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10/31/2007

Response to ERP rates

I watched a few interviews conducted by the media on TV last night. A couple responded in shock. How could it be, so high, it was going to affect their livelihood. Then another put it in another way. Too many cars on the road. And he recommended that the COE price should be raised to $80k. That would keep the car population down. The latter response is more in line with my earlier post. You either make car ownership so costly or driving on the expressways so costly, otherwise the congestion problem is not going to go away. But of course there are many other ways of minimising the problem and these will take time and cost. The raising of ERP charges or COEs are short term measures and have been short term measures for many years. The real solution is still awaiting to happen. And the 6.5 mil population will only make things worst.

Giving is stairway to hell

I was reading Sheralyn Tay's report in Today on what Charles Hampden-Turner said at the conference on National Volunteerism and philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility. In his speech he said everything that we need to know about the false assumptions and farce of charity and means testing. He does not recommend blind generosity, the singlemindedness to give and think that that is the road to paradise, a good and generous act. One side just give and the other side just receive, instead of rewarding success, we reward failure. And related to means testing is that the recipients will try to outdo each other to be the '100% certified slob' to qualify for handouts or subsidies. These people may even give up job opportunities or other means to help themselves as those means would make them less eligible to qualify. Thus there will be 'a race to the bottom.' And that was exactly what the public were slapped with during those charity shows when pathetic cases were paraded to show how bad their conditions were. Does anyone bother about the pride and diginity of these poor souls? Or poor souls need no pride?

10/30/2007

Getting squeezed or living in comfort?

Siamak Adibi, a foreign talent, and Darren Chong, wrote to Today about their concerns over the issues of limited resources and a growing population. Siamak is considering leaving if the condition gets worst. Our hospitals and public facilities are over taxed. People have to queue and wait for hours to see the doctors even with appointments. Public parks and utilities are stretched. Then Pritam Paul, another FT, dismissed such concerns and praised the great and liveable conditions we are having. He compared to India when the conditions were appalling and chastised Singaporeans for not knowing the paradise that they have. Mark Lee posted another letter saying that we, as a first world country, should measure ourselves against first world countries and their conditions of living. We should be comparing ourselves with Sydney, Melbourne, Toronto, Montreal or Copahagen or similar places, definitely not with Manila, Mumbai, Bangkok, Hanoi or Jakarta. What Mark said is simply not to distort the truth by using poor and inappropriate examples. This is as good as lying.

Good that ERP rates have gone up

Finally a bold decision has been taken to raise ERP charges higher. Unfortunately it is still not going to be effective. It is still not high enough. We really need to have a tough man at the job to go for it, $10 or $20 per pass should do the job. Then the expressways will be faster and smoother. The raising of the charges will mean a few things. The smaller roads or roads with cheaper ERP charges will be jammed. That is what my crystal ball said. Unless public transport is good enough to replace private transport, and unless people with families and little children to rush to parents or schools can find alternative tranport that is efficient and fast. What is going to happen is that people will get use to the high charges and go back to use the expressways as there is no other better alternative transportation to meet their needs.

Boon Wan told, go ahead with mean testing

The issue of means testing has been in the back burner after Boon Wan has second thought over its implications. I think he was wavering as the idea is anything but mean. Now he has been told to go ahead with means testing. And of course, means testing, like raising GST, is to help the lower income group to pay for their medical fees. This is an unique formula that only works in this island. And if I did not hear wrongly, it is also to make medical fees more affordable to middle income earners in case they can't afford it anymore. Lucky Singaporeans.

10/29/2007

How much would the wantan mee cost?

With the price of flour going up by 20 or 30%, how much will that plate of wantan mee or char kuay teow cost? The beef ball noodle, the fish ball noodle, hokien mee, mee goreng, and don't forget the chapati and the roti prata. All these are the staple food of the ordinary Singaporeans. How would this affect their daily diet? Would they now have to cut down their consumption or have to tighten more to keep themselves going?

Money in the decision making process

Why are Singaporeans so sceptical about the CPF and the annuity schemes to think that the govt is after their money? Is this perception fair? And now we have Singaporeans thinking that the public transport system and the ERPs are all there for the same purpose, to get more money from the Singaporeans instead of solving the transportation problem. Everyone now is thinking the same kind of thought. Can we blame them?

No further need for charity shows

With automatic insurance schemes starting from birth to 20 years old, with CPF, Minimum Sum Withdrawal and Annuity Schemes, and also lease buy backs, Singaporeans should be adequately provided from cradle to death. There should be no need for charity shows in the future when all these are in place for the new Singaporeans. And all these are provided by the Singaporeans own pockets. No need charity and welfare from the govt as well. We have taken for granted that all Singaporeans can afford all these schemes in addition to supporting themselves and their families.

10/28/2007

Govt going into selling insurance business?

First we have compulsory annuity schemes. Now we have automatic Medishield for kids. And more schemes for youth and young adults on the way. Where else can one sell insurance in a large scale to the masses in such an easy manner. Compulsory and automatic. The latter, ok, can opt out within a month after automatic inclusion. And at $30 annual premium, I concur that it is affordable. What if the opt out rate is too high to make the scheme not economical? Would it then become compulsory? It is a good scheme and good for the people? Why not make it compulsory in the first place? Or why not make compulsory annuity be automatic and allow the people to opt out of the scheme if they do not want to? The premium cannot be a key consideration to decide whether it is compulsory or automatic I supposed. $30 versus $1000 or more per annum?

10/27/2007

Curbing property speculations

Mah Bow Tan announced new rulings to curb the hot property market before it starts boiling out of control. The fear of a spiralling high property prices running beyond the reach of the average Singaporeans is a great concern. And now this concern is also creeping into the fear of FTs who will also be aversely affected. And in turn the whole business cost. What seems to be lacking is a clear strategy as to what the property market should be like and how Singaporeans of different income level would be accommodated in the big scheme of things. We have the HDB market, the condo market, the landed properties and the high end market. The different markets can be structured to serve the different sectors of the population, local and foreign, carefully planned to benefit the real home owners and the speculators, balancing a need to keep properties affordable and at the same time a lively speculative markets. We are now seeing piecemeal solutions to a very complex problem.

Madrasah to revamp

Yaacob Ibrahim announced that three Islamic schools would have their curricula revamped to raise the standards of academic subjects. This is a very bold move that will change the direction of the Madrasah schools and the orientation of its student products. For all these years, Malay students enrolled in Madrasahs are steeped in religious educations, spent a big portion of their time and effort on religion and related matters. This will have its toll on the time spent on the pursuit of academic and non religious subjects. And I think it is asking too much for the students to excel in both religious and academic subjects. To concentrate in both areas equally is very demanding. The competiting attractions and importance of the two paths make it a very difficult choice for the Malay leaders to choose. There must be a compromise and give and take whichever the path is chosen. And only the Malay leaders can make such a decision with the support of the Malay community.

10/26/2007

Pluralism versus Homogeneity

China, India and Japan are flying to the moon. These Asian countries are doing it all on their own. Homebred and homegrown talents to drive their space programmes. And the Russians have been doing it all along. On the other hand there is this great mixed pot called America with talents from all over the world. At the moment, plurality of talents is leading the competition by a nose, taking the Russians into the picture. Would we see a homogeneous country, depending on their own talents, outdoing a plural society made up of the best brains from all over the world? It is a new kind of experiment on the world stage. What if it eventually proves that home grown talents can do it on their own without foreign talents?

Huge payrise for the Civil Servants

The Civil Servants, especially the lower ones, are going to get their just rewards. Average 8.6% and better ones 14-17%. Of course this pay rise, in percentage form, should go all the way to the top, I think. It is quite a sum at $1 million level. Two reasons were given, competitive environment and demand for better quality of services. The former is quite true. As for better quality of services, I have my doubts. If we compare dollar by dollar paid, we should be the best governed country in the whole world. And if quality is measured in monetary terms, our quality must be hundreds of times better than our neighbours and even better than the USA or Japan. Are we getting better quality policies and decisions or are we learning from the lesser paid countries and depending on them to teach us to do better?

10/25/2007

Johor

Johor 'Sell it to Singapore!' A tongue-in-cheek solution from a Malaysian. Fun to read. The Anti-jihadist. Oct 24, 2007 Ladies and gentleman, Malaysia is facing a cash crunch. The oil, lifeblood of the Government's treasury, is running out. Hugely expensive programmes such as NEP and subsidies are politically untouchable, so hence must run in perpetuity. And of course Malaysia will in the future need more massive Merdeka parades, more shiny new Russian jets to overfly said parades, and more spaceflight participants to consume teh tarik and commit khalwat in orbit. So many expenses and dwindling income. What to do? Simply put, Malaysia seriously needs a lot of cash...and the little cash-loaded red dot to our south (which need not yet be named) needs real estate and resources. So my friends, with my tongue placed firmly in cheek, I would like to offer this simple answer for Malaysia's impending financial woes. Let's sell Johor to Singapore!.... The Anti-Jihadist http://pedestrianinfidel.blogspot.com/ This is part of an article I pulled from littlespeck.com. It is a post good for reading on a Sunday morning and let the imagination runs wild. Look at the possibilities for economic growth. And I think Singaporeans would not mind having the Sultan of Johore installed as the ceremonial ruler for life. And the Sultan will have achieve his dream of Singapore returning to Johore. This is just my personal view. In commercial terms it is called reverse takeover.

The Gay Debate continues

There is a report in the msm that the debate is turning ugly in cyberspace and in the public arena. It is an unusual debate where values and ingrained prejudiced brought up by years indoctrination were tested. People either are totally against it or for it. Everyone seems to hold a very strong view on the issue. The issue is another case of one group trying to impose their rights and wrong on another. The other is asking for acceptance and more. To be allowed to do as they pleased like any ordinary human beans. I did post a bit on what could have happened down the line. Even without making any judgemental statements, some are still appalled at my comments. Look at it seriously or cheekily, if 25% of the world population is gay, the opposite 25% will not have a chance to procreate. Or am I wrong and gays do want to procreate? Then stretch the imagination a little further. If 25% of the population becomes monks and priests, another 25% will also be deprived from procreation. All in, 100% will be doing all kinds of things except making babies. Whither the human race? Maybe this is a good thing. Why bother to be born to die? Why bother to leave paradise only to want to get back.

10/24/2007

What a great opportunity for reporting

The gay debate is proving to be a welcomed relief for the msm. For once they are reporting vigorously on practically every word spoken in Parliament, even verbatim. The subject really was given a good airing with every single view reported, and in style. And how many pages over how many days. And how many hours did Parliament devote for this hot topic? Any time limits to speak? But every Parliamentarians relished at the opportunity to speak from their hearts. Wish the CPF and the annuity and other bread and butter issues were given the same intense treatment.

$364 million lost by Sembawang Marine

Another outcry for more corporate governance. After so many incidences of malpractice, the APB case etc, now Sembawang Marine is hit. Did we learn or is it all lip service? What happens to our corporate image as a squeaky clean country with excellent corporate governance? And it happens to GLCs! Shall we keep stumbling along with all the incestious relationship in the corporate world? What is wrong is wrong and has to be weeded out once and for all. Now we do not know how deep rooted are such malpractices in our public and private organisations. It took the NKF to shake up everyone. But APB did not have the same impact. Would Sembawang Marine do what NKF did to the corporate world?

The gay debate

It must be a very interesting debate in Parliament and many interesting things must have been said about gays and gay rights. I have not been following and could have missed many issues that were discussed. What I would like to know is how big is the number. In the case of mental illnesses, there is a 1 in 6 hit rate. If the gay population is also 1 in 6 then the issue is going to be with us for a long time. Historically, or biologically, human beans are meant to be male or female. The deviant genes that created the 70% or 60% male or female are rare and societies could live with it, either accepting their presence or outcasting them and deport them somewhere. Today, gays seem to be everywhere and getting rid of them or pretending that they don't exist is no longer a solution. The two camps arguing about gay rights did have their valid points. And I think Parliament did make a wise decision under current mindset and acceptable cultural and religious values. As we go down the line, how would the people accept two guys necking and kissing in the train or the bus? How would the public deal with cases of boys being raped by men? The office or public places will become very colourful with men looking like women and vice versa. We might even have to build new toilet facilities for the male, female and either or. Strange that Singapore is now the battle front for gay rights and what we do could set the direction for the movements in the future

10/23/2007

Police and their handling of civil activities

The MPs had a field day asking Ho Peng Kee about how the police handled the public especially with regards to the wearing of T shirts with printed messages and holding of public forums. The way the police handled T shirts seemed to be the key attraction after the White Elephant Incident. And it seems that they are still doing the same thing in the case of the Myanmese protest against the military rule. And Ho Peng Kee was rather apologetic and tried to explain away as over reactions. I think we should be easy on the police after all they are there to protect the people. They have the people's interest and safety at heart. They are just doing what other police forces are doing so cannot be too far wrong. Just make sure they don't take on the style of Rela officers or the Myanmese police then we should be quite ok.

notable quotes - Ho Peng Kee

'The police have no intention to monitor what takes place online...Neither should Netizens, bloggers and the many of us who regularly send SMS messages worry.' Ho Peng Kee The is the strongest and clearest message coming from the govt that they are not monitoring cyberspace activities. I believe Ho Peng Kee is telling the truth. The police have many more important things to do than to waste public resources on such activities. The only time when they start to monitor is likely to be in response to some official complaints. And those two doggies that were trying to mess up my blogs, disappeared recently, were definitely not from the police. As where they were from, your guess is as good as mine.

10/22/2007

The msm need to be with the people

PN Balji continued with LKY's discussion, in the Today paper, on the role of the msm and their need to reinvent themselves in the face of the sprouting out of more alternative reportings and commentaries in cyberspace. The advantage of cyberspace, in being free, real and human like, talking and reporting with character and feelings, is hard to beat. And then it is interactive and responsive, it is the people's own news and views. Not something that is being forced onto the people. The people can relate and take ownership of their own news. LKY's comment of not just reporting the whats but the whys is going to put a challenge to msm reporters. For many of the whys cannot be reported succintly. And there goes the credibility of msm. And according to Balji, they need to be creative, sensitive, meaningful and responsible. Quite a herculean task. As a political trophy, hmmm, how to report in a way that is objective and balance is going to be tricky.

Making the annuity bullshit real

There are so many things that the people are gasping in disbelief. The small payout and the payout age at 85. Both seem so unreal and irrelevant. What the govt should do is to address this bullshit seriously and come out with something that is real. The $300 is definitely not going to be enough and either you provide for a reasonable sum, or might as well don't provide at all. With inflation and the depreciation of money, in 30 years time, the minimum for subsistence existence could be $1000 pm. Then at that age, you need life supporting equipment, weekly or monthly medical checkup, annual checkup or overhaul. Other than the subsistence allowance, the medical part could easily be another few hundred thousands. How much then is enough? Half a million or one million? If this problem is real and we need to address it as a real problem, then the bullshiting must be realistic. And the 85 years payout age. This is a joke.

10/21/2007

Time to raise taxi fares

There were many calls in the msm to curb the irresponsible ways of cabbies and their exploitation of foreign tourists. Our reputation as a paradise island for tourists is going to be badly affected. We cannot allow this to continue. On the other hand, with cost of operating the taxis going up, with food prices going up, how are the cab drivers going to maintain their lowly lifestyle? They need to earn enough to feed their families. It is time to raise taxi fares. How many years have they been driving their taxis without an increase in fare? If there is no increase, their income will quickly be swallowed by the runaway inflations. Poor chaps. But if the fares are raised, all the commuters who have to take taxis will be hurt again and their salaries must be raised too. That must be the way to go forward. And everyone will be happy and taxi touts will go away.

Not so good news today.

Prices of chicken up by 20% and flour by 30%. So the 2% extra on GST is chicken feed actually. But it sure adds on to the increases in chicken and flour prices. With GST at 7%, the respective increases will be 21.4% and 32.1% respectively. So how much will a plate of chicken rice or a loaf of bread going to cost? No need to worry, another few cents more only. Still affordable. Now with all the prices keep going up, it is time to raise the salary again. Everyone shall get 10% increment from the workers to those at the very top, or their life style will be affected.

10/20/2007

DPM's responses to Timothy Cooper

These are some questions posed by Cooper of US based human rights group Worldrights and Jayakumar's reply. I am split between putting it in the Myth column, Signs of Progress, or Decline, Notable Quotes or in the Gems of Parliament column in Redbeanforum. And I will just quote them from what was reported in the ST. I will leave it to readers to form their own opinions/comments which I believe will range wildly from the unbelieveable to the amusing and to the very pragmatic necessary evil and the rule of law. 'Cooper asked how it was that there were no libel cases where people had successfully defended themselves against government officials. He charged that the legal playing field was not level. Jayakumar said the question must be whether libel suits were brought with "arguments and substance". Singapore leaders sued for a reason: to uphold their integrity and character. Cooper asked why permits are routinely denied to political opponents who want to stage gatherings, but are granted to the PAP. Jayakumar said for densely populated Singapore, the govt has kept strict laws for public gatherings and processions. It requires and grants permits on considerations of law and order, with particular care paid to gatherings base on race, language and religion, and public gatherings by political parties and figures. The rules apply to all parties, including the ruling PAP, which has to also apply for permits, he said.'

Singaporean Toh demoted at UN

It is a shame for a world organisation like the UN to suffer from the bickering of office politics and demoted an innocent man from his post. It is a dark day for the UN and for Ban Ki Moon. Andrew Toh must stand up and fight against the injustice and the Singapore govt must do all it can to see to its fair and just ending. Toh and the Singapore govt should take out a suit against the UN and all those involved in incriminating Toh. The whole episode is so disgraceful and reflected so poorly on UN and its Secretary General.

10/19/2007

notable quotes - Bala Rajaratnam

'My plea is to prevent malicious individuals and aggressive lawyers from abusing the litigation process.' Bala S Rajaratnam In view of the rising legal cost and the lessons of Jonathan Lock, people are more concerned with how people and lawyers can abuse their financial and professional clout to the disadvantage of the poorer and weaker citizens. It is timely that there is a called for an alternative route for justice. Not the kind where you need money to buy justice.

Banning racist blogs and forums

Taking down racist blogs and forums Oooh, they are taking down racist blogs and forums in cyberspace. I agree that this is necessary as many of the blogs/forums are really instigating antagonistic groups to hate and violence. The only problem is that it is like swatting mosquitoes in your little room while millions of mosquitoes are swarming outside or in public places. How effective is that?

67,000 millionaires

67,000 Singaporeans have more than US$1m in assets. My immediate thought is that these millionaires should be exempted from the compulsory annuity scheme. Not only have they proven themselves to be capable of managing their finances and income, they surely have plenty of money to look after them in their old age. In fact any Singaporean with a net asset of S$1million should be exempted. Or those with half a million should also be exempted. Would they be or would they be treated like incapable and irresponsible children, unthinking and cannot manage their life time finances?

Good News Day

Today Singaporeans are greeted by another piece of good news. The 3 power companies will be sold to commercial operators who have promised to improve the system and bring down the cost. There will be another first in introducing a new meter and electronic payment systems. New meters will be introduced to measure usage. Meter cost has come down. Users will have to pay upfront to help them manage their usage. While introducing all the new processes and equipment, the new operators will have to bid with other interested parties for the gencos. Obviously they will have to pay a premium for the right to buy and operate them. Unless the existing gencos are going to sell them below cost, which is unlikely, they will have to invest quite a substantial sum initially. Their sunk cost and operating cost cannot be lower than the present operators. With all these costs and with profits in mind, it is amazing that they can reduce the cost of users and the present gencos cannot, and make profits some more. It must be the efficiency of privatisation and competition between 2 or 3 operators. You can be sure that it is a free market and there will not be any cartel or price fixing. Singaporeans can look forward to more efficient and cheaper power supply.

10/18/2007

The CPF Karma

So far all the official reasons given for the Minimum Sum, the $30k Medisave and the Annuity are meant to be good for the people. But in reality, the poor chaps, those who have very little, do not believe that they are good for them. Some do, and those who don't need these money may bear with it, and grudgingly accept their fate. What is important is the real intent of the policymakers. Let us pray for them that the real intent is for the good of the people and not something else. The karma for bad intention by withholding people's money and let them suffer when they don't have to is not going to be light. If the intention is bad, not what was spoken officially, please think again and amend the policies. Please do not bring bad karma upon yourself by harming the poor and helpless people by depriving them from the use of their hard earned money.

one flew over the cuckoo's nest

Employer or employee's market? Few months ago it was reported in the msm that employers are willing to pay many times more for good candidates. And employees can expect higher remuneration with more pay rises. Today it is reported that employees are asking for 10% more than employers are willing to pay and employers are unwiling to pay. It also said that Singaporean employees are now aware of their value because they were bilingual and can seek employment in China and Hongkong. Wow, bi lingual Singaporeans can now flock to greener pastures. And the vacant positions that are paying lousy money can go to the monolingual FTs. So Singaporeans can all fly away from their nests to earn big bucks in foreign soil and the their nests can be taken over by the cuckoos.

notable quotes - loh chee kong

One man's 'acceptable business practice' is another man's kickback. Loh Chee Kong This quote is quite universal and can be applied to many situations.

Super talents that are not

Our supertalents are at best good in names only. Or if not, the only skill they have is to hire consultants to do the job and thinking for them. But that surely does not require much talent. Most of the poorly educated Ah Beng bosses are doing the same thing, employing MBAs and PhDs to work for them. We are engaging consultants to study and find solutions to get out of the Brazil list of tax havens. And we know why we were in the list. Our tax bracket is below 18%. And the Brazilians need to include us there so that they can tax their own companies operating here and our companies operating in Brazil. The Brazilian Embassy said so. Do we really need to pay millions to consultants to study on this? Don't we have any local talents to do the same thinking?

Wrongful allocation of resources

One of the major strategic error of our education system is the allocation of university places to less financially rewarding courses. Every year thousands of fresh undergrads were admitted to the Arts, Social Sciences, or even Engineering Facualties and only a few hundreds to the extremely lucrative Law School. And when these students graduated and go into the job market, the law graduates on the average are going to earn 10 times more than the other graduates after a few years in the profession. What the system should do is to reverse the intake. Send a few thousand students to take up law and a few hundred for the other courses. Then we will produce students that are highly marketable and in demand. The legal profession will be happy, the civil service will be happy as there will be no shortage of lawyers, the parents will be happy and the graduates will also be happy. Now, why should we continue to send so many students to pursue courses that are economically to their disadvantage? And the students and parents knew but could not get them into Law School because of an artificially created small number of places available. There is no shortage of students wanting to study law and all of them will be very qualified for the course. Or are we underpaying the graduates of the other courses?

10/17/2007

Does CPF changes affect Malaysians/PRs?

I don't think all these Minimum Sum, Medisave and delayed withdrawal will affect Malaysians or PRs working here. Not very sure on this. Any one knows? Or would it mean that Singaporeans are now even worst off than non Singaporeans on this?

Subsidised patients demand for same standard

A letter by Lee Sze Teck to Today in a way demanded that subsidised patients must received the same standard of treatment. This is how foolish Singaporeans have become. Doesn't he know that a little tipping can get one ahead of a queue? Did he know that you pay for good service and better quality of service? The case was over sick leave and hospitalisation leave. The former is normally 14 days paid leave and the latter can continued to be paid on sick leave up to 6 months. And the patient wanted the doctor to change the sick leave to hospitalisation leave. The reply by the hospital is less than satisfactory. Either the patient deserved sick leave or hospitalisation must be dependent on the medical condition. To say that a subsidised patient cannot make any request for such a change is distasteful. But that is a different issue. Subsidised patients cannot expect the same quality of medical care as one who paid more. That is a brutal fact of life that they must accept. What they can expect is decent quality medical care. They are not going to get the most expensive and best doctor to attend to them. They are not going to get the most expensive medicine available for free or at a heavily subsidised price. They are not going to get all the frills and thrills that money can buy. Subsidised patients are there to be treated just for his/her medical condition with due medical care and attention by a qualified doctor or professional. Yes, they cannot demand or choose who should treat them. They want that, they must pay for it. They think this is a communist country where all men are equal? Stupid Singaporeans.

Did Jonathan Lock get a fair deal?

Jonathan Lock and his lawyer called a truce and both withdrew their cases against each other. Is it a fair and just ending? Did our justice system provide the justice due to either of them? Would Jonathan Lock withdraw his claims against his lawyer if not for fear of mounting legal cost should he pursue the case? And for pursuing his case, his lawyer will counter sue him for defamation, which means that he may even incur more financial losses. So Jonathan Lock chickened out. He had to abandon his claim against his lawyer not that he did not have a case. But the punitive legal cost was a huge obstacle to cross. The poor citizens will forever be faced with such a situation, not to pursue a legal tussle because they cannot afford it. And anyone who is faced with a legal claim, or any apparent wrong, could simply threaten to sue if he has money, and win.

10/16/2007

New kinds of entrepreneurship

While touting is raising its head among taxi drivers, don't blame them entirely. It is a way of living, to earn that extra $2 to feed the rising cost of living. Look at it positively, it is entrepreneurship. Not everyone has millions of dollars in their war chests to fight in the big league. The small guys have their own turfs to play with. Look around the kopitiams and MRT stations and you will notice a new kind of buzz. More entrepreneurial people are setting up shops, as buskers and beggars. Very lucrative and low capital. Tax free also. These different kinds of talents need an outlet to earn a living. Can't just dump them behind bars. Too costly. And they need to survive in this very costly city. The GST of 7% is eating into their bones. Shall we support such entrepreneurship? Shall we give them a chance to earn a few dollars?

PSLE, communication gap?

Tan Yap Kwang, Executive Director of the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board replied to the recent furore on the difficult PSLE Maths Paper. What he was saying was that there was no difference between this year and last year's paper. The questions were set from a blueprint by experienced teachers and examiners. I tend to agree with his comments. The only possibility, if there is an increase in difficulty, is for someone to try out something new. Given the constant change in policies recently, this cannot be ruled out. Otherwise, given the regularity of the examinations over the years, they are unlikely to err too far away. From a different angle, some parents may feel that their children are geniuses and are expected to get 100 marks. And some will see anything less than 100% correct as bad. What may be of concern is to set too high a level of difficulty that frightens or stresses out the young minds. But if this was explained to them in advance and they know what to expect, then it should not be an issue. The children and parents must expect some of the questions to be beyond them. Is there a communication gap?

Greed in Corporate America

80% of the public, including 2/3 of the CEOs interviewed, agreed that the salaries of American CEOs were too high. Only 2.2% said it was too low. Understandable. The high salaries of American CEOs have been going on for too long. It is the worst kind of robbery, robbing minority shareholders of their real worth and the latter cannot do anything about it. What they need to do is to sack all of them across America and pay half of their existing salaries to the next in line or those young and eager beavers to take over. Corporate theft in the American style has been going on even in our squeaky clean island. And they did it all legally and legitimately by getting the boards to pass all the resolutions to grant them more shares, bonuses and higher pay. Oh, they will not call this robbery but legitimate rewards for their talents.

10/15/2007

How much do you pay for your water?

1 Cu M is $1.17 Waterborne fee is 30c Water conservation tax is 30% of $1.17 GST is 7% The final cost to a user is $1.948 per Cu M. Cost, is it still 3c? How much is processing and administrative cost? Water conservation tax is 35c. GST is 8.2c. Total tax is 43.2c.

Good acts and good intentions

When too much goodness turns bad. That is how mankind will eventually destroy itself. That is how Singapore too will follow the same road. Today we praise the great achievements of medicine and technology to extend life. We live with great hope and exciting anticipation of life at 100. Thanks to our high standard and quality of life and health system. All these means one thing. We are defying nature, the law of nature in self renewal. Nature must wear. Nothing is forever and must not be kept forever. By extending life, apparently a good thing, we are creating more stress to our system. All these lives must be supported. They consumed energy, space and resources. Can our system take it? The world is dying, as they say. Climate change due to a growing population that only consume and destroy the earth's resources. How many people can the earth sustain before it finds it unbearable anymore? The world will not be able to cope with an incessant increase in population. Man has lengthen the self renewal process of life. And the world is fighting back. Natural disasters are sweeping across the earth to destroy what it cannot afford to sustain. We as a small country, will face the same fate as the earth when we over populate our island and burst at the seams. That is how we will end up if we keep on gourging ourselves. The success and big strides forward will quicken our own demise.

10/14/2007

How to make quick and easy money

I mean how to make quick and easy money from Singaporeans. It is a piece of cake. Just sign up with a foreign party, form a company, create a beautiful catalogue of prime housing in a foreign shore, the best is Bintan and Batam. Then sell them to Singaporeans. In the process of selling, build a few units as show houses to lure more Singaporeans in and put in more deposits. Then when enough is collected, just fold up and disappear, with the money of course.

Taxi drivers touting!

What a shameless thing to do. Taxi drivers are touting and cheating foreigners by charging them high fares and not using the meters. Wow, Singaporeans turning into another kind of robbing. Why is it that taxi drivers are not allowed to rob their passengers? They are just doing it to earn a living to feed their families in the face of ever rising cost of living. What is wrong with taxi drivers trying to earn a bit more? When other people are earning by the millions, why can't taxi drivers aspire to earn half a million? Oh, maybe they don't have a piece of paper with a first class honours chopped on it. So they are undeserving to earn a million dollar. Oops, I mean a measly half a peanut. Are people envious of these low down poorly educated people who can earn a million or trying to earn half a million? Actually the taxi drivers are not robbing. They are entrepreneurs offering their services to a select group of customers. They are willing to provide a higher level of personalised service to these customers, like the high net worth clients of banks, premier banking, no need to queue and service with a specially created smile. Hey, it is willing buyer willing seller. If the foreigners did not want to take their cabs at their asking price, so be it. They did not put a knife at their throat to force them to take their cabs. It is not compulsory huh. No coercion. And they are talking of a pathetic $20 ride. In New York, London or Tokyo, they can easily charge $100 plus tips! Now compare this with the $30k compulsory savings in the Medisave, the $99,600 compulsory savings in the Minimum Sum, the akan datang compulsory annuities which is going to be another few thousands? Come on, give the poor taxi drivers a break. Let them make a few dollars more to have a bottle of stout or a pack of cigarettes after a day of backbreaking work. Free the market and let them charge their own prices. Service with a difference must come with a price. It raises the standard and quality of service. They may earn enough to have the luxury to go for personal grooming courses to serve their customers better. Dress better and smell better. This is just another way of looking at the issue. Or shall we accept the guiding principle that low down people must not be allowed to earn more money than the super talents? Only super talents can charge and demand whatever they want and low down workers must accept whatever that is being decided for them?

10/13/2007

Is CPF turning into a robber?

What is the basic reason for the existence of the CPF? Is it there to hoard people's money on whatever excuses that it can cook up? Or is it there to ensure that the members would have some money to tie them over during their old age, that they don't become destitutes and having to bleed the govt of public fund? I may not be a supertalent. And it does not need anyone to be a supertalent to know that the CPF main objective is to make sure that the retirees have a sum of money to live through their lives. As long as anyone can make his own provisions with cash, savings or properties or any assets that exceeds the value of what CPF declared as the Minimum Sum needed, such people have more than adequately provided for themselves. Actually many don't need so much money to live through their golden years. A Goh Mui Sim wrote to the ST forum saying that at 53, she had already bought a $100k annuity to provide her a $500 payout from $62 till her death. And she has pledged this to the CPF When she turned 55, CPF took $99,600 from her Ordinary Account to put into her Retirement Account. She argued that she had a $100k annuity that is more than the $99,600. But CPF said her annuity is short of the $790 by $290 and she could apply for a partial exception. Why can't the CPF take only the amount that is short? Why take the whole $99,600? The CPF could not understand that this lady has planned her own retirement well ahead of the govt's thinking, even more than the Minimum Sum requirement. She has covered a period past the Minimum Sum to her death, with her annuity. All these are not enough. All CPF is concerned is the $99,600 that it wants to grab hold on. And of course, another $30k in the Medisave and more in annuity insurance. Ok, this last one the CPF definitely cannot find anymore excuse to touch this lady. This Goh Mui Sim, like many, is a responsible and thinking Singaporean. She has planned her retirement well ahead. But this is not acceptable because her plan is not what the CPF planned for her and all Singaporeans. What utter rubbish! Why must every Singaporean need $99,600k and $30k in Medisave? Why must they still need an annuity plan when they have made their own plans? What is the CPF for? What is the CPF for? Has the CPF turned itself into a robber, putting a knife on the member's throat to demand more money to be held by CPF, totally disregarding the interests of the people? And its interest is to grab the people's money, as much as possible, and hold it as long as possible? No matter what reasons or explanations, this is the impression that the people is getting.

10/12/2007

Singapore Malaysia reunion

This topic has been raised again and understandably you will get a wide range of views on it. Most of the hostile views were either directed at the personality level or the fundamental issue of Bumiputra right. The personality issue will go away with time. Not sure about the latter. But one cannot rule out the possibility of it going away when Malaysia gets more properous and more confident of itself. There are issues that we cannot accept or settle today. We cannot predict what the future generations will do. It may not be the same kind of merger as envisaged in the past or today. But for the two countries to work closer, cooperate more, work out more areas where national barriers can be sidestepped or broken down, freeing the people from the baggages of the past, are the natural things to come for mutual benefits. It cannot go on like this forever. Some time later, two visionary leaders from both sides may emerge and say lets hold hands and work together for our own good without dismantling too many fundamental rights of each people and country. The future is uncertain and is rosy.

Violations of human rights and Geneva Convention

Jimmy Carter had put it squarely that Bush violated human rights and the Geneva Convention in the interrogation of prisoners. And Abu Ghraib and the infamous Guantanamo Camps were testaments to the crimes of the Bush regime. Why is it that they are allowed to continue for so long and the self righteous western press and govt just made skim comments and do nothing? What kind of hypocrisy is that that even an ex American President deemed it enough and could not take it any more to say it out loud?

About birds and bees

Today I am thinking of just talking about the birds and the bees and anything else except what I have been posting here. That would make many people very happy for a change. We shall talk about where to eat the best chicken rice or prata, where is the most rustic place in Singapore, how to plant tomatoes, how to enjoy living. And we can spend hours doing research on such subjects and fill up the pages. Did anyone talk about critical thinking and serious issues affecting the people and more thorough discussion should be devoted to them? Yes. And eating, planting tomatoes, living and enjoying lives are very serious issues. In organisations, some who say they want entrepreneurs to take risks, insurgents to stimulate change etc. But once the guy turns his back, another guy will point his finger and say 'nothing of that sort.' One may say he wants to do more businesses, be more aggressive, take more risks. Another will say do not be too clever, do not take risks that are unnecessary. Just get on with the daily routine. Nothing happens is good. This dichotomy is prevalent everywhere, where the left hand and right hand don't clap together. Corporations big or small suffer because of such inconsistencies, conflict of opinions and objectives, politicking or saboing. I have just happened to witness a few episodes recently. Need a big iron grill to do some grilling.

10/11/2007

Ineffective ERP

When one pays ERP charges, one expect to travel in a freer road. When one pays 50c, the quality of the road flow may be lower. When one pays $1, it should be better. When one pays $1.50, it should be even better. But if after paying for all the increases, the condition is still the same, then should not the authority return to the 50c rate since there is no improvement and the flow is as was at 50c level? Ok, the authority can say, we will increase the cost to $5. That should do the trick. I think that should be the answer. But wait a minute. When transportation is going to cost a bomb, then business cost is going to shoot up as well. People's cost of living will also go up as well.

Threats of high legal cost

Jonathan Lock is faced with another legal battle with his lawyer. And the most intimidating factor is the high legal cost. How many people will have the money to fight a legal battle in our courts? The first thing that will hurt is the big hole in the pocket. For those people who have no problem in paying for the huge legal fee, taking anyone to court seems to be a convenient practice as it is to their advantage. And most poor buggers will have to back off, even apologise and pay damages knowing that they are right. Is this how our justice system is going to be?

First frivolous protest

Allow protest, even frivolous ones for a start. A site was identified for the stockpile of granite in Lim Chu Kang. And the farmers are protesting that the granite dust will affect their crops. And the 6m fencing is also seen as a threat, blocking sunlight from the crops. I am refraining from laughing out loud. How serious can this protest be? But it is a good start. No demonstration or people marching down Orchard Rd or Shenton Way. Just standing up to say no. And with a petition to back up.

What if?

The Americans and the West are furious that the Myanmese military junta beat up the peaceful protestors, used tear gas and bullets on them. And they are calling for a regime change, saying that the junta is unfit to run the country. Now what if Chee Soon Juan is able to gather a couple of hundreds of people in a public and peaceful protest and forces the police to use the baton and other means of physical force? Would the Americans and the West also call for a regime change? It would be tricky.

10/10/2007

EPF outperformed CPF

Read in many blogs that EPF is outperforming our CPF, at least in the interest they are paying. 6% or 6.5% is a lot over a 30 or 50 year period compares to 2.5 or 4%. Compounding them, it is easily 150% to 200% more than what we are getting from our CPF. We must send our ministers to KL to learn from them. Then we can give our CPF members a better return. And if the answer is 'if they are so good, take the CPF and put it there lah,' I will. But don't just talk only and don't mean it. Don't worry about a depreciating ringgit if the money is to be spent within Malaysia and for retirement. It appreciates or increase in value actually.

Balancing greed and passion

I left the civil service because I was paid pittance. How could a bread winner stay on a job that could not provide sufficiently for his family? That should be the basis for consideration in the compensation of a job, especially a higher level job or the equivalent of the Admin Service. At that time, I was told, the head of PSC believed that people should serve in the civil service with passion, a duty to the country. Pay should not be the main draw. Within two years after I left the civil service the pay was revised, and revised and revised. Today, the civil servants are getting a pay no less attractive than the private sector. And many good men were retained to serve in the capacity of public servants. And probably many of these good men will be saying to themselves, am I being over paid? Should there be a question of passion to serve? It is tricky to balance between passion and pay. How much pay is too much? How low pay will dismiss the passion in a man/woman to serve when he is not able to provide his dependants with a decent and comfortable life? This is a million dollar question best left to those who are paid in millions to decide.

Political Justice or Injustice

Singapore is being attacked internationally on two fronts. At the UN, Singaporeans were viciously attacked for their integrity by fictitious charges only to be vindicated later. But that is not the end. In the case of Andrew Toh, they are now accusing Singapore of using its weight to stop the funding of Procurement Task Force which was where Andrew served his term. And in Indonesia, Temasek is found guilty of violating Indonesia's anti monopoly act. So Temasek would now have to spend time and money defending its position in probably a kangaroo court. The verdict of both cases will not be determined by facts but by political expediency. The political force of the day will be the final judge of whether Singapore is guilty or not guilty. This has always been the principles of political justice. There is no absolute right or wrong. The one in power decides who is right and who is wrong.

10/09/2007

Illusion of payrise

High inflation Major cause: Restructuring Strong currency cannot offset domestic pressures on prices. DBS analysis. Oct 8, 2007 Singapore exchange rate policy struggles with inflation Commentary by DBS Group Research (source: The Edge daily) SINGAPORE’s CPI inflation hit a 12-year high of 2.6% year on year (y-o-y) in July. While this was partially due to a two percentage point hike in the GST in July, some structural changes in the economy are also at play. Apart from imported inflation, which can be addressed with the exchange rate policy, much of the current inflationary pressure stems from domestic sources. Plainly, exchange rate policy is not very effective in dealing with domestically driven inflation. Policymakers will need to utilise non-monetary policies to complement the exchange rate policy if inflation is to be kept in check. The above is part of an article posted in littlespeck.com. What is actually affecting the people today is that their income is shrinking. Yes, they are getting a huge pay cut without knowing it. And to maintain their same purchasing power, a huge pay rise is necessary just to go back to square on. The illusion of huge pay rise is as good as watching David Copperfield and his magic show. It is all an illusion. There is no pay rise for those who got a pay rise, except those who got a very substantial payrise. Those who got little or no payrise is getting a paycut.

Chinese vote not lost

This is what Khairy believed. He believed that after all that had happened, after all that he had said and done, the Chinese vote is still with him. And for that matter the Indian vote. And he is confident that he has done the right thing and the minority votes will still support him. We will see.

Like that also got?

The Singapore Embassy has came out officially to dismiss Juwono's claimed that MM was the stumbling block in the DCA ETA agreements and that Singapore added new conditions to the agreements after it was signed by Juwono himself. I believe the Singapore side of the story. Singapore will not make any statement officially on such an important issue without getting its facts right. And what Juwono had said, sadly, is a reflection of the quality and mentality of the Indonesian leader. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Children shattered and parents protest

The recent PSLE seemed to be taking its toll on the children if a letter writer is to be believed. Guo Weifu complained that his son was in the top class but came back shattered after the PSLE maths exam. He checked and found that many children also suffered the same fate. The questions were too tough and many were not able to complete half or more of the questions. This is indeed frightening when anything less than 100 marks is deemed no good. And the confidence of the children were literally smashed. Poor children. Poor parents. What is happening huh?

10/08/2007

Medisave money can use a bit only

My father in law has stones in his kidney and he was admitted into a private hospital. The so called specialist recommended him to go for a minor operation the next day. As he was in pain, he decided to go ahead without asking about the cost of the operation. End up his stayed in the hospital for 4 days and 3 night. His hospital bill was $11K. Only can use $1K from his medisave to pay. The rest has to be paid by cash. Is medisave really that good?? The above was posted in Sammyboy. If it is true, then what is our money in the Medisave for? Huh, our money or not our money? Isn't the Medisave meant to pay for our hospitalisation? Or is it to be rationed for 20 hospitalisation stays in the future? Jesus!

Compulsory annuities will be introduced

Ong Hui Guan, Secretariat, National Longetivity Insurance Committee wrote a reply to Vincent Chia and assured the public that they will carefully considered all angles after consulting the actuarial experts. Did he also said, 'thank you for your comment, the compulsory annuities will be introduced no matter what?' Or they may or may not introduce annuities if the study is not favourable? But it seems that the study is about how best to introduce and not about the relevance of the whole concept. The path to be travelled is quite clear.

The residents were furious

Raymond Lim and his MPs hold court to answer queries from the residents. I saw some snippets on TV news. And were the residents furious? The short clip only showed some residents asking questions on the ineffectiveness of ERP despite having to pay more and the ire over the comment that the funeral hub at Sin Ming Lane were be as attractive as Disneyland. The Minister and his MPs replied. By their expression you could see how uncomfortable they were. Neither were the standard replies well received. Would the Minister and MPs think that they have replied and case closed?

10/07/2007

Irreversible demographic change

The speed at which the population is changing and its effects on Singaporeans is an area of great concern. Does the govt need to consult the people, getting a referendum for such a major change that can affect their lives adversely? Or as Josephine Teo said, when the govt has carefully considered the problem and think that it is good for the people, it has all the right to go ahead with it? This demographic change is going to affect those living now and the future generation for good or for the worst. It is no joking matter.

Before the nails are hammered in

There is a reprieve of 6 months for the appointed committee to review the annuity scheme. From all the official statements made so far, you can expect nothing much to be changed. A fresh sum of money will be locked away. That is as good as what we have been told. And that seems to be the real objective. The rest like providing for an income when most would probably die is simply crab. And all the fuss can be solved, I repeat again, by a plate of char kway teow. And that is what it will cost the people or govt. There is no need to lock away more money. We are reaching a point of hysteria and insanity by harping on how much the people need when they already have enough to keep themselves going. Only a very small group will need help and the help is just a plate of char kway teow. Even this plate of char kway teow can be spared if the $30k in the Medisave can be redesigned for the aged, ie above 85. There is no need to build a mountain out of a mole hill.

The seduction of Greed

The en bloc sales panic is easing with new laws coming in to stamp the euphoria. Property prices suddenly took a turn for the worst, or becoming more stable. But before the ink dries, the media are reporting on another new frenzy. Property prices in the eastern shores are rising, and rising and rising. Quick, quick, grab what you can find before prices run away. We are now seeing two opposing camps singing different tunes. On one side, there is a call for caution and to keep the lid on property prices shooting to the sky. On the other, the stirring and fuelling of news of how prices will rise and the encouragement to buyers to start buying at whatever price. Some will get burn by greed and some will make a fortune from this greed. Heard of a case where the owner stood to gain $400k during the en bloc madness. But when the new regulations came in, the price fell through the bottom. The buyer chose to forfeit his option money of $15k than to pay for a property that he could now get for $400k less.

Formula to make blogs a success

A new blog is claimed to be a great success in the morning paper today. Its main topics are sex and marriage. Wow, that's the way to go and the msm will help to popularise it as what blogs should be or should talk about. I am thinking of adding a few threads like, like Exploits in Geylang, or Illicit Affairs, or Forbidden Sex, to attract more bloggers here. After all, what else should Singaporeans be encouraged to talk about?

10/06/2007

It is the fault of China, Asean and...

The problems created by the military regime in Myanmar is the problem of China, Asean and yes Singapore. We are the guilty ones. We are the ones that are not doing anything to help the Myanmese. We have no moral obligations for not helping the Myanmese people fight against a military regime for their liberty. All the accusing fingers in the West are pointing at China, at Asean and Singapore in particular. We are the bad guys. We must solve the problems in Myanmar. What a joke!!! It is time China, Asean and Singapore, and the rest of the world, point the fingers at the West for allowing the killings to go on in Iraq. It is time to free the Palestines and restore to them their right to their homeland. And who is preventing them from gaining their freedom? What is the West doing? Yes it is the Americans and the West that is allowing the carnage in Iraq to go on, and the Palestine to continue to be suppressed in their homeland.

Notable quotes - Eng Hen

I was reading Eng Hen's views on political renewal reported by Lynn Lee. He shared his thoughts on the recruiting process and that PAP was wary of those too eager to please. After the lengthy article came this quote at the end that is hardly related to the renewal process but the effectiveness of blogs. 'Progress will not be marked by the pings of a thousand hits on your blog, but from quiet yet determined voices willing to work for a better tomorrow.' Ng Eng Heng What is he saying? Bloggers are ineffective and does not contribute anything to society nor do they do anything useful. Or perhaps he is telling those young and aspiring politicians who blogged, that they are wasting their time. People like Goh Meng Seng and those at TOC should take note and stop blogging. They should go about quietly to do something for society without creating all the din in cyberspace. The question I would like to ask is whether the compulsory annuity scheme and the delay withdrawal age would have been pushed through if not of the noises in cyberspace. Or would the further study on the proposals a result of msm and grassroot feedback that make the govt do a rethink?

Talking about possibilities

Geylang is seeing its first protest from the locals. On one side of the lorong, the conservatively dressed and slightly older women were fuming. Their placards and banners screamed, 'Give us back our jobs,' 'This is unfair competition,' 'We have children and family to look after,' 'We have 50 more years to work.' On the other side of the lorong, young, sexy and scantily dressed foreign service providers continue to ply their trade, inviting streams of customers to their haunts. Occasionally they will turn their heads, give their luscious long hair a flip, and give a sneering glance at the aunties across the roads. It is like saying, 'If you don't have it, don't blame us.' There used to be defined turfs for each group of service providers. And everyone guarding their territories with teeth and finger nails. Today, we have globalised, we open up to invite the best talents from overseas to compete with our locals, based on talents, skills, and abilities. We practise free trade and meritocracy. If you don't measure up, just too bad. It is good to see the skin trade having some competition from foreign talents. It is good to see the locals standing up and fighting for their rice bowls. In the meantime the children at home will have lesser to eat.

10/05/2007

Notable quotes - LKY

On CPF money 'And if anybody thinks he can do better, he's welcome to take his money and go to a fund manager and try and do better.' Lee Kuan Yew.

15 years retroactive Treaty

Indonesia wants the Extradition Treaty to be back dated by 15 years. This means that anything in the past can catch up with anyone. It is the same kind of thinking that destroyed Malaysia's credibility when they introduced new property ownership laws retroactively. If Singapore will to do so, it will create huge upheaval to our legal systems. This is a precedent that it cannot oblige. It is something that is too crucial to attempt. Shouldn't even think of it.

Mobile phones are dangerous

The ease at which mobile phones can be converted to IEDs, Improvised Explosive Devices needs to be thought through carefully. Maybe it is time to ban the sale and of mobile phones.

No questions from Singaporeans?

MM had a forum with the students at NTU and out of 9 questions asked, only two came from Singaporeans. And he asked, 'Are there no Singaporeans who want to ask questions?' Now, should he be worried or happy that Singaporeans don't ask questions? Does he know the answer or does he not? It is common knowledge among Singaporeans that they are being watched. The lack of participation in this forum speaks loudly of how Singaporeans feel about speaking out. And it is better to be safe than sorry. And this is an unique quality that Singaporeans shall cherished as it has taken us so far, so progressive and materially comfortable. We shouldn't be worried about Singaporeans not thinking and asking questions. The govt is doing all the thinking for them.

10/04/2007

Jonathan Lock is saved once again.

This time he does not even have to pay his lawyers. Apparently the two parties were so happy with the legal tussle. And the High Court did not like what it saw and threw everything out of the window. And one of them will be placed under disciplinary investigation for 'breach of professional duties' and putting his clients to 'unnecessary monetary risks and adverse legal consequences'. Maybe I should repost this in the column Signs of Progress.

Annuities - More statistics

Dr Vincent Chia showed some statistics on the life expectancy of people according to social classes. It is a known fact that life expectancy favours the richer nations. And domestically, the more well off will live longer. Dr Chia showed that 43.5% of those who lived past 85 lived in 4 rm flats or better. 29.1% lived in 3 rm flats and 11% in 1 and 2 rm flats. A compulsory annuity scheme will benefit more the economically better off people, especially when those who die earlier will have their contributions forfeited to benefit the survivors. Who's bright idea is that? But this does not address the half blanket problem. This is an old story of a poor man with a half blanket. In the cold of the night, if he covers his legs, his top body will be exposed. If he covers his top, the bottom will be exposed. No matter how he tries, he cannot cover all his body. In the case of the lower income group, this is their plight. To put money aside for the future is to go hungry now. Not to do it means they will go hungry later. Either way, it is LPPL. When you are poor, you are poor. And to make things worst, you are told to be self reliance. Don't expect the govt to help you. Don't expect your children to help you. Forget about the virtues of family and filial piety. All the young people, when hearing that it is not their problem to help their ageing parents, because the govt said so and appreciated their problems of having difficulties even to look after themselves, must be feeling very relieved. A big load has been taken off their shoulders. They will not be blamed. The old folks' problems is their pasar. This is the value of this country.

10/03/2007

Medisave, the untouchable

Recently there have been quite a number of letters to the forum discussing the money in the Medisave and to use it for health screening. Though the reasons seem logical, they violated the fundamental reason for the $30k in the Medisave. It is to pay expensive hospitalisation bill when the day comes for admission. So this sum cannot be touched. It is a very important sum of money to save the dying. The living must find their own ways to keep themselves alive. And they can be assured that when they are dying, and needs hospitalisation, the money is there.

MOH withdrawn recognition of top university

Cheng Shoong Tat wrote to ST to show his concern about MOH withdrawing recognition of medical degree from a top university only after being informed by the Indian authority. This kind of problem, substandard and imitation degrees, is prevalent in most developing countries. Even in mature western countries, imitation degrees are quite common. In all fields, an error in judgement may not be so critical. But in medical science, when the consequences mean life and death, we must expect greater due diligence. Not only it will affect our people, it will also affect the quality of the whole medical profession and our medical hub reputation.

10/02/2007

Another sad example.

He poured urine on a young child's head and slapping many for misbehaviour. His lawyer said he did all these to help the boys. 'He stayed on out of a sense of purpose to improve the boys' lot. There is no evidence to suggest that he stayed on merely to abuse the boys.'

So embarrassing and so disgraceful

Why is the library book loan issue such a big issue? It is only a few cents owed. It is embarrassing and disgraceful not because NLB is chasing for the money. It is embarrassing and disgraceful when people owed money in terms of a few cents or a few dollars. For goodness sake, if anyone wants to chalk out any debt, make sure it is big. A few cents is really unbecoming, just like kpkb for a few cents increase in transport fare. What are the people thinking about? Don't they know how to think big? At least the amount owed should be $10k. That is probably the least one has to pay the lawyers to sue another person to recover the debt and with no guarantee of getting a cent back. And if the amount is in millions, one can become an instant celebrity. May even write a book or produce a movie based on the exploits. May be headhunted for a big job. Singaporeans are pathetic.

10/01/2007

Coffee Shop Talk - A shameful sight

A shameful sight at the Esplanade. From: dream_waker 02:27 Was walking around the esplanade yesterday and some sinkie that I came across there coupled with my experience of working with quite a few others in my work prompted me to write some observation here. What I saw at the esplanade along the bay front. (1)A group of teenager, both guy & gal, around the age of 14-16 were running in rank and file, one carrying a flag and the worse part....they were singing "1 little 2 little 3 little indian...." in singlish tone. I turn my eye away in disgust... I observed that some foreign tourist there were also looking at this sinkies with shocked and amused expression, what a shame... (2)At the esplanade a play for kids was being conducted at the foyer . Nothing wrong, except that the play was conducted in singlish....I covered my ears in disgust. I also notice that all the audience crowding around the play were sinkies, a lot of them in heartlander attire. No foreigners were in sight, they must have found the crap equally repulsive. At work I have also been constantly irritated and pissed off by sinkie corporate customer who do not see thing in a bigger and strategic picture but always like to focus and argue on nitty gritty things, where they think that they are the "master" in applying their "western trained logical thinking" into analysis. They failed to realize how stupid it is to be wasting time discussing and arguing on things that will not serve any major or strategic purpose. In short, they think they are very smart and always like to pass comment and opinion with a tone of certainty. I always avoid working with sinkie customer as far as possible. It seem that 30 years of education has only manage to produce crops of stupid, naive, petty and worse arrogant freaks that are neither appreciated or accepted in the east or in the west. Sad... I must admit that I find this terribly amusing. I too sang that song in school as a kid. And everyone of us sang it with gusto, prompted by the teachers. It was such a nice children song to teach us to sing, to count and to read. Never has it occurred to me that in today's context it is offensive. I never thought it so, the children of all the races did not think so then, the teachers of all races did not think so then too. Even today I don't think so. This guy who posted this article in Sammyboy forum must be a FT and terribly paranoid. Maybe he got his point. Maybe that is the reason why Black September Day failed. I am thinking of singing the song here. It is ringing in my ears. Better not, less I offended anyone. The MOE must send out a circular to ban this song.

Myth 162 - A myth waiting to become truth

A myth waiting to become truth Everyone is asking if the CPF is our money. Many in cyberspace have angrily decried that it is not our money. And the Govt refuses to be involved in this discussion to say either this or that. And the people cry. There are many reasons to say that the money is no longer our money with a few exceptions. The people can use it to buy properties, stocks and some other uses. This is as far as it goes. But the usage is determined by the Govt. It can change the usage, the amount to be used and what it can be used anytime it wishes. This is best proven by what Josephine Teo said. If the Govt thinks fit, it will intervene to decide how to use the CPF money in whatever way it deems fit even against the wishes of the owners. Now, let's ask a few questions. Can the CPF member use it anyway it wants? No. Can they use any amount they want? No. Can they use it any time they want? No. Do they have any say as to what and how it is to be used? No. And not the Govt is saying that they must compulsorily buy a product called annuity which many do not need or want. This is serious. What is evident here is that the members have no control over the money. The Govt has the final say and can always change the law to keep the money from the members. Theoretically the Govt can decide, in its own interpretation of what is good for the members, to pay the money after their death. So is the money the member's money? Or it is just a myth?