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7/31/2006

what an amazing discovery!!!

I have not been to the YPAP forum for quite a while when things there got too dull and full of spamming. Just a while ago I tried to drop in to see if there is any improvement. And I was greeted with a Critical Information window. And yes, it states that I have been banned from YPAP forum. Amazing. I thought I was the most decent forumer there, talking sensibly though at times a bit cynical. And I got banned. I must say that YPAP must have pretty high quality of postings there. I better stay in my own blog/forum and post my own stuff.

Emperor Mahathir speaks

The Emperor speaks. Dr Mahathir Mohamad has met Malacca Chief Minister Khalil Yaakob, who is playing the role of a mediator following his strained relationship with the present leadership of the country. Confirming this, Dr Mahathir said: "When Khalil met me before I left for my holidays recently, I told him what needed to be done. "I told him the solution is very simple, just don't bow to Singapore's demands, don't undermine Proton and don't sell Agusta."... Meanwhile, Malaysia Today, an online magazine reported that that the key issues in Dr. Mahathir's speech in Kota Baru yesterday included the following: · Kalimullah Hassan, PM Abdullah's aide and former editor of the New Straits Times, is "a Singapore agent" without clarification. · Khairy Jamaluddin, the PM's influential son-in-law, became a millionaire in three years. "If want government contract, go see Khairy." The above were extracted from littlespeck.com. After handpicking his successor and bypassing his first choice in Najib, Mahathir now declared that he no longer supports Abdullah Badawi, implying that this is his edict and Badawi must go. He has decided. Then he went on to tell the people that he would not make a comeback as if he will be returned to power if he wanted to. He is the Emperor afterall and he is the one to decide whether he wants to be the Emperor again.

let the butchering continues, the american way

After watching the news and seeing all the pictures of devastation and the number of people displaced, wounded or killed, I find hope. There is hope for an everlasting peace in the Middle East. The Israelis must keep on pounding Lebanon until no one and no building is standing. That is the only way the Israeli know how to solve their problem. And they are very good and efficient in the way they carry it out. Give it another six months and there will be no Lebanon. And if the problem goes over to Syria, do it the same way, methodically. And the civilised world should come together and fight with the Israelis. Then the problem will be solved even faster. The final solution, the mother of all solution, is to wipe out all the Arabs in the Middle East. Then we will have eternal peace. God bless the chosen people.

7/30/2006

a trip in contrast. continue

A trip in contrast. continue We hit the North South Highway in double quick time as the traffic was easy and flowing. Gone were the mad rush to the golf courses. Life seemed to have returned to the normal leisure pace. We did not encounter any traffic police road blocks to check our passports or motorists being caught for speeding. Maybe the number of Singaporeans coming over now did not justify the deployment of a police unit of cars, equipment and precious police manpower. No speed trap along the highway too. After exiting Ayer Hitam we headed west to Batu Pahat. We intended to go for Bukit Benang Golf Course but changed our mind and went to the old Batu Pahat Golf Course instead to enjoy the warmth of local hospitality. The road had widened into a 4 lane highway and made driving so easy. We were greeted with a sign board saying Cross Creek outside the club house. Hmmm, very American. A little sign of change. Other than that, the Club was as beautiful as it was, very well maintained, despite a cowgrass course. Plenty of flowers and colours. We had our tussles and arguments and all the digs at each other during the 18 holes. And in between the monkeys were screaming away. Then the 3 wild boars that dashed across the fairway while we were teeing off. Quite a refreshing experience for city folks. We drove out for lunch after 9 holes. The kopitiam was a 2 min drive. We had two big plates of loh may or mixed cuts, chicken, roast ducks, roast pork. Actually we double the order after the first one. Then laksa, wanton noodle, drinks plus 4 large bottles of Calsberg etc. $50 ringgits for the whole works for 4. A big plate of wanton noodle and a big bowl of wanton soup at $2.50 rm each. Dinner was more sumptuous. We went for the famous chicken rice by the sea, otah, chicken wings, carrot cake, clams, big prawns, vegetable, carlsberg, fruits, etc. This was followed by a round of Batu Pahat durians. RM$5 a kg of quality durians with rambutans thrown in by the seller for free as dessert. The whole trip, including caddie fees and tips, cost $110 ringgits. Now how much is that, less than S$50 for a day of golfing and pigging out. How far can S$200 stretch for 4 adults at home? The biggest surprise awaited us on the home leg. We took the side entrance for goods vehicles and were met with an eiree silence. Where were the thousands of Singapore cars and the long queues? We were the third car at the immigration. And only two counters were open. And on the Singapore side, we were the first car! And this was peak hour, 8pm on a saturday night. The best experience of the whole trip was of course the casual and friendly people we met around Batu Pahat and Cross Creek. It was so pleasant that made us want to return again. A little trip to memory lane.

A trip in contrast

A not too contrasting lifestyle but a widening cost of living. I have not been to Malaysia for quite a number of years. For old time sake one of my kakis decided that we should walk down memory lane again. We used to do that when golfing craze was at its height, when golfing in Singapore would cost a hand or a leg, when making money was also easy and spending money in our neighbouring country seemed so fun. We arrived at the causeway at 7.30am. Again we were slammed by the jams on our side of the causeway. When jams occurred on our side, they were the result of more intensive and thorough checks, nothing to do with being slakay or go slow attitude. Definitely not being understaffed or trying to make life easy to the motorists. So we grudgingly nailcrawled all the way to the immigration. Phew, by the time we got through, 45 min were gone. What a waste! The same number of vehicles were also expected to hit the Malaysian side and we should face a worst jam knowing their slakay tiadak apa attitude, go slow to irritate Singaporeans, and scolding Singaporeans for trying to rush through or appearing impatient. Well, where was the jam? We were in a queue of about 10 cars and were through in less 10 minutes. Now what is wrong? So we consoled ourselves that they simply let everyone through without checking. That made us feel better. But actually, there was no difference and all the procedures were followed. Across the causeway the first thing that greeted us was Mahathir. He was standing right across the road once we left the immigration. Huge masses of unfinished concrete with reinforced steel bars jutting into midair. And all the makeshift dividers, were all in a mess. The signs of the crooked bridge halted and abandoned halfway. Now I know why Mahathir was angry.( to be cont)

7/28/2006

Prudence - the freedom to spend and to save

“The ordinary people must be able to enjoy and afford these six items at a reasonable price and only then will there be a meaning to us striving to achieve developed nation status,” Lee Hsien Loong said in launching the National Consumer Day celebrations at Bukit Batok here yesterday. “Such a status is not only meant for those who have the means. A developed nation must be for all.” The Prime Minister in emphasising his assurances made these comments on the six item: FOOD and clothes: “There should be adequate supply of food and clothes which are reasonably priced.” Homes: “House prices cannot be too expensive as everyone should be given the opportunity to own affordable homes or rent them at affordable cost.” Cars: “Consumers should also be able to buy cars at reasonably low prices because it had become a necessity for most people today. “Otherwise, public transportation services should be of high quality and the cost should remain low.” Education: “It should be affordable so that it will not prevent the poor from improving their lot.” Medical treatment: “There must be cheap and quality drugs and not expired ones. The cost of treatment must also be affordable.” Communication services (including Internet connection): “Every Sinkaporean must be able to enjoy such modern services,” he said. However, the Prime Minister reminded the people that they have to be smart consumers and be prudent with their spending. He said, as consumers, they should look out for good bargains when sourcing these six essential items. “We, on our part, will constantly monitor the inflation situation, but consumers should know their role as consumers to help ensure it is under control,” he said. The above was quoted from Sammyboy. I only take issues with two points, prudent and affordable. How can people be prudent and spent only on the amount they want to spend when they are expected to spend according to their income level in medical care and buying HDB flats? The other issue is affordability. Affordable according to who or what standard? A person earning $5k or $10k will find many things affordable as compare to one who is earning $2k. And one who earns a million a year will find everything is affordable. Shall HDB do away with income ceiling and let the people choose whichever flat they are comfortable with and not be coerced, by their income, to purchase bigger flats? After all the subsidy is market subsidy and not a subsidy on the cost of building the flats. In reality the subsidy is to reduce the profit that HDB could have made. The people must have the freedom of choice to spend only the amount they want to spend.

Middle East - The tide is changing!

I am just observing the wars in the Middle East, a contest of the West versus the Arabs/Muslims. It has been a case of modernity kicking the arses of medieval tribes for a few centuries. One side advancing and conquering the world with science and technology and another side allowing science and technology to pass them by. And in warfare, it is always one side beating the other. One side seems so formidable, and superior, and another so backward, primitive in a sense and helpless, poorly armed. And the weaker side is always on the losing end, being beaten by superior force and technology. Then came the American invasion of Iraq. It was so easy and the Iraqis scattered and ran. But that proved to be only for a moment. They have regrouped and starting to give hell to the invaders. The Americans are bogged down in a war they cannot win, like in Vietnam. That frightens the shit out of the the planners and decision makers in the White House and Pentagon. Superior force and superior men are losing grounds to the most fearful military strategy that have seen them lost in Vietnam. Guerilla warfare, asymetrical warfare, where superior arms and forces were helpless in a battlefield that is not defined and no enemies on the cross hairs. The Iraqis have stood the ground and are no cowards at they were thought to be. They are hitting back and American casualties are mounting. Yesterday, 9 Israeli soldiers were killed and 27 wounded in battle against the Hezbollahs. What, Israeli soldiers killed in battle! Never have such things or such numbers been counted on the Israeli side. How could the mighty and efficient and well trained Israeli soldiers got killed by the poorly equipped Hezbollahs? This success of the Hezbollahs, and their ability to launch rockets and missiles into Israeli territories are going to change the perception of the Arabs on the invincibility of the Israelis. The Israelis can be beaten. The young Israeli soldiers are just as green and lost as the young Americans sent into Vietnam. And they can be taken down just the same. This kind of thoughts is going to give the Arab resistance fighters a lot more confidence in themselves. Given more organisation and better weapons and the will to fight, they are taking out the Israelis. The myth that Israeli soldiers are too superior to the Arabs is crumbling down. There will be more Israeli casualties and more Israeli mothers will be crying. The tide is starting the change. The beaten are beating back.

time to build bridges - parameswaran

"Singapore should consider a gesture to move relations with Malaysia forward. After all, we are its most immediate neighbour. .. "Similarly, now would be a good time to turn to Malaysia and offer a gesture of goodwill," he told a meeting of the Rotary Club of Johor Baru on Tuesday. The above were spoken by the Malaysian High Commisioner to Singapore, Parameswaran and reported in the New Straits Times. Agree that both sides should build more bridges as we are going to be neighbours for a long long time. Better to be friends than enemies. But with a big battle looming in Malaysia now, it is better for Singapore to stay clear and wait for the storm to pass or we might get very wet when we are engulfed by it. Wait for clear skies when things are clearer before treading in the water.

UN and Middle East

Below are two posts I lifted from redbeanforum on middle east. Posted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 9:00 pm Post subject: If you agree, then the UN is a farce? It costs billions of dollars to run, it is corrupt, it is ineffective, it is biased, What is it for but to give a platform for people to practice the oratory skills? Won't the money spent on running the UN be more effective in providing medical care to the poor, raise their standard of living a fraction, and let the Big boys brain one another senseless, because that is what they are going to do anyway? The UN is one huge White Elephant! Post by elle in redbeanforum. Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 8:18 am Post subject: Hahaha elle, Nice thought. That's why they should put Chok Tong there as the next UN Sec Gen. He would clean up the place and introduce Singapore's work culture, ethics and incorruptibility in the UN. Not only that, the UN will also become a profit centre and making money from all its operations and aid programme. Nothing is for free. It is biased alright. Everyone is looking after their own interests. The US just blocked a motion for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon and Israel has pledged that it would intensify its pounding of Lebanon. What Israel and the US should do is to get a coalition of 20 or 30 countries and wipe out whatever they want to wipe out in Lebanon and put in half a million troops there, just like Iraq. There then will be some kind of security there and Israel will no longer come under attacks from Hezbollah. And the Al Qaeda can activate all their cells around the world and start to hit at Israeli and American targets. That would be interesting. And since both sides are so keen to outdo each other, let them have a free hand to go all out to achieve their objectives. It will come to an end faster than if there are so many restraints facing them now.

7/27/2006

2 room flats - when reality sets in

"This is part and parcel of what we've been doing, to expand the range of options for Singaporeans from all walks of life to enjoy the privileges and pleasures of living in a HDB environment, to own their homes and have a stake in Singapore." Mah Bow Tan Singaporeans from all walks of life, from the very rich to the very poor, will now have the opportunity to enjoy the privileges and pleasures of living in a HDB environment. So I would presume that there is no family income to exclude those with higher incomes to buy 2 room flats. Otherwise how could the rich Singaporeans qualify to buy 2 room HDB flats? And I didn't know that it is so pleasurable to living in a HDB environment. And it is also a privilege! Singaporeans are so lucky. They better quickly sell off their private and landed properties to enjoy such pleasures which they have missed. And these 2 room flats are made affordable for Singaporean, meaning that many cannot afford them if there is no subsidies. What is the reality of all these? Are the bottoms falling off and Singaporeans no longer able to afford 3 rooms or bigger HDB flats? OK let me qualify this statement before it becomes brown soup. When talking about HDB flats, I am referring to the heartlanders/hardlanders. Not the successful and super rich in their private and landed properties. So are the heartlanders now becoming hardlanders? Are their lives improving, are they better off today than yesterday? Is downgrading into 2 room flats a lifestyle choice, a privilege for people to enjoy the pleasures of HDB living. What is real? When the stake of a Singaporean is a 2 room flat, is there really anything worth defending or fighting for?

use a bully to fight a bully

Irfan Husain, a columnist for Dawn, an English language newspaper in Pakistan, has an article published in the Today paper titled, 'Insecurities of the Local Bully.' The gist of his article is about a big bully, Israel, bullying its weak and helpless Arab neighbours. It is such an irony that this big bully was once weak and helpless under the Nazis in Europe. They were meekly marched into concentration camps and gas to death without much resistance. The Arabs actually show more resistance to this bully than when the bully was bullied by the Nazis. It is all a game of power. In the face of a stronger bully, the weak will surrender meekly. The nemesis of the Israelis must be the Nazis. Maybe the Arabs should work closely with the Nazis, get their help, to fight the Israelis. The Nazis sure know how to frighten and intimidate the Jews. And when come face to face with the Nazis, the Jews will have no answer. You need a bully to handle a bully.

time to learn from malaysia

Who says Malaysia has nothing to teach us? Slowly but surely we are starting to copy the good ideas coming from across the causeway. The first hint of such a mental shift is to build the underground road network in the city and allow the developers to collect tolls. Collecting tolls is the masterpiece of Malaysian infrastructure development. It is their trademark. Now we are going to fly our national flags in taxis, buses and private cars. The Malaysians have been doing this for donkey years. Now Singapore is catching up with the idea. What else that we can learn from our neighbours? Would we be considering building a half bridge too? Good for toll business. Or are we going for more Guinness Book of Records? The Malaysians have beaten us to that in the number of records they have created, the largest national flag, the largest ketupat, the biggest kettle, the largest drum orchestra, etc. We can have the longest queue in Orchard Road, the longest popiah, the longest sarong....the most artificially created icons, the merlions...

7/26/2006

myth 46

'Know who is more important than know how' In a society that prides itself as prim and proper, without any cronyism, and the best man wins based on his own merit, it is quite surprising to here such a myth being spread in the kopitiams. Often you can hear people whispering that the guy who is rising rapidly in the corporate ladder has very little know how but plenty of know who. Isn't this familiar? Of course this is a myth. Everyone attains their position of authority and power definitely not just because of know who. Knowing who is important, but not that important. Being the who's who is the thing. When one is the who's who, there is no need for knowing who. But this is not something that is peculiar to any country. It is common to all countries and all cultures. Being a son in law is good enough to aspire to be the youngest CEO or the next Prime Minister. Being the son, like Richard Li, will be given billions of dollars to play monopoly. Real stuff! So, what's so great about know who? The next time when someone whispers about knowing who, point to the who's who.

7/25/2006

MPS - meet and punch session!

This taxi driver is just too much. How could he turn a Meet the People Session into a Meet and Punch Session. No matter what, should charge him for assaulting a public servant. It is not joke being a MP and be beaten up by a resident. I hope the MP is covered by some insurance for such occupational risks.

74 and still desperate to work!

Why would a 74 year old grand dad got so desperate as to punch a member of parliament all for a taxi licence? Shouldn't he be happily retired, living in retirement resorts or marking time in HDB void decks? Didn't he have enough CPF savings to keep him going? The CPF minimum sum scheme should have been introduced earlier and Singaporeans need not be so desperate when they are old. A normal Singaporean should expect to work for about 30 years to earn enough to feed him for another 30 years. And in the mean time he has to pay for his flat and to bring up a family. Simply put, he has 4 things to work and budget for. Flat, family, his own upkeep for 30 + 30 years. Plus one more, inflation. Singaporeans are rich.

myth 44

''If we fail to do so, leadership renewal will falter, the PAP will inevitably decline and Singapore will suffer.' by Lee Hsien Loong I can agree with Hsien Loong, in fact fully agree with him, that if there is no leadership renewal, PAP will and must decline. That is a truism. As for the second part that Singapore will suffer, that is very subjective and is based on the assumption that Singapore's well being is linked to PAP. Without the PAP, even in the future, Singapore will suffer. This is as good as a belief. Without the PAP in the future, why can't there be a better and more professional and dedicated group of people coming forward to serve? And why is it that only the PAP can attract good people and other parties can't? What will happen tomorrow is anybody's guess. Who knows, Singapore might need to be saved by a new party if PAP falls into the wrong hands. Linking Singapore's well being with the PAP is thus a very subjective claim.

myth 45

'There is no press freedom' After the recent brown commotion, more people are saying 'See, See, didn't I tell you! Where got press freedom?' Everyone seems to have found the same conclusion. And maybe that could be the reason why so many bloggers and forumers also quit cyberspace. But I choose to defer. How could there by no press freedom? Remember how freely the local press wrote about the general elections and praising all the candidates? Remember they had a field day writing voluminous reports about the general election practically everyday? Wasn't that press freedom? A better proof is that all our professional journalists have not complained about no press freedom here. So what more proof does one need to say that there is press freedom and our journalists are all very content with the state of affair. What Bhavani's edict actually forbid are very reasonable. No partisan politics, no undermining national policies and no championing of issues. Anything else ok. See, what more can one ask for? There are a lot of press freedom as long as one does not violate Bhavani's edict. And cyberspace and blogs, completely free to write whatever you want. Complaining that there is no press freedom is thus a myth.

singtel may be looking for foreign ceos

In the paper's headline today, Singtel may seek foreign CEO. This is probably the wisest and most sensible thing to do since there is no local talents left after Hsien Yang vacated his seat. He was there for 12 years and was too busy expanding the business that no one was groomed to succeed him. Don't they have any good local talents left? I did asked earlier about Ngiam Tong Dow's criticism of getting foreign CEOs to run local companies. I think he was joking. We truly, really, don't have that kind of talents that can earn US$200 mil a year. See, talent is measured by how much one can command. We have seen so much praise to a local talent who earned peanuts. The second notch international talent should be asking for US$50 to 60 million. Third notch maybe US$30 mil, and 4th to 5th notch maybe asking fot US$10 mil. These are still far more talented than all our local CEOs who are talented only up to US$3-5 mil. So maybe we get a 6th to 7th notch foreign CEOs should do the trick. It is actually quite disappointing that after so many years we still don't have top notch CEOs. Not even in the top 5 levels. It is high time we employed someone who is really top notch and pay him US$200 million. Then we can showcase to the world that we have world best top notch CEOs. For the time being we shall be content with our 10th notch local CEOs and quickly replaced them when some foreign 6th or 7th notch CEOs are available. But better check which universities they graduated from, if they did graduated as claimed.

7/24/2006

is it embarrassing to be a local journalist?

Mr Wang Bakes Good Karma spoke about the declining and limited role of local journalists in the main stream media. What he said actually made a lot of sense. Not only has the credibility of the local journalists is being badly bruised, they should be now quite clear what they can write about and what they cannot. And the good thing is that the bloggers and internet forums are given a freer hand, which means that people who wants an alternative view must get them from the internet. The mainstream media is just there to present a specific news angle. Would this lead to more interests in internet news and internet be seen as a threat to the official views in the mainstream media? And, would the local journalists speak out to redefine their role or are they going to swallow everything and surrender their sacred role and duty as journalists? How would our journalists face up to their international counterparts when confronted with questions regarding their professional duties as journalists? Maybe all these are good for a young country like ours. We don't need the flair and inquisitiveness of journalists running around and telling different things to the people. We cannot afford to have different viewpoints that may undermine the efforts in nation building.

myth 43

'Renewal of leadership will save the party and country' There is no doubt that renewal of party leaders is important to keep the party fresh and highly motivated and not be stuck with a stagnant system of ideas and people. But this is only a small piece of a whole tapestry. Sorry many are just tapestry weavers. There are many other aspects which have to be addressed other than just head counts. The goals, the direction and priorities to reorganise and restructure society and people as a nation are equally important. We have done very well as a nation for many years. But strains and cracks are appearing but either ignored or viewed as not important or irrelevant, or even as a part and parcel of progress. A little reflection on what life was before and now, how a single income family could live life quite comfortably, how a university degree was a passport to a comfortable lifestyle, how four figure monthly income was considered quite wealthy. The time when a decent semi D cost an equivalent of 3 or 4 years annual income, a car could be had at the price of half a years income of a fresh graduate. What is happening to our wealthy society when more people are feeling stressed and unhappy, got lost in the rat race, and a two income family can only just get by, a single income family is never enough? Are the masses of today really better off than the masses of yesteryears?

7/23/2006

after singel, what's next?

This must be the most frequent asked question among Singaporeans since the announcement on Friday. After Singtel, where else? It has to be something better and bigger. Are there are not many companies that are bigger and better than Singtel? SIA, DBS? Not many to choose from actually. Or what about Temasek? Does Temasek's recent performance demands for a change of leadership? Or maybe Hsien Yang has a different call, maybe he has seen enough of the corporate world and wanted to live life and see the world in peace and quite, or to serve God. Not a possibility to rule out. The third option is politics. The reluctant brother who is thrown into the arena when saying no is not an option. We have seen how Rajiv Ghandhi was made to accept his political assignment when Sanjay was cut down. Would Hsien Yang be made to step into his brother's shoe because he has no other choice? Would we be hit by a second and bigger surprise of Hsien Loong calling it a day from politics? You never know would you?

the people is not your enemy

Tan Soo Khoon is in the best position to offer a balanced advice to his new and old comrades. Be humble, respect people who disagree and not to question their motives and live a normal life. Being out of the system, no longer entrenched in it and with the vested interest of preserving and protecting the system and policies, it is easier for Soo Khoon to look at the whole picture as a bystander. It is always clearer from that angle. Be humble may be asking too much when one is already told that he/she is the best, the cream of society. It is ok to have that wow feeling, just don't get too swell headed. It is difficult to be surrounded by power and wealth and to live like an ordinary man who has nothing. Good, live it up, but stay rooted to the ground. Accepting different views and knowing that there will always be people who disagree with you is a sign of wisdom and humility. Unless one still believes in being god, supreme wisdom, and unquestionable. As for motives, there are those who have real bad motives. There is no doubt about that. But not everyone harbours evil thought. If that be the case, all those gossipers in the kopitiams should be put away. And there are thousands of them, and the taxi drivers or officer workers. Everyone has something to say, good or bad. Only when it arrives at your ear or not. Or is it preferable to pretend that there is no disagreement by shutting one's ears or cutting off people who say something unacceptable? Living a normal life, continue to drink coffee in the kopitiam may have to go. Not realistic because of time pressure, the activies and the bulging pocket. But there will be opportunities to sit in the kopitiam with the grassroots. Plenty of opportunities to do so. But do not pretend that the kopitiam is still the natural habitat. What is most important is not to see the people as your enemy. The communists like to swim as fishes among the sea of people. The people is there to provide the props and support to raise a leader higher. Cutting off the people with the slightest annoyance will eventually destroy the connection between people and leaders. A few more cases of brown soup will definitely draw a clear line between the ruler and the ruled and the widening of the divide.

7/22/2006

If Chok Tong is UN Sec Gen...

If Chok Tong is to be the UN chief, he will carry the trademark of incorruptibility with him for sure. And he will make the whole UN incorruptible too when he introduces the same high pay policy there. This is such a wonderful dream, when a Singaporean takes over the UN and transforms it into an exciting model of good corporate governance. I can also see a lot of our supertalents joining him to rebuild the world organisation. We hve experts in every fields. First on the list will be building Singapore style HDB flats for the world. World class hospitals, schools, and better still if he can get the UN to relocate to Singapore. The whole UN building can be sold en bloc and make a huge profit as the property cost here is definitely cheaper than New York. Wow, straightaway the UN is flushed with cash, probably can stash away as a 20 year reserve. Now, would that not be a great achievement for Singapore? And he can tap on the resources of LKY still. I am so excited over such a possibility. And Chok Tong can carve up a vision for the UN, Staying Together, Moving Forward. For this motto, just pay a small royalty will do. No need to engage a PR agency and pay a few millions for it.

Who is at war with the Arabs or attacking Lebanon?

US in no hurry to seek Mid East ceasefire. This is the heading of Jonathan Eyal's article in the Straits Times. Isn't the Israelis' who are fighting the Lebanon? The Israeli soldiers are attacking, and are preparing to move into Lebanon. But in reality, it is a proxy war of the US. Despite many calls from world leaders, including Kofi Annan, there was a stony silence and America just stand aside as if it is none of its business. But this is what Jonathan wrote,... "The reality, as every diplomat in New York knows, is that the US is quite content to allow Israel another week or so to crush Hizbollah. The Americans' ultimate aim is to humiliate Syria and Iran, the countries it regards as Hizbollah's paymasters.... But the US is keen to avoid any spillover into a direct confrontation with Syria. The Syrians are merely to be kept in check and, if possible, lured away from their alliance with Iran." There is no doubt as to who is the master of this show of force. And if the US continues to stamp its authority over the Arabs, the backlash will come. And it is gathering momentum across the world. Do not be surprised when US embassies will be hit and Americans become targets of attacks by the pro Arab groups.

7/21/2006

the news that's worth 4 million smiles

The Australian Support grows for Goh in UN race David Nason, New York correspondent July 20, 2006 MOVES to have former Singaporean prime minister Goh Chok Tong succeed Kofi Annan as UN secretary-general are gathering momentum in New York as the Security Council prepares to hold an informal "straw poll" for the candidates later this week. This is a great piece of news for everyone and a very strategic move that even Chok Tong will be smiling. And if he does get the job to replace Kofi Annan, there will be the 4 million smiles all round. Technically he is the most qualified and suitable candidate and will have the support of most of the big powers like the US, UK, China and Russia. Once his name is up, it is impossible to beat him. And all the diplomats in the UN would have to look up to Chok Tong, and thus Singapore. Another first for Singapore. We are indeed a very blessed country.

Anglo Saxon worldview is not forever

Wong Hoong Hooi wrote in the Today paper, "There is little point pleading for what is fair in a world order that is all about preserving the hegemony of the Anglo Saxon bloc....The 'free world' is free only for the Anglo Saxon bloc to decide what other people may or may not do. If we are to change this world order, we must refuse acceptance of its premanence to which the Westernised are all too happy to subscribe." For the moment the world has got used to the Anglo Saxon dominance that, short of an alternative, it is better to live with a known devil. And the Muslim world is not going to be a pleasant alternative given the extremism in the way life is being ordered under a strict religious and medieval order. Communism has failed to deliver and a dead option. But does it mean that there is no better option and the world would have to live forever under this arrangement? If that's all there is, I too will accept the present order. On the other hand there must be a new and better balance of power that is not dominated by the Anglo Saxon race and values. And it need not be a complete change from the existing order but a gradual shift in the power equation to weaken the Anglo Saxon hegemony. And given the gross inequalities and discrimination against other racial or religious groups, the present order will only destroy itself to give way to a fairer order. The Anglo Saxon dominance of the world will not last forever.

lets teach people how to be happy

Happiness seems to be the new topic of discussion. Anyway it is a safer topic than politics per se. You just won't know when Bak Kwa will become more Kwa than Bak and starts to exert itself as the Kwa. A letter from a Jolene Tan in the Today paper said, 'As a general rule, govts that do not randomly detain, execute or oppress their people are likely to be governing happier citizens.' Well, in all counts, detain, execute or oppress, our govt is free from them. Unless you disagree and insist that this is a statement of myth. So, why are our people unhappy? Jolene added, 'Perhaps if we had less meddling in private affairs and more space for people to live as they see fit, rather than trying to find a neat formula for every person, we would have more of that elusive happiness.' Are we meddling with the people's life? Too much meddling? Is the jacking up of basic cost of living meddling with the people's life? How to explain that with such a strong Singapore currency, earning S$2000 a month is not enough and need to beg for assistance? If with this level of income it is difficult to live, to make ends meet, all those in this category or earning less are already in the unhappiness group. But there are those who can live happily by pretending that life is not all about money. So when they eat potatoes, they will call it fish. And when they eat sweet potatoes, they will imagine that it is beef. So they can live a life of plenty with fish and beef in their menu everyday, and be very happy. It thus takes a little creativity to be happy. Tell yourself that people earning a million bucks are very unhappy. And a simple life and living on fresh air and water is a healthier life, with little of the rich man's sickness. I think we should have a campaign teaching people who are earning less than $2000 how to be happy and telling them how bless they are.

7/20/2006

uniquely singapore not enough

What happens when Uniquely Singapore does not work? I am only presuming. Maybe it does worked. Maybe it works but not enough. Maybe it has passed its time and a new catch phrase is needed. Now Singapore is Beyond Words. I am not sure how much it cost Uniquely Singapore and whether it gets what it was worth. And I am not sure how much it costs to develop Beyond Words. I hope it will be effective and productive and the cost is not beyond words. When Uniquely Singapore goes Beyond Words. What's next? Speechless

i am bak kwa!

Bak Chor Mee may try to be humourous. Bak Kut Teh may think he is so popular that he does not need the business of Donald Tsang. But didn't they know that Bak Kwa is looking and is getting annoyed by their antics. Bak Kwa always win. Now what did Bak Kwa said to Bak Chor Mee? You may have your CCTV, but I can edit and erase and censor it whenever I like. And I can snip you to oblivion. And to Bak Kut Teh, Bak Kwa said he is sending him for more training. Or else no licence renewal. And if he refuses to go for training, more inspection, to check for cockroaches and rats. Both Bak Chor Mee and Bak Kut Teh may be popular, celebrities! But remember, my name is Bak Kwa.

A dose of reality.

Two articles in the Today paper today on the Israel bombarbment of Lebanon, and both vindicates the right of might. Military power is the rule of the game. The first report spoke about Lebanon pleading for mercy and the world leaders refused to step in to stop the carnage, and 'the New York Times revealed yesterday that this inaction was part of a deliberate strategy that the US and Israel have adopted. The two have concluded that the Lebanese authorities and army are powerless to control Hezbollah...' It was actually a collusion between the US and Israel against Lebanon and the Arab world, and the world cannot do anything about it. Power talks. The other article by an Arabic scholar, Ahmad Samih Khalidi, further revealed how pathetic the Arabs were, attempting to reason with the world and hoping that the world will see the views of the Arabs. It smacks of the infamous Ah Q mentality. It tried to explain that Israel felt the pain when it lost a couple of soldiers or a tank and fear that the Hezbollah and the Hamas are catching up. Which of course is bull. The Israeli and American strategy is simply to destroy whatever the Arab resistance are building every few years, to cripple them whenever they are starting to organise and take form. They will not allow any of these resistance group to be able to pose a threat. And this attack will be repeated every now and then, in Lebanon, Syria or other Arab states. Unless the selfish and helpless Arabs can get their acts together, form a united front backup by real military might, they can go on appealing and crying for help. And the rest of the muslim countries the world over can go to the streets of their home cities and throw stones at the embassies. So what, it will do no good to the plight of the Arabs in the Middle east. No one can help the Arabs unless they are prepared to stand up and help themselves. Too much of Allah is a waste of time. The gun is more powerful than Allah. The gun is real. Get real Arabs.

7/19/2006

bak chor mee versus bak kut teh episode

First we have Bak Chor Mee stirring up a little crisis and turning into bad tasting brown soup. Now we have Bak Kut Teh being arrogant to a foreign dignitary. Looks like too much of either can make the head go spinning. Can't think clearly and bringing misfortune to oneself. How would this Bak Kut Teh episode affect his business and the reputation of Singapore as a food paradise? This Bak Kut Teh guy needs to get some training on marketing and certification as a Bak Kut Teh chef. It is not only whipping up a good bowl of Bak Kut Teh that counts. He must know the quality of the meat, the temperature, ingredients, how to wash bowls and also how to make his customers happy and keep coming back. What he has done is to chase away his most important customer who could have given him another boost as the most famous Bak Kut Teh in Singapore. Now his Bak Kut Teh shop is the most infamous. And the negative feedback may chase away all his foreign dignitaries for good. More training in marketing is needed. Send him for upgrading course.

is ngiam tong dow joking?

Ngaim Tong Dow commented that it is not right for Singapore and Singaporean companies to hire foreign talents to be CEOs. Any position but CEOs. CFOs. COOs, or whatever is ok. But CEO means hiring someone to drive our car and tell us where to go. It implies that we are lost, we do not know where to go. And we hire foreign talents to drive us around. He felt that this is running down on Singaporean talents and their pride. That they are second best to foreigners. Before he commented on this, I was harbouring the thought of having a foreign talent as our Prime Minister and run our country. All things being equal, I think they will be cheaper, value for money. Now, after so many years and so many FT jokers as CEOs, have we just woke up? Or is Ngaim joking? Or is Ngaim saying that our locals are better than FTs? A good example of this is the father and son team who have outdone all the FTs. Guess which father and son team? Wrong, I know what is in your mind. I am referring to the Wee Wee team and yes, the Li Li team as well. Oh, sorry, the latter team is from Hongkong.

myth 42

'Paying high salaries, but with a cap, is good' How can I call this a myth? The justification for such a policy of paying high salaries to public office holders is to prevent corruption at high places. Then why is this no good? Yes it is no good, but not because it does not prevent the ills of corruption. There is no corruption at high places. It is no good because it puts a cap on the real income of super talented individuals. It is very unfair to restrain what a supertalent can earn by articificially limiting it with a cap, by pegging it against some subjective numbers. And then we tell these talents that they are doing national service, and that they must sacrifice for the country. Now you see how unfair this policy is. And all the supertalents would have to apologise to their wives and kids that they could not afford the additional resort bungalows in Europe, US or Australia because there is a cap on what they could make in the private sector. Hopefully they don't fill too bad about being shortchanged. Or else they would not be doing their very best. Put it the other way, men of integrity and honesty will not be corrupted even if they are paid less. And if we pay them their true worth, their market value, they will be so motivated that they could move mountains. And it is only fair that they received their due rewards. Then when they have made their billions, one day they might woke up and said, what the shit do I need $50 billions for when $1 billlion they could not even finish using. And they might donate $30 billions to a trust to help the unfortunate. And we can have a few Warren Buffetts and Bill Gates among us! See, artificially capping the income of supertalents is bad. It is artificial and restrictive and unfair to the incumbent. It does not reward talents fully. It shortchanged the talents. It is against the philosophy of paying people their worth, their market value.

7/18/2006

all quiet in cyber ghost town

after the brown incident, an eerie silence has fallen onto cyberspace. most of the forumers have disappeared together from all the forums. the postings were pathetically low. even my www.redbeanforum.com regulars have mostly disappeared. could you fellas help by contributing some posts over there. you only need to copy and paste your posts from here. i still can't figure out why you fellas find it more comfortable to post in a blog. i have to search high and low to retrieve your posts when it is further down and lost among the older threads. try posting at redbeanforum and find out how convenient it is. all the new posts are automatically thrown up at the beginning of page. cheers

myth 41

'131th saddest nation' How can that be, we the 131th saddest country in the world? We are so rich, so smart, so first class, number one this and that, and so happy. Who did that survey? We are going to prove the survery wrong. Come Sept, all 4 million Singaporeans will be smiling. We are going to show to the world that we are a happy country with 4 million happy smiles. I think that should do the trick to dispel the myth that we are a sad country.

remove taxi surcharge?

There is a call for the removal of taxi surcharge. At a time like this, it is quite timely to lower taxi fares to encourage more commuters to use cabs as a means of transport. But would this not remove the benefits of fare hike introduced just a few days earlier to defray the cost of higher petrol prices? Then everything is back to square one with the taxi driver absorbing all the increases in petrol cost. Why the need to remove surcharge at this time when commuters are already getting use to the higher taxi fare? Many commuters obviously are very comfortable with what they are paying and will continue to use cabs. And, oh I remember, our taxi fare is among the cheapest compare to all the great cities. We can afford to charge a bit more. It is still very affordable. In fact the surcharge and kilometre rate should be increase to reflect the value of the taxi service and bring us closer to first world taxi fares. It is a luxury that people who want it should pay for it. Then taxi driving will be an attractive vocation and more quality drivers will join the profession. And with higher income, they would be encouraged to drive more and maintain their taxi in tip top condition. If taxi fare keeps coming down, then the drivers would not find it attractive as a vocation and the quality of service will drop as well. Taking into consideration all the factors, a decent income for the drivers, affordability, quality of service, employment, etc, it is better to keep raising taxi fares to make this a preferred choice of employment. And taxi drivers can also upgrade their skills to provide in cab entertainment and double as tourist guides. Pay for quality services.

7/17/2006

Magdalene or Saint John or Mona Lisa

The recent commotion about the Da Vinci Code and the controversy of Magdalene must have taken many by surprise. And all the media networks were a hive of activities trying to churn out more documentaries to satisfy the thirst for more information on the code and Magdalene of course. I chanced upon the documentary aired by Channel News Asia on the same issue and all the amazing paintings of Leonardo Da Vinci on the Last Supper. And there was this famous face of Magdalene or Saint John. Da Vinci Code sold the story that it was the face of Magdalene, Jesus trusted companion and wife. But to the believers, it was a young Saint John, a bit effeminate though. He was the only clean shaven and angelic looking guys among all the bearded men in the Last Supper painting. The documentary went further to describe the picture of Magadalene or Saint John as having a face that was similar to Mary the Virgin. There were some resemblance, but when look carefully, not really that much. What is astonishing is when I came face to face with Mona Lisa. That face, I have seen it somewhere. And when I retrieved my taped copy of the documentary and compared the two faces, I must say there is a 90% resemblance. The eyes, the mouth, the chin and that elusive smile which came through in the Last Supper as an elusive doubt. Magdalene is a replica of Mona Lisa! Go take a look at the two pics, if you can get hold of them and judge yourself.

what is age? or what is old?

Today we are still grappling with the outdated concept of a retirement age. It was 55 for many years until a few years ago. Then it was raised to 60 and then 62. But acceptance of this higher retirement age is still very reluctant among the industries and the young turks in their 40s. These are people in top management postions who think that they will forever be in their 40s, forever young. Last week we were host to an eminent scientist, a Nobel Laureate, in the name of Professor Yang Chen Ning, and all bubbly at the age of 83, that is about 2 dozen years past the 55 or 62 retirement age. Is biological age a good criteria to determine the end of a life time of economic activities? Shall one arbitrally retire and try to live the rest of one's life just keeping oneself alive, away from the economic enterprises of society? It has been proven over and over again that the biological age is no barrier, or a rigid criteria as to the usefulness of a person and how much he can contribute his worth. With our limited human resources, it is so wasteful to write off entire generations of people with a wealth of experience and knowledge just because we cannot change our old ways of thinking that 55 is old. Prof Yang can put many people half his age to shame as he is still fully employed at Tsing Hua University in Beijing as an honorary director of the Centre for Advanced Study. At 50 it is actually middle age and still have 30 useful years to go. With the length of time one is required to pursue an education to be highly skilled or specialised in a profession, to fade away at 55 is just not justifiable. We are still seeing many moribund organisations, ministries, stats boards with their policies tied to this magic number of 55. The CPF board is one of them.

7/16/2006

i love smokers

Why are there non-smokers outdoors? By Edwin Yeo July 16, 2006 FOR the last two weeks, I've felt unwanted. Not because I was again rejected when I tried to pick up that hot chick at the bar (I'm used to that), but because of my smoking habit. While my fellow scribe Adam Hashidy might jump up and shout like Fred Flintstone at Singapore's new smoking regulations, it's made me feel like a pariah. I used to enjoy my cup of overpriced coffee at coffee joints, light up a cigarette and imagine that I looked cool. The above is just a fraction of the ranting of Edwin Yeo that non smokers die everyday. I fully agree. Everyone who eats rice also die. Everyone who drinks water also die. I don't have anything against the smokers and their disgusting habits. I have many friends who are smokers. I only hope that they are less generous and don't exhale their precious tobacco mixed smoke for me to inhale, and don't taint my clothings and body with the smelly stale smell of tobacco. And I also hope that after their puff they will swallow the cigarette butts instead of littering them everywhere. If only they can do these, I will love them.

the poor lower middle income class!

There was this guy who is earning $2000 a month and seeking help from the community. He could not go on with this income. And his problem is compounded by the fact that he lives in a 5 room HDB flat. Compare this with a foreign talent who earns the same amount. The FT is going to pray to god to bless the Singapore Govt for the chance to be here to work. For the $2000 means he could probably save $1200 every month and by the time he decides to go home, he is going to be a very rich man in his village. Any FT reading this, please do not take it as an attack against FT. This is just a comparison to show how relative is the worth of money and cost of living. The $2000 Singaporean, although still branded as lower middle income, is a POOR man. A man who needs financial assistance. And for those who says he must cut down his other expenses like eating one bowl of rice lesser and drink one cup of coffee less, I find such comments very cruel and unbecoming. The cost of living here is high, disproportionate to the income of the people. So, ask him to sell his 5 room flat? Another arrogant and thoughtless comment of Singaporeans who thinks their own good fortune will last forever. Only thick headed Singaporeans would tell someone in such a plight to sell his 5 room flat. For the flat was bought by CPF contributions and he would not see much of it after selling as most of the money would still be retained by the CPF. We can keep on boasting about our people, lower middle income class as if they were really lower middle class. They are living near the poverty line if one takes away all the fixed overheads that they cannot runaway from. eg CPF, consevancy fee, PUB, telecom, TV, public transport, basic meals, GST, school fees, medical, pocket money for children, the little contributions to social functions like a wedding, death etc. How much is left? How much is there to squeeze further? And all the fees are still going to go up as sure as the sun will rise. Welcome to the good life of a lower middle class Singaporean.

Can we forgive Mr Brown?

I am not sure if Mr Brown is still in Singapore. Or is he thinking of emigrating and be a quitter? Might as well. He must be feeling a lot of pressure now. Poor chap. How can he attempt to undermine national strategy? That is serious stuff. Maybe he should apologise and come clean and see if he can be rehabilitated. In communist terminology it is called self confession. Who knows, he might get his job back and may even be promoted after that. The return of the prodigal son! We are a forgiving people. Sunday is good day for confession and forgiving. Yes, shall we give him a second chance?

7/15/2006

after the crooked bridge, what's next?

Malaysia plans to build RM490 million sports academy

Located on the outskirts of London, the extravagant project is raising eyebrows By Leslie Lopez The Straits Times Malaysia’s plan to build a half-billion-ringgit sports academy on the outskirts of London has drawn flak from some quarters who say this is an extravagance the country cannot afford. Government officials say that the Sports Ministry is quietly pushing ahead with an ambitious project to build a sports excellence academy at the cost of roughly 490 million ringgit on a 17.8ha piece of prime real estate owned by a Malaysian research agency in Hertfordshire. Proponents of the plan say the new academy will help Malaysian athletes excel internationally, develop the country's capabilities in sports science and medicine and improve the standard of coaching. Should Singapore up the stake and build a bigger one in the USA or Australia? Then we can make our footballers world class and aim for the world cup...Our impossible dream...may just come true.

myth 40

'Singapore is a dictatorial or totalitarian state' This is a label that many have branded Singapore and have even thrown many wild accusations at the political leadership. How can Singapore be associated with a dictatorship or a totalitarian communist regime? Any Singaporean would be able to tell easily what an elected representative govt is as compared to a dictatorship or communist regime. We are a freely elected democracy modelled against the British system. What stands out glaringly in a dictatorship or a totalitarian state is the use or abuse of power. Power in such states is absolute and resided mainly in the dictator or in a small group of men at the top. And the use of power is without shame, embarrassment or qualms. Power was used often in its naked form. People were pulled up and put away, unheard off, forgotten and disappeared. No excuses needed, no reasons given. In communist or totalitarian states, sometimes they did try to give some resemblance of a people's govt. And people to be put away often were labelled as reactionaries, revisionists or committing crimes against the state or doing things that undermine national interests. These are the clear cut dictatorial or totalitarian regimes. Then there are the mixed regimes or disguised regimes like the Marcos and the Suhartos. The military junta in Myanmar is simply what it is, no need for any pretension. The Phillippines under Marcos was a dictatorship called democracy. The Indonesia under Suharto was also a dictatorship under the cover of guided democracy. How can Singapore be a dictatorship or a totalitarian state when the govt are honest, sincere and respectable people of high integrity? If one considers the kind of polities under Marcos and Suharto, we must feel very bless with what we have here. Totally no abuse of power, and the citizens are free to live their lives and get rich, and feeling very safe. And we have been such a great model of a successful democracy that many countries are modelling themselves after Singapore. The best example is China. The Chinese system though communist, is actually communist in name. It is very pragmatic, very Singapore like. The rate that China is copying and imitating Singapore, soon it will be accused of becoming a democratic country, Singapore model. Oh, Communism in China now is a myth.

7/14/2006

Singapore Flyer and Sky Park

http://aserialnumberonmyvote.blogspot.com/2006/05/grounding-singaporeflyer.html Grounding the SingaporeFlyer When the concept of the Singapore Flyer was first announced, I wondered what sort of attraction one could see 160metres high above Marina Bay. Look south, and all we will see are various oceangoing-ships at anchor. We look east, and we just might be able to see planes leaving Changi Airport. Look West, and we'll see signs of Singapore's economic muscle in the container business, and the huge CO2 emitter that is our Petro-chemical plant called Jurong Island. Look north, and we'll get a nice view of the Skyscrapers, and possibly a view into the heart of Singapore. Apparently, according to a Wikipedia entry, a 'flight' on the Singapore flyer is expected to cost around S$27.50.The London Eye, on the other hand, cost me £13 (S$40) back in 2003. What the flight gave one the opportunity to see was London, and all 800 years of its development into the capital of the United Kingdom. In a sense, it was boring - all around, you could see were lots of typical english housing roofs, stretching for as far as the eye can see, a testament to London's long history of civilization.It was fun to see the various railway lines snaking into the huge train stations, and watching trains come and go. And to look at the various statements of each generation, in examples such as London's Gherkin, and the Millennium Dome. The flight was over too quickly, and I longed to watch the trains go all day from literally a 'bird's eye view' of London.Insulted by many, and initially only given a 5 year planning approval, The LondonEye is now one of London's top attractions, and if you want a overview of London, a trip up the London Eye has no substitute. (except a Helicopter flight over London maybe.)Unfortunately, for Singapore, our inability to really create complementary planning has enabled us to score an own goal for the SingaporeFlyer even before it boards its first passenger. That is the Marina Bay Sands. With the Singapore Government accepting the Las Vegas Sands bid, it seems, a perfect substitute for the SingaporeFlyer has shown itself.The planning proposal indicates that "A 1-hectare Sky Park at 50th storey (above the three hotel towers ) offering panoramic views " is part of the offering from the Marina Bay Sands. Now, I could be wrong, and "Location, Location, Location" holds true that the real estate the Singapore flyer sits on will never be the same as the one Marina Bay Sands sits on, but looking at this particular picture, and imagining where the Singapore flyer will be, most economists and real estate professionals will be hard pressed to say that the experience offered by the SingaporeFlyer's has NO substitute.According to Yawningbread, he says that the Sky Park will be a 'public park', which means no entrance fees(?!). I cannot conclude that it will be a public park from either STB, and the LasVegasSands website fails to load (on both IE and Firefox) , so the question remains open, but I do doubt that it will cost S$27.50 to enter the Sky Park, unless the operators are perfect collusionists with the SingaporeFlyer firm.So, I guess, the most important questions for investors of the SingaporeFlyer now are: When will I ever recoup my multimillion Singapore Dollar investment? Is s$27.50 still viable given the presence of a near perfect substitute less than 1 kilometre away, and possibly with free entry? Why didn't I put in my contracts a no-compete that Singapore was not allowed to approve any development that could create a near-perfect substitute for the x-years? Is there any way of getting compensation for the loss of revenue a-la when Singtel was "forced" to give up its "telecommunications" monopoly early? Arrrrrgh!!!!!!! [Oh, the fun of being an STB bureaucrat dealing with the SingaporeFlyer people ;-)]Way before the Marina Bay Sands was confirmed, back in 1999, I already felt that it would be difficult for people to want to take a trip up an oversized Ferris Wheel, when half of the view was just empty sea. Now, with a near-perfect substitute, I think the SingaporeFlyer will become a perfect business case study on business uncertainty and the failure of vision.Anyone with investments related to the SingaporeFlyer best be calling his broker now or consulting his online brokerage web site? Theodore Ong wants to share the above article here. I find it quite interesting and informative. The link also gives some beautiful pictures of the Singapore Flyer and the Sky Park on top of the Marina IR.

who is the boss?

I remember this story that was often repeated about the relationship between a man and a woman, pre and post marriage. During the courtship stage, the man is all gentle and nice, opening doors, pulling chairs, waiting for his date and promising everything under the sky. The man will build a career, buy a car, build a house, diamond rings, holidays and all the goodies to charm the woman. And the woman will enjoy all the attention for those brief moments of courtship. Quietly the man would be saying to himself, 'Wait till after the wedding night then you know.' And sure after the wedding, when the rice is cooked, the man becomes the boss. What holding doors, pulling chairs? Go and prepare food, wash clothing, and look after the babies. And don't try to complain or the woman would get slap. If talk more nonsense, they will be locked up, in the house. Who is the real boss is only known after the contract has been signed. And the cycle gets repeated every now and then. And the woman never learn, and will find another man to boss them around.

in celebration of militarism

Today I would like to celebrate the might and arrogance of being militarily powerful. The last few weeks we have seen how the North Koreans flexed their muscles and how the Americans and Japanese started dancing to the Korean tune. And then Japan stood up and tell the world, including China and the two Koreas that they are military strong enough to take on anyone and will not hesitate to knock out North Korea. These are signs of pure military arrogance. And the world went along happily without any protest. Now Israel has even gone one step further. They choose to hit any part of the Middle east they like and nobody can stop them. The poorly equipped and divided Arabs are minced meat on the chopping block. Helpless and pathetic. While the Americans, the backer of the Israelis, sit by and enjoy the spectacle. So is the rest of the western world. Military might is right. Power comes from the barrel of the gun, so say Mao. Respect and right to live in peace comes from being militarily strong and self sufficient. Any country that is militarily weak is asking to be raped. And no one is going to apologise for doing it and no one is going to condemn the rapists. This is the new world we are living. Actually it has always been like that. Weaken your defences and you will be trampled upon. No leaders, in their right mind, will voluntarily disarm themselves. In fact they should do the reverse.

7/13/2006

world conned by the japanese

The world has been conned by the Japanese. I have seen a map published in the Nihon Keisai Shimbun showing where the Korean missiles had landed. And for simplicity of explanation, if one divides the Sea of Japan into 4 quarters from the Korean to Japanese coast, the missiles landed on the first quarter nearer to the Korean and Russian coasts. Even the flight path of the missiles was pointed to travel parallel to the Korean and Russian coasts, avoiding the direction of Japan. What this proves is that the North Koreans are careful and did not want to be accused of firing the missiles in the direction of Japan and thus becomes a provocative act. There is no chance of the missile falling down on Japan even if there is engine failure. It is the Japanese that insisted that the act was provocative. This is the same kind of logic Bush used against any adversarial nation. Just called them aggressor, axis of evil, and that gives them a reason to attack or invade that country. The Japanese is using the same principle as an excuse to attack North Korea. And this is a very dangerous principle to live by. Actually the Japanese is the hostile and provocative aggressor instead of the North Koreans. A similar Marco Polo Bridge incident!

to believe in what we hear or see

We have all the time been living between believing and the truth, between what is spoken to please and what is real. I have posted what Vivian said here just like I have posted many things said by many people. Then it is for them to live out what they said or to dismiss what they said by their own subsequent actions. Boonyang has finally replied. What came out in his reply is as if the govt have been repressed and cannot respond to the public. And respond they did. And with one stroke, they completely wiped away everything that Hsienloong had said for the last few years and during the election. Let me recollect some of the things that Hsienloong stood for. Starting with the slogan, Staying together, Moving ahead. The way Brown was silenced clearly showed that it is a we against them divide. We are the boss and when we do not like what you said, disappear for good. This brings to the second point about encouraging people to speak up, listening to alternative views, have a debate on ideas, the right of reply. Why is it so difficult to debate about such an important issue raised by Brown and generate more interest by getting the population involved, discuss it thoroughly? Would this not encourage the people to be more participative, more involved with national issues and really feel that we are all together in the same boat? The impression created now is a very high up authority that talked down to the people and will not hesitate to brush aside any dissenting voice. This is like taking 20 steps back at one go. Where are we now? And how is Vivian going to go about engaging the people when a comment by Brown is stamped out with so much force? Why is there no confidence to engage the people in a constructive debate? And I think it is very unfitting to demand the people for solutions when they are paid to find the solutions. I have stated this many times before. When you are paid at market price, paid for your worth, you are expected to deliver your worth. There is no free lunch. Now they are being paid breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper. Please deliver. And there is no need even to say thank you when they delivered. It is purely a business contract. Once we take this road, it is no longer a sacrifice for the country and nation. There is no sacrifice. It is all bull. Everyone is paid adequately or more than adequately to do their job. And it is the right and reasonable expectation of the people to demand for the best when we paid for the best.

7/12/2006

reckless japanese militarism

After reading reports from all quarters, we are seeing a group of jokers that are more reckless and thoughtless in Tokyo than those in the White House. Shinzo Abe wanted to carry out a preemptive strike. And all quarters in Japan are drumming up support for this action claiming that the ordinary Japanese also wanted Japan to strike first. Do these idiots really know what they are in for? A handful of bombs to knock out North Korea's nuclear capability? No way. Once the first bomb flies, it is all out war. And every missile in North Korea will fly into Japan. Of course the Japanese first strike could be in the same manner. Try to imagine the casualties! It will dwarf Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Millions will be wiped out from both sides. And South Korea will not stand on the side line. Its missiles will follow the path of the North Koreans into Japan. No, the North Koreans will not strike South Korea. It will be a war between the two Koreas and Japan. It will be Year Zero for Japan for sure. Let's see how cocky and reckless the Japanese will be. There is no guarantee that a first preemptive strike can take out all of North Korea's capability and that North Korea has no second strike capability. And for sure, South Korea will be the third strike which Japan did not count on in her equation. Come on Japan! Let's go, bomb North Korea!!!

How well did Temasek manage our reserves?

Attached is an article on Singapore and Temasek Holdings in the Fortune magazine of 20 March 2006, "Singapore Stumbles". I also refer to Temasek's letter to the Straits Times, Feb 7, 2006, "Temasek's 30-year returns a robust 18%". When I saw this statement pasted in the YPAP forum, I was dumbfounded. 18% in 30 years is considered robust? I put in fixed deposit for 30 years with a 2% interest will give me 60% return with no risk. And if the interest rate averages at 3%, I will get 90% return. What is 18% to crow about and managed by a team of experts and incurring all the risk of losing a bundle if the investment decisions went wrong? Today it was reported that GIC opened its book to detail its investments and LKY said GIC 'has earned an average of 8.2% a year in Singapore dollar terms since 1981.' Now this is more like it. How did Fortune get that 18% figure? I will be deeply disappointed if that is the case.

7/11/2006

japan threatens north korea, korea must strike first.

The Japanese have spoken. They are openly threatening the North Koreans of a preemptive strike at their nuclear sites. This threat is an open invitation and enough justification for the North Koreans to launch their own preemptive strike against Japan. The Japanese have adopted a very aggressive and hostile stance in the UN, insisting that the UN and the world must accept their position to take strong measures against the North Koreans. Their behaviour is a mirror image of what they did prior to their conquest of China in the 19th Century, making demands after demands on a weak and semi colonised China. They are treating the Koreans like their former colony and China like the Sick man of Asia. They challenged the right of China to veto their proposal in the UN. It was prudent that China did not fall into their trap and supported their entry into the UN Security Council. The Japanese are now not hiding anything. They are standing up on the world stage to tell the world that Japan is now a military power and will take on China and the Koreans come what may. And their preemptive strike is on the way if China could not force the North Koreans to accede to the Japanese demands. What are the two Koreans going to do in the face of a militarised Japan ready to kick their butts? I would strongly encourage the two Koreans to strike at the Japanese first as a means of defence now that the Japanese have threatened to strike them first.

myth 39

'Singaporeans have a good sense of humour' I think most people will agree that we need to have some humour in our life, and humour makes life that more pleasurable. And I would also think that Singaporeans too have a good sense of humour. But lately I started to change my mind. I think not everyone are equipped with a sense of humour. And the type of humour is also very important. Black humour is acceptable. Any colour of humour is ok but make sure it is not brown humour.

japan should recolonise the two koreas

My last few postings on the rise of Japanese militarism were intentionally very provocative. Just like what I am going to say about the two Koreas. Germany and Vietnam were divided but have long reunited. One fought all the way to unite their homeland, the other came together out of a true sense of nationalism and pride as one people. The silly Koreans are still being kept apart, posturing to kill each other. One a semi colony of the USA, being used as a pawn in the politics of big powers. South Korea is very useful to the Americans as a foothold into the Chinese Northeastern flank and be a constant pressure point to apply when needed. But what is more treacherous is the Japanese ambition to recolonise the two Koreas. It may not be in the form of the 19th century, but it will be another kind of domination. Look at how cocky the Japanese are these few days, threatening to do a preemptive strike to North Korea as if it is another cakewalk. The Japanese really despised and look down on the Koreans, once their subjects. And as long as they are kept divided, Japan will eat them up in bite sizes one at a time. They deserve to be colonised by the Japanese if they don't wake up to the danger they are in. Good luck to the Koreans. Long live the Japanese Empire!

boost to the insurance industry

The latest call to provide insurance coverage to board of directors will give a big boost to the insurance industry and insurance agents. Directors in charitable organisations can be covered up to $1m against suits brought against them in the capacity as directors of the organisations. As explained and reasoned, "They jiak kopi only,..." No pay but work only. Not sure about work, but why jiak kopi only? I think anyone whose job is jiak kopi only should also be protected by insurance. But wait a moment, does jiak kopi means doing nothing? Just attend meetings, jiak kopi and then go home and tell people I am director of this and that big organisation? Would not appointments to positions of responsibility, even jiak kopi and do nothing, come with some responsibility? And would such insurance covers negligence and wrongful acts or criminal acts? Shall all the CEOs, or MPs etc, especially MPs and politicians who are sacrificing for the nation be also covered by insurance to protect them from lawsuits too? After all they do not want to be politicians but were called to do national service? Whatever, it will be good for the insurance industry to have more insurance sold, for the right or wrong reason.

7/10/2006

myth 38

'It(Singapore) has created a national mindset of compliance and obedience, giving rise to a generation of "play safe" Singaporeans who lack initiative and enterprise.' by Seah Chiang Nee in Littlespeck I think Mr Brown has just proven that this is a myth, and Seah Chiang nee is wrong. What Mr Brown has written, though in a humorous way, is an expression of disagreement, and not playing safe and lack of initiative as subsequent events have proven so.

constructive debate?

Now Vivian has spoken. Actually there are many points that he raised which are very interesting and deserve for more discussion. But I will just touch on this comment, '...If someone says something we disagree with, we will say so. If someone says something which is unhelpful, we have a right to say it is unhelpful.' And 'He added that what is important for Singaporeans, particularly on serious issues, is to have an honest and constructive debate with no extraneous agendas involved.' Taking both comments into context, there should be constructive debate and a right to reply. The only tricky part is the 'extraneous agendas.' What does it mean? Lets leave this aside first as we will be guessing what all the way. Now, the Brown episode. Mr Brown may have written in a humorous way, he has a good sense of humour which sadly many don't, on a serious issue affecting many Singaporeans. He was serious in what he said. But what was the official response? There was an official reply, alright. But was there a constructive debate? I think everyone will find this part missing. It was a talk down approach. No need further discussion. Mr Brown had touched on something unacceptable, crossed the OB line. Out you go. Where is the engagement and constructive debate to rebut what Mr Brown had said? Couldn't the official postion be one where a point by point rebuttal be more constructive and helped to explain the situation better, that what Mr Brown written were not necessary accurate. Won't it be better to say that 70% of the population are earning more and more and are not affected by the rising cost of living, rising fares and fees? Why wasn't the engagement mode be used to debate on an important issue but instead a disengagement mode be adopted? We are the boss. We do not have to talk to you. You are now history!

7/09/2006

Heroes are aplenty

Heroes are aplenty. The victors write the story. And there are many heroes among the victors. There are many success stories to tell about how many enemies, ie natives, that they slaughtered and how much goodies they looted. It was not about murders and robberies, it was about national pride and might, about conquests for the kings and countries, or for God. All the killings and lootings in the name of Kings and countries, or even God are glorified as heroic acts. What were done to the defeated and conquered, were acceptable acts and behaviours. And so the stories go on and on and many heroes and legends were written. And there will also be one or two outcasts from the conquering forces that will be elevated to hero and cult status for having a little conscience and for trying to help the conquered. These will become heroes too, to the desperate and deprived oppressed people who have been robbed of everything. A piece of crumbs will be like a feast when stomach has been empty for days. History is such that there will be many heroes and anti heroes among the victorious. But in contrast, all the most based of human behaviour were exhibited among the defeated, conquered and ruled. Iraq and Guantanamo, and the Palestinians, are the best living examples of what being conquered is like, and what is right and wrong, as interpreted by the victorious. The losers will be losers.

Where are the heroes?

Countries that have been conquered and occupied by foreign forces have a very bad and bitter experience which they will never forget. An occupation robbed the countries of not only their wealth and pride, but the dignity of their people. Proud and upright people were all turned into vicious, unscrupulous and traitorous selfish people, only thinking of their own survivals. Betraying friends and families, and people and nation, became a means to survive. There were no heroes in such countries. Any hero will either be dead or rotting in prison for fighting the intruders. The conquered and oppressed people have very little choices. They need to live, and have families to feed. Joining the nationalist movement and resistance is as good as sure death. Not doing anything and trying to live is to live a dog's life. The other choice is to work for the occupied forces, the new rulers, to serve them and help them to exploit their own people and countries. In other words, become traitors and sell out their countries and friends and families. This has been repeated all over in history. From the days of the Red Indians, the Africans, the Arabs, the Indians, Chinese, Vietnamese and Koreans, and the Jews during the holocaust, their histories are littered with tales of betrayal and selfish people who thrived by serving the occupation forces. That is what many conquered people have experienced. The Koreans and the Chinese, under foreign dominations, Japanese in particular, were forced by the Japanese and circumstances to eke out a living by turning against their own people. This also happend in Malaysia and Singapore. Those were hard times and men were turned to beasts, no morality, no righteousness and honour to talk about. There were no shame in being unscrupulous. The shame only came after the occupation forces were defeated and left. Then the blood letting will come and all the shame will be laid out for all to see. All the pride of a people were no more. The people could not believe that their own tribes could be so disgraceful and selfish to commit dastardly acts against them, to bow and kneel to the conquerors to wipe their arses. The Korean Nationalism and their stubborness to be strong and resilient must be seen in such historical context. And this applies to many of the conquered and colonised nations. History will repeat itself if they are led to believe that all is well. And in their folly and delusion of peace and harmony, and goodwill of 'friendly' nations, they will inadvertently dig their own graves. It is better to be safe than sorry. National survival can only be preserved by the nation's own people.

my flowery dream

I had a dream last night. There was this beautiful garden where the owner planted many beautiful flowers. He had taken very good care of his garden, fertilisers, water, pruning and talking to his flowers, to encourage them to grow. And the flowers listened to him and bloom in all their majestic colours and brilliance. It was an awesome sight to behold, so many flowers, what a riot of colours. Then one morning a van came. And the owner took out his cutter and started pruning. All the lovely flowers came down one by one. One hundred flowers were cut down and taken away in the van. Probably to some fine hotels for display. What a pleasant ending for the flowers. The the owner was happy, waiting for another 100 flowers to bloom.

7/08/2006

myth 37

'I, Singaporean, not stupid!' Well, we have always been laughing at all the stupid Singaporeans. But really deep down they are damn smart. They know when to siam if they have to. There was this petition asking people to support Mr Brown in the online petition site. For curiosity I went there to take a peep, maybe can post my findings here. I was greeted with a message, Petition removed for lack of activity. What happens to all the concerned Singaporeans who supported a cause like the NKF? And what happens to all those who posted at Mr Brown's blog pledging their support? And none posted in the online petition that it has to be removed? Same can be said for the silence in the media over the last few days. I think if you ask anyone, they will say it is inconsequential, not newsworthy. Or there are more important news like dirty litters in HDB blocks, or a foreign car number plate spotted in Singapore. Now, who says Singaporeans are stupid?

Cyber space and citizen reporting, a new frontier!

It is time I revisited this thread after all the excitement in the press. I mean the Malaysian press. Cyberspace is now the new battle field between Mahathir and Badawi as the official press is, as always will be, one sided. In the blogs and columns, it was reported that hits can go as high as 1.2 million a day for Malaysia Today! The key advantage of cyberspace news is that it is uncensored and immediate. In a sense, no holds bar. And the official media has, in its traditional way, encouraged the growth and flourishing of cybernet news. To quote Raja Petra Kamaruddin, a well known political activist, he said, 'As long (as) as there is no real free speech, blogs will be popular.' Let's return to home ground and see whether the situation is similar. For several days after the Mr Brown incident, when cyberspace was invaded by highly charged bloggers and forummers on the issue, there was a complete silence in the official media. It was a hot topic , but the official press, for their own reasons, thought it was better not to say anything about it. There goes the reason for more interests in cyberspace, when the news that the people are interested are being reported. Look at today's Straits Times. It has a glowing report on citizen reporting and how fast this media is gaining ground and acceptance as the most effective and popular means of communication and news dissemination. It devoted 5 and a half pages on this new trend. But sadly, nothing much was said about the local blogosphere and forum activities except for a small factual reference to Mr Brown's case, with no comments. But I think two full pages were devoted to promote Stomp and why it is popular with news like road accidents, windows falling off, and prizes for taking pictures of litters around mail boxes, foreign car number plates sighted in Singapore. I can't imagine what sensible and serious forumers find in such bits and pieces of rubbish around HDB blocks? And did they report on anything about the local citizen reporting scene? Did they mention any blogs or forums that are attracting the bloggers and forummers? What is the reason for not mentioning the names of popular local blogs and forums? At least Zaobao did a survey once and listed the names of popular blogs and forums for all to see, and to visit. As long as official media, often correctly associated with official views and mindset, continues its traditional way, more and more people will flock to cyberspace to hear more refreshing and relevant news.

7/07/2006

Threat is nearer than you think - A horror story!

This is the headline of a one page article, with graphics, on the North Korean long range missiles in The New Paper today. The main gist of this article is that Singapore and many Asian countries are now within range of North Korea. And we are now under threat. Horror, run and hide quickly. And North Korea is going crazy and going to fire their missiles at all the Asian countries, including Singapore. We are now in imminent danger. We must protest and join the campaign to put pressure on North Korea from developing this nuclear threat. I am wondering, just wondering, how many gullible Singaporeans will believe in a silly article like this? And obviously it is silly as no one think it worthy or credible enough to put his name as owner of the article. Why would the North Koreans be threatening us and wanting to fire their missiles at us? For that matter, even it they are all insane and really fire at us, the missile will miss us completely. The missile will not be able to find us, too small a red dot or pee sai, to be picked up by its radar. If the North Koreans were crazy, they would have long fired all their missiles into Japan. They have all the reasons and the capability to do it for more than 20 years ago. Why are they not crazy to fire at Japan but will be crazy enough to fire at Singapore? Would the New Paper that poses this as a genuine threat to Singapore explain to all the stupid Singaporeans as they are too dumb to understand. This is the kind of articles that silly Asians are made to believe. And the source of such articles is likely to come from you know where. And it is so patronising to think that in the 21 century, Asians, especially Singaporeans, are unable to think.

Singapore ST playing a dangerous game

But what has startled many Malaysians has been the unexpected (or perhaps, to be expected) participation in the public quarrel of the two Malaysian leaders by a foreign newspaper, the Singapore Straits Times. The Singapore Straits Times is closely linked to the island state's government so one may reasonably assume to an extent that its views would reflect or be similar to that of the government.... Malaysians would be rightfully alarmed if such a supposition bears true. Following from that, we may ask why would a foreign country, which hitherto had observed proper and diligent distancing from Malaysian internal politics, at least publicly, has now seen fit to stomp right into the fray. by K Temoc as reported in Malaysiakini Malaysians find it alarming for Singapore to comment on Malaysian politics and 'has now seen fit to stomp right into the fray'. I still remember Syed Hamid marching into Rangoon to ask to see Aung San Suu Kyi and telling the Myanmese Govt to become more democratic. Now, is that stomping into another country and telling another govt to behave in a way that one desires a polite thing to do? And if that is acceptable, what is a little comment in the newspaper compares to a foreign minister flying all the way into Myanmar? It is always dangerous and undesirable for a country to interfere in the domestic politics of another country. Why is the Malaysian thinking that it is ok to tell the Myanmese govt how to behave and not ok for the Straits Times to have a few reports which were borrowed articles from Malaysian media?

choosing a PM - best man does not win

Dr. Mahathir was a very dramatic type. After sacking Annuar Ibrahim, Dr. Mahathir was fighting for his political survivor, elections loomed and the Malay political ground was never so divided. He needed a deputy who wasn’t just politically unambitious but a loyal subservient lieutenant trusted to preserve his legacy. Above all he needed someone who was the least likely to cut a deal with Annuar Ibrahim. Abdullah fitted this profile very nicely. Mahathir always considered Abdullah to be a grassroots politician, a nice guy, and very little vision, if any. by Leslie Lopez, a KL based journalist The above statement is from Leslie Lopez and it is very interesting to note the rationale he ascribed to Mahathir in how he chose his successor. And the criteria is not very flattering for Abdullah. If what Lopez said is true, Abdullah was chosen because he is not ambitious but a loyal subservient lieutenant, a nice guy with very little vision. These are obviously qualities not desirable of a nation's PM. And for Mahathir to choose someone with such qualities, it is evident that it was not in the interest of the state but to serve his personal interest. It seems that Mahathir is very unfair to the nation for choosing a less able man to be its leader. Talking about nation before self or self before nation? Looks like the ablest is not necessary the first choice to be a nation's PM. And the one chosen to be the PM could be a dud.

How long can our luck hold?

The ugliness of top men in office is being unveiled daily for all to see. Bush and all his lies about WMD and how he fixed his opponents is now under official investigation. And nearby we have the dominant and cannot be wronged Mahathir who has initiated the opening of his own can of worms. He was untouchable as a PM, who was also a Home Affairs Minister, Finance Minister, Foreign Minister, Trade Minister. Actually he was a one man Govt. A clear recipe for disaster. And the disaster is going to explode. We have been very lucky. We have LKY, Chok Tong and Hsien Loong, all men of unquestionable integrity, as our PMs. Can our luck hold forever? Can the next PM be just as honest and honourable that he will not do a Mahathir? This is a danger that we are facing as a nation. Are our institutions developed to prevent absolute power in the hands of one man or a few men?

7/06/2006

Health Care Specialists

After the closing down of sleazy massage and tui na spas in neighbourhood estate, this creates a vacuum that needs to be filled. We should train our own aunties as Health Care Specialists to provide a badly needed and lucrative service in HDB estates. This is definitely better than Toilet specialists. But to upgrade the professionalism in the trade, all specialists must attend a diploma course in the polytechnics on the human physiology and how each part functions and how much pressure is needed to maximise the relief and pleasure for the customers.

job loss and job gain

The civil service has brought the Finance and HR functions under one roof for greater efficiency and economy of scales. And there will be great savings in cost of up to $4.5 million a year. Where would this come from?
It is inevitable that there will be layoff and retrenchment. Look at it positively, this is a great move. People who can't fit in should be retrenched. And because of the pooling of the two functions, it will create a bigger function of two. So the responsibility at the top is bigger and there will be more value added jobs at the top.
This is the way to go, lower and less value jobs be downsized. Create more jobs at the top that pay well. More CEOs, Deputy CEOs, Asst CEOs. This upgrading of skills can be seen all the way from our toilet cleaners becoming specialists.
Given time the income of all Singaporeans will be higher than what it is now.

7/05/2006

myth 36

'Singaporeans are fed up with progress...' by Mr Brown. This myth came from Mr Brown's sensational article of polemics. And I must agree that it is a myth, a distorted truth. For Mr Brown is talking only about 30% of Singaporeans, those who are trying to make ends meet. He has not covered the large group of happy Singaporeans, especially those earning $100k or more a month. Even people earning peanuts are very happy. How then can Mr Brown said that Singaporeans are fed up with progress? It is right for Bhavani to chastise Mr Brown for distorting the truth. For if Mr Brown is telling the truth, then there would not be 4 million smiles. Mr Brown's fault is to look at only one small segment of unhappy Singaporeans. The truth is that there are many happy Singaporeans, and Bhavani knows better.

Operation Hush Up is on.

I have been scanning all the papers, official media, tv news, radio news, etc... I have not try Stomp yet, but Mr Brown has vanished. No news about Mr Brown and how he distorted the truth. And all the investigative journalists, anyone interested in covering this incident? I have just taken a peep at Mr Brown's blog, and there are almost 500 comments in 3 days on this issue. Hey is this not news? But it is big news in blogosphere! Any little blog or forum in cyberspace worth its salt will have enough comments on the issue to make it worth reading. It is the news of the day. What happens to the traditional media? Not interested or what? Isn't news be news? Isn't something so hot be newsworthy? Maybe we are all waiting for an official response and take the cue from there. We are all objective reporters and journalists. We are independent thinkers and we write what we think are news worthy, of public interest. If I can't or don't even say something on this issue, I better close down my forum. I don't practise self censorship here. I don't have to read what is safe or unsafe to post. Now, why would people flock to cyberspace for independent news instead of subscribing to the main media? Luckily I did not buy a copy hoping to read something about it. Would I be wasting my money, feeling money not well spent?

the malaysian way!

A Singaporean was robbed after bank teller announced that he had withdrawn RM200,000. This incident happened in Johore Bahru and was reported in the New Straits Times yesterday. After cashing out his cheque and as the Singaporean man was about to leave, the teller shouted in front of 50 customers: "Sir, can you please count if you have RM200,000 before leaving the bank". And the robbers were waiting for him in the carpark, and he was robbed. Could the bank teller be so kind or silly to shout out the big amount for everyone to hear? Isn't there a standard practice that no one is to announce what the customers are doing? I think this must be a new bank and the teller is also new. Banking is also a new business in Johore Bahru. What a joke!

myth 35

'...civil service has become politicised and is "subordinated and even subservient to the political leadership"' I quoted the above from the Today paper's article on Ngiam Tong Dow. It then quoted Simon Tay saying that 'Ngiam's recollections suggest that such comments "go too far"'. Ngaim did not say that it is a myth or that it is the truth. He just said 'go too far'. If the comments did not go too far, maybe could be true. In this case, by going too far, it is a myth. The mandarin has spoken.

going down the malaysian road

We have many things in common with the Malaysians. We are also engaged in many developmental projects, mega projects, some private initiatives and some govt initiatives. All done either to inject funds and vitality to the economy or to make profits for the project owners. But there are subtle differences between the Singaporean way and the Malaysian way. Where the project funds come from, who benefitted, who get the share of the profits and who pay for the profits. There is also another key difference in the conceptual stage. Singaporean projects were normally conceived when there is a need with profits coming in later. In the case of Malaysians, the project was conceived from the profit first basis and generating the needs later. So we have the crooked bridge, a classic example of a project where the need was not there but build up to justify for it, and with how much money can be made as the main reason. Who eventually pays for the project and profit are secondary. Would Singapore go down this road, conceiving of a project because there is money to be made? And get the private sector to pay for all the costs and charge the public for it? I have in mind the underground road system. The Malaysians are expert and single minded in building roads and bridges and railway lines to collect tolls. Not that we are not collecting tolls. The tolls we are collecting are much bigger in scale. But these are schemes that grow out of a necessity, a need. Suddenly the road situation got bad, so the easiest way to kill two birds with one stone is to make the motorists pay and relieve congestion. We have never think of collecting toll as the primary goal, the raison d'tre for building roads. This is the Malaysian way of making money. Not forgetting we are already collecting in the billions from ARF, PARF, road tax, COEs, ERPs, ALS. Aren't these enough to pay for the construction of roads? Aren't the collection of all these fees meant for this purpose? Now where have all these monies gone to that we need to think of collecting tolls as the main reason for the building of roads?