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5/31/2006

the singapore paradox

lee hsien loong said those who voted for the opposition in the last general election also voted for the pap or wanted a pap govt. this is a paradox in the words of mahbubani. actually there are two paradoxes. those who voted for the pap also voted for the opposition or wanted an opposition. singapore politics is strange and unique. next time our ballot paper can have a third box for those who wanted to vote for both parties instead of spoiling the vote.

sands from las vegas

saw this little cartoon in the straits times today. yeah, no need sands from malaysia. we are having all the sands we want, direct from las vegas. : )

candid goh choktong

Jun 24, 2002 Now in his 11th year in office, Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong is an economist by training and a politician by choice. Recently, he has been forced to defend the powerful Lee family: Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew; his first son, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lee Hsien Loong; second son, Lee Hsien Yang, CEO of Singapore Telecom; and Temasek Holdings Executive Director Ho Ching, Hsien Loong's wife. Breaking with precedent, Goh discussed the family's hold on business with Singapore Bureau Manager Michael Shari on May 29. .... And the most often-heard criticism of Lee Kuan Yew is that he is chairman of the Government Investment Corp. of Singapore, and that the GIC's rate of return has not been exactly stellar in the past few years. When I took over as Prime Minister [from Lee Kuan Yew in 1990], I appointed him as chairman [of the GIC]. Do we have a better man than he in giving good returns on GIC? The answer is no. Is the management the best in the world? I think the answer is probably not. Is it the best fund manager in the world? I don't think so. Is it the worst? I don't think so. the above is an extract of an article posted in YPAP forum. what i find interesting is the last para on the part of GIC and its performance. choktong said it is not the best and also not the worst. what he said is that it is average or somewhere in between best and worst. he is being so honest and frank.

the ageing classes

As one gets older, the discrimination of class gets more apparent. The majority of the senior citizens fall into the senile and dementia class that needs to be helped and protected under all kinds of govt schemes. And as this class grows in size, the govt will have to continue with more schemes and keep scheming to look after their well being. Then there is another class that will live in posh retirement villas in resort islands. A variation of this maybe in nursing homes with basic facilities. Then there is the upper class or distinguished class which a writer, Dinesh Senan, wrote about in the Today paper. This is a class of ever wiser and continuously growing smarter talents that gets more valuable over the years, like fine wines. And if Dinesh has his way, all these greying talents should be elevated to a Council of Elder Statemen to help run the country, provide advice and vision for the younger leaders or act as mentors. And why not, they have all the useful and valuable experience that should not be put to waste. The only concern is whether their pension of 2/3 their last drawn income will be enough to keep them comfortable and not force them to work to earn extra income? That will be tragic. Or maybe in addition to their 2/3 pension they can still draw a salary commensurate with their talents and experience in life. That should not be difficult. And think about it, at 55 or 60, they still have another 20 good years to serve the nation. Who says at 55 people will be senile and cannot think and need to be protected by the state?

money everywhere, billions everywhere

Now this is quite a tidy sum of money to improve communications with all the govt agencies. It will make SMS such a wonderful and convenient tool to use. Everything at the finger tips. What about those without a mobile phone or those who cannot afford a mobile phone? Yes there are many people who cannot afford mobile phones though there are many who can afford 3 or 4 phones. Reading the stories in the Sunday Times last week revealed a big section of the population that are still living in poverty and such luxury and convenience of SMS or having Tvs on the MRT are things that they can do without. Would it be nice if the $2 billion be put into the pockets of those children who are in dire need for some pocket money for food and education instead of making SMS more convenient or more beautiful parks and walkways? A comprehensive assistance plan should be worked out to improve the lives of these underprivilege people, not piece meal donations. They need help, and even prolong help until they complete their basic education. If the nation can afford to throw away money for the frills, to have beautiful parks and for the dogs and poo as well, why are we neglecting living people who have a life to live? Where is our priority? We can be charitable to plants and parks and keep improving on systems, even making our fingers to do the work instead of walking or running around, but we left our underprivilege to defend for themselves. Can we be nicer to these people and let them have a little nicetices of life?

5/30/2006

leadership, glory and responsibility

To be born a leader is itself a blessing as well as a curse. The reward, glory and recognition are flattering to the ego. But the responsibility is immense. A leader can do a lot of good for the people as well as a lot of harm. Whatever they do, as compare to a small fry or ordinary person without a big office, is multiplied many times. The larger the country the greater the effect and the consequence is grave. The karma created, good or bad, is accordingly multiplied and the lives of thousands or millions of people are affected by the decision made. It is no joking matter to be a national leader. Don't pray pray. Think of what you sow and what you reap. No one can escape this law of nature. I may be wrong. And there is no such things as karma. You just live once. So take whatever you can and live as grand as you can afford to. Be selfish and live selfishly, and greedily. To be greedy is good as it drives one to work harder to fulfil the pangs of greed.

the new economic reality for the workers

In Today's paper there is an article by William Pfaff on the flaws of the new American economy. Primarily the key issues of concern was the dismissing of the role of workers and their values, and transferring all the benefits to management and shareholders. 'The market settles business morality and you get away wtih what you can get' from the market. This leads to the billion dollar rewards for the executives. All the executives are concerned is how to maximise shareholders' value and their own values. And since raw material and energy cost cannot be controlled, the next thing is to reduce or even replaced labour cost. 'The system of values now governing the US corporation rejects the principle that business should serve the interests of workers and community as well as those of investors and managers.' Thus there is no trickle down effect where the bottom of the food change will get a share of the crumbs, when the workers were excluded from receiving its fair share of the corporate value which it helps to contribute. And according to the new US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, he concedes that 'a growing portion of the population feels they are not sharing in the benefits' that American industry and trade produce. The decline in workers family income during years of deregulation and globalisation has reached a point where workers depend on federal food stamps to live, and use hospital only for basic medicare. And Pfaff commented that a corporate model that deliberately renounces responsibility for the well being of its workforce hollows out the domestic consumer market... The above scenario is very familiar as our economy is a carbon copy of the US economy. Our workers did not have federal food stamps to live on, but they now have Comcare and Progress Package to tie over hard times. The Americans are waking up to their heady mismanagement and misallocation of wealth to the small core of top management at the expense of their workers when wealth were piled up like it is their god given right. Would our system continue down this road when $600k income is peanuts while 30% of the population is living on less than $15k annual income and struggling to make ends meet? Will this widening income gap be seen as a social evil and not a normal state of affair in a free capitalist system?

5/29/2006

why so difficult to enforce corporate governance?

After one year of review, SGX is still finalising a new set of tougher rules for corporate governance. The SGX seems to be wavering. A lawyer was quoted as saying 'Directors will definitely not be willing to sign off on teh financials and the internal controls unless the lawyers and the auditors go through them carefully.' One view even argued that it would be difficult to recruit more directors as they will be reluctant to put themselves in such a position with so much added liability. My response is that this is bullshit. Many will still queue up and want to have 10 or more directorshis under their belts. As another lawyer said, 'It's not just about collecting directors' fees and coming a few times a year for board meetings and once a year for the annual general meeting.' It used to be like that, with very little responsibilities and collecting fat directorship fees. It is time that they be made to work and be answerable for negligence. Otherwise everyone will be scrambling for directorship appointments, some even asking for it as if it is their right. And the more the merrier. Why not, when there is trouble just quickly resign, wipe their hands and get away scot free? Why should public money be given away so easily?

is the crusade to destroy jobs over?

Fairness in treating the people fairly, allowing people to have a decent means of livelihood, choosing whatever profession they are comfortable with. Not everyone can become a prime minister or an engineer. There will be people who are good enough as a driver or as a hawker or an insurance agent. The govt has a responsibility to create jobs at all levels for the people. The last thing the govt should do is to destroy jobs. Jackson Tai and Tan Kin Lian have openly criticised the lack of a level playing field and big organisations like banks could muscle their way and destroy jobs of self employed. Unfair competition at all levels must be stopped. And decision makers must be genuine and sincere and not say one thing and do another, adopting unfair methods while putting up a front of fairness. The earlier the unfair trading acts or fair competition acts be introduced the better for the smaller guys. There is a need to hang a few heads to ensure a level playing field for all and sundry. The govt should free up the market and allow the proliferation of individual enterprises to grow, allow more free wheelings and dealings, setting the people free to put their talents to the fullest to help themselves. No need or lesser comcare or charity from the govt.

singapore's most valued export

Singapore must think of a new strategy to jump ahead of its neighbouring countries especially China and India. Both giants have been exporting their talents to talent starve Singapore for many years. What is needed is for Singapore to return them the favour. The strategy involves retraining the cheap foreign talents into the Singapore mould of super talents, marked up their market values after they have learned all the sophisticated technology and management style from world class Singapore system, then re export them back at a premium. If these countries cannot afford to pay them the super talent salary of Singapore, the US and European markets will also be good substitutes as they will benefit greatly from our talents, passed our quality control with the Made In Singapore brand. The most marketable and recognisable brand in the world for incorruptibility, honesty and efficiency, and very focussed in profitability. And this will pay for these world class salaries. We will then have a continuous supply of super talents for the world market. And this will be our new revenue source, tapping on China and India to supply the raw material, ie raw talents, and reprocess into super talents Singapore Style. For a start we should re export some of our own truly bred local super talents to make a mark or establish a foothold first. Once the US and European markets are used to our high end talented products, it will be easier for the later batches to follow through. Recently we have seen many super talents being retired at the prime of their careers. We have talents in public transportation, public health system, union management, education, politics and the various industries. This extensive pool of experienced and knowledged based experts would be hot properties for the head hunters to market abroad...the marketing of super talents instead of super conductors...uniquely Singapore.

5/28/2006

stroking of the stock market

We have seen the first intervention in the form of an assuring statement by a top MAS official to calm the nerves of investors on Thursday. Then the visiting MD of IMF also added his two cents worth towards the same objective. And on Friday confidence returned to the stockmarket. Not that credit should all go to the two officials for their timely comments. The Dow gained more than 90 points the following night which gave more support and assurance that the world equities markets were not going to go on a free fall. And all these help in their little ways to arrest the slide further down. Despite all the above, it is still not enough if the mutual funds refused to take heed and continue their selling. All it needed was a handful of stocks to register double digit falls and fear will creep in again. And the herd instinct of running for safety during uncertainties will lead to an eventual crash. Our market is so precarious because of its minute size, and more frightening is the lack of any contigency plan to prevent a repeat of the financial crisis. The need and urgency for such plans to be incorporated and be ready to activate cannot be ignored and delayed. The mutual funds and foreign capitals could behave like financial terrorists. And a timely hit can create damages that could be devastating to our economy and would lead to blood on the street. What could happen is for some bad news or rumours to spread. Even without that, all it needs is for a blue chip stock to fall by 10-20% in price and people will scurry for cover. All the weak holders of the stock, the punters or short term traders will just sell out. And the shortists will jump in to accelerate the fall. And the fall deepens. Programme selling kicks in. More sell off. Then margin calls will be triggered, leading to more force selling by the banks. By then the price would have gone more than 20%. When a stock is hit this way, broking houses will impose curbs on trading the stock. Mostly it will be a case of sell only, no buying allowed except with cash out front. It becomes a vicious downward spiral. This can happen to one stock or several stocks or the whole stock market. There must be systems and procedures to prevent such incidents, from a spark turning into an inferno. An example is to halt the trading of a stock or even the whole market. Print out the data on the big sellers. Call up the company of the stock affected to confirm that there is no genuine bad news. Assess the damage and the real contributors to the fall. In the case of a funds selling out, especially shorting of the stocks, a standby fund can be utilised to buy into the stocks. The big sellers should also informed that intervention will come in and be advised to stop their selling. Public statements be made to explain the truth and regain confidence in the stock or market. And when nerves have been calm, sanity returns, the stock or market can then resume trading, maybe the next day or a few days later. This is only a layman's simple suggestion. The people managing the system will have better and more comprehensive ideas to protect the system. The attack on the stock market can be treated and handled like a terrorist attack. Plans can be made in advance. Operational teams and details be worked out, even simulation be test run to measure the effectiveness of the countermeasures. It is reckless to leave the fate of our stockmarket to chance and to the manipulation or assault by foreign financial terrorists. Or should it be licence to kill for the mutual fund operators?

singapore idol, change the casts

The Singapore Idol should be about talent, in whatever form. Or if it is a programme to generate fun and laughter, then it should be one of pure fun. I cannot find it funny when I could not even bare the sight of the participants, contestants and judges. How then could it be entertainment? Sorry I am saying this out of my own prejudice. I know some are enjoying every minute of it. I find it difficult to see the young imitating themselves to behave like nerds and imbeciles. And to make matter worst, the imitation was so plastic. Impersonation of other celebrities is an art form that when done well can be extremely entertaining. This applies also to the judges. Their impersonation or attempt to be like the personalities in the American Idol, failed miserably. So fake by over acting. Their expression, both physical and verbal, were so unbearable to watch. It would be much better if they be themselves, be a bit like Ah Beng or Ah Lian, be more natural. Now where are the directors? When are they going to come in and tell the judges not to over act? Simon Cowell is about playing himself. And he is naturally him. I think the only guy here who can outdo him by being himself is LKY. Cool and precise in dissecting the contestants into bits. And when he said the truth, people listen. The popularity of the programme will shoot up skyhigh. Tt will also be an excellent opportunity for him to connect with the younger generation. How about that huh? Change the cast and script and bring in the number one Ah Lian, Zhong Qin as well. Did I get her name right? And maybe the nasty Flying Dutchman. I have seen him in his nasty self once at Raffles Place hitting out at an innocent viewer early in the morning.

5/27/2006

are we teaching or learning?

Below is a perceptive and telling it as it really is article from a citizen. A young girl called Gayle Goh. She tells the truth that no traditional media would dare to say. And this is what citizen reporting is all about. Her title is 'Teaching China Lesson.' I would think a better title will be like ' Learning from our own experience in China', or something like 'Shall we be duped a second time'. Teaching China Lessons - Really Interesting blog from Gayle Goh, 17-year-old student at Anglo-Chinese Junior College. May 24, 2006 http://i-speak.blogdrive.com/ Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has gone to China with the confident declaration that Singapore can help the emerging giant to 'connect' with Southeast Asia and the West. China has received him warmly, with much pomp and goodwill, complete with showing him a little plot of orchids and a mini merlion as part of his welcoming ceremony. Promises are bandied about, as are grand words; Beijing says it wants Singapore to participate in China's development, and Singapore says its doors will always be open. The diplomats are all smiles and good cheer, and what could look more promising? Yet it is not the first time that we've seen this 'wayang' (word of the year) unfold. We saw how in the 1990's much pomp and acclaim were given to the launching of the Suzhou Industrial Park joint partnership between China and Singapore. Often touted as Lee's brainchild, it was to combine China's cheap labour and manufacturing costs with Singapore's expertise, experience and yes - national reserves. Before that, China had already professed its intention to follow the 'Singapore model' of development, which gave way to the rather unusual cooperation between the two nations; rather like a slumbering dragon ambling in the wake of a precocious younger lizard, strutting along, annoyingly full of itself. The China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park, for all its grand fanfare, was a complete embarrassment. Ruined by corruption, nepotism, delays, and incompetent management which saw the park facing competition from the Suzhou New District, another industrial park in the region, the affair tapered down quietly into a complete handover of administration from Singaporean to Chinese hands, and a subsequent drop in investment from Singapore into China. My own father's business would know. Seeing a massive flow of customers shift into Suzhou, he thought to follow the exodus of demand into the province as well, and set up operations there a number of years ago. Today, we still have not been able to begin trading there, due to the inefficiencies and corruption that seem endemic to China. We have faced problems in everything from having our logo registered as a trademark, let alone obtaining a permit to manufacture and trade in Suzhou. My father's company was one of the 'dupes' of that hype, and it begs me to wonder if anything at all has changed in this new rapprochement between Singapore and China. Singapore seems to be vigorously blowing its own trumpet in order to stay relevant and needed to the region. But to be honest, I wonder if China really does need us, or intend to follow our advice. How much clout do we really have? We say we want to connect China with the West. They hardly need our help for that. China's booming markets and its huge potential for contribution to the global trade volume and the expansion of Western markets ensures that East and West are very much connected in a 21st century form of Silk Road. Since Mao-Nixon detente in the early 1970's, relations between China and the USA have been carefully cordial. And insofar as connecting China in Southeast Asia, Singapore honestly has no truly friendly ties to any SEA nation save for Indonesia at the moment. We most recently pissed off Malaysia and Thailand - are we really any authority on ASEAN friendship and cooperation? Furthermore, China-ASEAN trade is already booming without Singaporean assistance, it would seem, since the signing of the China-ASEAN Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation on Nov 4, 2002, and the scheduled commencement of the FTA in 2010. Given this, I wonder what Singapore can truly do for China besides drink tea, look at orchids, and advise them to learn English. I guess we're doing all this just in hopes of snatching up a bilateral FTA deal after the China-ASEAN one comes into effect, as has already been announced as to be Singapore's intention by Lim Hng Kiang in 2004. Until then, it seems we have nothing but diplomatic hot-air overtures and a history of failure to offer. By GayleGoh._________________

two sides of the truth

The Straits Times devoted 8 or 9 pages of today's paper on a subject that was shunned during the election. It was taboo to talk about it then. During the election or prior to the election, all the news that the paper were pushing out were 'good news' or feel good news. The economy was doing well, all the data and indices were up, export up, GDP up, trade up, stock exchange doing roaring business, people doing very well, all prospering and happy. And billions of dollars will be given away. And the Straits Times was telling the truth. There is no doubt that all the reports in the traditional meda were all truth. But another side of the truth were kept in the dark, not to be spoken as it was the wrong time for them. So today we are reading the dark side, the other side of the truth. Every page is heart drenching, and tugging at the heart string. How could there be so much poverty and sadness in this land of opportunities? How could people be so happy and every thing so affordable, if not, even cheap like hell, when a section of the population is living in despair? This social disparity must be the fault of those people who cannot keep up with the changes in society. They are the ones to be blamed. If they are not able, or they must be lazy, then they deserved to be in the state they are in. This is the kind of thinking among the smart and able who pride themselves for being so clever, to helping themselves to every opportunities to make all the wealth, and to live in paradise on earth. Let's throw some crumbs at them shall we? It makes us feel so good, so magnanimous, so generous, to shed a few tears, to help the suffering poor. And don't worry if the prices of public transport are going up, or medical cost going up. They are all affordable....to who?

heresy of a single power domination

A world that is dominated by a single superpower, like a country with a single ruling power, is a dangerous place. As a single source of unchecked power, madness creeps in easily without them knowing. Just hear the rhetorics of our domestic politics. During the election and after the election, the terms the ruling single party govt are familiar with are fixing, managing dissent, or making conditional offers or else. This is what an unchecked singular power system will be. And people are 'polite' by not calling these attitudes the appropriate terms they deserved. No one is going to call a spade a spade for obvious reasons. In the international arena, the emergence of China as a power broker is good for all the smaller countries, but for the Americans. It allows the smaller countries more freedom to negotiate their national policies, falling back on an alternative source of counter force in China against the domineering empire of the USA. For that matter, the world will be a better place with Russia and India and the European Union taking centre stage as equally strong source of power to balance a single power world under the USA. A multi polar world is the same a a multi party political system of a nation. The world order has been structured, maintained, and has become the preserve of western powers and their domination since the industrial revolution a few centuries back. How the world should behave, economic, trade and even political systems, must be approved and accepted by the West. And this is the status quo that the Americans and the West are determined to uphold. The rest of the world shall be weak and managed or fixed the way the West wants it to be. China should desirably be a broken up country, poor and disintegrated, and ravaged by the foreign powers, and to be exploited like in the 19th and early 20th centuries. And it is very unbecoming and audacious for China to think of changing this status quo, to break free, to want to decide its own future and to stand up as a respectful independent nation. China must always be subdued and managed as a country and be dependent on foreign or western aid. All the analysts and thinktank reports are based on a perspective of western domination of the world. None of them would want to put themselves on the side of China and see the world in the interest of China. China's rise or gain is their fall or loss. So China must be contained and be a good boy, speak softly with its head bend. That is what a responsible and benign China should be, in the interest of western powers and intellectuals. Much as they want it to be so, it is China's right and national interest to stand up on its own, to build its national capabilities in all fields, including defence, so that it does not have to be manipulated or suppressed and exploited by any country any more. The same kind of interest and aspiration that every nation would want to have. The same as what the USA would want to be as an independent and sovereign nation. Would the rest of the world continue to let the USA dominate world opinion and tell the world what to do, even calling wolf every day, and believe in the American deceit?

5/26/2006

The twists and turns of the crooked bridge.

Mahathir More shocks 'Twas Malaysian side which offered to sell 1billion sq.m of sand that could make Singapore 50% larger with 10m population. Blogger kTemoc The above post can be found in Littlespeck.com What is interesting in the post is that Mahathir said that it was the Malaysian side who offered the airspace and sand to Singapore. This is totally different from the press story that Singapore demanded that Malaysia offered airspace and sand to Singapore as part of the condition for building the bridge. Why is Singapore been blamed for something that it did not initiated? And why Singapore did not stand up to defend itself and clear its name? It is strange that Singapore preferred to take the blame and keep quiet about the whole affair. Looks like Singapore was caught in the Malaysian's domestic politics and for goodwill, just let the water flow under the bridge. And hopefully, after spanking us for something we did not do, and gaining a lot of face for it, the Malaysians will quietly say a word of thanks behind closed doors. Isn't politics interesting? The details of the sordid saga is in the blog of kTemoc and can be read in Littlespeck.com. So don't read what is in the press. And don't listen to the politicians. You just don't know what is truth, half truth and lies.

cha hern keng's passion on managing the stock market

I share Chia Hern Keng's passion in pushing for Asian govt to work out some system of intervention in the stock market before another crisis hit us. His reasons are very similar to mine, the ability of huge mutual funds to wreck havoc in any small Asian markets. He contributed another article on this today in Today paper. It seems that lethargy has set in after the last financial crisis. During those dark hours, all kinds of plans were suggested but subsequently put aside when the dust settled. All the dust will settle after every disaster. And all the carnage will be removed and forgotten. Since then, the slow and painful recovery has taken shape while everyone either have gone to sleep or have short memories of those frightening times. And the fruit is just about ripe for another bout of attacks. It is sad and disgusting to know that the more advanced Asian countries who should be taking the lead have lapsed into a stage of self delusion. It would not happen again. Unexpectedly India has rose to the occasion to close down its Bombay stock market for a day under a panic sell down situation. And when it reopened, it gained 4%. And the Indian govt did not stop at that. Investors were assured, and banks were told not to pull the plug with making margin calls and selling off clients positions. In fact banks were told to provide the liquidity needed in such a crisis. And of course, the govt also rounded up the mutual funds to sort out the problems that these funds could create. As Chia Hern Keng said, billions of dollars could move in and out of a market with a few pushes of the button, not forgetting programme selling and buying. 'What would be questionable is a govt's inept response to such a crisis. If a govt just sit back and says all the upheaval and panic going around is just the work of market forces and the result of other countries' economic mismanagement, it is like an army general spouting philosophy when his country is being ravaged.' Chia said. The govts set up stock markets as a business concern for businesses to raise funds, for investors to invest in stocks all for good intention. What the govt did not ask for, and neither did the investors and companies listed in the exchange ask for it, is for mutual funds to push their stocks either way, recklessly beyond logic and fundamentals. And these actions would, if left unchecked, drive a herd down the cliff without them knowing why. The mutual funds are only concerned with their profits, with no responsibility to the destruction of investors or a stock market. And it is sinfully irresponsible for a govt to wipe its hands clean and say it is part of the game and nothing they can do about it. I would like Chia Hern Keng to continue his crusade in this forum if the paper is not giving him enough space and recognition of the severity of the problem.

5/25/2006

lonely voice of marina mahathir

She is a champion of a sort. A lonely voice in a world where women are supposed to be wrapped up, unheard and unseen. But she is fighting to be heard, to champion the cause of women in society. She wrote an article on the sentiments and attitude of believers and how they would react when their faiths are questioned. She pointed to the contrasting responses of Christians towards Dan Brown and the Da Vinci Code and the Muslims deadly threats towards Salman Rushdie and his Satanic Verses. Both authors and their books touched on issues that challenged the major doctrines of the respective religions. And the way the believers reacted simply lead the world to stereotype them as either rational or prone to violence. But her main objective is to call for her sisters in Islam to stand up and present another face of rationality and moderation. Would she find enough believers to take up the challenge and shed the shackles placed on them?

the story of ike see

When I read the story of Ike See, my immediate response is that another prodigy going to waste. Another case of rigid application of rules that puts up more obstacles to the few rare talents we have. It is tough being a Singaporean. But to be fair to Mindef, it is a tough decision to make. It is an exception that if seen positively, people will say Mindef is flexible. On the other hand, for those who cannot appreciate such musical talent, they will criticise the decision and say so what? In situation like this, someone has to make the decision. And either way, there will be those who agree and those who disagree. The bottom line, it points out one very important thing about being Singaporean. You have a big obligation and responsibility to the nation. And this is also a personal burden that all male Singaporeans have to bear. So please treat the male Singaporeans, or all Singaporeans who have to perform national service better. Please do not take this personal sacrifice for granted and opt for more foreign talents.

citizen reporting

There was a proliferation of blogs and forums reporting on the recent election. There was a sudden surge of interest on social and political issues among the people. The people are no longer apathetic and apolitical. The people are concerned and interested in social and national issues concerning them. Now isn't this a good thing? Isn't this what the govt wants, a maturing people who care for the nation. Or will we see more curbs to cut off such exuberance of the people? That the people should not get too nosy and should quietly go back to their lives, to the rat race, earning a living, now that they have chosen a reliable and competent govt comprising honest people with unquestionable integrity. I have been interviewed by one of the press and among the issues raised is the role of citizen reporting. Should the traditional media engage the citizens in cyberspace or should they ignore them? Like it or not, the citizens are not going to shut up. They will continue to express their views, colourful and even extreme views. And they will challenge the traditional media in reporting events and issues in the way they see it. And these are the views and feelings of the people. Not doctored views of the traditional media seen through specially coated lenses. The reporting scene will no longer be the preserves of the traditional media journalists. And the citizen reporting will grow in leaps and bounds as more people flock to the net to hear alternative and refreshing views and voices. News and news reporting will never be the same again.

5/24/2006

where have all the forumers gone?

I have posted this article in response to Green Peas in redbeanforum. Hi Green Peas, A very big welcome to the forum. You are quite right to say that most of the forumers have disappeared after the general election. I was scratching my head to find out why. I scoured the forums and the activities have really died down except for those threads where forumers were biting at each other. Not many issues are now floating around. Even the news media are still clinging onto the post election bit to push out some articles to keep themselves busy. But the key thing is that Singaporeans are by nature quite conservative, reserve and inhibited in expressing their views. And one cannot run away from the element of fear. Everything we said here may one day be used or misquoted as evidence against us. The best example is Gayle Goh who was warned by all the well wishers to be careful in what she said. And prior to the election, when Balaji came out with the statement that blogs and forums need to be registered, the same quiet enveloped the whole cyberspace. Singaporeans need to speak out and express themselves. We should remove the fear and inhibition within us. We all make mistakes in our lives, in the things we said and do. By not saying or doing anything does not improve things except to minimise our mistakes. But it is through our mistakes that we learn. In general, the people are now more mature and more forgiving, more liberal in their judgement of other people's behaviours and little mistakes. Steve Chia is an example that despite the little skirmishes he had with the law, people still accept him as what he is. Of course there are parties or people who will rush to condemn someone for a little misdemeanour as if they themselves were angels and gods. But they could do so only because they kept their cupboards tightly closed and guarded. Practically everyone, every human being, has a cupboard full of skeletons. Lets be human and live with our mistakes and other people's mistakes. If we can do that, maybe we can speak a bit more freely, and laugh at ourselves. Relax a little, and kick a few arses if needed to and be kicked as well. one thing for sure, the number of new forumers coming to read blogs and forums are growing. i can see it from my statistics.

5/23/2006

consistency in HR policies and job creation

Over the last few days we have seen two conflicting models of human resource management put on the showcase. The first case was the halfing of the pay of a professor at NTU, working for the same number of hours, but the HR dept claimed that his workload is half and thus deserved half pay, at the age of 55. Then we have another model from the PAP. This model emphasises the creation of many high paying jobs. So, other than being an MP, a candidate can be a Prime Minister, Senior Minister, Minister of State or Parliamentary Secretary. In addition to these positions, more are created like Senior Minister of State, Senior Parliamentary of State and Minister without Portfolio. And if that is not enough, they can have more than one minister in one ministry and more that one minister of state or parliamentary secretary. Not to mention that MPs can also be appointed as Mayors. Between the two models, understandably the second model is better as it is a very creative way of creating more high paying jobs. The NTU model is not only dissecting high paying jobs into halves, but also goes against the govt policies of keeping people gainfully employed after 55. It is also against the trend of people being able to live longer and be economically active till past 80 years. But the important thing is consistency. The govt must be consistent in its policy of encouraging employment past 55 years and to support its call to create more high paying quality jobs. And by setting a good example with its models of having multiple ministers in a ministry and creating more jobs at minister or junior minister levels, other govt or govt link organisations should follow the lead. On the other hand, if each organisation is deemed different and has their own peculiarities like after 55 years, professors and academics will suffer from dementia and their mental faculties will degenerate, then all the professors and academics reaching 55 should also have their workload halves and their pay also halves. Then people cannot cry discrimination or inconsistency. Fairness must be seen, and application of HR policies must be transparent.

banning the da vinci code

An educator and a mother of six pondered over the pros and cons of the movie, The Da Vinci Code and was pleased that it was categorised as NC16. So only her eldest child is allowed to see the show. But she deliberated quite thoroughly on the virtue or approach to ban movies or books that are seen as having a bad influence on children. And for that matter many of the movies screened on prime time TV and computer games should also be banned. Their contents in many instances were anti Christianity or religions, or of questionable moral values. But she came to the conclusion that we should let our children see and judge the movie, to shift through the half truths from the truths themselves. She has faith in the intelligence of her children. Banning the Da Vinci Code is not a solution. For that matter, the explicit descriptions of immoral sexual behaviours and excesses, including incests, in the Old Testament should not be freely available to the children. The Bible should only be for adult readings only.

5/22/2006

it is painful watching a freak show

I happened to be fiddling with my remote control button during the commercial break watching Da Vinci Code, and 'Ouch!' It was so painful to my eyes when I saw these few freaks trying to appear queer on TV. And then there was a panel of judges, also trying to look cute and sound cute. My goodness, who is on show, or who is performing? The contestants were there as props. It is the judges that were the performers, trying very hard to be someone they were not. I grimaced with so much pain. I shouted 'Cut, cut, cut!' But nothing I could do except to switch back to the channel I was watching. The commercial break was still on. Then I told myself, it could not be that bad right? So I bravely pushed on the remote button to take another peep. 'Ouch! No, it is just as painful. No way I am going to take a second look ever again. It was supposed to be some kind of idol show. My gosh! Remove the contestants, remove the freaks. Oh, wait a minute, it is the judges that need to be removed.'

my government or my people?

When is enough enough? When will the people stand up and tell the PAP that they will not let the PAP to continue to rough handle anymore? There are some consensus views of what or how the PAP is being seen by the voters in the aftermath of the recent general election. 'The PAP is seen as a very arrogant party, and totally unfair to both the opposition and the people. I am against offering upgrading as a carrot. The money belongs to the nation, not the PAP...Christopher Lee in the ST. 'When the people say that the cost of living is high, the PAP says we have cellphones and air conditioners. When the people ask for GST waivers on necessities and medical items, the PAP says they are subsidised. How to talk to the Govt?'...Neo Kim Seng in the ST. 'During the campaign, the PAP told Hougang and Potong Pasir voters: ...Why be so stupid and continually support the opposition which never contributed constructively in Parliament or which only makes trouble in Parliament?...I am surprised at their unsporting attitude.' Sylvestor Goh in the ST. Despite these views which are quite common and quickly surfaced in a discussion, the PAP is still voted to power for another term. The people are unhappy with a PAP that is seen to treat the people badly and even ignoring the people's pleas with their clever arguments, with their views of what they think is best and not coming around to try to understand the people's concern. But then again, its seems that the voters will have to tolerate the arrogance of PAP, or have to grit their teeth and accept PAP as a matter of no better choice. And worst is that they are happy just to know that the PAP is now trying to be gentler to the people. 'I am a PAP supporter who believes the Govt has done a great job and is changing to adopt a softer approach towards the people...' Billy Lee in the ST. This last quote speaks for all Singaporeans, that they have grown use to be push around, or bashed around and all they can hope for, and will be happy, if only the PAP just try to be a little nicer to them. Is this the attitude and expectation of the people on the PAP or any future govt, that it is the natural state of affair for a govt to be stern and even treat them roughly? When would the Singaporeans said enough is enough, that no govt shall ever mistreat them like thrash or to be thrashed around? And a little kinder govt is a great blessing? Do the Singaporeans ever think that it is only right and proper for any govt to treat them fairly and respectfully? The Singaporeans deserve a govt for what that govt is if they let the govt sit on them as a natural state of thing.

5/21/2006

another productivity drive

Quantum Leap In Productivity?by Heng-Cheong Leong Lim Swee Say is asking the low income to "make quantum leap in producitivty" in order to move ahead. Great, let's ask your favorite food court's dish clearing auntie how exactly is she going to clear "quantum leap" number of tables? I guess most folks' answer will simply be either OT or Second Job. Is that all NTUC can do? the easiest and most efficient way to help the aunties to clean more dishes and faster is to buy a few dish washing machines. then one aunty can clean what 10 aunties can do. then can replace the 10 aunties with dish washing machines. then can say productivity of 1 aunty is now equivalent of 10 aunties. i still like the idea of creative management in designing high paying jobs. one way is to create more town councils, maybe one town council for every 10 blocks of flats. and every 10 town councils one mayor. then every ten mayors one zone mayor, and every 3 zone mayors one region mayor. and every 3 region mayors one district mayor. and every 3 district mayors one governor mayor. wow, so many jobs created, and high paying one also.

world cup roar

that was what these proud and loyal supporters of Chaim said about his return for another term. they said the roar was louder than if a world cup goal was scored. the whole estate was on their feet when the result was announced and they celebrated till 3 am. their joy, as a group of citizens, was not contrived or managed. it was simple spontaneous joy of a browbeaten people who stood up against all odds and, as they said, unfair and bullying tactics. this is legendary stuff that will be told to the children by words of mouth.

5/19/2006

fiction movies are dangerous

Mr Brown's article in the Today paper suggests that in order to protect our innocent young from being deceived by the new superman movie, the movie should be banned or at least be given a NC16 rating. This, in his reasoning, will save the lives of our children who might start to fly from their double decker beds or their windows. The consequences are so scary as our children will not be able to differentiate between facts and fiction. I fully agree and support his suggestion. We should start a movement, a petition, to ban any movie that has a dangerous influence on our young minds. What I want to add is that the ban should also be extended to those 55 and above. At 55, these oldies are not only half as efficient, but cannot be trusted to look after themselves. And our CPF has made a very good decision in locking up their money as well : )

when 55 is half a goner

When 55 is old. The case of the NTU professor who at 55 is considered old, reduced to half pay is a case of doing and saying different things. If 55 is considered old, then the govt must quickly come up with a plan to terminate everyone reaching 60. After 60, one is no longer worthy to contribute to society regardless of the profession that one is in. And in the academia, 55 is only the beginning when all the information pumped into the little brain has just been simmered to perfection to be dished out to the students and society. I would strongly suggest that if this is what our society think of people at 55, then make it a national policy. Everyone on reaching 55 must have his or her pay halfed. And this policy should start with NTU with no exception. Only exception is in parliament where old is gold

5/18/2006

a new dimension in cyberspace

The little war between CNA and Singapore Elections is an example of what the future of the media is like. The long entrenched and preserved territory of the media, once strongly guarded of the selected few, to wield the mighty pen to influence the masses is now being challenged. No longer can the media blow its trumpet and sing its tune with immunity. When they talked nonsense, they will be exposed. Just like the election when politicians talked nonsense, immediately people pounced on them and amplified their loose talks in the cyberspace. Singapore Elections is claiming that CNA had used their pics and doctored them. CNA is saying no. The details are in the Singapore Elections forum. Wow, the media being made to account for what they are doing. Before this development, the media is the boss and print what they like. You may complain if you don't agree, but if they don't response, nothing will be heard and no one will know. Internet has changed all that. They cannot ignore you, in this case Singapore Elections has its own platform to tell the world. Things are getting interesting.

magic of internet and digital photo

The combination of internet plus digital photography is really powerful. Someone shot a few dirty pictures of Marine Parade and posted in Sammyboy. The pictures glorified the litters, rubbish and walls with peeling paintworks. Immediately the town council sprang into action and all the disfigurements, graffittis and dirty spots were attended to by contractors. No MPs worth their salt will be able to live in peace when pictures of their badly maintained estate is floating aroung in the internet. And this same magical tool can be used in other areas as well. Wow, it used to be posting a complaint in the Straits Times forum to get a response. But that way you got to be lucky if the paper publishes it. Otherwise, nothing heard, nothing needs to be done. Now with internet, blogs and forums, sure to be posted and be seen. This is efficiency Singapore style, or internet style.

5/17/2006

acjc student blogger warned by teacher

gayle goh, an acjc student engaged bilahari kausikan, 2nd perm sec of foreign affairs on an issue concerning retraining of old workers. the perm sec took the trouble to discuss the issue with her and even encouraged her to be critical in her views. but she was warned by her schoolmates and teachers that her blog deals with social and political issues. what more can i say about the mindset of the young singaporeans when the kiasi attitude is etched in them when they are in school. no discussion on socio political issues. how to change this when on the other hand a top civil servant is trying to encourage our young to speak out.

unfair trading practices by banks

While NTUC Coop is restructuring their business model to cut the cost of selling insurance products, it did not count on the 'hard sell methods' of banks to get customers. When banks use hard sell or unfair tactics to improve sales, should this be questioned? And this is what Tan Kin Lian is doing. Then there is also the new Fair Trading Acts coming into force soon which is supposed to level the playing field and prevent unfair trading practices. For those who advocate a laissez faire environment, they may say it is ok. Any organisation can leverage on their strength to gain market share, like hard sell method' or 'dumping' or undercut the competitors by unfair pricing or inducements. The selling of insurance by high pressure tactic as mentioned by Tan Kin Lian is one of such examples. Another example is for banks to offer below the market commission to retain, attract or capture new customers. This is exactly what some banks are doing, selling some products by underpricing the market and make their profits from their main products. Are such practices ethical and tolerable under the Fair Trading Acts? What would happen is that such practices will destroy the jobs of those businesses with dedicated professionals or agents, and thus causing job loss. It will in the long run also destroy the market as well. This is an area which the govt can do to prevent job loss and curb the Levianthan in the banks. It is the muscling out of small players by big boys and has nothing to do with efficiency and professionalism. And the govt has a duty to protect the small guys from such unfair practices. Unless the govt sees the destruction of jobs as a good thing and authorise or encourage the banks to keep doing what they are doing.

Mudslinging by Mahathir.

A DVD is selling on the streets and pasar malams with contents showing Mahathir attacking the Malaysian govt. He accused the govt of lacking courage and the country going to the dogs. By saying that the govt is lacking courage, he is actually calling all those in govt as cowards. And by saying the latter, he is saying that the country is run by dogs. This is a very offensive terminology in a muslim country when dogs or angin are tabooed in the religion, a very derogatory term. Mahathir should count himself lucky to be in Malaysia. In some countries he will be sued until his pants drop. Those words he used not only challenged the credibility of the govt, he is also attacking the sacred institutions of govt and defaming the leaders.

5/16/2006

hi fellas, i hope i am not boring you people

i have been chatting here for quite a while and i am running in danger of boring all of you. the internet is revolutionary in a way. before the blog and the internet forum, we are all at the mercy of the printed and controlled media. they speak, we listen. and when we want to speak by sending them beautifully written letters, they decide whether what you wrote serve their interest or purpose. if not, they will simply throw it in the waste paper basket. you wasted all your effort for nothing. they are our masters. now you don't need anyone's approval to see your words in print. today, the internet has return to us our voice, our right to speak our mind. and all at the press of a few buttons. no one is there to arrogate himself to be your master, to control or manage what you can say or what you cannot say. it is a different kind of freedom. but of course this freedom comes with responsibility. we can use this tool for many different purposes, for selfish goals or, we can fantasise a little by saying that we can use it to benefit society. it may be an illusion, but there is no harm in giving ourselves a little purpose in life. otherwise we will just be chatting at random and quite aimlessly. think about it and voice out your thoughts, and you do not know when or how it could have shape other people's ideas. and if your intention is good, maybe down along the line, your thoughts or ideas could give birth to some better thoughts and ideas. feel free, feel less inhibited, communicate and share your ideas around. cheers.

cost of living and job loss watches

i have created two threads in redbeanforum.com to monitor these two issues that are close to the hearts of the people as these affect them directly and can be very painful. also, both are issues that the elected govt has promised to do for the people. the two threads will monitor the developments in these areas and all of you are encourage to contribute to these threads. primarily we want to see what the govt is doing to reduce the cost of living and to create jobs and not destroying jobs or offering jobs to foreigners at the expense of the citizens. PRs are not citizens and should have lower priority in terms of benefits from govt policies vis a vis citizens. the govt must not forget the contributions and sacrifices of citizens towards the nation and the people who voted them to power.

5/15/2006

before smrt raises its fare again

The SMRT is making huge profits again. It has been making profits for many years in the hundreds of millions. And all along it has been claiming that cost is rising and it will lose money if transport fare is not raised. And that they are accountable to theirshareholders as a private company. Is it really a private company in the true sense? Can anyone remember that $6 billion was used from taxpayers money to build the infrastructure which has since been written off. (I stand corrected if anyone can prove to me that I am wrong on this.) Now the management of the SMRT are happily managing the company for profits made from none other than the taxpayers who contributed the $6 billion to its initial cost. If the SMRT is to regard itself as a purely private company, and making money for its shareholders as its primary objective, then it is only right and fair that SMRT make provisions to repay the $6 billion back to the people as it has no obligation to the people. For being given the right as a monopoly business, it cannot lose money like any other business. It only needs to raise fares to cover whatever it wants to cover and whatever profits it wants to make. Where else can there be such a sure to profit business? Where is the business risk? The privatisation does not really benefit the people except shareholders. It is a misnomer to claim that without privatisation it will be inefficient and will run at a loss. This is an insult to all govt andstatutory boards, that they are inefficient because they are not privatised. And in case of a stats board, if the management isinefficient they should be fired and replaced with a new management team. Turning it private is a lousy excuse to improve efficiency. I don't believe that stats board are inefficient just because they are not privatised.

better than pyramid scheme

If I can get hold of the people's money, say $100k per person and guarantee them a small return, maybe 2% better than the bank rate, and they have no right to ask them back, wow, won't that be nice? Then I can use it to invest in anything I want. If I make money, I will reward myself with big fat bonuses, and pat myself on the back and tell everyone how clever I am. If I lose money, I will just call it a bad business decision beyond my control. I still collect my management fee, and even give myself a big raise. And If I cannot afford to pay the dividends, I will only rewrite the terms and extend the payout later, or make them contribute more. This provision will make chit funds and pyramid schemes so amaturish. And also, I will make sure that nobody knows the account. It is only for me to know. Won't that be nice?

lowering medical cost or how to pay

BoonWan is tackling the 'how to pay expensive medical bills again.' I sense that the issue is not how to reduce medical cost, but how to pay the ever increasing cost, through group insurance. I think the root to this problem is high medical cost. And this must be tackled first. Medicare must be rightly divided into those who can afford and don't mind paying and those who cannot afford and needed help. That is why we have a govt and not an anarchic society where there is no govt and if one cannot afford it, just too bad. Another area is for the govt to provide choice for the people to decide what they want to consume and pay for. The govt shall not pre decide who should consume what and pay what. The third area is to educate people to prepare to die. Anyone who passes 65 or 70, must be prepared to die, gracefully, with minimum discomfort, through ageing. The medical service must not play the role of extending life at all cost, thus raising medical cost to an astronomical height. For those who can afford it, they can pay for whatever to extend their life for as long as they want. For many who cannot afford it, and without the means, extension of life is an extension of suffering, a burden to themselves, family and society. The expensive medical procedures and medicine are not doing them any good but increasing their misery. And hopefully, with a review of the objectives of medicare and its role in society, and with a proper insurance scheme tailored to different individual needs, with choices and not a straight jacket formula, no one need to have all their money locked up in medisave and CPF when these can be used to provide them with a better quality of life. Not everyone needs the heavy insurance, not everyone wants to extend their life mindlessly. And many will have other means to pay for their medical needs, including family support. The medisave and medical insurance must allow for flexibility and choice. Otherwise, there is no need for all the supertalents if a simple straight jacket solution is all that the ministry can come out with.

5/14/2006

taxing the poor efficiently

Income tax dept should rethink unequal tax cut policy to narrow divide between rich and poor I am an income tax payer. Income tax dept should rethink unequal tax cut policy to narrow divide between rich and poor. However, I am pleasantly surprised to discover that my income tax burden is reduced for assessment year 2006. I gather this information from the IRAS website: Singaporean, individual, salaried earner, top income tax contributors will pay 1% less tax while medium income earner will pay 0.5% less tax compared to last year. But low income earners get no benefit. I would like the IRAS to reconsider unequal income tax reduction. I propose that the system of income tax in 2003 be reinstated with reduction in Goods and Services Tax by at least 3 percentage points. My arguments are simple. Firstly, our system taxes us in an inverted pyramid form, ie. the more I earn, the heavier my tax burden. I find this sensible, reasonable and logical. Secondly, GST is non-discriminatory and it effectively taxes our fellow lower income Singaporeans. In my opinion, this has contributed to the rich and poor divide. Not too low income earners like me should not complain about paying taxes as it is our duty as Singaporeans to contribute and move together forward as a nation. No man gets left behind in my Singapore. Ng Swee Kai The writer's article was published in the Sunday Times forum page. I fully agree with his suggestion. The GST is unjust to the poor through its reasoning that everyone must pay tax, rich or poor. Only rich people will support such a taxation policy where the poor, including the very poor, have to pay tax. Thus the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer.

can the hatchet be buried?

Lets bury the hatchet and get on with life. The election is over, the victor has been announced. There is no need for the viciousness to continue beyond the 9 days. It was already bad to see people fighting like vipers just to contest for power and wealth. It is time to let go and offer some graciousness. There will never be a Mother Teresa in politics. But there are gentlemen who will arrive on the political scene now and then. We lament that not many good men and women are willing to come forward to serve the nation. Is that true? There are many not so good men, there are evil men, but there are also very good men. Why is it that only the second best are offered to the people as leaders of the nation? Or why would good decent men who would willingly step forward to do their little parts for the people stay away? The last general election is perhaps the sanest of all elections we have had. There was almost a complete absence of personal attacks on any poltiicians. No dirty linens aired. Not until the Gomez incident. Even then, the opposition too were behaving like angels. They tackled issues, some controversial, but nothing personal. No good and decent man would want to get involved in gutter politics. No one would want to be threatened or be sued for wanting to serve people, society and nation. Try to imagine the fear that go through Gomez's mind all those days, putting aside the issue of guilt? And when it was over, it was all a storm in a teacup not worthy even to appear in court. But the pressure of being under siege is unnerving and nightmarish at the very least. Would any good men or women want to place themselves in such a situation? And not for a crime, and could be just a presumed intent. Unless the viciousness mentality is removed, we will only have the second best to serve the country. Our politics will never dream of becoming first world. I am not even asking for forgiveness. For there is nothing to warrant forgiveness.

5/13/2006

when religious laws take over the country

Housewive ‘I am not a prostitute’ Indonesian moral guardians pick up frightened lady on street with 28 others, including 63-year-old woman. Amy Chew. Reuters May 12, 2006 "PROSTITUTE!" shouted the jeering crowds as a frightened housewife was led out to a show trial enforcing a controversial morality by-law. The evening before, on Feb 27, Lilies Lindawati was detained by officials of Tangerang, 35km west of here, while waiting for a bus home after dark, an offence under the local authority’s anti-prostitution regulations. With Lilies in tow, the officers went on to round up 28 other women. A 63-year-old woman buying rambutan on the roadside was arrested, as were two young girls eating at a stall. They were bundled off to City Hall where they were held for a night and brought to trial the next morning. "There is lipstick and compact powder in your bag. That means you are a prostitute," said the judge, who spoke through a microphone at a makeshift court on the City Hall grounds. Crying, Lilies replied that it was common for women to carry lipstick and compact powder. "But he refused to accept my explanation," said Lilies as she sat on the floor of her one-bedroom house, which she shares with her husband and two children.... Lilies was fined 300,000 rupiah (S$54). She could not pay the fine and was sent to jail with nine other women who also could not afford the fine. This is what can happen what religion takes over in the running of a country and when religious freaks passed themselves around as the agents of god.

gomez, a storm in a teacup

So Gomez is guilty but let off with a stern warning. Perhaps this is the best settlement given the circumstances. From the govt's point it will save a lot of embarrassment and unfavourable publicity in the international arena should the defence put up a strong case and get him acquitted. There is always such possibility in a court of law. The findings and judgement is made by the court and not even the police or prosecutor. Domestically the people found the case repulsive and it will only erode whatever little goodwill that is left. To expend this credit will cost them dearly in the next election. From Gomez and the WP, it is a nightmare that is over. A storm in a teacup which they could do without, and could not afford the time and finance to go through a lengthy legal process. They just did not have the money to fight an expensive court case and I don't think they will have the money to sue anyone. They definitely cannot do a Durai. They are a small party with limited resources.

the sneaky president

Posted: Sat May 13, 2006 10:42 am Post subject: Chen Shui Bian said he had not lose the face of the Taiwanese during his trip overseas and was proud of what he had done. He sneaked into Libya under the cloud of darkness, refused permission to land in US territories except a short stop over in Alaska, near the north pole when he was heading south to Costa Rica in south America. Then he used the ruse of fuel shortage to gain entry into Indonesia in a little island more than 3000 miles from Jakarta and overstayed, leading to an investigation by the Indonesian govt. And he is very proud of all his sneaking around as a Head of State when others will be received with all the plomp and pageantry that a Head of State deserved. No wonder they called him Ah Bian.

5/12/2006

mahathir's half truth on the crooked bridge

Mahathir quoted a letter by Choktong claiming that Choktong had agreed to the bridge and that Badawi's govt was wrong to give up the bridge idea. In that letter, it gives the impression that Choktong had compromise Singapore's position on the bridge and Mahathir has a point to carry on with the bridge. But actually Mahathir was speaking half truth or selective truth. He did not tell the whole truth that Choktong sent him another letter to retracted what he had said in his earlier letter. The New Straits Times article below clearly explained what happened. A LETTER from former Singapore prime minister Goh Chok Tong to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in April 2002 agreeing to Malaysia’s proposal to build a half-bridge across the Johor Strait was rendered void by another letter later that year. Parliamentary secretary to the Foreign Affairs Ministry Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the initial discussions between Goh and Dr Mahathir were on a package deal. "It involved issues such as raw water and land," Ahmad said. But when further developments rendered it difficult to continue discussions on the package deal, Dr Mahathir wrote to Goh in October that year to say that no resolution could be reached on the bridge issue. A week later, Goh replied saying that if this were the case, his first letter would have to be ignored as it was written with the whole package in mind. Ahmad was replying to Senator Datuk Syed Ali Syed Abbas Alhabshee on why Malaysia did not hold Singapore to Goh’s first letter.

singaporeans to help singaporeans

At 11:58 AM SGT, Anonymous said… There is a guy who wrote in the newsapaper yesterday that he will donate his progressive package to Potong Pasir people. I thought this is a good idea. We should start a movement to encourage the people of Singapore to help the fellow citizens at Hougang and P. Pasir with $$. Since the PAP government does not want to do the upgrading at opposition wards; the ordinary Singaporean should stand up and help. Donating $$ to town councils; not to political parties should not end us all in jail. To Singapore Election Watch : pls help to find out how can we channel $$ to Hougang and P Pasir Town Councils, legally. I copy this article from the Singapore Election Watch forum. Quite an interesting proposition. Singaporeans standing up to help fellow Singaporeans.

era of coercion is over

The Straits Times published 3 articles today on the post mortem of the GE. All written by post 65ers. And they share a same line of thought which is best summed up by Koh Buck Song, 'The era of coercion and manipulation is over. The art of persuasion is the new order,...' I am not sure about manipulation, but coercion is surely to give way with the younger group. The views of these young journalists, and the views they extracted from the younger voters, all found that unfair tactics, threats, bullying, highhandedness etc were a put off. The older generation may have to live with such election tactics, and the older politicians may still think that there is nothing wrong with them. In the new future, when the young is going to form a new majority, when the old who have been used to being threatened and bullied are gone, the consequences of following the same formula could be disastrous. The results in Hougang and Potong Pasir, and even Aljunied, have made it clear that political parties that continue to indulge in such practices will have to pay a price. They could have paid the price today if not of the strong personalities around. Some can still get away with murder. Some could say all kinds of things and be laughed away as a joke. But younger politicians who have no track record to brandish and think they could do or say the same things as old warhorses with a string of medals, would only court disasters to themselves. The result of the straw polls conducted by the journalists is very revealing. 60% of the young supported the PAP. 20% supported the PAP out of default as the opposition candidates were of low quality. And 35% did not support the PAP. Now, if in the next election the opposition could put up strong and credible candidates, the 20% who voted by default could go the other way to join the 35%. That will give the opposition a comfortable 55% of the votes. And not to forget the older generation would contribute lesser to the strong base of PAP. The future is interesting to watch.

era of coercion is over

The Straits Times published 3 articles today on the post mortem of the GE. All written by post 65ers. And they share a same line of thought which is best summed up by Koh Buck Song, 'The era of coercion and manipulation is over. The art of persuasion is the new order,...' I am not sure about manipulation, but coercion is surely to give way with the younger group. The views of these young journalists, and the views they extracted from the younger voters, all found that unfair tactics, threats, bullying, highhandedness etc were a put off. The older generation may have to live with such election tactics, and the older politicians may still think that there is nothing wrong with them. In the new future, when the young is going to form a new majority, when the old who have been used to being threatened and bullied are gone, the consequences of following the same formula could be disastrous. The results in Hougang and Potong Pasir, and even Aljunied, have made it clear that political parties that continue to indulge in such practices will have to pay a price. They could have paid the price today if not of the strong personalities around. Some can still get away with murder. Some could say all kinds of things and be laughed away as a joke. But younger politicians who have no track record to brandish and think they could do or say the same things as old warhorses with a string of medals, would only court disasters to themselves. The result of the straw polls conducted by the journalists is very revealing. 60% of the young supported the PAP. 20% supported the PAP out of default as the opposition candidates were of low quality. And 35% did not support the PAP. Now, if in the next election the opposition could put up strong and credible candidates, the 20% who voted by default could go the other way to join the 35%. That will give the opposition a comfortable 55% of the votes. And not to forget the older generation would contribute lesser to the strong base of PAP. The future is interesting to watch.

5/11/2006

Below are some of the known characteristics of candidates of PAP and opposition parties. PAP candidates 1. Educationally mostly are high achievers, govt scholars or overseas scholars with outstanding academic results to show. 2. Professionally also high achievers, professionals or senior management staff in govt or private sectors. 3. Family background quite varied but very proud to advertise how poor they were before. Humble background is a badge of honour to be displayed to contrast with their current middle class status and material achievements. 4. Apolitical or not interested in politics or at least not interested to become politicians. To be politicians is not their cup of tea. 5. Even if they are interested in politics they would put on an impression that they are not and are unlikely to step forward on their own. They will quietly and patiently wait to be invited for tea by the party. 6. Honest, man of high moral and integrity, prestine character, flawless. 7. Recruited only after going through many rounds of interviews and assessments by ministers and chopped 'passed' QC certification. 8. Those who are too eager to serve will be immediately rejected. 9. Must have a special liking for the colour white. 10. Willingness to sacrifice their high income and take a pay cut. 11. Only to serve as MP on a part time basis. 12. Speak in perfect English but struggle a little with dialects or mother tongue. Opposition candidates 1. Educationally from a wide band, from O level, ITE, polytechnics to university graduates. But not clearly high achievers academically. 2. Professionally from technicians to managerial level and lower grade professionals. Not high flyers in the profession or organisations. 3. Financially mostly HDB flat dwellers or heartlanders. Still trying to make it to the middle class. Probably from humble beginnings but never crow about them. 4. Politically aware and interested to serve. Volunteer themselves to stand for election or join political parties. No need to be invited for tea. Never hide their interest or intention in politics. 5. Honesty, integrity or people of good character are not broadcast as their trademark. But that does not mean that they are not good people. One thing for sure, they are not monk like or celibate. 6. Probably went through a recruitment interview but not as thorough as the screening process of the PAP. Did not carry a QC certification of approval as a flawless specimen. 7. The more eager they are in politics the better will be their chances of being field for election. 8. Must have a dislike to wear white, or at least feel uncomfortable looking too clean and white. 9. No need to sacrifice any high income to go into politics. So cannot boast that they have made a big sacrifice to serve the people. 10. Committed to serve as full time MP if elected. 11. Very comfortable in dialects or language of the heartlanders. And look every bit like a heartlander, even in habit, mannerism and interests. 12. Don't play golf or drive luxury car. Old Volkswagen or equivalent is their choice..

behavioral change in people

There seems to be a noticeable behavioral change in the people immediately after the election. No, I am not seeing people looking over their shoulders every now and then. But people are seen exercising their necks in another way. They turned their heads up and turning it around, with their eyes making a wide scan across the ceilings, as if looking for something. Then there is this reticent even among friends. Everyone appears inquisitive but guarded. Before a conversation starts, a lot of preliminary probing questions were asked, like who are your friends, whether one is involved in community services or grass root activities, etc. This is a very strange development to date. Why are people getting so cautious. Don't they trust what they said to their friends any more? Maybe my deduction of an innocent inquisitive nature of people is wrong. People are just more concern of their friends, with so much love around us.

5/10/2006

the medisave trap

In the New Paper today, an asthma patient was reported to prefer to be resuscitated in hospital during a bout of asthmatic attack than to go on preventive medication. The later was too costly, about $100 a month. Holycow, what bullshit? Can't people afford a miserable $100 for their health? By choosing to go to hospital, she could be resuscitated and paid her medical bills using medisave. If the attempt to resuscitate her came too late, she could die. She was prepared for that. She knew. Our world best healthcare is very affordable. Cannot believe got people cannot afford a monthly preventive medicine bill of $100! I tip the doorman at the 6 star hotel $20 just to give me that big grin which he called a smile. $100 is small change. I think I must walk around more and look see at the real people instead of being driven around in my Benze.

so much love around

Peter Lim wrote this line 'Did you feel the love all around' in his article in the New Paper today. Yes he was talking about the love the politicians were showing to the voters during the campaigning. Never have the people feel so much love for them, to be courted by, wow, of all people, their political masters. And the love was real, tangible love. Not love of the fresh air type. A cool package worth hundreds of millions of hard cash, especially for the people of Hougang and Potong Pasir and Aljunied of course. In Aljunied, during the last hours prior to election, a whole detailed plan of what the PAP will do for the voters was delivered to each household. And so were many other constituencies and GRCs. It was really like Santa Claus was in town, and full of solid love, in hard cash. Housewives accosted with little pats on their darling babies or children, or the children in the arms of politicians. Suddenly life becomes so meaningful, so much warmth. Everyone is so concerned if you have eaten, your health, whether you are still jobless. If only everyday is like that, where the people, the citizens, are so much in demand. Oh yes, not a single one of them dare to be seen shaking the hands of a foreign worker. Yeah, its true, now that I recollect. Definitely not on TV. Then the two poor and penniless MPs of Hougang and Potong Pasir were left wondering what to do, what to offer or what can they offer? They can't even afford to give free salted eggs with plain porridge. So the only thing left for them to give was, yes, love of the fresh air type, with no money attached. And of course their sincerity, which most opposition candidates were attacked for not having. 9 day politicians wannabes, appearing during election and disappearing after that. Where got sincerity? I like Peter Lim's thought that love was all around us. So comforting.

ncmp, no need horse trading or cutting deals

A GRC is an expansion of a single ward. A defeated single ward candidate can still hang on to the ward and try to work in the ward to serve the constituency. For instance Steve Chia had done that and had served his constituency after becoming a NCMP. Now Eric Low and Sitoh would probably do the same, to continue to serve Hougang and Potong Pasir, build up the support for the next election. Now, how is Sylvia going to cover a GRC? It is a 5 single ward combined together. That is why it needs 5 candidates. It is not only fair but logical for all 5 defeated candidates to be appointed as NCMPs so that they can cover the ground. By just appointing one of 5, it lives to its reputation as a half baked scheme to entice the people. The sincerity is not there. It was not meant to work, not meant to be a serious alternative. Talking about uneven playing fields? Talking about offering more NCMPs when there is now an opportunity to put in 5 defeated candidates with the most votes into parliament, but not doing it. How are the people going to believe that this scheme is genuine, to allow more alternative voices to he heard in parliament?

5/09/2006

another 666 incident

666 Went to vote yesterday, bringing along my child. A final thing happened what i was at the voting booth. I wanted to put a cross against this party but somehow that was this feeling that i'm doing something wrong. A kind of spiritual feel that i should not do it. Anyway, I went ahead and when I slot the slip into the box, a kind of irrational fear fall over me. I walked out of the place quickly with my child. Once I'm out of the place, I felt much better.That night, while having dinner with my parents, my mom told me that a friend of her - a lady around her age - decided to vote for the PAP as she is scared of voting otherwise. The results of the election came out yesterday, 6/06/2006. The percentage of the eligible votes won by PAP is 66.6%. See the coincidence - 666. I'm just wondering when the time to put that cross, a lot of people felt that irrational fear coming over them and thus vote otherwise?? the above is posted in Life in Singapore, www.singaporeman.blogspot.com. with so many crosses being put on the ballot papers still can't chase away the devil? : )

lets be fair to opposition parties

Aloysius Low Pei Chuan wrote to Voices in Today complaining that the opposition should come up with better plans, and justify them, and that he still had no idea of what the WP proposed. He demanded that the opposition should develop workable plans to solve the problems they have raised such as unemployment, retrenchment etc, rather than just raising them, criticising the govt and stirring up the crowd to win votes. I think this is not a fair statement to throw at the opposition parties. Who really did all the complicated tasks of understanding a problem and coming up with proposals for the govt to approve? It is not just the politicians. The bulk of the work is done by the unseen and unappreciated civil servants. They did all the donkey work and the politicians take all the credits. If the opposition also have the same access to these highly paid and highly qualified civil servants to do the work for them, which they will have if they come into power, then it is fair to expect them to come out with a detail plan. The role of politicians is to set broad politicies, guidelines and objectives. An example is the cost of living. The politicians shall decide whether to bring it down or not. And the details shall be done by the civil servants. Bring down transport fares, bring down medical fares. That is what we expect the politicians to decide and tell the civil servants to come up with solutions. So it is only sufficient for the opposition parties to sell their dreams like the PAP has done. What details should the people demand from the politicians from either side? Even if the details are worked out, how many people will have the time to read them? We should be fair in our expectation and criticism of both parties, ruling and opposition. PS: Can we expect Chiam and Low Thia Khiang to deliver upgrading projects that cost hundreds of millions? We must understand that there are apples and oranges.

fair to offer ncmp seat to sylvia lim?

During the heat of the election, the PAP sweated. For staring in their faces was the fear of losing George Yeo, a key minister in the cabinet, Lim Hwee Hua, a potential minister, Zainul Abidin, also a potential minister or junior minister material. Losing one GRC means losing 5 members of a team. It is all in or all out. The vote for a GRC is a vote for the team, all 5 members are considered to receive the same number of votes. In Aljunied, all 5 opposition candidates received the same highest loser's vote. Why is it that only one NCMP seat being offered? Does it make sense when they are contesting as a whole where theoretically 5 single wards were merged into one? It is only fair that the same logic of all in and all out shall also apply to NCMPs. In this case offering only one seat to Sylvia Lim is unfair. The offer shall be made to all 5 candidates. Taking the same example, if hypothetically, 5 single ward candidates all received the same votes, does it mean that only one can be offered or all 5?

5/08/2006

3 voters for PAP and 2 against

At 60% it means that for every 10 Singaporeans, 4 voted for the opposition. Or out of every 5 people, 3 are for PAP and 2 for the Opposition or against the PAP. Our system is so strange that a 66.6% of votes can be translated into 97.6% of parliamentary representation, 82/84. The people, 33.4% of them are represented by 2 MPs. Just to play with numbers, these 2 MPs actually carry on their shoulders, the hopes and worries of 400,000 voters, or 200,000 voters each. The other 800,000 represented by 82 MPs or 10,000 voters to a MP. Now, can Low Thia Khiang and Chiam talk with a louder voice in parliament?

signs of satan

When I posted about the signs of Satan, it was half in jest. And what I am going to say here is also half in jest. There is also a hand signal of Satan that was flashed all over the newspaper on Sunday. This is the same sign that George Bush and Clinton used. In fact it is used by many celebrities from royalties to rock stars and famous personalities The hand sign 'El Diablo' which means 'I love you' is developed by Helen Keller for the deaf. Helen was an occultist and a thosophist, And some wonder whether it was her intention to say 'I love you, Devil?' Is there a hidden message in the hand sign? For the sign is exactly the same sign as that of Satan. For more details on this, please go to http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Religions/Wicca%20&%20Witchcraft/signs_of_satan.htm. It is a coincidence, a very close coincidence, with 666 and the hand sign appearing all over the newspaper on Sunday. A day when God is resting. Please treat this post with a large dose of salt.

monday morning bulls

Sunday was always a good time to talk cock over anything but nothing. I did with some craps. I didn't know Monday is also a good day for cocks and bulls. They are flashed all over the papers. So I shall just enjoy the fun and add in my own bulls. For those who wanted to call the election as a good sign for Singapore, be it a strong mandate with 85% or one with 55%, it will still be a strong mandate and a strong endorsement for the govt. It will be a vote of confidence and support for stability and continuity. Good for investments. Even if the opposition did come in with a GRC and a few more candidates, this group of people will not change their assessment. But the song will be different. It will still be good for Singapore. It will be a sign of maturity for a mature polity that is gravitating towards a pluralistic democracy with more oppositions. It is very healthy and very good. The western countries will now feel more comfortable to deal with an otherwise perceived authocratic govt. See, the reasoning is up to people to cook. For those who wanted badly to call this a weak mandate and bad for Singapore, it will be another tune. The majority would have gone down more if SDP was not in contention. SDP had lost most of its supporters, and their votes have gone to the ruling party. Without the SDP, the majority could be only 60%! And it will be a bad omen for a new Prime Minister and Singapore. Further, if more opposition parties got into parliament, this group will cry and spread fear that there will now be more instability with the opposition creating more problems and the govt will have to come down hard on them. And this will be a bad sign for investors. See, the bulls are equally interesting and convincing with their arguments.

5/07/2006

napoleon had a feast

i had a dream last night. there at the top end of the table, with a full spread of the best food, napoleon sat with a wide beaming smile that his eyes appeard as two slits. and i could see sharksfins over flowing and dripping out from the corners of his mouth. and so were all his comrades from animal farm. all as big and well fed as pigs were supposed to be, and shouting aye, aye to everything napoleon said. after driving out the farmers, they had taken over the farm and feasting themselves like the farmers used to do. the good times were theirs to enjoy.

the sign of 666

Everytime on a Sunday morning I just feel so good to talk craps. I felt the earth moved under my feet last week. But it wasn't enough. Maybe my feet moved instead. 8.7% down in popular vote. Is this a strong mandate or a strong dip. It all depends on what kind of kopitiam head one has. It also depends on what kind of yardstick one uses. It also depends on the motive behind the person calling the it. For those kopitiam heads who expect 85% win, this is a big failure. It must be. It is less than 75% or 70%, not enough to get an A grade. For those who think 65% is a strong mandate, 66.6% is a strong mandate. And for those who just want to call it a strong mandate, any figure will still be called a strong mandate, even if it is 55%. But I don't like the sign. Last week someone told me that the sign of Satan were flashed all over the place. Now 666 is in the front page of the newspaper. Ooooohh me God! What is really important is that the people have spoken. And the victors are thanking the people profusedly, humbling themselves by saying that it is the people's vote. Now after the election, will the people be forgotten? We can expect a few more days of thanking the people, humouring the people that they are the masters of the land. But will the real masters now take over and tell the people to behave? Will the new masters again adopt the attitude that they know what is best for the people and continue to shaft down the throat of the people what they want? For the next five years, the people must watch carefully and make their assessments of the real masters and their actions. Would they listen to the plight and wishes of the people? Would they reverse their thinking that efficiency, big profits of big organisations takes priority over jobs for the people? Will they continue with another round of restructuring to make sure that the big organisations continue to spread their activities and encroaches into every other little businesses to make more profits, and in the process destroying more jobs? Is economics priority, or profit priority more important than political considerations, the welfare of the people? Will the people be allowed to make a decent living by restraining the giant corporations from elbowing everyone out of business? This is a watershed election. It registers the beginning of a shift. Small it may be. But if not arrested, the difference will be seen in the next election. It could be a big shift, not so much of Gomez, but the $10 bil package, with a few thousand dollars in everyone's pocket that makes the difference. It is a very expensive election and could have turned the other way without the heroin jab. Everyone is still feeling a little high. But the effect cannot last long.

5/06/2006

kopitiam talk on the election

By now probably 90% of the votes are in and nothing can change the outcome of the election. It is also a good time to talk a bit of nonsense and enjoy the freedom of kopitiam talk. I personally like George Yeo, Lim Hwee Hua and Zainul abidin. In fact many of the PAP candidates are very good people. I also like Sylvia Lim and many of the opposition candidates too. But when contesting a GRC, one team has to go. That is what GRC is all about. It is all in or all out. Choktong has warned the people of the consequences of losing a good minister like George Yeo. All ministers are highly valued and cannot afford to lose in an election. Given such a logic and the importance of a minister, opposition should not even contest a GRC. And he even suggested to cut a deal with the people, offering them even 10 NCMPs if they vote for the ministers. Actually he should have offerred the deal earlier. Then maybe the opposition can trade the deal by contesting only single wards so that no minister need to lose. Opposition candidates walkover in single wards and PAP ministers walkover in GRCs. That would be a good deal, I think. Now that the people are dumped with this GRC dilemma, it would be a waste if George Yeo and his colleagues were defeated. But all is not lost. They could easily land a job that pays them more than what they are getting now. Reminds me of Lim Chee Onn. Happily staying away from politics and making his millions. The next election will be a more interesting one when political parties start to trade deals with one another. And probably there will be no voting. Once the deal is struck, each party will go back with the number of constituencies in their pockets. General election Singapore style.

A final assessment

One week of campaigning is finally over and voters are marching to the polling stations to decide their own fate. I am just wondering whether they know what they are in for? Are they casting their votes for their own good or for their own doom? Whoever they vote for, they will have to live with their choices for the next 5 years. Will they be voting for a party to look after them or to boss over them? The democratic process is a funny thing. It gives you a choice to choose. To choose what? To choose someone to look after your interest or someone to carry a cane to whip you. So far it has been like that. The people are there to choose their master, and happily doing so. In this election it is not to vote for a new govt. The key issue is whether to have more voices to restrain the govt or to confirm that there is no need to restrain the govt. For the former, it is an indication that the people wanted some change, that they are not totally happy with what had happened over the last few years. In the later case, the people will be saying yes, we like what the govt has been doing and the govt can continue to do what it thinks best for the people. The bread and butter issues, a better tomorrow where jobs are aplenty, people can make a living easier, lower cost of living etc will thus be the key decider on who to vote for. Both the opposition parties and ruling parties have addressed these issues to some extent. The rest of the issues raised like quality of candidates, their commitments, upgradings etc were side issues. Then the Gomez incident however, has taken centre stage and could really become the key factor that really tips the scale. PAP has rightly saw an opportunity to discredit the WP's team in Aljunied by creating a big doubt in Gomez. Initially they scored big. But after opening a big wound they got carried away and made themselves into a wolf pack devouring the carcass. The sight turned ugly and nauseating to many people. It shows the ugly side of the PAP at its worst. Even the NKF and Chee Soon Juan saga faded to the background. Chee was silenced and the NKF issue sidelined. In a way this turned out to favour the opposition as they distanced away from Chee and appeared very reasonable. It was a personal vendetta or family feud between the Chees and Lees. Nobody wants to get involved. And without Chee making fiery and reckless speeches, the rally was what it should be with the opposition parties saying what they should be saying and PAP trying to sell their plans for the people. Then things took a plunge for the PAP on the last two days of campaigning. The word 'fix' took on a new meaning. Earlier it was Gomez trying to fix the Elections Dept and the whole government. Now it has a different angle. Gomez made his slip. Now PAP has its slip as well. And this may prove very costly. Though the PMO quickly came out with an apology that it was a slip, the negative thought has already been planted in people's mind. My gut feel of the outcome. Aljunied will go to WP. The WP put up a credible team but got derailed by Gomez. I thought that was the end of WP in Aljunied. But the subsequent barrage of persistent attacks against his blunder levelled the ground again. Then came the PAP slip at Raffles Place and this could be what the WP needs. On the single constituency, Steve Chia has come out quite strongly, very flamboyant and charming in his own ways. His little flirtation with the law seems to be totally forgiven and forgotten. And compare to a goody and clean but dull Gan Kim Yong, Steve Chia comes out a more popular guy. Ho Peng Kee tried his very best but there seems to be a gap. It was quite obvious that he could not bridge and connect with the people in his rally speeches. His attempt to speak the voters lingo was a big effort that did not seem to get through. Ong Ah Heng, the veteran, may lose out to the youthfulness of Lian Chin Way. This is a refreshing face of a young professional, a serious young man who is equal to the PAP's slate of candidates. The voters will have no problem voting for him. Seng Han Thong may find Yip Weng Kee too good a match for him despite his advantage as a current MP. Yip could match him in every area and that should be good enough to carry him to Parliament. Tan Bin Seng would be a close call for Chan Soo Sen. Not that Tan Bin Seng is more superior. But if the people are looking for a decent and credible candidate, they might just give their votes to Bin Seng. As for Hougang and Potong Pasir, it was a gallant attempt by the PAP. But the truth will be repeated and the PAP would have to try harder another time. The PAP's waving of millions of dollars of upgrading programmes did not really draw the right responses they want from the people. Everyone knows that it is the taxpayers' money they are throwing back at the people. Nothing to crow about. In fact Steve Chia's challenge of using his own money, though not much, created more positive impact than the millions being promised by the PAP. The above is just my take. I could be totally wrong.