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1/31/2007

nkf story - more revelations

NKF story - More revelations David Jeremy Lee from Briton, a forensic accountant, discovered that in the year 2002, only 4c of a dollar raised went to the patients. And in 2003, not a cent went to the patients as funds raised were more than the cost of dialysis treatment. A large part of NKF cost went to 'prevention clinics, public health screening and Children's Medical Fund' instead of helping the patients. Another fact revealed is that Durai strongly believed that the numbers he gave to the public on amount of donations going to patients were accurate. I believed Durai sincerely believed in his numbers except that his arithmatic may be a bit rusty. Even Richard Yong and Loo Say San have doubts in those numbers. But Durai was confident enough to even go against the advice of his QC.

Malaysia Boleh - higher car toll

Malaysian Boleh. They have concluded and will go ahead with the intention to charge 20 ringgits for Singapore cars entering Malaysia. Their logic is simple. Singaporeans are rich and will soon get use to it, so said the Tourism Minister Tengku Adnan. Further, Singapore is charging Malaysians $20 per car. But why? Why would Malaysians willingly pay $20 and Singaporeans may not? The Malaysians come into Singapore to collect Singapore dollars. The Singaporeans go into Malaysia to spend Singapore dollars. That is the big diff. The migration of factories to China is a simple economic reason. When people cannot find bargains, they will stop going. Only those that need to go will go and pay the 20 ringgits. There will be those who find it not economical or beneficial to continue to go over with the new rates. For Malaysians coming over and pay $20, they are most happy to do so. They are working here and have plenty of money to bring back. What is $20 more?

Singapore Can!

Singapore Can Yes, Singapore Can. This is slightly different from Singapore Boleh. What Boleh needs is a little system, money and technology(SMT). When Singapore Can, these three factors are fully engaged to make something happens. We go about a problem or task systematically, involving the latest technology if needed, and of course with a lot of money. It is not an emotional thing like boleh. Just do and insist that it is ok even if it is not ok. And if the result turns out otherwise, still insist that the result is good. Singapore Can, faced with the perennial problem of water supply and interstate bickering, we went ahead, systematically, methodologically, to make ourselves self sufficient in water by the time the water agreements expired. We are almost there. Just 30 years ago, we only have 3 reseervoirs, the biggest of which was MacRitchie. Today we have 15 reservoirs, plus new water and desalination plant in the pipeline. And many of the reservoirs are many times bigger than MacRitchie. And the biggest are yet to come. The Marina Reservoir is going to dwarf MacRitchie. It will itself be dwarfed when Pulau Ubin is dammed. By then we will have excess water to sell to Johore at our price. We can then say enough is enough. No need water from Johore. And the sand issue. Soon we will be harvesting the sea for sand using technology. And with supply from other sources, we too will be self sufficient in sand. Then we can keep our money for better uses. Yes, Singapore Can. We thrive under adversities. We find solutions to our problems systematically, and over come them. We shall over come.

1/30/2007

nkf story - durai a visionary

Durai a Visionary According to Dr Ling Sing Lin, a director from MOH and once a director of the old NKF, Durai is a Visionary with great plans in IT to put NKF in the World map. This Durai has succeeded. NKF is now famous around the world. As for the conduct of board meetings, apparently there was only one CEO and many cardboards that were programmed to nod in agreement without a speaking a word. That was the experience according to Dr Ling. And minutes of meeting were not allowed outside the boardroom. This is even more stringent than the Ministry of Defence or any other ministry. The matters discussed and reported in the minutes must be very sensitive and probably may compromise national interests.

characteristics of SPUs

Characteristics of SPUs Sex - Neuter Sexual Preference to be programmed Brain - ST Brawn 128k Microprocessor Artistic Sensitivity - Zero Financial Computation - Elementary Emotion Index - Stable with 0 variation Intelligence level - Fully programmed to 128k capacity Critical Analysis - Not programmed. No requirement 55 year limited warranty Special Features Easily programmed to do manual and routine tasks. No delinquent problems. Highly reliable. Drawbacks Reprogamming needed for every change of task. Unable to do critical thinking tasks. No software.

myth 111

'Buyer be Where? Economy's growing, but retailers aren't seeing benefits. More cash - but it's not being spent 7.7% Economic Growth 4.4% up retail sales 2.8% up Domestic private consumption 1.97% up HDB flat prices The above were in the front page of Today paper yesterday. Lee Ching Wern wrote: 'When you have an economy charging ahead - it grew by 7.7% last year - you would expect cash registers to be ringing non stop as more people hit the shops. But the reality has left economists and retailers scratching their heads...' Now is this the truth or is it a myth?

The Mindless SPUs II

The Mindless SPUs When I posted the above article on CPF contributions the normal response I got back is that Singaporeans will squander all their hard earned money away if the govt does not lock it up for them. And when they have done that, who is going to look after them? Are Singaporeans so helpless, irresponsible, mindless, of unsound mind, to the verge of stupidity, that once they get their CPF money back they will splurge and throw their life time savings away? Who do you think created this properous country? Who raised all these young upstarts to think that their parents are old fools who cannot manage their own finances? It is very sad that Singaporeans have become such unthinking lot that they have turned themselves into nothing but Mindless Singaporean Production Units (SPU). They are trained so well to be a useful production unit in the economy but utterly helpless in looking after their own finances and old age. Does anyone know what they do with unserviceable or no longer useful production units? They will be carted away and dumped. Production units are only useful when they can produce goods and services. And now we have a nation of SPUs! Not exactly. The handful of elite will never consider themselves as SPUs. SPUs need to be managed, controlled, and programmed. That's where the elite comes in, to think, planned and managed these mindless SPUs for their own good.

1/29/2007

The Mindless SPUs

CPF compulsory savings We are compelled, alright compelled is too strong a word, so say legislated, to saving hundreds of thousands in our CPF. And we also know by now that this saving is a fleeting dream, like a dog chasing after its tail. No matter how much we saved, it is never enough. Never enough according to who? This morning, Alan Greene wrote an article in Today questioning the 2.5% interest rate being paid to CPF contributors. He made one strong point. CPF is a long term saving and should be paid a rate equivalent to long term deposit saving's rate. Not against the short term rate paid by banks. I just have one point to add. If our CPF money is being used for investments, then we should enjoy the profits proportionately. There should be a formula to compensate the members for their money held by legislation. It is the members' money. And they did not even ask the members for permission to use or invest this money. Our money should enjoy a reasonable return.

1/28/2007

what is poor?

Newsweek last week succinctly asked a question that is in the mind of many people: “The island's economy is booming. So why are so many citizens worse off than they were 10 years ago?” The cause is a rising level of poverty and a stagnating middle class income in the past five years – while costs have gone up – all of which had raised fears that crime would dramatically worsen. The above is posted in www.littlespeck.com by Seah Chiang Nee. What our economists need to do now is to redefine the poverty line in Singapore. What is poor in Singapore is technically rich in many countries. And this has misled many to think that the lower income group who has a household income of $2k or $3k are alright. In reality, many are in a worst dilemma than the poor of underdeveloped countries. Those poors only did not have enough to eat but could live off the land. The Singapore poors are all in debts, huge debts.

Too much government

This is a favourite theme of Matilah Singapura. Too much govt is bad. In a way I agree. When there is too much govt, the space for private individuals and private enterprise shrinks. This is especially true in business. The govt, no matter how fair it portends to be, is still the govt. It has power, monopoly, huge resources etc on its side. And better still, it has all the supertalents to pit against the Ah Bengs and Ah Sengs, the Ahmads and the Muthus. No fight. The field is not level. On the other hand, too much govt means more jobs. More work will be created for more people. More money needs to be spent from the govt's coffer, and more taxes surely. There are pros and cons for having too much govt. Will too much govt create more jobs and leading to more employment? Or will too much govt leads to having a few people wearing plenty of hats and getting several salaries and becoming overpaid? And the people made to pay for more taxes? Too much govt is a good reason to justify for more taxes, more GSTs. What is important is that the money collected must be spread around and benefit the people and not a few individuals. Preferably private enterprises are preferred to create and generate demands for goods and services and not the govt. For private enterprises are subject to true market forces and the demands generated are really needed by the consumers and not forced upon the consumers. And the consumers will pay a fair price and also have the choice to buy or not to buy.

The happiness of having plenty

Most Singaporean schools have strict rules regarding uniforms for conformity. It also serves the purpose of reducing any sense of unease on children when the wealthy children attend schools all dressed up to their nines, branded school bags, branded shoes, branded watches etc. This is what most schools have been doing. There are many wealthy parents who would not mind showering on their children the best they could afford to. But there are also many who are struggling even to buy a pair of decent shoes.

Schools intentionally play down on such flaunting of wealth so that the lesser beings do not feel so underprivileged and uncomfortable. Children are innocent and should not be exposed to such vulgarities of the adult’s world..

Thus many schools standardise the wearing of footwears to something simple, no expensive jewelry, no expensive watches or even handphones. And this code of practice has been in force, officially and unofficially, for a long time. The principals and the ministry must have seen some wisdom in this practice and rightly so.

Of late things are starting to change a little. The latest craze that schools have adopted for their rich kids is in the guise of greater exposure and education in the form of expensive trips abroad to the USA, Europe, Japan, China or the Australasia. I must admit that these are great experiences for young children to travel and to satisfy the senses. Everyone will agree that these are indeed very enriching experiences. Pardon my punt.

But again, how will such trips do to the psychic of the poor beings who cannot afford them but only to ogle and envy at their more fortunate friends? Often only a small group will be able to afford such trips. Or maybe I am wrong and many can afford it. I surely would not be able to squeeze out that kind of money for a little escapee for my children. But then it is great news for the schools. ‘We sent our children on overseas education tour! To the Grand Canyon or to the Great Wall of China or to see the Great Pyramids.’ These will certainly raise the profile of the schools positively.

Schools may want to take a step back and try to understand the pressure being placed upon borderline parents who can barely afford them but have to cough out the few thousand dollars that they could have used for better and more important things. Or what about the young minds who could not understand why their parents could not afford to send them on such wonderful trips, and having to listen in awe, the stories from their close friends who went and returned and become so much more knowledgeable?

Our educators should be more thoughtful of what they are doing to their charges and not to encourage them to spend on expensive thrills which would not really do them that much good. Perhaps I may be wrong as I am not an educator and could not see the great benefits that such trips bring to the children. Maybe these children would eventually top their classes and become worldly wise adults. Who knows? The educators are the experts in these areas. I am just looking at the slightly negative angle which may be something that the schools have considered.

Anyway, I still believe that schools should leave the expensive pampering and indulgence to the parents in their private time and minimise the pressure on other children and their not so well off parents as well. Schools may unconsciously inculcate such values of snobbishness and keeping up with the Joneses at such tender age when the children could not appreciate how difficult it is for money to come by. Poor parents and poor children should not be made to feel that much poorer and deprived.

The Best Business

There are two businesses that I would consider to be the most lucrative and worth investing in. The consumers are plenty and all cash rich and all scratching their heads on how to use their cash hoards. Many businesses are good but there is always a problem of debt collection or bad debts. In these two biz, there is no bad debts. How good can it get? I am referring to Hospitals and the Last Rites. As we walk towards the future, all the oldies here will be so rich and probably die with all their money unspent. With a minimum sum that is going to exceed $100k and a Medisave Account that will shoot pass the $30k limit, most of the oldies will have more than a $100k in their CPF account, and untouchable except for the little ration that they will receive monthly. A shrewd businessman should be able to unlock this money and transfer them into his revenue account. One package is hospital retreats. Develop hospitalisation packages for the oldies to spend their holidays in 6 Stars hospitals, with all the spas and fine food and wine and pampering thrown in. A little creativity is needed to use some medical terms to qualify these oldies for their escapade, spending the money that they might not live to see. Another package will be for the finest hour, The Last Rite. The oldies can select a package to invite all their friends and relatives for their last party. They can decide on the venue, menu, the trimmings, order the Mercedes or Rolls Royce to go with them, etc and the guest lists, the best bands etc while they lay in peace. Imagine a $100k party or more, depending on how much is left in their Retirement Account, all to go at one go to make a memorable departure from this world and to feast all their friends and relatives. It is a way to make a big bang as one exits from this world. Otherwise the money will just go to the state.

1/27/2007

freedom for grandpas and grandmas

The Grandpas and Grandmas should be allowed to spend their money at their own time and not be rationed. It is time to stop forcing grandpas and grandmas to save for tomorrow. For they may have no tomorrow. Stop the legislation requiring grandpas and grandmas to contribute to their CPF and Medisave. Make these optional at their age. Free the senior citizens from a life of regulations and programming of their life activities. Return freedom to them. Let them, for once, to live their own lives, plan their own lives and mess up their own lives if they so choose. They have earned their rights to do what they want, to be free. There should be no compulsion for more savings after 55.

no sands no money

The Singaporean construction contractors should take the Indonesian ban on sand in its stride. Look for alternative sources. Pay a little more. This is a purely economic transaction just like coal, minerals, oil etc. If the Indonesian refused to sell, so be it. With money, there will be other takers. The losers will be the Indonesians. If a country cannot or will not trade its produces, then it should remain penniless. And all the eager beavers should stop pouring money into Indonesia and see how they make ends meet. It will be criminal if our contractors are trying to exchange money for sand but the Indons refused the exchange and other Singaporeans rushing in to give them the money. The message must be clear. No sands, no money.

1/26/2007

charities should pay good money

Chua Mui Hoong wrote, 'Do away with cheap and good.' In her article she questioned the perception of people that honchos of charities should not be paid well. Her argument is that these honchos must be rewarded at market rate like any organisations. That charities should pay good money for good people. This argument immediately falls flat with NKF and Youth Challenge as outstanding examples of paying good money for frauds. The other point is the assumption that charities should be run like commercial businesses. This is exactly what is wrong with charities. Charities are charities and should be run like charities. Charities should be run by charitable people with a heart and not one with money in his head. People who wants to make their millions shall not run charities. These are money from the hearts, public money given to help needy people. Not for people to get rich. Go and get rich in the private sector. Make all the money if you can and no one will raise an eyebrow. But making money and getting filthy rich on public money is unacceptable. This is one of the fallacies that Singaporeans are made to believe. That every man is driven by money. And it is good to employ men by using money as the key motivator and nothing else.

Looking to run a Charity

The last time I wrote about my intention to start a Charity Organisation. Looks like I am late and need to speed up my search for a good charity to take over or start a new one. There are so many peanuts to be picked, big ones and small ones. And there is no need to worry. Yap Su Yin wrote in the Straits Times, 'Who will pay the extra cost for good governance?' Yes it is too costly to have good governance. Better not to incur such cost. And it is very comforting to hear Assoc Prof Mak Yuen Teen saying, 'Therefore, it may be difficult to take action against (past and present) boards for negligence or breaching their duties, unless there is an element of dishonesty or fraud involved. I don't think there is much you can do against the (previous) boards.' Prof Mak was referring to the new Youth Challenge saga. Since it is so difficult to find anyone guilty, and corporate governance is going to be too costly to be considered, then more volunteers should be encouraged to run more charities. Just act honestly and no one can find fault with them even if they pay themselves crazy or their friends crazy. Just make sure that everything is approved by the board or some one else.

Singaporeans are not crazy about Crazy Horse

Looks like that is the picture for the moment. Is it because we have too many priests among us or is it that Singaporeans are doers rather that spectators? The boat loads of Singaporeans visiting Bintang and Batam seem to prove that it is the latter. Perhaps it is the economy. And Singaporeans are just not able to afford the price tag. What Crazy Horse should do is to apply for subsidies just like the Durians. There are just not enough rich and crazy people to pay so much for class acts and crazy horses. In order to sustain such an appetite, financial subsidies are needed. Crazy Horse should reclassify itself as a exotic arts performance and get some grants for it. Or is it the rules and regulations that prevent the Crazy Horse from becoming a financial success? Restriction in advertisement? Maybe that is true. After the first couple of months of publicity on opening, many people would have forgotten about its existence. Would the two IRs fall into the same fate eventually, stillbirth because of too many restrictions and controls that they become not viable?

street battle with loansharks

Street battle with loan sharks This is like pitting textbooks and supertalents against street smarts Ah Bengs. And with 10,221 reported cases of harassment and 29 arrests, looks like Ah Bengs are outsmarting the academics. Maybe the number 29 has gone up after yesterday's islandwide sweep. How long will this battle go on? Will loansharks be sent to sea, or will they continue to find a safe haven to operate in this little island?

nkf story - a sequel

A sequel in the making The saga of Charity Organisations has proven to be a lively and intricate concoctions of plots and subplots. Now this will be given an extended run with a sequel in the making. Youth Challenge has proven to be every inch a worthy successor to the infamous NKF saga and we are now being given a preview of more to come. What is interesting will be the ending. Will it end with the triumph of morals over pragmatism or pragmatism over morals. Or would goodness win over moneyism or vice versa.

1/25/2007

grandpa and grandma saving for their future

At 55, many would want to slow down, withdraw their CPF and take life a bit easier. Some will live longer, some will get badly ill, and some will die the next day. The number of people dying the next day or before hitting 60 will be as many as those with serious illnesses associated with old age. At these age groups, or older, when the body is malfunctioning, what is there left in life to carry on? What is life if one is bedridden or have to spend every cent in one's savings or Medisave Account? Would it be better to use the money to enjoy the last few years and let nature takes its own course? But at 55, if one has some time and want to keep oneself occupied, and continues to work, one is expected to continue to contribute to the CPF/Medisave. And when the Medisave account exceeds the legally provided limit, one is still compelled to contribute only to see the money overflow into a Retirement Account to be rationed to you. At 55 or 65 or 75, what is there to save when one can kick the bucket the next day or next moment? Technically, if one continues to work, even at 90 or 100, one still must contribute to CPF/Medisave. How ridiculous can this be? Is there anyone thinking?

nkf story - irregularities were the norm

When irregularities were the norm As the story continues, more irregularities were exposed. But it seemed that all these irregularities were accepted as the norm. No one questions or bothers to question. Or is it that everyone was a party to the irregularities? Or is it that for personal and vested interests, it is better to just do and don't ask, don't see and don't say. Everything was fine. Everything seems so good. Everyone so happy. How can it be wrong? All the statistics looked so good. Everyone was patting everyone on the shoulder saying well done.

eager beaver got slapped

The eager beaver got slapped again. Indonesia banned sand export to us. The funny thing is that whenever there is a little problem in our neighbouring countries, our eager beavers will all jump on their feet to want to help with their time and money. On the other hand the recipients will either see this as a poor effort to curry favour, in bad taste, just to show how prosperous we are. And even thinking that we are doing it to please them for some goodies in return. And the Malaysian flood is also seeing our people rushing to help. Do people appreciate or would people turn around and say, "Get lost, hypocrites! We don't need your help." Our neighbours would rather let their water flow into the sea, or sand go to waste than trade them for money. They only want money to be given freely. And when they know that we need a commodity badly, be sure they will ban it to keep it from us. The next thing they will do is to ban maids when Singaporeans are too dependent on maids. This will come when maids will no longer be allowed to come to Singapore. More SEZs?

1/24/2007

loan shark country getting better

Loan sharks active as ever. This is reported in the Today paper. More than 10,000 cases of harrassments or activities reported. In fact 10,221 cases in 2006, an increase of 47% from 8,600 cases in 2005. Ho Peng kee asked for more time to tackle the problem. So far only 294 persons were arrested on related offences. Looks like the loan shark syndicates are outwitting the police. They used electronic banking facilities, virtual transactions, debtors bank accounts, telephone numbers etc. They are so sophisticated that the police would need 'extensive intelligence gathering and investigation' to bring them to court. Tough job for the police when the criminals are so smart. In the meantime the people are encouraged to form neighbourhood watch group to help themselves, like the good old days.

nkf story - the lie detector

The Lie Detector I was reading the story of the one eyed dragon and how he told the court that he killed his victim by accident, misfired! Firing 6 shots by accident. Now what has this got to do in this thread? I thought everyone called to the witness box will have to swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Looks like it is the other way round, to tell the lie, the whole lie and nothing but the lie. And then let the human lie detector to detect who is telling a bigger lie. There are two problems. The person telling lies can be a damn great liar that his lies become truth. The second problem is that the lie detector may wake up from the wrong side of the bed and misfunction. Justice is so scary.

nkf story- the moral of the story

The moral of the story When a student is ready, the teacher will appear. The NKF story is the mother of all teachers. It has so much to teach for those who are willing to learn. But there are those with eyes but cannot see, with ears but cannot hear. And there are those in a state of delirium and will not see nor hear anything. NKF is a case of being blinded by success. The bigger the success, the bigger the blindness. When it is so successful, no one can see their own mistakes or faults. How can they be doing anything wrong when everyone is so happy and money is pouring in like crazy? Then when money gets too much, people loose their bearing. Their perception of the value of money got distorted. What is $600,000 when you have several millions and with more money pouring in for no reasons. And many just sit there and collect money, in millions, just reading newspaper and having tea. The mind is sound but in a different level of soundness. And I can swear in court that everyone of them is doing an honest job, sincerely and honestly, and professionally, for the good of the charity and the patients. They just measure things in different ways, do things in different ways and using different rules. The people shall not judge them using the people's own rules of goodness. Especially the poor people. When they are living in those squalid conditions and struggling to make ends meet, to them a few thousand dollars will be damn big deal. Actually even $600k is chicken feet. For a good CEO he should deserve more. Society must use different yardstick and measurement for different people, the rich, the not so rich and the poor. Different world, different rules and different life.

1/23/2007

nkf story - the master stroke

Reading the mind of the master As the story goes, the master has everything thought out and waiting to deliver his master stroke. While the new NKF and all the defendants were busy consulting their legal counsels and emptying their bank accounts, thanks to Drew and Napier, the new NKF can save their legal fees, the master has everything worked out. And very likely he is going to declare he will accept all responsibilities and will not have the need to appear in court. Just bill him for everything. No problem. Then after paying his legal counsel he will declare that he is left with only $2000 in his bank account. What happens to all the money that he made? Oh, did you remember that he was in Vegas?

the most popular singaporean serial

'In Parliament' - the most popular Singapore TV Serial I am going to be glued to the TV sson. So will all the Singaporeans and even foreign workers. Singapore parliament will be more colourful if the parliamentarians have their way. I am not talking about Lily Neo's elegant Beijing cheongsam or Ho Geok Choo's Versace. Neither am I referring to Eng Hen's Zegna or Mah Bow Tan's yellow and blue jacket. Parliament is going to be very colourful with dialects. Imagine Choktong saying, 'Lin peh pah si buay chow.' And Low Thia Khiang interrupting him saying, 'Tee ah, aga aga thio hor ah.' They will be so popular with the Ngee Ann Kong Si and Hock Kien Huay Kuan that these associations will start Teochew and Hokkien classses for their members. And Mah Bow Tan will not want to lose out by delivering his HDB speech in Hylam. He may engage Ngiam Tong Dow to be his private tutor to brush up a little on his mother tongue. All just to please his Hylam Clan. And Hsien Loong would be pressured to prove to his Khek Association that he can speak Khek as well. Then Inderjit, Jayakumar and Vivian will have to speak in punjabi or Tamil or whatever Indian dialects that are their mother tongues. The Malay MPs will have an easier task. I think Malay is the only dialect maybe with a little slangs from different parts, but basically Malay. And Singapore Tourism Board can promote visits to Singapore Parliament. Now Jack Neo, please move aside. When the talents speak dialects, your dialect movies will not be able to compete. The good thing is that there will be more jobs for translators and interpreters. And while the mother speakers were enjoying themselves in their nuances and flair of their dialects, no one will be able to understand them except listening through the translators. Parliament will thus have extended sessions to cope with the extra time needed. Now that will be Uniquely Singapore. And China will follow suit to abolish Putonghua and Shih Huangti will turn in his grave. And no sweat. China too will become a more colour nation with 2367 dialects to be spoken across the nation. Wow, Singapore is going to set a world trend, speaking dialects and mother tongue. And India will ban English in its Parliament.

1/22/2007

nkf story - Grilling of the Minnow

Grilling of the Minnow For the whole of last week, the NKF story was centred on a subplot to grill a minnow, Jayaraman. He was made to be as guilty and look so bad in the eyes of everyone. The counsels had more or less painted a picture that he was a willing party to all the actions that he did, submitting memos for payments to Forte, rushing the payments out, despite his claim that the system was not up to specs. The question is how guilty is this minnow? Could he do otherwise when he was over powered and over ranked? It seems that he was a middle manager who feared to lose his jobs and was sticking to it come what may. He knew that something was wrong but the bosses sidelined him and made him do what he did, in a way comprising his opposition to the whole deal. Can we blame him? And if he is a foreign talent, he would be even under more pressure to tow the line. And the powers he had to contend with are so overwhelming that short of leaving the job, he will just have to do the necessary administrative chores as told. If he was a foreign talent, it would not be easy for him just to walk away without a job. He just have to bear it out. This grilling of the minnow is just an appetiser for the main course. Looking at the pace of it, looks like the main course will only be served in six months time, at least.

Singapore buckling under Thai pressure

Singapore buckling under Thai pressure After the comment by Kishore that Thaksin had done an unkind act to us, I saw this headline in Today's paper, 'Was Thaksin a good friend after all?' The article by PN Balji speaks for itself. In the face of Thai pressure we are questioning our actions towards a good friend albeit one who has been ousted by a military coup. Thaksin had been a good friend before, a very good friend of Singapore when he was Prime Minister. Bilateral relations was at its best. Now that he is out, that the Thai military junta wanted him to disappear, should we tow the line and tell Thaksin to quietly disappear too. Shall we tell Thaksin that he is no longer useful to us and we do not need such a friend? I think if we do such a thing, we will lose big in the international community. We will become a fair weather friend. We need not accord Thaksin the honour and protocol of a Prime Minister, but we can accord him some decency as a former national leader, as another national stateman. This is the least that we should do. Unless Thaksin has been found guilty of a crime, becomes a criminal, that will be another matter. Other national leaders should see comfort in how we treat a fallen national leaders. For it may be their turn the next time. The politics of ASEAN and in fact the world is such that one can be in power one day and in disgrace the next. The military coup leaders may think that it will not happen to them. It will. Singapore must treat every dignitary with some respect and decency. It is bad if we spit out the cherry when some one tells us to do so.

1/21/2007

opposition parties should hire a consultant

Just musing on a Sunday morning. The 666 event is passed 6 months. Now is the time to prepare for the next general election. And Choktong is giving some tips on how a general election shall be fought, how and what to plan, and what to pledge and promise during the election campaigning, and what to do after winning the election. The opposition parties shall learn from the wisdom of Choktong. Maybe even engage him as a consultant to map our their next election strategies. Then the next election could be interesting to watch.

myth 65 revisited

Myth 65 'The income gap will only get wider' I wrote about this myth some times earlier. It was then like the gospel truth. The income gap would continue to grow wider and nothing could be done about it. Everyone that was important said so. And better still, it was caused by globalisation, so not anyone or any govt's fault. So if I continue to earn my millions, I should continue to ask for more. It is just the natural thing due to, yes, globalisation. My multi million dollar salary is the fault of the international environment. So don't blame me if I feast myself or help myself. Who would ever believe that the income gap will be narrowed when the high income earners will stop getting more? It just cannot be if you have the right to pay yourself crazy. Who is to stop you from doing so. It is my own company. Better still if it is a public company. The small shareholders just have not enough clout to stop me from paying myself and my directors. And my directors and independent directors are all my friends. And if we sign praises for each other, soon everyone will believe we have done a great job and believe that we deserved to be paid even more. Would this myth go away? LKY said so. Yes, this unstoppable widening income gap will narrow. This is the headline in the Sunday Times today, 'S'pore income gap will narrow: MM. Now we will have to see which is which. Which way will the globalisation wind blows? How to stop the forces of globalisation? Or how to stop myself from paying myself?

1/20/2007

Good old vintage wine

Choktong is turning out to be a wise teacher for the opposition and the population at large, telling them what politics and electioneering really are. During the election campaign it is alright to promise whatever the people want or whatever the contending party thinks the people want. No need to worry about how to get the money to do it. It will only be an issue after the election. And by then, when elected, the whole govt machinery is there to find the money to fulfil the promise. Opposition parties need not worry about being thrown questions of how are they going to finance their election pledges and promises to the people. GST is a great instrument for the future. Higher fees, charges, fares etc are all the cards that they can play. So in the next election, just ask the people what they want and promise to deliver when elected. More upgradings, more hospitals, more parks, more free porridges, more shark's fin soups, more mee siam, more handouts, more education or whatever accounts, even more discounts on HDB conservancy charges. 3 months discounts follow by paying for the rest of your life. Opposition parties could even up the offer by giving 6 months discounts. The opposition parties and the people have a lot to learn.

1/19/2007

oil price down, prices still up

When petrol prices were shooting to US$80, companies quickly jumped at the high fuel cost and jacked up prices and fees. Now petrol prices are returning to ground level but no one seem to want to do anything. Or they are hoping to hold on with the high prices for as long as they can, and reaping all the additional profits? Commercial business logic!

Property prices shooting through the roof!

Property prices shooting through the roof! Long queues are back at the launching sites of new condo developments. People fighting to join the queues. New properties were quickly snapped up. Prices set to rise further! The good times are back. People are now rich again and all crazily chasing after a new property bubble. Then we are hearing several complaints about how genuine are all these hypes and whether the buyers are genuine buyers. Is it marketing or misleading information on the property front? Is it responsible reporting? Where is the line drawn between acceptable marketing tactics and painting a false picture?

1/18/2007

The substitute villian

The substitute villian Jayaraman must be kicking himself sore and asking what the hell is going on? He is an innocent man trying to provide some light on what actually happened to the scandal earlier. Now he is being grilled by so many lawyers as if he is the guilty one. Shouldn't he be asking to be paid for the hard work he is doing, or performing? And to be fair to him, who else would have that kind of memory to remember the details of things happened so many years ago? Ask any of the legal counsels there what they did 3 weeks ago or what they ate for lunch, they would be just as lost...I can't remember...

myth 110

'I want, I want Syndrome' Singaporean should get out from this 'I want, I want Syndrome'. I am referring to Singaporeans expecting the govt to offer them with goodies or goodies the govt thought out for them. And Singaporeans are so happy and grateful for all these goodies, thinking that they are getting them for free. Unfortunately nothing is for free. Someone will have to pay for them. And very likely themselves. So adult education accounts, upgradings, $500 million for parks etc, all needs money. Where will the money come from? GST? Of fallen from the sky? Singaporeans would be better off if they say no to all these goodies. No, we don't need that $500 million park. We don't need golden trees that bear jewel fruits. Give us the money instead. Even if they did not get the money saved, at least there is no justification or reason to increase taxes to pay for it. If I were the govt, I will be very happy to give everything to the Singaporeans as long as they ask for it. Why not when they are so happy to have them, and they pay for them as well. What would be more troublesome would be when they said no, we don't want any of them. Just save the money and effort. Just don't raise GST or any more fees. And thank you very much. The moral of the story is that the more is spent, the more taxes will be raised. No free lunch?

1/17/2007

nkf story - Outwitting the Master

Outwitting the Master Taking on a master strategist is not like taking a walk in the park. And at this stage of the game, looks like the fear of many forumers will come true. It will be an empty victory for the new NKF. It will probably be a piece of paper that they will get out of court in their favour. But where is the money? The master strategist would have done his sums and made all his moves. If there is any money to be recovered, it would be from the rest of the cronies who did not know that the game was up and did not make any contigency plans. Let's guess who has the most money and asset to recover from.

thai singapore bashing

'Thaksin put Singapore in a tight spot...In some ways, Thaksin was unkind to us. It would have been better if he had done the CNN interview somewhere else.' Kishore Mahbubani I think this is the unkindest comment to have come from Kishore on Thaksin. The Thais have removed their gloves and are evidently hostile to Singapore over this current crisis. Both their hands are at Singapore's throat. Despite so many years of cordial relationship and building of personal ties, the source of this Thai anger can easily be traced. Given the good nature and friendliness of the Thai leadership, it is surprising that they are going at Singapore to such a length. And the MFA's reply was most appropriate and reasonable under such circumstances. Singapore should not capitulate and become the whipping boy and start to point the fault at the wrong direction, at Thaksin, who is a good friend. Constitutionally Thaksin is still the legitimate and popularly elected PM of Thailand. The military junta is the unconstitutional one. Singapore should brace itself and stand up to Thailand and not put its tail between its legs. That is not the Singapore that we are proud of.

1/16/2007

nkf story - in comes the anti hero

Krishnan Jayaraman, the IT Manager of the old NKF, has become the anti hero in this saga. He seems to be the only one to take on all the heroes and to tarnish their shiny reputations. Having said that, this FT is an exemplary FT. He is professional, logical and conscientious. His downfall is to pit himself against brilliant and branded LTs. And I think he lost. But this story gives justification to have more good FTs like Jayaraman. Now who is going to accuse me of being anti FTs? It is time to replace LTs with FTs.

nkf story continues

And the story continues... The story or stories that are coming out from the NKF Showdown is getting more grotesque and nauseating. I think they should be classified under X rating for adults only. Otherwise many people will not be able to take it and may have nightmares and hallucinations. Definitely not for people under 18. Hollywood, Bollywood or Golden Harvest must be clamouring to buy up the right to produce a movie on this. MediaCorp better put in their bid first before it flies away. It will be a mega movie.

wow, wow, it's a miracle!

It's a miracle! It's a miracle! ' It's confirmed - the online publication of hospital bill sizes has generally resulted in lower prices for patients. This is the conclusion of a 16 month study published in the latest issue of the Singapore Medical Journal.' The average drop in bill sizes is between 8 to 10 percent with the highest around 24%. According to the SMA, the most significant and rapid decrease is shortly after the announcement and with more to follow later. Wow, wow, no need any cost cutting measures and management analysis or any special campaigns. We should tell this to all the other organisations and also to the world. This is really a very significant economic discovery of the century. But one thing cannot be published. If people think that making organisation published their salaries will lead to a fall in the salary cost, think again. Once top management know their salaries and found them to be lesser than their peers, they will sure that they will raise it under whatever excuses to be right at the top. The motivation for this reaction is that their self worth is measured by how much they earn. If the loansharks make more than them, then it will be a slap in their egos and market value. So publish any other costs and fees, but not salaries.

1/15/2007

education account confirmed

Everyone seems very happy with the education accounts for adults. I like to have that too, to do my PhD. Just for fun and a little self stimulation. Wonder how much it will cost. And the Today Paper also confirmed that the Govt has accepted this recommendation. Now it is going to be 'I want, I want, I also want.' Where is the money coming from? And with so many schemes available from primary and secondary schools, to adult education, WISE, Skillsave, private corporate and govt organisation schemes, and more schemes, I think we are the most scheming people in the world. Have we not gotten tired of all the schemes? Why so many schemes, like charity and govt welfare schemes and always not enough? Would 2% GST be enough to provide for the additional education account? Or would this justify another 1%? The money must come from somewhere. No free lunch.

1/14/2007

Myth 109

'Needs create jobs' This is the basis on which jobs are created in an organisation. When there are needs and works to be done, and when these needs exceed a certain level, a job is created. There is a new way of creating jobs. Oops, no, let me put it properly. The new way is to create the job first, then create work for this job. Or another way, get the man first, then find jobs for him to do. Isn't that creativity? When a talent is needed or valued, jobs can always be created. Or the organisation can always find things for him to do. Singaporeans will never run out of jobs.

greed is good

Let me write something in praise of GREED. Greed, power, hatred, desire, envy etc are powerful motivators. They are the essence of life that keeps civilisation alive and moving forward. Just greed alone is enough to change the world. With greed, people strive and work harder and harder to get more. And the more they get, the more they want, and the harder they work. Imagine when there is no greed, all those who have piled enough in their bank accounts would say, 'I have enough. I just want to lie on the beach and enjoy the sunset.' And a super talent and all his greatness will be lost to civilisation. He stops contributing his talent to benefit society. The only way to get this super talent to continue working, and to serve the people, and himself, is greed. And greed also spice up life. How bored this world will be without greed, when everyone just take enough for himself and leave the rest to others? It will be just like heaven. Just look at the NKF Show...It is all because of greed. And because of this, so much money is being raised for the charity. Because of greed, so many people got the opportunity to play all kinds of roles, and get employed. And because of this greed, so many people now got the chance to watch the show, to learn a little about ethics and morality. And the legal profession get a big boost in terms of dollars and sense. Forget about cents. This world will die without greed. We need greed and more greedy people to make this world more interesting and progressive. Greed is good and healthy. It gives reasons and justification to pay everyone well, and very well. Lets celebrate Greed on this Sunday morning. And be joyous and ignore the dark clouds outside.

1/13/2007

Higher education accounts proposed for Singaporeans

Higher education accounts proposed for Singaporeans Another great idea in the making to think and plan for the unthinking and mindless Singaporeans. Their lives need to be carefully managed by the gods. It is all for their own good. I can also think of another few areas and accounts to provide for the well beings of Singaporeans. There should be a marriage account for all single man to make sure that they can afford to get married or make it convenient for them to do so with the money available. As for the women, a childbirth account for taking care of all the cost involved in childbearing. I was also thinking of a medical account, but this is already taken care of by the 3Ms. Now what else? Oh yes, a redundancy account to take over their finances when they lost their jobs either through retrenchment or premature termination. Who is going to pay for all these accounts? My money or your money?

nkf story - a new lead actor

As the story continues, when the lead actor was abruptly cut off from the story, a new star must be injected. The new lead actor is now Alwyn Lim. Now that is an unexpected twist to the plot. The diminutive, charming and gentlemanly Alwyn Lim is now played up as the key man who was behind Durai, showing him the way and supporting him all along. Who would have known of these inner happenings if everything was under cloak and secrecy, when everyone deemed an outsider or a spy would be promptly wished away. As the story unfolds, more facets of the activities behind closed doors will be spoken for the benefit of the audience. It is a ticket worth paying for. Lets hope that there will be many more sub plots and supporting actors and actresses coming forward. And the meat will be when the co star appear to tell her story.

Myth 108

The Mother of all Myths The NKF is a stunning revelation of all the goodnesses of what this country stood for, and all came crumbling down. First you got the formula of paying high salary to avoid corruption. But $600k appears not enough. Yeah, peanuts. Otherwise the formula will still be valid. Handpicked men of ability and talent are all reliable and trustworthy. But the biggest mockery is that practically all of them knew about the first class travel. And all simply shut up. No whistle blower from within. Or like they said, all for one and one for all, like the 3 musketeers. So if one is a looter, the rest just close rank or shut up. Some would even stand up to defend the looter. And worst, the gumption to sue others who blew the whistle and made them pay fully for their 'folly' to do so. And even attempting to try for $20 million from SPH when the truth is the other way round. What kind of justice are our people faced with? Without the money to fight an expensive court case, they had to capitulate and pay damages for telling the truth! And watchdogs are a plenty. How could such a shenanigan allowed to go on for so long under watchful eyes and to deceive so many talented people, like one forum writer, Maria Loh Mun Foong asked? And the deceit would have continue to these days and none the wiser if it was not discovered by accident. Frightening facade of propriety at a level almost untouchable by the ordinary men.

1/12/2007

who are the real forum letter writers?

One interesting thing that came out from the NFK Showdown recently is the number of ghost letters, or letters written by people other than the names on the letters, appearing in the MSM forums. Now we got to be very cynical and sceptical about public opinions when even the names of the writers can be forged. And people complained that bloggers or netizens used anonymous or nicks. What is so different when names purported to be the real writers were not the real writers. Truth can be stranger than fiction.

70% of jobs to foreigners!!!???

CNA News dated 11 January 2007. SINGAPORE: Middle class wages have been stagnant in the past 5 years, according to economists, and this could lead to social instability. These concerns were shared at the annual Institute of Policy Studies Singapore Perspectives conference.... 123, 000 jobs were created last year and economists estimate some 70 percent of these jobs went to foreigners.... Whoever came out with this figure better be prepared to be challenged. Maybe also prepare a letter of apology.

nkf story - intermission

Intermission Yesterday was a good break. It allows everyone to reflect on the facts that were presented by Shanmugam, what had actually happened, and where to go from here. From a purely 'be successful and be admired as a talent' point of view, the two persons, or more persons that should be laughing and having a good time would be Durai, Matilda and the other defendants. They have been there, done it, and enjoyed all the good things that money and power can provide. Travel to all the nice places around the world, flew first class, enjoyed all the fine food, and meeting all the nice people, and have friends in high places. Just look at how they dressed up for their court appearances... oh mine, the cost of each suit would be enough to fill my wardrobe, oops I mean cupboard, for 10 years at least. And the newspapers printed their best smiles and best angles for all to go gaga everyday. This is real showbiz at its best. Now you know why the big smiles and the exaggerated and cultivated way of walking and gesturing. It is all for the catwalk. And the best part, there is no need to feel ashame, remorseful or even a word of apology to anyone cheated in the process. These are feelings associated with the failures and untalented. And what for when the bank accounts are stashed with cash? All they get is admiration for being so talented and so successful, and so clever, so cool, so smart looking... Legal fees, no sweat. So much money to spare. Looking for role models for successful Singaporeans or how to be successful in a modern world?

1/11/2007

nkf story - the revelation to come

The startling revelation to come What we are about to see in this show is that all the experienced, highly qualified and worldly wise professionals and experts will now have to prove that they were all ignorant and innocent little children. Their only ground of defence is to plead naivity. 'I don't know what is happening. I was just there for the party, for the tea and cakes.' This will give a stronger case for tightening of corporate governance and nailing responsibility onto directors who otherwise think that being a director is easy money and no responsibility.

nkf story - why the disappointment?

I just read the papers this morning and the impression I get is that people were disappointed by the early concede by Durai. And their reason is that they will miss out on the juicy details when Durai is grilled by the legal counsels. Then came the consolating thought that Durai will not go away but can still be called upon as witness by the other defendants. It is a case of waiting for the Middle Weight and Light Weight rounds after the Heavy Weight round was rudely ended by a technical KO. Poor Durai. He can't avoid being the main star of the show. What is pertinent is that his admission of wrongdoings would seriously compromise the positions of the other defendants. His admission would mean that all the allegations by Shanmugam stays, that they are as what Shanmugam set them out to prove. Now Shanmugam needs not prove them and the fiefdom and the cronies are true. It is now the turn of the cronies to prove that they were not cronies. But to absolve them from blame, they must prove beyond that, that they are worst than cronies. That all decisions were taken by Durai and either they did not know, were not party to it, or were slaves and thus have diminished responsibilities.

1/10/2007

nkf story - ko in round one

10 sec into Round One and the World Heavyweight Champion was KO by a barrage of body blows from his challenger. This is as close as it gets to what had happened today of the NKF Showdown in High Court. Yes, Durai had conceded the case and accepted full liability even before he was asked to make his defence. What happens to this formidable and dynamic CEO who had won two fights and took on the SPH and was confident of winning his case and a $20 million damage claim? What could be the reasons for him to throw in the towel without a fight? One possibility is that the plaintiff has all the evidence given their accessibility to all the information available and also those Durai had deleted but knew that they had been recovered from his computers. It is also not far fetched to assume that some of his employees or directors would turn up as witnesses against him. Then there is also a big possibility that one of the key defendants could turn prosecution witness and nail the coffin. Everyone, including all the directors would be fighting to save their own skins, especially those who have not benefitted from all the wrongdoings. Now the ominous remark in Durai's letter, 'I know this will be painful to my wife who has to contend with the little resources I can provide her and the children...' is becoming a reality. Whatever that he got from the NKF may not be enough to pay for all the legal fees and the damages that the new NKF is going to claim against him. Poor chap, and his poor wife and children. But that will not be the end of him in this showdown. He is likely to be called upon as witness by the other defendants to be cross examined. And for those who are waiting for a command performance by this living legend of the old NKF, they will not be disappointed. For the meanwhile the spotlight will now be on Richard Yong, Loo Say San and Matilda Chua and the rest of the board of directors. (end of Chapter One).

nkf story continues

And the story continues. I was very touched and almost moved to tears by Durai's reply to Richard Yong's recommendation to pay Durai 8 months' of bonus. And I can agree that Durai had worked extremely hard to raise $22 million for the NKF. "We cannot commend you enough. We cannot compensate you enough. My colleagues and I want you to know how much we appreciate your painstaking work and sacrifice. As a token of our appreciation, we would like you to accept a bonus of eight months' salary.' It was indeed a small token of appreciation. And it was indeed a sacrifice. Durai replied that he would only accept 5 months. 8 months were too much. And he had good and legitimate reasons. 'I am unable to accept the bonus of 8 months salary as I would not be doing justice to the hundreds of patients whom I have to cajole to pay their fees - which they do grudgingly. I know this will be painful to my wife who has to contend with the little resources I can provide her and the children...' Poor thing. And the last I heard, because of his sacrifice and miserable peanut salary, he was living in a rented property. He could not afford to buy his own property. How mean of NKF to pay him so little. It was not only Durai, but his poor wife and children that had to live with so little that he got from NKF. And he rejected to take more. How about a Noble Peace Prize for self sacrifice to aid other suffering human beings?

1/09/2007

new nkf versus nkf 2007

Today we got a sneak preview of the greatest NKF Showdown that all Singaporeans have been waiting for. The debut of the battle at High Court, and if this is what things are going to be like, is going to be as glamorous as any other shows that Media Corp can ever produce. Making his entrance was TT Durai, carrying his charming and suave personality as he strode in, accompanied to court by his equally imposing legal counsel. He was calm, relax and appeared to have everything in control, just like before, everything carefully scripted. It was indeed a commanding presence befitting what Durai represented and was well known for, a consumate CEO of a multi million dollar organisation. Nothing in this world could ruffle him and spoil his day. Then came Richard Yong, his hair nicely gelled and sculptured, and in his immaculate suit, and a beautiful little coloured handkerchief protruding from his vest pocket. With his trade mark 3 piece suit he easily outshone Mark Ng and was a class of his own. It was all class fit for a movie star. He came with an entourage around him, an influential Chairman indeed. The High Court suddenly came alive when a vibrant and smiling Maltida Chua waltzed in. She was the happiest personality to have graced the sombre looking court. Anyone seeing her would not be mistaken to think that she was there to attend a birthday party of a close friend. There was not the slightest worry on her face as she strutted along, probably very confident that all was well. Talking about worry, Loo Say San seemed to be the odd man out. He was everything worry was. Worry was written all over him. On his face, on his shirt and in the air around him. No, he did not attempt a smile. Maybe he had forgotten how. But the greatest surprise, or no surprise at all, was the dark horse in the name of Pharis Aboobacker. No you could not see him. Was he there or was he not there, or was he ever was there? The other key player representing the whole of the New NKF was none other than the famous Shanmugam. And he made his presence felt immediatelly by saying a simple word, 'cronies'. Whatever that meant, there was immediate objection from the otherwise happy party goers and glamorous dignitaries of a once high profile corporate world. 30 lawyers in all were there. I am trying to count how much will this show eventually will cost. Then there are the hidden cost of the dressers to dress up the players and their expensive and branded wardrobes. And the catwalk consultants making sure that each step was meant to be where it landed for the cameras. All the fashion gurus and newsmakers should be there to cover this great show of the year. Even the newspaper played the part that it should by giving the Show frontpage and extensive coverage. And the photos of the main actors and actress were honoured in full colour. The supporting cast would have to make do with just black and white.(To be continued) _________________

1/08/2007

double rainbows double blessings

Looks like the double rainbows are giving good reasons for a pay rise in all sectors. More jobs, tight job markets and pressure to attract and retain talents. Soon we will hear organisations losing staff or talents and need to boost salary to attract more and better talents. What is this talent that we are talking about? The talents at the top are all very well paid and very settled in where they are. It is very difficult to move them around unless there are very exceptional reasons or perks. Also it is very difficult for them to move around as well as many are actually no longer marketable. There are in positions and earning incomes that are beyond their worths and no one will want to offer them more. Peter's Principle. One very special group of talents that are highly mobile and marketable are the young talents, the second upper and first class honours grads and less than 5 years in a organisation. Because of the squeeze in starting salaries over the last few years, many are not getting paid their worth. This is especially so in the civil service. In the private sector, a talented two to three year graduate could be getting $4k to $5k. In the civil service, many will not smell $3k. And for them to be in the civil service, they are the cream of the crop. Head hunters will definitely be targeting this group of young talents, under paid but all with good honours degree. Where else can they find such talents except in the civil service. Those with similar talents in the private sector will be amply rewarded as the private sector is more aggressive and nimble. We can expect to see more musical chairs as the music begins.

1/07/2007

another way of celebrating singaporeans

Something like celebrating Singaporeans is how Singaporeans or Singaporean Institutions celebrate Singaporeans by treating Singaporeans well and better, also making good business sense. Nur Dianah Suhaimi covered the hotel scene and listed a number of hotels, including big names that offer special rates to Singaporeans. And the discount could be a hefty 50% from foreigners. What a way to go to make Singaproeans feel that they are Singaporeans, to be treated better at home. Now, who else shall learn from this?

population growth not essential to wealth creation

Why the population is not essential in wealth creation Kan Seng is repeating the call to Singaporeans to be nice to foreign talents and to encourage them to settle here. I think we must also remind the foreign talents to be kind to the less talented Singaporeans and stop calling them silly and stupid, and stop bullying the locals. The position of the govt is very clear, so clear that no one is saying otherwise. Not even in the academic world or economic and social thinkers. Or maybe all wise men think alike. Singapore must grow its population or perish. That is probably the true reason why no one is coming out with a counter argument against growing the population to 6 or 8 million at such a rapid pace. At least no Singaporeans will be foolhardy enough to say the unpleasant. The MSM too is agreeable to this school of thought. It is just a school of thought. Not unlike Keynes versus the Chicago School of thought on expansionary monetary policies or restraining and reducing expenditure to manage the economy. I think the MSM has a change of mind and is trying to say something to the opposite in the best way it can. There is an article by Victor Mallet from the Financial Times today with the title in the above heading of this post. It quoted several eminent economists trying to debunk the myth that countries need population growth to sustain their growth. They pointed to the contrary, saying that if population growth is critical to economic growth, then countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, Africa and Latin America would be rich. Mallet started by saying 'I wanted to debunk the idea that countries with falling numbers of inhabitants were heading inexorably towards social and fiscal disaster or even extinction...A year on, there are encouraging signs of a change in attitudes. In particular, economists are increasingly challenging the myth that population growth is essential for economic growth.' It is a different issue if a country is facing negative population growth and needs to boost up the declining numbers. Small is not necessary a disadvantage. We have capitalised on our smallness to grow in quality. Growing with more rubbish will mean more rubbish is what we get. Mallet quoted Richard Jackson, director of the global ageing initiative of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, 'We should also ask why policymakers focus on absolute economic growth rather than the per capita income growth that would make more individuals better off. Even if one accepts the economic need to boost a country's workforce, increasing the entire local population is a crude way to do it. In Japan - where the population is shrinking, remember - the labour force has been rising this year as older people rejoin the workforce and more women take jobs. The truth is that nations with small, stagnant or falling populations can produce strong economic growth.' Mallet concluded by saying that it is a natural or normal tendency for the wealthier population not to reproduce as many as the third world population. And it is not only inevitable, but also good and there is no point trying to fight this trend. Basically go for quality instead of quantity. Many European nations are small and doing exceptionally well for its people on a per capita income basis and the general quality of life. We are experiencing tremendous growth and a rapid marginalisation of our population with the quality of life going downwards for many, with many, including the upper middle income needing govt assistance. Compare to the way the European countries manage their growth and quality of life of their people, there is obviously something wrong with the general health and wealth of our nation and people.

you're powerful...very powerful

'You're powerful...very powerful Media expert Henry Jenkins say the Net's so potent that it's changing the world in many ways, but people are not prepared for this.' This is the heading of an article by Cheong Suk Wai in the Sunday Times. Jenkins, a professor from MIT, says that people are still trying to blindly figure out how to use the new power given to them by the Internet. 'The world has suddenly developed a printing press for every person on the planet,...' Henry Jenkins. The issue is how to use this power sensibly and make it useful for society and humanity. Many are still wasting their precious time and effort hurling abuses at each other in many blogs and sites. Presumably those indulging in such callous behaviour are the unthinking kids. What you say and post is important as somebody is going to read it and be influenced by it. They may agree or disagreed with you, but whichever way, it will make an impression.

1/06/2007

relativity of greed and need

Greed and needs are indeed all subjective terms. Janadas Devan wrote an article today about the self imposed poverty of American civil servants and how Clinton feared to raise his own salary but instead raised his deputy's to double what Clinton got. This was a trick which Clinton thought would work for him, for Congress to raise his too since people below him were earning more than him. A clever 'raise your salary formula' without asking for it. Raise others' first and yours will come naturally. I got side track a little. Janadas also quoted Gandhi. Give that man a piece of cloth and he would have enough to wear for a year. His wardrobe probably had less than a dozen pieces of white cloths. But he had enough. He gave up practising medicine to become a penniless politician. But he is a poor example of what humans are. He shall be confined to history in the same chapter as Mother Teresa. The inhuman beings whose personal needs and ego are minimal and almost non existent. Back to being humans and having a stomach full of greed, envy and jealousy. No sensible man will argue that we should not pay civil servants well even if the word servant is a myth. But the trick is how well? Another very subjective word. 'Give me a piece of cloth and I will be happy.' I can hear Gandhi saying that sincerely. Let me add my subjective view of what is being paid well. For the top civil servants, to be able to afford a landed property, driving a mercedes, bring family for annual holidays, have dinner in a good restaurant every weekend, can afford to send children overseas for their education etc, and free from monetary worries of not being able to afford the above, I think these will be comfortable. Then how much to pay is still relative. At the lower end of the senior civil servants, lets say able to afford a 5 room HDB flat, a 1.6 litre Japanese car, to support a small family of 4, not necessary overseas education, and the weekend makan in a small restaurant, and the annual holidays to nearby countries. These, I think should be adequate for a start for the young civil servants. Are we paying our civil servants well enough for these niceties in life? Or shall we pay them more, double these qualitative references? Often the top honchos will only be concerned about the millions they are getting and the millions they are not getting. Not many will be concerned about the few thousands that the lower staff should be getting and not getting. That is what greed, envy and jealousy were in the stratosphere.

something to be ashamed of

If there is one thing I am ashame of of this country, it is the rampant and blatant flouting of the laws by the loansharks. And it seems that nothing can be done to them. The MSM has been trying its best to highlight this as not only a social but also criminal problems, it all seems in vain. They continue to exist and thrive and becoming more arrogant and defiance of the law and law enforcing officers.

1/05/2007

would sheepish singaporeans be anti social?

Over the last few days there were several comments in the MSM and Cyberspace about Singaporeans getting irritated with anti social behaviours like smoking in non smoking areas or queue jumping. Many were advocating taking actions into their own hands, to tell off the offenders. These are calls for actions, to take ownership and responsibility for anti social behaviours in the public by the people. It is a move in the right direction. Singaporeans should stand up and feel that this is their country and they jointly own this place. Only when Singaporeans feel that this is their home and not a hotel that they will think it is necessary to take care fo the place. And many of the offenders are not really Singaporeans but guests, ie foreigners. Given the general comment that Singaporeans are meek, do not want to get into unpleasant situations, wanting to save face and avoid trouble, it is unlikely that they would want to adopt anti social behaviours to draw attention to themselves. The exception is the younger groups of Singaporeans, the adolescence trying to grow up. This group may be a little rowdy and less restraint. A Carmen Teoh-Tang wrote to admit sheepishly that she was told off in foreign countries for not giving her seat to the elderly. It would be good if Singaporeans too would do that to anyone, including foreigners. What could have happened was that she was a stranger in a foreign land where the foreigners few brashed enough to tell the diminutive little Asian girl off in their land. It could be a kind of xenophobic bullying taking the face of social grace. We should not bully anyone who lacked social graces, local or foreigners. But more Singaporeans should speak out to make this place of ours a more sociable and hospitable place to live in.

1/04/2007

good news for transport stocks

Good news for transport fares. London just up its fare and becomes the most expensive in the world. Will this give us a boost? If so quickly buy MRT and SBS stocks.

blooming stock market

The stock market shot pass 3000 pts. Wow, another super bull run. Everyone must be laughing to the banks. Properties and cars must be flying off the shelves. And Today paper reported that transactions of 5 room flats were increasing and downgrading trend has stopped. Great news. The restaurants and entertainment outlets must also be doing roaring businesses. How come can't see any sign of such activities of exuberants? Oh, the 5 room flats that were transacted were from cheap and unpopular Woodland. And for the last quarter, resale market saw only a slight recovery. Nicholas Mak of Frank Knight said, 'One possible reason for the weakness in the HDB market is that the strong economic growth is not widespread enough.' This also applies to the stock market. Who is making all the money? Did anyone hear of people making money? Are the aunties all queuing up to open trading accounts? Is there a buzz in the market place of frantic stock market tradings?

1/03/2007

double rainbows on 1.1.2007

A double rainbows appeared on the first day of the new year, 2007. It looked like a rare occurrence to me. Never seen it before. The first rainbow after the big flood was a reminder to God that he will not destroy the human race anymore. Now God is given a double reminder that he should keep to his promise. So, would the double rainbows bring better fortune for everyone? Pictures of the double rainbows can be seen at the Photo Gallery in redbeanforum.com. Just open any of the threads there and look for Snippets of Singapore file. There are about 10 pics there and 4 of them have the double rainbows captured.

The Sincerity of Insincerity

We are living in a multi religious society where all religions exist side by side and their believers live harmoniously with each other. This is like paradise in Hollywood. The key question is that beneath the facade of peaceful co existence, how real and sincere is each religious group towards another when their doctrines and beliefs called for the destruction of the other and that only theirs is the truth while the rest are forgeries or devil worshippers? How much would one trust the beaming smile and friendly handshake when his teachings and beliefs said that mine is falsehood and he is out there to change it? Or what is the thinking or intent behind that smile of friendship? How genuine and sincere can one be under such circumstances? Hypocrisy?

1/02/2007

jeffrey law said 'nothing great'

All the articles/stories I read aren't thought-provoking and
stimulating at all.  Be more creative and innovative, or
you'll be wasting our time trying to figure out about your
site.

I received the above email from a Jeffrey Law.

So I replied thanking him for his comments and asked him about
his age, educational level and interests and which group he
belongs to so that I can tailor my writings to meet his
needs and things that he thinks will be great.

Still waiting for his reply. It would be better for Jeffrey
Law to share his view with us here and we shall do our best
to serve him and his group.

leong sze hian - settle question of hdb subsidy

Settle question of HDB subsidy once and for all A few days back Viktor Ye Kok Kheong wrote in the ST forum 'Did HDB land pricing use Raffles Place as rule?' The HDB replied that it was difficult to reveal all the details of land and construction costs of specific projects etc... and that was why HDB is incurring losses. This is probably the only monopoly business where land prices from land acquisition from owners at a price determined by the govt, but definitely not at the Raffles Place price charged to HDB, and losing money. Leong Sze Hian is not letting the matter rest and pursuing with another letter today asking for some figures for the sake of transparency and high standard of corporate governance. What will happen is that it is a matter of days when HDB would have to disclose its numbers. It is either now or later. And not for long when Singapore is singing the glory of its high standard of corporate governance and transparency.

celebrating singaporeans - Prof Donald Tan

Professor Donald Tan Eye patients from around the world with difficult blindness conditions were referred to Donald Tan for his revolutionary Lamellar transplant technique. This is a very new technique and about 200 successful transplants were carried out in 2005 and 2006. And the referrals came all the way from the US and Canada. And the beneficiaries, other than the happy and grateful patients, is the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) which has become a referral centre for cornea transplants. Some were desperate cases when all earlier treatments were unsuccessful in other eye centres. A Kitti Anansongvit were treated in Bangkok and the US before being referred to Donald Tan when his condition got worst. Phil Chapman, a Canadian boy of 13 'had the dreaded Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a potentially fatal allergy that hits children and young adults. He spent 40 days under intensive care at the Children's Hospital in Vancouver.' Inspite of 4 operations and specialists treatments in Canada and the US his desperate parents turned to Donald Tan and an operation was conducted at the SNEC. Chapman regained his sight. Donald Tan is also pioneering with another technique using a blind patient's tooth to insert into his eye to give him some vision. Since 2004, 19 cases, 2 Singaporeans and 17 foreigners have regained their sight. Singapore is blessed with such talented men. 'Prof Tan has been asked by other eye specialists to form an Asian Corneal Society to be based in Singapore, to promote clinical standards, research and education in cornea transplants and eye-banking.'

celebrating singaporeans - Sim Wong Hoo

Sim Wong Hoo The non graduate entrepreneur who conquered the world with music and sound through his Sound Blaster Card is the new breed of successful and generous Singaporeans that we should be proud of, and bless him. He made his money through his ingenuity and perseverance. I still remembered his Cubic personal computer that was not much of a success until the Sound Card came. And he made his money not being an employee and demanding his company pay him exorbitant salary or ridiculous bonuses. He made his money from the worth of his company, Creative Technology, and the value of its shares. And he is giving them away. I have not kept track of his philanthropy but the amount donated is probably close to $100 million or more. The latest foundation which he set up to honour his mother, the Sim-Tan Siok Kee Foundation received $33 million for educations, arts, the poor and aged.

1/01/2007

the money mind

Singaporean Students will now be ranked according to their monetary value each month, to reflect their potential value to Singapore’s community at large. This will begin at a negative value, since a Singaporean at the Primary One level has taken in resources to be educated while potentially achieving little. However, once the Singaporean has been streamed and categorised, the monetary value can increase exponentially. EM1 students, primed to go to top secondary schools, junior colleges, and exotic educational programs, are usually valued between SGD4000 - SGD8000 a month, depending on academic performance. “The impact this scheme will have is tremendous,” claims Mr. Fan. The above is posted in ypapforum. I am not sure of its authenticity yet. my blog is worth more than US$4000! how money crazy can we be?

There will be no Singapore in the future

Below is an extract of an article by Seah Chiang Nee posted in littlespeck.com. It spells out why Singapore will be no more in the future by exactly what we are doing today. It is like we know we will be damned if we take this route but this route we will take. Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has projected Singapore as a vibrant city of up to seven million people by 2030, with probably a huge global element. By then, Singapore-born citizens will be a minority in their own country, helped by declining birth rates and Singaporeans working or settling abroad. They may be outnumbered two to one by foreigners settling here, not all of them permanently committed to this place. Singapore will likely remain a migrant society, but more so than before, seemingly destined to be a population in transition. Like at various stages of its past, there will – in future - be waves of foreigners settling down and then leaving for a better life. Its own true blue citizens, too, will increasingly become an international creature. MM Lee spoke of his concern of having too many Singaporeans living abroad with their families (estimated 150,000 to 200,000). “If more Singaporeans work abroad and their children forget their roots, there will be no Singapore node to send them out ... They dissolve and disappear and there is no Singapore,” he said. He worries about a new generation of Singaporean international workers who are open to different identities losing their roots to the home country.

culture of greed

A few days back I posted about US$40 million bonuses and today there is an article in the Straits Times titled, 'Fat bonuses for London bankers creating backlash.' The issues are the same, all the bankers are paying themselves crazy. And this has led to Tony Blair saying 'inequality matters. The big gap between those at the top and those at the bottom makes for a sick society'. And Cabinet Minister Harriet Harman called for 'action to stop these excessive ridiculous bonuses'. This perceived culture of greed represented a serious problem for business, acknowledged Richard Lambert, director of the Confederation of British Industry. I am not against individual enterprise and earning big bucks. But these fat bonuses are obscene and they are taken from the real owners and workers who have no control over them. It is left to a few sharks at the top to decide how much to share the loot. There is no control and accountability to the real owners, the minority shareholders, the small people in the streets. What corporate governance when everyone is scratching everyone's back? Power must be returned to the real owners of the wealth, and profits must be spread more downwards to the workers that are struggling to make ends meet. Why would these greedy honchos want so much money when a year's bonus is enough to last them several generations? It is all greed and the lack of corporate governance to control the excesses. In today's Straits Times there was another article about the role of independent directors and accountability. I don't think the problem is just in the independent directors.

Myth 109

'The illusion of higher income' Singapore is the only place in the whole world where the Govt has to help the middle income and higher income groups of people. What? Higher income people need govt help? Now what is wrong with that? Or are these higher income earners only higher income in name sake but actually poor like hell? Cannot make ends meet, and constantly juggling their finances to make sure that they can get by? I would have thought that once a person becomes higher income earner, he should be in a very comfortable position, to live well and enjoy life, not waiting for govt assistance.