Should The Singapore Media Or Culture Be Shot First? by Let Children Breathe Your Smoke I mean seriously, don't you guys have better stories or issues to discuss? Blogs? Seriously? Blogs are what you have to talk about? I copied the above from Singapore Surf. And today, Sunday Times devoted an entire Editorial Page on Blogs. Two third of the page was on an article by Carolyn Hong, Malaysia Correspondence, titled 'Bloggers rising to the fore in Malaysian politics.' And an editorial comment on the negative impact of bloggings with the title, 'Bereaved Netties.' And I quote some of its comments: 'A scan of blogs and random postings would suggest the national IQ has not risen (how patronising), but then the sober, sombre types are not in the habit of sharing their thoughts. (They are most heroic after wine and good food at house parties.) Attacking under the belt. Has the Net goaded famously guarded Singaporeans into the habit of venturing opinions? Political parties' research depts are the people to ask, as sounding off on public affairs is a reliable measure of a society's engagement.' in bold are my comments. Then it went on about Net and effect on marriage, Social Development Unit and Cupid and dating agencies. I think it is the last part that it is really interested. There seems to be a conscious effort to refrain from mentioning the names of Singaporean blogs and forums, especially the political ones. I don't believe that professional journalists whom we were reminded by Andy Ho that they did a lot of research before writing an article, would not have known the existence of many quality blogs and forums by Singaporeans. I am still waiting to see a major article on Singapore blogs and forums, not the food, hobbies, travels type of blogs/forums or blogs about who dating who and who is the most well dressed teenager in Orchard Road.
'What is God up to?' I spoke to God. I asked him why all the sufferings, the floods, the earthquakes etc? Why didn't he make a better world of happy and rich people? God said, 'If everyone is rich and happy, they will forsake me. They would not come to me. So I must make them suffer, make them feel the pain, then they will come to me for help. And I can be there saving them, giving them a little alms. And they will all be so grateful. I am the all compassionate and caring God. Psst, don't tell them that it was I who caused them all the sufferings and deprivation. Look at my palace, I have everything in abundance. But that's for me, and a little for them to make them come begging again and again. I am so great.'
Globalisation and Free Trade Temasek A fundamental question Can this state entity simply walk into a foreign country and buy its major assets – as an ordinary MNC? Letters Dec 28, 2006 In the wake of its troubles in Thailand and Indonesia, reader Aloysius Tan writes about the growing sensitivities facing Temasek’s ambition to control or invest in crucial foreign companies. The following is his letter to us and cc to email@example.com. The above question was copied from littlespeck.com My answer is a simple yes. For Singapore is a free country. We are totally free and we allowed everyone to come in and buy up whatever they like. And since we open ourselves up for others to buy, than logically others must allow us to buy into them. This is the same logic as Singaporeans who called themselves international citizens. Singapore is an international city state. We welcome everyone, especially foreign talents. So others must also welcome us with open arms. We called ourselves international citizens and the world must accept us as international citizens. We set the rules and the world must listen. It is like letting the world to screw us and we expect others to be screwed by us. Unfortunately, the world have their own rules. And they set their rules for us to obey. They will come and screw us. But they will not allow us to screw them.
How I wish that greed is non existence in the life of the super rich. Not that greed is a bad thing. Not that greed can be wished away. The poor and greedy must be poor and greedy all the time. They are poor and so must be greedy. And they must be greedy to give them a kick to want to work to have more. But for the employees in huge corporations, I mean employees, people earning a living being employed, not the real owners of wealth, I wish that greed is not in their minds. For as long as greed is there, they can never be satisfied even if they are paid US$40 million as bonuses. They will only ask for more. And as the money are public money or money belonging to minority shareholders who did not have a real say, these greedy mercenaries will just keep piling up from money they don't own, other people's money. But if greed is no longer in their mind, when they know enough is enough, when they know that what they are taking is obscene, then they may spend their time working for their shareholders' interests, for the interests of the public and people of the world. And they will not be spending time on how to scheme another chunk for themselves. Many such high level executives are wasting too much of their precious time devicing ways or finding ridiculous formula to justify more pay for themselves when they already have enough money they did not know what to do. Hopefully greed can be removed from their thoughts and they can become more charitable.
When saving is not enough How many people around the world can afford to consistently save 20% of their income over a life time of employment. And how many can afford to save 33% of their income? This is a ridiculous amount of savings for anyone over a life time. The sad thing is that this amount is not enough for a peaceful and satisfying retirement. Not enough to live, travel and see the world for many Singaporeans. This is the plight of many Singaporeans. How is this so? What is wrong with the formula?
The Engaging Myth Engaging the Netizens has been brooded for a while. Did we see any real engagement? Would those little boys that slammed and taunted other bloggers and forumers be a party to a concerted effort to engage netizens? If that is the kind of engagement, then it is very disgraceful. It is disgraceful on the part of those boys who are aspiring elite and future leaders to stoop so low to attack other bloggers/forumers and called that as engagement. I said if. These attackers could be paid by unfriendly sources to impersonate as supporters of a party and creat havoc in cyberspace to give a bad impression of the party they appeared to be supporting. We don't really know who they were. But whoever they were, it also reflected very badly on the people who authorised them to behave that way. It shows a sick and immature mind behind the act. Engaging the netizens is to share and exchange ideas. There are many good and serious netizens and bloggers who are ready to discuss or chat seriously. But where are the serious engagers? Or are they afraid? There is no need to be afraid of the abusive types. Those are easily identified as ill bred and will not be taken seriously. Their bards only discredit themselves. Yes there is the danger of exposing the truth or the real values or real person behind the saint that is walking around. Everyone who articulates often will eventually reveal his true feelings and values, his true self. Sometimes the fangs will flash momentarily. Sometimes the horns will protrude only to recede quickly when noticed. But that is a price to be paid to really engage netizens. It is better to have the truth or true self out earlier than later. Lets see some real engagement in the new year.
'Non Indians Preferred' IT Manager N Prasannakumar was fuming when he read this in an advertisement by Frontline Technologies on 21 Dec in JobStreet.com. I too will. No Human Resource Personnel, even an assistant, will put up such an advert for jobs in Singapore. It is taboo. It is common knowledge. The Ministry of Manpower, the MSM, within the Human Resource community, in Human Resource Depts, this is a topic that has been hammered over and over again. Even JobStreet.com has no reason to repeat such a mistake. How did it occurred? It was a mistake, said Frontline Tech HR Manager Tong Suit Ping, probably a FT or a new citizen. That may explain why it happened though not necessary the case. Race discrimination is a very sensitive issue to all Singaporeans. No Singaporean will pass such an advert up for print unless it is intentional to create mischief. In this particular case, race discrimination was less likely to be an issue as Tong Suit Ping said the project team has 3 Indians, 3 Chinese and one Filipino. For such a lapse, I am very agreeable with the word fine. Fine must be slammed at any organisation violating this ruling, written or unwritten, legal or not yet legal. And the Media, MSM or dotcom, must be fined even more for allowing it to be in print.
48 people interested in becoming NMPs This is an encouraging sign as more people find it important to step out to have a say in the running of the country. And there are many big and recognisable names and professionals in the list. All broods well for a more thinking and serious Parliament. Sitting in Parliament is not a boy boy game. What is important is that children should not be allowed in Parliament. And if they think that they are there to look after the interests of children, please don't. Let the parents do it. And if really necessary to have children, lets have a boys scout version or a school cadet version instead of the real thing. Trial and error, training or gaining experience should be done in training schools or in a training environment. Lets be serious in Parliament.
Why pay when you can have a free ride? Sim Kah Choon, a new citizen, and formerly from Sarawak, has had no urgency to take up citizenship here for more than 20 years. There were all the good reasons for not taking up citizenship. And the best reason was given above, 'Why pay when you can have a free ride?' Yes, it took us more than 20 years to realise how good the PRs were until all the kpkb in cyberspace prompted a rethink about giving PRs a free ride. Funny that nobody thought of it except the PRs who knew and quietly enjoyed the good time for as long as they can. We need to do more to make citizenship more valuable, more desirable and more meaningful, and not cheap. No body wants cheap stuff. The Americans sent their new citizens to Iraq and Afganistan and if they survived, they will become Americans. Now that is a heavy price for a citizenship. Or maybe we knew that becoming a citizen isn't a big deal and people may not be interested and will run away when we force them to make a choice.
Repeated calls were made to the homes of Goh Kian Huat to donate to the NUS Alumni to help needy students. 'For the past three weeks, members of my family have been receiving calls from the Alumni Office asking why I had not responded to their request. It appears that NUS is aggressively trying to raise funds from alumni.' But the methodology is so frighteningly familiar. To be able to make so many calls requires manpower and resources. According to Goh Kian Huat's article, 'The NUS was corporatised in March and is now a limited company...there is more pressure for it to operate like a commercial entity, with making profit as its main objective.' All sounded too familiar. There was once an organisation that made collecting donation a commercial business, employing a huge full time staff just to make calls to donors to make donations. I just hope NUS Alumni is not taking the same road.
Daylight Robbery 'On Sat, on my way to Vivi City for the first time, I made a wrong turn - I followed the road sign - into the road leading to Sentosa. I told the girl in the booth about it, but was told I had to pay $2 to make a U turn. This is ridiculous, day light robbery.' By Cheo Liew Kiat No this is no robbery. This is Singapore, the unthinking part, the no thinking part, the rule that justifies the means.
Christmas is a time of peace, love, giving and sharing. Though the weather was bad across the world, nothing like the tsunami of 2004. There were some cheers and gloomy dark clouds. But a tsunami of a different kind is brewing. Below is a short article which I copied from littlespeck.com which says anything but the above. And if violence befallen on the owners of the article, I think they deserve it. Iran's president Punked by Danish group 'Sympathetic' ad published in Tehran press insults Ahmadinejad with hidden message. WorldNetDaily.com Dec 24, 2006 Less than a year after Danish cartoonists ignited protests across the Muslim world with their depictions of Muhammad, another group from that country has risked offending Iran's president by calling him a "swine" in a hidden message included an advertisement that got past censors and editors at the Tehran Times. Surrend, a Danish art group that targets world leaders, successfully submitted an advertisement to the newspaper that, at first glance, expressed support for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The half-page ad, submitted under the name of "Danes for World Peace," features a picture of Ahmadinejad and a series of statements sympathetic to his regime: Support his fight against Bush, We are also tired of Bush, Iran has the right to produce nuclear energy, No US aggression against any country, and Evil US military stay home. Surrend's members told the editors they wanted to express their solidarity with Iran and make amends for the publication of cartoons of Muhammad published in their own country, reported the German daily, Der Spiegel. But what the advertising editors at Tehran Times missed was that the first letter of each phrase formed an acrostic that, top to bottom, spelled "S-W-I-N-E." On it's website, Surrend describes itself as a "street-art group" that was started in the winter of 2006 "during the funeral of Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milosevic." "The idea behind Surrend is to make fun of the world's powerful men," the group proclaims, through the use of "stickers, ads and posters with ironic texts as its expression medium." Despite listing only two members – Jan Egesborg and Pia Bertelsen – Surrend plans projects that will require "20 different travels," having already targeted authoritarian leaders with their pranks in Serbia, Belarus, Turkey, Poland, Sri Lanka, Faroe Islands and, now, Iran.
The last few weeks we have heard the foreign talents calling us silly and shallow, even printed in the main stream media for every Singaporean to read. Now they are even beating up Singaporeans in our own country. If things are not put into proper perspective and the foreigners made to know that they are here as guest workers, by our grace and generosity, tomorrow Singaporeans may fear for their own safety walking in our streets. Just watch these two clips. Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lx0iszVuLKw Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-mRTKC_sz4
The Professor Simon Shorvon case is another glaring example of what Western justice and high ethics are all about. They decide their own rights and justice. Small and weak countries have no rights to their justice and ethics. Simon Shorvon's unethical and unprofessional practices in Singapore, ie, 'recruiting patients and altering their medications without their informed consent or the knowledge of their neurologists' were serious ethical and professional breaches. Singapore Medical Council(SMC) sacked him only to find him appointed in the prestigious University of London College and National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London. Such serious violations of professional and ethical conducts in an important field of medical sciences cannot be allowed in any civilised world. It can only be practised in third world countries on third world patients by first world eminent professors. The third world people, govt and patients have no right to a little decency. That is what the case is all about. And the SMC has a duty and responsibility to see such disgraceful acts be made known to prevent further repeats of the violations. However, the British General Medical Council(GMC) had turned down SMC's request for a public inquiry on technical grounds. And they conveniently ruled that SMC was only an informant and not complainant and thus 'the GMC owed no duty of subservience ot the SMC' to inform the SMC of its decision. The issue here, to the British, is a case of subservience to a small country. For its pride as a big country, it refused to hear a complaint from a small country to be seen as subservient. It brushed aside the more important issues of professional breaches of conduct and ethics. This is the kind of Western justice that the rest of the world had lived with for centuries. But for a declining power, a small power like Britain today, they can no longer rule away their hypocrisy. And should Singapore and the rest of the world send their students to the University of London when such misconduct lives among their eminent academic community? And this also applies to the University of Birmingham.
We have many heroes. It is only a matter of recognising them and blowing up their achievements, add in a little drama, a little exaggerations and sensations, and we can have the best fairy tales or world shattering stories. Just write on the good and beautiful side and ignore the bad stuff. Look at all the celebrities and ask yourselves how many are just simply punks and outrageous bums that you would not want to be seen around them? But they are idolised as long as the dark side is not exposed. But to be serious, we have great names and marketable names. The Americans have their Roosevelts, Eisenhowers, the Brits have their Chamberlains and Wilsons. And now the more marketable names are the celebrities in arts, entertainments and sports. Tiger Woods, the Levis Strauss, Michael Jordan, etc. Let's cook up some great brands among our greats. Remy Ong, Ang Peng Siong, Mardan Mamat or Dick Lee and churn them into world class brands. SIN is not bad when FCUK is nice. Shall we have brands like the Ongs, the Angs or Siongs, or Mamat or the Lees? The Lees somehow sounds better, more familiar and more universal and recognisable. Lets launch the Lees brand for a start and see how far it goes. Dick will love it. he is so famous. Branding works.
I like Sundays. On Sundays, I let my mind wanders to uncharted territories, toy with wild ideas and things that are unmentionable. Last Sunday I expressed how envious I was about young professionals making 3/4 of a million or more. Geez, was I envious? I have to harp on that theme after some sad experiences that happened to some earlier batches of high earners. The housing agents, insurance agents, stockbroking agents, the conveyancing agents or they also called them lawyers. They were the high flyers of a short era. It happened so fast and gone just as fast. I happened to meet up with a conveyancing agent, or lawyer, the other day. And he said he was just waiting to close shop. Huh, conveyancing agents or lawyers, closing shop? What happened to the good time? And what happened to the million dollar housing agents, the million dollar insurance agents, the million dollar stockbroking agents? They are all marking time. Some quit, some earning pittance, worst than a clerk. Some waiting to call it a day. The moral of the story is that when one is earning big bucks, shut up. You would not know what is coming next. Things may change so rapidly, by the act of god, that good time will be over in a matter of days. Maybe there is some hope today. Now the perception is different. If one can earn more, I can make sure that I can earn even more. So the bigger is the income of others, the better justification for me to earn more. I deserve to earn more than anyone. And I will find a way to do so. So please go and earn as much as you can. But just don't get carried away.
While the NTUC leaders were mulling over the increase in CPF contribution of employers, they are conscious of how any increase will affect our competitiveness and the concerns of employers. John De Payva commented that 'Employers have said the increase in CPF contibution may result in them lowering the annual wage increase...' Its a case of LPPL. You pay here you cut there. So more CPF, less increments. 'On the other hand Lim Swee Say noted that some employers did not want the rate to be raised.' How wrong can the two be. Consult the views of our foreign talents and they will get a surprisingly different picture. This is what Faruq Shadhili(foreign talent) said, 'Foreign companies are eager to raise the CPF contributions for employees.' Or maybe Fauq is referring only to foreign employers while the NTUC leaders were referring to local employers. And foreign employers like Singapore so much that they are willing to pay more to Singaporeans and will not relocate to China or India. The NTUC must engage some of these foreign talents to get a better feel of the real situation on the ground. And they are relatively cheaper to hire. Good value for money.
Gerard Ee and his team has done a good job at NKF. The cost of dialysis is coming down, the subsidies going up, the patients paying less. Imagine how much injustice to the poor patients if things were allowed to go on as before and the whole country being deceived that everything was done best for the benefits of the patients? And how many of them and their families will continue to suffer financial hardship while others are enjoying and having a great time at their expenses? And enjoying the glory of being idolised as the new age saviours of the sick, and honoured and feasted by the peers of supertalents. Well done Gerrard. But more can still be done.
'The Foreign Myth' Lately the foreign talent debate has taken a higher profile with foreign talents openly calling local talents silly and shallow. If we may take a step back and ask ourselves, what we have today, are they the contribution of these new foreign talents? Technically we were all foreign talents once as we were all migrants. But these migrants have settled and sunk roots here, indigenised and formed our first and second generations of local talents. These are the talents that built what Singapore is today. And we have them to thank for, not these new upstart foreign talents who came here yesterday and trying to claim all the credits. If these foreign talents are that talented, they should have elevated the poverty in their home countries. But they are quitters of their own countries and coming here bragging how good they are. Just show us what they have achieved for their countries before they tell us we are silly and shallow. But sad to say, they are right in this last comment. We are indeed silly and shallow to bring them in to insult us. If this foreign talent madness is not straightened out, one of these days these foreign talents are going to line up the local talents and screw them nicely one by one, including those who idolised foreign talents.
What Faruq Shadhili(foreign talent) said of Singapore talents 1. Foreign companies are eager to raise the CPF contributions for employees. 2. Most foreign companies would like to put a local to take charge, BUT... 3. Singaporeans(with MBAs) are industrious and can be entrusted to carry out routine management duties,...do it by the book, ...lack the independent mind to take matters to the next level. In short, unthinking but hardworking, good as production line operators. 4. Singapore talents are egoistic and worked for their personal interests instead of company's long term interests. 5. Singaporean talents 'had the gall' to disagree with European directors just to look good to his local subordinates. Would unthinking and mindless Singaporeans dare to disagree with their bosses, just my view. 6. The first contradiction to 5, local talents would cut salary of staff to please foreign bosses. I thought they would talk back? 7. Local talents would fly first class but cut cost of other departments. I only knew of one such talents that appeared in the big news that travelled first class. And this practice is rampant here according to Faruq. 8. Local talents think that foreign bosses are daft. 9. Curry favours is commonplace and employees got rewarded for that. 10. Local talents hired employees and demanded that they speak mandarin which actually is unnecessary. And foreign bosses disagreed but got along to please local talents. 11. Local talents demand workers to have proper qualifications. Foreign talents can perform without proper qualifications. Faruq quoted an example of an O level engineers training new aeronautical engineers. Phew, which part of the world could this happened? And Faruq commented the CEO of the airline for doing just that. I will fire the CEO first. 12. He concluded that not all Singaporean bosses are that shallow. So many must be shallow. Before any shallow Singaporean bosses reading this article and start to sack all the local talents and replace them with foreign talents, and before they start to hire O level 'engineers' to train qualified aeronautical engineers, they better examine this concept of foreign talent is better than local talent before they be called silly and shallow by foreign talents in their employ.
Corporate governance and ethics not necessary. Acra and Icpas have withdrawn recognition of the NUS BBA(Accountancy) degree. They wanted accountants to be taught courses that are related to accounting and auditing the traditional way. But NUS thought the emphasis on corporate governance, ethics, risk management, internal control and business acumen are more important and relevant in view of all the big time corporate frauds. 'Even ACCA, the international body representing the profession, had launched a new qualification this year to focus on "professional values, ethics and governance", in line with the "industry demands and expectations", the Association's Singapore head Penelope Phoon told Today.' It is indeed a strange development. Or is it that corporate governance is not important in Singapore? How could taking a few electives in these courses undermine an accountant in his accounting and auditing skills? I think it is the former. Singapore's corporate world is filled with men of high integrity. No problem with corporate governance and ethics.
The Other Govt A young boy asked me in my blog yesterday whether I am pro govt or anti govt. It is a profound question to come from a boy who does not know what constitutes a govt. So I told him that I would toss a coin and see which side it landed. I am not going to discuss about the three arms of the govt or the complex machinery of the whole govt. To that boy, what is govt to him is pretty obvious. Actually in his thuggish behaviour, he is asking me whether I am for his party or gang? This prompted me to the other govt that is running parallel to the legal govt that we have today. This other govt runs a gamut of businesses ranging from spas, entertainments, security and money lending. The most prominent and explosive arm of this other govt is of course money lending. They charged exhorbitant interest rates. And failure to pay will subject the borrower to threats of violence, something like the young boy was trying to do in my blog. But violence or personal harm was more of an intimidating tactic. What they would normally do is to lock up the borrower's flat, and with thick strong chain by their bailiff. Instead of posting the Notice of Seizure, they will just paint it on the adjacent walls or in the lift to make sure the borrower did not miss it. More efficient that way. And if this failed, they will burn the door to the flat. They might place a pig head for decorative purposes. Now they have taken it further by demanding the neigbours to pay or they will burn the neighbour's flat as well. And they do it in broad daylight, walking freely everywhere. Now that is truly another form of govt. We have parallel imports of cars. Now we are having a parallel govt. Am I talking about JB or Hatyai?
Amazing Singapore Below is a quote from an ex Malaysian that I plucked from littlespeck.com. ExMalaysian wrote: By my own experience I can tell you that it's great being a new citizen in Singapore. You are judged by what you can contribute and not but some NEP policies. The education in Singapore is also about the best in the world. Yes, even the educators from the native English-speaking countries adopt how Mathematics and Science are taught here Best of all, every time you cross the causeway to visit Malaysia you are rewarded by at least 2.3 times in your spending capability. What are you waiting for? Singaporeans are lucky.
Cyber Pests in my blog There are a few cyberspace pests helping me to generate traffic into mysingaporenews blog. I am not sure whether to thank them or to curse them. Their presence has definitely raise the ratings of my blog, except that their intent was just to disrupt and hurl abuses. The age of professional thugs in cyberspace has arrived. Elfred has a new opening now, to be paid to disrupt blogs and forums. Another business that may sprout out from this is bounty hunters. These will be hunters out there hunting down such pests and bring them to court for a reward.
'Meritocracy Myth' Thomas Koshy added to the meritocracy myth in his article in the Today paper today. What is meritocratic, as he has reaffirmed our views discussed in cyberspace, is not really that meritocratic in the true sense or ideal sense. There cannot be true meritocracy when there are differences arising from 'race, sex, age sexual orientation, physical disability, region, religion and physical appearance.' One could add inheritance, in wealth and genes. In society, superior ability, as Koshy termed it, may not be given a chance because of unequal access to resources and opportunities. But what is dangerous is that a state that is based on the philosophy of meritocracy will have the same ending as any state based on any other political philosophies. The elite will become arrogant and be disconnected with the people and will eventually be overthrown by the people, according to Michael Young's fictional book, The Rise of Meritocracy. One could read it like The Animal Farm. Is there hope for meritocracy to survive in this island state? The writings are ominous.
Below is an article calling for a code of ethics for bloggers, posted in Singapore Patriots, assuming that bloggers are the culprits for some of the mess in blogosphere. However, in my blog, which I do not attack anyone in particular, nor do I use vulgarities, maybe some exceptions, there are a few pests that have obviously been sent there to disrupt my blog with their personal attacks. Now who needs a Code of Ethics? Who are behind these pests? In support of a Singaporean bloggers' Code of Ethics - Part 2 Dharmendra Yadav's TODAY article calling on bloggers to self-regulate continues to draw mixed reactions from local blogosphere. Aaron, Yuhui and I generally support the suggestion. BL agrees that blogs should self-regulate, but doubts the feasibility of implementing the idea. Other bloggers, including Dr Huang, Cowboy Caleb and Elia Diodati feel that it is unnecessary and impossible. I don't think Dharmendra and Aaron were calling for a formal blogger's association which will censor or censure its members who do not toe the line. That is not only undesirable but also impractical—bloggers simply won't join the association. There is also no intention to muzzle the "last bastion of truly free expression", as Dr Huang colourfully describes blogosphere. "Censorship" is as much a bad word to bloggers, as "welfare" is to the Singapore government. Rather than any type of association, whether formal or informal, I would prefer a Code of Ethics that the majority of law-abiding bloggers would willingly agree to. This Code should be concise, localised to the Singapore context, simple to understand, easy to adhere to, and non-binding. Its function would be symbolic rather than regulatory. It would be somewhat like the our National Pledge. The Pledge, penned by our first foreign minister S Rajaratnam, is a short and straightforward, yet deeply meaningful statement. Almost all Singaporeans from all walks of life and political persuasions agree with it. The Pledge itself has no legally binding requirements, but those who choose not to adhere to the statements set forth in the Pledge are likely to find themselves contravening some laws of our land.
The trade union leaders have called for some restoration of the CPF. Good times are here, it is time to bring out the champagne and have a party. Surprisingly several analysts were out in arms against such an idea. Obviously the memories of hard times and bad times were forgotten. During those dark hours, many lamented and regretted the high CPF and the rigidities of our wage system. There were calls for CPF cuts and flexible wage systems. The decisions were tough and hard to make but were made. CPF were cut, flexible wages were introduced. All to make our system less rigid and competitive. The wage system needs to be flexible to change with the highs and lows of the economic cycles. We have done well and live with an increasing portion of flexi wage components. Do we want to go back to cast more increases into stone again and have the same problems of breaking them when the hard times are back? Or do we want to continue to input further increases into the flexi portion of the wage to allow companies and organisations to vary them according to their performances and the economic trend? And there were talks that we can manage international forces, have no fear of competition from low wage countries, and can create high value jobs again. Now that is really good news and a great thing to know.
While I am calling for more bloggers and forumers to join cyberspace, while all the bloggers and netizens are named the Person of the Year by Times Magazine, the battle for cyberspace has begun. Three snipers entered www.mysingaporenews.com and started to challenge my postings. It just shows that mysingaporenews is worthy of reading. But how worthy and how good a blog is is all in the mind. When the mind is good it will see good things. When the mind is bad, it will see bad things. When the mind is big it will think big. When the mind is small it will think small. Then comes the clever element. A clever and good mind will think very big. But a clever and small mind will think very small and think very bad. In the drawer of a CEO, there will be two books. One is for good and honourable people and one for small and sneaky people. Both are very useful to him. The good and honourable people will be groomed to take over important positions. The small and sneaky people will do the sneaky jobs. And that will be their lives in the organisation, to do sneaky things. And the CEO knows very well that only such sneaky people can do such jobs. But never will he use them for good and honourable jobs.
Bloggers, this is your time For seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, Time's Person of the Year for 2006 is you. Times Magazine voted the bloggers as the Person or People of the Year. The role of bloggers and citizen reporting is playing a very significant and increasingly important role in writing and commenting about events and news, and is getting the recognition of an important international magazine. With millions of bloggers in cyberspace, the amount of information generated is unbelieveable and they will present a serious challenge to the main stream media when news and information are expected to be packaged in an expected manner. Three cheers to all bloggers.
I like this quote from Eleanor Wong 'Having something to say that might mean something to someone, change how they see things, or at least make them ask different questions.' That's what writers or bloggers should try to do.
Citizen Banerjee A foreign talent turned citizen, and he said it simple and clear. '...holding a country's passport is not what binds a person to the place - it is the emotional ties that do....' He added that we don't necessarily need everyone to be a citizen. The real supertalent can go anywhere they want. Do we need a foreign talent to tell us these? Isn't everyone in cyberspace been saying the same thing? What I would want to add it that a pink passport is nothing without the emotional ties and without the benefits or values that come with it. Emotional ties are also dispensable when citizenship is no difference from being just a PR. There is greater need and urgency to make citizenship more meaningful and valuable, to be a treasured and wanted item. Our own supertalents, if they are really worth their salts, too will leave for greener pastures, pink passport or not. There must be a host of things that make citizenship meaningful to the people. Something like getting 10% more discounts or subsidies for medical fees and education. Imagine that is how valuable our citizenship is.
Lift my veil and what do you see? This is the title of an article by Irfan Husain in the Today paper. And in the following pages you have the new Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf taking a stand that he would oppose the cutting of the hands of thiefs. Next to this was another headline, 'Islam debates worry Anwar.' The three names are muslim intellectuals who are not your normal laypersons or average kids turned mullahs. It is a pity that such intellectuals did not take up the profession of being religious leaders. For their views and interpretation of the Koran will definitely make a mark in the development of Islam. The things they lamented are serious doctrinal issues that only muslims are best to discuss among themselves. As non interested parties or non muslims, our views are definitely unacceptable no matter how we rationalise about them.
$3,400 psf properties How could Singaporeans afford such properties when the top 20% population have a monthly per capita household income of $3000, according to some statistics that were splashed across the MSM? At $3,400 psf, it will mean a 1000 sq ft condo will cost $3.4 million. But these units built for the rich and famous are not going to be 1000 sq ft but 2000 or more. A 2000 sq ft will be a blooming $6.8 million. With the $3000 per capita income a month, Singaporeans would have to go and steal from some where if they can afford one of these units. How is it that about 70% of these properties are bought by Singaporeans? Unbelieveable! Something is seriously wrong here. Either the statistics are wrong, or something got to do with our corruption index. To buy such a property, one would need a monthly income of at least $30,000 and for many years. Where to find such animals in Singapore? Maybe there are, but can't be that many. The reality is that once these few Singaporeans have bought their shares, that's it. The rest will be bought by foreigners as the developers are going to build more. Surely with our miserable income of the top 20% at $3000 per capital household income they would not be able to afford such price tag. Maybe one day we will have to follow the footstep of Malaysia, and reserve 30% of all high end properties, or all privately developed properties to be sold to Singaporeans at a discount.
What a lousy Sunday morning My eyes were sleepy, and everything takes an unusually slow pace. Even my movements were slow, slower than any other day. Sunday is meant to slow down, relax, forget the world, forget the rat race. The sexy pictures of Tang dynasty women did raise the heartbeat a little. But my poise and serenity vanished when I hit page 3 of the Sunday Times. My eyes turn green and instantly I am fill with rage, the rage of envy. How can young upstart claims that it is normal to earn US$500k at a tender age of 34 years? And what he was implying is that many are earning much more. This reminds me of those heady days of an unprecedented bull market when stupid remisiers went bragging that any normal remisier would earn $30k a month. And what happened to them is history. The same pathetic state also befell the insurance and housing agents. Probably many have now turned to become taxi drivers. In Singapore it is very hazardous to brag about your stratospheric income. People not only get envious but angry as well. Just like how I feel now. How can these young people earn so much and easy money some more. Must do something about it. I am still wondering what is the agenda of the paper to splash the erotic incomes of children and what will likely to happen to them later? It was only a few days ago when we read about the pathetic existence of 'has been' high flyers and the top 20% of our population only having a per capita household income of $3000 a month. If we have a young couple earning three quarter of a million each, it will mean that their per capita household income will be $60,000 a month or $30,000 if they have 2 children. This is really obscene. I am still seething with green rage. I am going to do something about this. I am going back to sleep and forget about this brutal reality.
The unwanted talents I was talking to a cab driver last week. He was only 46, a NUS business graduate. Lost his job and could not find any and was resigned to driving a cab for $3k a month. He knew that no one will want to employ him anymore as he had tried and tried to be reemployed. In the Straits Times today, several pages were devoted to the issues of the unwanted talents. These are highly qualified, highly experienced and matured professionals, all ended unemployed or underemployed, disenchanted, disgrunted, ego deflated and life shattered. And yes, our country is crying for more foreign talents to replace them, that we have no talents and no experienced professionals and managers. And yes, our qualified people are leaving our shores and we need to replace them with foreigners. What is the problem? No problem at all. Can't see any problem. It is all globalisation's fault and nothing can be done about it. It is so pathetic and depressing to see these once high flyers who are now willing to earn half or one third of their income, maybe less, begging to be employed. We don't have jobs for them? Bullshit! There are many jobs waiting to be filled or filled by people who don't need them or did not have the time for them. We have a few super talents hogging on many jobs and pretending to be working and effective, but in reality, going through the motion as the multiple jobs they are handling are beyond them. That's why shits are piling up everywhere. Just take the occupation of company independent directors will do. There are something like 700 companies listed in the Stock Exchange and each requires the services of at least 2 independent directors. But many of these positions are filled by duplicates or people who either cannot do the job or do not have the time to do it. Indepedent directors can be a profession by itself for the lost talents who have acquired a wealth of experience through their working life. Then the multi tasking that have gone crazy and people ended up with 10 or 20 hats. This is another bullshit in our system. 2 or 3 hats may be just the maximum that an able person can handle, and still stressing him out. More than that, I can only think of one person being capable of doing it. He must be omnipresence, omni conscience and untiring and undying. If there is conscious effort to create more decent and highly qualified jobs for the experienced professionals, there are many ways. Manage the appointments of independent directorship and cut down on multi tasking, and we will have created some extra jobs to go around. Provided those with a big fat pension are not allowed to say I want also. I almost forgot that this multi tasking thing went down to the middle or lower professional level too, making people doing several jobs at the same time without understanding that at the lower level they are definitely not super talents and would not have the talent to do them. One man or woman only has 8 or 10 hours a day to work. Beyond that he/she is working to his own death unless he/she is cheating all the way, without doing his/her fair share of the load.
Come come, Howard, Please get off your high horse and join the community of free trades. You can't be protecting Qantas by accusing Singapore of protecting SIA. You or Qantas has been given special privileges, more than SIA, through out generosity and stupidity to trust that you will reciprocate a magnanimous gesture with another. Now you are showing your horns by saying that 'One of the reasons we are sceptical of Singapore Airlines is that it has a level of protection from the Singapore Govt which far exceeds the level of protection that Qantas enjoys, and it is very important that we do not needlessly bargain away the interests that our national carrier has.' Just tell the world what SIA enjoys or is being protected by the Singapore Govt and stop making sweeping remarks that you know you can't justify or is untrue. The truth is that Qantas is over protected by the Australian Govt. The Singapore Govt shall henceforth drag its feet in facilitating or pushing for ASEAN's inclusion and acceptance of Australia.
'The naughty lion' Many long years ago, there was a lonely lion in the island called Temasek. It was the only lion and had never seen another lion. One day, while frolicking in the water off Pasir Panjang beach, it saw a beautiful sea lion. To the lion, a sea lion was also a lion. And it was happy, and they were happy. A few months later a baby merlion was born. The paintings of this beautiful merlion is on exhibited at the new National Museum by our very own painter David Chan. He even christianed the merlion as Singa Merlionus. And so the story goes. And we have our naughty lion and merlion. Copahagen has a mermaid.
The PAP mentality No, I say again, no, I am not referring to the political party of the same initials. And I am not trying to discuss about the political party or pap smear. I am referring to a Singaporean mentality that everything can be solved by paying. Tan Choon Ming wrote an article about how plastic bags, the indiscriminate disposal of them, is harming our environment. And the Singapore style solution is, yes, make them pay for the use of plastic carrier bags. Singaporeans are paying for rubbish disposals. Now we have to pay for the containers that will eventually be used for the disposal of rubbish. Fine, it will surely work, the Singapore way. Oops, what did I say? Did I say something right? Oh yes, fine, fine them like littering. But didn't we already have littering fines? Obviously this fine isn't working. So for the use of a plastic bag, Singaporeans will have to pay for it, which is a commercial decision, pay for their disposals, or fine for not disposing them properly. Fine, let's get it going. Singaporeans only understand the meaning of pay and pay. We pay for everything, from the paying of top dollars to solve elitist problems to the irresponsible who litter everywhere and to pay taxes to help the poor.
'Elites are not proud' I was reading Adrian Tan's thought about the uncaring elitist debate. After acknowledging that elites are found in all societies and that it is self deception to pretend that there is no elite, and admitting that he too is an elite, he came to the conclusion that the solution is a little pretence. I agree with him that the elites deserved to be where they are and to be proud of their achievements. And naturally whatever they do may be a little cocky or perceived to be cocky. And that blatant abuses of the plebians are a no no. Pardon my punt. There are many ways to make elites more acceptable and friendly and lovable. Give them more publicity, and even if they are punks or hoodlums like some of those excellent footballers or other celebrities, they will still be adored. Make their antics admirable and cool, like some were heard to have splashed their faeces on the ceiling of hotel suites etc. But if all else failed, as Adrian suggested, a little pretending to be humble, will go a long way. Anyway this world is full of pretences and hypocrisies. Just pretend to be nice, act nice, say some nice things and people will forget who they really are. It is so simple and easy for the elites to be nice. Not too much to try to be nice, or pretend to be nice.
The last few days have been quite trying for the PR community in Singapore given the announcement that PRs will now pay more for medical and school fees. Actually all these are unnecessary and can be avoided. There are many ways to skinning a cat. Oops, maybe I should use a more diplomatic phrase. There are many kinds of subsidies and discounts. What I thought would be a more pleasant and positive thing to do is to announce that all citizens and PRs will pay the same rate of medical fees and school fees. Now am I back tracking? No, not really. The second announcement is that all citizens will get a discount or subsidy for medical fees and the edusave for school children will be increased to pay for school fees. I know it is LPPL. Oh, the difference is that one option means more money to the govt's coffer while the other means money out from the govt's coffer. But the difference can be overcome by announcing that medical and school fees will be increased followed by another announcement for subsidies for citizens. There must be better ways to make things more pleasant. Maybe they should engage a PR agency for this. What is a couple of millions for better acceptability huh? Marina was well spent.
Why did renowned New York arts school, Tisch, chose Singapore against Japan, Korea and India? Simple, we have our comparative advantage. 1. Strong Govt vision to make Singapore a global school house 2. Impressive infrstructure and advanced technology 3. Multi ethnic makeup of the people 4. Strategic location 5. Extensive use of English And we have many other advantages other than these. And I can easily add in another 20 or 30 advantageous. There is no need to go down on our knees. We have values and these can be converted to price.
Myth 101 'The fallacy that we must compete for lowest wage or cost' I have posted this myth yesterday and explained that there is no need to bring everything to rock bottom especially in our competition with other countries. There is also no need to pit our workforce with the cheap labour of India and China. There is no need to go down on our knees to beg for foreign talents to come to our shores to compete with our local talents. Here we need our supertalents to find a solution to justify their worth and their exceptional remuneration. There are such things as niche market, market differentiation and product differentiation. This can best be seen in the prices of upmarket properties. While others are coming down, property prices in prime locations are shooting to the stars. And our medical fees can be priced higher than the regional hospitals, why? Then the taboo topic that I avoided to talk about. While the pay of most public and private sectors are going down, the pay of top govt officials are also shooting to the sky, like top end properties. The elite may complain that this is politics of envy. I am conscious of how the elite feel on this. But this point is raised from the angle of product differentiation or market differentiation. At the top end, like top class foreign talents, the market is different. The air in stratosphere is also different. Then there is the element of no competition. Back to the foreign talent market. At the middle, the bulge of the bell curve, there are millions of them available. They are not a talent that is so special or exclusive that we cannot do without. At this average level of talents, there is no difference whether the talent has a third class, second class or general degree, or whether he comes from a third grade or second grade university. The job he is going to do or doing does not require any exceptional talent that our locals did not have. At this level, they should be competing on a level playing field. Or, the locals shall have a slight advantage in the competition. That's is what privilege of citizenship is all about. Any foreign talent that thinks he is competing unfairly and does not like our terms, thank you, find a better place to go. There will be more hungrier foreign talents who will come happily to take up what is available. Yes. lets cut out the bullshit. There is no shortage of talent at the average talent level.
'The fallacy that we must compete for lowest wage or cost' A report in the Today paper showed the medical cost of some operations in the US, India, Thailand and Singapore. The US is undeniably the most expensive and India the cheapest. We are about 20-30% more expensive than Bangkok. What the comparison tells is that there is a market at every level. It is like our own job market. Not all sectors have to compete for lowest wage. In some sectors we are the most expensive in the world. Similarly, when we are competing for foreign talents, in some areas we have to literally pay through our nose. But in some areas, we pay them below market or less than if we were to employ our own citizens. It is actually a whole range of jobs and expectations. What I am trying to say is that we should price what we think we is comfortable and attract those that find our price acceptable. We can't make a price to fit the whole market range. And the new policy on citizen first may drive some foreign talents away but will attract some new foreign talents. Those who are affected and are moving are not the really indispensable talents that we cannot afford to lose. Thus there is no need to bend backwards to accommodate those who want to leave. There is no point in trying to keep those who are not happy here. It is more important for the govt to make the citizens, the stakeholders, happier. And a 10% difference in subsidies is not going to do that much.
Myth 100 'The third generation will squander the inheritance away' This is a famous Chinese myth. Frances Ong Hock Lin writes about it again in the Today paper, fearing that Singapore now under the third generation leadership, will squander away what the first two generations of leaders have built. From the way things are going, he can rest very assured that it will not happen. The myth will not apply to Singapore. I am not saying this because our third generation of leaders are the brightest of the three generations of leaders. There are many things that say otherwise. First we have accumulated so much wealth, and still accumulating, that unless there is an earthquake under our feet, we will get richer by the days. And these generations of leaders are so much richer than the first two generation of leaders. Don't try to compare their richness. It will blow your minds away. But that is not the point. The important thing is that they are maintaining the same policy of spending with surplus budget or other people's money. Look at the two IRs that we are building. Not only it is the operators paying for them, the govt is even making a handsome profit from land sales and later all the services like water and electricity and taxes from the profits. And now when the govt is trying to help the poor, it is the people's money again, the 2% GST, that will be used for this purpose, probably with extra for the govt's coffer. So don't worry, this myth will never come true. We can only grow richer. Only external events or a natural calamity can bring us down. Sleep well.
What to do with the 2% GST? I was planning what I want to do with my little fortune that the govt is going to give out to help me tie over this difficult period when my income is going down and down while others are going up and up. You see, I also suffer from this widening of income gap and is feeling the pinch just like the 80% of Singaporeans. So I thought if only the govt can give me $3000...you know what I will do with it? I will buy an annual IR membership. Look, this $3000 entrance fee is only applicable to Singaporeans. I think this is uniquely Singapore and the IR owners will be laughing all the way to the bank and not knowing what to do with this windfall. They have to return the money to the people in some ways. What I think they might do is that with this membership, the member will be allow to eat all the food they want from the resort, not necessarily from the casinos. So the member can feed himself with breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, hi tea, dinner, supper, pre breakfast breakfast, 24 hours a day. He could literally live there and food all taken care of. And that is what I would want to do. $3000 is less than $300 a month, which I reckon will be the pocket money my children will give me to spend. Now if the govt can use the GST to buy every Singaporean an IR membership ticket, it is like providing them with free meals throughout the year, and very good food too. And no need to sweat in the hawker centres. Now this will be the best meal ticket the govt can give to the people. Ok the IR may be 3 to 5 years down the road. Better still, the govt can accumulate this money for the people and put it in their CPF temporarily. And then make it a life time meal ticket for all Singaporeans, every year. And Singaporeans should not complain that the govt will keep the money for another few years. After all they are used to their CPF money being kept for them till 55 and then 62. But this one is money from the taxes, not from their salary. I somehow started to believe that I am a gee..nius! Now you see why I call this GST a Wonder Drug! Think of all the advantageous, IR packed with Singaporeans and a $6 billion revenue. Could be slightly lower if rates for children can be halved or free. And all Singaporeans well fed and spending their holidays everyday in the IR. It will really become a paradise for Singaporeans.
We have never have that kind of buzz for a very long time till the award of this Sentosa IR. Even the Marina IR was pale in comparison. Now the expectation of the people of Universal and a world class family resort, and the economic and political spin offs are the talk of the town. People are starting to see things that they have not seen before. Scary ya? Just kidding. I think there are lots of beneficial side effects arising from this high profile project. Analysts are all looking forward for better relations and more cross border investments between Singapore and Malaysia. And with Abdullah in charge, economic primacy and considerations would hopefully be the driving force in joint investments and economic cooperation. It will be good not only for inter state relations but also for domestic politics as the economic pie grows. The slight concern is whether the ultras are allowed to ruin the party and the economic forces set in motion.
Then we have the fame Shangrila Hotel. Next we have the grand old dame of Raffles Hotel. Today we heard that Fullerton Hotel, the former post office and inland revenue offices is voted the best hotel in Asia. It gets better as it ages, like good wine. Fullerton is actually a very majestic building of a long gone era. I think it is at par with City Hall, the same kind of architecture.
Hi Jackie, Couldn't trace your post, so I copied it here. Anyway welcome to the blog. I am not surprised with the way GMS and CTL write, the internet guidelines came into force for this reason.Any reasonable person can see they are not carrying themselves too well. A politician does not poke fun at their internet 'constituents' like what they did.Imagine Low Thia Kiang holding MPS and rebutting a resident who comes to see him instead of helping him.They want to join other forumites to let go as much shit as they feel like ignoring that it may have an impact on the party. Their resignations fit into the jigsaw puzzle nicely.Lastly, what makes you think a new party made up of progressive people turn out looking like a geek. Don't forget, the pro-PAP media is always ready to paint any white opposition party into black.For all you know, Low and Sylvia Lim are really very progressive people. Redbean: It is not easy for politicians to post in cyberspace. They will meet will bloggers who will flame them and force them to respond in the heat of the moment. And Singaporeans would not accept politicians to engage in gutter fight. It is tough for them.
Tokenism This may become the new catch phrase to gripe about. A blogger said it last week and it has come true. Citizens will now enjoy a medical subsidy of 5-10% more than PRs. So citizens must now be happy and so do the PRs. If there is no National Service, maybe when the difference between a citizen and PR is neglible, a token like this may be acceptable. But does the govt really understand what it is like to serve NS and how much is that sacrifice that is demanded from its citizens? The little subsidy difference can be viewed very negatively by those who feel strongly that all their contributions to the country in NS and reservist liability is only worth that pittance. But there is another form of tokenism in the medical cost they are paying. A whopping 80% subsidy for C Class wards. Now that must really make the citizens happy. Really happy.
The term Singapore Incorporation was coined many years back as Singaporeans answered to the call to build up this country, nation building, sacrifices, tightening belt, national service, changing of mindsets to move into HDB flats, restraints in labour unrest and work stoppages. We have gone past those days and Singapore has prospered. We have GLCs and Temasek's list of Singapore owned companies to complement a huge bureaucracy of ministries. And today we boast of $200 billion of national reserves and invested to generate more wealth. And when the govt is running out of budget there are all the taxes to be raised from the people to finance whatever the govt decides is good for the people. Amidst all the wealth and well beings, a growing segment of the population is facing increasing hardship and are falling on the wayside. This brings to mind the wealth of the nation or of the people accumulated and invested over the years on one extreme and the poverty and hardship of Singaporeans on the other. What is the purpose of creating all these wealth for th nation while some citizens are crying for help? Who is benefitting from all these wealth? The nation or country is like a household and the citizens the members of the household. After the acquisition of all the durables, ie infrastructures, the savings and investments, the income or revenue generated must be for the citizens or family members to live a better life. The revenue from the country has been reinvested or ploughed back to the nation in many forms that benefitted the general public. Couldn't some of this be returned to the people who badly needed it to live their lives, to get by and be a little less stressful in their life struggles? Could the people see the returns on the govt's investments as a return on their investments and look forward to a little dividend annually, or bonus issues? Singapore Inc will make more sense when the people can see their welfare and well being, their relative prosperity being linked to how well our investments and revenue grows. For the moment the only people who are happy are the fund managers and those managing the investments. Not enough have trickled down to the poorer citizens. Choktong did briefly mentioned about a formula to share this wealth of the nation. Nothing comes from it after that statement. We have the Singapore Shares, the Economic Restructuring Shares etc which can be seen as moving along this direction. The people will be greatly heartened if a formula is announced that the people are genuinely the beneficiaries of the nation's wealth. Singapore Inc will then have a more tangible meaning and closer to the hearts of the average and below average Singaporeans. The people need to believe and see that they are really the co owners of this island state and that they will prosper and live a better life as the nation prospers. The sharing of the nation's wealth shall be carefully formulated and not given as a charity or in the form of ComCare. Such funds for the needy Singapore is a different issue and hopefully will be made redundant when the people can share the wealth of the nation in a respectful and systematic manner rather than to beg for it on grounds of poverty and hardship.
What is life like being poor in Singapore? For a start, you get to attend the best kindergarten classes provided by the PAP. And they are good. But the rich will have their children enrolled in enrichment and creative thinking classes for their precious offsprings, like Montesorri, Tumble Tots etc. Next comes schooling and the poor will have plenty of choices to attend neighbour schools. The rich too attend schools in their neighbourhoods. All is fair and the school system is based on meritocracy. Your results count. While the poor will have to help their parents selling kueh or chee cheong fan, the rich will have the best tutors to guide their children plus all kinds of artistic or musical classes to give them an all rounded education and be more sophisticated. It is a level playing field but they play in different fields in different neighbourhoods. And for housing, the poor should be glad that they can live comfortably with room sizes that are not more than 15 sq metres. And they can also expect to make do with 70 to 90 sq metres for a family of 4 to 10. And they are also encouraged to produce more children too. That will help to improve the household income. 5 adults working could mean $5000 monthly income. That must be rich beyond words. And of course the poor don't pay taxes, I mean the lower income, not necessarily poor, hardly pay any income tax. Isn't that heaven? GST is not income tax. Please do not be mistaken. It is just consumption tax. And because the poor consume less, they really pay lesser GST. Now that is equitable definitely. Now better still, with higher GST the lower income can expect to get more in return from the GST they paid. where else can one find such a great deal? As for personal hygiene, the poor are encouraged to bath with lesser water to save money on the expensive water bill. Better not to bathe at all. Then can save more water. And if there is any body odour, never mind. It will become a great advantage in the world class MRT that is expected to pack everyone in tightly like sardine. Now you see how advantageous it is not to bathe? At least people will try to keep clear of you in the train and you will enjoy more personal space. And then there are all kinds of help schemes for the poor, school bursaries, food vouchers, subsidies, doles etc. All they need is to report themselves and let them do a little means testing to qualify. And if hospitalised, don't worry, they will make sure that they get into the best ward befitting their income. All Singaporeans deserve to be put in better wards if they can afford it to receive better medical care. Only those who are really unable to afford it will be put into the lower class wards. As for their money or savings in the CPF, they will be carefully kept and managed for their retirements. Once they pass 62, they will be able to enjoy in comfort the monthly allowance returned to them by the CPF. All of them will retire rich even if they are not that rich when young. It is so good to be poor and to be taken care of from birth to death.
Wow, Genting finally got the bid for Sentosa. It is a great achievement to win such a project among big time international competitors. They were all serious and wanted to bag this project for their companies. And it was really a tough call to pick out the best proposal. The iconic glass structure of Kertzner is really very impressive. And the effort to bring in all the big names to tie up with the equally innovative themes of 8th Wonders would make everyone salivate. Genting won the bid through a tested formula and the great themes of Universal for an all rounded family entertainment. Singapore should thank all the bidders for their faith and belief that Singapore is worthy of such a huge investment and their confidence in us. No doubt Kertzner and 8th Wonder would be feeling down but it was a close call and there can only be one winner. The transparency of the award and the methodology applied spoke well of Singapore especially when not a single Singapore company was among the winners. And and the high profile generated by the two IRs could spark more big players coming to our shores. It is a great transformation for us from a trading post to a land of fun and entertainment hub. And 30,000 jobs from Genting alone plus the Sands at Marina will do us well and see us through for the next 10 years.
The non Malays in Malaysia is at a crossroad like 1955. It was then that the Malays, under the leadership of Jaffar Oon, stood up to fight for their special rights. And the non Malays, led by Tan Cheng Lock, backed away from the fight. And they lost dearly when Malay special rights was enshrined into the Constitution. Today, the Malays are exerting their right to be the dominant race in the nation, more than equal to the other races. Even the Malay ownership of wealth should even be institutionalised and raised from 30% to 70% if Khairy has his way. And the non Malays again behaved in the same way as in 1955. They backed off meekly. And this time they are going to pay twice as dearly than before. But then again, fighting the cause could lead to more bloodshed as the kris has been drawn and it is a matter of when will it be used. The writing is on the wall.
I was trying to be less critical when I read the two letters in the Today's paper written by two foreign talents. But Chia Hern Keng pulled no punches by nailing where the fault was and calling a cat a cat. The contents of the two letters were distinctly arrogant and patronising to all Singaporeans. Humiliating too. Singaporeans were a bunch of useless administrators that could not even run a company. They rather that all the companies be managed by their foreign talent bosses who were real talent and effective managers. And without them, the foreign talents, like I repeated subtlely in my posts yesterday, Singapore is doomed. They are our saviours. Basically in the eyes of the foreigners we are all thrash, probably all the way from the top to the bottom. That is why they have the audacity to demand that we treat them special or more equal than citizens. Again all the Singaporeans took the verbal thrashing quietly and meekly. And Singaporeans deserve it if they think they are useless. And probably Singaporeans by now also believe that they are thrash and of lesser talent than the foreign talents. The foreign talents seriously and sincerely believe that they are better than Singaporeans and that Singaporeans should make way for them. Now whose fault is it? Chia Hern Keng said it plainly, without mincing words. 'We have only ourselves to blame as a nation. For if our own national institutions do not accord sufficient respect through its policies to our own citizenry, it is hard for foreigners to do the same.' In other words if we keep praising the foreigners and telling our people that they are dumb, then this is exactly the consequence. Your guests will come into your house and tell you that you are silly. And better still, you just smile and say thank you.
The foreign talents are up in arms The foreign talents are unhappy with the latest Singaporean first policy and are complaining. Yes, foreign talents are complaining. And they are damn right to complain as our country has no talents and needed them badly to survive. Let me quote a Fauq Shadhili, probably a PR or new citizen, 'Thus, to think that we could afford to lose even a single foreign talent to greener pasteurs when it is obvious we do not yet have either the same talent or manpower to achieve our desired level of success - is just silly.' He is, yes, I must admit that he is damn right. Even our govt has acknowledged that we need foreign talents. What with all the whinny useless Singaporeans, we will be doomed. This is a wrong turn of policy. We must embrace foreign talents, welcome them into our house, treat them very well, and pray, if need be, go down on our knees, or else Singapore is finito. Who the shit built Singapore to this day over the last 40 years? Yes foreign talents of course. But those foreign talents are now useless citizens. Finished, kaput. We need to replace them with more clever foreign talents for our future. Singaporeans owe it to the new foreign talents. And once they become Singaporeans, they too will become 'has been.' The tag Singaporean means no talent. It is silly to drive away foreign talents because we did not subsidise their cost of living but subsidise those of Singaporeans. Maybe we can fine tune the word 'subsidise' by saying that everyone will pay the normal fare or fee at market rate. Singaporeans will not be subsidised. That will appease our foreign talents. Then we can issue more ERS or Singapore shares to citizens. Or we can give discounts to citizens. Would that be fair? Foreign talents, please don't complain lah, we appreciate your talents and welcome you here to make your fortune. Be nice to us ok? Please, or we will be doomed.
Hongkong drops its GST plan The Hongkong govt has done its survey and knew that it could not convince the Hongkongers with the idea of GST. So they scrap it. This is Hongkong's version of democracy and govt of the people and for the people. In Singapore, the govt decides to have GST and that's it. Even the latest 2% increase, it is as good as approved. Does the view of the people matter? Does the govt need to consult the people? Do the MPs raise any objections? This is Singapore's version of democracy, govt of the people and for the people, plus govt knows best and govt will decide and the people accept. Now it is how best to cope with it.
Robyn Speed, an expat foreign talent, wrote in the Today paper asking the govt to give expats equal dues. His argument is that the expats are here to help Singapore and raise the competitive standard of Singapore and we owe them a debt to treat them equally. The argument is true in some aspects. They are here to help Singapore. They also contribute to our growth and competitiveness. We agree. And our govt have been singing this song for a very long time that even Singaporeans believe so. And definitely the expats also believe that Singapore lacks talent. The real foreign talents are here on very exclusive packages. The little cost in schools, public transport and medical will not affect them at all. Not only that they can well afford them. These cost are normally paid by their companies. Further, they don't patronise govt hospitals nor local schools. Neither would they take public transports. The expats that will be affected are the average talent expats that Singapore have plentiful. In fact they even take the jobs from Singaporeans. What this group can do, any average Singapore talent can too. If they are that good, they would have gone somewhere else. If Singapore is that bad, they too would have gone. But there will be hungrier expats the world over to fill up their places. No need to worry too much about this group. And it is misleading to say that Singapore is discriminating against them. The country has in a way been discriminating against Singaporeans in favour of expats. Now the natural order of things is just going to be restored. Actually it is the country that is going back to treat its own citizens better. No country treats its citizens worst off than foreigners except for real talents. Not the run of the mill average graduates who came telling us that they are talents and need special treatment from us. Anyone earning lest than $20k a month is not a special talent that deserves to be treated exceptionally. It is high time that this message gets through to all the 'so called' foreign talents here. You are just an average talent that we have plentiful. You are here competing with our local talents. The least the govt should do is to level the playing field in favour of local talents. And it is only right that the citizens enjoy more benefits than foreigners. And if these average talents think that they have a raw deal, please find a better country that treats them better, preferentially. All expats know their own worth and which country will pay them better. They are constantly weighing their options and will go at any moment. There is no loyalty nor obligations for an expat to any country, nor to us. They don't do us a favour but to themselves. There is an unwritten contract that they are paid their worth or else... Those who are here know that they have a good deal.
The above headline in the Today paper tells the story of how MOM outsourced its functions to Green Dot Internet Services and saved $34.6 mil a year. Now that is ingenuity and brilliant management at work. If outsourcing is the cure all of inefficiency in the civil service, imagine how much can be saved if all the ministries outsource the same function to an outside agency? 10 ministries will save $346 million a year. And better still if all the other functions are also outsourced, just leave the Perm Secs and the Ministers behind to do the thinking, or a small core of administrative officers, we could save billions from outsourcing. Actually there is another term for this. Privatisation for efficiency! If the civil service is so inefficient that only outsourcing and privatisation can be the remedy for good service, do they need to be paid that kind of salaries? I am thoroughly confused. I am thoroughly confused. I don't think this is the true picture of the whole story.
To be or not to be...a Singapore citizen. This is going to be a hot debate after the latest speech by Hsien Loong on being Singaporean first. The line has to be drawn, a bit late, but still better than to let it continue down the road to a disintegrated country when foreigners can push over citizens and citizens feel unwanted and discriminated in their own country. The initial reactions by the foreigners, the PRs, who had it so good for so long, are quite expected. For those who have quietly enjoyed the good times at the stupidity of this country, they knew all good things must come to an end. To some who think that Singapore owe them a living, they will feel very sore. Below are some comments from those spoken to by the Today paper. 1. I think this move by the govt sets the PRs thinking. 2. I will think carefully about citizenship so that I can enjoy the same amount of benefits as everyone else. 3. Becoming a citizen is a practical thing...at heart I will always remain a Filipino. 4. It was only fair that citizens should enjoy more benefits than foreigners. And this message comes from a foreigner. (Geez, what the f... have we been thinking all these while?) 5. If I'm told to pay more, of course, I'm not happy. To be here for so long, and then to be discriminated against, is not so nice. (The citizens in Malaysia who are not Malays would not say this. Try asking them what it is like to be a citizen and be discriminated against). 6. I think they are trying to make PRs become citizens and for Singaporeans not to feel any jealousy. So what can I do? If this goes on, I don't mind being a citizen. Does anyone think that we have blundered all these years?
The Straits Times reported that there is widespread support to recognise our leaders and well known Singaporeans who have contributed to the nation and the people. Not a bad idea. We can have Goh Keng Swee Industrial Park instead of Jurong Industrial Park. The Ong Teng Cheong MRT or Ong Teng Cheong Theatre at the Bay instead of the Durians. Jurong Island can become Philip Yeo Island. Who gave the go ahead for Changi Airport? LKY? If that's the case we can call it LKY International Airport. Marine Parade can be renamed Goh Chok Tong Parade, Lee Hsien Loong Marina Resort...just some examples of new names to honour the men behind the ideas or monuments.
Previously we heard that the 2% increase is to help the poorer Singaporeans and to make them better off, and also to close the income gap. Now it seems that the tax raised will go to many other things like paying medical bills, building facilities for the oldies, for investing for the future, and also some to be set aside in case of in case and in case… something happens. This last part is very familiar. Now where has this last part gained notoriety recently, savings and savings and savings without knowing what it is for and without knowing how much savings is enough? Was it some charity money being shiok shiok set aside and forgetting that the money was supposed to help the people’s immediate problems?
2003 Household Expenditure Survey/Census of Population Bottom 20% $302.41 average monthly income per household member Next 20% $578.45 Next 20% $877.69 Next 20% $1306.70 Top 20% $2845.87 The above figures were provided by Siew Kum Hong using some extrapolations of 2% and 4% of annual rise in income and expenditure for period 2001-03 and 3004-07. If the average income of each household member of the top 20% is $2845, what about those with an average household income per household member of $5,000 or $10,000? No such animals?
Thank you bloggers and forumers That is what the govt would like to say but would not say it after hearing Hsien Loong’s speech at the PAP Party Conference. He had addressed all the concerns raised by the bloggers and forumers in cyberspace. The main issues were of course all the concerns about the GST, the poorer Singaporeans and the recognition and the need for a clear distinction between Singaporeans and non Singaporeans. Even the hiphop that was not hip were not missed. The gripes that PRs and foreigners were receiving the same or better treatments than Singaporeans were put to rest in a way, hopefully. And these were issues that no main stream media would dare to raise, or if they did, in a very cursory form. Only in cyberspace that all the fires and brickbats were hurled daily to make the issues an urgent issue not to be ignored. Hotel Singapore was not mentioned directly but it was clearly denied that Singapore was a hotel for all the fair weather travellers and freeloaders. There is a saying that the people who complained the most, who made the most biting remarks are actually your teachers. These are the people that meant well and if carefully listened to, they have a message to tell. Compare this to all those that only say good things and praises, the end result can be disastrous. It is like no warning signs and suddenly death struck. Bloggers and forumers, you are heard. And you have an important role to play. The MSM cannot do what you are doing. They only sing praises. And without the kpkb in cyberspace, all the concerns that Hsien Loong addressed may not be addressed at all. With MSM and everyone saying only the good things, the PAP may have just go along with what it was doing happily.
Looks like the train had taken a wrong turn. The MRT track is now for pedestrains to use. Whatever, it is a message, a very loud message to those who think earning a million is not enough and need more pay rise. All the talks about compassion and helping the poor when one by one jumps onto the MRT track. Do all these acts evoke any sense of guilt? Or should the party go on and peanuts for everyone?
I have sort of been praising the impending 2% rise in GST as one of the most brilliant ideas that can come from our supertalents. And I really hope that they can pull it through and benefit all the poor buggers who are struggling for an existence, the 30% right at the bottom and the 40% sandwiched in between. Just hope that the tax raised out of these 2% are not redirected somewhere else under whatever guise. It is for the people, to help the people, to reduce the income gap. It is not to build more infrastructure that cannot fill the stomach or pay for school fees and transport, not for the pay rise of the already very comfortable. But this part is hard to prove as budget not spend in one area, or save, will mean that it can be used in another area. The ingenuity of this move is that it defies all conventional wisdom. It is like saying gravity will throw an apple upwards. Nonetheless it is a great idea, a great hope. And that is why they deserve top dollars for exactly things like this. Now I am looking for a sequel, another ingenious idea like paying all Singaporeans, including the low level workers, high salaries and still be competitive and productive. I would like to hear a new directive or plan saying that Singapore is moving away from low wages and need not fear competition from India and China. Or something like we can pay our workers the highest salaries in the world and still attract all the MNCs to set up operations here. Now that will be something that can match this 2% GST to help the people and make them better off.
The latest incident in Medan where a Singaporean working there was beaten up by an Indonesian cop is a good example of how much Singaporeans feel as one people. Watching the video clip in the news of the Singaporean being viciously battered when he was down and defenceless could and should evoke some kind of emotions from fellow Singaporeans. It did to me. The victim was a Singaporean, was one of us. It was quite a sickening feeling to see foreigners taking liberties to bash another Singaporean. It is like bashing us. I raised the issue in Cyberspace, in both my forum and blog. The reactions from fellow Singaporeans range from apathy to denials. Some even raised questions like the Singaporean probably had done something wrong and invited the attack. It is kind of, well, it does not concern me. There is no ‘us’ feeling. We don’t feel nor share the sense of being Singaporean. The misfortune that happens to other Singaporeans does not concern us. Why was there no emotional outburst or gut reaction against the attacker for attacking another Singaporean? I would expect some angry postings or protests in cyberspace against the attacker. Maybe hurling some abusive remarks like in cyberspace style. But practically nothing was said. A non event. And no letters to the Straits Times forum. Is it that we are now being too rational, too logical, too pragmatic, too thinking, that we are so detached from our emotions? It could be a good thing. But from the angle of being a people, I would like to see a spontaneous feeling of anger and a sense of injustice for another Singaporean without the rationalization. This can come up later when things cool down. When we are talking about being Singaporeans, being one people, it is an emotional thing. Some can feel proud or shed a little tear watching the National Day parade and knowing how far we have come. When Michael Fay was being caned for breaking our law, even the US President got involved. Then the Australian Govt and Australians were all emotions when we hanged the Australian drug peddler. This is what being one people is all about. To stand together, to feel as one people. I think we have lost that in the Medan incident.
Harry's other island Eighth Wonder's US$3.5 billion bid includes a laundry list of attractions from a Deepak Chopra well-being and retreat center to a soccer academy under Pele to another contender for the world's largest man-made coral reef under Philippe "grandson of Jacques" Cousteau with 10 hotels with 2,100 rooms. The centerpiece is a man-made extinct volcano surrounded by a saltwater lake with 35 rides and attractions called Harry's Island, after Harry O'Brien, the fictional founder of the resort, born in 1900 at Raffles Hotel. Harry also happens to be the western name Lee Kuan Yew adopted as a student in London. Eighth Wonder chairman Mark Advent may or may not know that but it hasn't escaped the notice of one local blogger. Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan says the "cheap marketing ploy ... reveals the people of Eighth Wonder for what they are - low-class desperados!" The above is copied from the Asia Times by Gary Lamoshi. If Eight Wonder were to win the bid, Sentosa is likely to be renamed Harry's Other Island. Oh, it used to have a volcano there too. But now inactive.
'The myth of incorruptibility' An MNC buys talent all over the world. And they too fear corrupt employees. So how best to prevent employees from corruption? Pay them well, very well. But how? What they could probably do is to assess the corruptibility index of the applicant sitting in front of them and ask, 'How much will satisfy this guy?' Not how much this guy is worth. The guy in front of them is probably a super talent, and presumably will bring all his talents to the company given his straigth As in schools. Assuming they assess that this guy will want to earn his $10 million in 3 years, and he will do it the right way or the corrupt way, the MNC can then make him a reasonable offer. They can offer him $5 million out front and tell him he can get his $5 million over the next 3 years. Quite a fair deal actually. The guy should be happy as he will get his $10 without being corrupt. The net result is still the same. $10 million into his pocket. And the MNC is corruption free. And this guy with a $10 million corruptibility index will be seen as an honest man earning his honest pay. It is a win win situation. One strange thing is that China, rated as one of the most corrupt countries, refuses to adopt this model for its elite.
Singaporeans are great believers. They will believe in anything especially things that were spoken in a sermon from the greatest church. I am just kidding. Not many people believe anymore. Even the preachers or the converts don't believe too. They just move along and take a ride. And the majority of the plebeians just could not do anything but to resign to their fate. Could anyone believe that a family income of $2000 is barely enough to live and get by? On the other hand a maid could send their $300 income home and be fairly rich when she completes her 5 year stay in this paradise? It was just 30 odd years ago when a fresh graduate with a 4 figure salary was very comfortable, and middle class. I mean only $1000. And a minister with $5000 monthly income is rich and could afford to buy detached houses. Today, a fresh graduate earning $2000 or $2500, is not even over the hump. He could not even afford to buy a second hand car to impress his girlfriend. How much is a minister getting? $50,000 or $100,000? And they are going to give the young graduate a perk in the coming pay rise exercise of $300 or $500 while the millionaires are going to be getting a $50,000 or $100,000 increase a month! And the excuse is that it be cannot helped if the income gap keeps widening. And the poor millionaires need to get their just increase or they will not work or be poached by MNCs with bigger pays. And yes, Singaporeans will 'believe' or will just live with all these craps.
A Singapore phenomenon Many oldies or not so oldies are being retired from the job market. And these oldies are all desperate as they did not have much savings, a growing family and bigger financial responsibilities. The more these oldies needed money and jobs, the more money and jobs fled from them. On the other hand there are many oldies who have fortunes the size of a mountain and could have retired happily and graciously to live out a wonderful life. They could find more meaning in life and exploring life without a care. But they choose to work and continue to earn millions which they don't really need. Perhaps they really love to work, to contribute, to serve society and people. Or they did not know how to enjoy life, or working is their way of enjoying life. Definitely they cannot be greedy for the money. It is something they have too much of. And though they may not be in the same category as Warren Buffett or Khoo Teck Puat who have to give away their excess money, they surely have no need to 'pah si buay chow' to hang on to their jobs just for another million more.
Wonder Drug GST LSD was the wonder drug in the 60s and 70s. Today the wonder drug for Singaporeans is GST. This is the drug that will give a boost to all the dying and hungry poor Singaporeans. With a 2% shot, they will all be better off. Now this is a really brilliant thing and deserves to be applauded. The only reservation is this comment from Tharman, 'And once the GST kicks in, there will be no increase in Govt fees - including conservancy charges and car park fees - for one year, said Shanmugaratnam.' So, will the drug continues the feel good effect after one year? I read some of the comments on GST and suggestions to fine tune it to make it less painful on the poor. And it seems that it is too big a trouble to exempt basic necessities from GST. They have problems to tax on higher quality rice. And the same logic was quoted about GST on takeaway food in Britain. Such examples reflect on the meaness in the thinking process. So what, let everybody eat rice and if people can afford to eat better quality rice or choose to save a little GST by opting for takeaway food, is that so disgusting to accept? Why would people have nightmares on such trivialities? And to insist on GST on basic necessities I can forsee that more food vouchers will be issued and there will be long queues at NTUC outlets for people to get them. The only consideration that could come from this alternative will be more means testing to see who can qualify for food vouchers. I better prepare meself to be in the queue too. But need to know what are the criteria first. First thing to do is to cancel all my bank accounts, hide whatever cash under the bed, sell off the cars temporarily, maybe downgrade to a two room flat. I am looking forward to the GST jab.