why do you need to have a reserve of 3 or 6 or 10 or 20 years. please explain your rationale to the donors. please also explain why profit making hospital can charge $180 per dialysis while nkf's cost is $162. forget about the old nkf's figure of $200. that everyone knows why.
when should we be concerned or start to worry? when a charity or organisation tells us that it is ok not to disclose their financial data or reveal what they are doing. or when an organisation says transparency is not necessary. or when an organisation says they are managed professionally, so trust them. or when they say they cannot find suitable people or qualified people to join them. or when they say they cannot find any volunteers. or when they say they have powerful patrons. or when they say it will take time for them to produce the data. or when they say the data are unavailable. or when they say it is on a need to know basis. or when they refuse to let in new members into the organisation. it was reported in the straits times today and i quote, 'ms maureen sung of asian women's welfare association thought it would be tough to find donors who are also experts on charity work. "we can't just pull anyone to be a board member. whether the person donates money is irrelevant." " what is needed is not people who are expert in charity work. there are enough experts in the organisation doing charity works. but people who can be the watchdog, to keep a check on these organisations. to make sure there is not going to be another case like nkf. you do not need someone to be an expert in charity to be in a charitable organisation. you need an honest and decent man to watch out for wrong doings. and when an organisation finds all sorts of excuses not to bring in independent people, the more it is necessary to bring in independent people.
so far only khaw boon wan has spoken and condemned many of the misdeeds, to the extent of calling people dishonest and indecent. his seems to be a voice in the wilderness. a lone voice amidst many other voices that actually praised the wrongdoers or glorified some of the acts. with conflicting views of eminent people being articulated, the public could be confused. what is right or acceptable? some wrongs seem to be not so wrong and some rights are not so right. khaw boon wan's position cannot be seen as the only right position when opposing positions are not denounced and allowed to continue to stand. for the public to know what is the official position, more must be said to endorse what is deemed the proper and correct way. this is sorely lacking for the time being. maybe many are not saying anything to prevent influencing the court as the case is still pending. but politicians must have a way to say things in a political manner without having to corner the court's thinking or decision when the case is heard. what does the country stand for? what is morally right and acceptable must be stated clearly. these cannot be compromised. the people needs moral leadership and guidance. what they are getting is a loud silence. where is the moral leadership when it is needed in a time like this?
malaysia, your time is near. probably the best brain in malaysia, had to pass away at a very young age of 61. it is a great pity and a great loss to malaysia. who else is there to carry on the intellectual flag? when the good and brilliant depart prematurely, is it a sign that all the greatness there is to be will not be there anymore?
a forumer complained about the sick joke of a 'ghost' that frightened a newsreader in the straits times today. it was a very stupid thing to do as a joke. it takes a team of very sick people to choreograph it and air it as something they should be proud of, a great achievement. fortunately the poor girl did not die of shock. or she might end up in a mental hospital. you can never understand different individual's treshold for fear and pain. it just shows how dangerous when immature people are put in charge. this is another version of trying to compare annabel as a national hero.
i have a lot of admiration for sim wong hoo and his combative spirit to fight with apple. this is real talent. i would not want to mention anything that would be not complimentary to him or his products. but for him to get it right and fight a winning battle he must know where he went wrong. his zen is anything but zen. and apple's ipod is anything but zen. it is what zen is all about. quiet simplicity and elegance. nothing gaudy or confusing or distracting. that is the beauty in zen. the spirit of zen is in the ipod. being beautiful without trying. it is so unassumingly dignified. its design and colour is so quiet while the creative zen's design is just too noisy for zen.
is this a good sign or bad sign? from the positive angle, mm is still hands on, still active and committed and full of energy to take on a difficult task. from another angle, i am getting worried. are we saying that no one is capable to handle the sia unions except mm? what next if he is not around? what happens to all the highly paid super talents? it is a worrying sign.
the last few bill changes in malaysia and the right of the state to own the body of a dead man instead of the family are the signs of where malaysia is heading. i think they will find it more to their liking if they can transport the peninsula to the middle east and rewind the time to the time of the prophet.
many parents still think that they can buy quality education. and if their child did not do too well in psle, they can buy a place in a better independent school. and the administrators in independent schools also think so. this parent applied for one. and the independent school agreed to accept his daughter on condition that he pays the full school fees in advance. 4 years of school fees in advance is only $22,000. so cheap. but this parent found it ridiculous and rejected the offer. one week later the school called again renewing the offer. the parent asked how come still got vacancies. answer, someone just rejected and a place is available and he is given 24 hours to accept. the parent is not so stupid. he knew that not all parents are suckers and will fork out $22,000 in advance. but this independent school administrators probably still believes that there are many desperate parents or suckers around. and this independent school is not even top notched, just a so so secondary school. sure there will be a few rich and desperate parents who have all the money to splurge, and going to an expensive school is good enough. how many more suckers are out there?
the new nkf clarified that 38c of donations will go to the patients. is this good enough? obviously not. the donors donate their money to treat the patients, not for nkf to put into a kitty as a savings. like someone said, god's money will never be finished. it will keep on flowing. this charity money comes from the hearts of the people is like god's money. it is given with no strings attached. it will pour when the real need asks for it. now the real need is being questioned. all the figures given by nkf, new and old, are being questioned. the new nkf must come clean and give the donors a complete and accurate picture and discard the mindset and myths of the old nkf. the numbers given by a cheong wing lee in the today paper forum contributes to more doubts about the financials of the nkf. he claimed that he is a renal patient and is receiving private dialysis treatment at $180 per treatment. and the treatment centre is a profit making organisation. if a profit making centre can charge $180 per treatment and makes money, how can the old nkf claimed that its treatment cost is $200 and the new nkf is $162, when both are supposed to be non profit making? if nkf is not efficient and has to live with such a high operating cost then something is fundamentally wrong. yes, they better farm out their treatment operations to the private profit making centres.
a forumer, carol chua siew gek, wrote to straits times asking the people to forgive durai as he is human after all. (i hope people will not take this as an admission of guilt.) and he had done a lot of good in transforming nkf into what it is today. personally, forgiving a wrongdoer is acceptable, especially for such a great talent. what i think durai should do is to make a public apology to the people, especially the donors and those kidney patients whom he had turned away. and then pay back whatever ill gotten money he took from nkf. he can then be reemployed by one of the glcs to raise fund or make money for the country. he can also sell his memoir and produce a film on his adventure in nkf. that will bring him a lot of money from royalties. he could also go on a world tour to give public lectures on motivation and creativity. and the govt can showcase to the world that we are a very forgiving nation and we really value talents, including fallen talents. and he can be the poster boy for the yellow ribbon project. the forgiveness shall also extend to all the board directors and excos and all the employees who received extra ordinary pay and bonuses. but they must also make a refund to nkf for money not rightfully theirs. and apologise as well. we must also engage chia teck leng as the senior consultant for our two casinos. pin on him a yellow ribbon as well.
this is the view of a writer in today paper, chong lee ming. his view is that good government, ie honest, trustworthy, incorruptible govt, will bring about good governance. i am wondering what is he trying to say behind this argument. does he have a different agenda? but one question which he did not address and could not appreciate, how to know whether a govt is good, honest, trustworthy and incorruptible without transparency? just like nkf, without transparency, you will never know. and by the time you know the truth, it is too late. transparency is the key to good and honest governance. or at least it is one of the keys to it. without transparency, everything is in the dark. you can't see anything in the dark.
the moe is under pressure to respond to the public's whinning about 'problem' gep kids. i just hope our politicians do not behave the same way as their counterparts in the north, playing to the gallery and compromise on why certain programmes and policies were put in place. the gifted programme is introducted for a specific purpose, not to hold back but expedite the progress of a small group of highly gifted children. there are pros and cons, but generally it is a practical solution to a practical problem. these are very different individuals and they are expected to be different. the problems that are being harped, that they have lost touched with realities and the less fortunate is true. but how to overcome them is another matter. i hear immersion loudly. mix them with the less gifted and all will be well. try mixing wine with vinegar and see the result. the objective is laudable. but the result may be undesirable. mix the good students with drug addicts and see what you get. the same kind of thinking appeared in the ypap forum where one forumer suggested that because students of different races do not mix well in schools, so there must be enforced mixing for them to understand each other. this kind of thinking is so superficial. it is like putting as child in a room full of books and he will learn and be more scholastic. can serious people please look at issues seriously and apply some serious thoughts before implementing changes? a person who wants to learn, just point it out and he will learn. a person who refuses to learn or unable to learn, will not learn even if you shaft it into their mouth. people are all different. some are gifted academically. some in sports and arts. all are talents. but the gifted must mixed with the less fortunate to understand them better? what rubbish. so we put the less academically endowed together with the bookworms for them to appreciate and understand the bookworms better? or like the forumer who posted racist remarks and forced him to work with other races to learn to be nicer to them. it could work. it could become worst as his hatred could be intensified. imagine some of the protected children enlisted for national service and dumped together with a platoon of pai kia or drug addicts and ended up like them. how to answer to the parents? understanding another group does not demand immersion or physical togetherness. it is what education is all about. what good will it do to force einstein to play ball with the punks in the street? their life missions are different. they have different roles and responsibilities to play.
this was a heading in an article on edwin thumboo's search for singapore's soul in the today paper. my immediate reaction is that we have sold our souls to the god of money. our new soul is money and nothing else. just look at the comments on durai. nothing personal. many are still praising him for his brilliance in raising so much money for nkf. for the sake of money, the issues of morality and ethics are no longer important. many people in high positions even vouched that they respected him for what he had done. do you have any soul? oops, i mean do you have any money?
1) Give all Sinaporean Education at least College Degree (Lower Diploma) 2) Let their parent had more time with family ( Family Love) 3) Society need to help them when they are in trouble (Social Care) 4) Family Financial has no problem (career and business) above are 4 points posted by a spp member(darkbrightside) at the ypap forum. i would not call this their mission statement as it is just a forum statement. but it did indicates the direction the party is thinking or looking at. if i were to be in their position i will be looking at the following: 1. reduce the cost of essential services. 2. reduce the cost of jtc factories and offices. 3. reduce the cost of hdb shops and lease properties. 4. reduce the cost of education esp in colleges, universities and independent schools. 5. reduce the pay of ministers, public sectors and glcs by 10-50% for those earning above $15k per month. 6. introduce a citizens first policies. good foreign talents are still welcome. 7. review the cpf policies of withholding the withdrawal of cpf savings. allow full withdrawal at 55 years but retain $10k -$15k to purchase an annuity policy to provide an allowance after the age of 65 for 10 years. the above are just preliminary thoughts and need to be modified with actual data.
what icpas said is very simple. their job is to give a view as to whether the accounts are done according to whatever system. and if they said, after the audit, they believed that the accounts were done in a proper manner, any discovery of fraud or misrepresentation later is not their problem. they are not accountable even after expressing their opinion that it is ok when it is not ok. can all companies send me their accounts for audit. i charge only half price.
khoo swee chiow has given singapore a christmas gift, another guinness world record. i also intend to give one record to singapore. i will spend one month inside my hdb flat. i think nobody has done that since hdb flats only exist in singapore. so it must be a new record. but if other people have stayed longer inside a cubicle, i will increase the number of days by one week to beat the record. all i need now is a sponsor who will give me $1 million. singapore's name will be carved in the guinness book of world record again. i think this is the next easiest way of getting some money other than organising a charity show.
this is reported by a goh eng yeow in the straits times today. the sin of the remisier is to key in big orders that he had no intention to fill but to withdraw minutes later. and goh eng yeow wants sgx to name the culprit. would sgx be fair and shame all the big funds and brokers who executed similar fake entries and other misdeeds to mislead or create a false market? or would the stick be applicable to the small boys? he also said the practice is rampant as he was a dealer himself. would he like to tell the public what he knew, without prejudice and tell on what his broking house did? would he also reveal to the public whether he wrote this article on his own initiative?
nkf is not a financial institution. it is not there to raise fund to keep in the kitty. the funds are to be used for the patients it is supposed to help. 3 years of reserve is more than sufficient. the public are generous and will donate whenever there is a need. with such a fat reserve, for the time being nkf shall only raise enough to cover operating expenses. and nkf shall not have wild ambition to build another 2 or 10 hospitals and tell the public it needs more money. it shall operate the charity within its means. now i can understand why everyone is trying to build more and bigger charities. if that is the case, all the hospitals shall be taken over by the charities and let the charities run all the medical services. they can even run all the public services...and ask the public to donate for it.
just a couple of years back they appointed this guy to be the chairman of the new york stock exchange. america is a country that works under the rule of law. so we can expect everyone to work within the legal framework. but these people at the board have their own ideas. new york stock exchange is a public company, bo cheng hu. they are the main trustees and can do what they want with the money in the exchange. so how to dip into the coffer and share the loot? and to do it legally? they appointed a chairman and approved to pay him us$200 million a year or about s$360 million. simply put, s$30 million a month of s$1 million a day for 360 days a year. who in his right mind would think or accept such nonsense? probably the board and the ceo agreed to share $30 million each from the payout, at the expense of the sleeping shareholders. fortunately in america the rule of law is operated to the last word, and the us$200 million must be approved by an agm. and the shareholders voted against it and booted out the chairman before they pay him all the money the board wanted to pay him. and the board is working within the law, all legitimate. there is no corruption!
there is an article by adrian tan(in today paper) taking the line that nkf board and exco could have been misled. that they did not have the full picture when approving all the extravagance. this is not too farfetched from another view that the board and exco were mesmerised by a charismatic ceo. how silly! are the board and exco all boy scouts and girl guides? these are top notched people who have rose to the top of their profession, with a whole life of working experience and professional trainings. would they be like school girls looking gaga at their idol, the ceo? or were they all sleeping at board meetings, not knowing what was happening? let's wake up and face the hard realities. the whole thing would not have gone that far without the acquiescence of the board and exco. and please do not claim that they were volunteers and shall not be held responsible for fraud and neglect of fiduciary duties. no volunteer shall walk away free if they are part and parcel of a fraud. anyone who does not have the time or dedication to serve must not accept such an important appointment. it is simply irresponsible. are singaporeans really that stupid to even think of such reasonings as possible and real?
an honest man does not need to be paid to be honest. some may think that an honest man is a stupid man. but he believes in what is honestly his and will not take anything that does not belong to him. paying more does not make any difference to him. and there is no need to reward his honesty as it is already there. pay him his fair wage. by paying more and thinking that a dishonest man will become honest is a fallacy. such logic presumes that everyone is dishonest, or may be greedy. pay him enough and he will refrain from becoming his evil self. in the recent case it is proven that a dishonest man will always be honest. or is it that they have not paid him enough? then what is enough? very likely enough will never be enough. the other issue is how much to pay for job worth? many in mega organisations think that they must be paid proportional to the value of their decision and responibility that come with a big job. up to a point. other wise the president of usa must be paid the most. then there is paying for the value of the person instead of the job. how much is this man worth? what is his market value? can he get a similar paying job elsewhere? there are many factors that are used in the computation of a job. special skills, connections, risk, risk of life or job. not risk of making multi million dollar decision. that is already paid in the value of the job. and if one makes a wrong million dollar decision, one gets fired. there are qualification and experience etc. but no one pays for honesty. that is expected. so are integrity, being responsible, dedication, doing a good job. all these are expected from the employee. and if he is dishonest then he will go to jail. imagine what it would be like if an organisation got to pay for all these factors.
the coe prices are crashing down. so are the prices of cars. but these come with a price. people and businesses will be hurt. we are seeing the new buyers happily buying new cars. the people who have paid for expensive cars of yesteryears are bleeding. the secondhand car dealers are bleeding. fortunately the pain in this industry is not so severe as there are some residue values for scrap cars. also people are used to the 10 year lease. the more serious areas will be housing and high pay. housing is one area that is a huge problem that can never be unwind without hurting all the house and flat owners. the bigger the investment cost, the greater will be the lost. and the problem of negative assets will be massive. the inability to unwind the high cost of properties will also mean that high wages cannot be unwind as hdb flats are priced to affordability. then there are the high cost of essential services and hospitalisation. without unwinding the high wages, our workers are going to be uncompetitive. and the political cost is also going to be very high. cutting wages is going to cost a lot of votes. without cutting wages, we are suffocating ourselves to death, slowly. money and businesses will gravitate to where value can be found. we will price ourselves out of businesses in shopping, office space, manufacturing etc if we think that we are of great value when reality speaks otherwise. then there is the slow cooking of the stock exchange, dying without knowing. a neighbourhood roti shop selling 100 brands of roti to 100 customers has thoughtlessly and rapidly been transformed into one selling 100 local rotis, 100 foreign rotis, 100 muffins and 100 tarts to the same 100 customers. actually 30 customers left, as the other 70 either died or faded away. and they are still going to bring in another busload of rotten rotis from malaysia. this would only turn all the local rotis and foreign rotis into mould. and the muffins and tarts will be left to dry on the shelves. and the beauty of it all is that they did not know why the roti shop is dying a slow death. why there are no customers? they even formed committees to try to revive the roti shop, trying to be creative and innovative to stimulate more businesses. on the other hand they are strangling it with their own hands. anyone who studied econ 101 will tell you that with supply increasing by 3 or 4 folds but with demand dwindling, the system will collapse on its own. a small neighbourhood roti shop must not pretend to be the 5th avenue of new york or bond street of london. the year is coming to a close. can we see light at the end of the tunnel? or are we spiralling deeper into darkness? the leader is shouting that there is light everywhere. but the followers are only seeing dark clouds. perhaps the followers are all blind.
i have lived a very clean life, no drinking, no smoking, no gambling, no cheating, no telling lies, and work very hard every day of the week. i earned every cent with my blood and sweat. all honest money. i look at my stocking this morning and found it empty. where is my bungalow and mercedes and my million dollar bank account? where is merry christmas? where is santa claus? he dropped his presents to the wrong house again. merry christmas to those who did not receive any present from santa claus. smile and sleep well.
the nkf fiasco has been an enlightening lesson to everyone. all the myths were destroyed in one stroke. all the big names, rich, professional, highly paid...people are just people. we need a few good men. and good men are not measured by all these. corporate governance must be revisited from the basics. we not only need independent directors who are really independent. we need people who step forward to serve to really serve and have the time to serve. we need responsibility and accountability. people who accept the appointments better have the time to do a good job and not be on holiday all the time. and telling people that they are volunteers is not an acceptable excuse. if they are not prepared to commit the time and dedication, they must not accept the job. it is highly irresponsible to do so. the job comes with a lot of prestige for the ego, some even pay big directorship fees, honour, and recognition. it also comes with a heavy responsibility. and everyone must be held accountable for negligence, mismanagement or fraud under their watch. there is no excuse and no escape from taking the rap. and the authorities must get this message through. no tea party in public service or as directors of commercial organisations. the rest of good corporate governance like regulations and procedures, training, corporate authorisation, checks and balances, legislation, duties of watchdogs etc will only be useful if there is a heavy hand on accountability. otherwise, for some cheap thrill of recognition and fame, and worst still, for director fees, people will just grab as many directorships as possible with no concern of whether they can contribute or have the time to contribute to the good governance of the organisation. lets hope that the party is over and people get down to serious business.
the straits times published that nkf had an income of $108.7 million last year. and yesterday it was reported that it raised $75 mil in 2004. there is thus an additional income of $33.7 mil. earlier in several discussions in the media it was reported that nkf's annual expenses was $19.6 mil and was receiving a pledged donation of $20.4 mil. and it was asking the govt for a grant of $4 mil. all these prompted a public to write in the straits times forum that there is an additional income of $7.8 mil from interest not taken into account. and nkf has announced that it is going on a fund raising campaign again. and it gave the same reasons that it needs to build more reserves. all the figures published gave a very distorted picture of the financial health of nkf. how much does it cost to run nkf, how much is its income and reserves? is it running on a surplus or a deficit? any journalist think it is his or her duty to do a proper investigation and report to the public on the true picture? the public needs to be well informed before they start pouring money into nkf again, new or old. it will be preferable for the new nkf to lay bare its financial status and start from a clean slate of transparency. all the figures are creating more doubts and it is no good to the new nkf.
can the management of a company shortlist and select their own board of directors. then the directors approved everything that the management wants. pay the ceo and whoever anyhow, pay employees 3 or 4 increments in a year, suka suka pay bonuses, any amount to anyone, approved management expenses, even all charges to corporate credit cards to a tune more than their monthly pays? and ceo said everything is approved by board of directors. and no one is at fault and nothing can be recovered? ceo is free, board of directors just walked away. nothing can be done. no crimes, no intent to deceive or cheat. just bad management decision by very able professionals?
companies appointed people to their board of directors for various reasons. public listed companies have to as provided by the companies act. given a choice, companies would want to appoint all their fathers, mothers, grandpas and grandmas and uncles and aunties as directors. better to pay themselves than outsiders. some people were invited to join the board as a reward, some for the connections they can bring along, some to lend credibility and prestige, some to curry favours, and some to share expertise. no one is invited as a watchdog. no watchdog is welcome in the board of directors. whoever try to be a smart alec and want to be a watchdog will soon be shown the door. how then can the system caters for this important function when it is a non starter in the first place? my christmas wish is for the mas to make it compulsory for public listed companies to appoint 2 to 3 directors from an independent approved institution. preferably this institution be the sias which represented several hundred thousand investors. they have a genuine and vested interest to want to make sure that public listed companies are managed in a way that do not compromise the interests of public shareholders. sias can then work out their own procedures to provide a list of qualified directors for public listed companies. and one of the main role of these directors, in fact the most important role, is to be watchdog. of course the companies will not be too happy with this. but if corporate governance is to work, this is it. the companies can still appoint all the other directors they want. but the independent directors must sit in the audit and remuneration committees to keep an eye on things. their tenure of directorship will be decided by the independent institution ie sias. not the management. as for private companies or vwos, they can also tap their directors from this same institution or from another govt appointed institution. perhaps ncss could be tasked to perform the same function as sias. then we will have a really independent watchdog body of independent directors to ensure things are done in a more transparent way. not that this is the cure all formula. but it will help in many ways. the current procedure is flawed as independent directors are not independent.
i dreamt that i was the head of a big charity organisation. and me and my senior executives were flown to a little island retreat to scheme our plans for the future of the organisation. we were all told to make ambitious plans. the bigger the better. and we decided to build 5 big hospitals, bigger than the govt hospitals, located north, south, east, west and centre. and the objective is to help people with all kinds of major illnesses. no need to worry about money. there are plenty of opms. other people's money. and with such a big mission, we will have the support from everyone. helping people in trouble will always be supported by the people and even the authorities. we worked out that we will need $2.5 billion. estimate $500 mil for each hospital. operating cost can come later. now we know how much to raise for the next 15 years, projected to build one hospital every 3 years. wow, we will be kept busy for the next 15 years and more as we will need to raise more money for the operating cost. when we retire we will all leave a legacy behind us. 5 big hospitals. our names will be carved in gold, or on gold plated boards hanging everywhere. they might even name the hospitals after the top executives. and we earn all these, good names, and a handsome income, all from public money. create jobs and recognition for ourselves. and that is only the small part of the goodies. imagine how many people will be grateful to us? the patients and their families and the public. and those whom we pay them very well with public money to make them beholden to us for life. and of course they better know how to take care of us with the money we throw at them. at the end to the day i woke up in cold sweat.
one of the major sore points in the nkf saga is the reckless disregard of public money. money was splashed and splurged everywhere, given to people excessively as if they fell from the sky. it gave the impression that all the donation money is there for people to spend anyhow they like. ah kong's money. no need to account for it. no one seems to appreciate that a lot of these monies are skimmed from the savings and little incomes of uncles and aunties and the pocket monies of school boys and girls. a dollar at a time. the old nkf is unforgiveable for the way they squandered away the money. if the new nkf does not make any effort to recover these monies, would it give the same impression that they are treating all these public donations lightly? lost, carelessly given away, cheated, stolen, misappropriated, all does not matter. never mind. it is public money. not enough, just ask some more. if this is the attitude, then people will think twice to surrender their monies voluntarily to the charity. the people responsible must show that they will handle the money with care, that they will guard them carefully and account for every cent they have. and if taken away by wrongful means, it is their duty to tenaciously fight to recover them. i think the public would want to see this happening. so far it seems that what was taken illegitimately was seen as water under the bridge. forget them, go and ask the public for more money. that is much easier to do. this lackadaisical attitude will not go down well with the donors and the general public.
honesty could be part upbringing, part inborn. as a young officer, earning $2-3k salary, it may be presumed that the temptation to take advantage for a few dollars would be highest. nobody taught me what to do when i submitted my transport claims. i either underclaimed or round down the cents to the lower dollar unit. and this was the first instruction i gave to my son on his first day to work. better to underclaim that over claimed by a few cents. as a young officer, i was in a position that did a lot of entertainment and meetings with clients. often there would be the little gifts from appreciative clients. what should i do with them? my secretary told me standard procedure was to submit a list of all gifts received to the head of administration. i was as innocent as a school boy and did exactly as told. to my pleasant surprise they were all returned to me for keeps. they were not expensive stuff. my next surprise was to overheard that the head of administration was shock at my submission. because nobody ever done that, not even my predecessor. the bigger surprise and shock came several months later. my innocence had offended many people. for it had made them looked bad. and i was bad. these are stories of a young salaried employee who would be grateful for every dollar saved. who would imagine people who are worth millions and with monthly paychecks in excess of $20k, to stoop to claim what was not deserving? the conventional wisdom is that once a person has enough, gone pass the stage of wants, they are expected to be honest. how wrong this assumption is in reality. maybe that's the reason why i am as poor as a church mouse.
without nkf, there will be no respect for corporate governance. it will still be a form rather than substance concept. without nkf, all the hypocriscies will not be exposed. without nkf, there will be no revamp of checks and balance procedures. without nkf, singaporeans will still be as gullible as children. without nkf, many people will still be gaga over efficient, professional and highly qualified people and people with big names. without nkf, all the wolves in sheepskin will still be walking with their heads in the clouds. without nkf, people will still believe paying high salary will ensure honesty. without nkf, many people will still be sleeping. complacency. without nkf, the party will still go on. we must thank durai and nkf for the shake up and for making singapore a better place. there is this saying that your enemy is your best teacher. i am not saying that durai is anyone's enemy. it may be his karma to contribute to society in this way. on first impression there is a lot of harm. but the aftermath is a lot of good.
1. corporate governance is a serious thing and must be seriously implemented with truly independent directors. the directors must be appointed by an independent body. not internally like i know you, he knows yo, so i appoint you. 2. highly trained and capable professionals are not necessarily good men. 3. paying crazy sums of money does not ensure honesty. or maybe nkf did not pay enough. no one knows what is the price to pay enough. 4. big names are equally flawed as human beings. 5. people who appear to be decent and honest may not be so. 6. no one or organisation must be allowed to run away from responsibility and accountability. anyone or organisation appointed to hold office or tasked to do a job must do the job or be held accountable. 7. no one or organisations can be trusted. 8. transparency is fundamental to accountability. 9. a big house cleaning is needed in all public organisations.
the first thing that nkf should do is to claim back all erroneous payments due to miscalculations or wrong decisions. these should include leave computations, overtime claims, payment for weekends and overtime during overseas trips, and payments for claims that were not supported or approved. and also unauthorised payment to staff. these are legitimate claims that nkf can demand from its staff. if they do not know how, i will volunteer my service for free. never mind if people laugh and say only fools work for free and good talents must be paid well.
kpmg has more or less put all the blame on one man, t t durai, for his imperious way in running nkf. is that so? are the exco and board of directors all men or fools? look at the hands in the kitty! was there a big birthday party? for the innocents, it is unfair for their reputations to be ruined by the guilty. what you need is one good man to turn off the music. sadly he was not around. the one good man came in the gold tap contractor, plus one good woman, susan long.
i hear silence.......................................... all the insignificant people in the street, stop whining. my wife took out her little saving and count, one dollar, two dollars, three dollars....to make one phone call to the nkf. they splurged and squandered in hundreds of thousands, and millions away. so sinful. so wasteful, so painful.
god has let a rotten apple to fall and let all the worms to crawl out for all to see. it is his way of letting man know in advance, an early warning, that things are getting bad. that the whole apple tree is rotten and more rotten apples are going to drop. and if nothing is done, the whole apple tree will also rot to death. amen.
they forgot to classify their report PG! the report is like a tsunami that swept through the pathetic and laidback populace. some may die of shock reading it. many are still caught by the first wave and not reacting. but the report has drawn out responses from shock, resignation, disbelief, so what, to anger, disgust, and people demanding justice and blood. it is an issue that is not going away. no one in his right mind will say let's move on. if not properly handled to soothe the anger on the street, the repercussion can be very grave. but as i read the papers and hear the news, i started to feel sick. comments from learned people in the legal professions said there is no case against durai, or hard to make a case against him. the reasons, difficult to prove wrongdoings, no evidence of criminal breach of trust, no evidence to prove misappropriation of monies, corruption or cheating, no criminal intent in the form of dishonesty, no intent to deceive, it was just an overzealous attempt to raise more funds for charity. and better, everything was approved by the board and the exco. and it was on record that he wanted less but the board wanted to give him more. the main point from the legal profession is that it is hard to prove beyond reasonable doubt to show criminal intent and motivation by greed. and the best statement came from durai's lawyer. "the ceo was a qualified lawyer with limited accounting knowledge." and "he claimed he was not familiar with accounting standards or their application and relied on the head of department for finance and nkf vice chairman, alywn lim - a qualified accountant - and honorary treasurer loo say san, a former banker." there you see, there is really no case against durai. and if there is, he is fully covered by the board of directors and the exco. and in accounting and finance matters, he is ignorant of such matters and the finance people shall be held responsible. durai is innocent beyond reasonable doubt, and anyone thinking of suing him will get no where. durai is a free man.
"As for the Board(nkf board) itself, the report noted that since its incorporation in 2001, it only saw two departures and the directors were never replaced. Out of 21 members in the former board, only eight attended the foundation's annual general meetings, and all of them sat on the Executive Committee. Effectively, that meant the former Board was further concentrated in the hands of five directors, of whom four were given executive powers. According to the report, the Audit Committee was ineffective because it hardly met regularly. From June 2002 to January 2005, there was only one informal meeting in 2004 to discuss the revival of the Audit Committee. " the above were quoted in the channelnewsasia website. members of the board must be very busy people and have very little time to meet. is this a result of them being in too many boards and wearing too many hats because there are not enough talents to spread around? and that these directors have to sacrifice themselves, overworked and would willingly give up their board representations if there are talented people to replace them? i feel very sorry for them. so busy, not enough time to attend board meetings, no time for family, no time to enjoy their money, and probably will work themselves to death. it is not a good thing to be a talent in this country. so much sacrifices. and now worrying if they will be sued for negligence. even if they are not sued, people will have the impression that they are neglecting their duties. not sure if they still collect director's fees. is there anything wrong with corporate governance in the country?
nkf is a hallmark of the singapore brand. a stamp of quality, efficiency, good management practices, good and honest people, professional management, incorruptibility when well paid, accountability, transparency, and good international accounting systems, no cronism....good practice to have people wearing several hats to share experience and expertise.... all now kenna fuck. how this affair has damaged a reputation that we have built all these years, as a model nation with model people and systems is yet to tell. but the damage is pervasive. what we believe as truths have suddenly become myths. how will this destroy our reputation in the world stage? will we still be a model system for the aspiring developing countries? or will people shun us or have doubts about what we do and what we preach?
how far has the world degenerated on its values about life, about right and wrong, that a murderer can go an tv and said he will do it again, without remorse or any feeling of guilt? and world leaders, human rights movement, the media, the religious godly people, all listened as if it was a chat about wine drinking. more than 30,000 iraqis killed. more than 2,300 american boys killed. and bush said he made the decision based on wrong intelligence. and that he was responsible for it. and that's it. period. no guilt, no remorse, no regrets, no shame, no blood in his hand, no resignation, and no one to take him to the international court of justice to charge him for crimes against humanity. only a person who is totally empty cannot know that he has taken so many lives. and george bush himself could not comprehend that. more than 30,000 lives for his stupid mistake. the japanese stock exchange chief resigned because of a glitch in his trading system. and he has nothing to do with it except being the head of the stock exchange. this is taking charge and assuming personal responsibility. can bush understand what he had done and what is responsibility for killing so many people? can he sleep peacefully at night without thinking about the mothers who have lost their sons, and all those who have lost their love ones? what is this world coming to?
gerard ee asked this question. and he answered himself. it is about patients and to serve them. how far wrong could he be. who would now believe that the old nkf is about patients and serving them? this is probably the least important item in the old nkf. and the real answer of what nkf is all about can be sum up by gerard's next answer. 'we got distracted.' how could a high profile organisation under the spotlight and staffed with eminent people of all professional hue, and highly regarded, full of integrity, and wealthy, be distracted? and how can such a thing happened in highly proficient, efficient and morally upright in all aspects, singapore? in all my years as a human resource professional, i have never seen such malpractices in human resource compensation and benefits. you don't pay overtime to an executive staff. and never to a senior management staff even when he is overseas working through weekend and holidays. you don't let anyone carry forward annual leave of more than one year, and definitely not 2 or 3 years of annual leave, and encashed at the current salary rate. and how can there be no human resource policies and procedures? what is the point of having a board of directors and executive committee? the impression coming out from the kpmg report is that nkf was a professional fund raising organisation and all its activities centred on fund raising. the patients were only a prop to the primary mission of fund raising. everything was geared just to raise fund and fundraisers would be highly rewarded accordingly. i would have accepted them as what they are, and pay them handsomely, if they are honest enough to call themselves professional fundraisers. but to call themselves a charity and abuses the name of charity is unacceptable.
go and get a copy of today's new paper and read the plight of 3 beautiful and bright brother and sisters. there are all in primary one. age 9, 11 and 12. they could not afford to go to school when their father's business failed. and even lived on the road side when dad could not pay for rental. but they stuck to it, mother and children, with their father. the children were understanding enough not to blame their father though they were very envious of other children going to school. their mum too bear with them though she became very depressed. what a story to make you cry, in modern and prosperous singapore. i held the paper in my hands with tears flowing freely.
military strategists and generals talked about how to fight and win a war. sun tzu on the other hand advocated winning a war without fighting. that is his ultimate strategy. a strategy which involves positioning, preparation, posturing and strengthening a nation up to a point where the enemy knew that he will lose if he starts a war. try applying this to the art of looking after the welfare of a population. a successful nation is one that has its citizens well fed, well housed and well looked after. it is a state when all citizens have jobs, have proper accommodations and fully able to take care of their own needs. a nation would have failed if it has to provide all kinds of aid and assistance to help its citizens. it is a big failure if the govt keeps telling the people we have this scheme and that scheme to help you. we should not be bragging about all the assistance plans made available. it is a sure sign of things gone wrong. it is a sign that people are in trouble and need help. it is anything but a bad sign that things are not well. when the people are well taken care off, there is no need for aids and financial assistance. though it is not possible to completely wipe out poverty and people in trouble, the very fact that we need to put into place all kinds of assistance plans is not something to be proud off. just like bringing up children. if they need to come back to papa for money and help, then papa has failed. what is the use of papa being a millionaire with a fat bank account and can finance all the handicap children who cannot fend for themselves? should papa keep encouraging his children to come back when they are broke and be grateful that papa has the dole to feed them on a piecemeal basis?
many wait in anticipation of a big storm. or would it be a storm in a tea cup? there are two groups looking at this saga. on one side are the supporters of a well run organisation that can raise millions easily. professionalism at work. on the other corner are those who want accountability and the need for propriety in the handling of public money. an article in saturday's today paper on 'looking beyond the gold tap' by a heng cheong leong or leong heng cheong, attempted to describe how effective, efficient and forward looking the old nkf management was. the 21 dialysis centres, a dedicated fund raising team, dedicated professionals and dedicated ceo. but he also raised the comment by peter drucker that charity organisations will not be judged by their results but by their intention. there is another issue about charity. our national ethos is not in favour of charity. do not expect charity. there is no free lunch. and for that we expect all the professionals to be paid their professional dues. they cannot be shortchanged for their dedication and expertise. the funny thing is that the whole organisation is built on charity, people's charity. free money, just ask and people give. how much is necessary is not an issue. how much to spend on the sick is not an issue. there are free money to be asked. is there any contradiction? what eventually happened to the nkf saga is not about charity or about how much good work were done. with that kind of money, many things can be done. and could more be done if the money is properly managed? that is another issue. what is now the key issue is whether there is misappropriation of fund, misplaced trust and the people's feeling of unease that there may be fraud. hopefully we will know the truth this afternoon. and hopefully the people will not be shortchanged in wanting to know the truth. the damage could be far more serious if the people perceived that things are amissed in the report. then it will no longer be the credibility of the nkf at stake, but the credibility of a nation will be put to doubt.
the women are waving the cedaw card, convention for the elimination of discrimination against women. hey guys, how about cedam? other countries i am not too sure. but we need cedam in singapore. we need both. there are cases of discrimination against women. there are also discriminations against men, especially in our antiquated laws. and then national service is one big discrimination. not that i am for women to serve national service. but the guys need to be treated more fairly while doing a service to the nation. i hope cedaw is not calling for the closing down of crazy horse. it is a place where women are discriminated. they performed and the men watched and clapped and whistled. and they are naked while the men are fully clothed. now is that discrimination? the men paid for the women to do things to make them happy, do things at their callings. but some may say the women in crazy horse are showing how well perfected they are as a specimen. they are proudly exhibiting what nature has done for them, beautiful, feminine, charming and exciting. can't imagine men performing the same kind of show without dressing like women. what do women want? you ogle at them they give you the bitchy look. you ignore them and they get angry. they do not want to be ogled and also do not want to be left on the shelf. they dressed up to be seen but not to be seen. some dressed up to the nines but put a black sack over them. women, to be adored and loved, and to be pissed off.
Things Mahathir did not say .... when he was in power "The country should have a strong government but not too strong. A 90% majority is too strong. We need an opposition to remind us if we are making mistakes. When you are not opposed you think everything you do is right." "The Internet must be used extensively so that an alternative media would be available to publish and expose lies, be downloaded and distributed." "Although I am already 80-years old, I am not senile." (reproduced from littlespeck.com) when one is in power, one says and believes in a different set of rules that suits that position and situation. when one is out of power, a different set of rules apply. which is the better truth? it all depends on where one is. but i like the part that he said, 'when you are not opposed you think everything you do is right.' this will be a perpetual truth and will be repeated over and over again until one is thrown out of power. only then will one realise that all along one has been making mistakes but peddled as good decisions.
if i were khoo swee chiow, and if there are people or organisations with money but do not know what to do, and are willing to give me for my little frills, i will take it. why should people blame him for his feat? he just sold his ideas and people bought it happily to the tune of $150,000. i will say well done swee chiow. never mind whether what you are doing is worthy or nonsensical. it is not your fault. next time tell them you will attempt to live inside a mpv for one month. i am sure the car manufacturers will eagerly queue up for the advertisement and pay you handsomely. and you might get the mpv for free as well. for commercial enterprises, they always have budgets for marketing. what i am concern with is people managing public fund. for public organisations or ipcs, they better be careful when they throw money away like sponsoring this kind of acts. i am still not sure whether the sponsorship money goes to any charity or just for swee chiow's little fun.
i was watching lim hng khiang delivering his speech at the wto. at an instance i was engulfed by this feeling of sadness. i was wondering where it came from. then i realised that face, a face of sadness. why did he wear that sadness in front of the tv and at the wto. and he had that sadness with him all this while. the closest person that has a similar expression is ho peng kee. but his has a slight variation that appears more worried than sad. a face that carries a lot of problems and issues that bothering him. compare to lily neo, when she is making a speech in parliament, you just cannot disagree with her even if you cannot agree with her. she has that disarming sweetness in her that you just sit there and let her speak, without any anger or thoughts of opposing her, not even want to rush her. interrupting her would seem rude. it is amazing how a face can convey a message more than shouting and thumping tables. this leads me to ponder on the variety of faces that we see in the box. charles chong has lately appear to look like maitreya, the laughing buddha, with his big fixated smile. and there is wong kan seng with another kind of smile. the smile of a magician that can pull out all kinds of tricks to wonder you. and lim boon heng has that gentle look with a perpetual quiet smile like mona lisa. while khaw boon wan has the calm and serenity of a morning mountain. there are other variations. tan soo khoon has one that has the 'cannot tahan' look, that he cannot accept anything he sees or hears. while teo chee hean's face says everything is smooth flowing, everything goes, and life is a stroll. then there is yeo cheow tong who reminds one instantly of the word affordability. as i meditate over a peaceful sunday morning, many kinds of faces make their appearance in my imaginations. but not all can be put to a particular personality. i was trying to figure out who has a blur like sotong look, or who looks like he needs more sleep, a sleepy head. the face of a never say die look, a fighter, a gangster, or the face of a grandfather. or is there anyone that has the bob hope look, or a george bush, or a peace maker like tommy koh. a cocky look or the look of a maverick. or is there one that looks mean? i couldn't find one that has the mahathir's 'boleh' look. this is just a little distraction from the otherwise dull whinning of how things could be better. i hope people have a little sense of humour as i, myself, try to find a little of that in me that has long been lost.
two major gatherings of world leaders took place within a week in malaysia, the asean +3 east asian summit and the global peace forum. is there anything coming out from the two major asian events that are worthy of a meeting of so many leaders and costing so much funds? the east asian summit came out as a feel good forum for asian leaders to be seen to be able to get together, to rub shoulders, to talk shop. and talk is about what came out from it. the global forum is a talk session and they talked. mahathir talked the most. and his impact is still the greatest. mahathir called for more asian ngos, movements and the media to stand up and put an asian voice to the world map. that asians must organise and set the agenda and tell the world what is right or wrong, how asian sees events and through asian perspectives. he embarked on an attack on usa policies and how the usa set the agenda for the world, war on terrorism, regime change etc. he encouraged asians to emulate some of the western movements like the movement to protect the environment, to stand up for the people of the world. for a long time, all these movements are western dominated, standing up on issues or attacking countries, and representing mainly western interests. our journalists were quite vocal in their support for anti terrorism but quite muted in regime change. do they have any stand on this? interesting to know if they support regime change from the outside. would asians be able to take up the cudgel and contest with western ngos, to take on western governments and reset the agendas. could other agendas be set by asian organisations, initiated by asians and financed and supported by asians? there are signs that the asians are standing up to be heard, and able and willing to push their positions and agenda at the wto meeting in hongkong. the koreans were very active, the taiwanese too. they could be the pathfinders for other asians to rethink and organise themselves. and the media and internet communities could do their part to support these movements. surprisingly the one issue hongkong mob was not to be found. without the westerners to lead them, they could only gather to cry for democracy, tiananmen and human rights. they could not think of other issues to demonstrate. if asians could rally together, then there will be a more balance view, a contest of ideas rather than one small group drumming down on the rest of the world on what is right and what the world should be concerned with.
how could gerrie lim claimed that singapore is a third world country pretending to be first world? didn't he see our splendid world class theatre? even our man in the street, our taxi drivers, have grown very affectionate about it. they embraced it as part of them. they don't call it ass..pla..nay but durian, a pungent smelling fruit that you eat along the road side with your hands and smell for the next three days. our people are cultured from the ground level up. or we have brought the taste of the arts to the people. isn't that first world? and anything the first world have, we have it here. just let us know and we will built one that is bigger, larger, higher, taller, and more expensive. we outdo what the first world countries have. we excelled in sports with a lot of gold medals from our imported sports talents. and we are in the book of guinness world records. our people have climbed the highest mountain, walked the antartic, and now attempting to stay inside a container filled with water for 10 days. these are great feats that we aspired to show to the world that we also can do. the next thing probably will be standing in the sahara desert for 40 days. but we need someone to do it first. then we copy and try to do one day better. of course we are in the first world. and we are also rich enough to start throwing tips at our cab drivers to ensure that they smile and provide us with the best service money can buy. and all these are for real, even if they appear queer. we also boleh.
george bush said he will attack any country if needed to. and mahathir is furious. mahathir is calling on the world to prevent mass murderers from becoming world leaders. estimated 30,000 iraqis and more than 2,000 americans dead since the iraq invasion, and still counting. and the americans are going to spend $500 million in psychological warfare and propaganda in the world media to influence the thinking of people who are against their war on terrorism. they are going to use money to buy influence to change people's perception of their wrong into becoming right. our straits times should capitalise on this windfall and publish news favourable to america at a price. it must be smart enough not to pay to publish them. if the americans want good things to be said about them in the straits times, they pay. how nice.
the high bid for orchard turn has been greeted with big cheers by market players. it has brought a big smile to many happy faces. the property market is going to use it as a benchmark to guage property prices. it is a good sign that property prices are looking up. is it a good sign or a bad sign? singapore is losing its reputation as a shopper's paradise. the prices of things here are getting more expensive compare to our competitors. if malaysia can get its acts together, all the shoppers will be flocking up north. they have so many natural advantages. low wages, lower property prices, all means lower cost. why is it that we are cheaper than them? there is no reasons for malaysia or any other asean countries not to sell their products cheaper than us. all their costs are lower than us. and with our property prices being driven up again, it is a matter of time before we priced ourselves out of the market, just like our labour. once we are deemed as expensive, game over. we lose our competitive advantage. our retailers cannot make a living with such high cost of land and rental. they can only sell to a captive market up to a point. when people find it cheaper to buy from neighbouring countries, they will do so. when tourists find it cheaper to buy from somewhere, they will skip here. all the supporting industries will fall apart. three cheers to higher property prices. three cheers to welcome the death of retail businesses. and three cheers to the death of shopper's paradise.
tat hong listed a subsidiary in australia bourse. first day of trading price up by 23c or 23%. this kind of gain on ipo is almost unheard of in our local market for many years. many of ipo listings ended underwater on the first day of trading in our market. why? is our market sick or dead? is our market saturated with unattractive stocks? is our market unable to absord the flood of ipos? is ipo money drying up? are all our retail investors dead or lost all their monies? why is ipo no longer attractive? what is happening? do we manage our stock market or let it run wild, pennywise pound foolish, short term gain for long term loss?
the weakest link in the whole system of corporate governance is the independent directors. as long as the system does not ensure that independent directors are completely independent from the management, it is very difficult to make the system works. it is like having kelong referee in a football match. what could possibly rectify this shortcoming is for mas to require independent directors to be appointed by an independent institution. all it needs is for 2 or 3 independent directors to be appointed from a neutral body to a company's board. and the directors shall be a member of the remuneration and audit committees. presently the best body to take on this role is the sias. it represents thousands of shareholders and should rightly be given a voice or say in the management of public companies. the minority shareholders need to be protected. the neutral institution can set its own rules and regulations on the criteria and eligibilities of candidates to be appointed as independent directors, set its own length of appointment, guidelines on remunerations etc. the service and appointment of independent directors will thus be out of the hands of a company's management, and the directors will come and go without having to appease the company's management. the independent directors can thus act independently, objectively and professionally for the interest of the company and the shareholders, and not just for the interests of the management. it is a simple and basic requirement without which the whole system of corporate governance is flawed.
what strikes me this morning is the headline that li ka shing may sell his shares in suntec city on grounds of principles. li ka shing will not be involved in any gambling business. his hotels in bahamas have also been approached to include casinoes but he declined them. no gambling business in his empire. many rich and famous people shun unethical businesses. many will live within their own principles of goodness or morally right way of doing things. it is easier, and desirable to be so. when one is hungry, there is a tendency to fight the world, fight the system, fight all moral values, to earn that dirty dollar. i am not saying that all the rich and famous gone through this route. for those who have made the dollar and are very comfortable, it is surprising that many are still sticking to their old self, the immoral self, the unethical self, to continue to earn that extra dollar that did not mean anything more to them anymore except to add on to their fat savings accounts. many have gone pass the stage where they need to earn money. many have so much money to last for generations. but still just as unethical and immoral. they did not see the need to cleanse their unsavoury past. they did not see the need to be decent or to start to lead a more decent way of life, doing a decent business. they will still sell a basket of rotten apples with only the top layer covered by good apples. this may be the reason why the creature called human beings will live to destroy itself eventually. not monetarily, but morally. so much money and wealth, so little goodness.
davinder singh wrote a one page article in the straits times on corporate governance. for him to devote so much time, his time is very expensive, it means it is a serious issue that warrants a lot of attention. for corporate governance to be effective, he touches on many pertinent factors that have to be pieced together. these include ethics, good systems and practices, educating the shareholders, role of the press, role of enforcing agencies and regulators, managing family interests, and whistle blowing. davinder has covered all grounds except one which i find it very uncomfortable to be left out. i have suggested to the relevant bodies that independent directors must be really independent. for this to be true, independent directors must be appointed or be provided by an independent organisation unrelated to the companies they are to serve. their independence shall include remuneration and terms of tenure. by detaching independent directors from companies, they will not be beholden to the organisations and can then be more emboldened to question the practices of the organisations. the more the independent directors excelled in checking wrongdoings in companies, the higher will be their profiles, and the less welcome they will be in the boards of companies. on the other hand, they will stand up as the champions of the small shareholders. so it is very vital that their appointments to the boards be out of the hands of the companies. two organisations can take on this role, the stock exchange or the sias. both have an interest to want to see companies tow the line and be proper in the conduct of their businesses. under the current system, independent directors are invited and appointed by the company's management or ceo and paid by the companies. the extension of their tenure is also dependent on the goodwill of the management and are expected to play ball. how are independent directors going to be independent under such a system? an over zealous director will soon work himself out of the invitation list. the reason is obvious. for corporate governance to be effective, we need an independent body to appoint the independent directors.
this is getting to be very exasperating. it was 3 years before the court case. during the court case it became 30 years. a week ago it was 4.5 years or 7 years. today a forumer in the straits times, cheong wing lee, worked it out to be 26 years. cheong's figure is based on an annual expenditure of $19.6 mil against an interest income of $7.8 mil from the $206 mil in reserve plus a govt grant of $4 mil. this gives an annual shortfall of $7.8 mil. $206 divide by $7.8 will give 26 years. then there is the monthly donation of $1.7 mil which gives a total of $20.4 mil a year. this alone should be more than enough for the 19.6 mil expenditure, without having to touch the $7.8 mil. assuming that nkf did not go an an expansion drive to build more facilities, the $206 mil can last forever. and the $7.8 mil interest will actually be a surplus! now which is which? can all the experts and finance people please tell us what is the correct number? the public deserves the truth. or can the newspaper get someone to do some investigative reporting and explain to the public, once and for all, what is the true number?
hsien loong said we are doing well and can look forward to better things. all the restructuring is a big success. with so many good news, how can we be not doing well? we have a big reserve to cushion us for many years, short of an unimaginable crisis. as a nation we are rich. we have gone pass the days of trying to make ends meet, i mean the nation, not the inidividuals. it is time to relook at our policies and how to make the people live better. we have invested our reserves and should be reaping the rewards of our investment. this is expected. if not then we are failing very badly. and with a constant stream of profits, the govt should think of how to return this profit to the people. before anyone shout that we are squandering our reserves, let me emphasise here that i am talking about distributing profits. how much to distribute can be worked out by the fund managers and the govt. if we do not use the profits from our investment, then there is no point wasting all the effort for bigger returns. and we are not doing justice to the people. the profit is a big plus for the govt to use to make the life of people easier. the days when a pound of flesh must be paid before the govt gives out a dollar should be revised. there is no need to extract back a dollar for every cent being given to the people. i saw this big banner at the wto protest, 'no privatisation of basic services.' i hope our hurried privatisation of public services is not a requirement for our joining the wto. it will be good if we can redo some of these privatisations and revisit the objectives and goals of basic essential services and the goals of the govt towards its people. money can do wonders. lets hope public money, especially profits from our investment, is put to good use to make the people feel that their money is invested for their benefits. but there is one area that is waiting to implode. despite the facade of furious trading activities and a rising stock market index, the stock market can collapse anytime, if it has not collapsed already.
actually i would like to take a bet. that the woman in the video is a chinese national. i hope the real victim will appear and put this farce away. it is difficult to think that the bumi police woman would make another bumi to do ear squat. (originally i posted about the victim being pregnant. but she was not pregnant then.) at this point i am still convinced, from the video, that the victim can never be a bumi. i need more clearer pictures to prove otherwise. can only believe with picture of this bumi. from the video, this bumi must have chinese parents.
uk burnt, europe burnt, now it is australia's turn. what next? i hope my friend matilah is well in perth. many singaporeans who migrated to perth look quite middle eastern. this division is going to tear the world apart. and christmas is just another excuse for more burning.
how did the jews assailed themselves to such a position of power vis a vis the arabs? historically, apart from a few lapses in history, the jews were mostly slaves, servants or workers to the arabs. the arabs were the kings, the nobilities, the tradesmen and the intellectuals. they have their empires, their academies of excellence and everything befitting a great civilisation. what happen? 5 millions jews in israel and another 15 millions scattered around the world are causing the few hundred millions of arabs to wet their pants. a mighty civilisation has degenerated into a people that is helpless against a small group of their former slaves. where are all the great arabs of intellects, the great merchants and warriors? today, minus the oil, the arabs will be a beggar people, out of wits and the will to excel and compete with the world. and perceived as an inferior race to their mightly brothers, the jews. very strange in the change of fortune of two people of the ancient middle east civilisations.
it must be the hangover effect of too much ribena that my postings took on a different hue. now which is the real i, the views that i represent? they said that the true person will surface with a little bit of alcohol. so yesterday's view must be my true self. so to get back to my other self i must start to put on a mask again and take on a different personality. true true false false. both are equally true, and both are equally false. doesn't matter, this is just a blog. i will like to get back to the issue of tipping and the cab driver. we have many retired professionals or ex senior executives who chose to drive cabs after they failed to find another decent job. these cab drivers are not your ordinary doormen or bellhops. some are very well qualified and have a much higher station in life. now what has this got to do with tipping? tipping, like i said, is a class thing, a snob thing. it is a decadent and derogatory practice of the royalties and the gentry class. they sneered at the working class but use tippings to differentiate themselves as the haves against the have nots. tipping for good service, tipping also to show who is the boss. nobody tips someone in a higher station in life than themselves. you tip the doormen, the bellhops, the waiters, the barbers, and the cab drivers. you don' tip the doctors, the lawyers, the mps, or someone who is more important than you. but there are exceptions. the kings, the sultans and the sheiks will tip their doctors or whoever. but all are of a lower station than them. now, will our cab driver take tips from our maid population or foreign workers? a maid tipping our cab driver? that will be interesting and also disgusting. i will encourage our cab drivers to stand up and put some pride and respect in themselves. they provide good service as a professional cab driver. they are proud of their professionalism and their occupation. they don't put on a smile or try to do a good job hoping for a tip. this must be the message that we must put across to all our workers. be proud of what you are doing and do it well. do not degrade yourself to live a life depending on tips, depending on people's generosities and people's mood and sympathies.
That is, a nation cannot grow unless the people spend, not save. Not just spend, but borrow and spend. Dr. Jagdish Bhagwati, the famous Indian-born economist in the US, told Manmohan Singh that Indians wastefully save. Ask them to spend, on imported cars and, seriously, even on cosmetics! This will put India on a growth curve. "Saving is sin, and spending is virtue." Before you follow this neo economics, get some fools to save so that you can borrow from them and spend. someone sent the above to me. in the article usa is seen as economically strong but with annual trade deficits in hundreds of billions. japan is seen as economically weak but with savings and trade surplus in trillions. is this the same problem we are doing to our economy? save, save and save. cpf, national reserves, charities, individual savings, corporate savings and stats board savings.
there is this running advertisement on tv asking when will the bull run ends. i am wondering where or when did the bull run ever started. all i see is a mule trotting round and round the mill, and the owner flogging furiously. but the mule is trotting to no where. superficially there seems to be a bull run based on the volume traded, and an uptrending stock index. but how real is this? did anyone hear of any punters making big money and buying cars and houses, all thanks to the bull run? why is there no euphoria, no one talking about the stock market or queuing to open trading accounts? actually there are many signs that this is a sick stock market, a market that is dying by the days. first indication is the lack of retail investors. ask any remisiers and they will tell you that their phones hardly ring. commission plummets. and many are thinking of quitting. and now ipos are no longer popular. many have been shelved. the latest, an australian reit could not list due to poor demand and bad market sentiment. how can that be when there is a bull run? how did we come to such a state when ipo listing is no longer viable or attractive? what can happen if things continue this way? more remisiers quitting the industry, leading to broking houses retrenching. more companies start to delist from the stock market for low valuation and trading volume. stock exchange has to raise charges to maintain profitability. broking houses starts more retrenchment of support staff. and the cycle will continue to its natural ending. this is the unique story of a fictitious bull run.
what the heck, i got up from the wrong side of the bed and realise that it is good to support the correct policies and decisions. i am going to support tippings for taxis. for those who cannot afford to tip, please take mrts. and i shall encourage taxi drivers to be choosy and not to pick up cheapskate singaporeans. go for the tourists or well dressed people, the classy classy type who can afford to tip. and queue at the airport and remind the passengers that they must tip for good service. and those who live around tampines or pasir ris, not worth picking. too low fare. everyone, including taxi drivers, must make efficient use of their time and machine. go for fares that can pay well. important thing is to maximise your income. and higher school fees for independent schools, very good. you want quality education, you pay for quality. for those who cannot pay but good students, apply for all the scholarships and bursaries. they are in abundance. for those who cannot pay and cannot qualify for scholarships and bursaries, you know what to do. now i feel good. i feel like a winner.
the justification: others are charging higher. very brilliant reason. have they asked why others are charging higher? what about location of ntu compares to nus? what about operating cost versus profit? what is the basis for providing hostels? to make profits? oh, they said it has nothing to do with corporatisation. and of course there are many financial assistance schemes to make sure that no one is deprived of a place in the hostel. i thought i just heard this phrase being repeated in the media and over tvs over and over again. if the basis of raising fees is to charge foreign students a higher rate then it is understandable. but hey, foreign students are mostly on scholarship and not affected by the higher rate.
'people would probably think that we are cheapskate. but you are poor and every cent means something.' this is a heated statement made by a poor old man who went with a group for free health screening at joo chiat. they have not taken food for the last 10 hours or so to prepare for the free screening. but on arrival they were told that they must donate some blood for a research and must sign a consent form. otherwise no free health screening. they all felt cheated and were very angry. they were trying to save some money from the free screening but ended up starving for a night, no free screening, losing time and money travelling from bedok to the venue. what is important is that rich people must not underestimate the value of money when the poor is concerned. every cent counts. please understand. not everyone is so rich and can afford to throw away money, and give tips some more.
"Israel - and not only Israel - cannot accept a nuclear Iran," Sharon warned recently. "We have the ability to deal with this and we're making all the necessary preparations to be ready for such a situation." The order to prepare for a possible attack went through the Israeli defence ministry to the chief of staff. Sources inside special forces command confirmed that "G" readiness - the highest stage - for an operation was announced last week. the above is reported in the london sunday times. i must say here that i am not anti western powers but simply pissed off by their arrogance and the bullying of the weaker non western nations. and i am simply putting the truth and reality for all to see. the usa did not like certain countries, not their leadership or political system, not their nuclear ambition. so it is acceptable to attack or declare war with those countries. now the israelis also behave in the same manner. and they tell the whole world that they are friendly nations. and the silly world of third world minds all believe them and cheer, the usa is a friendly and peace loving country. imagine what would happen if any non western country dare says that they are going to attack another country. even without saying it, they are constantly being lambasted by western media as hostile and aggressive. china is a number one case. it's hostilitly is perceived! no need to say anything or do anything aggressive. in the case of those with nuclear ambition, the ambition alone is aggressive and gives the usa, and now israel, a right to attack them. when is the foolish world going to wake up and stand up to these hostile and warmongering nations who are wolves in sheepskin? they are the mafia of the world. what if every country adopts this policy? what if our neighbours also adopt this policy and say we are getting too powerful? it is a very dangerous precedent that the world body must stop it once and for all.
the first case of ridicule is reported in the front page of the straits times. cabby drove passenger to destination without asking his preferred route. passenger complained and got a refund. i will do that the next time if cabby forgets to ask and get my refund. this also assumes that all the passengers know which route to take. if one is not a driver, how does one know which is the best route to take? and now, if one is not frequently on the road, one would not know which route will be the most expensive given the number of gantry points to pay. things are getting more interesting by the day. an innocent passenger may just say go this way and that way thinking it will be cheaper but ended up paying more because of the gantries. and then make a complain against the taxi driver or refuses to pay. we have a really informed public who knows which route to take, better than the taxi drivers.
tharman reiterated that money should not be an issue for good students to study in expensive independent schools. hamizah nordin, the top female malay student has applied to join rgs. good for her. tharman said that there are generous financing schemes to ensure that no student is deprived of the opportunity to study in independent schools. but if they are poor and cannot afford the fees, just beg and they will be given. oops, sorry he never used the word beg. it is my dramatisation. sensationalisation. he just said apply for financial assistance scheme. just spicing it up a bit. to me, applying for assistance is just like begging. i see it as a matter of approach. the current approach is that it is very nice to see people come forward and beg. what's wrong with begging when you are poor? nothing wrong right? when you are poor you are poor and you are expected to beg. and the rich will be most happy and generous to give. you get your money, we get our share of feeling generous by giving, and feeling very kind and compassionate. why can't we adopt a different approach. since there are generous funds available, why don't these funds be given to some schools and let them provide quality education at the current govt school fees. and poor students who are good need not have to beg. can we be kinder to people and allow them to hide their poverty without having to wear them on their faces, and beg for everything? can we leave a little pride in the poor bugger and let him quietly move along in life in his little world of not enough? or does the rich and powerful think it is a very nice thing to see poor people coming forward to beg?
'we must not create an environment where we have to pay extra for politeness, honesty, safety and cleanliness...while travelling in a taxi or shopping in a retail outlet.' by forumer jeffrey law lee beng in the today paper. what is revealing here is that this mentality that everything is money, everything can be bought, has sunk in so deeply in the psychic of many people that it is becoming a part of them, of their thinking process, of their behaviour and decision making. now you can't blame the people for wanting to be paid for their good service, for their smile and politeness, for their honesty, for doing a good job, for keeping the place clean and safe. what next? shouldn't we be cultivating a people that is gracious, honest, polite, responsible etc as what is expected from a good and decent person? can we singaporeans be proud of any of these character traits that is part of them? or singaporeans did not have any of these, that they have to be paid to be good and decent, and honest and to do a good job?
why is nkf expected to continue to provide more and more hospitals and facilities? isn't nkf just a charitable organisation that is supposed to help only some of the needy people? why is the nkf taking the full role of providing dialysis treatments? nkf must know that they have only a limited role and must limit its appetite. and nobody is going to blame nkf if it cannot expand its services, to build more facilities. they should not be too ambitious as in the past when the sky's the limit. it has to redefine its role in the context of the whole medical establishment in the country, taking into consideration the primary medical providers. should nkf usurp the role of govt hospitals and keep asking the public for more donations because it wants to do more and more? and if the funds are not forthcoming, then it becomes the fault of the public, that the people are less generous, less compassionate, less caring and less human? should the public be held at ransom by charitable organisations who said we want to do more but we don't have the fund? charitable organisations should work within what they can afford and what the donors are willing to donate voluntarily. and no one shall be pressured by whatever means to donate. if nkf cannot raise the additional fund to build another 2 or 3 clinics, then just work with the existing number of clinics. is that a problem? when an organisation has to depend on charity, it has to behave like a charity. people who depend on social assistance must live within their means. it is not a private foundation that has unlimited fund and can keep trying to figure out what else they can do to spend their hoards of money. the lee foundation can do that, the shaw foundation can do that, bill gates foundation can do that. cause they are rich and have their own means.
looks like the hunter is now the hunted. big explosion at oil depot north of london. blair is going to answer for all these bombings in uk. he has opened the door for the terrorists to make london a must hit target, next in importance to the usa. what goes around will come around. people who go around bombing other people's homeland will only have their homeland being bombed. those who live by the sword will die by the sword. how else can justice be served to the mighty if it is a way traffic.
many people are now very wary of charities and donations. many people are feeling a bit silly after donating so much of their hard earned money only to see their money being squandered by people who are just the temporary keepers of their donations. many people are now also wary about big names, professional names, rich people who lend their names to charity to give the charity a semblance of respectability and integrity. no one is as innocent as he looks till it is proven otherwise. take a leaf from the police, everyone must be assumed to be a suspect. this is the biggest contribution of nkf. it has wisen up a lot of ignorant masses that they should not be too eager to be conned. that they must stand up and question when they see something amiss. all charitable organisations too will have to be open, transparent and be upfront on what they are doing and how the money are spent. no longer can they hide under the skirt of charity and be spared from public scrutiny. thank you nkf, for preventing more gullible people from being cheated. and thank you for bringing forth more rigorous checks and balances into the industry of charities.
today's straits times devoted a big article on the lessons of the white elephants. lesson one, must stay within the law. and 'be lighthearted so that the law will not come down too hard, ' so said jeanne conceicao, a researcher in the institute of policy studies. should the law come down so hard on an issue raised by the people, an issue that is not meant to attack the govt. how else can the people's view be given an airing when all the doors are shut or nothing comes out from them? can the law be more discriminating and allow the people an avenue to give feedback to the govt when all feedbacks failed? lesson two. grassroot leaders and mps must be willing to speak up for the residents. if this is a lesson to be learnt, are we saying that they have not been doing so? st also posed a question to charles chong, that the perception by the people is that those who spoke out are 'those who have nothing to lose,...not intend to stay in the party and stand for the next election,' now isn't that sad? charles chong's comment on this. 'you have to make a difference in whatever small way you can, to benefit your constituents. they elected you to be their voice and it is your duty to articulate their views, but it should always be with the law.' if we need the white elephants to learn these, it is really pathetic. and after the whole issue people seemed so apologetic. and 'it's still a "very sensitive issue with some higher-ups", says one who spoke on condition of anonymity. there was....' why should a simple issue of serving the people, for the people's interest, be seen as sensitive and affecting people's feeling. can't issues be handled without people getting personally attached to them? objectivity?
why should the obituary always be a sad and sorrowful message? many people have live to a ripeful age of 70s, 80s and 90s. these are people who have seen through many things, the ups and downs of living. many have left behind happy and successful children and grandchildren or great grand grandchildren who are having a life of their own. is there anything to be sorrowful about? perhaps some may miss their presence as they will be no more. but should the family and friends rejoice that someone has walked the walk, live the life and finally getting on to their next phase of life? the physical body is failing, every physical part is malfunctioning. the person can no longer do simple things for himself/herself. there is no longer the energy to live life and enjoy life. would it not be a great liberation from the constraints of a dysfunctional body, a breakthrough to live another life? the chinese last rite for those who have lived pass certain age and have many children, grand children and great grand children is different. it is not meant to be a sad event. it is meant to be a celebration. the props were no longer white or green in colour, but red and bright. for those who miss the company, well it is like having a close friend or soulmate go on a long holiday. let us celebrate the freedom from this physical body when the time comes. let us rejoice and be happy that someone close have made it to live another day in another place. for many, dying is probably the best thing that can happen. an opportunity to start a new adventure.
the americans is still trying their best to embarrass north korea by washing their dirty linen in south korea. and they want the south koreans to be a party to it. they are holding a joint conference with their human rights group to denounce north korea's human rights record. and they want the south koreans to screw up their north korean brothers. and they think the south koreans are still as silly as the koreans of the past to let them manipulate to fight among themselves? how out of time are the americans? the british were smart enough to know that their time was up when they have to give independence to their colonies in the 1940s after the second world war. only tony blair thought that they could return to those days of playing one third world country against another. and in korea, when the two koreans are so keen to reunite their country, and the usa keeps trying to drive a wedge in between them. such myopic policy making can only happen in a regime that is totally out of touch with the reality. keep it going, america. the two koreans will love you and will embrace you as two divided countries biting at each other. long live the empire.
it is so sad to hear the sad story of the innocent woman who lost her baby because of a loan shark. how could this situation continue for so long and never seem to be able to solve? once our society was infested with secret societies and triads. and they were practically wiped out. is the loan shark such a great problem to handle compare to these secret societies?
let's not have this stupid practice. i am totally against it. it is a colonial hangover. it is a practice of the rich who can afford to throw away small change to the servitude. it is degrading and patronising. the rich patron takes pride in giving and the servant takes pride in receiving. what we should encourage among the people is pride for their work and services. and also pride in themselves as an individual. that they need not live on other people's charity and generosity. people are paid to do a job and to do it well. the satisfaction and acknowledgement by others of their work is enough reward. i don't like to insult the taxi driver by giving him a few cents or a couple of dollars. and often i can sense that they felt insulted. there were many cases of rich little school boys giving tips to old daddy taxi drivers. how humiliating that can be. living a life depending on people's tips, tips from school boys or girls. on the practical aspect, many not so rich people also take taxis now and then. it will be very stressful on them to tip the taxi drivers. they don't have that many spare cash like our rich people who suggested such a silly practice, all because they could afford to practise it. it will lead to many uncomfortable situations where the poor taxi driver expecting a tip with a big grin and the poor taxi customer could not give. stop thinking like colonial masters and the rich aristocrats or the royalties...' here, this is for you.' and the servants will receive it with both hands and happily said, 'thank you master,' or 'thank you sir, m'am.' this is my tip of a people or society that has some pride left in themselves. do i have to tip the minister if he pays me a visit?
below is an extract of the kind of misinformation and disinformation being circulated by forumers in the soc.cul.spore website. with such misinformation, innocent people who are not aware of the truth will think that these are truth. this is the danger of how the media, in what ever form, can be misused. "Minorities cant get into the faculties they want because there exists a "quota system" in tertiary institutes , universities in Singapore for example in NUS ( National University of Singapore ) , Nanyang Technological University and SMU ( Singapore Management University) and various other tertiary institutes. The unwritten quota system made by Singapore politicians within the Singapore universities and tertiary institutes prevents some ethnic minorities particularly Malay-Muslims and Singapore born Indians in enrolling the faculties, field of study or even courses they want. " by 'concerned_people_person' dated 8 dec.
below article is copied from littlespeck.com UMNO Youth chiefHishammuddin asked to explain where he got million ringgit to buy luxurious car. Arfa'eza A Aziz. malaysiakiniDec 7, 2005 Umno Youth chief Hishammuddin Hussein has been challenged to explain how he could afford to pay M$1m in cash for an American-made vehicle registered to his name. Revealing this during a pre-election ceramah in Pasir Mas, Kelantan, Keadilan-Rakyat vice-president Mohd Azmin Ali also dared Hishammuddin to hold an open debate with him. Azmin produced the vehicle registration card issued by the Road Transport Department, indicating that Hishammuddin has paid in cash for the Chevrolet Hummer. "He keeps saying that he champions the rights of the Malays and the poor. How can he understand the plight of the poor when he indulges in such a lavish lifestyle," Azmin told some 2,000 people. "Hishammuddin (left) has to explain as to how he can afford to pay cash for the car which costs close to M$1 million, given his ministerial salary." He also said the people should not buy Umno's claim that it is protecting those who are marginalised, when its officials are squandering the people's wealth. Azmin said Hishammuddin must clear his name before the voters of Pengkalan Pasir go to the polls tomorrow to elect a new state legislative representative. "I dare him to have an open debate with me on this issue," he said. Ready for investigations Later at a function in PAS election headquarters in Pasir Mas, Azmin said he is ready to face police investigations into the issue. He said this when told by a reporter that Hishammddin had accused him of breaching the law by exposing a confidential document. "It's a public document which I obtained after doing a search. If he says I have committed an offence, charge me in court. No problem with that. "This is typical of Umno. It does not address the real issue but diverts the people's attention to other things." Two days ago, PAS Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub threw a challenge to Umno deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin to debate the New Economic Policy. malaysiakini