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10/31/2005

singapore a global city

that is our aspiration. we want the best of the world to be here. we want to transform ourselves into something like a new york, london, zurich, amsterdam, manhattan, copenhagen, paris. but then again we can't be like these cities. these are europeans cities and only europeans will flock there, with a few asians who share the same taste for lifestyles and arts and culture. we can never be like any of these cities. they are too eurocentric. then what can we be? what kind of talents would be attracted to our shores? a few westerners perhaps. but mainly asians. no matter how, we are an asian country and no matter how hard we try, we cannot change the characteristics of our society so drastically. neither can we make it so appealing for the real european/american talents to flock here to make this a home or temporary home. we would probably be attractive to some asian talents from china, india, maybe some asean countries. if we are not too ambitious and more realistic, we could have a small pool of western talents in the midst of a pool of asian talents. that maybe what we will become. we are particularly attractive to asians who are not too comfortable with their home countries but desire the comfort and efficiency of a western styled city and still a little bit asian. and yes, we will be the palee or loontoon of the east. but at the lower level we are indeed a global city with at least half a million foreign workers from south asia, myanmar, thailand and china and of course an army of filipino and indonesian maids. in between these two groups we have a big group of so called foreign talents that are no better than our local boys and girls. and in our quest for more foreigners, we inadvertently devalue the worth of our own children. are we selling our souls(citizens) to the devil in exchange for some material trappings of a global city?

young pap forum

this is a forum operated by the ruling party to educate the younger members in the party. it is a political website for political education. the objectives are understandable and would serve the party well. in reality the forum has been turned into a cesspool for attacks against the ruling party. some were very personal and vindictive and uncalled for. the political issues raised, there are, are minimal and at times inconsequential. there is no response from the party or young party members. it is unidirectional. criticisms and attacks aimed at the party. no engagement of thoughts and ideas. we would expect some kind of response from the party to defend itself, its policies and at least try to explain why certain positions were taken. unfortunately there is a total silence from the official angle. how would the younger pap members going to benefit from their own website? how are they going to get an education when there is no engagement of the forumers by the party? perhaps the only thing that they will gain, tremendously, are vulgarities and criticisms against the party. and if no explanations are forth coming, the young members may take it that the criticism must have some elements of truth. otherwise why would the party not exercise its right to respond to wild criticisms and allegations? the party also professes to want feedback and a dialogue with the people. but sadly this is missing in the forum. it is a tool that is being abused and with little real value if it is going to be what it is... a graffiti board.

condemning terrorism is not a solution

the world has been misled by the americans to fight the terrorists instead of talking and trying to find a peaceful solution. fighting and condemning terrorism do not work. we need to talk to the terrorist organisations and reach a peaceful settlement. we must try to understand their motivations, their goals and why they are doing this. they are not insane people who just want to kill and destroy societies. they have their reasons to do so. why is the world not talking to them but blindly follow the cowboys and go shooting without thinking? terrorism is a never ending war. nobody wins.

10/30/2005

bombs in new delhi...what does it mean to us

another awful destruction of innocent lives, away from our shores. we read the news, we reflect a little, there is fear that we can be next, thank god we are safe. but for how long? we are a prime target. there is no doubt about this. we were targeted even before the americans went into iraq and forced our hands in their 'you are with me or against me' law of the mighty. we have to fight with them or we become the enemy of the usa. this is the type of friends we have. we were bullied into a war, an illegitimate war, and we are stucked in it, not knowing how to get out. now we are counting the days before the next bomb hits us. say, if we were not dragged into this shit, could we adopt a different approach or strategy to lower the anger against us and bring us lower in the list of desired targets? we do not have a strong adversary relationship with those groups that are planting the bombs. there are differences in world views, but nothing serious enough for people to want to blow us up. we cannot assume that these people are totally senseless, irrational and could not be reasoned with. the disclosure of the attempts at some targets in the island were directed at foreign interests. we were initially an indirect target of sort. if that be the case, could we negotiate ourselves out of this dangerous scenario? could we bring some sense to those bombers to redirect their attention elsewhere? or even now, can we extricate ourselves from this unholy alliance of the 'coalition of the unwilling?' there must be a better way out of this quagmire. we must not adopt the attitude that we have no other moves, with our hands twisted against our back by our good friend the usa. our friends have no right to force us to make enemies with their enemies. they are embroiled in a war with the bombers for a totally different reason and we need not be a core member in it. the bombers too will see the advantage to take on only their main enemies and leave the rest of the world alone. we need to talk to these people and drum in some sense in them. we need to get out of it. our security people will not be able to be always on top of the problem. a slip is all it needs. we cannot afford it. violence is not the only way to solve this problem. there got to be other ways. we cannot dig ourselves deeper into it as the days go by. why are we in this shit...to be a key target?

10/29/2005

chinese name: what's in a name

john is john. it tells only about john. a chinese name embodies several thousand years of history, culture and a civilisation. it does not simply tell us about the person named, it tells us about his relationship with his siblings and peers, his family, the aspirations of his parents, and the history of a civilisation. it should thus not be taken lightly. tan ah kow is tan ah kow and not ah kow tan. but it is ok if it is rambu tan or coco tan or coco nut. the concept of putting the family name in front is carefully thought through to show a family tree, a lineage, a belonging, both for identity, and for social and biological functions. yes it is functional and can avoid a lot of sins and complications from in breeding. and it is also a very logical way of doing so. look at how the names are listed in the telephone directory, or how the computer sorts out names in alphabetical order. the westerners have no choice but to re write their names to accommodate the logical sequencing and thinking process of a computer system. michael johnson will become johnson michael. george bush will become bush george in the directory or in the computer system. so why would chinese singaporeans take a step backward by writing their names beng tan and not tan beng? or ah kow tan instead of tan ah kow? it is ok if one calls himself superfixia lee, botak tan, or chapceng lim. but ang ku kueh or tan ku ku must be written in that order and not ku kueh ang or ku ku tan. the more we try to mess out the right order of things, the more we confuse everyone, especially the westerners. mah bow tan is mr mah. everyone knows. but with all the twistings by the younger set, is he now mr tan? when we are doing the right thing and the right way all the time, lets stick to it and not the other way round. for whatever way you try, the telephone directory and computer system will still list it the correct way for you. ho see peh, ang ku kueh and ham chee peng. definitely not see peh ho, ku kueh ang and chee peng ham. hi mary crystal wong, are you reading? or hi ping ping teo?

10/28/2005

poor singaporeans, life is tough

no, i am not referring to them having to fight for jobs with foreign workers. no, not that they have to work as cleaners and sweepers. these are poor people with hardly any spare cash and yet having to make ends meet. and they are being forced to save from the miserable few dollars they called wages. and they need to save them to the tune of $90,000 so that they will not be a burden to themselves and to a society that expects them to live till 80 years old. all their present needs and responsibilities which they are having a hard time to fulfill must be set aside to save for the future. a future that they might not want to see or know. to many, they are more concern with food on the table and pocket money for their children, on top of all the basic necessities to be alive. they are really blessed with a compassionate and thoughtful government that insisted on planning their future for them, and making sure that they, the poor, will be able to support themselves, not through state welfarism.

10/26/2005

maids, do not bring a stranger home

i have written before, singaporeans are so honest to the point of being idiotic. how could they ever think of bringing a stranger home, ie a maid, and leave their most precious and helpless love ones at the mercy of this total stranger? do they know anything about her? is she mentally stable? does she harbour any evil thoughts? what is her values, conduct, emotions, motivations...? a maid is a good servant, a good helping hand for those who need them just for that purpose. the rich can have many maids without problems because maids are there at their command and control. not the other way round. what happens in many homes now is that the maid is put in total control of the homes in the absence of the masters. the master/mistress is totally dependent on the maid. they are both outside and leave their homes, young children/babies or handicap parents to the maids who now become the rulers behind their backs. when the maids are let loose to do what they want, without a pair of watchful eyes, all kinds of things and dangers will happen. more tragedies are waiting to happen in the homes of simple minded singaporeans who know no danger or cannot appreciate that there is a jungle out there, with wild animals.

10/24/2005

general election - opposition to win by default

can't believe the statement myself either. the pap has been winning elections by default. how could the opposition parties ever think of winning any seat by default? yes, the opposition parties can only win seats by default, not the general election. the pap will still win a big number of seats. but the opposition parties shall also win quite a number of seats simply be default, that is if they play their cards right. how so? there are no issues that the opposition parties could pounce on. that is what the pap wanted everyone to believe. they are trying to talk away the problems. but for those who are affected, gravely and grieviously affected, the problems cannot go away. if you are jobless, you are jobless. if one is in debt, one is in debt. if one is holding on to a negative asset, one is broke. if one is 55, one is not going to see his cpf money. if one is sick, one cannot run away from expensive hospital bills. if one has several school going children, one is in shit just to pay their school fees. there are problems and enormous problems. and the oppositions know very well how the people are feeling. but no, the election will not be won by all these issues. the issues have been there and will be there. the opposition may win a few seats but will not be able to solve these problems. the electorate knows too. these issues will just form the backdrop of the whole picture. what must the opposition do to win a few more seats? it is very simple and also very difficult. the opposition parties do not need any mavericks or exceptional candidates to win an election. all they need are simple, decent professionals who can talk simply, rationally and honestly. the people's expectation are not unreasonably high of the opposition candidates. they only want good people to stand up to the pap. but be very careful here. the electorate will not tolerate ruffians, gangsters or scums to be paraded as worthy candidates. opposition candidates cannot afford to misbehave, to be rude, unruly, outright abusive. just proper and decent people, preferably professionals. if the opposition parties can put up such candidates, they will win by default. the people will just dump their votes to them. no need to over do things. just represent the people in parliament to win back the respect for the voters and speak on behalf of the interests of the voters. the people really need to be represented by members of parliament who will genuinely look after their interests. now the difficult task is to search and convince decent professionals to stand for them. remember, no ah meng, no pasar malam hawkers, no kopi kia, no con men or people who have criminal records. the people expect opposition candidates to be of a reasonable standard, presentable and articulate enough to bring them honour in parliament. not candidates that go to parliament to snore, or giggle or to be absent to attend to more urgent personal interests and hobbies. yes, with reasonable candidates, the opposition parties can win many more seats by default.

are we ready for cyber demonstration?

we have seen what cyber demonstration could do in the nkf case. other than the physical demonstration of hundreds or thousands of bodies thumping their chests and shouting slogans, we have the same numbers making the same point without risking anyone being hurt, without inviting the police to take down names and ic numbers, without the fear of damaging public properties, with leaving the comfort of the homes or office, etc. people demonstrate for a cause, to make a point, to raise an issue, to be heard. can the authority accept this as a more civilised, non violent way of expression, to be heard? would the authority clamp down on such protest? a protest is a feedback that the govt wants. and a cyber demonstration is perhaps the best thing that can happen. hear the real voices and respond accordingly in a civil manner, all the swearings can be ignored. or to prove or make a point, any cursing and swearing will by default and designed be ignored completely. people who want to be heard need to accept a certain decorum and civility in putting their points across. are we ready to evolve towards this dimension? or would the authority continue to insist on a quiet subservient and obedient populace without knowing when it will blow up?

live longer, a blessing from advancement in medical science

people are now living longer and expected to live longer in the future. thanks to advancement in medical science. and thanks to stem cell technology. we shall all be joyous to this new development. wishing people many good returns, long live the emperor, many good years, now take on a different and real meaning. but is it time for celebration? far from it. medical science is now creating a mammoth social and economic problem to society. how to keep these old hags that refused to die, or cannot die, alive, happy and productive, and not be a burden to society and their families and the state? the social and government structure to support a society of old hags is just not there, or not ready to cope with the associated problems of an ageing society. our initial reaction is to grab hold onto people's money and hold them at ransom. i will give you a little at a time while you keep growing old and unemployed. we know that you will not have any means to upkeep yourself. so the best thing is to hold on to your money. hopefully you die before you use up your savings. what am i talking, my savings or your savings? anyway, it is the money in your cpf. this is the ingenious solution that we can think of for the moment. you have to look after yourself, not the state. perhaps we should take heed to the objection by the church. we shall forbid stem cell technology. let people live and die the natural way. the longer people lived, the more problems they created for society. and society has no answer. how can there be when one is no longer employable at 50 or 55 years? how then to feed oneself to 90 years? but then again, the church is wrong. stem cell technology was started when god created man. eve was created out of some cells from adam. god had shown the way to mankind what stem cell technology can do to propagate life. if god did it, then it cannot be wrong and cannot be forbidden. long live mankind, long live old hags.

closing income gap

hsien loong told the chinese leaders that they need to close the widening income gap to prevent social friction. he told the chinese that if they needed help, we will help. very thoughtful and helpful. domestically, i think our income gap is still too wide for comfort and waiting to blow up in our own faces. the politics of envy, or people being envious of other people making much much more money than themselves is something that is natural and unavoidable. if people at high level can exhibit such traits of envy, the general masses, especially the people in the heartland, would succumb to this kind of thinking much more readily. in the past it was the incomes of stockbroking agents, housing agents, conveyancing lawyers etc that were the envy targets of even people in high places. now their businesses were destroyed. so no longer of interest. the target of today's envy is obvious. no need further elaboration. but everyone in those envious positions thought happily that they deserved every cent they are being paid. only those envious people did not think so. and the tension is being generated and piled up daily. can we teach the chinese a problem that we cannot even see? actually even saying that we can offer help is in bad taste. can't we tell them that we are willing to share our experiences, compare notes? the world's second most powerful country that can send men to space, would hardly need the help from a pin head. they have gone pass that stage of their development. a little modesty and humility would go a long way.

10/23/2005

are we better off today?

the price of a bishan executive flat went for more than $800k. everyone was upgrading. from 4 room to 5 room to executive flats to private condo to landed properties. island country club went for $270k. a mercedes was $250k. a marina club membership went for $60k. every weekend everyone was out house hunting or in the golf courses. everyone was buying everything. the prices will go up further. making money in the stock market was so easy. salaries went sky high. everyone expected a big increment and a big bonus, or else threatened to quit. all these was only yesterday. today, everyone is downgrading. 3 and 4 room flats were hot buys. a 5 room flat went for $200k. many new 5 room flats unsold. no buyer. golf clubs can be bought for a song. in johore they are giving free membership. many people are holding closely to their properties. selling them would mean losing a roof over their heads. the proceeds would not be enough to cover the bank loans. not selling them would mean servicing a huge mortgage. jobs lost. even jobs also must downgrade. never dare to ask for an increment. got a job is a big blessing. it might be taken away the next day. are we better off? the govt is crowing that the poor is still an owner to a $100k asset. how fortunate. what a fantastic singapore dream. it is a dream alright. but then again, there are people who are earning $600k still. some more, very much more. singaporeans are really fortunate people, with a great future.

10/20/2005

a casino in my country

they are building a casino in my country. but they said i must pay $100 before i can go in to look see look see. but foreigners are allowed to go in for free. the citizen has no honour in his own land. i think it is a matter of time before singaporeans got caught and send to jail for using the passports of their maids to enter the casino, to save on the $100 entry fee. some may borrow passports from foreign workers from china or india to gain entry, and also got caught and send to jail. my country, my home, my casino and my jail, but only place where you can't find singaporeans is my casino.

10/18/2005

signs of first world status. we have arrived

we are a developed nation. our people are well educated, well travelled, well informed, cultured, rich and disciplined. and to consolidate our first world status, we have the following to make sure we remain there forever. 1. to prevent our people from falling back to their old third world habits, we have laws to fine them for spitting. 2. we also have laws to jail them for cheating bus fares. 3. we also jail them when they made reckless posts in the cyber world. 4. we also levy a $100 charge for entry to casino. this is to ensure that the mature ones are allowed into the casino, ie those who can afford to pay $100. price of maturity is $100. 5. to qualify to be the president of the island, one must run a $200 million organisation. the quality of a presidential candidate is $200 million worth. 6. we also subsidised those who can afford to acquire the taste for arts and culture on their visits to our world class theatre. 7. we also protect our vulnerable senior citizens by putting all their savings under lock and key when they reached 55. just in case they throw away all their monies. 8. and the conduct and proceedings in our parliament are most civil and distinguished. no throwing of chairs and tables. members of parliament take turns to ask questions politely. 9. we have the biggest stockmarket in the region. and most of the stocks are attractively priced that they are popularly known as penny stocks. 10. we have the best govt that plans for the people and telling the people how to live their lives, from cradle to grave. 11. we paid our politicians and senior civil servants so well that we are corruption free. at the lower level, the people are not paid so well, but are also corruption free.

10/17/2005

the meaning of ownership

singaporeans are renowned for being asset rich and many millionaires. but what does a singaporean really owns? his flat or condo is actually a lease for 99 years. the really rich may have them for 999 years. a singaporean who owns 100 condos will in 99 years lose every one of them. when the lease is up, the condos will become valueless. his car is bought and can only be used for 10 years. a singaporean who owns 20 cars will in 10 years lose their usage unless he pays for the coes again. his cpf money? does he own his cpf money? he thought that by this forced savings he will be able to get back his money when he retires at his 55th birthday. fat hope. how much he is going to get back and when he is going to get them back is at the mercy of the govt. now who is the real owner of the cpf money? i am confused. his club membership. he only owns it for 30 years in most instances. after that, pay up for another lease of 30 years. else, no more club membership. the singaporeans are supposedly the co owners of the nation's huge reserves. is he really a co owner? who really benefits from this huge reserves?

national reserves, for what

we have a huge national reserve amounting to $200 billion. what are these reserves being used for, to create more billions and more billions. is creating creating wealth just for the sake of making more money to be kept in reserve? we have an ageing problem like all nations. to solve this problem, instead of making some provisions from our national income and reserves, we enforced by law, to keep the people's cpf money and the govt has the audacity to decide how these monies shall be dispensed back to their rightful owners. if these money were deposited by their owners in a bank and the bank takes the same attitude, the bank will be broken in no time. the meaning of ownership of these monies in the cpf has totally been distorted and changed. what are we doing to the national reserves and national wealth? one thing that is very obvious is to pay to a small elite whose huge income is never seen to be enough. the more they are paid, the more they keep asking, regardless of their actual contributions. it is time that the national wealth be used for the interest of the majority of the people. let not the argument that by giving each citizen $1000, it will cost the nation $3 billion. then it is better to pay 100 people $1 mil each as it will only cost only $100 million.

10/16/2005

cpf is our money

everyone who is reading this and want his/her cpf money back, please just at a simple comment, 'cpf is our money. we want it back.' no one has the right to keep our money and tell us when they are going to return to us and how much to return to us. we want our cpf money back when we reach 55. no go to the minimum sum.

10/15/2005

govt in business, a conflict of interest

robertteh made these pertinent points about the increasing role of govt in private enterprise that leads to a conflict of interest to their role as govt of the people. as the elected govt, they have an interest to protect the people and to serve the interest of the people. in the case of private enterprises, the primary interest is profit and shareholder's return. when the govt is just the govt, they will administer policies to protect the people's interests. when the govt also wears the hat as private enterprise owners, they have an interest to maximise profits. the proposal to jail bus cheat is the most glaring example of a conflict of interest where the govt finds it more important to protect the private enterprise than the people. similarly, the increase in public transport fares and the fare formula were also good examples where the transport companies' interests now supercede the interest of the people. medical fees and cost of essential services are all examples where a govt no longer see the people's welfare as important as the profits of these organisations.

members of parliament - the role of mps

parliament is due to sit on monday and the agenda is filled with questions by mps for the ministers to answer. this is the familiar modus operandi for mps during a parliament sesssion. they see their roles as asking questions. and whatever the minister replies, they have done their duties as the people's elected representatives. what happens to the role of representing the interests of the people, telling the ministers what the people wants and instituting or pushing for change according to the will and interests of the people they represent? this does not mean that they should argue and fight for frivolous and unreasonable demands of the people. there are many issues that the people feel very sore about. all the issues have been raised in the media, in forums, in meet the people's sessions, through personal contacts etc. why is it enough just to ask a few questions and feel satisfied that they have discharged their duties to their people? or is it a case of party interest first, people's interest second, only to shout during election time? is there a conflict of interest for the mps to serve the interests of their wards? isn't serving the interest of the people, representing the people and being reelected by the people to strengthen the party's representation in parliament be the same as serving the interest of the party? or shall they risk losing popularity vote and being reelected and continue to vote for the party's position even when the people are against them? the role of mps is asking questions in parliament? uniquely singapore.

education, direct school admission scheme

the introduction of dsa is a move towards more independence and flexibility for schools to recruit students of their choice. this is a big shift from the centralised placement scheme that places students after the psle result is out. an obviously good intention scheme, now turns out, like all singapore schemes, into a regimentation. once a student makes a choice, it is cast in stone. cannot change or very difficult to change. from inflexibility to flexibility back to inflexibility. very uniquely singapore mindset. all the parents will like to place their children in the best school possible based on their psle results. with this scheme, if their prelim results are not too good, they have to opt for a lesser school and be stucked with it even when eventually their psle result is brilliant. why can't our civil servant mentality be a little flexible and stop this high handed attitude of i give you a choice and period. you are lucky to be given a choice. you made the choice and you cannot back out of it. the future of our children must not be determined by the their prelim results which vary from schools to schools. and the real results, the psle, is now secondary. i think it could be a case of more work if they allowed students to switch schools after psle. but psle is the real benchmark. if psle is to be relegated to the sideline, then it is better to revert to the old centralised system and allow students or schools the flexibility of spplying/accepting after the psle results. the flexibility must be there and must be there to cater for those who do not want to fit into the standard mould.

foreign talents: singapore no lack of local talents

in the local foreign talent debate, the authority's view, or the view of our supertalents, is that singapore lacks local talents. so there is a need to import and nurture foreign talents, which directly causes the further dwindling of the local talent pool. we need to provide the environment and create opportunities for our own talents to grow. this is probably the only country that despises its own children and craves for the greener grass next door. in some areas, yes, we need some foreign talents to increase the pool, not to replace the pool of local talents with foreign talents. just imagine what would happen to the current pool of mediacorp artistes if we don't have mediacorp to provide them the opportunities to grow? no other country will give our local talents a chance. perhaps a few very exceptional one. but they still need a headstart locally to be known and discovered. pearry reginald teo is a clear cut example of a local reject made good as a foreign talent in hollywood. he would probably be a hawker selling pirated vcds if he remains here. we have world class photographers, dancers, pianists, musicians, computer graphic experts, etc, grown and nurtured overseas to no credit of singapore. it is time that the govt takes a reflection of their foreign talent policy and put some money and effort to treasure and grow local talents, which may not be the equivalent of straight As. and most foreign talents too did not have them but were given a headstart in their home tuft to build up their porfolio. the govt must stop strangling our own children. stop the foreign talent policy. modify it to take in only the best the world can provide and supplement with our own children.

10/11/2005

the poorest singaporeans are still rich by $100,000

this was reported in today's paper with statistics supported by hdb, the biggest housing developer in the country. stripped of everything, even when they have hardly any money to live on, the poorest singaporeans still have an asset worth about $100,000. how true is this number? how many of these flat owners, with flats bought at peak prices during the property boom, will have any money back if they sell off their flats now? how many are still holding to negative assets, a flat that they bought say at $500,000 and now worth only $300,000 and an outstanding loan of maybe $300,000? it will be nice to know how many singaporeans are in this category of asset rich but poor people. or how many actually owe the bank more money than the value of their flats.

public transportation: the magical formula to run a business

the public transport council, ptc has come up with the magic formula for all businesses. a fair and equitable formula that guarantees profit in all situations. the only difference is how much. the variables in the formula includes economic factors, average wages and productivity of train operators. after analysing the input factors, it is undoubtedly the most ingenious formula that can be apply across the board to all industries. the formula should be strongly recommended as a national asset, copyrighted and be applied as the ultimate formula for business success.

a country is as good as its leadership

a country is as good as its leadership. with quality leadership, we can change the world. that is what singapore distinguishes itself from the rest of the world. there are many ways to evaluate how good is the leadership, or how worthy is the leadership. one very objective and measurable way to determine how good is our leadership is to look at their remuneration package. i think we have the best leaders in the world if we use pay as a measure of ability. and if they can contribute every cent of their worth in pay, we will be the best country in the whole world. the chinese saying, 'yi fen qian, yi fen huo.'

10/10/2005

can pap survive a second barisan socialis?

this is purely speculative and unlikely to happen. but what if the pap actually splitted into two almost equal size parties competing for power? can the remnant pap under hsien loong weather such a storm? when the splintered section of the pap broke away in the early 60s to form the barisan socialis, lky was still a very young man, still trying to build up a support from a purely worker based party strongly under the influence of the pro communist group. goh keng swee, toh chin chye and rajaratnam were still newbies in the political arena. not much grassroot support. the real crowd mobilisers and organisers were those in the barisan camp, having organised themselves in workers and students union activities and in agitation for many years. the only strength on the side of lky was the british govt. the later did not really have a love affair with the english educated pap leaders but preferred them as the lesser devil than the pro communist barisan socialists. today, hypothetically, if choktong breaks away with half of the party members, including mps and ministers, the influence and appeals of the two camps will be quite equally matched in all quarters. it will be hard to find any difference between the two. it will be a choice between the popular choktong and a brand new young turk hsienloong backed by the experience of lky. in such a scenario, the opposition will suddenly be thrown into the limelight to share a coalition govt. parliament will not be the same again. we can expect a lot of fireworks and hopefully more quality and meaningful debates to compete for the people's votes. and we will see a situation when every grc and single ward will be hotly contested. no need to grumble about having no chance to vote or given no good choices. the aftermath, with only a single digit majority, or perhaps even becoming a minority opposition party, will pap then be able to reform and reestablish itself and return to its past glory? or with it whither away? this is highly improbable, but still a possibility. and will singapore collapse into oblivion and rejoin the third world?

10/09/2005

general election - another more good years?

hsienloong is confident of strong support and a strong mandate. this is his first general election since taking over the helm, and it is a very important test case for him. the outcome of this general election will undoubtedly be a measure of his standing and acceptance by the people as the one to lead the country. is his statement of a strong support a political or psychological statement? or does he really believe that it will be so? have all the problems and issues that are causing pain to the people resolved, or have they been swept under the carpet? maybe the pap really and sincerely believes that all is well, and the people are generally very happy with all their policies? what then will be the battle cry? another more good years or another promise of a swiss standard of living? george yeo has just spoken, that their job is to serve the people, a catchphrase that many have forgotten. i am wondering how the people will receive it if the new slogan under the new leadership is...we serve the people! let us hope that the new slogan will not be something like more jobs as gardeners, or be proud to be a cleaner, or work till you die. would i be stating something errorneous to say that the swiss standard of living has slipped away from many singaporeans? or don't expect more good years? the net worth of many singaporeans, i mean many, not the few elite, have drastically been watered down. many are still holding on to negative assets, cpf savings burnt or nothing to withdraw with the minimum sum in force, jobless or prematurely retired, unemployable because of age, ie above 45, and constantly increasing cost to basic necessities and essential services. we are now faced with an army of healthy and young retirees, only good to become cleaners, sweepers and gardeners. and this group is growing by the days. the important point to make is that these are the believers, the converts of pap. they were the staunch supporters of the pap in the past. will they still remain loyal and as enthusiatic as before? without this group, the generation x and generation y are highly unpredictable. they have been brought up in a culture of self interest and instant gratification. if their needs and high expectations are not met, anything can happen. they have no strong memories of what it was like before. they only heard about a swiss standard of living and more good years. will we see a change of wind in this general election?

10/08/2005

racism: I cannot speak your language - by Joe Public

posted by in findsingaporenet. One Nation? Forget it! Unless we are a nation of people sharing same characteristics, or same traits such as facial outline, skin tone / colour and hair texture. Perhaps through generation after generation of genetic process maybe ONE Nation is possible. Maybe ONE world too? IF above is in place. Until then racial differences shall be the foundation for systems of exploitation and discrimination. The rich gets richer. Though the stupid turns smarter. The racial prejudice within will prevent the axiom of one for all and all for one among the multi races. Because of racial prejudice - we coined the term RACISM. It is as we understand a systematic practice denying people rights. A system that deprives a representation in society. Prevents an equal opportunity of jobs when everything is equal. But a race. Further to be denied of resources. Simply because of different racial clusters in varied multi communities of an unequal state of living without [i]extended[/i] means. Or hands. WHY? I cannot speak your language. :roll:

private transportation: how much does one pay for erp?

posted by robertteh in findsinggapore.net At $200 pm the total ERP paid will come to $24,000 excluding interest over 10 years. When LTA adds ERP gantries, the per trip ERP fee for the same journey goes up by the quantum unrelated to traffic congestion. For example when the original ERP gantry fees say at Orchard Road is $1.50 and another is added further upstream at $1.00 what is the percentage increase of ERF fee. Simple arithmetic shows that the ERP fee for the same journey now goes up by 1/2.5 x 100 %. Does traffic congestion really increase by such heft 40% to justify such increase ? So whenever additional gantry is added and the original ERP fee remains and new ERP fee is simply added on, there will be hefty jump in ERP fee by the assumption that the new ERP fee represents the additional traffic increase. Isn't this kind of collecting ERP fee logical and if not isn't it pure profiterring? To be fairer and more related to traffic congestion, the total ERP fees for the whole journey should reflect the additional congestions measured by the computerized meters not by this kind of add-on fees. Whenever new gantry is added the rest should be adjusted to reflect the actual traffic flow for the whole journey not by add-on unrelated to actual traffic congestion supposed to be controlled. Cheaper COE does not hurt the government revenue as it will increase the ERP tolls and enrich the government salaries and bonuses.

theatre on the bay, the esplanade or the durian

the durian as it is affectionately called, has received many uncomplimentary reports and comments in the media and cyberspace. it is highly controversial both in looks and its birth. but most of the negative comments were aimed at the high cost incurred, reportedly to the tune of $600 million mainly donated by the turf club. many thought the money could be put to better use than to furnish a white elephant. we do not have the critical mass of theatre goers or music and drama fans to support such an expensive structure. it is noted to be built to a high degree of perfection and with the latest state of the art technology and equipment in acoustics and theatre production. in its first few years of existence, despite being heavily subsidised and supported by art patrons and commercial institutions and govt subsidies, it is still running at a loss, something like $30 million in the last financial year. it is a majestic structure housing the best equipment money can buy, to support the exquisite taste of a few elite. the striking features of the theatre, with two domeline structures lined with spiky roofs, have been overshadowed by the criticisms levelled at it for its cost against the relatively little benefits it brings to the general public. i happened to spend a morning going round the theatre to try to appreciate all its $600 million worth, on the exterior only. from various angles, it is aweinspiring, though some may have an instant dislike for it. it is huge from all angles. spiky like a durian from different perspectives. but from certain angles it resembles the body of a giant dragon with white silvery scales. hidden from the trees in many places, one could imagine a huge dragon stirring and waiting to rise into the deep blue sky. at one instance, struck by the pricky spikes and the next moment feeling the grace of a stretch of smooth and large silvery scales of a mythical reptile. it stood there silently, waiting for the appreciative visitors to cast their loving glances at its splendour. a uniquely singapore structure, all $600 million worth of it.

brinkmanship in cyberspace

two bloggers have been jailed. another one is on the way. this is only the beginning. the court has made it very clear that the message should go out to everyone posting in cyberspace that they cannot get away from what they posted. the law will soon catch up with them. there is no where to hide. but some still think that they will not be detected. some still believe in their ingenuity to reroute their postings around the world or from a foreign base, and that they are safe. we have many infamous blogs and forums existing where vulgarities, obscenities, making slanderous attacks on individuals, making wild accusations and seditious statements on race and religion are the norm. and some are still screaming their heads off, a dare devil attitude of come what may, or simply being foolhardy. will they see themselves facing the music one day, charge in court? what are the motivations for bloggers and forumers to adopt such a stand, to post highly incendiary and provocative remarks? in sites like sammyboy, it seems that one has to behave and talk that way, a subculture, a gathering of likeminded souls. is it a sign of freedom, the opportunity to release pentup emotions, or a feeling of being free in a tightly controlled and no nonsense society? the blog or forum site thus becomes an escapism like driving at high speed in the malaysian highway? at last, a place to scream and shout! but it aso happens in the ypap forum. a forum of the ruling party, a no nonsense party run along the model of monk liked discipline and propriety? the ypap forum is the furthest place for people to seek refuge to air vulgairities and obscenities. on closer look it is obvious that some, or many, may have an axe to grind. some of the remarks and personal attacks are way way too wicked and degrading. but they are doing just that. and attacking luminaries of the ruling party. why are they so bold? or so reckless? a view presented to me is that the ypap site is the safest for such airings. i was amused. the ypap site is a show piece and they would not take actions against anyone posting there. it is officially approved. now is that true? i am not privy to the actual remarks made by the 3 bloggers charged in court. but i thought many of the postings in the ypap are very worthy to be considered seditious, inflammatory and inciting hatred. now, which is worst? those posted by the 3 bloggers or those in ypap forum. the charging of the 3 bloggers and the jailing of two of them definitely have tempered the brashness of the posts in ypap forum. there are signs that the thoughtlessness and abusiveness have been greatly tone down. some sensibilities have surfaced for the time being. but would the insanity return?

safety and environment: would you put a razor blade in your children's mouth?

the thought of such an act is chilling. the fine and razor sharp blade slicing away at the tongue, the gums and the inner cheeks, drawing a piercing scream from the innocent and helpless child. you bet it no one will try this on their precious children. but many unknowingly actually did just that. all they need to do is to buy a packet of takeaway food from the hawker stalls or foodcourt. what was a convenient disposal plastic spoon could turn out to be a real menace. these spoons come in a few models. the large and thicker model is quite safe. so is the medium size model. another model that is relatively safe is one with its edges folded backwards. still, at times some of the sharp plastic edges could be present. the worst and deadliest model is the very fine and thin one. apparently it must be the cheapest model if the savings on the amount of plastic used is a measure of its material cost. yes, this is really thin, fine and the edges extremely sharp, exactly like the feel of a razor blade. i encountered one once in the hdb foodcourt. i reported it to the local media but never hear anything about this since. it is an accident waiting happen, if it has not already taken some victims. the spoon is so sharp that i almost cut myself with it. and to imagine a playful little child slashing all over his/her mouth, or pushing it into another child's mouth to share their food. i am posting this in the hope that the relevant ministry will look into this and impose more quality control to ensure that plastic spoons approved for sale and use by the public are safe. ouch!

6 papers in 2 days in O level exam

the biggest hurdle, the most demanding test in a young person's life, and the most nerve wrecking moment, must be the o level examination. this is the examination that sets or alters the whole life of a young man/woman. it is the stepping stone towards a university education or a polytechnic education or worst. it also determines a good junior college or a lesser one. this year's exam, even before it officially started, is already an issue. some students are crying foul for having to sit for 3 papers in a day with only a 30 minutes break. and it can't be helped. so said the authority. and for some of the worst hit, this is going to be repeated twice. sitting for one paper is already a stress. two papers are simply very energy sapping. 3 papers, all crammed together, how to describe that? only the students who sat for it will know. poor buggers. not those people who said can't be helped. and i repeat, it can't be helped! really, after so many years and experience in administering the examination, is it that difficult? is it that unforeseeable? 15 days of examination at a punishing pace. it only needs one extra day to reduce the pressure and mental stress on the affected students. is it too much to ask for? are all the facilities and examiners too preoccupied that there is no consideration to include one single miserable day to make it just a little easier on the nimble and young minds? too late now to talk about it. one may want to ask why must it be left till now for it to surface. but will it be repeated again next year and the subsequent years? yes, definitely. the reason, can't be helped!

10/07/2005


The Esplanade Theatre On The Bay Posted by Picasa

singapore as an education hub

we are strategically located in a region with a 3 billion population, flanked in the north by northeast asia and vietnam, india in the northwest, indonesia in the south and our asean neighbours. being the most highly developed country and a very admirable education system, it is a right move to position ourselves as the primier education hub of the region. we have both the hardware and software to turn this into a reality. we capitalised on our infrastructure and an english language based education that made ourselves very attractive to the prospective students. over the last few years, enterprising businessmen have jumped onto the cue initiated by the govt and a whole list of public and private schools and their supportive businesses mushroomed overnight. we became an instant education hub. foreign students poured into our city and schools in search of academic excellence. the govt on its part has contributed tremendously in various way towards this same objective. just as we are about to reap the fruits of our labour, cracks started to appear. schools started to close down leaving students in the lurch, uncertain future and money lost. students were cheated by accommodation providers and placement agents. just as fast, we earned the nasty reputation of being unreliable, equivalent to third world countries. foreign students no longer feel safe to study here. all the parents become very wary of the singapore trademark. the damage has been done, and very severe, it has dealt a punishing blow to the education industry. it will take a long time to heal and to regain the sparkling image we used to be associated with. the culprits that done the harm were simply brushed aside, treated much much better than bus cheats. these people who cheated foreign students in the thousands are not threatened with jail sentences or punitive penalties. all these added up very unfavourably to our reputation. it is high time that the industry consolidate itself with more govt interference and self regulation to get back on its feet. yes, in this case govt interference is sorely needed to bring about some semblance of order and confidence among the schools, service providers and students. the question is, how could something so good gone so bad and so fast in this efficient city?

corporate governance and misplaced trust

corporate governance has been kicked around quite a fair bit recently with several high profile corporate failure and corporate fraud. there were some changes made towards ensuring better corporate governance and corporate transparency to protect minority shareholders' interest. and of course there were a lot of cheap talks about corporate governance but with very little attempt to make real changes that will benefit the genuine small shareholders. there have been a few cases of disclosure where absentee directors were kept in the board and continue to be paid generously. are the few cases that were made public all there is or were they only the tip of the iceberg? how many redundant senior management staff have been retained for all kinds of reasons except the right reason in the industries. how many are kept and paid handsomely at the expense of returns to shareholders? at the lower end of the economic structure, workers above 40 are expected to take a pay cut as they grow older, presumably becoming less productive. but at the top management level, many who have outlived their usefulness, or no longer as productive as before, are still being kept and paid continuously increasing salaries. some even have special posts created just to keep them in the payroll. the question is, whose money is used to pay for these senior gentlemen who are no longer shouldering their share of the load? there are of course some senior gentlemen who still worth every cent they received. but not many. does the current corporate governance practices ensure that everyone is being paid his worth and not large wages and perks to recognise past contributions of senior management staff?

dance of the white elephants

the truth is now out. the white elephants were the works of senior grassroot leaders. isn't it strange that people will report the works of grassroot leaders to the police? though the ending has not turned out to be an ugly episode, there are, as the grassroot leaders commented, lessons to be learnt. just my guess, it seems that the people who reported the incident were likely not to be from the ruling party. as such, the police had no choice but to go through the motion of investigating the report. otherwise they can be accused of favouritism. this may be the reason why the case became an issue. unlikely for their own grassroot leaders to be reporting against their own acts. the unfortunate development is that the poor grassroot leaders have been stood up and invited for tea by the police. and this could cause them a lot of anxieties as to what the outcome would be. this can be detected from the comments by the affected grassroot leaders and the little taste of bitterness after the episode. what was originally meant to be a little fun and cheekiness had ended up with many people becoming so uncomfortable. and this speaks a lot about an uptight and no nonsense society where a little sense of humour is sorely absence.

10/06/2005

is racism dead or alive?

many people, especially the younger generations of singaporeans, are colour blind. they have been brought up in our multiracial society and have taken the presence of other races for granted. the media and through their interactions with other races, life seems like what it should be. i have personally encountered a young gal who could not know whether the person she was talking to was a malay or an indian. it had never been an issue to her. she just treated them as another individual. no need to think about their race. the seed of racism grows in the mind of a racist. for the others, life goes on without them being bothered by such issues. but in the mind of a racist, it is so easy for him to relate every little incident to race. cause that's what he thinks, feels and sees. the people who shout the loudest about racism is actually a racist at heart. it is something like a thief who looks at everyone and could link whatever a person is doing to the motive of theft. his whole life is about stealing, he sees thinks from a thief's point of view. so it is very easy to shout thief. there are advocates who wanted such issues to be discussed openly and frequently. it has its merits in its own way. there are also those who prefer to leave the topic alone to avoid stirring up more emotions and generate more interests and feeding ideas to the bigots. are we a racist at heart but pointing at others as being racist?

evergreen super talents

for the last 30 to 40 years, singapore was virtually run by a group of supertalents, the same group of individuals whom lky once said could fill up a 747 jet. today, after all these years, the same 200/300 individuals are still hoarding all the key positions in the economy except for a very few who passed away. and it seems that this creme ala creme of supertalents are here to stay for as long as they are alive and kicking. they appear to be irreplaceable, and many going from strength to strength, wearing several hats. whither will these elders, senior statesmen, corporate honchos etc call it a day and say they had enough? whither will they say their contributions have reached a point of diminishing returns. and how much it is costing the economy to keep these 200/300 supertalents in their enviable positions?

opposition parties

hsienloong and several bigwigs of the ruling party have been going on their rounds, visiting constituencies and meeting the people. the press has been busy covering such visits and flashing pictures of happy faces. it is a clear message that the general election is around the corner. what is missing are the opposition parties. where are they, what are they doing? there have been so many issues affecting the people. but intentionally or otherwise, there have been very little comments coming from the opposition camp. are they dead, or they did not have anything to say? or are they collecting all the grievances and waiting to blast out during the election campaign? presumably they must have worked out some strategies with respect to how to respond to all the issues raised. not saying anything now may be misread as not interested. raising the issues now may end up talking the issues to death and no longer novel or exciting during a general election. so many things have happened over the past few months. there must be a lot that the opposition parties would like to say but not saying. how are these going to affect the outcome of the coming general election? whatever it is, the opposition parties seem to be keeping their cards close to their hearts.

10/05/2005

substandard window rivets

all hdb flat owners are now expected to change all their window rivets within 5 years of occupying their flats. those with older flats are given an ultimatum to change by 30 sep, failing which they could be fined or jailed for maintaining a window that is now a life threatening hazard to people passing below. using the same logic, if hdb suddenly discovered that the wirings in hdb flats are faulty, they could also demand that all hdb flatowners change all their wirings, say again within 5 years. and again it will be the responsibility of hdb flatowners to change the wirings or face a fine or jail. the question is why is hdb allowed to shift the responsibility of poor workmanship or installing substandard items and made the buyers be responsible for it? isn't it reasonable for the window rivets to last at least 10 years or more unless being misused by the owners? likewise, all wirings and many other fixtures are expected, and can be expected, to last more than 10 years. in many of the older estates, the window rivets lasted more than 20 years. why suddenly people are told that the rivets are only worthy for 5 years? in the case of the window rivets, is the hdb being fair to the flatowners. or in this case it becomes the govt who is expecting the flatowners to bear the burden while hdb got away scot free. not hdb's problem anymore. are flatowners getting a raw deal? what if the hdb flats were developed by private developers? or would private developers be able to get away with such low quality rivets?

religion: can religious issues be discussed openly

i read a posting in the feedback unit forum where a forumer, joho, posted the statement that god made all men equal. i subsequently made a comment on this by saying that the statement is the greatest lie that man is telling their children. from what we see around us, it is a plain truth that all men are not made equal. the white men are simply far more superior than the aborigines. and men within each tribe or race are also not equal. some are definitely better endowed than others. this statement is at best a religious statement that could mean that all men are equal in the eyes of god. of course some are still more equal than others, like the chosen ones. the point i want to make is that my comment was deleted by the forum administrator. what is unbelieveable is that a lie is found more respectable to be repeated while a plain truth is found unacceptable and deserved to be deleted. subsequently, several other forumers posted confirming my views that all men are definitely not made equal. can religious issues thus be discussed openly, to share the truth and understand the truth? or shall the false truth be imposed on the people and not be discussed?

law and society: is jailing people a solution to all social ills

we are used to be called a fine city. we are also famous for using money to solve all our problems. now the latest innovation is to jail people, even jailing people who are branded as bus fare cheats for a few cents. and some of these cheats may not be cheats but a victim of technology faults. unfortunately, the onus of proof is on them to prove otherwise, that they have no intention to cheat and it is caused by system problems. perhaps one category of people may find this new jailing law beneficial. these are the people who are having problems finding three meals and a place to spend the night. they could go in and out of jail as bus cheats and be provide with free meals and free lodgings. incidentally, why is this problem a national problem and not a problem of the bus companies?

my cpf money is my money

so many amendments have been passed in parliament authorising the govt to do anything they want with the people's money in the cpf. these monies are the hard earned monies of the people, their own money. why is it that the people allowed the govt to dictate how and when the money will be returned to them? why is it that the people are so quiet when their hard earned money are legislated away, beyond their reach? other than being the govt and being able to legislate laws, is there any sound basis or justification for the govt to keep the people's money at will? the claim that all these are done to protect the people and provide for old age is not a good reason to lock up the people's money. if such a basis is deemed good enough to justify the current cpf rulings to retain the people's money, then the same reasoning will be good enough to justify keeping the people's money to 100 years, 120 years, and the minimum sum can be increased to any amount that the govt claimed to be necessary. technically, many people may not live to see or use their hard earned monies. or realistically, a certain percentage of the people will definitely die before touching their cpf monies.

what is acceptable to post in forum/blog?

the charging of 3 bloggers under the sedition acts and the intent by the govt to amend the laws on blogging both spelt bad news for blogging and internet forums. many are questioning what is acceptable and what is not. where are the ob markers? are there any guidelines other than the provisions of the sedition acts or good commonsense and respect for others? or shall forumers and bloggers take the cue from the official media? or shall they rely on the standards set in govt or govt related forums as to what is tolerable by the authorities? can forumers rely on the ypap forum and say what is acceptable there must be acceptable elsewhere? the ypap forum may not be an official govt organ. but it is sponsored and operated by the ruling party, which is also the govt. can one then conclude that it is sanctioned by the govt and thus it sets the standard for all internet forum and blogging? afterall senior members of the ruling party must have visited and read the postings in the ypap forum. and if they have condoned them would it be double standard to say other forums or bloggers are not allowed? what happens if an accused blogger quote postings from the ypap forum as a defence if such postings are more vile and vicious than what they have posted?

dengue war

the most said and recommended suggestion in the media to fight the spread of dengue is pouring away water left in vases and pots and pans. what they missed out is to ensure that whatever eggs, larvae and pupae present should also be destroyed first before pouring the water into the sewage. otherwise, the live eggs, larvae and pupae are likely to survive in the sewage system and continue into full blown mosquitoes, out of sight and out of harm from man. the intention with getting rid of all stagnant water is to deprive the mosquitoes of their breeding grounds. but the mosquitoes, with their natural instinct to breed will resoucefully go about finding water in the most unlikely crooks and corners, away and out of sight of man. and they will return in full force to attack and spread dengue as before. it is better to harvest their eggs in convenient places, eg bathrooms and destroy them properly. every egg harvest is every egg deprived from hatching into another mosquito. a proper and well coordinated campaign can produce very good results.

a war we cannot win

we are openly against terrorism and has in our own way declared war on terrorism. after the disclosure of the planned attack on some targets in the island, whether we like it or not, whether we declare war on terrorism or just keep quiet, we are already a target of the terrorists. it seems like we really have no choice but to take a stand. but taking this stand only makes our position clear and our chances of being hit just as obvious. the question is when. or can we really hope that we are able to thwart all attempts at hitting us? giving that in terms of possibilities and probabilities, we will be hit someday somehow. the people should all be prepared mentally to expect such an eventuality and to be able to deal with it when it happens. life will no longer be the same again. how is everyone going to be prepared, be cautious, be ready to take actions to prevent something drastic from happening? how is everyone going to watch and look at everyone with suspicion without being rude and aggressive, without causing unpleasantness and outright violence while in the process of being vigilant?

accident prone junction

the junction at cecil street and robinson road is now a very dangerous accident spot. 8 accidents occurred over the last 3 days. the situation was created by the removing of a road divider which prevented vehicles from driving straight into d'almeida street. and the reason for removing the divider is to stop pedestrians from crossing that stretch of road and standing on the divider. the intention to remove the divider may be good but what happens now is the creation of a very dangerous spot. the authorities seem to be quite reluctant to take immediate actions to correct the problem. maybe they think they have a lot of time to play with, just like the nicoll highway case, and waiting for some ugly accidents to happen, maybe the lost of some lives. it is now a matter of whether more accidents will happen first or some corrective measures be taken quickly to prevent them from happening.