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2/28/2007

lesson from hongkong

The lesson from Hongkong Many have pointed to Hongkong as an example to what our lives will be with 6.5 million people. One thing for sure, our HDB flats are likely to shrink further. They have started to shrink in anticipation of the great and vibrant future of more talented people. Singaporeans looking forward to the great life in the future should imagine themselves cooping inside much smaller HDB flats. Oops, I mean the heartlanders. Those who have the dole can always enjoy the liberty of free space in their landed properties, with gardens and swimming pools. Definitely space is not a problem to them.

hota given a good airing in parliament

Hota is getting a good airing in Parliament. And hospitals are seeing an increase in people opting out of the scheme and forms are running out. One major consideration as pointed out by Loke Siew Meng is not to put the grieving family members in a sorry state to tussle for the body. He had opted out of the scheme. The recent case is troubling to many potential donors. The mental state of the family members is already in a very vulnerable state and to subject them to the more pressure from hospital staff who are over zealous in wanting to harvest the organs is appalling. The people have seen what could happen to them and their family members and it is normal for them to react this way. More PR works need to be done by the hospital to improve the image of the Hota scheme.

vibrancy in parliament

It is heartening to hear the views of MPs in Parliament yesterday. They are now more vocal and suggesting or demanding that the Govt consider the views put up by them for consideration. Hopefully there will be some changes to whatever that have been decided. It will be a very significant change from the past when any paper tabled will be passed lock, stock and barrel. The notable speakers yesterday were Inderjit Singh, Ho Geok Choo, Cynthia Phua and Ahmad Magad. Not to forget Lily Neo who had pushed for raising the legal assistance to the needy from $260 to $400. Now we are seeing some vibrancy in Parliament.

we need a referendum

The MPs are querying on the 6.5 million population and Mah Bow Tan now said that this was only for planning purposes and for the next 40 to 50 years instead of the next 20 years as reported in the paper. Mah Bow Tan also assured the MPs 'that the country's social stability would not be undermined, even as the Govt moves ahead to encourage more foreigners from diverse backgrounds to live and work here.' Can anyone really be in a position to give this kind of assurance? The issue of Singapore's future should be decided by the people and not by a few individuals no matter how wise and how good the intention is. To let in another 2.5 million foreigners into Singapore as citizens is a very serious change in our demography and social fabric and must not be taken lightly or concerns expressed by the people be simply brushed aside. I hope some MPs would view this issue seriously and call for a Referendum for the people to vote for their future and the future of their children. The present leadership will not be here to answer should anything go wrong. Remember the 2 child policy? It was too good and too successful then. But the negative aspects and consequences are now being felt today. A 6.5 million population is going to transform Singapore into a very different creature. Would the people agree to it?

2/27/2007

myth 118

Myth 118 New HDB flats sure to fetch higher value in resale market HDB flats are sold at subsidised prices, whatever that means. For many years, all new HDB owners would be able to sell their flats in the resale market for a profit simply because of the subsidy. And for that, HDB flat owners are expected to pay a levy when they sold the flat because they made a clean profit. Leong Sze Hian's letter of his HDB friend in the Today paper tells a different story. Bought flat from HDB in 2000 at $416,000. Current valuation is now $338,000. Can't even sell it at $336,000, ie below valuation. And better still, needs to pay a $50,000 resale levy to be eligible for a second HDB flat. Oh, his neighbouring flat which has been vacant for 6 years has been put up for sale by HDB at $273,200. Even if this is affected by the racial quota, the value is indeed shocking.

hota debate is on

The Hota debate is still running Dr Arthur Chern and Assoc Prof Thomas Lew have replied in the ST forum to Andy Ho's article on brain death. They have quoted that so far, no brain dead person has ever returned to life. Quite a conclusive case that there is no hope. But they have also said that a brain dead person can have his heart continuing to beat and even some movements of the body parts/limbs. What is important is that the international medical community and all the authoritative medical sources have accepted brain dead as death and legally dead. These are very informative information that can help to educate the public on this very emotional and personal issues that can affect everyone. The debate is worthy to pursue and the masses will stand to benefit from it. My view on this is that though the medical profession and institution, including the law, have accepted that a brain dead person is legally dead, the people close to the person, or in some religious or cultural beliefs, they may not accept this truth. What is medically correct or legally right may not necessarily be acceptable to some people. The question is whether the medical profession or the law shall impose their truth and rights on the affected people. Can there be leeways to allow the griefing parties to have a say, right or wrong is a separate issue, when their loved ones are to be cut up and parts donated to other needy people? How could one imagine a situation when the medical team is harvesting the parts and the limbs are still twitching? Any anaesthesia? Any pain? It is like eating fish or animals alive for their freshness when they are cut up and still kicking.

MPs, please ask questions.

MPs, please ask questions. Inderjit wants more long term solutions to the GST and wants basic goods and services to be exempted. Any MP wants to raise the issue of housewives? I remember that during the last handouts, many MPs lamented that housewives did not benefitted anything and wanted to do something. Would they remember this time to ask more questions? Anyway it is too late. Nothing is going to make any difference. 1000 questions will be just 1000 questions and an after thought.

american version of freedom of expression

The ex chairman of Paramount Pictures was given an Oscar for her contribution to the film industry. In her acceptance speech she said that in America they honoured freedom of expression. People are encouraged to express their views and people need not have to agree. There can be disagreements. But that contributes to what America is today, innovative, creative, progressive and full of adventure and opportunities. America is the leading nation in practically all fields of human endeavours. We are talking about vibrancy. Can we be like America where people will come forward and express themselves freely without fear? But looking at how Singaporeans justify our special circumstances and be proud to say that this is what we should do with respect to freedom of expression, we can never be near to where America is today. We have to allow our people to feel free to express their views and ideas. Disagreements and contrary views are not necessarily anti govt or anti establishment. And we have all the laws to prevent excesses or defamation. I have seen an American putting on a mask of Bush and asking people to kick his arse on the street. Can we do that? Yes we can, as long as the mask is of Bush. Or to be safe, the mask of say some Kim Jong something. This is the freedom that American is unique and respected.

housewives not economically worthy

Housewives and contract workers Peter Fabian Andrew wrote about the budget not recognising the contributions of housewives and contract workers. Despite all the calls to honour mother and the importance of family, the housewives have been taken for granted. Recognition for them is at best lip service. Just like telling the unfortunate that we can empathise with them but it is their own funeral. In the last govt payout the housewives were not included. So is this budget. A family without a mother can never be complete. As Peter Fabian said, the contribution of the housewives towards the family, the children and society cannot be simply measured or ignored. But in our society that worships money, only money matters. Anyone who can work and generate a few dollars from society is considered worthy. The housewives that were given all the expense money by the family are not considered economic worthy to warrant any attention or handouts from the govt. This is the contradiction in words and deeds.

2/26/2007

more vibrant singapore

More vibrant Singapore to come We are going to get a very vibrant Singapore thru globalisation, more FTs and a 6.5 million population and a caring and super efficient govt. We can see vibrancy in the economy, in the stockmarket, in property prices. We can see vibrancy in sports and international competition. We can see vibrancy in entertainment, more night life, resort style living and casinos. We can see people busy enjoying life, eating, playing and shopping. We can see more exchanges of views, discussions etc like the biomedical debate and Hota. I can expect many of the above to happen. I am wondering whether there will be more exchanges of ideas, alternative views and more discussions in forums, both MSM and cyberspace.

savings from shelved court complex

Shelving plan for an ultra modern Subordinate Court $462 million were returned to the govt when plans to have an ultra modern Judiciary complex at Havelock Road was shelved. How would this impact on the cost of living of the people? Havelock Road is prime land and the cost of such a complex will eventually lead to higher cost to the people. Even parking fees to attend court will be more expensive in the heart of the city. A fabulous looking building is not what the court and judiciary system is all about. It is all about justice as Subhas Anandan put it, 'I don't think lawyers care about the bearing of the buildings. The bearing of justice is what comcerns us.' I have a little suggestion. Convert a block of unsold HDB flats in Jurong West into a new Subordinate Court complex. As long as it is near the MRT, transportation should not be a problem for the ordinary people. And the over cost can be lower. HDB also can get rid of the unsold and unwanted flats.
Myth 117 Is CPF a saving scheme for retirement? After saving for a life time at between 33-50% of a person's income, many Singaporeans ended up with little money left in the CPF for retirement? How can that be? Where have all the money gone to? In the first place housing eg a 4 room HDB flat, will take away between $200k to $300 for a 20 year instalment plan. A person who contributes $1000 to the CPF a month will find the bulk of his savings going to the flat. How could there be excess savings when flats are priced according to affordability, which means how much the buyer has in his CPF saving. Now we have a better scheme called Medisave. But before anyone can save enough, there are all kinds of great schemes to spend this money. There are insurance schemes for self, for spouse and for children. This is another effort by the govt to plan for the people using their CPF money. Very laudable. But how much money will be left for retirement? Retirement is a time to spend money on self to live a more carefree life, not just about paying expensive medical fees to struggle to be alive. People will die and it is a natural way of saying that the body cannot take it anymore. Nothing to cry about when it is time to go. The artificial extension of life is not necessarily a good thing as it is against nature. What would be better is to make CPF and Medisave a voluntary contribution after 55. Medical insurance can be made compulsory up to 60. After that the people must have a life of their own to decide for themselves what is good for them. How can the govt compel the people with so many compulsory schemes even at their twilight years? Let the people be free to be themselves, to do what is right for themselves with their money when they are old and a little wiser. Can the people be allowed to be free during the last lap of the lives? Let's not treat the people as children for the rest of their life, to be managed, controlled and legislated on how to live their life. What govt control? Never heard of it. The govt is all doing for the good of the people, taking care of the people with the people's own money. Even after providing for their medical insurance, they still have to keep a large chunk of their money in Medisave till they die.

2/25/2007

snippets on fts

Snippets of comments on FTs in Starblog appearing in ST. 'The main issue...is jobs. If every Singaporean is guaranteed a good job...do you think we care so much about foreign talent or immigration?' - Dawn. '...Yes they are from other countries and they may seem to be "infringing" on our "territory" but how many of us can trace our lineage back through the years to the local, indigenous people? Very few.' -Nick '...I was completely unaware that Singaporeans criticise foreign talent...' -Jaymee 'Hard as it may seem, we should try our best to be colour blind and learn from what expatriates can contribute to our society and nation...' -Maia '...I've always found the criticism of foreigners in Spore rather hypocritical. We are an island that relies on everyone else's trade to make our living...foreigners have been coming to Singapore and making a difference for a long time.' -Joe 'As far as I can tell, xenophobia doesn't exist here, in that Singaproeans don't really have a fear of things foreign,....' -Ju Len Simply put, Singaporeans are not xenophobic. They welcome foreigners. There are some concern when their jobs are affected. Otherwise everything goes. This is good and well without looking at the long term consequences of the existence of Singaporeans who have sacrificed for this island and called it home. When Singaporeans could not see the difference of being a citizen and a non citizen, cannot appreciate that the island belongs to them and they need to safeguard it for themselves and children, they are likely to give it away. And should the day come when the new citizens decided against their interests and sold this island away in whatever manner, it is only the Singaporeans to be blamed. Those who do not treasure their heritage deserve to lose them. I find this very disturbing, that a people is so careless about what is theirs and so unthinking about it. In politics, once lost, it is lost forever. You cannot hope that the victor or people in power will be generous or magnanimous to you. Neither can Singaporeans expect the power to be to run this place in the interest of the people. The future leaders can squander everything away. We have failed miserably in national education. At the rate it is going, Singapore is up for grabs by whichever group that has the patient, determination and purposefulness to take this island for themselves. Singaporeans could lose their homeland by default, for being too generous, and simply naive to the point of idiocy.

Ooooooh, someone changed my pic!

Ha, someone put his pic in my my blog. Luckily it isn't porno!. Hi your little one looks great. But I will have to replace it soon. Cheers

The Next Great Singaporean Debate

The Next Great Singaporean Debate The intellectual battle between Wei Ling and Philip Yeo was touted as the debate that could have the potential of generating great discussion in the MSM. Chok Tong also encouraged it to go on. But after staring down at each other from their respective corners, the fight fizzled off. No KO in the first round as it was discontinued. Now Stomp is heralding its greatest debate of all time in its forum, 'To fine or not to fine pedestrian using mobile phone.' It claimed that this is a hot issue. Fining is a great obsession in this island, bigger than Opt In/Opt Out. Both are our greatest problem solvers. Just fine the people and the problem will be solved, or simply opt them in. Would pedestrians be fined for using MP3, reading papers while eating as they risked being choked to death. Commuters in MRT could be fined for crossing the yellow lines or using mobile or listening to MP3 too. All acts that could endanger self or others can be fined. What about blogging and posting in cyberspace? A dangerous activity, really. Back to the great debate. Another one is really brewing. This time between people of the same profession. Not between a doctor and an engineer. No mismatch. The combatants are Dr Lee Wei Ling and Drs Patrick Kee Chin Wah and Wong Wee Nam. So no need to take snipe remarks about not being qualified to talk about the issue, Hota and Opt In/Opt Out. Drs Kee/Wong made this a public issue by discussing it in the MSM. For they had hit a wall when they appeared before a Select Committee. Any discussion in such circumstances, like within an organisation, will lead to a decision by the decision maker. Period. Not an issue of bigger right or bigger wrong. The one who calls the shot makes the decision. It is therefore appropriate that an issue where right and wrong are relative and subjective be discussed in an open forum, to be fully aired. After the first letter by the two doctors, Wei Ling replied. According to the last response by Kee/Wong, she made 3 assumptions. 1. 'given a choice, the vast majority of families would object strongly if they thought this could prevent their loved one's organs from being removed.' 2. 'the only incentive at present not to opt out is that those who opt out go to the bottom of the waiting list if they ever need an organ.' 3. there is 'a separate organ donor form where one can specify which or all organs one wishes to pledge....' Kee/Wong pointed out that based on the recent case, the families did not object to the donation of the organs. This proved that Singaporeans have accepted the fait accompli of donating the organs. The second, they believed that many did not opt out more of ignorance and apathy rather than fear of going to the end of the list when they need organs themselves. As for the third point, 'Amendments to Hota have already been made so organs other than kidneys can be taken. What we are seeing is the contest between being practical, pragmatic and functional as against being compassionate, feeling and emotional as human beings. We made rules for the good of the people at large. But should we make rules that are so clinical, mechanical, with no regards to feelings and emotions of the living? We are afterall humans with feelings, emotions and attachments. These are things that make us different. The ability to feel, to love and to care. The complicated thing in this debate is that brain death is still not conclusive and not necessarily accepted as death by the general masses. The medical profession may have its definition of biological death, the law may have its legal definition of death, the people may have their own beliefs of what is death. We are touching on a grey area that no one except God is the wiser. So, should one group of people pronounced their judgement on others? When there is room for doubts, or when there are strong emotions and pain on the living, can the law be more human, more compassionate? This is not a criminal case, or it maybe, if one day it is proven that a brain dead person could be revived and live again. In criminal cases, there is a term called 'beyond reasonable doubt.' Is brain death beyond reasonable doubt?

2/24/2007

Opt In Charity for all Singaporeans and PRs.

Opt In Charity for all Singaporeans and PRs. I believe that all Singaporeans and PRs are good and generous people and will be wiling to help the needy and less fortunate. I would like to propose a National Charity Scheme to replace all charities. All Singaporeans and PRs shall be opted into this scheme and 5% of their income shall be deducted every month. It starts all the way from the President to the $500 a month worker. This will make it very convenient for all Singaporeans to do charity and be really seen as a generous people who really have a heart for the less fortunate. And no need for the needies to cry in front the TV for the whole nation to see. How's that? Of course those who think they want to opt out can still opt out. I will not opt out.

Signing up for National Health Insurance Scheme is painless

Signing up for National Health Insurance Scheme is painless The is as much as what the ST editorial today is trying to say. It is a great scheme and everyone loves it. Better still, it is painless. Just make sure you can afford to pay for it. And only $30! Sure the people can afford it. Just another miserable $30 for a safety net. Let's add up how much in total? Medishield for self, for spouse, for parents?, and now for children. life insurance for self, for spouse, fire insurance, car insurance, add them together, how much insurance cost will it be? No sweat. People are not opting in is because of inertia. Just make it easy for them. And the most innovative idea is to opt them in. So all in unless opted out.

2/23/2007

no need medical insurance after 60

No need medical insurance for above 60 Why is medical cost so high and eating into our savings? One reason, other than a service where cost can only go up and not down, is our reluctance to let go of life. For those who have all the money, who have a wonderful life to lead, by all means, live as long as possible. On the other extreme there are those who would be happier quitting living. There is no need to continue to hang on to a miserable living. There is a lack of education on this aspect of life, of life after death. Everyone has to take this path and all the religions have something to say. Some good and some bad and some fear. People must be comfortable to leave this world without fear. It is a certainty and no exception. When the time comes, people must be allowed to leave peacefully. Keeping people alive, forcefully, or through medical aid, may be more harmful or painful than being dead, more unfortunate, more suffering than being release to live another new life. For those who believe that this is the only life there is and nothing else after this life, they are free to cling on to this life for as long as they want. This is matter of belief. No one is wiser.

opt in again

Another great voluntary contribution A letter from Ronald Ang in the Today paper complained about the plight of the single senior citizens who have toiled their lives away to build what Singapore is today but left out from the Budget 2007. He praised Lily Neo for fighting to raise their allowances from the state from $260 to $400. For those strong and able and very meritorious, they would have their counter arguments against throwing free money at these people who are unable to keep up with the hectic pace of development and are now a pathetic and helpless group. Probably Ronald Ang knew that his plea or Lily Neo's proposal would not amount to anything. So he suggested the thing that Singaporeans knows best, set up an Elderly Welfare Fund. And how to get the money for the fund? Opt in everyone. Here his suggestion includes PRs and foreigners earning $3,000 and above, to make a voluntary monthly contribution towards the fund, like the CDAC/Sinda/Mendaki funds. It is voluntary, definitely. All will just be opt in. Maybe this scheme will have an opt out option. How nice.

good news or bad news

Good News or Bad News Everytime when a new and ambitious govt plan is splashed across the News, I shivered. I fear my pocket will be burnt. All the big and world class plans like world class transport system, world class medical facilities, world class education, means the people will only have to pay more. We have heard of the wonderful facilities around the Marina, all the beautiful parks, reservoirs and canals with sporting and recreational facilities going to spring up all over the island. I like it. But I am also in fear. Who is paying for all these? More medical insurance for everyone, from Ah Ma to the cute little babies. Very good, I would say excellent. Who pays? Too much govt is going to break everyone's piggy bank. It has to be. Good things don't come free. So can we beg the govt to be less kind and less caring, and leave the people to find their own comfort zones?

2/22/2007

fantasy or brutal truth

Tan Hock Ann wrote to the forum complaining about the smallness of a 5 room flat and having only 3 bedrooms. His pain is that a 5 room flat is too small for three generations to live in. And he is replying to the call to live with our parents. He forgot that there are talks for PR purposes and there are practical considerations. Then again, he actually does not have any reasons to complain. Singaporeans used to pack more than 12 people into a single cubicle. So a 5 room flat is a luxury to have even with 2 parents and 2 or 3 children. My practical solution to him is to buy a bigger flat. If he cannot afford it, buy two 3 room flats. It is all a matter of adjusting your lifestyle according to what you can afford. Or he can try to find a way to reduce their physical body sizes. Go on a diet and shrink the body. Then he will find more space to move around. Now I am talking cock.

how to react to tribal hostilities?

We are having tough times with our neighbours. To some, ee have bent backwards to help them very generously at times. But what have we got in return? They are now threatening us with all kinds of things, taking our commercially bought assets, accusing us of unfriendly acts, threatening us to sign treaties or agreements or else, threaten to expel our diplomats etc etc How are we, as a people, to respond to such threats and war cries? The govt will have to react as it is an inter govt issue. But should the people react, or should we just shut up as if nothing happens? And if we are to react, how? Throw stones back at them if they throw stones at us? Or pretend that we are more civilised and offer the other cheek? There were conflicting views in the MSM forums on how to react when neighbours turn unreasonable or hostile. To retaliate or to appease? There are many things that we can do and so can our neighbours, both positive and negative, like behaving like little children or respectable international citizens, or exhibiting our tribal manners. But the worst thing that we can do is to let people throw all the punches at us and we meekly take the blows, be compliant.

training for better pay

Phillipines upgrading maid skills for higher pay I am very encouraged by this move from the Phillipines govt. They are giving more training to their maids, repackage them and market them with their higher skills and training. With the kinds of training and education Singaporeans are getting, from the world best education system and world class universities, Singaporeans should repackage themselves as world class employees and should demand a higher pay. Tell their potential employers that they are better educated and better trained than the FTs and thus should command a higher salary.

myth 116

Myth 116 Discrimination myth about NS Discrimination Against NS-serving Singaporeans New graduate, 26, complains about a pressing problem that government will only ignore at great risk. Hardwarezone forum. Feb 20, 2007 Posted by evo Last Friday I went for an interview at this Fabrication plant U..i at Pasir Ris. The fab claims itself as the 2nd largest in the world. It was a one-to-one interview with a fat Taiwanese manager. The very first thing the manager asked me after my introduction was: "I see you are a Singaporean. Do you need to go back to serve NS every year?" I replied Yes, I do need to go back. Taiwanese Manager: "Oh, so you have been going back even during your university studies?" Me: "Yes, at least once per year. Then came the f-up remarks: "How long do you need to go back every year? You know, I once had this Singaporean subordinate. Every year he needed to go back for like two weeks of in camp training, then still needed to apply leave every now and then for some kind of briefing talks by NS." He added: "Worse, he needs to pass some kind of physical test every year, so when he trains for his test by running in the night, he will have no energy to do work in the morning, affect job performance. Then if he fails, need to attend RT, waste of company time. "If every Singaporean needs to do all this, then I rather don't hire you all then. One year you all will have like a few months no need to work due to NS, and you also are quite old compare to other graduates" Singaporean males are going to suffer from this influx of FTs (foreign talents). We don’t even have a f—king even ground to compete on! I am thinking of (a) sending letter to the company..to bring home the point. The Singaporeans interviewed did not say that the govt also rewarded them every year with tax relief and more NSS or ERS. Even the later handouts from the budgets gives NS men more money. And he forgets that the FTs are here to provide more job opportunities for him. At least he got a chance to be interviewed by a FT and be considered for a job in this case. How fortunate.

one child prodigy

It may be sheer coincidence or sheer numbers, but China's one child policy has been a direct or indirect contributor to the rise of prodigies in all fields, academics, arts and sports. The negative consequences of the one child ruling has often been associated with child emperors, spoilt and pampered child. Now the other positive aspect is appearing. One child, more precious, more resources allocated, more care and attention, less room for mistakes. The Chinese families have devoted everything and placed all hopes on their only child for the future. The child must succeed and all efforts are put in to see to it that the child succeed. The other formula applied by other developing countries, including Singapore, is to try their luck with as many children as possible. Hopefully one will turn out ok. But there are those who are just plain irresponsible, with no thoughts of the welfare and future of the children. They went about just reproducing without a second thought. Calling them stupid is an insult to their intelligence. No one is as stupid as that. The consequences of not being able to care and provide for them does not need any education to understand. It is simply common sense. Singapore should encourage this one child prodigy policy and educate the people to put that into practice, with a lot of state assistance, support and encouragement. No need to worry about a decline in population growth. We will import the next 2.5 million from abroad. And if the birth rate goes down, we can import more. The important issue is to bring them up well and better, to become a prodigy.

internet and virtual constituency

Loh Chee Kong coined the term virtual constituency as the challenge for political contest in the next general election. Covering the physical ground is not enough. The little wave, the casual talks and the good morning and handshakes in the market are superficial marketing moves. There is more to that as the people get to be more sophisticated. The people wanted to hear more and know more of the politicians, their views and values. And that's where the internet comes in. Once posted, it stays there to be read. Not just a piece of information controlled by time. Once missed, it is gone. And the people want their MPs to talk national politics, not about food and cooking or going to pubs and discos to have a good time. There is a time and place for everything. And politicians are expected to be politicians and not gymnasts or stilt walkers. Politics is a serious business of looking after the people and their well being. Politics is not a simple PR exercise to win votes. There are many core issues and matters that affect the people personally. The internet may rise to that occasion to let the politicians get deeply involved with the people, getting personal with the people, in thoughts and issues. Not a passing remark or a wave of the hands.

2/21/2007

will the budget achieve what it sets out to do?

This budget can also be known as the GST budget. The 2% increase in GST is the main theme, and how this will benefit the people as it was meant to be will be closely watched. We have heard often that this budget is to help the lower income groups and to narrow the income gap. In addition, Tharman also said that the budget was to grow the economy, improve the education system, renew estates, building a better transport system and better medicare. So the budget and GST are meant for more than just helping the lower income groups and to narrow the income gap. But to many people, their immediate concerns will be these two issues. For the first issue, with all the money and rebates given, no one can deny that the lower income groups will have more money to spend for the next five years after deducting away the amount they have to pay for the additional 2%. The question is how much of the handouts will be left. Will there be some leftovers, how much is the leftover and would this be meaningful in allevating their plight? Will they be better off? Only individual case studies would be able to tell. The next issue is the narrowing of the income gap. Is the income gap narrowed, by how much and for how long? Technically, a dollar difference is also a narrowing of the income gap. Would there be statistics to show how successful this objective is achieved?

thai military's political truth

Views of Gen Saprang Kalayanamitr on Thaksin 'During Thaksin's time, the justice system failed to work fairly, and civil servants served his corrupt schemes. The independent institutions supported Thaksin's business, so if the military had not come in, the country would have been damaged even more.' And according to the general they now have enough evidence against Taksin. The one in power has spoken. When the next batch of coup leaders took power, what would they say of the current coup leaders? Would they also say the same thing, and that they have enough evidence to charge them? The whole political truth about power in politics.

the other side of truth

Met up with several friends over the holidays and heard many success stories and many millionaires and billionaires. Not that this is news. Have been hearing a lot of such richness from friends, clients and acquaintances. There are many cash rich and high net worth people in this little place. So I was thinking, maybe I should change my tact, talk about all the great and successful Singaporeans, about the good life, about people buying their 3rd or 4th limousine that cost half a million or their 5th or 6th landed properties in prime areas with cash. What, people struggling to buy a 3 room HDB flat? Gracious me! Now would that be more uplifting than to gripe about 20c increases in transport fares or desperate people who cannot make ends meet? Why bother with such people who have only themselves to be blamed for their failures or inability to seize all the chances available to them in this land of opportunities. Maybe, maybe I shall ignore them and tell the brutal truth!

treason in thailand

Treason in Thailand Sonthi said he wanted to take back 'his' assets, or specifically, 'I want my assets back.' But now he had backtracked to say he wanted to buy it back if the Thai public voted to want it back. Now the decision is a nationalistic desire, a commercial reacquistion of the satellites owned by Shin Corp. What happened to his allegation that Singapore was eavedropping on Thai military secrets? If that accusation is true, Sonthi must be charged with treason as an Army general to allow Singapore to continue to do so. He must take immediate steps to take over the satellite operations. Not a day of delay is tolerable when national secrets are at stake. But looks like he cannot substantiate his claims, which means that he is misleading the Thai people of a false claim. There is no such thing as Temasek using the satellites to eavedrop on Thai military communication. Either way, he is talking without much thinking. And even the Thais are getting worried that a soldier that seized power through a coup is talking wildly. And while he is spouting his nationalistic jingoism, he forgets that he has a bigger threat exploding in the south which he has failed to curb. His more important task now is talking about seizure of Thai assets sold commercially to foreign organisations. How long would he go on doing what he is doing, talking and not doing anything to the real problem in the south?

2/20/2007

myth 115

Myth 115 The blind myth As a kid, I used to play in the backlanes. I used to see two professional beggars counting their daily collection in the privacy and quiet of what backlanes used to be. One is blind and the other with a limp. The limp was the more superior of the two, with the advantage of sight. Standing behind him I watched him shared the collection with the blind. '$1 for you and $1 for me.' he said as he placed one dollar in the palm of the blind and $10 into his own pool. And this went on and on, 'One dollar for you and one dollar for me' until all was counted. Of course the limped was more generous and any balance will be given to the blind. And the blind was happy as he could not see a thing. But was he really that blind, I wondered?

no deals under threats

No deals under threats It is good that Singapore did not offer any forms of aid during the current flood in Jakarta except for one or two organisations that thought that helping ingrates are ok. Now the moronic leadership is showing what they really are, tribesmen donning on modern day suits and pretending that they know how to behave in the international stage. They wanted to use threats and pressure to coerce another nation, maybe small, to sign a treaty that can be subject to more moronic abuses? Singapore should just call off the talks and wait for another century for civilisation to return to Jakarta before talking to them on diplomacy. And Singapore shall always remember that cavemen do not get civilised overnight and cavemen antics of using the clubs to clobber their neighbours is something that they must be prepared to live with. But definitely not allow itself to be clobbered and also not be an eager beaver to please. You just cannot please primitive cavemen.

2/19/2007

Water is a precious commodity

Water is a precious commodity

Singapore has been showered with so much water from heaven. In the last couple of months we have only seen water and water everywhere. And so much of this Godsend gift only see its way into the longkangs and into the sea. What a waste.

This only brings back memories of the repetitive campaigns on the merits of saving water. Water is a precious commodity that should not be wasted. And to inculcate this wisdom into our people’s psyche, water was priced very much more than it costs to keep a tight rein on people wasting water.

Of course this also has a lot to do with the supply. We may have four taps flowing. But one tap is going to close in a matter of years and very unlikely to be replaced for all kinds of reasons other than good economic sense.

So over the years many zealous and good spirited people and organizations popped up with great ideas and devices to help the people to save on their expensive water bill. We reinvented waste water into drinking water which we proudly called Newater. Personally this is not the brightest marketing idea. They should have called it ‘organic’ water and could fetch a higher price for it. Organic is cool and healthy and good for the system as compared to synthetic water. It may even out priced spring or mineral water.

We also have companies manufacturing little timble devices to be fitted into the tap to reduce the flow of water, thus using lesser water per sec of flow. And the cisterns were either made smaller or large plastic bottles were thrown in for the same objective, to use less water.

All these are not enough. Car washing by spraying loosely from a water hose was discouraged. People were also taught on the virtues of showering, and saving water, instead of soaking in the bathtubs. And showering becomes an art in a sense. How and when to turn on the tap and when to apply the soap. How many minutes should one take a shower has also been carefully computed, and yes, to save water. This is probably the only country in the world when personal hygiene and toilet etiquette has been turned into a science.

While some would jump in glee at not having to take a bath to push the Save Water Campaign to the limits, many would resort to all kinds of ingenuities to cut down on their water bills. Some will do all their toilet activities in the kopitiams or at the workplace. That could be the reason why a crowded MRT train or bus doesn’t seem to smell so good in the morning.

Would all these efforts to save water have any negative side effects on our lifestyle, personal hygiene or the cleanliness of our food preparation? Or would these savings be significant enough to be worthy of the effort?

What shall we do in a time when the heaven opens up and blesses us with so much water? When oil is scarce, petrol prices go up. Likewise when water is scarce, we are expected to pay more for it. When our reservoirs are overflowing and water rushing into the sea, shouldn’t the price of water come down? Could water tariff varies with supply and demand, albeit for a few months in a year like all goods and services?

Maybe that is asking a bit too much to expect a huge mechanism to be sensitive enough to adapt its price over fluctuating supply and demand. It will be good though, during a rainy season, to encourage the people to use a bit more water, bathe a few times more, and make themselves cleaner to compensate on what they did not do during the drier months. The toilets and bathrooms could be cleaner, and the trains and buses could smell better.

The best political cartoon of the year

The best political cartoon of the year Heng of Lianhe Zaobao drew a cartoon with the title 'The Amazing Kim Jong Il' on a billboard display for the coming attraction. In the cartoon, Kim Jong Il was depicted as a magician performing the act of sawing a nuclear bomb into two, with its head and tail appearing at both ends of a box he was sawing into two. And the audience were the Americans, the Japanese and the South Koreans, all clapping and believing that the nuclear weapon will be cut into two. But Kim knew very well that it is just an illusion. Nice one.

the scramble for cyberspace

Would there be a mad scramble for Cyberspace? The owner of New York Times wondered aloud whether the paper will still be printing in the years to come. He is staring at the pace in which blogs and internet forums are gaining viewership and encroaching into the once protected territories of the Main Stream Media. And now the migration has started. Readers are getting numbed by the daily servings of tasteless news in the MSM. And for countries where the news is so controlled and managed that they sing the same song according to the conductor or theme of the day that reading one is as good as reading the rest. The Alternative Media will only gain popularity by the days. It is only a matter of time when the Angels or Venture Capitalists or entrepreneurs will find it a good long term bet to acquire some of the blogs and forums and merge them together under a common platform, throw in some advertisements, advertise it aggressively, and lo behold, a credible challenge to MSM will appear, in Cyberspace.

2/18/2007

your very own harry potters

Ahhhh, it's the Lunar New Year and 4 days of holidays. It is time to enjoy the precious moments in life. Many have packed up and gone overseas, flying to new destinations to take in the beautiful sights. Many went on adventures and discovering exciting lifes and things that people do. I choose to stay at home. Where else can be more meaningful than having little children running around happily in their little world. The world of lively and unpredictable bright eyed children beats anything this world can give. Especially when they are related to you in one way or another. Better still if they are your children or your children's children. See them grow and change. And the joy to see them at play, being mischievious, having their little fun in exploring every little new things around them, everything is exciting to them, everything is life, is free. The joy of living needs not be expensive. The joy of life is free. For the next few days, forget about all the bills to pay, forget about the GST or expensive medical cost, tuition fee, forget about trying to earn the few dollars to pay for the the ever increasing cost of living. Enjoy the time one has with the family, the real people that have meanings to you. And look at the beautiful future in the children, a future that we will miss, a mysterious future that is going to be more exciting than Harry Potters.

2/17/2007

budget - narrowing income gap

"Income gaps are widening," Second Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said in his budget speech. A "Progress Package" of government handouts last year was weighted in favour of lower-income groups and helped reduce that disparity. The above is probably the gist of what the 2% increase in GST is all about. And with the lower income group getting the chunk of the $4 billion package, indeed the income gap has been narrowed. The lower income group could get a hefty $1000 annually for 4 years against the richer group that may get $200. So income gap has closed by $800! But this would not last long when the next pay rise is announced when the richer group could see tens of thousands of dollars added to their pay package against the $30 or $150 added to the lower income group. That is the reality in life. How to narrow the income gap? Impossible. Cannot be done.

Hota - clash of beliefs and generosity

And next to the letter of Dr Patrick Kee and Dr Wong was a letter by a Mdm Liew Cheng Huan who generously offered all her organs to be removed from her when she dies. We have many such selfless and honourable people around us. And it is good that there should be more of them. What is worrying is that she was questioning the medical staff for not harvesting the rest of the usable organs like the corneas, the heart, the liver etc. She fully empathised with the family of Sim Tee Hua, but wanted all his organs to be removed. The question is that should a person imposed his belief and wills on other people even if the intent is honourable and even lifegiving? Here, Liew Cheng Huan must have believed very strongly that when dead, all the body parts are of no use and could be put to good use in saving other lives. I fully agree with her and share her belief. I have not opted out but am considering a provision that no organs should be harvested unless death is pronounced in an unambiguous state. But shall I imposed my belief on others who do not share my belief? Should anyone in a position of authority, like in this case, decides for the rest of society with no exception when provisions can be made for exceptions? This issue concerns ownership of private properties, individual rights, beliefs, emotions and feelings and the right of the state. The tricky part is the belief and emotions.

Hota - open letter by two doctors

Dr Patrick Kee Chin Wah and Dr Wong Wee Nam wrote an open letter in the ST Forum page appealing to the law makers to amend the provisions of Hota to take into considerations the strong objections of family members which they have foreseen long before the Sim Tee Hua incident. They had appeared in 1986 before a Select Committee to make provisions in case of strong objections but were rejected. And their worst fear that 'the medical profession seem cold and clinical where compassion was needed' is now in the MSM and in cyberspace. And they are making their appeal public this time for obvious reasons. This 'I have the right to decide what is good for you, including keeping or taking your money, and organs' is deeply carved into our mentality. This is done for the good of society and the individual. So this right becomes sacred and legal. It is acceptable to sacrifice the rights of individuals for the greater good. Are we going to wait for the day when a team of medical technicians will be the first to carry out a sample test of all the organs the moment a patient is admitted to the hospital? Would the harvesting of organs become a first priority in hospitals with no regard to the feelings of the living family members? How long would Singaporeans be willing to live with such a state of affair?

new owner to settle debt of ex owner of property

Starhub demands new houseowner to clear debt of ex owner. Lawrence Chong Yong Wah bought a landed property and wanted to subscribe to Starhub's cable TV. He was told to pay more than $2,400 owed by the ex owner before he can subscribe to Starhub's services. The above info was from Lawrence Chong's letter in the ST on 17 Feb 07. Now this is happening in Singapore, where one has to pay for another's debt. I thought only loansharks apply pressure on the neighbours of their debtors.

Is it politics of envy?

Is it politics of envy? Asked Ho Geok Choo in parliament. The same question was posed to Najib Razak who replied, 'No, we do not envy them.' But the eager beaver instinct to jump up and rush off to offer help and assistance could cause our neighbours 'loss of face'. Of course it does. You have been treating your neighbours as useless bums and always waiting for help from this rich little spoilt brat. It is humiliating to say the least. But free money sure want. Give me more, but don't talk about it, or we will not sell you water or sand. There were little talk of assistance from us in the recent flood except from a few small interest groups. It is better to be that way. They are all intelligent people and know best how to look after themselves. Let's not insult them by offering help so readily.

no better time to rejoice

I was brain dead for the last 3 hours. I know. I know that during those 3 hours, nothing would have raised me from the dead. I came back from the office and dropped dead. How could i survive after an uninhibited round of sake, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, shiraz, chardonnay, and Remy Martin Extra? It was good to let go after an arduous and tough year of surviving the worst of time. The party atmosphere was simply great. I could only remember telling myself that I must get home. I did. Now that I am awake, I am feeling quite uptight. Why should I when everything was going great guns. Nothing seems to be wrong. Everyone is in an agreeable mood. Everyone is happy that everything is going well. Even the opposition parties are lost of words. They could not come out with anything meaningful to say or oppose. They are practically non existent. As good as not being there. The dearth of great men to lead the opposition is frightening. It is either a case of nothing else better to say or knowing nothing else to say. Bankrupt, lack of ideas, lack of leadership, lack of substance. For those in the winning or ruling camp, it is understandable that they have nothing to say, or nothing to disagree with. Whether they believe that everything is going the way it should, in the best way that can be, or just swimming with the tide, why should they be the sore ass to disrupt a beautiful party? When everything is too good to believe, when there is no disagreement, when there is no contest of ideas, when there is no alternative views, this is as good as it can get. Simply too good to be real. The next few days will be great times to celebrate, to eat and drink and rejoice, while we can, and for as long as we can.

2/16/2007

singaporeans can lose their heritage

I read with trembling fear a letter posted by a Pavin Limanont in the forum page of the Straits Times. He was lecturing a Mr Quek as being xenophobic for standing the ground that political leaders in Singapore must be Singaporeans. Pavin's position is simple and rather naive, claiming that we should accept talents as they are and he would rather be led by a foreigner who is good than by a Singaporean. Theoretically I can agree with this kind of thinking. But in reality, I will strongly oppose such thought. Not that I am xenophobic. For the world is structured in a way that is less than idealistic. The real world is still a world of tribes, race and religion. Once a people slips and loses political control over their lives, they will become subservient to another group. Singaporeans must not be lulled into living in hollywood, that the whole world is their oyster and the world loves them. One wrong step is all it takes for Singaporeans to become extinct. We should invite talented foreigners here, as citizens as well if they want to. We must not have the idea that we should take in ship loads of rubbish and call them Singaporeans at the expense of Singaporeans. If Singaporeans cannot feel passionately as Singaporeans and claim this piece of real estate as theirs, and fight to keep it as theirs, they deserve to lose their heritage.

Would Singapore become another IBM?

Would Singapore become another IBM? We are number one in many fields. So was IBM before. But IBM is now Lenovo. Would Singapore become something else? The path taken by IBM is quite similar to what we are taking now. From private ownership to international company. Singaporeans become International citizens. IBM started as a privately owned company. But as it grew, it started to give shares to all its employees. Every employee becomes a shareholder. Eventually when ownership was so diluted that no one thinks about the company but about themselves and their pockets. IBM is just a commodity, a product for the highest bidder. Singapore can end up as a product for sale if no one wants to take ownership of the island or thinks passionately that this island belongs to him/her. If everyone just thinks that this is just a corporation, then it is only a matter of price. It can be sold en bloc or in bits and pieces over time. We have sold Raffles Hotel, SIA building, what's next? PSA, Keppel, SIA, PUB, LTA, HDB, Parliament House, the Istana? It can be done. Just think commercial or profits. Another way of selling Singapore away is by giving away citizenship freely. This is more deceptive and less obvious. Imagine with 6 million new citizens and 2 million original stocks, Singapore is as good as being sold. The ownership is passed to new citizens who were actually foreigners but given the pink ICs. And they can do whatever they want with the island if they assumed political control and see this as a piece of real estate without any loyalty or emotional attachment to it. Then people may ask, what's wrong with that? It is the continuity and existence of Singapore as a nation that is more important than its people. The people will come and go, born and die. But Singapore will go on. So if this is the logic to abide by, then Singapore's existence and survival is more important than its people. Forget about the people or citizenship.

budget 2007

After listening to the brief over the news, the 2007 budget came across as a pleasing budget. And all the MSM are painting glowing reports on it. So it will be a waste of time for me to write another glowing report here. I will need to spend a little time to digest what the budget is all about. My immediate disappointment is that I am not getting the 10% of what they gave to the President. But please don't blame me for my little indulgence in fantasy. It is a very good package. But what Zulkifli Baharuddin said needs a little reflection. 'We're are not giving away anything for free.' What is it that we have not seen? What is the catch? So far I have not heard of anything about using the GST increase to set up a research centre to study on how to help the lower income group. Neither did I hear any tie up with Harvard or Cambridge to lend credibility to the increase in GST. And no setting aside of the excesses for the future. The govt is collecting $1.5 billion more a year and spending $4 billion over 5 years. Now how much of a dollar collected is returned to the low income group? Let's enjoy the feel good sensation for a while and look at the details carefully. Nothing is given away for free.

2/15/2007

brain dead or not? so scary

Andy Ho wrote a very informative article in the Review page of the Straits Times on brain death. And it is chilling to read the findings. There are many issues that are not conclusive and even after a person is declared brain dead, brain activities still can be detacted in 20% of the cases. And what is still debatable is whether the brain is the sole authority on all bodily functions. Biologically, many body functions are still working even after a person is declared brain dead. So is the person still alive or already dead? Is organ harvesting on a brain dead person actually be the final act that kills a living person, though brain dead?

myth 114

Myth 114 Old means out or pay cut We have heard of the pathetic state of the PMETs. What caused them to be in such a postion? The policy of old is useless or FTs or a combination of both. These were our former local born talents, high salary, high value, high esteem, high flyers. Today they are low salary, low value, low esteem and low flying. The fault of globalisation? Lim Boon Heng is the best man to tackle this problem. He is a walking and living example of old is good and should be paid well. The way he goes, he will work till 90 and still smiling and still in demand, and getting an increment every year. What Boon Heng can do is to use the political profession as the perfect model for all to emulate. In this industry, salary is paid according to the appointment. As long as one holds the appointment, no matter what age, talent or not so talented, man or woman, everthing else is irrelevant, one can look forward to annual increment and big bonuses practically every year. The private sector need not look further to adopt this model for their employees. After all, what is profit for? And this is particularly pertinent to govt link companies. These organisations can't be making profits and profits to be stashed away for a tomorrow that never comes. It is the people and their well being. To feed the people and feed them well. Govt and govt linked companies should review their missions and look at how best to look after the people all the way from the President to the heartlanders. Everyone should see that this is a country that looks after them from cradle to their death bed.

2/14/2007

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day Prof Cohen pointed out on a public lecture in LKY-school on 13 Feb 2007, that the 6.5 million population is risky and will have dire consequences. "Singapore does not grow its foods, so it is dependent on a world economy that permits trade. If there is no trade, Singapore is SUNK!". Maybe the govt can consider giving the people and new citizens an option. Since everything here is run like a business and with bottom line the main consideration, let us compute the wealth of each citizen in Singapore, using the value of the piece of real estate and all the monetary value of the nation's assets. With this figure, every citizen be allowed to opt out of this country and be paid that amount. Funny that I use the term opt out so naturally. And any new citizen coming in can acquire a citizenship by paying an equivalent amount. I think this is fair as he/she will inheriting the wealth of a nation built up over the years by several generations.

the 6.5 million paradox

The 6.5 million paradox What is the relationship between a citizen and a country? Theoretically, the citizens own the country. We, the citizens, not all locals by the way, own this little piece of real estate and everything that we have not sold to private ownership. We, the citizens, not all locals, are part owners of all the monetary wealth of this country. At the moment, with about 2.5 million citizens, each of our share of this real estate and all the reserves and investments is 1/2.5 million. Do we then have a say if this real estate and reserves and investment are going to be divided by 4 or 6 million? Our representative system of govt means the election of ordinary citizens to form the govt to look after our welfare and real estate and national coffer. If our elected representatives said they are going to share our real estate and national wealth with foreigners who are accepted as Singaporeans, do they need to ask for our consent? This is like planning the use of our CPF money or our salaries.

nkf story - chapter two

NKF story Chapter Two And the story continues. Poofs....Chapter Two is intentionally left blank as everything came to an abrupt end behind chambers and closed doors. And they all live happily ever after.

the poor rich middle class

'They often feel ignored and mercilessly squeezed.' Said Christie Loh. This is the strongest language ever appeared in a main stream paper. If she wrote this a few years ago, wonder what kind of reaction she will get. Christie is referring to the middle class group that have been left out of all the assistance by the govt and unable to find jobs. And also the sandwiched class, a group that earns between $2,990 and $7260. And they need help. My god, with this type of income they need help! How then do one expect those on govt aid to live with $230 or even $400? And their problem extends to not being able to find jobs or jobs that will pay them half of what they used to get. The PMET, Professional, Managers, Executive and Technicians, the fallen talents of our own citizens, cannot find jobs when unemployment is passe, when we have created so many jobs. What is wrong? Why are our talents not employable and we need to find more foreign talents to replace them? Old? 50 or 60 considered old? Leaders like LKY, Chok Tong and Boon Heng should conduct lectures to all the CEOs and HR Managers about the value of being old. Wisdom, experience, contacts, networks, are what age comes with. Oh they are untrainable? Why train them to do new stuff when they have acquired so much skills and experience in their profession? Can't they be recruited to do what they were doing before? Are those jobs extinct or taken over by younger foreign talents? And old cocks cannot learn new skills? Boon Heng should tell them what he is doing now. A completely new portfolio, to look after older workers, a silver industry. Was he in this field before? Definitely not. And it is new and he can do it. What the....

opt out or your are in

Tan Kim Minn wrote a letter to Today calling Singapore an OPT OUT country. You need to opt out in many things or else you are in. He quoted Dependents' Protection Scheme, Medishield, Medisave and CDAC as examples. Then there are the Sinda, the Muslim Mosque Building Fund, and of course Hota. But the mentality here is that it is only a few dollars, or it is for your own good, or it is for the general good. So it is alright to opt you in unless you take all the trouble to opt yourself out. The problem is that many people did not know what they have been opted in. And that is their problem for being ignorant or lazy to find out or to opt out. It is their own fault.

2/13/2007

landed properties, good and bad news

Bad news, good news 6.5 million population is bad news for those living in landed properties. You can bet that they will be next in line for land acquisition to build high rise flats. And under the old policies, they are unlikely to get back the full worth of their properties. Now the good news. The govt is amending its land acquisition rules to pay market price for properties acquired. Now many people are going to sleep peacefully knowing that their wealth will be protected. This will give a lot of confidence to the high net worth people or potential rich migrants coming to our shores. They will not be shortchanged and they can happily go about investing in landed properties.

6.5 million, let's go for it

Some noises were heard in all the little corners about the 6.5 million population that we are expected and will be living with. There is no U turn in this. All the thinking and planning have been done. And everything is green, everything is good to go for 6.5 million. Things will be so good when we get there. Today's paper, Lim Boon Hee also questioned the wisdom of this move. There are so much fear and uncertainty as this issue is very new and no one of the calibre of citizen Lee have spoken out. My reading is that all the brains in this island have thought over this issue and all agree that this is the best way to go, or we will perish. When we were 1 million, we will perish. When we were 2 million, we will perish. When we are now 4 million, we will perish. Let's try 6.5 million. Maybe we will survive better. The people must have faith in the govt and the planners. Let's do not understimate their ability to plan for our future. The people shall support this great plan and stop complaining. Even the opposition are also awed by the immense possibilities and opportunities that 6.5 million people will provide that they are dumbfounded. Let's go for it.

the miserables are better off

Leong Wee Keat and Gracia Chiang wrote a very interesting piece of article on the rising hope of the people at the bottom. 'Wages finally rise for the poorest households after 10 bleak years.' In 2005, monthly income for each member of the poorest household was $270. Now it is $300. A whopping 6.6% increase in real term. This is a great upliftment of the lives of the miserables. They added, 'It's not as if their wages have gone up, though. It is just that their household size is shrinking and, with the brightening economy, more of them have been able to find jobs.' Just shrink the Singaporeans and their HDB flats will become much bigger, or a mini will be as big as a Mercedes, relatively. So are they getting richer? I am still scratching my head. This is another interesting statement in their article. 'Economists said the same thing in more elegant terms.' "There were some concerns that the lower income groups wre not benefiting from globalisation and were hardest hit by overseas competition," said Citigroup's Dr Chua Hak Bin. With the results, we are finally seeing some of this growth trickling down.' Very elegantly said. What were Leong Wee Keat and Gracia Chiang actually saying?

2/12/2007

myth 113

Myth 113 Land reclamation causes sea level to rise I read this from Sammyboy. And I find this the most logical reason so far for the flooding in Malaysia and Indonesia. You see, we have been reclaiming land from the sea for many years. And land reclamation from the sea means we have to fill them up with sand. And after so many years of filling the sea with sand, of course the sea level will rise. And naturally this will lead to flooding. If you don't believe me, fill a bath tub to half full. Then pour sand into it. Bravo, the water rises in the bath tub. Theory proven. It is so scientific.

whoever believes in me...

I promise you an island with the best facilities money can buy. Everything will be ultra modern, every inch of the land will be landscaped and even designed for the old and handicap. Living will be a breeze. Everyone will be enjoying life to their fullest. Can actually live forever. Don't worry about cost. No cost involved. You will all be able to afford it. In my paradise.

always right reasoning

'With global competition causing wages at the bottom to stagnate or fall, the Government has decided to make Workfare - an income-support scheme it pioneered last year to help the bottom third of wage earners - permanent.' I must add that with global competition, salaries of talents can only go up even if they are in jobs that are shielded from global competition. Head I win, tail you lose.

myth 112

Myth 112 It is great to be poor In this little island, the next best thing to being a pet poodle is to be poor. Being a pet poodle, one can sleep in aircon room, send to see specialists, dine in pet restaurants with food specially concocted by food specialists for a well balanced diet. And can snuggle in bed with the master or mistress, in aircon room and under thick and nice smelling bedsheets. To be poor is the second best. There are so many people trying to start charities to raise fund to help them. And the govt too has set aside $600 million in Comcare alone to give to the poor. And all the helpers are everywhere knocking at doors asking people it they need help, need a few extra dollars. And the govt even raised GST to help them so that they will be better off after the GST comes into effect. And the latest govt budget is all about helping the poor and lower income groups. Now being poor isn't that bad right? I can see a long queue of happy people trying to be poor.

is cess still relevant?

CESS With the GST going to 7 %, is CESS still relevant? CESS is a taxed levied on the customer in tourist related establishment eg hotels and restaurants. This is 1%, and GST is going 7% and service charge another 10%, giving a total of 18% to the total bill.

citizen lee firing away

Choktong supports the debate between Citizen Lee and Philip Yeo. It is an intellectual debate just like when Catherine Lim did once but unfortunately that was not the right time for debate. At that time she talked about the 'affective divide' between govt and the people. Maybe this time Citizen Lee could bridge this divide and bring the govt closer to the people. One thing for sure, she is not going to get a dressing down. Nor would she take is lightly should anyone tries to do so. I am looking forward for more of such intellectual debates especially from the luminaries, the academics from the world best institutions in this island. Would we here from them about the 6.5 million population?

2/11/2007

myth 111

Singaporeans need GPS to get around Global Positioning System using satellite and leading edge technology is now a standard feature in Singapore cars. And handphones and smartphones are also increasingly incorporating this feature in them. Singaporeans will be lost in the streets of Singapore. And the situation will be more critical when we are fully built with a 6.5 million population. Getting around Singapore will need the assistance of a GPS. Let me see, how do I get to Orchard Road or Raffles Place? Which button to press? Oops, I have overshot. Now which road to take to return to Orchard Road? But it is a very powerful and handy tool. At least it allows the Singaporeans to save some space in their overused brains for more important things like calculating the odds of a football match or figurine the next Toto numbers. Now there is no need to remember anything, or at least the location of the supermarket or the HDB block of their in laws. Just switch on the GPS and it will take them there. And getting lost in MacRitchie Reservoir or Sengkang will be a problem of the past. Hail the new technology. Hail the GPS.

dual citizenship

What about amending our laws and allowed dual citizenship? This topic was raised by countdown in the YPAP forum. And looking at it again, there are many merits with such a proposition. We can become Singaporean/Malaysian, Singaporean/Indonesian, Singaporean/Indian, Singaporean/Chinese, and the more popular alternatives like Singaporean/American, Singaporean/British or Singaporean/Australian. The immediate result is that we can have 10 million or 20 million population instantly. No need to wait for another 20 years to hit 6.5 million. And all the Singaporeans longing to be international citizens too will have their wishes granted. Singaporeans with dual citizenship can live and play and work anywhere we want. We will be truly International. The world will be our playground. And we will no longer be short of foreign talents. Provided other countries want us. Otherwise the Malaysians, Indonesians, Chinese and Indians will be here as our citizens but we cannot go over as their citizens. They can come here and work and play and return home. But we cannot do likewise in their countries.

A cram HDB flat or a spacious landed property

Greed is a very powerful motivating force to drive individual enterprise, for the good of self, and if lucky, a little sharing for others. Up to a point, greed is good and necessary for progress, for the accumulation of wealth and knowledge, and wisdom, and everything else. It only becomes a danger when it loses its focus and becomes an end in itself. It is like being choke to death by a mouthful of rice, or a bridge too far, over reached, and all came tumbling down. A nation is just like an individual. It is good to grow and grow and grow. But when growth is blindly pursued, it becomes like greed. It is going to cross a threshold when it will destroy everything that is being built. We have grown and prosper over the years, done very well in many things. But the last few years have seen the cracks appearing. In spite of the rapid growth and wealth all around us, why is it that there are so many miseries and pain? Are we pursuing growth for the sake of growth or for the wellbeing of the people? Now this new target of 6.5 million population. I believe the thinkers and planners have done their homework well and statistically and theoretically proven that this is the idea number for this island. The optimum level as the economic model will show. But economic models and optimum points are all dependent on a certain set of variables. When new variables appear, the whole model may collapse. Big is good. So is small. So is medium. Each has its strength and weaknesses. Every size has a place in this world, just like the animal kingdom, there is a place for all sizes. We should tread this new goal of 6.5 millions carefully. Is there a need to push our limited resources to breaking point? Our limited land and natural resources and geography will be a natural and physical barrier to how far we can stretch ourselves. Once over extended through our own greed, it is like digging our own grave. The financial crisis over the last decade has brought us down to earth and many prices, especially properties, down to earth as well. There must be a real reassessment of not pushing the limits and consolidate on building better quality life for more of our people. Should we continue to strive to push further so that our rich can be richer than the rich of the world while our lower and middle income groups are gasping for air to survive? Shall we stretch our limited physical and human resources to exhaust all our reserves in our frantic drive to hit the 6.5 million population which I can imagine must be the ideal paradise, and then call it a day. That’s it, we have hit the 6.5 million population and that is the end of life, and this nation will go on auto pilot and we can rest on our laurels? In the past, we had followed the wisdom of driving as fast as we could when relations with our neighbours were good and the world economy was good. But those building of infrastructure and reserves are very different from trying to almost doubling our population and stress our little piece of poor mother earth. I can hear mother earth crying. Say when we build and hit the 6.5 million and then the economy was revisited by another financial crisis with job losses everywhere. How are we going to cope with 6.5 million people and the properties that come with them, the high cost of super structures to be maintained? All the property prices will collapse with many left vacant, many unemployed, many unable to service their daily living cost. It is not simply asking the foreigners to go home or the locals to keep on paying. We should let our population grow naturally instead of grabbing everything that comes along just to be 6.5 million as fast as we can.

2/10/2007

midget sumo wrestler

So it is 6.5 million, the magical number for Singapore's prosperity. And when we reach that number, will it go to 10 million? This 6.5 million number is from the govt think tank. The only thinking group in Singapore planning. And presumably all the other institutions of higher learning all agree. Building houses, the infrastructure for 6.5 million population is not difficult. Just build higher and deeper, reclaim more land etc. And more roads and rails. And fresh air is free. Water? Drink more organic water. Singaporeans just need to squeeze a little for more air and more space. Maybe create a new gene to reduce the size of all Singaporeans to less than 5 ft tall. Then legislate the size of all housing, starting with the HDB, if it has not already started, to minimise usage of space on a per capita basis. Limit the size of a bedroom to 9 sq m for two and make it applicable to all properties. With the current 4 million population, a down cycle in the world economy already caused so many hardship and bankruptcy, unemployment and downsizing of companies, pockets and housing, one can imagine what it would be like with a 6.5 million population. And in a globalised world, we need to compete with cheaper cost economies, and now to compete internally with more competitors, locals and non locals. We will truly end up with survival of the fittest. And all the greenery, luxurious apartments and amenities and world class transport systems are not going to be for free. The only two golden hopes, signify by the double rainbows, will be the casinos and the gst. These two will save Singapore as we grow into a midget 6.5 million sumo wrestler.

hota is a good thing, but....

Hota is a good thing, a very practical and utilitarian approach to an urgent health and life problem. Many lives can be extended and saved because of Hota. In clear cut cases of accidental death, there is no issue. And I am also quite sure many family members would willingly donate the organs of their love ones to save others. The last good deed of a dead person. The tricky part is a case like Sim Tee Hua when death is pronounced though not agreeable by all. Clinical death or legally dead or brain dead are new concepts, scientific or legal concepts that may not be acceptable or agreeable to traditional, cultural or religious concept of death. I have even heard an explanation that one can still feel pain if the body is cremated within 3 days of death. The truth is out there. In the implementation of Hota, when cases are less than clean, compassion and humanity must not be lacking. The potential recipients and their family members may have a different view on this. But the hospital has to make a judgement call. We cannot have a system where the utilitarian cause rules over the emotional and personal feelings of the victims and their families. If we allow this approach to continue, we may eventually see a highly proactive and eager harvesting team always on the ready to harvest the organs and risk taking lives prematurely. And what if the organs harvested can be translated to handsome monetary rewards? The second issue is our mentality to think that it is alright to take people's properties by default or by legislation. In the case of Hota, many were in by default but not by intention. They are in for failing or not knowing that they have to opt out. We cannot keep on opting people into schemes by legislating that ignorance is no excuse and ended with them parting with their monies, properties and life, and body organs. Only in a country like ours when the people do not know their own rights to their private properties that they ignorantly consented to them being taken away from them.

difficult to implement gst

There have been many calls to exempt basic and essential services/products from GST. And many countries have deemed it fit to do so to help the poor. But in this brilliant country runs by brilliant supertalents, such an effort is found to be too cumbersome, too much effort, too difficult to do. And by doing so it will help the rich more. Sudah lah.

2/09/2007

en bloc, where is your right?

A couple lost their case against en bloc sales because the majority voted in favour of the sale and they lost money from it. Just too bad. The majority can vote away your rights and interests. And no, they did not lose any money. According to the reasoning, CPF money lost in the transaction is not considered a loss. I can't believe the logic and cannot believe any authoritative definition of what constitutes a financial loss and not a financial loss. I only know that a loss is a loss no matter how clever is the argument or imagination.

of press freedom

'You'd lose all credibility if you are known to censor or fabricate news. To maintain your credibility, you have to develop a reputation for reporting, not distorting, the facts. When you become a journalist in Singapore, you have one of the most difficult jobs.' Kishore Mahbubani Kishore talking about the myth of press freedom in the US and the myth of lack of press freedom in other countries. He also commented about the Iraq world and how the press reacted to it. 'Instead, he found a culture of silence. There was little debate. Indeed, there was a tremendous amount of intimidation.' Now that sounds very familiar.

a nation of threats?

Are we turning into a nation of threats? Recently we saw a video clip of a commuter threatening violence against a bus driver. Then we have people being threatened in court and sued to pay damages. And now redbean is being threatened with consequences. For the commuter it is a case of someone who is ready to use his fist to strike at another, even threatening the bus driver with more violence. But in the other cases, they were more from people either with money or power that they used to threaten ordinary Singaporeans. Some of these people even have connnections, either with some big establishment or knowing some demi gods or holding some membership cards of clandestine organisations that they can flash around. Are we going to see more of such well connected people going around threatening ordinary Singaporeans? The is kacang puteh man would like to see some of these well connected men and their backgrounds, and their demi gods, being exposed for abuses of power, position and connection. This kacang puteh man is waiting to see if the threat is taken up.

2/08/2007

nkf story - End of Chapter One

Applause to Shanmugam and Allen and Gledhill for a job well done and bringing honour to the legal profession. Shanmugam and his team from Allen and Gledhill not only did their homework thoroughly, they are donating the cost of their labour to the new NKF. They are not profitting a cent from the whole process, to return the loot to the rightful owner. Who says that everyone must work for money or for a fee? After what they have uncovered, the verdict was beyond doubt and is only a matter of time to call it a day. And Shanmugam graciously offered the defendants a way out and save them further embarrassments from more revelation of the ugly truth. What's next? Would the old NKF Board of Directors and management make a public apology to the people of Singapore and the patients that suffered under their watch? Or would they still think that they have not done wrong? Or would an apology compromise their position in the coming criminal trial? With so many admissions, this civil suit is like a trial run for the state prosecutors. And so many facts and evidence are now laid bare that there is really no where to run. Would anyone now say that there is no criminal case or there is insufficient evidence to put up a prima facie case against the potential accuse?

hota - a tough call

The other day I mentioned that I have no objection for not opting out of Hota and they can have my organs. But Hota, the Human Organ Transplant Act was put to the test in Sim Tee Hua's case a few day's back. He was brain dead and the hospital wanted to harvest his organs. But the family pleaded for two extensions, hoping for a miracle. The first request was approved but the second turned down as doctors feared further delay would make the organs unusable. This is a tough call on everyone, the families and the doctors. And critics and moralists can argue until the cow comes home on the rights of the doctors and the rights of the deceased. I would not want to be put in such a situation.

new budget and gst goodies

New budget will be goodies galore Charles Chong said, "Prime Minister aLee Hsien Loong had earlier said that the poor will receive 'far more' than what they pay in higher prices. So I think we can expect a very generous package for them, othewise the point of raising the GST will be lost." Just keep your fingers crossed

debate, complaints or whining

After so many years, this is the first time a debate of such high caliber appears in the MSM. The subject in contention is not what many people would be able to participate but not necessary that many people cannot follow. And the contestants are supertalents, all professionally qualified. This debate will give a buzz to the exceptionally quite academic scene when compliance and not speaking out is the safest thing to do. Wei Ling is taking the lead as an individual and a professionally trained medical practitioner to engage the Govt on this issue. And the Govt is responding. If both parties can be objective and set aside the personality part, which is difficult as they are all very passionate about this subject, the public can look forward to an education. Lets have more of such debates. Not complain or as some like to put it, whiners.

2/07/2007

My name is Naomi Lourdesamy

Red Bean please do not mention my father (ignatius lourdesamy) in this blog. My name is Naomi Lourdesamy and he is my dad. If you do not do so by March 2007 there will be consequences I received the above post. I cannot locate where it is posted. Naomi, please enlighten me on where did I mention your father ignatius lourdesamy in my blog. I am still scratching my head. It is not my intention to get personal with anyone and I do appreciate what a daughter would feel. I will gladly remove them. Who is ignatius lourdesamy? Can someone tell me?

the magic of liberalisation

Liberalisation of Singpost The first thing the news reader commented was that we could look forward to lower mailing cost. Whew, I didn't know that liberalisation is such a magical word. We should go ahead and liberalise everything including the govt. Then all our cost will come tumbling down. HDB, LTA, hospitals, education.... And we can have all the locals to run for govt and the civil service. After all locals are also kaki lang now.

wei ling complained or commented

Philip Yeo defending his Stars Wei Ling made a comment about our resources being spread too thin in bio med research and science. She wanted the resources to be focussed on a narrower field and to take advantage of our comparative advantage. Philip Yeo fumed. Someone who is not in the thick of things should not dabble with things that he/she does not know. Some jokers may be angry that Wei Ling is indulging in the art of complaining like most Singaporeans do, especially in cyberspace. The issue is that we can look at this as a typical complaint or as an intellectual discourse between high brow supertalents. The subject matter involved finance, medical science and investments and jobs. It is true that not many people will have all the knowledge and information to say he knows all and only then be qualified to comment. Everyone has his own perspective and look at things from his own window. Nothing wrong with that right? Why can't citizens make comments on issues that concerns us? The reporters or those people who reported on NKF did not know much about the nitty gritties of the running of NKF. But if they cannot comment, we will all still be sleeping happily and feeding the scam. Philip has his right to defend his work. And Wei Ling or anyone should also have his/her right to make comments. It is public money being used. If the comments are reasonable, think about them and maybe integrate them into the system. If the comments are errorneous, explain it away. Everyone must grow up and discuss or debate an issue intelligently instead of getting personal. This biomed debate can be very educational to the public. There are merits in the position of both sides. It is not a matter of right or wrong but priorities, emphasis and even a judgemental decision. Talk about it in a positive light. Don't take it as a complaint. And don't cover it up like all other matters and give excuses like national security or it will take 500 man years to get the figures out.

2/06/2007

cyberspace, here we come

I was reading in another forum and they were speculating that this information on the PAP setting up a counter insurgent group to post in cyberspace could be leaked out by some unhappy members. But I think it is a kind of intentionally telling the bloggers and forumers that they are going to contest every inch of the ground. I welcome this action as it would mean cyberspace would be more interesting. I just hope that they don't attack bloggers and forumers blindly and mudslinging everywhere like those ill brats that I encountered in my blog. I really hope that they put in thinking people to discuss instead of unthinking people to disrupt. The former will do justice to the party while the latter will further disgrace the party more. The worst that can happen is to learn from NKF and have ghost writers to misinform.

when paranoia grips

The paranoia has started. Youtube showing a clip of some ill bred toying with racist ideas. People are clamouring for more actions. Temperature is rising. It is time to enforce stricter rules, amend the penal codes, set up a special task force to deal with people stirring up racial and religious differences. Where would this end? The net is in space, and the source of such postings and clips can come from all corners of the world. And who are behind such clips? Who is the puppeteer? Would our country go dancing while others pull the strings? It is so easy to turn a country upside down by playing with the people's fear and obsession. As long as the people are naive, primitive and hugged tightly to racial and religious symbolism and taboos, we will easily be made a nation of fools.

nkf story - The decaying morality of a people

The decaying morality of a people I have been harping over this issue in several of my posts in the last few days. I am no priest or saint. But there is still little ability left in me to know what is decent what is indecent. Shanmugam has been having a field day exhausting every vocabulary that he could think of to describe the culprits of this shameful saga and the conspiracy to deceive, to cheat and to betray the trust of the humble masses as well as the supertalents. What is unfortunate so far is that some sector of the great talents are painting a different picture. It is like telling the innocent masses that corruption, cheating, embezzlement, lying, passing misinformation, misleading the public etc are alright as long as one done it smartly, and professionally, using all the best management strategies and methods and concepts. The message is simple. Cheat smartly and you will be well respected, well regarded, and be welcomed as one of the supertalents. And if you can command an equally high salary, you can join the company of the super earners. There is no right or wrong. There is only money and talent. The more talent one has, the more money one deserves to make, the more one is respected. So what, going to court? It is just a birthday party. Pay your fine and everything will be over. Anyway you have cheated so much money that you can pay whatever fine the court hands down. But better still, tell the court that all the money have been spent, so nothing to pay. And continue laughing at all the silly people who have trusted you with their money that becomes your money. And walk with the head held high, as a well respected member of the supertalents in this country that worships talent and money. Lets keep praising them. It is only a management error or failure to do one's duty. Nothing more to it.

2/05/2007

gst hike, good news coming our way

GST hike 'a necessary measure' 'View it as a way to grow the economic pie: Minister Teo' The GST is going to grow the economic pie. Is this how our economy is going to grow...by raising GST? Or by increasing the population size? Or by bringing in more foreign workers? Or by increasing prices of housing, I mean high end private properties? Never mind. What is important is growing the economic pie for who? Who is going to get the most out of this increase in GST and economic pie? Who is going to get all the raises and the big chunk of the raises? Obviously it must be the people down the line, the lower middle income group. These people can look forward to a brighter future and a big bonus. Each would probably get $5k to $10k going by the trend and the declared objective of the GST. How about 10% of what the President got for his raise?

nkf story - a wrong is a wrong is a wrong..

More accolades for Durai PN Balji, Editorial Director of Today paper wrote another scintillating accolade on Durai. '...Durai operated with the shrewdness of a politician, the zeal of an evangelist, the sophistication of a businessman, the smoothness of a marketeer and the killer punch of a lawyer.' In his article, no where did he mentioned anything wrongful, that what he done was wrong and unacceptable. What about the patients that suffered because of the mismanagement? What about the hurt inflicted on all the innocent and sincere Singaporeans who donated generously to the NKF but now taken as fools, naive beyond salvation? What about all the actors and actresses, all the dignitaries that were robed in to shore up the prestige of the charity but now looking like asses? I think all these talks of talents and greatness should be stopped unless we want to tell the Singaporeans that it is good and respectable to be clever in mismanagement. Where is the conscience of the people, what kind of moral values are we trying to impart to the people?

2/04/2007

invite foreigners to insult us

Do we invite foreigners to our homes and allow them to insult us and tell us to get out? This seems to be the latest development in the game of foreign talents and welcoming more people to our shores, as citizens. Many well meaning people have been singing praises of foreigners and how important they are to our survival in the future. And this message has sunk into the heads of many foreigners and Singaporeans alike, that we need them to save us. And they believe so. Some Singaporeans also believe so. And foreigners are even telling us that if we are uncompetitive, want high salaries and less work, then we should ship out. They are willing to come here to work harder and for less. The remarkable thing is that some Singaporeans do agree wholeheartedly to this kind of argument. There are Singaporeans who are working overseas as foreign talents and understand how tough it is competing against the locals. And they have achieved some success in doing so and can empathise with the foreigners working here. They understand the logic that more work and less pay is the only way to fight the competition. Singaporeans can no longer rely on the stupid idea that they must be paid first world salaries when others are willing to work for less. Admittedly this reasoning is logical and true. There is no pleasant alternative in a globalised world. Singaporeans must work more and be prepared to earn less. Would there be any profession where the incumbents dare to say they are over worked? Or after being given more perks and increments, have the audacity to ask for less work and responsibilities? Now that this new living mantra is the accepted conventional truth, it can only be expected that life will be a bit tougher for the lazy or less talented Singaporeans. So what can we expect them to do? Are they expected to tighten their belts and fight with foreigners for jobs here, asking for lesser pay? Is this a fair equation? Foreigners are hungry, have no stake or responsibilities here. They can live with less. Should we allow them to proceed to compete with our own people for jobs on unequal terms?

The other alternative is for talented Singaporeans to rough it out like our foreign talents. Go forth and seek for new pastures. And there are jobs galores overseas. Singaporeans are in high demand as foreign talents and logically will be getting better pay in foreign lands. Strange isn't it? Why are Singaporeans in great demand overseas but not wanted in their homeland? Or is this a game of musical chairs? We export our unappreciated talents overseas and welcome foreigners to take their places. Would we reach a stage that the more able Singaporeans will be found living overseas and their homes rented and occupied by foreigners? If this is the likely development, what kind of nation or society will we become? Citizens of the world? The Filipino and Indonesian maids went overseas to earn foreign exchange and left behind an empty nest. Some returned to find their nests occupied by strangers and they were no longer wanted or could not fit into the new equation. Would we pay the same price if this happens to us? And very likely the price will be much higher. For instead of the women folks being abroad, our able men folks are the one that are missing from home. A home without a man or a nation without its men or talented men can have unimaginable consequences. This is our home. This is our land. What would it be like if our homes are now overseas and our land becomes the homes of foreigners?

amending the penal code

It has several months since the govt announced its proposals to amend the Penal Code, with good reasons of course. Many things were outdated since the Penal Code was first written. I was looking for some changes to foreplay in the bedroom being erased from this reference book on acceptable social behavior. So far nothing heard of it. Maybe we need more explicit explanations on why foreplay is important in parliament before monks and priests can understand what they are for. Foreplay does not need to end up in sex. The Workers Party must have done some serious work on the amendments that they finally held a public forum on this subject. Two major points were reported in the press. 'Twenty years for assaulting an MP with the intention of preventing him from doing his job, up from seven years now.' This is a very necessary move as the MPs are rare talented men and women who have step forward to serve the people, sacrificing for the nation. They should be protected by the law as best it can, from harm. Further, with some MPs being so rich, there is always the possibility that they will be target for extortion or even being kidnapped. The twenty years sentence should be a good thing to protect them from harm's way. 'Two years for being part of an unlawful assembly, up from the current six months.' The WP said this is significant. I can only see goodness in it. My retirement plan has just been firmed up. In my twilight years, when I need a roof over my head, to be fed and clothed, I can now join an unlawful assembly to earn my two years of reprieve in the modern and safe condo in Changi. I would actually recommend that it be extended to 3 years. Then anyone needing this charitable service can renew it every 3 years by demonstrating for it. The empowering of the judges to cane, jail and fine a guilty person cannot be more timely. Despicable people, liars, hypocrites, pet poodles and rubber stamps of charitable organisations should be fined, jailed and caned. If not, many charitable organisations will be exploited and robbed of their funds and be discredited, and people will no longer have faith in charitable works. And the people needing help will be left in a lurch. It is a serious and shameful crime and nothing to be proud of. It is no laughing matter. It is disgusting to praise such people as heroes and talents to be emulated. This is the only country in the world that continues to praise criminals and cheats as talents. Now I know why no one feels any shame but pride.