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9/30/2006

constitutional monarchy is good for singapore

The Thai military coup could be the harbinger of a political change in Thailand. It is the first time that the king played a key role in engineering the removal of a popularly elected PM on drum up charges of corruption. It is so easy to prove such accusations on anyone in power, including kings and presidents, as people in such positions are often in compromising positions because of what they are. There will be many charges of excesses which can easily be proven. What may trigger off a backlash is the increasing awareness of the farmers of the political process. With higher education, the people will start thinking. Why should the land belong to the king and not to the people? Will this lead Thailand towards a republic? On the contrary, the politicisation of Singaporeans could go the other way. All signs point favourably towards a constitutional monarchy. How so? The majority of Singaporeans are of Chinese origin, steeped in Confucianist thinking that runs deep in their blood without them knowing. For several centuries, the Chinese fear authority. On the positive side, they become very discipline and easily led. On the negative side, they become very submissive and easily controlled. Or as proven in this region, they become very compliant even in the face of adversities and abuses. When there is a strong and virtuous leader, the Chinese will become a very powerful and organised force for progress and development, like what China has become. But when the leader is a crook or incompetent, the whole population will suffered in silence. They could not stand up to remove the leader, and thus be led or misled to their own demise. In a hypothetical case, if tomorrow a very powerful personality emerged and claimed to have the mandate of heaven to rule Singapore, like Yuan Shi Kai did in China, the people will obediently go along. Such a personality could instal himself as the next monarch, a constitutional monarch quite easily. And the Chinese population will accept it in acquiscience. No protest or protest feebly. But such a system may be good for Singapore. Under Confucianist ideology, the people are told to accept their stations in life. The monarch and elite deserve to be where they are and live a life of plenty. The poor farmers and peasants believe that life for them is to remain as good peasants and farmers. And if they have to toil for less, they are still expected to be contented with that. In the current context, the political elite will be very happy with such mindless mass that will quietly lead their lives in poverty. The compliant mass will resign to their fate and will not voice out about lack of opportunities or a widening income gap. Neither will they challenge the authority. Society will be at peace. The top and bottom are all happy to live their separate lives in separate worlds. See, a constitutional monarchy with a compliant people can save the country so many problems. Lim Swee Say need not work so hard to appease the demands of the unions. They know their station in life.

9/29/2006

looking for chorus boys

I am still waiting for those people who proclaimed loudly that they are the champions of the poorer people to come forward and say something regarding a season pass that can benefit the people as well as the transport companies. It is better that they stand up and speak about it now than to wait for Wei Ling to say it and then come forward to sing in chorus, yes, yes, good idea! Wei Ling is only a medical doctor, not someone whose main preoccupation is to look after the general welfare of the people. We have heard a lot of big talks during the general elections. Lets see if people will now act on what they said and uplift the less fortunate of the society to a more bearable existence. And no, they don't have to provide giveaways and ask people to come forward to beg for them. All they need now is to take a serious look at the season pass concept and make it best for the people. And no need to crack their heads too. It is nothing new. All the merits and misgivings have been trashed out by other great minds long ago. Just borrow the idea and make it work, really work for the people. Now am I asking for too much?

lets talk about the hypocrisy

Perhaps the time has come for ASEAN leaders to face the ugly truth squarely instead of pretending that everything is alright. Race is something that no one consciously choose to be. One is born a Malay, Indian, Chinese, English, German or whatever. We are stuck with whatever colour that we came by. There is no running away from this racial distinction by calling oneself an international citizen or a Singaporean, Malaysian or Australian. And associated with this racial thing is a primordial instinct to belong, to be identified with. Imagine when the Indonesians were looting the Chinese shops and burning their houses, raping Chinese girls and killing Chinese Indonesians, and the Singapore leaders were feasting the Indonesian leaders at the Istana, pretending that everything is alright. We are Singaporeans and the Indonesian Chinese are Indonesians. Conversely, if the majority Chinese in Singapore were doing the same thing to their Malay counterparts while our leaders were having a feast in KL. How much hypocrisy can one live with and get by without being prick by one's conscience or morals? Inhumane treatment of human beings, discriminations, victimisations, can never be tolerated regardless of race or whatever distinctions. And the injustice becomes that much closer when one's race or religion is being victimised. Just listen to the uproar over what the Pope said and how the Muslims feel aggrieved by the comments. Perhaps LKY has assumed a new role in himself. It is no longer a domestic issue and he is speaking as an international statesman on an international issue. It is something that concerns him or any statesman around the world, the issue of treating every human being with respect, fairness and dignity. Are the other ASEAN leaders up to the mark to discuss the issues or are they going to pretend that there were no such things in their countries but only happened in Singapore?

9/28/2006

second guessing lky

Why did LKY made such a sensitive comment that he knew would invite reactions from all quarters? Let me try to guess, ok? I do not profess to know his thoughts. One possibility is to clear the deck before he quit the scene. Hsien Loong is now in charge. And all these bickerings and cross borders accusations to score political points is unhealthy. Hsien Loong can do without, so that he can spend his time with more important things. And who is best to clean up this old rivalry once and for all except LKY? What LKY is saying is that we should stop all this bitching. But if one party thinks that they can keep bringing it up to stir shit, lets do it now. Talk about it openly, have an open discussion to see who have more shit to spread. You want to thump table or chest, go ahead. He will do it with them. It is going to be rough. But he is prepared to rough it out, take all the blows, but hopefully he can put an end to all the nonsense that one is whiter than the other. No other Singapore leaders will be in a better position to take this headon than he himself. The other objective is to tell the other countries that they cannot keep on oppressing and discriminating against their chinese citizens. This could be something that he felt was wrong and he wanted to say it out. Not that it will make a difference if both Indonesia and Malaysia insist to continue with their victimisation of their Chinese minorities. But saying it out is to tell them that it is not a decent thing to do and as a statesman, he cannot turn a blind eye to it and pretend that he did not know. If the Malaysian and Indonesian leaders are offended by it, so be it. He is retiring from the scene soon and either he says it now or he would not have a chance to do so later. Better to go down in history as someone to call a spade a spade than to be seen as hypocritical. At least he could be remembered for telling the ugly truth that no one dares to say. Would the two countries severe relations with Singapore because of this remark? Unlikely. There could be some strains and posturing. But there are too many things that all can work together for mutual benefits to be ruined by his telling the truth. Would Malaysia go ahead like some kampong headmen in Johore suggested, developed the SJER without Singapore? Or would Jakarta drop all economic projects with Singapore in Batam and Bintang just because of this? Even if they do, Singapore is not going to lose anything. Our economy is now dependent on the world than just Johore and the islands in the Riau archipelago.

guided democracy singapore style

While on the way to work I was pondering what Singapore will belike in the future and came out with a hypothetical situation. I didn't realised that this could be a solution to the list of problems Lim Swee Say raised as reported by Clement Mesenas. I will think about it a little more and get it our on Sat morning. Let me just reflect something about guided democracy in Singapore. Hsien Loong had a long session with the post 65ers, a very encouraging and engaging session as was reported. But why guided democracy? Apparently the 17 to 30 year old youth had a preparatory session with a group of younger MPs who coached them on what to ask and who to ask and the sequence to ask their pre prepared 12 questions. That is meticulous work and needed as these young people would probably be lost as they have not a clue on what they were talking about, I think. So the guidance and help sure did them a lot of good. And the programmed session went on as they have planned. The only interruption came when Hsien Loong wanted to hear a bit more about race relations. And the room waited. Quite expected as it was not planned and they did not know what to do. Very Singaporeans. Out of the script and they will be lost to the extent that Hsien Loong had to push for more spontaneity. Given their youth, this is natural. Give them a few more years when they are in the 30s or 40s, they might be more ready. Only problem is that their useful years will be very short as many would probably be retired by 55. Maybe the political lifespan of politicians could be extended.

9/27/2006

abe takes 30% paycut

It is reported in the Business Times today that Abe Shinzo has announced a 30% pay cut for himself as a symbolic gesture to cut cost. And all his ministers will take a 10% pay cut. I think they are all very rich so they can afford to take paycuts.

switzerland 1st singapore 5th

Switzerland is the world's most competitive economy due to its reputation for innovation, research and development and its scientific infrastructure. And other Scandinavian economies are also performing well because of the same reasons. Singapore is ranked fifth. Not bad. But why Singapore is there is not explained. Is Singapore's position also due to innovation, research and development, and scientific infrastructure? Or we are there because of lower cost through outsourcing and hiring of cheap labour ie foreign talents?

myth 68

'The Chinese are marginalised in Malaysia and Indonesia' Lee Kuan Yew Mahathir said no, Najid said no, Badawi said no, MCA and Gerakan leaders also said no. So it must be a myth. There are so many Malaysian leaders saying that the Chinese are not marginalised. Even Malaysian Chinese also declared that they are not and are offended by LKY. So the majority must be right. Look at it this way. If the people affected feel that they are not, who else can say otherwise. If a bird in a cage says it enjoys the freedom in the cage, how can an outsider say no, the little bird has no freedom. Quite subjective isn't it? What is the truth? Or can truth be variable? The verdict, you decide.

of corporate cheats

'There is little social sanction for cheating when so many people are cheating that it becomes normal and routine,' said Mr David Callahan, a co founder of the New York based think tank Demos and author of The Cheating Culture.... Americans have long been tolerant of cheats in business...We admire the rich, even if they broke a few rules to get rich, he added. The above is extracted from an article by Matthew Lynn in Today paper. He added, 'So you think the average corporate chief is lying cheat. Well, you haven't seen anything yet.' Are we in the same boat? Are the local corporate big wigs also the same as those of America?

does asean approve of the military coup?

Indonesia has its own form of guided democracy under Suharto and the military. Singapore is seen as a paternalistic democracy. And to some western critics, it is a dictatorship democracy. Now Thailand has its own version of military democracy. What is so different about this new version of democracy? In the words of Gen Sonthi, 'The junta will only select the prime minister. The new prime minister will choose the cabinet.' He then added, ...but the military could have places in the new cabinet and 'act as advisers to the interim govt.' He forgot to mention that the military could remove the prime minister or the whole govt if it deems fit. Now this is not democracy really. It is a step back for the country, moving towards the direction of Myanmar which Thailand took objections to. Why is ASEAN, the champion of democracy and human rights, stood silently in the face of these developments? Shouldn't ASEAN interfere like it did in Myanmar and warn Thailand about slipping back to military rule? Does ASEAN approve of military coups?

9/26/2006

don't switch on the light to benefit your neighbour

'In a front page story in Utusan Malaysia yesterday, they were quoted as saying that projects that benefit the Republic such as the proposed high speed train should be cancelled, given that Singapore does not appreciate the sensitivities of its neighbours. They also said Malaysia should not take into account the Republic's interests when implementing the South Johore Economic Region plan.' Is this meant to be a joke? And Singapore is invited to participate in the development of Johore? Looks like they will switch off their lights as the lights will also light up their neighbours courtyard.

to say or not to say, or to bury the truth

I accept and agree with all those who said LKY should not make those comments. The comments were definitely not diplomatic and will ruffle feathers across national boundaries. But I am glad he said it. On the grounds of humanity, human rights, equality, fairness, etc. brutality, discrimination, victimisation, bullying and marginalisation of a people because of their colour and ability are unacceptable, and the world must stand up to such bad practices. That is why we have human rights movements.

foreign talent - the discussion so far

After several rounds of discussion with fellow bloggers and forumers, two distinctive views emerged from the pro liberalisation of foreign talent policy camp. The first point that was strongly emphasised by this group is that the govt does not owe the people a living, and it is not responsible to provide jobs for everyone. I can accept this view to the extent that those who are not trying to help themselves will not be the fault of the govt. The people must first look after themselves and be prepared to fend for themselves instead of depending on the govt. On the other hand there are many who are doing all they could to prepare themselves to compete in an increasingly tough environment, slogging through all the years through tuitions and university or polytechnic education, and they deserve a fair chance in society. To this group, there is a social obligation, my view, that jobs shall be created for them. We cannot be like other countries producing tens or hundreds of thousands of graduates that are jobless. I would like to hear a politician standing up and say openly that they are not responsible to create jobs for Singaporeans. I will definitely pin up the speech in my forum, on stickers, to be remembered. The other point of view is that Singaporeans must tighten their belts and compete with the foreign talents. And if they failed against the foreign talents, they deserved to be losers. Because they are no good and do not deserve to earn a living here. This kind of thinking can only come from those who think that they are better than foreign talents and will never be replaced by them. Unfortunately this kind of smugness is misplaced. The foreign talents are not only smarter than our local talents, even the very best, they are also hungrier. Our best are from a minute pool of 3 million people. The best of the foreign talents came from a pool of 3 billion people, from two ancient civilisations well known to produce brilliant people. Our talents will be a mixed match when they have to compete against them. I have mentioned that maybe only a handful will survive such a challenge if not protected. It is easy for people whose jobs are protected, or at least in a better off position today, to advocate full liberalisation of foreign talent policy, welcome all with open arms. They will regret it one day when they too will be displaced by them. But if that is the end that we are looking for, the continued survival of the city state regardless of who lives here, then by all means. But if the city state is for its citizens, called Singaporeans, then there is a need to be more circumspect in this policy.

military democracy

Today I have just discovered that military coup is a democratic process. The military junta that took over Thailand by force is trying to wrap themselves with the cape of democracy. They are looking for champions of democracy to lead the new govt in Thailand under presumably a democratic govt, without election and taking orders from the military men. I have heard of democratic dictatorship or dictator democracy. But military democracy is the latest phenomenon in the world of politics. And at the same time a kangaroo court has been set up to investigate all the wrongdoings of the Thaksin govt. The Thai inquisition has begun. Can anyone believe that they will find Thaksin free of wrongdoings when he is already found guilty and ousted from his premiership of the country?

9/25/2006

myth 67

'It is very difficult to do business in Singapore' Who said so? There are many companies that are doing exceptionally well here. But they must know the secret formula to succeed. Actually there are two parts to that secret formula. And most companies already satisfied the first part. Yes, Privatise! So all private companies are already privatised and should have no problem. The second part of the formula is to run the company on a profit making basis. Tell the CEOs and management teams that the companies must make profits to exist. Simple isn't it. So the formula reads like this. First privatise, second make profits. And if any company still have difficulties operating as a going concern with handsome profits, they should consult some of the very successful govt companies that have been privatised eg SMRT, SBS, hospitals etc etc Just a money making idea. All these successful privatised companies should conduct courses on how to be a profit making private company. And with their track records, they should be able to charge a high attendance fee. They have a lot of success stories to tell.

say something, wei ling

I would really like to invite Wei Ling to this forum, to speak up and be the diva. No matter how much we kpkb, no matter how often people write to the papers or where else, nobody is going to listen. This morning Lim Boon Hee pointed out the issue of why only season passes for SBS buses and not the others. The half past six conception of this piecemeal solution is obvious to anyone. No need super talent brain to look at its implementation with horrors. Without a Wei Ling, everyone is listening, or pretending to be listening. But nothing enters or registers. Where are all the politicians who claimed that they care for the people? You need a Wei Ling to say it and all will chorus with amazing predictability. And they will suddenly rise to the occasion as if they just thought about it. Before that, no one could see that the sound solution is there staring in their faces. Please say something Wei Ling.

speaking political truth

Going by the responses from the Malaysian non bumi political parties and people, there is absolutely no discrimination in Malaysia. And they are all very happy with the course of development and the progress of the various communities. What is the truth? It is so apparent that people are saying what they don't believe in while the truth is rubbished as dangerous. Having said that, it is up to the Malaysians to fight their own battle. We are outsiders and our comments are not appreciated. Not by the bumis and also not by the non bumis. Thank you LKY for your concern. Some will quietly appreciate what was said behind closed doors. On the other hand some will have no choice but to speak up against it. That is politics of survival. In politics you are not expected to speak the truth but what is politically correct.

9/24/2006

from a kingdom to a republic

Thaksin has been accused of all the sins of his govt. There are good reasons and objections to how he managed his own finances and businesses and how he handled the Muslim insurgency problems in the south. But has Thaksin done any good to the country and the Thai people? During his watch as a PM, he had weathered the financial crisis with scintillating results. Thailand was the earliest to recover from the crisis and the Thai economy has grown from strength to strength. He has given away a lot of money and did many projects to benefit the ordinary Thais, especially the farmers. Now who else has done these to the Thai people and the Thai economy? No one, not even the royal families have done anything that really improve the Thai farmer's lives. And for what were the perceived wrongs of Thaksin, there is no justification to conduct a military coup to remove him. This coup is very exceptional in the way it originated and would have far reaching consequences to Thai politics and may even undermine the sanctity of the palace. Would the revered King become an issue? Would this be a watershed in the history of Thailand? Would this be the spark that would turn a kingdom into a republic?

listening but not hearing

During last night's PM dialogue with the youth the concern of letting in too many foreign talents in the salary bracket of $1,800 and $2,500 were raised. This is the group that will hit very hard on our young graduates and executives. The fear is genuine. Hsien Loong's response was to acknowledge the concern but added, 'I think we should bring in people who can make a contribution and as for our people, you'll compete with them but at the same time because they are here, our economy will grow and there will be more business, more opportunities for us.' Some may think that Singaporeans are incapable of competing with the foreigners. Maybe. And they are genuine and valid reasons why Singaporeans are worried of foreign competition. It is not that they are not competitive or would not work as hard. What they need is to be able to compete fairly, on a level playing field. How could Singaporeans compete with foreigners when the playing field in his own country, homeground, is levelled against him? Is this fair? For those who cannot see the uneven playing field, they should remove their blinkers. And Hsien Loong added, 'If I'm buying an HDB flat, I want to make sure that it's built as best as cheaply, as efficiently, as best as possible. So if they have foreign workers, foreign draughtsman, foreign architects, I would be happy because I think it's good for Singaporeans.' Then what about me, us, Singaporeans? What are we going to do? Be cleaners, or go overseas to third world countries and earn third world salaries? If these Singaporeans cannot find a job here because of foreign talents, how are they going to compete in the international arena? There must be fine tuning on this foreign talent policy. We need to employ our young graduates from the polytechnics and universities. They must be allowed to compete on an equal basis with foreigners, better with an advantage. How can they be disadvantaged in their own home country?

$4.40 daily for public transport!!!

At $98 a season pass, and given an average of 22 working days a month, a commuter can only find the season pass worthwhile if it costs him more than $4.40 a day to take public transport. Isn't it ridiculous for a worker to pay $4.40 daily for public transport when this is an essential service that he cannot do without? Why is it so costly to travel by public transport? How many workers have to pay $4.40 a day to get to work? How many workers will make some savings with a $98 season pass? What should be a reasonable affordable fare for a worker who has to take public transport? Now I am talking about affordability from the worker's point of view. Not from someone whose income is $1 million or $100K. A season pass is to lower the cost of frequent travellers, lowering the cost of living. And no need handouts and asking people to beg for them. And for a season pass to be meaningful, it should work on the basis that a worker should pay only $2 for his transport to work.

when your enemy is not your enemy

IMF lesson - When your enemy is not your enemy The most valuable lesson coming out of the IMF-World Bank Meeting is perhaps a lesson on how to turn your perceived enemies into your friends. Under normal circumstances, anyone who opposes you violently, especially in public demonstration, is your enemy. And conventional wisdom is to gag them and lock them up behind bars. In the IMF-World Bank case, the Civil Society Organisations not only disagree with them but also demonstrated violently, tearing down buildings and hurting people, with possible harm to the delegates. Instead of fighting them the same way or locking them up, they are regarded as worthy friends with good intentions. Their views were taken seriously. And they were given all the opportunities to air their differences. And the CSOs in turn reciprocated in their own ways. It was only a contest of opinions and views. Period. It would be so easy to make all the CSOs their enemies by fighting them, or branding them with all kinds of names. And it would be worst if George Bush's formula of 'if you are not with me you are against me' is adopted. When you make everyone who disagrees with you your enemy, they will be your enemy. The harder you throw a punch at them, the harder they will return. Eventually it will reach a point of no return, you die or I perish.

9/23/2006

please don't let my daughter cry!


'My daughter was crying for the last few nights after she got her 'O' level results. No she did not fail. She scored straight As in 9 subjects. And no she was not crying for joy. The truth was that she could not get into a university while her classmate who was at the bottom of her class and barely passed her 'O' level was given a scholarship to the top university. And she saw her walking proudly to the stage to receive her award from the Govt.' From a father. I would strongly recommend to Najib that he should sue LKY for not telling the truth and fight it out in a law of court. Go to a neutral court like in London. Then the world will have the opportunity to call a liar a liar.

the fortune and misfortune of thaksin

Here in the Paris temple, (King)Philip became aware, perhaps for the first time of the true wealth of the Knights Templar. It was here in the protecting arms of the order that he first manifested the idea of stealing their vast wealth for his political agenda. As the Templars were free of all authority save for that of the Papal Throne, the only way Philip could lawfully seize Templar assets was to accuse them of magic and heresy, which he did through his right hand man, …. On Friday the 13th of October 1307 (the real reason the day carries bad luck) all the Templars in France were arrested on a variety of charges and accusations. The trials of the Templars lasted from that date through until March 19th, 1314 when Jacques de Molay the last (known) Grand Master of the order was burned at the stake. …. There is no doubt that the fortune and power amassed since their(Knight Templars) humble beginnings two centuries earlier, had made many monarchs and citizens jealous. It was this jealousy, combined with greed and a nearly bankrupt nation, that prompted Phillip to make his move on October 13th, 1307 - arresting all the Templars in France. Under the inquisitor's torture methods, all sorts of confessions were extracted. Clement using these confessions to his own ends was able to suppress the order of the Templars in 1312. What follows are the Papal Bulls that crushed the Knights Templar. The above is copied from the site of the Knights Templar. The Knight Templars were wiped out by the collusion of King Philip and Pope Clement whose real aim was their wealth and growing popularity and power. It seems that Thaksin's fortune could have done him in. His $3 billion fortune and business empire are now going to change hands. Who is going to benefit from his misfortune and his wealth?

angry on a saturday morn

30 years ago I screamed that we should have season tickets for public transport to lower the cost of travelling and to revitalise the economy and socialisation of the people. The benefits of a cheaper season ticket are enormous. Just close the eyes and think about them, what such a scheme would do to the health of the country. It is like freeing all the arteries and let the blood flow smoothly to circulate all the organs. And this is nothing new. The whole of Europe is practising this for the benefits of the commuters and travellers. Today, our super talents suddenly came out with this idea of season tickets as if they have discovered a wonder drug. And they even talked cock and bull about the advantages of season tickets as if no one knew about them. And they even said they got the idea from feedbacks from the people. Now that they have such a precious product, they are not going to give it away easily. You need to apply for it and only some people or members of some organisations are privileged to have it. And it takes 14 days to process and approve your application. What the shit! I wanted to use 4 letter words. And the cost of a season ticket is not really cheap. It is priced in a way that not many people will benefit from it except heavy users or those who travelled very long distances. When are they going to reward regular users? Have they heard of the marketing concept of bulk discount or free mileage for frequent travellers? The most disgusting thing about this is that it is a monopoly given to them by the govt. And they are using it to maximise every cent of profit they can get from the poor commuters. They only think profit. Yeah, cost of living can only go up. Where is the sense of doing National Service to serve the people and country? Where is the responsibility to provide a cheap and efficient transport service as a public service? Oh, it is a private enterprise, profit oriented. They are answerable to their shareholders. Should public transport be returned to the govt and run as a public service to serve the people? Haven't the public been suffering from such kinds of crap reasoning for too long? $80 or $98 to be paid in advance and for 3 months. 1 million commuters at $300 per head means $300 million in the coffer safely and earn additional interest. No cash flow or liquidity problem. When can't the additional advantage be shared with the commuters? Why can't profits be trimmed and season tickets be at a slight discount, say $60 and available to all CITIZENS? When are the citizens going to have a little privilege against the non citizens? Oh, sorry, maybe only 2000 people qualify or think it worthwhile to apply for a season ticket.

9/22/2006

myth 66

'PAP gahmen should have policies which will make people want to stay back in Singapore and not policies that will make citizens run away to another country... Because if a policy can chase away Singaporeans, sooner or later the same policy will also chase away these foreign quitters' This is a quote from Zap posted in YPAP forum on the foreign talent policy. What Zap fails to see is that this policy obeys the cardinal rules of nature, a perpetual cycle. This policy is self sustaining and people will come because of this policy, and people will go also because of this policy. This is how it works. As a foreigner, one is attracted to be a citizen by all the privileges of citizenship, especially if they came from a less well managed country. So they will all come. But after becoming citizens, they realised that it was a foolish thing to do as the responsibilities and liabilities do not justify the privileges which they are entitled to as a PR. The differences are minimal. So they will go. And the cycle will be repeated continuously just like the cycles of nature. No beginining and never ending. And complying with the laws of nature is a guarantee for eternity. It is a great policy formulated to encompass all the principles of Tao.

'Wanted: Pro non bumiputra policies'

'Wanted: Pro non bumiputra policies' BANGI (SELANGOR) - DEPUTY Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has described Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's recent comments that Malaysian Chinese were being systemically marginalised as naughty. 'It is a comment that we can do without. It is not appreciated at all,' the Bernama news agency quoted Datuk Seri Najib as saying. He said the comments were inaccurate as there was no effort to marginalise the non-bumiputeras in the country, Bernama reported yesterday. On the contrary, efforts were focused towards striking a balance between bumiputeras and non-bumiputeras to ensure the bumiputeras were not left behind as the nation developed. I copied the above from Sammyboy. At the rate the pro bumiputra policies are being implemented, it is high time that the Malaysian Govt starts to introduce some pro non bumiputra policies so that non bumiputras are not marginalised further.

let's get into the first world league

Our politicians have no problem standing shoulder to shoulder with other world leaders. They are the envy of others and everyone will look up to them as they are worth every ounce in gold. Can't say this of our corporate hotshots. Our corporate leaders are very under paid compare to the Americans and other MNCs. The top notch Americans are all in the hundreds of millions league. That may be the reason why we can't find one to fill the shoe in Singtel. For the salary we are paying the Singtel top man or woman, we can at best find one probably considered fourth or fifth grade in the American corporate world. What Singapore should do is to pay all our corporate honchos as high as the Americans. Then we can boast to the world that our corporate top notch executives are in the same class as the Americans. Then also we will be able to pay for top grade Americans to head our local companies. That is the way to go in a globalised world. We cannot compete with the world if our corporate leaders are being paid pittance. They will not be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the real American hotshots as their pay will tell that they are not good enough. We want to be in the first league we have to pay the way there.

of prata and coo coo bags

I read somewhere in an article yesterday about this sweaty lady lugging a prata bag in the MRT. The commentator was not amused. A prata in the MRT was just not the right thing. A prata belongs to the better breed and better heeled variety of the female specimen. In his/her view, it is unspeakable for anyone to carry a prata and swinging in a train. So unrefined and compromising on the status of the bag. A prata must be associated with all the other good things in life, chauffered and other fineries to match. How about a Ma Sha Chi( the Hongkie pronounciation) belt to go with it. Pretenders who think it is cool to carry prata or coocoo bags, or eler vee bag should really reconsider whether they fit into the image of the upper class of fine ladies. In that level up there, all the person's worth and wealth are hanged outside for everyone to see. There is nothing pretentious when a piece of reptile skin, nicely folded to carry under the armpit would fetch $28k, and there is a long waiting list for it. Then there is another type who would wear a black rubber band watch and in cotton shirts, probably made in Thailand or some third world manufacturers, but still patronised theatres and concerts. To this group, they don't hang anything of value on them. Whatever are their worths, it is all kept hidden, either inside their heads or in between their legs. There are actually two different worlds up there, detached and unknown to the MRT prata and coo coo bag carriers.

9/21/2006

singtel has a local ceo

Nicholas Yeo, Asian equities investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management said, "I'm not sure if the market was expecting them to bring in someone from the outside who would be more aggressive, but she is a natural choice in terms of her knowledge of the company. It would not be as difficult for her as it would have been for an outsider," Suddenly everyone realised that the best candidate available and with a wealth of experience was someone within. Luckily they did not throw another tens of millions for an expensive foreign dud. The problem with Chua Sock Koon is that her salary is not high enough. They need to raise her salary to $10 million at least. Then it will be decisions from a $10 million calibre CEO. That will give her more weight. But still a lightweight compare to the $200 million Americans. How about making her a heavyweight and pay her $100 million. She will then have a louder voice in the international arena and can get into Forbes top 100 most powerful woman also. The quality of a person is measured by the amount of salary he/she commands.

gifted programme that was not to be

The Gifted Programme or GEP came to an end today with poor enrolment and competition from better alternative programmes. The much hype programme for gifted children, in my view, fell too far short of its namesake. Where are the results of gifted personalities that were churned out from the programme except for some straight As which other schools are producing in great numbers. One would expect something of an Einstein, a renowned musician, a mathematician, someone who discovers why man can walk on air or a 12 year old professor. The programme produced none of these. Might as well. Maybe we need to grow our population to 8 million and with more foreign talent seeds, then we can revive a more gifted programme with double the chances of producing some genius.

imf-world bank and the little red dot

The Little Red Dot has done it again. It is a coup of another kind over the last 10 days. No litters, no smoking, no chewing gums, and yes, no public and violent demonstration. We have uniformed men all over Suntec City, just like the Thais have their uniformed soldiers all over Bangkok. Both were there to keep the peace, albeit of a different kind. For once, the IMF-World Bank Meeting had gone without a hitch, without demonstrators pushing and fighting with the police. A bloodless coup. And this is Singapore. We have told the world that there can be discussions and exchanges of views in a civil and orderly manner, and getting the points across. Would this brand of protestorless and bloodless Meetings be continued into the future? If it does, then Singapore would have taught the world a lesson, the Singapore way of doing things. There were a little edginess initially. And the strongest or loudest protest came not from the CSOs but from the President of the World Bank himself, Paul Wolfowitz. But I think deep down inside him he was a happy man with Singapore taking the blame for a peaceful and sensible international Meeting here. And so were all the delegates despite the little utterings of how artificial the zoo was. So clean, so free and so safe. And all the food being serve on a silver platter. The Little Red Dot called the shot and set the agenda on how the Meeting should be conducted. And the world is pleased.

me and the new paper

Just a little announcement. I have just signed on the dotted line to be a columnist with The New Paper. And don't be surprised to see my pretty face on the pages of TNP come next month. It is an encouraging sign to see the main stream media taking the initiative to engage the netizens of cyberspace. Cheers

9/20/2006

remove affordability and profitability from the equation

I was reading the Secretary of Public Tansport Council, Looi Teik Soon's reply to Lim Boon Hee's 'Absolute fare comparison is misleading.' And after adjusting for Purchasing Power Parity, Singapore's transport fare is still CHEAP compare to HongKong, London and New York. The argument on this basis is perfectly sound and logical. It is based on affordability. The income of those commuters in other cities are higher so they should pay more. Our income is lower, then we should pay lesser. But we should not be paying lesser as the comparison says that all things being equal, we should be paying more. After adjusting for PPP we should and could be made to pay as high as New York. So our average fare should be $1.42 instead of 66c. Anyone sees anything wrong with this logic? The approach for how much the commuters should be paying is not dependent on operating cost or profitability but how much one can afford. Just like our HDB pricing. So if Singaporeans can afford to pay $20, this logic will say our average fare should be $20! I still think that we should return public services back to the govt and remove the idea of profitability and affordability from the thinking and equation. Public services are essential services and should be cost and charged on a different formula from commercial enterprises.

i am going to be an insurance agent

The volunteers in VWOs are now convinced that they should be covered by insurance for negligence not amounting to fraud or wrongdoings. I think if this line of argument is acceptable, then all employees, including civil servants should also be covered by such insurance. To be fair everyone needs to be protected from their own negligence. The insurance industry should work out different plans for different professions, including teachers, uniformed services, politicians, civil servants, private employees etc. In fact anyone working, paid or volunteers, should be protected. And everyone should be encouraged to buy such policies, from their own pockets of course. For all jobs or occupations are not free from negligence. Everyone is human and will make mistakes, often unintentionally. So getting themselves protected is a good thing. I am going to join the insurance industry when this is implemented.

return of coup season in thailand

October is around the corner, and coup season has returned to Thailand. So far so good as it is a bloodless coup. Whether Thaksin is be able to regroup a force to counter this coup and cause bloodshed we will have to wait and see. Thaksin has been controversial and is taking the blame for the uprising in the south. But the muslim resurgence there is not his doing. It will happen no matter who becomes the Prime Minister and the violence will continue to accelerate given the revival of Islam and the secessionist intent of the southern muslim rebels. On the other hand the latest bombings may not be the job of the muslims. Who knows who is the real mastermind behind it. The recent coup has two implications. Internally it seems that the king is involved. Traditionally the king is above politics. But this time if he gets his hands into politics, it might lead to a dramatic change in the political development of Thailand that will affect the role and fate of the palace. For Singapore, looks like we have betted on the wrong horse and a swarm of problems are coming our way if Thaksin is ousted.

9/19/2006

myth 65

'The income gap will only get wider' What do you understand when people say that the income gap will only get wider and nothing can be done about it?

new features in redbeanforum

hi, i have added two topics in redbeanforum. one is on scam stories that i replied to. this is more for educational purposes. the other is a photo gallery on some of the scenes i took. there are two albums at the moment. album 1, the durians, contains pics of the theatre at the bay. album 2 are colourful shots of chinatown architecture. just for your viewing pleasure.

return public transport as a public service

The noise is getting louder. More and more are shouting for a reform of the public transport system. Not just about how the different transport services should be run. But to return public transport as a public service run by the govt. The myth that it has to be privatised to be efficient and effective should be grounded. No one believes in such myths anymore. Anyone running a public service and found to be incapable and inefficient should be sacked. Period. And make sure his replacement do a better job or else sack as well. Then we will see whether there is a need to privatise for efficiency. That is only one part of the myth. The second part of the myth is that public and essential services must be run for profits. This thinking needs to be revised. We need to go back to look after the interest of the people, especially the lower income group. Ok, please, no silly comments like running at a loss. Sack the CEO if he cannot run it as a going concern. And no lowering in the quality of service just because it is run to make lesser profits. This is another big bull. Many letters have been written to the press. What more feedback is needed? Or because these letters did not send to the official feedback unit, so not counted as feedback? Or maybe should ask Wei Ling to write another letter on this issue.

drums, gongs and kompangs for Remy

Perhaps, perhaps, if he was a foreign talent, he might deserve something better, more attention, more accolades, more fundings and more praising. Isn't home grown talents not worthy to be groomed? Or their achievements not to be trumpeted? Someone should ask him to sleep in the void deck with his bowling balls for one week and donate $500k for his effort. That would surely raise his presence and the interest in Remy. Come on sports reporters, do something good for our home grown heroes. Make up some interesting stories like what they did for Tiger Woods. Analyse and compare his achievements with other great bowlers, see what kind of records he has broken. The first Singaporean to win how many world titles, how many titles he has won so far? How many perfect games etc. Create a website for him. Popularise bowling through his achievements. Make every child wants to be a Remy ong like every Brazilian wanting to be Pele. Make bowling a national craze. Forget about football or sprinting, sports that we are physically disadvantage. Keep the Singapore League for commercial reasons to keep the footballers employed. Pay them and not foreigners. We will never be there in the world cup. Just treat it as a sweet dream. Be real. Better to promote things like bowling, yacthing, billiards, ok, badminton, table tennis etc where we really have a chance to be world champions. Oh, golf is possible too.

9/18/2006

hedge funds, saviour or menace?

'...hedge funds were a vital source of liquidity - saviours when markets dry up.' Robert Rubin 'Asian policymakers saw them as predators causing undue volatility and overwhelming central banks. Said William Pesek. Now who is saying the true picture. Both said some truth but one is truer than the other. Just look at the main reason for the existence of hedge funds. Hedge funds exist solely for profits. Never forget this. Their presence in any market to provide liquidity is incidental and to their benefits. They are in a market to soak up the liquidity and will disappear as quickly as they appear when the market dries up. And they caused upheavals in the wake of their entry and departure. Governments must get it straight. The hedge funds are not there to bring in money. In a market when there are lots of foreign funds available, it may be acceptable for the hedge funds to come in and generate activities and liquidity. For the money they are going to scoop up could be from foreign funds. But when the money in the market belongs to the people, the citizens, one better thinks a little whether hedge funds should be welcomed to take all the people's money away. Sometimes it is better to have lesser activities and gradual growth and retaining the money in the market then to allow hedge funds to come in and off load everything away. And normally such activities will incur a cost to the hedge funds for playing in the market and these could provide additional jobs and revenue. What if the bulk of the traders were international? What if commissions are negligible or nothing to talk about? In such a situation the hedge funds could operate at practically no cost, generate few jobs, but through their expertises and collusion, could wipe out a whole market. Hedge funds that are uncontrolled and allowed to play by the law of the jungle are a menace to the financial markets and can break a country.

hedge funds, saviour or menace?

'...hedge funds were a vital source of liquidity - saviours when markets dry up.' Robert Rubin 'Asian policymakers saw them as predators causing undue volatility and overwhelming central banks. Said William Pesek. Now who is saying the true picture. Both said some truth but one is truer than the other. Just look at the main reason for the existence of hedge funds. Hedge funds exist solely for profits. Never forget this. Their presence in any market to provide liquidity is incidental and to their benefits. They are in a market to soak up the liquidity and will disappear as quickly as they appear when the market dries up. And they caused upheavals in the wake of their entry and departure. Governments must get it straight. The hedge funds are not there to bring in money. In a market when there are lots of foreign funds available, it may be acceptable for the hedge funds to come in and generate activities and liquidity. For the money they are going to scoop up could be from foreign funds. But when the money in the market belongs to the people, the citizens, one better thinks a little whether hedge funds should be welcomed to take all the people's money away. Sometimes it is better to have lesser activities and gradual growth and retaining the money in the market then to allow hedge funds to come in and off load everything away. And normally such activities will incur a cost to the hedge funds for playing in the market and these could provide additional jobs and revenue. What if the bulk of the traders were international? What if commissions are negligible or nothing to talk about? In such a situation the hedge funds could operate at practically no cost, generate few jobs, but through their expertises and collusion, could wipe out a whole market. Hedge funds that are uncontrolled and allowed to play by the law of the jungle are a menace to the financial markets and can break a country.

9/17/2006

the paradox of opposition and power

'The only constant is that every state eventually ends up an oligarchy — to varying degrees of course. What a state does is that it "steals" the country from the people. And therefore when the people vote, the people get the government they deserve. And the government engineers the extent of the state — at some point beyond the control of the people — unless they want to take EXTREME measures like revolution, coups, civil war or assassinations. All of these: VERY BAD SCENE. (but entertaining nonetheless Laughing.' Matilah Singapura I fully agree with your above quote. This is the natural way for things to be. All things will find its own way to self destruct and for a new beginning. It goes in cycles. The state is initially intended for the good of the people. But once man got into power, power got into his head and it is always self that comes first. Then the slide begins for his own destruction. The people must always stand up to voice their disagreements and prevent the slide. Now this is funny. You need opposing voices to save the corrupted from getting more corrupt to save themselves and the system. For if the people just do nothing, the slide will be faster and the self destruction will come sooner. This strange law of nature works wonders. And if you look at the IMF-World Bank and their symbiotic relationship with the civil organisations who disagree with them, how one party needs the other to prolong the game, it is another level of enlightenment. If you have read my post on why the opposition always think that those in power needs to be brought down and the assumption by the powers that all oppositions are bad and incompetent, you will know that the assumptions of both sides could be just as wrong. Marx is right when he came out with the formula, thesis, anti thesis and synthesis. Every thesis will need an anti thesis to make way for another synthesis. This is the law of nature, the law of life. And it is enshrined in the story of the Animal Farm.

9/16/2006

myth 64

'Who says we are intolerant of opposing views?' I have posted what Lee Wei Ling said about helping the poor since we are such a rich country. And I quote her here again. 'As a First World country where millions of dollars are being poured into making us a cultured and vibrant society, could a few million dollars be spared to build nursing homes for disabled patients whose parents are getting too old to look after them any longer.' Dr Lee Wei Ling I think she is asking for too much. There is no such things as a free lunch. Neither is the govt responsible to look after the people's welfare. Everyone must be responsible for their own health and problems. Wei Ling's view is definitely not the same as the govt. Boon Wan is having great plans to build retirement villages. These will not be for free. But disagreeing with the govt's position is acceptable. It is not always a case of right or wrong when people disagree. Someone insists that durian is the best fruit in the world. Some will strongly disgree and think it is the most smelly fruit. Then again, for the safety of the IMF-World Bank delegates, we wanted to ban 27 activists. But the IMF-World Bank disagreed and protested that the 27 should be let in. And we listen and accepted their opposing voice. We allowed 22 to come in. We are willing to listen to people who disagree with us and if they are reasonable, change our position. Who is complaining that we are intolerant of opposing voices?

Fortress Singapore

I was in town this morning and decided to take a look at Fortress Singapore. Never seen so many uniformed and non uniformed police in one little area. All around Suntec and Raffles Hotel and Raffles City, roads were blocked and there were also gurkhas in police uniform and fully armed guarding the entrances of hotels and the main roads leading to Suntec. And of course the barricades were there. We are taking the security of the delegates very seriously. And Kan Seng did the right thing to deny potential trouble makers from coming in, until last night when 22 of the 27 deemed dangerous were also let in. Are we going to see more agitations from this dangerous lot? Have we compromise anything? The IMF-World Bank Show has been on for several years. And they have lived to love the agitators and the demonstrators. They have such a good understanding that after every protest and demonstration they will go home and come back again the next round. Very likely they know each other by name now and were friends except for having different views of things. If this is not maturity what else is. If this is not first world what else is?

9/15/2006

a rich first world country

'As a First World country where millions of dollars are being poured into making us a cultured and vibrant society, could a few million dollars be spared to build nursing homes for disabled patients whose parents are getting too old to look after them any longer.' Dr Lee Wei Ling I think she is asking for too much. There is no such things as a free lunch. Neither is the govt responsible to look after the people's welfare. Everyone must be responsible for their own health and problems. So what if the govt has more than $200 billions in the reserves? These are for the future. (Not sure for what or when they will be used). For the time being, if people need help, go and organise a few charity shows and ask the public for donations. This is reality. We are not a welfare state. The state's money is not your money. And your money is also not your money.

a malaysian joke

Wanted: Chinese teachers to teach in National Schools. Malaysia is going to import hundreds of Chinese teachers to teach Mandarin in National Schools.

IMF-World Bank should be grateful to Singapore

IMF-World Bank should be grateful to Singapore Singapore should tell all the delegates that what it is doing is all for their own good. We are their protectors while they are here as our guests. We want to see them going home safe and sound. And this is our commitment and responsibility to them. Now they can have their meetings in peace and at ease, knowing that every measure has been taken. How can they be so ungrateful and accused Singapore of breaching the MOU? The message that Singapore is sending out to the world is that this is a tropical wonderland. Come and play and have fun. We will make sure that you will be very safe, and feel very safe. STB should sell this message in their promotion to tourists. Come to Singapore and experience how Singaporeans feel in this safe haven.

singapore did not breach the MOU with IMF-World Bank

Did Singapore breach the MOU with IMF-World Bank. Singapore did not. But Paul Wolfowitz, World Bank's President said Singapore did. And Singapore explained. The issue lies in between two conditions. One is for 'Singapore to '(assure) expeditious entry procedures including the issuance of visas... for any observers and other persons... who are accredited'. The other is for 'Singapore to take all necessary measures for the safe passage of all persons in and out of Singapore and for their personal security and safety of their property and the property of the organisations and delegations. The two conditions is like day and night. Having one will compromise on the other. You can't have day and night at the same time. For Singapore to ensure the safety of all delegates, it must have the full authority to exercise caution and take preventive measures. In this sense, if Singapore thinks that Paul Wolfowitz is a security threat himself, he can be barred from Singapore under the agreement. So Singapore is perfectly right to stop those whom it thinks will pose a danger to the Meeting. On the other hand, if Singapore is to abide by the first condition, to allow all and sundry to attend the Meeting, it will compromise itself, and safety and security of delegates, and any trouble Singapore will be blamed and be answerable. The devil is in the details really. It is like George Bush raising a red flag that Iraq is a danger, or the terrorist threat. So hiding behind the threat he can do anything he wants to protect America and its people. Paul Wolfowitz should be familiar with this kind of reasonings.

9/14/2006

the moral of kopi susus

It is quite heavenly to have a cup of steaming hot black coffee first thing in the morning. The aroma of a coffee brew is really fragrant. And the perk kicks in once the black shining liquid gets into your system. Then some ingenious people started to add milk into the coffee. At the right proportion, the combination is a different goodness. And some will only take coffee with milk. Given a cup of coffee, if one continues to add milk unrestrained, and with no concern to the final outcome, the coffee will either be diluted, or if allowed to overflow, will end up with nothing but a cup of milk. Is the coffee more important or the milk? Or just a cup of drink regardless of what is inside? In the same vein, as the govt calls for more foreigners into our rojak bowl, what does the govt think is the important final result? Does the viability of the state overrides the interest of the kopi and susu? A state exists for the good and interests of its people, the citizens. If the citizens are not important, the state is but like an empty vessel. Just throw anything into it. As long as the vessel is filled and desirable, that counts. If this be the case, shall we change the kopi susu or its maker? Or we have really transformed ourselves into a hotel? Everyone is a guest and and how well one is treated or appreciated depends on ones value or propensity to spend.

9/13/2006

Singapore Encyclopedia

Now I am unhappy. I just read that Annabelle Chong made it to the Singapore Ency. Does anyone know whether Mr Brown make it? Or what about Mr Wang, Gayle Goh and Redbean?

myth 63

'Population growth is necessary for our survival' China is facing a high growth rate despite population control. In fact the official policy of China is to reduce population growth as too much growth in this area will put a huge burden on the country. But I am too clever in selecting an out of context example to prove a point that people do not believe in. Ok, lets look at a smaller countries that can sustain growth without forcing a population growth, and maintaining a high standard of living for its own people. Yes, yes, you guess it right. Our model country Switzerland. Belgium, Luxemburg, Denmark, etc are all small countries. Australia is also a small country in terms of population size. Do they need to frantically boost up their population for more growth? This is very low level if not primitive approach to economic growth. What happens to high tech and leading edge industries as engines of growth? Fail? The influx of foreigners as a good thing today is just the reverse of the 2 child policy and population control in earlier days. One more is good and the other less is good. When all our systems and physical networks are choked up by a huge population, we will die like a fat man under his own weight, with all his blood vessels blocked, cannot breathe.

good news, fare hike but affordable

The best news today is that bus and train fares are up, but not as much as last year. Singaporeans are really lucky people. Gerard Ee, Chairman of PTC, said that PTC has taken care to ensure that fares remain affordable for the majority of commuters relative to their updated income. Presumably the income of the majority of commuters went up by at least the same margin to be absorbed by transport cost. What's left? Lim Boon Heng, Labour Chief, commented in Today, 'The public will be relieved to hear that the increase for ez link card holders is relatively small...' What is a 3c increase to commuters who may earned $5k to $10k a month? Just heard from a commuter that a trip from Tanjong Katong to Raffles Place is $1.05 by public bus. The same journey cost 80c by private bus.

9/12/2006

what if i own a main stream media

I was having a discussion with a very senior journalist on what I could do if I own a MSM. I have to brag about 'very senior journalist' to give it a little weight. If I were to say that I was talking to myself, people would just brush it off. Now the eyes and ears are wide open. Ok, let's talk about the content of the media, international relations, domestic issues, social, political economics, sports and funs etc. I will start with international news. I think this is a lucrative source of revenue for MSM. Many countries, especially the rich and powerful ones, would like to set their agenda. Country A may want to condemn country B as a terrorist nation, or branded country C as a rogue nation. Or some may want to blaster another country for abuse of human rights. Now if I were the MSM owner, I will willingly print what they want me to print in my press. But I will ask how much? These countries must be made to pay for their propaganda in my press. And there is no reason for me to help them to badmouth other countries for free. What is worst, or silly, is to publish their propaganda, get into the bad books of the wronged countries and still have to pay for them. I am sure many MSM are making tons of money doing this. I don't believe they will be silly enough to be paying to do this dirty job for other countries.

9/11/2006

the great psychotherapeutic shows

Do not have pity on a beggar. Better thank him for giving you the chance to throw him a few coins. The beggar is there for you to show kindness and compassion as a warm human being. He is there for you to gain merits for your future life, that is, if you believe that life does not end and will go on and on. Do not be mistaken. You are not helping him but yourself. We have plenty of charity shows over the years. And we have many tough and hard luck stories being beamed into our living rooms. We were touched and we emptied our pockets. And the beneficiaries were so grateful that we did. Looking at it another way, we are the ones to be grateful. Where in the world will there be a chance to see so many poor souls, real people, baring their grief and pains for us to be entertained? Singaporeans, especially the younger ones, are born in a generation of plenty. Many have never experienced the pains of want and not having the wants satisfied. Some may watch in disbelief that there are poverty and sufferings in our midst. Singaporeans should be thankful that these charity shows could draw out the little emotions and humanity in them. To make them feel and empathise with other unfortunate fellow beings. Some may even be so moved to shed a few tears. Some even burst out crying. And they felt so good after that. And for those who have been whining and feeling depressed over their plight or humble life, the beneficiaries of the shows will make them feel better, that their situations are not that bleak. They should be thankful to be able to just walk, see and take a bus without assistance. What should have happened is that all viewers who are being entertained should pay a minimum sum of $5. For those who feel better or less depressed, they should phone in to pay $20. Those who shed some tears could pay $30. And those who are more fortunate to experience rapture and break out crying should pay $100. Going to a shrink will definitely cost more. As for the performers, the actors, dancers and singers, each should pay at least $500 to $1k for the opportunity to do charity and be seen as celebrities with a heart. And the two MCs must pay even more for their greater exposure in hosting the shows. The person who benefits the most and who should donate the most is the patron of the show. He gets all the credits, merits and honour for all the performance and money raised in his name. In future shows, the patron should at least foot out $50k for such glory. If there are too many volunteers, then they can bid for the privilege to patronize the shows. Finally, everyone should say a big thank you to the beneficiaries who braved all reservations to pour out their deprivations and pathetic lives for all to see. And all future shows shall be marketed as Psychotherapy Shows. They have great therapeutic effects on the viewers. A great stress reliever. Oh, before I forget, those who are unhappy with such shows may call up the Association for the prevention of cruelties against humankind to protest.

leading by the new water way

When the New Water formula became a reality, it was still a problem convincing the people to take a sip at their own excretion. Then one by one the Ministers, including Prime Minister, demonstrated that it was ok to drink what was not drinkable before. It was a change of perception. But more. It was leading by example. Since then drinking New Water was never an issue. Today we are hearing many dramatic changes in our policies. There were calls to leave the nest and find greener pastures overseas. Calls to invite foreigners to the homes. Calls to take a pay cut and expect lower salaries in the face of competition from foreigners in our backyard. And there were the retirement age of 62. Grumblings were aplenty on the ground. Somehow all these calls seemed less real, less legitimate. The people who are going to bear the brunt of these calls are unconvinced. Maybe we should see and other exercise like the New Water Campaign. Lead by examples and show the way.

9/10/2006

this is our country, this is our home

Do we invite foreigners to our homes and allow them to insult us and tell us to get out? This seems to be the latest development in the game of foreign talents and welcoming more people to our shores, as citizens. Many well meaning people have been singing praises of foreigners and how important they are to our survival in the future. And this message has sunk into the heads of many foreigners and Singaporeans alike, that we need them to save us. And they believe so. Some Singaporeans also believe so. And foreigners are even telling us that if we are uncompetitive, want high salaries and less work, then we should ship out. They are willing to come here to work harder and for less. The remarkable thing is that some Singaporeans do agree wholeheartedly to this kind of argument. There are Singaporeans who are working overseas as foreign talents and understand how tough it is to be foreigners competing against the locals. And they have achieved some success in doing so. And they empathise with the foreigners working here. They understand the logic that more work and less pay is the only way to fight the competition. Singaporeans can no longer rely on the stupid idea that they must be paid first world salaries when others are willing to work for less. Admittedly this reasoning is logical and true. There is no pleasant alternative in a globalised world. Singaporeans must work more and be prepared to earn less, except for positions where foreigners are not allowed to compete in. For such occupations, they can go on as before and keep increasing the salaries at will. Would there be any profession where the incumbents dare to say they are over worked? Or after being given more perks and increments, have the audacity to ask for less work and responsibilities? Now that this new living mantra is the accepted conventional truth, it can only be expected that life will be a bit tougher for the lazy or less talented Singaporeans. So what can we expect them to do? Are they expected to tighten their belts and fight with foreigners for jobs here, asking for lesser pay? And is this a fair equation? Foreigners are hungry, have no stake or responsibilities here. They can live with less. Should we allow them to proceed to compete with our own people for jobs? Are we saying that time has changed and Singaporeans have to look backward, to a level of living like in the past? The other alternative is for talented Singaporeans to rough it out like our foreign talents. Go forth and seek for new pastures. And there are jobs galores overseas. Singaporeans are in high demand as foreign talents and logically will be getting better pay in foreign lands. Strange isn't it? Why are Singaporeans in great demand overseas but not wanted in their homeland? Or is this a game of musical chairs? We export our unappreciated talents overseas and welcome foreigners to take their places. Would we reach a stage that the more able Singaporeans will be found living overseas and their homes rented and occupied by foreigners? If this is the likely development, what kind of nation or society will we become? Citizens of the world? The Filipino and Indonesian maids went overseas to earn foreign exchange and left behind an empty nest. Some returned to find their nests occupied by strangers and they were no longer wanted or could not fit into the new equation. Would we pay the same price if this happens to us? And very likely the price will be much higher. For instead of the women folks being abroad, our able men folks are the one that are missing from home. A home without a man or a nation without its men or talented men can have unimaginable consequences. This is our country, this is our home. What would it be like if our homes are now overseas and our country becomes the homes of foreigners?

scam stories

hi fellas, i have started a column in my forum on scam stories that i replied to and the details of the exchanges over email. i have received many in the past but conveniently deleted them. i think it will be educational to all by playing along and reveal how their modus operandi. i have started on two cases now, one claiming from bank of africa and another from uob singapore!

Scam Stories

hi fellas, i have started a column in my forum on scam stories that i replied to and the details of the exchanges over email. i have received many in the past but conveniently deleted them. i think it will be educational to all by playing along and reveal how their modus operandi. i have started on two cases now, one claiming from bank of africa and another from uob singapore!

9/09/2006

unhappy singaporeans, please go somewhere else

Johnny be good is right. If people here are not happy, leave for a life overseas. Then you shall see through your one-dimensional prism that you will face the same problem foreigners face in Singapore, and you shall see how you like it. Don't even argue national protectionism for one's own peoples, for your concept of nationalism is increasingly flimsy in this globalised world. A nation is an imagined community and this is one area in which your imagination is a liability to all. The above is a view of anonymous posted in another thread earlier. The discussion is on the serious issue of replacing Singaporeans with more foreign talents. All FTs will stand for such a position. No more countries, no national barriers, the world is free and open and the talented shall be welcomed everywhere. If this is what the world should be, good for the talented. And Singapore just committed the most expensive mistake in Education. There is no need to pamper our teachers with more salaries and perks. Go overseas and recruit the best teachers from the poorer countries and pay them peanuts and they will all rush to come here. As for our demanding teachers, tell them to pack up and go overseas and see which country will pay them the big fat salaries they are getting. Yes, all Singaporeans who think that they are not earning enough and want more should go overseas and see if they are worth what they are getting here. I can bet most Singaporeans, other than a handful of exceptional ones, will find that no one will pay them what they are getting here. The salaries that Singaporeans are getting is an artificiality that is created by ourselves. We consciously push for high salary and high cost of living and are trapped in our own doings. Singaporeans will willingly go for lower salaries if the cost of living is lowered. But we can't if we are to live in this island. But should Singaporeans listen to such comments that if we are unhappy, pack up and leave? Who has the right to say this to Singaporeans? Any politician who dares to utter such remarks will see himself packing. This is home. And for FTs who are here, they must know that they are here with our blessings and good grace. So long as they respect that there are citizens and non citizens, and the citizens must have better privileges, they are welcomed. Once they get crazy ideas in their heads and telling Singaporeans to ship out because they have a right to compete with Singaporeans on less pay, their time is up. They must not understimate the wrath of an angry people, the citizens, to kick them out. The world is not a free or borderless world. Otherwise we will not have any Singaporeans left and all will be replaced by people from the poorer countries. The island belongs to every Singaporean. It is a product of our forefathers, their sweat and tears. Any foreigner who thinks otherwise is planting the seed for their expulsion. Any Singaporean who agrees with this will see his own expulsion as well. For there are many hungry people willing to take their place here.

9/08/2006

i can't resist this

George Bush has a heart attack and dies. Obviously, he goes to Hell, where the Devil is waiting for him. "I'm not sure what to do," says the Devil. "you're on my list, but I have no room for you. But since you definitely have to stay here, I am going to have to let someone else go. "I've got three folks here who weren't quite as bad as you. I'll let one of them go, but you'll have to take their place. I'll even let you decide who leaves." George thought that sounded pretty good, so he agreed. The Devil opened the first room. In it was Richard Nixon and a large pool of water. He kept diving in and climbing out, over and over. Such was his fate in Hell. "No!" George shouted. "I don't think so. I am not a good swimmer, And I don't think I could do that all day long". The Devil led him to the next room. In it was Tony Blair with a sledge hammer and a room full of rocks. All he did was swing the hammer, over and over, time after time. "No! I've got this problem with my shoulder, I would be in constant agony if all I could do was breaks rocks all day", commented George. The Devil opened the third door. In it, George saw Bill Clinton Lying on the floor with his arms staked over his head, and his legs staked in a spread-eagle pose. Bent over him was Monica Lewinsky doing what she does best. George Bush looked at this in disbelief for a while and finally said, "Yeah, I can handle this." The Devil smiled and said "Ok, Monica, you're free to go!"

how to bring life back to cyberspace?

Another scenario that can jolt cyberspace into life again, albeit a frightening one. While all the IMF World Bank delegates are feasting in the comfort of Suntec Convention Centre, a huge explosion blew up in one of the neighbourhood town centre. Or perhaps a busload of convention delegates were taken hostage. And all the bright and sunny decor could not take away the feeling of gloom and doomday. The peace and security of our daily life can run to a halt if any of that happens. Or maybe a bad joke like the one on TV last night of one celebrity laughing at Tom Cruise's child whom he claimed was Jet Li's. What a piece of shit doing on TV? But he got the world talking and listening.

mickey mouse game

We planned for two Integrated Resorts, thinking that two is just about right. We are not that ambitious to think bigger. This is just a little aberration from the big ego that we have, to be the best in everything. Could we go bigger than the two IRs, bigger than the biggest Disney the world ever had? We plan, others plan too. Now it seems that the big boys have bigger plans for Singapore, a regional funland with all the big names in one little island. One trip to Universal Studio, Disneyland, Casinos and all the fun for a whole family. No long hours of coach or plane rides in between destinations. The savings from transportation and travelling time will be a big plus for an island resort with the best of the world, yes, all here. This is the first positive development out of the IR projects. Suddenly the whole picture changes. Instead of two miserable IRs, there can be 3, 5 or more and other combinations. Would our plans change to embrace a flood of more funlands to set foot here and turning the island into an international wonderland? The catch is how to remove the monks and priests.

9/07/2006

my first enlightenment

After being kept in the dark for so long and unable to figure the logic of this urgency for more citizens, finally I was enlightened. I am so glad to have discovered the truth. Singaporeans are in great demand overseas, which means that they will all be moving out to be foreign talents. Then what? There will be a big vacuum left behind, including a lot of empty flats and houses. If these are not taken up, then property prices will fall. Now you see why we need all the foreigners to become citizens, to buy up all the slacks and prevent a hollowing out of our talents? Now no more Singaporeans are not talented craps. We need foreign talents not because Singaporeans are not talented. It is exactly the opposite. Singaporeans are so talented that they are now a rare specie in their homeland, poached by other countries. Let me quote Straits Times reporter Sue Ann Chia, 'It is opportunities galore for Singaporeans.' Not to say that those who are left behind are the not so talented.

a possible scenario

A scenario to ponder. We are living in blissful peace. We gripe about some issues that are close to our hearts. We are unhappy, sometimes over very small things. We begrudge other people earning more money than us, and some even take actions to make sure other people do not earn more money than them. And the grumbling goes on and on. But seriously, the quietness in the internet really tells a story. There is no big issues that will work up the masses. There is a lull before the storm. The north wind in blowing. Let me paint a possible development in the north. Mahathir wins a nomination to the UMNO Conference and blasts at Badawi and his son in law. Half of his old comrades switch side and Badawi's govt is crippled. And so is the dream of Khairy of ever becoming the youngest Prime Minister of Malaysia. This young upstart is rattling a lot of nerves among those in the queue for premiership and the possibility of they ganging up to remove him is always there. In desperation Khairy could stir up a racial storm. The blame is placed squarely on the shoulders of the non bumiputras, with a little exaggeration. A few stone hurling and car burning incidents could turn into racial tension. Riots break out here and there. The country runs to a halt. People flee. We have refugees amassing at the second link and the causeway. Non bumi Malaysians flooded into the city states with all their cash and gold. All the industries come to a standstill. Funds pack up and go home. The Malaysian stock market collapses. All the billions in paper money go up in smoke. The Malaysian govt goes bankrupt. And more violence follows. Singaporeans wakes up to see a nation in arms, trying to keep the problems outside our shores. And this can happen. Just a little exaggeration.

myth 62

'Money can solve all problems' This is actually another way of looking at the same issue mentioned in Myth 62. We are so rich. Temasek just announced another whopping profit of $12.8 billion! Wow, there is money everywhere. What to do with so much money? We are indeed a very fortunate nation driven by very able leaders that put us in such a privilege position. Yes there are gripes and complaints everyday as if we have severe problems that will bring the country down. Actually there are no earth shakening issues that could do us in in the near term. We have grouses just like any other countries. But ours is of a nature arising out of having too much money. And often we think money can solve all problems. And it is very easy to throw money at problems. Not much thinking needed. And that is why, despite pledging something like $10 billion during the last election (hope my memory is correct) and $500 million alone to ComCare, we are still hearing very sad stories on TV. We are still seeing people, our own citizens, living in abject poverty, living a life in misery and had to embarrass themselves in front of the whole nation, pleading for mercy, for a few dollars. This kind of problems are actually very simple problem and can be easily solved, and yes, by throwing money at them. The unbelievable thing is that so much money have been thrown at them and nothing solved. And we need to rely on charity shows, year after year, to raise a few millions for these peopel. It is really a shame.

9/06/2006

tycoon li ka shing

'In Asia, our traditional values encourage and even demand that wealth and means pass through lineage as an imperative duty. I urge and hope to persuade you, especially all of us in Asia, that if we are in a position to do so, that we transcend this traditional belief. Even if our government structure is not yet geared towards supporting a culture of giving, we must in our hearts see building society as a duty in line with supporting our children.' The above quote is from Li Ka Shing after he received a lifetime award in recognition of his entrepreneurial achievements at the 6th Forbes Global CEO Conference at the Shangrila Hotel.

good times are back again

I just got this feeling that there is going to be a big round of pay rise across the board. Then follows by everything up and back to square one for many. And in the case of the bottom feeders, it will be sinking even deeper. How so? Let's see, everyone gets a 10% increase and everything also 10% increase. Ok the lower earners may get 10% plus $50. So that could be more than 10%. Sounds good. But all the bread and butter stuff are going to go up by more than 10%, maybe 30% or more. It does not make sense to raise the price of a 70c item by 10%, needs to round it up. A cup of kopi cannot be 77c, so make it 80c or $1, neater that way. Is this forthcoming pay rise a good thing? If I am earning a million, sure must be good, it means another $100k increase. Can do a lot of wonders with that kind of money.

myth 61

'The failsafe solution, Singapore's answer to all problems' Teachers are quitting the service in huge numbers. And teaching our young is a very important part of our national and economic development. We cannot afford to lose teachers at this rate. Quick, quick, find a solution. 'Just throw some money to them.' $250 million, will it be enough? Surely that should solve the problem. The teachers said, not enough. We want lesser work. Not exactly. The teachers just want to teach. Cut away all the administrative work or ECAs, just let them do the most important function of their profession, to teach. Oh dear, throwing money at teachers is not good enough. And this is a vital profession that we cannot afford to lose good and well trained professionals. All the investment in the training go to waste. What shall we do now? Have they heard of multi tasking? All Singaporeans are expected to multi task, to wear on 10 or 20 hats to justify their stratospheric level salaries. And now teachers are also raised nearer to that level, how could they ask to do just one thing, teach and nothing else. Didn't they know that an insurance agent is now called a financial adviser? They not only sell insurance, they are also expected to sell all kinds of financial instruments, including advising clients on their financial matters. And their commissions are cut some more. Now who is next to claim that their profession is important and overworked? Ah, the doctors. How can we forget the doctors. And the lawyers too. Their jobs must also be important. Who else's job is not important? How much more money do we have to throw at them?

9/05/2006

tension continues to build up in the north

Khairy is reported to take his battle to Penang and using the same agenda, diverting the hate to the Chinese community, pitting the Malays against the Chinese. He is a dangerous animal on the loose. Though Badawi is a moderate and well respected gentleman, during this period he needs all the goodwill from all the communities. The way Khairy is setting the agenda and the terms of engagement, he could destroy himself and take Badawi along with him. And the Malaysian Chinese community better be more circumscribed, take a step back and do not allowed themselves to be cannon fodder again. Things can turn bad over night.

new era in singapore malaysia relationship

Singapore and Malaysia welcome opening up of two-way air routes By Channel NewsAsia's Malaysia Correspondent Melissa Goh Posted: 04 September 2006 1937 hrs Singapore and Malaysia welcome opening up of two-way air routes Malaysia and Singapore have both welcomed the imminent opening up of two-way air routes, seeing mutual benefits in such a development. The warming up of relationship between Singapore and Malaysia, and more economic cooperation and joint business ventures are the signs of change towards a new era of working closer together. And this is only possible when politics is removed from the equation of business and economic cooperation. Under Mahathir, this is not possible. And all his ministers, no matter how rational and pragmatic, would have to behave like chameleon, depending on the mood of Mahathir. Often they appeared clownish and outright stupid, making silly statements or reversing what they had said or agreed earlier. They have lost a lot of credibility as leaders of a nation by behaving or misbehaving in the public and in international arena through their unpredictable and unreasonable behaviour. And no thanks to Mahathir. Today, when logic and pragmatism and economic interests are key to their policies and actions, they have become their true self, behaving and acting as normal, predictable and rational leaders who talked sense. They must all thank their current Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi for allowing them to regain their self respect. Poor Syed Hamid and Rafidah were often made to take U turns and undermined their own credibility as if they did not know what they were doing. Now they appeared very sensible and saying sensible things that ordinary people could understand and not be shocked to their absurbed turnarounds. A good leader will allow his team of ministers to stand out as good leaders themselves.

a legend made

Legends are made of this. Just a little distraction from the routine posting. Tiger Woods made it 5 in a row after winning the Deutsche Bank Championship from Vijay Singh. And he did it after trailing 3 strokes going into the final round behind Vijay who hammered a 61 round course record. To recover 3 strokes against another former world number one is just too much of a fairy tale ending. This man is born to be great and he is unstoppable. He is not only charismatic, he is a role model for many to emulate, clean, honest and down to earth. He is no rogue like some of the other athletes in boxing, football or basketball. And not a naughty McEnroe. And definitely not a prima donna. What a great hero, and a living legend. And he is American, African and Asian.

9/04/2006

the 'mao dun' of new citizenship

I still can't get over this 'mao dun,' or the controversy between the best spear against the best shield. We are telling the foreigners that becoming a Singapore citizen is good. On the other hand the citizens are screaming foul for being citizens. The citizens are saying that as a citizen they are getting a raw deal compares to a PR. So when a PR becomes a citizen, he is going to have a raw deal compares to his previous status. So why on earth would a PR want to trade places to become a citizen? Obviously when a PR becomes a citizen, he must be better off. Actually I just saw the light at the end of the tunnel. This welcoming new citizen thing is just a gimmick to frighten Singaporeans to buck up. For the govt know in their hearts that PRs are too smart to trade in their privilege position to become citizens and get a raw deal.

a great president charity show

It was a great show featuring our local talents, or that was the part that I saw. I missed the first half of the show. The poly students were great, and so were the girls from MGS. And so was Stephanie. We have a lot more talents to market if we keep at nurturing them and providing them with more opportunies to excel. No need foreign talents really. As for the charity aspect, the effect of exhaustion was obvious. The callers chalked up a miserable $340,000. The balance that made up the $4 million were from corporate donations. The glamour and novelty of painful faces were not pulling the heartstrings as they used to. Maybe over exposure had toughened the senses of the audience. If that be the case then we are going to see poorer response in future charity shows. Hopefully cynicism will not replace the genuine human warmth when staring at people in grief.

israelis must learn from singapore

According to Clement Mesenas, Editor at large of the Today paper, Israel should learn from Singapore to live in peace with its Arab neighbours. The first thing that Israel should do is to be more Arab, learn to speak Arab and accept the ethos of Arab, to live more like the Middle Eastern people. Israel should not embrace the western way of life. And Singapore was quoted as the shining example to follow, learning and have Malay as our national language. All Israelis must speak Arab as a second language. But he forgot that Singapore is also like Israel, embracing everything that is good from the west and eschews all the lifestyle of the west. And, Singapore is modeling itself after Israel! Horrors!!! I am amazed at the simple solution to the Israeli problem and that the Israeli would not take this road to peace. Stupid Israelis?

the british nightmare

Britain is paying a heavy price for its arrogance, the colonial master that knew it all. And today it is crying. It is living with a nightmare it created for itself. They must have regretted not taking the advice of Enoch Powell. The raids at all the muslim hideouts to flush out terrorists over the last few days are only skimming the surface. The problem has very deep roots and well spread across the British Isles. How could they ever uproot the terrorists living among them and who were locally born, bred and trained? For their generosity or guilt, they embraced all their colonial subjects regardless of race or religion. These same people who came to Britain for a better life are turning against their benefactor. How ironic. Or is it retribution for the excesses of their forefathers who ravaged the colonies and turned free people into British subjects, subjected to British rule? We are also embarking on a major policy change to welcome the world into our little space. Will we live to regret it one day like the British? Bringing a stranger into your home is a big risk. It could turn out to be a devil in disguise.

myth 60

'The Little Red Dot is not viable' We have lived with this myth for 41 years. We started off with a population of less than 2 million. We were heading towards a dead end, political suicide for leaving our Malaysian hinterland without resources and a treasury that is virtually empty. All these are history. Today the same threat has been raised, that Singapore will not survive if we do not increase the population to 6-8 million. This time it is not outsiders that said we cannot survive. This time we said it ourselves. And to survive, we need the influx of more foreigners. The originals are no longer good enough and is a dying breed. It is like cattles with too much inbreeding. We need a dosage of new DNAs to boost out the impoverished stock. And so far everyone believe so. At least the whole govt machinery believe so. And the whole main stream media also believe so. No one has uttered a little disagreement to this embracing truth. We die if we do grow our population. The little voices in cyberspace, from the not too well educated, the unprofessional and not too objectives, the kopit tiam kakis, seem to think otherwise. So we have a competition of ideas from the thoughtful against the unthinking gossipers. Obviously the unthinking cannot be believed. The thinkers and policymakers must be right. There is another group of thinkers in the academia. Why are they saying notthing? Do they agree or disagree? Silence is golden, silence is consent. Silence can also mean protest. Or they have spoken but not heard. This is a major issue that will change the nature of the nation and its future. The academics cannot be clueless or without any views. Still waiting to hear some hot debates among the high brow thinkers on this issue. Or the viability of this nation without the doubling of its population is a truth and not a myth?

9/03/2006

cheaper and better

When I first bought my Nikon camera a couple of years back, it cost me $399. My plasma tv cost $6000. Today, less than two years, I can get a better Nikon for the same price, with better features and improved technology, from 4 megapixels to 6 and a 1.5 inch LCD to a 2.5 inch. So is a plasma tv. A laptop used to cost at least $2k. Today it can cost below $1.5k. All the prices are coming down but without compromising on quality. In fact the quality has improved in leaps and bounds. Why is it that in this little queer island called Uniquely Singapore, the price of everything can only go up. And any suggestion of cutting down cost, the immediate reply is that quality will be compromised. That lower cost means lower quality. A CEO is a CEO and is himself. Pay him $1m or $10m, he is the same turkey producing the same work. Of course he will turn into a monkey if he is being paid peanuts. The only problem here is that nobody thinks that he is paid enough or excessively. And with the govt setting the trend, telling people that all cost and prices and salaries must go up (except for those at the lower rung that are faced with fierce international competition), it is like an edict to raise prices. And salaries are raised even in positions that have no international competition. Positions that are the reserves of Singaporeans. Then look at all the low tech industries like public transportation, essential services and basic food, how can their cost keep going up when high tech industries with cutting edge technologies, employing the best brains are able to produce better products at lower cost? Something is seriously wrong in this logic that cheap means lower quality. Just look at those who are getting ever higher salaries and compare their performances and see whether there is a proportional improvement in their performance. I bet many were just doing the same shit in and out or may even be worst. Some may spend time networking for more kickbacks for doing nothing but to show their faces or lend their names. But this is not a game of golf when a name like Tiger Woods sells.

like a virgin, george yeo in cyberspace

George Yeo is like a virgin taking her first tentative walk in the ghettos. And he chose to be in one that he is more familiar with, and feel a little safer. Can't blame him, knowing how treacherous cyberspace can be with many demons and devils of all stripes and hues lurking in the dark corners waiting to pounce on him. Nonetheless it is a very brave move and most appreciated by netizens. If all goes well, if he is not mugged, and when he spread the words among his other virgin peers, cyberspace may see more luminaries appearing for a chat. What is important now is for him to feel safe. And netizens should encourage him to visit more frequently by responding positively to his brave gesture. The nature and credibility of cyberspace depend on the netizens themselves not to engage in vicious attack on other netizens regardless of their background. It will help the growth of cyberspace community and improve communication between people and those who will influence their lives with their decisions. Cyberspace welcomes George Yeo as a netizen. PS: Though I have no specific rules in this forum, I reserve the right to delete posts that attack another forumer personally.

9/02/2006

it is all in the faces

Well they said a picture is worth a thousand words. And I was looking at the colourful picture of Lui Tuck Yew and the six students in the Straits Times yesterday. One whole page devoted to the topic of National Education and a 5R full colour photo of the participants right in the middle. I skipped the wordings, too wordy and a topic too familiar to read it in detail. What fascinated me was the facial expression on the faces of the students and their body language. Hanisah Maskon said, 'What's Lui talking about?' Hers was a quiet attentive look. Next was this red shirt guy, Benjamin Lin, with his body leaning away from Lui as if saying better to keep your distance. And Gayle Goh, her fist in her mouth and a look that said she was in Orchard Road or somewhere out there. She was so far away though sitting so near to Lui. Tan Yee Ling was listening, but you cannot miss the scepticism in her expression. Robert Straughan was more interested in the chemistry of the half empty glass of ice cream or milk shake. He was trying to guess which was which. And Muhammad Nabil, the bright one from RI was perhaps the only one still engaged in the conversation. And of course, Lui was the one doing the preaching, or talking. Was there a generation gap or were they talking about something world's apart?

radical thoughts about babies

Radical Thoughts Babies shortage, not enough man to be soldiers, more new citizens needed. The question is how many soldiers are needed to defend against the perceived foe? The second question is whether we can survive just on our own capability or do we need backups from allies? It all depends on the strategy on how to defend a small island state. It may not be appropriate to discuss such matters here and also it is not a simple issue to deal with. But we could take some broad strokes on this dwindling number of service men to defend the country. If we can maintain the present strength, maybe a little lesser if we cannot produce the numbers we want, the small shortfall can be compensated by technology and superior weapons. With this as the bottom line, is it possible not to be too obsessed with more in numbers? What about mecenaries as a supplement? Would an additional two divisions of mercenaries be enough? We have been living with the Gurkhas as mercenary soldiers for sometime. Could options be made to have one or two divisions of Gurkhas on call if needed? Given their lower cost, we should be able to pay for them in a crisis. Not forgetting that we have a standing armed forces of our own, which is the key to our own defence and that only we can defend our own country, to activate the mercenary soldiers, it would mean that we are in a state of war, which is still a remote possibility. The other option is to sign defence treaties with friendly forces like the 5 Nation Defence Pact, or maybe with the US to come to our defence when attacked. We still have our own forces to hold the fort for the initial phases of engagement. With these two options available, we may not be so desperate to have more headcounts as war is not an option for us. We should at all times be striving for peaceful co existence with everyone and the ultimate defence by military means should hopefully not be called upon. Simply put, diplomacy first, and building bridges to avoid conflict. Second, have a respectable defence capability of our own. Third, to be able to draw upon a mercenary force or from friendly allies. Would these be adequate measures to avert the pressure of not enough babies?