was to protect the country against hard core criminals from harming the people and law and order. What did Dan Tan do to be feared like hard core criminals? He was a bookie, a big time international bookie fixing football matches. And that was seen by the people in authority as very dangerous and threatening public safety, peace and order in Singapore. And the Minister thought so, his ministry thought so and Parliament, the whole lot of MPs and ministers also thought so.

Now the Court of Appeal said NO!. It is unlawful. And some people are worried that this decision will compromise peace, good order of Singapore. This means that this loosely written law can be subjected to all kinds of interpretation depending on the person’s psychological make up, his values and beliefs and wha the person thinks is a danger to peace and good order, and a bookie or gambler is also that dangerous.  What is astounding is that so many brilliant, clever, super talented people, MPs elected by the people to sit in Parliament, in this case, were all wrong and read the law wrongly. Is it frightening? And more frightening, they are afraid that because they were ruled to be wrong, it will compromise good order and peace, or that their decision should be upheld for good order and peace.

What about self check? Is this about self check? Is the system, the courts doing a self check on the system? Some would say yes, some would say not really. Some would now be questioning, how credible and reliable were those people that were given the trust and authority to apply the law and did it so badly resulting in a man being detained without trial for 2 years.

And so many people, clever people, thought the law was right and they were right to use the law on Dan Tan. Thank God, there is self check in the courts of law and there is wisdom to apply and uphold the law lawfully.

On hindsight, many wise men have also wisen up to say how could Dan Tan fall into the category of dangerous criminals that would affect public safety, peace and good order of Singapore? Would the Law Minister and MOH make an appeal against this judgement from the Court of Appeal and to rule that what they did to Dan Tan was lawful?

Would anyone be held accountable for applying the law so wrong?


Selling national icons

The Great Singapore Sale is on, but this one will take a longer time span as it involves real big ticket items. The PWD or Public Works Division was sold, power stations were sold, Robinson sold, Tiger Beer/F&N sold and the latest item under the hammer is iconic NOL, the national carrier of international fame and of big losses.

Richard Hartung, a foreign talent, wrote in the Today paper today asking ‘Why Spore should not sell off its iconic firms’. The reasons are obvious, there are things that are more valuable than just in monetary terms and should not be put up for sale using profit and loss rationale. There are national psychic involved, national pride, culture, aspiration and identity. What would Singapore be if they sell away DBS, SIA, the Istana, PSA, SMRT, SBS, HDB, the National Museum, National Arts Gallery, the universities like NUS, NTU etc etc? What the heck spending on foreigners to buy gold medals in sports for?

Richard Hartung also talked about the loss of core skills if a national shipping line would go and how it would affect the business of PSA. Would the new owner bypass PSA and make Malaysian ports their ports of call and head office? What about the core skills of shipping talents? Not important? Yes, not important. We already have lost our core skills in banking and finance and IT and would need 30 years to train our next generation of bankers, finance and IT experts if the govt is serious to pursue this line of thinking and not just paying lip services.

We even compromised our Total Defense Concept by bringing in foreigners in the millions and given important appointments in govt services and GLCs to foreigners called new citizens and some not even new citizens. We are at the verge of cleaning out our local academics in the academia by replacing them with foreigners. Would we be losing any core skills and talents?

And the NOL and SIA do not just play a commercial role for profit and loss. In times of war, they have supporting role to play for our military services as well. Are we really going all out on this Great Singapore Sale just counting dollars and cents? Are there other more important considerations to think about, strategic interests, the big picture, a nation versus a hotel?

All the kpkb in the social media will be of no use. Maybe what this Richard Hartung said may ring a bell, because he is a foreigner and foreigners are the smarter people in this Sin City. And in this case this foreigner also thinks this Great Singapore Sale of iconic assets is not a good idea.

What do you think?