6/30/2016

Malaysia becoming more like Singapore, the next incorruptible country

Singapore has the reputation of being the least corrupt country in Asia. Thanks to an incorruptible govt and an incorruptible culture. After visiting Singapore so many times and so many exchanges and retreats with Singapore govt officials, something good must have rubbed on to the Malaysians. They are becoming incorruptible, especially the ruling govt.

So far no govt official has been arrested for corruption, not from the ruling party definitely. The only people that are corrupt are likely from the opposition parties and their members. The Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng, has just been arrested for corruption.

This is how serious Malaysia is about stamping out the scourge of corruption in the country. And they have set a very good example with the ruling party members all being incorruptible. And they will not be kind to the opposition parties or anyone that is corrupt.

Malaysia is becoming another shining example of a country that is free of corruption and very firm against anyone that is corrupt, regardless of race or position. Now Asean countries have two shining examples to emulate, Singapore and Malaysia, the two most incorruptible countries in Asean and Asia.

Najib is setting a fine example of honesty and incorruptibility.

South China Sea turning into another Indonesian wayang kulit

The South China Sea islands have been claimed by China for centuries and have never been an issue with the new countries in Asean for three main reasons. Historically, they were claimed by China and there were no Asean countries to talk about or to contest them. The new countries only came into existence after the end of WW2. They were non countries before that. And thirdly, the Americans came into the picture to agitate and support the new countries to claim the islands longed claimed by China.

What is the issue? It is not China claiming any part of the territory or sea belong to the new countries. It is the new countries wanting to claim islands belonging to China. But the western media gave it a wicked twist, that it was China claiming islands belonging to the new countries.

And the Philippines, with the support of the Americans and engineering a silly international court to hear a case that they have no jurisdiction to hear, put up a claim to this court without the consent of China as the other party for arbitration. It is a cooked deal from the start when an arbitration needs to have the consent of both parties but being heard in a farcical court with only one party presenting its case and the other party not present.  What a sham!

Many countries have border issues created during the era of imperialism and colonialism but are peacefully talking and negotiating the difference. Here we have the western media hyping up such border disputes and with the Americans agitating and provoking one or two spurious claimants to push the barrier to the verge of a military conflict and blaming China for it. There was no issue but made an issue by the American and western media.

Now another article by Reuter in the Today paper on 29 Jun framed the posturing by the Indonesian into another wayang kulit. It suggested that Indonesia was facing claims by China, threats by China, confrontation in the sea, clashes etc etc, all very serious stuff and Indonesia is bolstering up its defence and increasing its defence budget to protect its territorial waters.

What is the truth? Indonesia under attack by China?

Indonesian navy in clashes with Chinese navy? Indonesian confronting Chinese navy, in face off? China claiming Indonesian territories, claiming Natuna Islands? Far from it.

The whole farce was kicked up with Indonesian Navy chasing Chinese fishing boats, arresting Chinese fishermen and firing at Chinese fishing boats in disputed territories.  It was Indonesian Navy threatening and harassing Chinese fishing boats. Chinese Coast Guard Vessels did not confront or challenge the Indonesian Navy. If they did, they would have sunk the tiny Indonesian frigates. The Chinese Coast Guard vessels are much bigger and much well equipped to take on the Indonesian frigates.

Now who is threatening who?  Everything was hyped by the Indonesians with their Navy doing all the confronting and chasing against fishing boats! Yes, unarmed Chinese fishing boats that ran when confronted by the armed Indonesian frigates.  Whose is being feared and who is the bully and gangster?  Indonesian Navy being threatened by Chinese fishing boats or behaving like gangsters and pirates harassing Chinese fishing boats?

What is the truth? And the Indonesian wayang kulit went further to state that the Indonesian President had to make a visit to the Natuna Islands to make sure they are still there. They need to reinforce the islands with more military hardware!

Is China claiming the Natunas? If China would to do so, imagine what the Americans and the western media would say and how Asean would react? When Vietnam was threatening to run all over Asean, they were shivering in their pants and it was China that came in to stop Vietnam from running all over Asean. Today they are taunting China as if China is hapless against these little street urchins, and crying wolf.

What is the truth? Who is the aggressor, who is the bully, who is the gangster? The new Asean countries have been grabbing Chinese islands and accusing China of being the aggressor with the connivance of the Americans and western media.

Can you beat that?

6/29/2016

Post-Brexit UK – A New Dawn for ASEAN

The political and economic fundamentals of the United Kingdom (UK) remain very strong even as madness and mayhem descend upon global financial markets after the Brexit voted 52%-48% in favour of the UK leaving the European Union (EU) in 2 years time.

Global financial markets protested as they are unable to grasp the inevitability of the emergence of an unfamiliar new world order having a independent, politically and economically strong UK unhinged from the EU. That the UK has never been truly and fully an integrated part of the EU seem to be lost on the major market players as they allow their fears and ignorance to fuel massive sell-down of stocks regardless of their materiality and relevance to UK and/or EU economies. 

The UK economy is 4% of the world’s GDP; and at nearly US$3 Trillion is the 9th largest in the world and the 2nd largest in the EU.  With a reducing national budget deficit, the UK has been the fastest growing among the developed nations, being the 9th largest exporter and the 5th largest importer with the world, including the EU. 

In terms of foreign direct investments (FDI), the UK has the 3rd largest stock (behind USA and China) of inward FDI worth US$1.7 Trillion as well as the 2nd largest stock of outward FDI, of which a significant 28% (about US$35Billion) flows into the EU.   

The grandiose EU dream has become nightmarish over the years. The peace and prosperity envisioned at its creation are mired in despair, unemployment, debts and fiscal disarray.   EU’s share of the world GDP has fallen in the past 40 years from 37% in 1973 to less than 23% today, and still declining.  EU unemployment remains high when compared with UK’s 7.5%, with countries like Spain at 23% and Greece above 25%.  The relentless economic EU economic and political crisis has no solution because it is grounded in the very conceptual nature of a “United European” notion that forces a group of 28 nations with very disparate economies and fiscal discipline, resulting thereby in endemic economic paralysis and stunted development.

Post-Brexit UK is finally freed of EU ideological, economic and political shackles to pursue her own destiny and dreams. Brexit opens up tremendous opportunities for the UK to expand its own trade with current trading partners like ASEAN, Commonwealth, Africa and the USA.  And to create alliances with other trading blocs eg the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) around the Pacific Rim, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the emergent ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) without having to obtain EU approval.

ASEAN is an economic community of 10 South-East Asian nations with a combined GDP of US$2.4 Trillion and 630 million people.  For ASEAN, the UK is a main export and FDI destination in Europe.  ASEAN also receive significant FDI from the UK. The UK-ASEAN relationship can be expected to deepen and expand in volume and financially post-Brexit. 

As a start, a UK-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (UKAFTA) would make logical sense and easiest to model after the proposed EU-ASEAN FTA currently under negotiation.  Alternatively, individual ASEAN nations could fashion their own respective FTA with the UK, using the 2015 EU-Singapore FTA (EUSFTA) as a template model.  Individual UK-ASEAN Member FTAs would not jeopardize the eventual conclusion of a EU-ASEAN FTA.  There are multi-billion dollar infrastructural projects in ASEAN awaiting FDI and investments from the UK, EU and the rest of the world.

Post-Brexit UK is a strong competitor of the EU and other developed nations in the global FDI and trade space.  ASEAN sits at the heart of two high-profile mega-FTAs: the TPP and the RCEP between ASEAN and its six FTA partners, including China, Japan and India. These two giant trade initiatives will inevitably draw ever more economic activities and FDI to the region and away from the transatlantic trading area, to the detriment of the EU.

The continuing turmoil in the financial markets post-Brexit ignore the solid inherent strengths of the UK economiy and her financial institutions.  Her political stability is not weakened by the Brexit vote, but is instead strengthened by the boldness and courage of her political leaders from all political persuasions to trust in the judgment of the UK people.  The doomsayers and gloomy outlooks for post-Brexit UK have no objective basis and are grounded in their fears of the unknown dynamics of a EU with the UK. 

The UK is also the peer leader of the Commonwealth, a huge loosely-organised bloc of 53 countries with a combined GDP of over US$9 Trillion.

And when the economic radarscope of the UK scans more wider globally, the Commonwealth and ASEAN will become her new prosperity platforms as the UK re-kindles old legacy relations in the dawn of a new global order now unfolding and unpacking before us in an uncharacteristic and certain manner.     

Michael Heng aka Mikros


Related:

How stupid has Singapore become?

Just read this, two opening paragraph from a post by a blogger called, ‘silence is NOT golden’  in TRE title ‘Call me xenophobic, I don’t care’.

‘I am sick and tired of foreigners coming to Singapore and giving Singapore Government advice to raise prices of essential goods and services without any consideration the economic and social impact their advice would have on the average Singaporeans who are not earning as much as they are.

One case in point: Asit Biswas (visiting professor of the LKY School of Public Policy from India). According to him, “if he had his way, he would increase water prices here by 30 per cent immediately.” (Straitstimes, March 21, 2016). In his view, “water prices should have been increased a long time ago” because “Singaporeans now use water profligately for all household chores, as well as for bathing and hygienic purposes”. Does he expect us to use water from the river for our household chores, as well as for bathing and hygienic purposes like they do in India? Biswas said “he and his wife are “seriously considering” becoming Singapore permanent residents”. Really? Just Singapore PR? Not Singapore citizens?’

How stupid can Singapore be, after building a third world country to become a first world city, the envy of the world, it starts to disbelieve in Singaporeans and everyday go around the world, no, go to third world countries, to hire people that could not do anything good to their sham and slum infested countries, to come here and teach us how to run our country to make it better? If these people are that good, their countries would not be such a shambolic state and a shame to talk about

No need to say anything more. The stupid will always go and ask the stupid for help. Look at the Americans, they used to come here for advice when they know they could get good advice. Now they would not bother. The Chinese used to come here to learn from us. Now they too don’t bother. We taught them how to build little housing estates and industrial parks. Now they are building the world, building the longest bridge, the longest road, the biggest train network across continents, building ships, aircraft, satellites, rockets, and becoming one of the top industrial countries and economies in the world.

6/28/2016

Poor Singaporeans - Another sad tale to cry about

Below are some thoughts of a Singaporean driven to despair by a thoughtless nation that don’t believe in looking after its own citizens. Why would they, would they know the pathetic tales of Singaporeans being ousted by heartless policies, regardless of nationality in employment? Why would they have time for daft Singaporeans when they are all busily counting their millions?  It makes one wonders what the fuck is a country and nation all about when citizens are sacrificed in favour of foreigners.

Those people in MOM must think responsibly, that every employment pass they issued there is one sad Singaporeans begging to be employed. Maybe the MOM is run by foreigners or new citizens who believed that foreigners deserved the jobs as they are better, regardless of nationality? How can a country, a nation, degenerate to such a state when citizens no longer matters and foreigners come first? At least half a million foreigners having better jobs not the they were better but through the stupidity of fools in charge.

And after spending a small fortune to get a university degree, hoping to give the parents a better life as a filial chlld, one ends up earning $9 a day as a temp staff, with a degree to boot.

Ask who you voted for and why you voted for them and what are they doing for you or against you. Read on. This article is in Gilbert’s www.transitioning .org blog.


Dear Counselor,

Please pardon me for my incoherent thoughts. I have just recovered from a bout of crying. I have been sleeping late and waking up late the past few weeks. If I remain unemployed… Who knows? I don’t dare to imagine my ending. To cut a long story short, I hate myself for being so STUPID. I have always been the type highly likely to end up unemployable. Now, thanks to my own stupidity, I have made myself unemployable.

I have sent out so many cover letters (customized) plus CV to various companies and job agencies so far. No news!

Thought #1: Why should I work? I want to live a meaningful life by contributing whatever God-given skills/talents/abilities that I possess to society. I want to 孝顺 my parents. I must accumulate  $$$$$ in my CPF account, otherwise I will be penniless when I am old and ill. Even if I get rid of all my expenses, I still have to pay insurance premiums. Now then I realize that earning $9/hr beats earning nothing.

Thought #2:After my A Levels, the only temp job that I managed to secure was fast food crew member. I performed so badly that I received lots of screaming/scolding and not even one single compliment. I quit after three weeks and spent the rest of my post-A Levels break volunteering every Saturday at BLAHBLAHBLAH. I love BLAHBLAHBLAH so much that I told myself that I won’t quit it unless it asks me to leave. (Yup, I’m still volunteering at BLAHBLAHBLAH.) You might be wondering why I haven’t asked any of my fellow volunteers for job opportunities and so on. Reason #1: I doubt that they are able to help. We are acquaintances, not friends. Reason #2: Pride. They are highly likely to view me as stupid and incompetent if I tell them that I’m currently unemployed.

Thought #3: During my 1st uni break, I secured a temp job through 100% luck, although my preferred explanation is that God had answered my prayers. My dad’s colleague quit her job so my dad brought me into the company as a temp while the company was busy searching for a permanent replacement. However, soon after I left, the boss revised company policy—no more 裙带关系. By the way, this company is now struggling to survive. My dad’s own rice bowl is at risk, therefore I ought to work!

Thought #4: Oh, please don’t ask me which uni I graduated from. I don’t feel like blaming my joblessness on it. Let me give you a clue… In 2011 (the year I entered uni), a girl committed suicide allegedly because she was sad that the only uni acceptance letter that she received was from this particular uni. I feel sad whenever people say that my uni teaches useless stuff. Sometimes my dad discusses work-related stuff with me. He says that my insights are good. I always tell him those good insights aren’t from me, I’m merely parroting what my uni modules have taught me.

Thought #5: During my 2nd uni break, I secured a temp job through a job agency and yet another temp job through “cold e-mailing”. I can only secure jobs through the abovementioned means because I have NO friends. I’m bullied/hated/ostracized from kindergarten till JC, no wonder I’m friendless. I 独来独往-ed in uni. (To be fair, I do have seniors/peers/juniors who were nice towards me and teachers who doted on me. My JC classmates who hated me throughout JC 1 softened their stance towards me in JC 2 without rhyme or reason and started treating me very nicely. However, I’m so traumatized by my experiences that I deleted all teachers’ and schoolmates’ contact numbers. I almost committed bullycide in primary sch and later in JC.) I have lost count of sources stating that most jobs (at least 80%) are secured through friends. I have no friends, how to secure anything good?!

Thought #6: I slacked throughout uni while slipping in and out of depression. I recovered from depression in my 3rd year, but I still slacked. Stupid me.

Thought #7: I have lots of horror stories involving counselors. However, several years ago, a call that I made to SAMH hotline restored my faith in counseling. I forgot everything that the SAMH hotline counselor told me, I only remembered that she saved me from losing my sanity completely.

Thought #8: When I was studying in uni, I was very sure that I would pursue WSQ PDECCE (Childcare) upon graduation. Stupid me. I can’t sing or dance or play sports, how to educate children in these aspects? Oh, when I applied through ABC Institute, somehow I managed to receive SMSes about job interviews but not e-mails containing the details. I found out from its staff that my e-mail address always bounces its e-mails back. Hmm, maybe God is stopping me from becoming a childcare teacher. Anyway, I was already working at XXX when this Institute contacted me. When I was temping (illegally) as a childcare assistant at one particular childcare center after “cold e-mailing” various childcare centers in my neighborhood, the most senior teacher there (plus every member of her clique) hated me to the core. The childcare center fired me for losing my temper at some of the children. You see lah, I don’t even have the aptitude to become a childcare teacher lah, so stupid.

Thought #9: I fantasize about working as an Admin Executive But I lack relevant experience, so I ought to secure an Admin Assistant position first before working my way up, right? Why no news? I suspect that one reason is that when employers see my degree, they wonder why this particular person is applying for a position that she is over-qualified for—she must be blindly spamming CVs. (I happily accepted my $9/hr six-months temp job at XXX after uni graduation because I wrongly assumed that I will be converted to perm one day and then I can start working my way up.)

Thought #10: My responsibilities at XXX were so niche that I doubt that my job there involves any transferable skill.

Thought #11: I’m very stupid. I made many mistakes at every single job that I have ever held. Let us take XXX as an example. On the surface, I exceeded targets for Quality, Productivity and Attendance every month. I was 100% punctual, lol. In reality, I was a slow learner (my OJT spanned three weeks whereas my predecessors’ OJT spanned two weeks at most) and careless. I’m so slow that the only way for me to finish my tasks within SLA (service level agreement) is to stay behind and work for free. My colleagues (especially my IC) urged me to seek clarification whenever possible to avoid more mistakes. I took their advice. My dad told me that my IC was probably secretly annoyed with me because I sought clarification from her so frequently. OMG, I want to be employed, but it seems that I’m doing society a greater favor by remaining unemployed. Why my weaknesses outnumber my strengths? For example, my handwriting sucks. It is babyish when I write slowly and illegible when I speed up.

Thought #12: I started job-hunting after my final uni exams. Two weeks later, I secured my XXX job through a job agency. ABC Institute was dreadfully slow in contacting me (as previously mentioned in Thought #8.) Several days after I accepted XXX’s offer, I declined a $1.6k offer from a 三人 (two men and one woman) company that interviewed me before XXX did. Its location was very far-flung. I was supposed to replace the woman. Once the woman has finished serving her notice period, I will be left alone with the two men. Quite dangerous. (Wow, I digressed.)

Thought #13: Even though I’m UNDER-EMPLOYED, I appreciated everything that XXX offered except the low pay. As far as I know, I think that I managed to get along with everybody in my dept. (What an achievement! I think that I even managed to get along with my fellow trainees who were subsequently deployed to various depts.) My parents urged (and my “shifu” who gave me OJT) hinted that I should job-hunt while serving my six-month contract at XXX, but I ignored them. I wrongly assumed that even if XXX doesn’t want to convert me to perm, at least it will renew my contract as a temp.

Thought #14.1: Due to automation, my dept’s workload was reduced by 66.6%. When my contract expired, I told my boss that I was interested in staying on. According to her, her boss instructed that I will continue working in my dept (and receive my $9/hr pay from the job agency) while waiting for my temp contract to be renewed three weeks from the original contract’s expiry date. I verbally accepted XXX’s decision to transfer me to some other dept (the dept having the highest turnover) once the new contract is signed.

Depressed

Is Brexit really that bad?

Before and after the Brits voted to leave the EU, you only hear one song, Britain leaving the EU is bad, all bad and nothing good. Britain and the Brits are going to suffer, short of telling them that they would repent, it was all fear mongering. Yes, the stock market took a $2 trillion hit after the result but mostly due to uncertainties than anything else.

What is so bad about a Brexit? And if it is so bad, why are the Brits asking for it? Are they nuts?

The answers could be culled from what Tharman said, '"The majority of the educated class voting to stay; the less educated to leave.  Those doing well in their jobs and incomes voting to stay; those who felt they've been losing out voted to leave.  Many more of the young voted to stay; old voting to leave."

And there is also the problem of the "weakening of trust and consensus in society, and of the centre in politics".

Quoting from the same article in Channel News Asia, Mr Tharman said, "the politics of the centre must stay connected to the challenges that ordinary people face - and address their need for jobs and security, and a balance in immigration that preserves a sense of identity.  Tackling this without turning inwards,and weakening jobs and society further, is the central challenge everywhere."

Immigration and jobs are of utmost importance to the Brits voting to get out. Then for those who wanted to remain are those that are benefiting from the status quo.  This is very similar to the situation in Singapore. Those that are benefiting from the PAP rule will not want to rock the boast, but those not having a fair share in the gravy train would want change.  And there is also the issue of the centre not doing enough to tackle the angst of the people over immigration, the weakening jobs and society.

The Brits have chosen uncertainty and change and hoping for the better.  And the portions of people wanting change against those wanting to stay were quite close but enough to tip the balance.  When would Singapore reach this point when those wanting change would tip the balance and go for it, to replace the PAP rule like the Brits did?

The exit from the EU presents a lot of opportunities to the Brits.  They have been world powers and a political maverick that was ahead of its time. The initiative to break away from the American camp to join AIIB was an ace scored by the British that changed the bigger picture of the world's financial structure.  What's next from Britain that would rock the world?

Would Britain join BRICS or form a new alliance with Russia and China where it could benefit more from the new associations than being burden by a basket of burdensome countries and failed economies? Looking from the positive side, there are many positive cards in the new British hands to play.  The EU is not what it was presumed and designed to be.  It is getting dysfunctional and Britain may lead more countries to want to quit the EU.  The subjugation of national interests to other nations' interests that did not really bring benefits to the country would not be acceptable.  Asean is facing the same problems.  What is good for one is not necessary good for the other.

Trust the Brits to take full advantage of their new status and identity to carve a new and better chapter in their story going forward.  There is no fear of change.  When the majority wants it, even a small majority, change will come and the old beneficiaries of the incumbent moribund system must make way.

Do not underestimate the wisdom and ingenuity of the Brits and think they are stupid.  They did not rule the world for nothing, definitely not because they were stupid.  The doomsayers think they are cleverer than the Brits. The Brits would prove to them  who are the real stupid ones in due course.

6/27/2016

The most sought after profession in Sin seeing lesser applicants

Other than aspiring to become an instant millionaire minister, the next most highly sought after profession in Singapore must be a taxi driver. Singaporeans, regardless of educational level and work experience all wanted to be a taxi driver. The annual number of applicants is more than 9,000. They all want to be their own bosses and to drive around the most expensive city in the world, in a car that not many could afford anymore.  Driving taxis, other than being their own bosses also gives them the privilege of owning a car, the most highly priced car in the world.

I am wondering if it is good news or bad news to hear that the number of applicants to be taxi drivers have dropped from more than 9,000 annually to less than 8,000, a whooping 12% fall! Is it because they realized that this no other better option profession is not that attractive anymore? Is it that they have found better jobs after all the skills trainings and retraining? Or is it that they have found a job overseas, or that they gave up and retiring completely from the workforce?

What happened to this highly sought after job after the job of a minister? No, they are not giving up on this highly desired profession that all able Singaporeans aspired to be, wanting to be. They have other alternatives to drive cars other than driving a cab with a taxi sign on top of the car. Now they can drive Uber and Grab cars and still be their own bosses and driving around in the most expensive city in the world. Of course some may switch to drive bigger cars, oops, I mean buses operated by Europeans and with lower pay than driving local buses. Lower pay is ok as long as it is European.

While on this matter, how many womenfolk or young girls would dare to take a ride from strangers when they offer them a lift home? No, cannot take a ride from strangers? Don’t bet on it, with Uber and Grab, our ladies, young girls will simply hop into any car driven by a total stranger and feeling very safe.

This is the mentality of Singaporeans because Singapore is a very safe place and taking a lift from a total stranger is absolutely safe. There is absolutely no risk, just like importing 2m foreigners without any risk. We have Total Defence and SGSecure  and our men in blue to protect them and keep the island safe. Nothing to worry about.