4/30/2008

SMRT profit soars to $150 mil

Full year profit soared despite higher fuel and operating cost. Profit rose by 10.7% due to higher ridership and other incomes. So will fare price come down? I don't think so looking at oil prices. I think more increases are likely if the mindset and past precedence are to go by. And the reasons of the past can always be pushed out again and again. And don't forget that they are answerable to the shareholders to bring in ever increasing profits.

The internet revolution

Imagine all these years when the supremacy of the press was unchallenged. The editors, the journalists and reporters were in such a comfortable and commanding position to write whatever they want in the press. And the masses just had to read whatever that were in prints. Internet is such a revolution as far as spreading news and information is concerned. And the coverage of internet is world wide. Its readership can only keep on going up while the printed media is limited to a paid readership, and shrinking. China alone has 220 mil net users, surpassing the US. The talk back process, the challenge to official views, the cynicism and criticism of tooth and half truths must be quite a shocking experience to the editors and journalists. Suddenly the comfort zone vanishes and they have to face judgement day for every piece of article they write. No longer untouchables. And if they write nonsense, they will look nonsensical. It is a brave new world.

Appalled by the state of corporate governance

Theresa Goh was so appalled by the reports on corporate governance at CAO that she wrote to Today with 7 pointed questions. 1. Is it right For CAO not to appoint a CEO after the fiasco 3 years ago? 2. Is it decent for the Chairman to be given an above average remuneration in director's fees, assuming that he is de facto CEO? 3. Is it right for the CEO to appoint independent directors from his network? 4. Is it decent for Wang Kai Yuen to accept more than 14 directorships? 5. Is it right for David Gerald, Chairman of SIAS, to endorse CAO's governance standards, based on seemingly misleading statements given by them... 6. Is it decent for him to say 'There is no law that prevents them from taking up more positions so long as they can discharge their duties and make sure that the shareholders are not disappointed? This is the sad state of affairs of corporate governance.

4/29/2008

I am so angry....and so helpless

I used to be the one that called the shot. I decide what people should read, should know and what I think they need not know. I set the agenda on what people should be thinking about, should be talking about or should not be thinking about. You see, I decide what is in the people's mind. And sometimes I tried to be generous and invite people to say what they want to say. Then I went through them and chose what was agreeable to me and allowed it to be said. And those that I did not like, I threw them in the waste paper basket. And they were so helpless. Some felt very frustrated as their pet topic would not be given a chance to be aired. Whew! I was that powerful. Not that I could not do the same things now. I am still doing the same things. But people are not listening to me anymore. They simply ignore me. They went to cyberspace and say whatever they want and to whoever they want. Things that I do not want them to say they keep on saying. And I can't do anything about it. They now set their own agenda. They think what they want to think and decide want they think is important and what is not. And there are things that I do not want them to talk about for good reasons but they keep talking about them, and fanning them. And I am powerless. I cannot throw them into the waste paper basket any more. Neither can I ignore them. It is they who are ignoring me. And they even criticise me. They dare to criticise me. My god! What is happening?

Is there a disconnect?

Just a few months before the Malaysian GE, UMNO did not see any disconnect with the people. UMNO believed that it was in an unassailable position, that the bumiputras would be strongly behind them and the opposition could not do anything about it. They kicked their BN partners on their arses. They kissed the keris in a threatening manner. They tore down temples and places of worship of non Muslims at will. They cut down education grant for schools for the non Malays, and they took and took, to fill up their bank accounts. They never saw it coming. They believe there was no disconnect. Is there a disconnect south of the causeway? No, no signs of any disconnect. The govt is with the people and the people all behind the govt. All the decisions and policies and explanations were well received by the people. So where got problem? The third pay rise for the ministers will be coming soon. All is well.

Corporate Governance raising its ugly head again

Lee Suet Fern resigned as independent director of CAO. She was unhappy about how decisions were made. It was more like a fait accompli according to a report in Today. And the Chairman doubles up as the CEO and paid an undisclosed sum. And 'the firm is said to be in contravention of the Corporate Governance Code, which requires that at least one third of the board of the directors are independent.' How could a public company be in violation of the Corporate Governance Code when there are so many eminent and highly honourable people in the board? Don't these people know that their actions are illegal? They are the cream of our society, the role models, the people that the public look up to. So what is at fault, the system or the people? A primary school kid will give you the answer immediately. And if Lee Suet Fern would not have resigned, the issue would not have come out in the open and everyone will be so happy continuing what they were doing without any sense of wrongdoing. Another point which I think is very wrong in our culture is that independent directors are there to make sure things are done right and legally. They are not supposed to run away when they see that things are going wrong or when things got foul with the law. Why would our world class infrastructure and system of transparency and accountability allow such things to get by without putting a stop to it? Are independent directors appointed only to collect money when things are ok and quickly runaway when things are going wrong, and thus absolve their responsibility? When will there be a major revamp of the independent directors system to make sure that everyone in the board of directors are held accountable for wrong doings? A parallel report by Esther Fung said SIAS 'did not determine any obvious flaws in CAO governance standards following concerns raised by Mrs Lee Suet Fern in her resignation letter last week.' The report also said CAO board 'comprised 4 reps from CAO's parent company, two reps from oil giant BP and 3 independent directors.' And that this is unprecedented. Now who is right?

4/28/2008

Myth 179 - PAP and people disconnect

The disconnect is due mainly to the PAP government’s failure, or refusal, to understand the importance of the affective component in a government-people relationship. Indeed anything outside their sternly pragmatic, rationalist, functionalist framework is viewed as just so much unnecessary emotionalism or ideology. Catherine Lim The above quote from Catherine Lim came about after the Mas Selamat escape. Catherine concluded that the way the govt handled the issue showed that there is a disconnect between the govt and the people. It seems that what the people expected of the govt have not been met. I think this is only a single issue and is not sufficient to say that there is a disconnect. Furthermore the escape is not even crucial if a journalist's comment is to be taken seriously. So my view is that there is no disconnect. The people will likely return the govt to power in the next GE and with bigger majority. That will be the best proof that there is no disconnect between the people and the govt. And the party will go on and on. You want more proof? See, no public demonstration. And the online petition calling for Kan Seng's resignation is not even receiving any support. Neither were there a flood of letters in the ST forum page criticising the way the govt is handling the case. Case proven. Case closed.

Investigative journalism

If our journalists are running out of ideas or what to write, do a little investigative journalism on this case. Many things could be revisited. Many people could be interviewed. And we will have a great strong from another dimension.

Put frugality into practice

Why must people be made to pay for more luxurious things that they do not want? The current mindset is that if you have money, you must spend, pay for comfort or eat sharksfin even if you don't want to. This kind of prodigous thought must be abolished. Frugality is a virtue, thrift is a virtue. There is nothing wrong for people who want to save. Lily Chan-Wong Jee Choo, Acting Dep Director, HDB, replied to a Song Yee Soon who called for a revision of the $8000 income ceiling for HDB buyers. She said there are many choices available to high income earners in the resale and open market. Yes, sure. But why should these people be penalised just because they are earning more? Penalised for being more able? What if they are first time buyers? When the housing problems are almost solved, it is timely to doing away with this policy of higher income must buy bigger and more expensive flats. Why can't higher income earners choose to live in smaller flats? Why must spend everything or hang a millstone over one's neck?

Sorry not enough

Several UMNO Youth Branches are calling for Hishammuddin to resign for his keris kissing antics and causing the lost of confidence from other BN supporters. Kadar Shah Sulaiman Ninam Shah said about 90 branch and 25 divisional leaders made the call after Hishammuddin's apology and admission of his mistake. Actually Abdullah is paying for the sins of Mahathir, Hishammuddin and Khairy. The poor PM is being asked to resign for inheriting problems caused by other UMNO leaders. Now this is definitely unfair. Abdullah is a moderate leader, not an extremist. Given a chance, Abdullah could bring Malaysia forward in a more democratic way. It is time the wrongdoers be made to pay for their sins, not Abdullah.

Looking for a closure?

BN Balji wrote a piece titled, 'Looking for closure in Mas Selamat case.' Many would like a closure quickly. But many more will want to see more if the mood in cyberspace is to go by. Princess Diana's death has still yet to see a closure after so many years. And with so many questions unanswered or unsatisfactorily answered, would a closure now be acceptable? Balji answered his own question. 'That will come when fugitive is found and the issue of culture is dissected.' What does he meant by issue of culture? Actually the issue of culture today is money culture. If one is prepared to demand to be paid in millions, the expectancy of the people is equally high and unforgiving for mistakes of such a nature. Many are now obsessed by the equation of responsibility and money. The more the money, the higher the responsibility. It cannot be otherwise. We need to address this issue of money culture thoroughly in order to appease the angry people. There is no free lunch.

Addressing higher payments instead of cost

By 1 Dec the basic Medishield premium will just go up. It will just go up, like it or not, object or not. It has so been decided. And it is so cheap, $1 more a month for the young and only $40 a month for those above 80. Hey that is $480 more a year above what they are paying now. This is what happens when you have no control over your CPF or Medisave. A ruling, and your money disappears. No one is interested in addressing the cost of medical fees but on how to make you pay. How much will Medishield be expected to pay out? ICU claims from $200 to $900, surgical implants like pacemakers and hip replacement form $2,500 to $7,000. Or not happy can opt out. Can anyone afford to opt out and risk being bankrupted with this kind of medical fees? The increase premium also means that the patients are now able to afford to pay more. This also means that hospital can also afford to charge more. But no sweat. According to one reitiree who was so glad, he said he did not feel any pinch because the premium was paid by his Medisave. My 85 year old mum was even happier. She said it was free. No need to pay because CPF was paying. But for the millions of CPF account holders, millions were paid from their CPF, like it or not, use it or not. Everyone is paying in advance. So cheap.

4/27/2008

The new agenda

Worst recession is coming, tighten belt, prepare for more retrenchment. And the new catchphrase is frugality. The Ah Sohs have been interviewed and appeared on TV talking about cutting down on their expenses, checking prices and go for the cheapest food stuff. Everyone is worried and is saving every cent they could. What, a few months back we were clapping and cheering that we are living in our golden years. Or was it a golden mirage? Why everything is so gloomy and dark? Don't be deceived by such thoughts. Many are still buying the new Ferrari or Lamborghini or the new pleasure boat just because it is a new model. And they already have a few in their garages or in the marina clubs. Many are living the Swiss standard of living and all these little increases in petrol or rice is of no significance. It only affects the Ah Peks and Ah Sohs in the hardlands. While we should be happy for those who are having a good time, lets do something for these hardlanders when living is really going to get worst. What is the point of saving a few cents or a few dollars when one admission into a hospital could wipe out their life savings? Why still insist that people must pay for the most expensive wards that they are deemed to be able to afford? Lets be frugal. Frugality is good. Lets put it into practice. People who want to save every cent must be encouraged to do so. Provide more C wards and do away with the mean thing.

Defending Kan Seng

The divide between cyberspace and msm is stark. One is outright in demanding that Kan Seng accepts full responsibility and resign. The other is saying that he should not take the blame and should stay on, be given a second chance. I just did a straw poll on ST readers and 78% supported Kan Seng to stay on. 11% said he should do the honourable thing to resign. And 11% said someone should resign but not necessary Kan Seng. My straw poll is from the comments of 9 people appearing in the ST. Take it with a pinch of salt. What about the kopitiams and the private talks? Generally many were very cynical about the whole affair and their stand, though not saying much, is more for someone high up to take the rap. What is surprising is that in Parliament seatings, no one spoke out in defence of Kan Seng except for Hsien Loong. Other than those who asked uncomfortable questions, the rest were just too shock to take a stand. From ministers to MPs, their position as to whether Kan Seng should or should not resign was a complete silence. Perhaps some of you may read somewhere that there were MPs or Ministers who spoke out for Kan Seng. No one seems to be able to 'cho swee swee' and come out with an amicable position to please the public outrage, I mean the internet outrage, and at the same time leaving Kan Seng where he is. The position of msm at this point, when the heat is at its worst, to come out with a stand like Chua Lee Hoong, only helped to antagonise those who want to see Kan Seng's resignation. It is better to let the heat subside a little, when tempers are less likely to flare before saying something to the contrary. Sometimes not saying anything is better than adding fuel to the fire.

4/26/2008

Hishamuddin apologises

After one and a half months of soul searching, think he found his soul, Hishamuddin apologised for his antics in keris kissing. He could not believe that kissing a keris can be so deadly, that it will cause the downfall of UMNO. He explained that his apology to the non Malays, 'for being frightened of a symbol, which was not my intention.' And to the Malays, 'for not being able to defend a heritage symbol.' So the reason for the kissing of the keris was only to defend a heritage symbol and nothing else. And when asked if he will kiss the keris again, he said he could not guarantee that he would not do it again. Next week 100 Malay organisations will hold a conference to defend Malay rights in Johore Bahru.

We cannot raise your salary

I mean we cannot raise the workers' salary to meet the rising cost of living. Everything is going up but your salary cannot go up. We will lose our competitiveness. The no jobs how? And your problem? What's your problem? Oh, money not enough. Then you should think of ways to make money enough. Buy cheaper stuff, tighten belt, eat lesser, spend lesser, stay at home, don't bathe and save water. Or learn from Redbean, eat instant noodles and 3 in 1, housebrand is better and cheaper.

Diversity is bad at national level

I notice this interesting quote in the ST this morning. 'The incongruity of posting an apology in Chinese to viewers of a wholly Tamil programme appears to have been lost on the service provider.' Narayana Narayana was reacting to Starhub's apology in English and a translation in Chinese for a breakdown of a Tamil programme in SunTV Channel 29. I agree that Tamil do not read Chinese and it is nonsensical to use a Chinese translation for this. Of course the stubborn would argue that some Chinese also watch Tamil programme. The point I am pushing is that in the future, any breakdown of programme in Channel 8 will be accompanied by apologies in Hokien,Cantonese, Hakka, Teochew etc etc. if we are not careful. And as we bring in more foreigners, they too will demand to be recognised. This is the problem that we must be careful not to for into. It would be better to have lesser differences and seek a common ground than to accentuate our differences and pander to ethnic and racial emotions and sympathies. It will lead to greater problems in the future. We must put an end to all the calls to cater for all the differences of ethnic groups. Staying on with 4 official languages is already too much of a problem. Anything more is like opening a can of worms. Just keep such interests within talking cock sessions at home or in private. The individuals can do what they want at their own time and expenses. The state shall not be a party for such digression.

Mas escape nothing crucial

Chua Lee Hoong's article this morning said that there were more crucial issues than the escape. So let's move on and stop bugging Kan Seng. She took to task all the abuses and indiscriminate and unwarranted calls in cyberspace for Kan Seng to resign. And this is how she justified her stand. The buck must stop somewhere, otherwise we will have no ministers left in no time. I must agree on this if the frequency of mistakes is going to grow. Or I can disagree as the ministers and all the supertalents will not allow mistakes like this to happen. 'But the Mas Selamat escape? What loss has there been, except that of face - mostly?' I never thought that people are seeing this from the angle of losing face. And no loss? Would the loss of a dangerous terrorist that wanted to bomb an SIA plane be something? According to Chua Lee Hoong, Mas is not a homicidal maniac, and would not be a danger to the Singapore public. OK I agree. Then he should not be in the detention centre in the first place. And there is no need to mount an island wide search for more than a month. How many manhours were involved, the cost of mounting the search and the collateral damage of inconveniencing people and businesses and the loss of businesses. The best part of her article is this para. 'The escape has been a big stain on the reputation of the MHA. But it has been a lesser stain on the reputation of Singapore. We hold ourselves as more infallible than the world holds us. If you talk to businessmen and investors, the escape has been no more than an interesting interlude, with no impact on their business decisions.' This I fully agree with her. It is so interesting and amusing. Now why is everyone getting so excited about this interesting interlude and went to Parliament to challenge Kan Seng, and so many red faces? I must call for an immediate stand down to all the searches and all the nonsense appearing in cyberspace. Should anyone blame the msm for making a mole hill out of this interesting and not crucial interlude?

An interesting discovery on the mysterious escape

One interesting point that I gather from yesterday's article by Teh Joo Lin and Chong Chee Kin is that they did not know which route he took to escape. There was no evidence in the scene to confirm anything. According to American crime scene expert Gary Rini, 'endless possibilities of forensic evidence could remain at a scene, including hair, fibres, fingerprints, DNA and footprints.' And he 'was puzzled by the lack of forensic evidence but said that the question was how soon the team had been called in.' So did he or did he not escaped? Or how did he escape? The CCTV, the silent sentinel could not say anything. The escape may be answered by the discovery of his baju kurung in the forest. So Mas Selamat first took out his pants, then his baju kurung. He must be running around naked. Could he be wearing two layers of clothing and the gurkhas or any of the officers could not notice this? Just try to put on two shirts and two pants and you will get an obvious answer immediately. Is this an exercise to test the gullibility of Singaporeans?

4/25/2008

The fear of the uncertain future

'A Malaysian friend from the state of Selangor just told me that he had been pleasantly surprised at the way that the general elections had turned out. ”For years we were told that if the opposition came into power, there would be chaos and bloodshed, that they’re troublemakers,” he said. For fear of instability, he – and his family – had always voted for the governing alliance – Barisan Nasional (BN) – including in the most recent election. He had done so despite realising that BN was doing a lousy job, he added. “Fear of trouble made us shun the opposition. Now we know better.” The picture in the immediate aftermath has turned out surprisingly well. No one, of course, can predict the future, ....' The above are extracts from an article by Seah Chiang Nee in www.littlespeck.com. He was discussing the recent Malaysian GE and its aftermath. Singaporeans have also been told of a similar situation should the opposition wins and form a new govt. There will be trouble, investors will flee because of the uncertainties, instability will take over, Singapore women folks will become maids in other countries. And of course the unspoken, the opposition will be bad govt and will squander the countries savings away, ie our CPF savings. So the only right thing to do for kiasu and kiasi Singaporeans is to vote for the same party and govt to ensure continuity, stability and prosperity,...and no trouble.

Notable quote by Chua Mui Hoong

'Sometimes...the harder course is to face down the calls to resign, stay put - and win the war.' Chua Mui Hoong Chua Mui Hoong mentioned the above quote when comparing British Defence Secretaty Joh Nott who offered to resign during the Falkland War, actually recolonisation of the Falklands, with the call for Kan Seng to resign. All CEOs who are getting multi million dollar salary should frame this up and hang it in their offices just in case. It is a good piece of pragmatic advice.

Move over Mas Selamat

The most search name in cyberspace is now Wong Kan Seng. The name has knocked Mas Selamat to second place. And printing firms have been receiving orders to print photos of Wong Kan Seng onto T shirts and mugs for sale. We now have another cult personality that is bigger than mediacorp stars.

A little uneasiness

This is what I heard after a tree planting day. A little special tree would be chosen for a minister to hold a spade or a pail of water for photo shooting. After that a little plague would be placed beside the young tree saying, 'This tree was planted by Minister Bu Zhang on 25 April 2008.' Ah Goo actually dug the hole. Ahmad carried the young tree from the nursery and Muthu did all the watering. Now the three were unhappy. They want their names on the plague also. They want the plague to read, 'This tree was planted by Minister Bu Zhang and Ah Goo, Ahmad and Muthu on 25 April 2008.' They all want to share a little credit for doing the actual work. Never mind that their names come after the minister.

The Gurkhas

There is an article in the ST today about the Maoist govt in Nepal and a new policy on not allowing gurkhas to serve in foreign countries as mercenaries. It also told about the fearless, courageous and loyal traits of the gurkhas. One thing it missed is that gurkhas made poor guards. They are good fighting soldiers, but behave like school boys when on guard duties. When something happens, they will run to the teacher and ask what to do. They do not know how to react on the spot. They are unthinking, only good at taking orders. It is proven in the Mas Selamat case. They did not know that the basic rule in guarding dangerous prisoners is not to let them out of sight. Never. But they did. The gurkhas should be deployed only in the battle fields to do combat.

What is $5 mil?

Do we want Selamat back? Yes? Do we want him back badly? Yes...No? For a mere $5 mil, the whole world will be searching for him. Why are we stinging on this little money? Not our policy! We have not done that. It was not our policy to have casinos. It was not our policy to pay ministers in millions. It was not our policy to be a welfare state. What else is not our policy or was not our policy? I Selamat is that dangerous, think of the damages that he can cause. A mere $5 mil is small change and very good value for money. The two months of search for Selamat must have gone past that amount.

The sacrificial lamb

The COI Report is a statement of failure. It is an open admission that the people managing the detention centre are amateurish, idiots, untrained, unthinking and simply did not know what they were doing. And the centre is designed to assist detainees to escape. It is that bad. Why would such a blatant admission of fault be made public? Who is the one who paid the heaviest price as the guilty party? Who is the sacrificial lamb? Some called the report bold, some horrendous. It was a revelation of an unpleasant truth that is waiting to be told, of a system that is failing but still believes that it is the best. Like the NKF, it is a miniature replica of the failure of a larger system. A system built on the belief that everyone is supertalent and need to be paid like superman. Maybe I am wrong. There are many supermen and superwomen, but all flying around in the cloud nine. At ground zero, it is another world. The world of the peasants and workers who are good enough to tighten belt everyday and with a head that is as empty as their stomach.

Singaporeans are control freaks

We are crazy in this area. We want to control everything. And if we are not controlling others, we want others to control us. We cannot leave things alone. There must be rules and regulations to guide our life. The internet is formless and without boundary. It is literary in vitual space. It is only a little more than what is in our mind, our thoughts, because of the network it resides in, the server and memory disc. Why then should it be regulated? Why is it that Singaporeans expect that it should be regulated? And why ask for it? This is a wrong premise to start with. Asking to be controlled is conceding that it should be controlled. There are enough rules and regulations, laws etc to manage our life. Slanders, libels, mischiefs, frauds, vandalism, whatever, in cyberspace can land one in the court of law. Cyberspace should be left alone as it its. Caveat emptor, the bloggers or forumers are owners of their posts and responsible for themselves. Let the offenders and offended parties track down the culprits and bring them to the court. It will be another lucratic economic activity for the business minded. My view is to leave cyberspace alone. There is no need for additional rules and regulations. Cyberspace has no physical footprint, no territorial space, and should be that way. We must remove this control mentality in us. Why allow people to control us? Is it so good to be controlled? Actually cyberspace cannot be controlled. At best one can blog out the site or go after the owner by tracking him down if he violates any existing laws. Do we want people to control our thoughts?

4/24/2008

What an Editorial piece!

TOC Editorial: Government’s lack of accountability bad for the PAP, worse for Singapore Posted by theonlinecitizen on April 23, 2008 The above TOC article is something that the msm cannot match. It has so much bite and so much common sense. If cyberspace is going to keep churning out articles like that, who would still bother to read the msm?

Crisis in leadership

We went through the NKF fiasco quite successfully. When the issue was in the open, Boon Wan quite decisively made a statement that no one will be spared. The message was clear that the wrong doers would be dealt with. They were dealt with. There were attempts to link it to the govt as a failure to prevent it from coming. But this did not hit off as the line was clear, a NGO charitable organisation. The current crisis is about the Home Ministry. There was a moment when no one was sure where it would lead to. Now the target is Kan Seng. There is even a petition calling for his resignation. A reminder of what happened in the NKF crisis. The subsequent events, the way the COI was delivered in Parliament, were not received well. It was the fault of the window, it was the fault of the Gurkhas, the poor design of the detention centre and many other lapses. Yes, a confluence of failures that led to the escape. It gave the impression that Kan Seng was a third party looking into the matter. And this was noticed earlier when the COI was formed. The Home Ministry investigating its own affair, unlike the Health Ministry investigating the wrongdoings of NKF. Wonder if it would help if Kan Seng had said, it was my men, my ministry that committed the lapses. Anyway, when Hsien Loong absolved Kan Seng and stopped the buck at the detention centre, the reaction was kind of a, what's that? The scene shifted. It is now a leadership issue. Would this issue develop into a full blown leadership crisis? The tension on the ground is simmering. This could be worst than the NKF crisis. I think damage control is in operation. I just browse through this morning's Today paper and there was not a single news on the issue. The silence is very telling.

4/23/2008

A new era of cooperation

The wind of change is blowing strong, and positively. Abdullah is pondering on the possibility of cooperating with the opposition. Why not, 'If there is no clash in policies, then perhaps it opens the way to cooperate.' He said. This is in response to the opposition offering Gerakan's Lee Kah Choon to head two opposition run development and investment organisations in Penang. The conciliatory gestures are healthy for democracy and the increasing maturing of a polity and the politicians. Politicians can clash during election on issues, but can still work together. In fact this is the basis on which democracy is supposed to work. Confrontation and vindictive politiking belong to third world countries when the rulers are basically thugs or mafia chieftains.

Witch hunt for scape goat

In Chua Mui Hoong's article she mentioned that the govt has accepted responsibility for the Mas Selamat escape and went on to discuss the virtues or correctness of pin pointing the one who is responsible for the escape. Who is culpable, who is to be blamed, who actually contributed to mistake or failure? What it finally boils down to is that the person who is directly involved in the issue should be held accountable. Those higher up, who are at a distance, who are not directly involved, should not be dragged in and be held accountable. Given this line of reasoning, the govt should not even accept responsibility for the escape. The people to be held accountable should be the guards, the people designing the detention centre and managing the detention centre. The rest of the govt has nothing to do with in. It is meaningless to accept responsibility without accountability. And it is wrong to accept responsibility when one is not involved or remote from the incident.

Lack of talent in Opposition

The Mas Selamat case is a golden opportunity for the opposition to score whatever points they want in Parliament. Unfortunately their performance so far is very unflattering. The best opposition came in the form of Inderjit Singh, who was able to ask some meaningful questions quite forcefully. I must say that I am very disappointed. How could the whole embarrassing episode get by and the opposition could not even make a small dent on the govt? And they had to shield their eyes in the face of a few glares. The lack of talent in the opposition camp to rise to the occasion is very telling.

The Parliament Glare

On the first day of Parliament Low Thia Khiang popped the cheeky question to Kan Seng on whether the rumour that Mas Selamat was already dead. All he got was a glare. And he conceded and answered his own question, that Mas was not dead. Yesterday he was asking Hsien Loong about accountability and suggesting that Kan Seng should resigned. He got a Hsien Loong glare. And he kept quiet when Hsien Loong asked him if Kan Seng should resign. At the rate that it is going, the glare will be so blinding that Parliament need not switch the lights anymore.

A new prison in Changi

It was reported that a better and more secure facility would be built inside Changi to replace the WRDC. A forumer wrote to Today saying that it was a bad idea as the terrorists and highly dangerous prisoners would be in contact with other prisoners and could turn it into a breeding ground for terrorists. He suggested an island like St John to keep them away from the masses. All very bad idea to me. We should not be wasting so much public money on terrorists and dangerous prisoners. And please don't give up our tropical island resorts to them. What they need is a double layer container, sealed and placed in the centre of nowhere. That should do the job. Just add a CCTV for added surveillance. But make sure it is switched on.

Notable quote by Redbean

'You can delegate a task, but you cannot delegate your responsibility.' Redbean I learnt this as a young officer in NS.

Professional and competent

I always have high regard for our security people. And I said that not without any justification. The last 40 years of security and a sense of being in a safe country speak for this belief. And many Singaporeans can swear by this too. But with the Mas Selamat case, it puts everyone in doubt. The Chinese has a phrase called 'mao dun.' This is best exemplified when my kopitiam talk cock friends pointed out all the glaring shortfalls that a boy scout could do better. The escape was due to a confluence of factors, factors that are too elementary, that should not have been there in a highly professional and competent organisation. Grunt has pointed out many shortcomings and confusing facts above that I don't wish to elaborate or to repeat. If Mas Selamat escaped through a well thought out plan, with the assistance of a gang of helpers, that would be a different issue. What had happened, when a highly dangerous prisoner could practically walked out of a high security centre, must have baffled many people. What does the simplicity of the escape says? It is this simplicity that is shocking and unforgiveable, if I have to put it bluntly. The security personnel and system were not challenged a little bit. They actually facilitated the escape. The more I look at the facts presented, the more ridiculous the escape becomes. And my kopitiam friends asked, 'Can you call that professional and competent?' I have nothing else to say.

4/22/2008

Misinformation on Tibet

Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and a leading German expert have voiced their concern over many westerners' misconceptions regarding China, and some Western media's biased and misleading coverage of the recent events in Tibet. "We see China in a totally false way, " Schmidt said in a recent interview with German newspaper Westdeutschland Zeitung. The former chancellor's remarks came as major German television channels and newspapers adopted an anti-China tone, even with false pictures and deliberate selection of video grabs. Western hostility towards China is largely rooted in the strong perception of many westerners that China should develop according to the "democratic mode" represented by the United States or Western European countries, said Schmidt. "Why should it have to?" he asked. Schmidt, who has visited China 15 times, said many westerners have no idea about China's history and culture, or the complicated political and social issues that the country is dealing with, including Tibet. China is the world's "historic experiment" and "it has to go its own way," he said. "I do not say this," he added, "to defend the current Chinese communist leaders or to make the political situation (there) look better." "There is no judgment in what I have said so far," said Schmidt. Eberhard Sandschneider, director of the Research Institute of the German Council on Foreign Relations, said many westerners' fear of China is largely attributed to their uncertainty about what effect the country's rapid development may have on the Western world. "I firmly believe it makes no sense to have fears about China," said Sandschneider, one of the most prominent China experts in Germany. China does have social, economic and environmental issues, some of them deeply challenging, he said. Germany and other nations should stop their interference in China's affairs as long as what China does is "legitimate," Sandschneider said on an online chatroom of Germany's ARD TV. "It is too cheap at this point to only criticize China instead of raising questions about ourselves, something we must do to deal with global challenges," he said. Referring to a potential boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games, Sandschneider said it makes more sense in the long term to engage with China, including on the Olympics, rather than reacting emotionally to what happened in Tibet, which has long been a part of China. Adrian Geiges, a correspondent for the German weekly Stern, said in a recently published story entitled "Dalai Lama is no innocent angel" that he was "outraged" by the one-sided perception of many Westerners regarding Tibet. What happened in Tibet, including arson and assaults on innocent civilians, was "racial violence," which can by no means be justified, said Geiges, who was among the few foreign journalists in Tibet during the violent unrest in March. "However, many westerners are under the impression that the Chinese attacked the Tibetans," he said. "Where does this misunderstanding come from?" One of the reasons, Geiges said, is the idealization of the Dalai Lama and Tibetans, who many westerners believe are innocent and non-violent and should receive sympathy for the alleged human rights violations. However, the violent and deadly attacks on civilians by the rioters have instead "violated the human rights of the Han Chinese," said Geiges. Moreover, Tibet was no paradise under the rule of the Dalai Lama, the German journalist pointed out. About 95 percent of the Tibetans under the rule of the Dalai Lama were serfs who were not even allowed to learn to read or write, he said. The Dalai Lama, who has been traveling around the world since going into exile in 1959, has managed to convince many westerners that the Chinese government was responsible for the so-called "cultural genocide" in Tibet, which did not happen. In this sense, "the Dalai Lama is no innocent angel but a successful diplomat," Geiges said. The deliberate distortion of the recent unrest in Tibet by Western media has raised grave concerns abut professional ethics as well as its potential political and social repercussions across the world. The Chinese public is venting its spleen online over some Western media groups' inaccurate reports about the Tibet riots. Various inaccurate photos from Western media claiming to portray the Lhasa riots of March 14 have been collected and uploaded onto the Internet by some Chinese overseas students. The collection comprises dozens of pictures and footage broadcast by well-known Western media outlets, with netizens highlighting the misleading captions accompanying the images. The Germany-based RTL TV and N-TV have made corrections on their websites on March 23 and 24 respectively, and also apologized to the public. The Washington Post published an editor's note on March 24, saying the caption for an earlier version of a slideshow on the Tibet riot was incorrectly associated with a photo from Nepal where Nepalese uniformed police were dispelling Tibetans. The caption on the new version was corrected. On www.anti-cnn.com, netizens continue to pressure Western media, including CNN and BBC, to apologize to their Chinese audience. (What I want to add is that many of these western countries in Europe were accomplices to the semi colonisation of China during the Ching Dynasty. They looted, raided and took advantage of China and exploited all they could with no sense of guilt. And what had China done to any of them? Nothing. China was their victim for more than a century.)

The apple is rotting

The big juicy red apple was too good to believe. People have this uncanny feeling that something is wrong but could not place where exactly has gone wrong. In the meantime the apple keeps rotting from the inside. Finally we are seeing an open sore. The worms are crawling out and it is looking very ugly. In the days of Goh Keng Swee or Howe Yoon Chong, or Pang Tee Pow, they would be screaming their heads off and many heads would be chopped, butts kicked. Compare to the scene today, all so cool. Complacency or silly, we looked very amateurish. One thing for sure, no one will engage us as their consultants on security matters. We have lost all credibility in this field.

A very uncomfortable moment in Parliament

The spot light was on Kan Seng. He spoke in all seriousness, telling a very difficult story to a Parliament that was shocked by the truth. The mouths were gapping widely in disbelief. It must be a very uncomfortable time for Kan Seng to tell a clumsy truth that he himself said, was simple, silly and incredible. There was nearly a full house in Parliament. Practically the whole cabinet was there, including the MM, SM and PM. It was serious business. There was no time for funny questions. But funny question there was when Low Thia Khiang asked Kan Seng if the rumour that Mas Kastari was already dead while the escape story was a diversion. Kan Seng simply asked him if he believed in the story. And that ended the questioning. How could such a question be raised? What are the implications of the question? No joking matter really. Imagine what would it be like if the story is true. It would mean that the whole escape was a hoax! How could the govt stand on its feet with such a big hoax? Thus, the question shouldn't be asked at all. That was the only news clip of a funny question, and I presume there were none after that. Even asking a simple question under such circumstances requires a lot of courage. They better be relevant to the issue.

The Escape - An official version

Kan Seng called it a simple, silly and incredible truth. I was stunned by the simplicity of it all. If I know it is like that, I would rather let it be kept underwrap from the public. Honestly, I struggle to accept this truth. And I think every Singaporean will be bewilder by the revelation. One thing for sure, there was no attempt to window dress the facts. Otherwise all the gapping holes will be patched. It was a clumsy truth. That makes it more genuine and painful. The truth does not need to be elegant and watertight. Only in a movie or a novel will the truth be cleverly scripted. As they said, truth is more fictional than fiction. So Singaporeans will be left to wonder about this truth, to live with it or have their nightmares pondering over it. It will be the topic in everyone's lip for a long time to come. You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!

4/21/2008

All can play the separatist game

Would u support American Chinese to secede from America If u support Tibetan minority to do so? A letter to NY Times. ================ March 31st, 2008 3:48 am Mr. Kristof: I am a 3rd generation ethnic-Chinese overseas, an American lawyer based in San Francisco, with my own private law firm engaged in transactional work between China/HKG/Taiwan and California. I am not known for being an apologist for the Chinese government, but as an ethnic Chinese in the overseas Diaspora, I am outraged at the "piling" and orchestrated China demonization and bashing on this lead-up to the '08 Olympics. That the West, from Europe, and the U.S., have exploited this year's Olympics to machinate, scheme, and execute this "Mau Mau" against China and its peoples, at this time, at this juncture,using the Dalai Lama and his secessionist movement, smacks of western powers "overreaching" and will be met with resistance and outrage from the ethnic Chinese Diasporic communities scattered throughout 135 countries around the world. In San Francisco, the only Olympics torch relay stop in the U.S., we ethnic Chinese in the San Francisco Bay Area have been completely muffled by your news media in America, and the biased reporting tilting towards the "Shangri-la" Lamaist farce of a pacifist Dalai Lama is outrageous and will not be allowed to pass without the appropriate response, in our own "assymetric" ways. China and its peoples are no longer the "sick men of Asia." Over a century and a half ago, opium was used by the Western imperialists to subjugate China and the Chinese people. Today, the drugs and drug addiction are reversed, with Western Europe and the U.S. sapped by its own domestic erosion of fundamental civility, economic decline, and implosion within its inner cities. Your financial systems are in chaos, characterized by greed, rampant looting and plundering in Wall Street. You are stuck in a quagmire in the Middle East which sees no end in sight. But for China, and its cheap imports, the U.S. economy will be in an even worse shape than it is today. As to Europe, who cares? Sarkozy and Merkel presides over two countries and economies which we Chinese really don't care much about, especially among the growing ethnic Chinese overseas Diaspora not just in Asia-Pacific, but now spreading onto Latin America and Africa. Big deal. The Europeans and Americans can boycott the Beijing Olympics come August, 2008. My family and I will proudly attend and participate in the Olympics "coming out" party in Beijing, willingly, with pride, and with our pocketbooks. In the meantime, let my white liberal/regressive neo-fascist San Franciscans wallow in their own perverted, constricted, narrow-minded little world. The world has passed San Francisco by. As a matter of fact, we ethnic Chinese in San Francisco are mobilizing and hoping that we can secede from white San Francisco. Why not ? Since it appears that you white Americans are so hyped up over "Shangri-La" Tibet as an Independent State, and support secession as a universalist right. Why now allow us Chinese in San Francisco to secede and form our own city, with our own governance. After all, we constitute 1/3 of your damn white supremacist city where the power is reposed in white people, and our city hall is controlled by white people. Free San Francisco. A free San Francisco East. Free Quebec. Free Louisiana. Free Hawaii. Free El Norte Aztlan, and return America's Southwest, a hugh swath of Texas, California back to Mexico. Didn't the U.S. illegally seize what used to be Mexican land and territority. As an ethnic Chinese in the overseas Diaspora, I and others will mobilize and we will fight back, as we mobilized in response to all the anti-Chinese pogroms in our overseas Diasporic experience. - Posted by Edward Liu

What can you say?

Abdullah Badawi added another feather on his hat. I reread what was reported in the Today paper. Yes, it is true, Syed Hamid said he has approved Anwar's party to print its own newspaper. He said, '...there was no reason the Keadilan party should not have its own newspaper since other political parties have theirs.' Now, would this be possible if Mahathir is still in power? Malaysia Boleh. This is another big step forward towards press freedom and a level playing field for all the political parties. Such maturity was unheard off and thought not possible. Yes, Malaysia is moving towards a more sensible political structure with more checks and balances. Good for Malaysia. It is something we can learn from. Are we more mature or the Malaysians?

Charity is popular business

Why is charity or setting up a charity is such a good business, or popular thing to do? Bankrupts are doing it, kids are doing it, jobless people are doing it, religious people are doing it, and officials are doing it? There must be something very attractive about doing charity. Good for the heart, good for the image. Or is there something more to it? Looking at the number of charity organisations or funds that are being set up every month, it has truly become a business, with many people being employed and working. Don't be surprise soon one of these entrepreneurs will be receiving the businessman of the year award.

The perceived fear of the internet

The internet is seen as a destructive or unfriendly force by most govt. They see internet as undermining whatever they set out to do. They see internet as critical, cynical and opposing whatever they say or whatever they want the people to believe. So internet is misinformation, biased information. Msm is genuine information and unbiased. What kind of tooth is this? Actually the internet is just a neutral tool, a new way of communication. The power of the day has been using and monopolising the msm to serve their own agenda all the time. With msm, they can say what they like without being challenged. Now they are uncomfortable with the internet for they no longer have control, they cannot say what they want to say and hear what they want to hear. This is the perceived fear of the internet. And in a way it is true. For only the contrarian views are expressed in the internet. The views of the authority or govt are seldom heard or expressed in the internet. But this is not the fault of the internet for having a skewed view. The internet is gaining this reputation by default. The govt and authority stay away, shun the internet as a matter of choice. The reasons is best left to themselves to explain, but pretty obvious. And the internet is branded as a misfit. Why blame the internet when the authority refuses to engage the cyber citizens? Internet is fair game to all. If you have a good point, it will be accepted by the logical and reasonable. And this is the group that the authority should be talking to. Not the cuckoos and the mentally disturbed. There are many in cyberspace but they should simply be ignored. The internet is there and everyone is invited to have his say, freely. Everyone can have a view.

Dialect teaching - Going forward or backward?

I was brought up as a dialect speaker. I still feel the same sense of intimacy when conversing in my dialect with another of the similar kind. In the name of culture and roots and connection with Ah Ma and Ah Kong, some want to bring back dialect officially. The idea is seductive. Mandarin is a little alien and a little uncomfortable to many. The key question is whether we should go back to dialects. We have come so far, after the initial resistance and pain, to have Mandarin fully established among the young. The days of the old hags are over, or numbered. I too will be over in no time. Any attempt at this stage to reverse the direction will be a big waste of effort. For before the dialect is acquired, the old generation of old hags will be gone and the new generation of old hags will be Mandarin or English speakers. There will no longer be any anguish for not being able to communicate with Ah Kong and Ah Ma. Mandarin and a standard Chinese script have done immeasurable good to a huge country like China, a country that is so diverse in culture and ethnicity. Imagine what would China be like without an official language. Maybe they will have to adopt English as the common language. Do not underestimate the power of language. English is the lingua franca of the West. It has slowly evolved and become a language of choice in science and technology, in trade and commerce, and in diplomacy. Most important, it allows the world to speak to one another. Do we want to dilute our effort in having one common language for a group of diverse Chinese just because we want to talk to a few old hags at home? Think very carefully. Think with the head and not the heart. My heart says yes to dialect. My head says no. OK, it is only for a few in schools. An elective subject for those who want. Can we afford the resources if every 3 person want to learn their mother tongue? If we are going ahead with this experiment, we must be prepared to give in to the request of all racial groups who are emotionally attached to their mother tongue. My personal choice, let's don't turn back and undo all the things that have been done. We will create a bigger mess. Talk cock sing song is ok. When talk cock and sing song are taken seriously and implemented as official policies that will affect the whole people and the future generation, let's be more careful.

4/20/2008

The awakening

Like it or not, believe it or not, the Malaysian GE has brought new light into Cyberspace. Hsien Loong had talked about it, and has hinted that new regulations will be put in place to match the developments of internet news and gossips. Then TOC is taking the initiative to think ahead and has came out with a list of proposals to preempt what the bright guys and gals would come up with to fix the cyberspace challenge. And Loh Chee Kong also wrote an article questioning the relevance and the role that the msm should play before it becomes irrelevant. Actually all the professional journalists have been very uneasy with what they were doing and wanted a change. But they are just too smart to talk about it. Many would want to express themselves differently, write about issues they feel passionately about, the way they really see them. Poor buggers, trying to earn a decent living and constantly bug by their conscience, and having sleepless night. Then having to put up a brave front in cocktail parties explaining why and what they did are the tooth. And having to bear with the cynical smiles around them.

A Sunday morning muse

Green Peas asked me if I am a believer. Firstly it is not nice to tell someone you don't believe in him. Secondly it can be a dangerous thing to do. On a Sunday morning, maybe it is good to let the imagination runs wild. Let's create a hypothetical scenario. LKY decides that he had enough of politics for a lifetime. And he feels that Hsien Loong deserves a good break, having worked so hard to look after a Singaporean population that is increasingly more demanding and less appreciative of the sacrifices politicians made for them. So he bought a piece of land in Australia, about 100 times the size of Singapore. And he calls it the state of LKY. Oops, miss out the e. The estate of LKY. He and his family and his extended families are going to retire into this estate that he can called his own. No more politics, just live and enjoy life like a baron. Well, that should be a good and happy ending like in the fairy tales. And they live happily ever after. Now a new chapter of politiking starts in paradise. Overnight, every minister realises that he is a PM potential. Everyone suddenly found the inner calling, that he is cut out to take Singapore to greater heights. All have great plans on the new Singapore that he wants it to be. The amazing thing is that there are more than a dozen ministers vying for the post when none was available yesterday. And everyone look so good and so capable, and so deserving. Let's give it a try. PM Jayakumar, PM Wong Kan Seng, PM Lim Boon Heng, PM Ng Eng Hen, PM Tharman, PM Lim Hng Kiang, PM Teo Chee Hian, PM George Yeo, PM Lee Boon Yang, PM Shanmugam, PM Yaacob, PM Khaw Boon Wan. They all sound so good, so comfortable. Singaporeans, I think, will easily get use to calling any one of them PM. Not that difficult actually. The morning air smells so refreshing.

4/19/2008

Why finding the next PM is so difficult?

My earlier suggestion is that no one has the aspiration and ambition to want to be the PM. I clarify, no one in the ruling party or in the cabinet now has that kind of ambition or audacity to want the job. So the present politicians can be totally ruled out. So what's the problem Joe? Actually PAP has created it's own problem for keeping a lid on a potential PM to rise from the ground on his own volition. I remember, one criteria in choosing PAP candidate is to reject those that are too willing to serve or want to come into politics. So no eager beavers. What is happening now is that all the eager beavers will pretend to be disinterested. All will say, 'I am not interested in politics!' And when offer, they quickly say no or want another 5 years to think about it. Another problem that is self created is to look for successful people in the different fields. So all the smart politicians or people with political ambition know what to do. Be successful in their own fields first and wait to be invited for tea. And all are eagerly waiting. Bet you, there will be some wolves in sheep's clothing waiting as well. When the system of picking politicians is such, everyone that is smart enough will want to pretend to be another Zhu Ke Liang, say no three times and let the master wait at the doorstep. In the meantime hide in seclusion and patiently wait for the master to come knocking at the door. The most damaging thing for any PM potential to do is to say 'I want, I want.' Any disclosure of such an ambition is a sure way of an early political demise. So how to find the next PM?

How could so wrong be so right?

The Malaysian govt is compensating 6 judges who were sacked by Mahathir in 1988. Among them was the former Lord President Tun Salleh Abas. There was no admission of guilt but many see this as a compromise way of saying sorry, that the govt had done wrong. And the people who are making the amend are the same UMNO leaders that said nothing and went along with the misdeed. How could something that was so right then, is now seen and acknowledged by all that it was wrong without even a retrial? Or is that the intent, to avoid a reopening of the case to put right what was wrong? How much faith could the Malaysians place on their leaders for such miscarriage of justice, to boot out their eminent people in the judiciary? But this is Malaysian politics. And this is democracy, or is it?

The emergence of the next PM

Singaporeans have been sold the idea that the next PM must come from those in the 30s, probably some straight A's kid who is very successful making money somewhere else. See, straight A's and making money are two vital qualities. The heart and the passion to serve the people are of lesser importance. How many Singaporeans really believe that the next PM will be someone in his 30s today? If life is so simple, that we can plan everything to such an extent, we will have peace and prosperity in the world. When JB Jeyaratnam announced the formation of a new Reform Party, I say, geez, he could be our next PM if the force wants him to be. He is available and offering himself to the people. And he, surprisingly named his party the Reform Party. A senior 82 year gentleman with reform in mind. Reform, a milder version of Revolution and change, should be initiated from the young hot heads as many would naturally think so. Now, this octogenarian is going to lead the reform of the new Singapore. And he has a full list of agenda on what he wants to reform. Kids, stand aside. Not your turn yet. JB is here first. A man who has an undying passion to lead and serve the country, with a heart and intention in the right place. He may not have the straight A's and the money making ability, but he wants to serve the country. Who should the Singaporeans choose? Someone who wants to do the job or someone they have to beg to do the job and with offers of a huge salary package? And then the guy comes in and says it is a big sacrifice to take the job? He may even say Singapore and Singaporeans are so lucky to have him for a song. And Singaporeans must forever be grateful. This is the land of possibilities. Don't doubt, anything is possible.

4/18/2008

Hypocrisy and danger

hrhPublished on Monday, April 14, 2008 by CommonDreams.org The Hypocrisy and Danger of Anti-China Demonstrations by Floyd Rudmin We hear that Tibetans suffer “demographic aggression” and “cultural genocide”. But we do not hear those terms applied to Spanish and French policies toward the Basque minority. We do not hear those terms applied to the US annexation of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1898. And Diego Garcia? In 1973, not so long ago, the UK forcibly deported the entire native Chagossian population from the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia. People were allowed one suitcase of clothing. Nothing else. Family pets were gassed, then cremated. Complete ethnic cleansing. Complete cultural destruction. Why? In order to build a big US air base. It has been used to bomb Afghanistan and Iraq, and soon maybe to bomb Iran and Pakistan. Diego Garcia, with nobody there but Brits and Americans, is also a perfect place for rendition, torture and other illegal actions. When the Olympics come to London in 2012, the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu will certainly lead the demonstrators protesting the “demographic aggression” and “cultural genocide” in Diego Garcia. The UN Secretary General, the President of France, the Chancellor of Germany, the new US President and the entire US Congress will certainly boycott the opening ceremonies. The height of hypocrisy is this moral posturing about 100 dead in race riots in Lhasa, while the USA, UK and more than 40 nations in the Coalition of the Willing wage a war of aggression against Iraq. This is not “demographic aggression” but raw shock-and-awe aggression. A war crime. A war on civilians, including the intentional destruction of the water and sewage systems, and the electrical grid. More than one million Iraqis are now dead; five million made into refugees. The Western invaders may not be doing “cultural genocide” but they are doing cultural destruction on an immense scale, in the very cradle of Western Civilization. Why is the news filled with demonstrators about Tibet but not about Iraq? And as everyone knows but few dare say, “demographic aggression” and “cultural genocide” can be applied most accurately to Israel’s settlement policies and systematic destruction of Palestinian communities. On this, the Dalai Lama seems silent. Demonstrators don’t wave flags for bulldozed homes, destroyed orchards, or dead Palestinian children. The Chinese Context The Chinese government is responsible for the well-being and security of one-fourth of humanity. Race riots and rebellion cannot be tolerated, not even when done by Buddhist monks. Chinese Civilization was already old when the Egyptians began building pyramids. But the last 200 years have not gone well, what with two Opium Wars forcing China to import drugs, and Europeans seizing coastal ports as a step to complete colonial control, then the Boxer Rebellion, the collapse of the Manchu Dynasty, civil war, a brutal invasion and occupation by Japan, more civil war, then Communist consolidation and transformation of society, then Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Such events caused tens of millions of people to die. Thus, China’s recent history has good reasons why social order is a higher priority than individual rights. Race riots and rebellion cannot be tolerated. Considering this context, China’s treatment of its minorities has been exemplary compared to what the Western world has done to its minorities. After thousands of years of Chinese dominance, there still are more than 50 minorities in China. After a few hundred years of European dominance in North and South America, the original minority cultures have been exterminated, damaged, or diminished. Chinese currency carries five languages: Chinese, Mongolian, Tibetan, Uigur, and Zhuang. In comparison, Canadian currency carries English and French, but no Cree or Inuktitut. If the USA were as considerate of ethnic minorities as is China, then the greenback would be written in English, Spanish, Cherokee and Hawaiian. In China, ethnic minorities begin their primary schooling in their own language, in a school administered by one of their own community. Chinese language instruction is not introduced until age 10 or later. This is in sharp contrast to a history of coerced linguistic assimilation in most Western nations. The Australian government recently apologized to the Aboriginal minority for taking children from their families, forcing them to speak English, beating them if they spoke their mother tongue. China has no need to make such apology to Tibetans or to other minorities. China’s one-child-policy seems oppressive to Westerners, but it has not applied to minorities, only to the Han Chinese. Tibetans can have as many children as they choose. If Han people have more than one child, they are punished. There is a similar preference given to minorities when it comes to admission to universities. For example, Tibetan students enter China’s elite Peking University with lower exam scores than Han Chinese students. China is not a perfect nation, but on matters of minority rights, it has been better than most Western nations. And China achieved this in the historical context of restoring itself and recovering from 200 years of continual crisis and foreign invasion. Historical Claims National boundaries are not natural. They all arise from history, and all history is disputable. Arguments and evidence can always be found to challenge a boundary. China has long claimed Tibet as part of its territory, though that has been hard to enforce during the past 200 years. The Dalai Lama does not dispute China’s claim to Tibet. The recent race riots in Tibet and the anti-Olympics demonstrations will not cause China to shrink itself and abandon part of its territory. Rioters and demonstrators know that. Foreign governments promoting Tibet separatism and demonstrators demanding Tibet independence should look closer to home. Canadians can campaign for Qu├ębec libre. Americans can support separatists in Puerto Rico, Vermont, Texas, California, Hawaii, Guam, and Alaska. Brits can work for a free Wales, and Scotland for the Scots. French can help free Tahitians, New Caledonians, Corsicans, and the Basques. Spaniards can also back the Basques, or the Catalonians. Italians can help Sicilian separatists or the Northern League. Danes can free the Faeroe Islands. Poles can back Cashubians. Japanese can help Okinawan separatists, and Filipinos can help the Moros. Thai can promote Patanni independence; Indonesians can promote Acehnese independence. New Zealanders can leave the islands to the Maori; Australians can vacate Papua. Sri Lankans can help Tamil separatists; Indians can help Sikh separatists. Nearly every nation has a separatist movement of some kind. There is no need to go to Tibet, to the top of the world, to promote ethnic separatism. China is not promoting separatism in other nations and does not appreciate other nations promoting separatism in China. The people most oppressed, most needing a nation of their own, are the Palestinians. There is a worthy project to promote and to demonstrate about. Danger of Demonstrations These demonstrations do not serve Tibetans, but rather use Tibetans for ulterior motives. Many Tibetans, therefore, oppose these demonstrations. Many Chinese remember their history and see the riots in Lhasa and subsequent demonstrations as another attempt by foreign powers to dismember and weaken China. There is grave danger that Chinese might come to fear Tibetans as traitors, resulting in wide spread anti-Tibetan feelings in China. Fear that an ethnic minority serves foreign forces caused Canada, during World War 1, to imprison its Ukranian minority in concentration camps. For similar reasons, the Ottomans deported their Armenian minority and killed more than a million in death marches. The German Nazis saw the Jewish minority as traitors who caused defeat in World War 1; hence deportations in the 1930s and death camps in the 1940s. During World War 2, both Canada and the USA feared that their Japanese immigrant minorities were traitorous and deported them to concentration camps. Indonesians fearing their Chinese minority, deported 100,000 in 1959 and killed thousands more in 1965. Israel similarly fears its Arab minority, resulting in deportations and oppression. Hopefully, the Chinese government and the Chinese people will see Tibetans as victims of foreign powers rather than agents of foreign powers. However, if China reacts like other nations have in history and starts systematic severe repression of Tibetans, then today’s demonstrators should remember their role in causing that to happen. Conclusion The demonstrators now disparaging China serve only to distract themselves and others from seeing and correcting the current failings of their own governments. If the demonstrators will take a moment to listen, they will hear the silence of their own hypocrisy. The consequences of these demonstrations are 1) China will stiffen its resolve to find foreign influences inciting Tibetans to riot, and 2) the governments of the USA, UK, France and other Western nations will have less domestic criticism for a few weeks. That is all. These demonstrations can come to no good end. Floyd Rudmin can be contacted by email at Floyd.Rudmin@psyk.uit.no

Outcry over a Peanut

There is huge opposition and outcry in Europe over the proposal to pay the EU President a colossal salary of S$580K a year! Now, what are these Europeans thinking? Their EU President not even worth a peanut? Who else can also be called a peanut president or a peanut PM? George Bush is paid S$670k, slightly more than a peanut. Gordon Brown is paid S$521k, slightly less than a peanut. The French President, Sarkozy, a mere S$469k, can't even qualify as a peanut. The rest of the world, nothing worth talking about. All less than a peanut president and PMs.

Choosing a new god

In the assembly of gods, God said, 'Ye are gods.' A new god will be chosen by the existing gods, in their own image. If we look at this as a leadership renewal, is it heartening to know that our new leader will be chosen, like companies head hunting for a new CEO? I remember Shakespear's famous phrase in the Twelveth Night, 'Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.' Now I shall add, 'Some are chosen to be great.'

Top brains for the Premiership

The concept of having the top academic brains in govt was a practice in Imperial China for centuries. But if historical records were anything to be trusted, they failed over and over again. Also, the top academic brains were best only in administrative roles. Many were not real leaders or did not make it to the top post, ie the Emperorship. The Emperor was our equivalent of the PM. Many top scholars reached the premiership in their career. But the premiership then was at best a top civil servant. The Emperor was the ruler akin to the PM today. A ruler. The type of leadership in a ruler is very different from those of top civil servant. A top academic brain or a top professional is not necessary the right guy for the job. Political leadership demands more than academic or professional excellence. Otherwise all the deans of universities or top scientists, doctors, lawyers, engineers will all end up as the top man. Historically, many leaders were not top academic brains or top professionals. We have librarian, soldiers, businessmen, football club manager, actors, farmers and of course lawyers and mathematicians. The real leaders are not simply just because of their academic prowess. And a good leader is something else. It is the heart that is more important.

PAP Kindergarten fee up

The PAP kindergarten is a national institution. Its existence around the heartland and for the last 30/40 years mean that whole generations of Singaporeans have benefitted from them. Many Singaporeans see the National Service as a national institution for male bonding, a phase of life that all young Singaporeans have in common. A common background to share and talk about. The kindergarten's impact is even more pervasive. Young boys and girls went through them in the early foundation days of their lives. And it was education and upbringing at a very affordable cost. But affordability is now an issue. In 2006, the monthly fee was $30.50. It went up to $50.60 in 2007. It is going to be $95 a month starting 1 Jul 08. Some parents are crying foul. Some thought that the increase in fee was due to the provision of airconditioning in the classroom as some richer parents have requested for it. So they have appealed for a lowering of fees rather than the comfort of aircon. It is true that many Singaporeans are getting more affluent and would like to live in a more comfortable environment. And airconditioning is becoming a necessity. But is aircondition so desirable? Nothing wrong with pampering our young in such comfort. But with the high fuel cost and electricity bill, not many hardlanders are going to be able to afford such comfort for long. And for those young pampered boys, they will have to get used to life without aircon when they enter NS. Unless military training camps will have aircons in time to come. The jungles surely have no aircon. Another problem with the high fees is that it does not gel well with the push for bigger families. The high education cost and now the high kindergarten fees are going to deter parents from having a brood. Then again, maybe hardlanders who cannot afford it should not have too many children. It is going to be very tough on their pockets. And many will pooh pooh the little increase as another affordable thing. For those who can afford it, what is $95 a month.

4/17/2008

Plans afoot to ease Jalan Kayu congestion

This heading was followed by a letter from Yam Meng Keng, Chairman, Jlan Kay CCC/EUP Working Committee in the Today paper. He thank George Pasqual and Jayandran Sandra Alison for their letters on the condition of Jalan Kayu Estate. It seems that the estate is also faced with congestion problem and this will be resolved soon. Who knows, ERP gantries could soon be erected in Jalan Kayu. For solving traffic flow problem, nothing is more effective than ERP. I would not dare to complain about congestion in my estate. It could be an invitation for more ERPs.

CNN's apology is more insulting

CNN has apologised for the comment by its commentator Jack Cafferty for calling the Chinese people goons. Now with the outcry in China and a demand for an apology, they said he or CNN meant 'Only Chinese leaders are goons, thugs.' And the sickening thing is that they think that will get them scotch free, that it is ok to call the Chinese leaders derogatory names and the Chinese people would not mind. It is like believing that people can call their father and mother dogs and bitches and they will not be offended. Maybe the CNN people will accept such remarks on their parents. But this is what a reputable msm standard of conduct and ethics is all about. OK it is freedom of expression without responsibility and propriety. If any Chinese media would like to pay me a small sum of money, I will be the equivalent of Jack Cafferty and let go my pieces as flowery as can be. I think I can do no lesser than Cafferty.

New Straits Times slammed UMNO

Unbelieveable, the NST slammed UMNO for behaving badly after a bad showing in the last GE. God works mysteriously. This is what NST said, 'People are getting fed up with UMNO's moaning and groaning. The truth is that the people have long been disgusted with the kind of boorish and loutish behaviour that UMNO leaders have exemplified because of their grip on power since independence in 1957.' Finally the journalists who have their views and feelings suppressed all these years just let go their truth. To be fair, many of these journalists are just ordinary beans with family to feed and need to tow the line, cari makan. When the time comes for them to be themselves, they will write what they truly believe in. This may happen in paradise too, one day. God works mysteriously in his own way.

Walter Woon the romantic

A few months back when Chan Sek Keong spoke to the young lawyers, he raised the problem of pay and shortage of lawyers. And as expected, he in a way suggested that the solution is to pay them more, a time tested and no need to sweat the small stuff type of solution. Yesterday Walter Woon made an appeal to young lawyers to work with him in the name of altruism, to serve with a sense of public duty. He wanted 'to attract lawyers who will look beyond financial gains. For saying this, he must be totally out of synch with the great Singapore mentality. Where got smart people work not for money? And lawyers are smart people. But I like this fellow. After so many years in the establishment, he has not been seduced by greed, that money is everything in life. In a way he is a romantic inside, a little like me. It is refreshing and healthy at this point in time to still be able to find such a man in public service. I thought they were extinct. A little idealism and romanticism is good for the soul. Anyway he need not worry that no young lawyers will join him. A big pay rise is on the card and coming very soon.

4/16/2008

The mask unveiled

As UMNO fights for its life, to remain in power, the truth of what UMNO really stands for becomes clearer. The speech by the Kelantan Crown Prince Tengku Mohammad Faris on the special privileges of Malays and UMNO's unflinching endorsement clearly defined its position. It is no longer a special right but more, Ketuanan Melayu. The criticism of Ong Ka Ting(MCA) and Karpal Singh(DAP) on the same speech tells two different stories. In the case of MCA, they have been supporting UMNO's position all these years and it sounds kind of hollow. In the case of DAP, their stand is quite understandable. The DAP stand is also about recognition of the Special Rights of the Malays but not the Ketuanan Melayu of UMNO. Acceptance of this right has not been questioned by the non Malays. What they are opposing is the extreme interpretation of this right by UMNO. Even PAS is not in agreement with UMNO on this. They are more concern with protecting the rights of the underprivileged, especially the Malays. They are not comfortable with protecting the rights of the rich UMNOs and their corrupt ways. There is a huge difference in what the two camps stood for. UMNO is now trying to sell its extremism to PAS to prevent the erosion of Malay hegemony.

Ridiculing virtues

What are we becoming when all the age old virtues are now only good to con the kids in schools? We used to teach our young about honour, respect, honesty, love, passion, loyalty, country and nation. Today these values are as good as how much one can trade them for. You want honour, honesty, loyalty, country and nation, how much are you going to pay for it? Even the position of public office is not worth anything unless it can command a lot of money. What is so great about being a minister when you end up with lesser money? It used to be a great honour, a place in history, a pride of the family to see a son becoming a govt official, and what honour will that be if that son becomes a top official, a minister? Today, it is seen as a monetary trade off, a sacrifice, a big sacrifice. Actually many would not want to be a minister. Too much of a sacrifice. For goodness sake, lets not belittle the honour of public office. Let's teach our young the right values, let's go back to some of the virtues that we cherish and can live by with pride and honour. Money is good, the more the better. But up to a point, there are things that money cannot buy. Oops, I am talking nonsense again. Anything that can be monetised can be bought. That is Uniquely Singapore. There is a paradise in heaven, there is one on earth. The one above exists without money. The one below exists because of money.

The impending reality of Malaysian politics

While UMNO top brasses are trying to outdo and kick one another out of the cabinet, Anwar is quietly building up his forces. And any time, one month or six months, the whole UMNO cabinet ministers may end up without a job and be opposition backbenchers. What are they fighting for when their days are so limited?

A special hotel in paradise

The guests have single rooms. They have special areas for worshipping and were guided by religious teachers. When they are in trouble, they are assisted by counsellors. They wore new clothes and spruce up for family visits. The hotel is operated under a holistic environment for rehabiltation. The hotel is in Whitley Road. And all the rumours about harsh punishments were just rumours. Dr Rohan Gunaratna, head of Singapore's Internationa Centre of Political Violence and Terrorism Research, said, 'The rumours you hear about harsh treatment are not true. The conditions there must be conducive to rehabilitation. If you treat them badly, their resentment will grow.'

800 more chips on the table

800 chips of $1m each are on the Merill Lynch table. Temasek had earlier bought US$4.4 bil worth of Merrill Lynch shares and with the additional $800 mil through exercising its option, it now holds near to 10% of Merrill Lynch. Would this large holding qualify Temasek to have a say and the management of the company? Or we are so trusting to let the Merrill Lynch managers to run the show at will and believing that they will manage the company for our interest? What are the safeguards to protect our investments? It is incredulous to put in so much money and did not have a say in the company. Today paper reported that 'Temasek is currently sitting on paper losses of US$1.2 bil from its investments in Merrill Lynch and Barclays.' As long term investments, the returns will come in in a matter of time. As for concerns on the long term time frame and lack of disclosure on grounds of secrecy, investments in such high profile institutions cannot go unnoticed. These organisations are subject to public scrutiny in their own countries and any mismanagement or poor showing will be exposed quite quickly as in this case. They may hide and delay as much as they like, but they can't hide forever or for too long. The truth will be out sooner than expected.

4/15/2008

More money into UBS?

'Singapore's GIC may participate in UBS rights offering - report April 14, 2008: 09:17 PM EST SINGAPORE, Apr. 14, 2008 (Thomson Financial delivered by Newstex) -- The Government Investment Corporation of Singapore (GIC) may participate in the 15-billion Swiss franc ($15 billion) rights offering of Swiss investment banking giant UBS (NYSE:UBS) AG, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources. This will be the second time that GIC will be injecting capital into UBS following an 11 billion franc investment in December last year....' This time they are going in with eyes wide open. The first time they went in there were some uncertainties and a little wet behind the ears. This time there is no excuse if they foul it up. Basic questions, is this a bottomless pit? Are all the woms out crawling? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? What are the safeguards and protection to our investments if there are more than meet the eyes? The worst thing that can happen is to put in good money after bad money. Better do all the homework thoroughly. Billions of our money are at stake.

God works in his own mysterious way

The world is in upheaval. Things are changing, and changing very fast. And things that are happening are all simply unbelieveable. Things that we see, things that we hear, all so unbelieveable.

Myth 178

MPs know what they are talking All these years we have been relying on the MPs to explain govt policies to us, the people, the uninformed masses. We were all ears, eagerly listening and copying every word the MPs told us. They were expected to know what they were saying, to understand the intricacies of govt policies. And it is their job to explain to us. Now the common people must be asking whether the MPs understand the policies and explaining the right thing to us. And this also applies to the news workers. When they report or comment, do they know what they are reporting or commenting? Do they really understand the what the polcies are all about? Maybe some MPs and news workers know, maybe some don't know and gasak butak. I also gasak butak. Not sure if right spelling or not.

More trains running

MRT has increased the number of trains running and reduced the waiting time for the next train. This must have brought some relief for commuters as the trains should be relatively less jam packed and there will be more air to breathe. With the increase in frequency and the same number of commuters travelling, the cost will definitely go up relative to revenue. And if MRT cannot generate more revenue from its other sources of income, eg rentals and advertisements, the profit will definitely go down, or may not rise as much in percentage term. And if the company must register growth in profit to satisfy the shareholders, and to pay more bonuses to its staff, what is the next logical development? Commuters must be prepared for higher fares for sure. There is no magic formula when the trains are operated for the primacy of profit first and national service second. It is not like national service pay where a NS men can be paid a few hundred bucks and if not enough, go back to parents for more pocket money. The public transport is a private business organisations and does not have a duty to perform national service, just like restructured hospitals. Soon schools too will not be doing national service. And many ministries may go along the same concept. Sit tight and enjoy the ride while you can. I am also being proactive, looking ahead.

I told you so

Yesterday I was talking about govt collecting a lot of money from the people and the people can expect this to be paid back. And HELP is everywhere. Today, the announcement is like Christmas is here, 8 months early. $3b payout will be given to all Singaporeans from last year's budget surplus. What this amounts to is that a 3 room HDB occupants could get about $5k while a 5 room could also get around $4.9k. Bee tang man. Time for celebration and say a big thank you to the govt. This is sharing the wealth of the nation to everyone. No where in the world got such a thing. Only uniquely Singapore. Now stop complaining please.

Recent achievements

Time to take stock of the recent achievements of the govt ministries. The MOH has completed its plan to make sure that everyone is able to pay his medical bills when admitted to hospitals. The bill is large, it did not do much to bring down the hospital costs, but it did got the various medical insurance schemes going and potential patients can feel better that the insurance will take care of the bills. They only need to pay a few dollars more a month to the medishield. The second achievement is old age problems. The MOM knows that people will live longer, to 85 or 100 and need more money to keep themselves alive. They fear for the old people, that they will have no money to spend at old age. This problem is also solved through the Long life annuity scheme. So Singaporeans will now have more money to spend when they grow old. Transport problem is also solved, or at least temporarily solved through more ERPs and lesser COEs. Then in the not too distant future the Circle Line will come on stream. This will definitely help. For those living the in the extreme east, west and north, their problems of getting to the city may still be the same as they converge there daily. But this too will be taken care off with decentralisation in the future. In this short span of time, three major problems were solved. Looking forward, the outstanding one will be high education cost. A solution will be found soon. Security will be no problem despite the little glitch recently and can be said to be well controlled. Not bad for the report card.

4/14/2008

Beware, caveat emptor, Yeong Kie Seafood Restaurant

Last week, I brought my guests to Genting Highlands. After a day above the clouds', we decided to have dinner at the Gohtong Jaya area on the way down. We ordered some dishes and decided to have a steamed fish as well. So the captain recommended 'sultan fish'. The steamed fish came. HALF, and plain steamed. Good & fine. But when the bill came, it came to over $500 !! We were shocked !! We were told the fish was 1.4kg ( & please bear in mind, its ONLY HALF A FISH ) at RM 320 per kg! RM 420!! This was daylight robbery. We were not informed by the Captain that a kg of the Sultan fish would cost us RM320 and there was also no signs of such pricings anywhere in the restaurant. When we checked with the cashier, she told us, its correct !! Of cos, it was our mistake for not asking the! price first. Anyway, on the way back to KL, we stopped at Unique Seafood,PJ, where one can choose a live fish. The most expensive Soon Hock swimming in the tank is RM135 per kilo. Asked them about the Sultan fish, it is going for RM100 a kilo. Will be sending this letter to the newspapers, Tourism board, etc etc; and friends, pls pass on to all on yr email list. CHEATED. PS, the above posted was emailed to me.

Stop complaining, HELP is everywhere

Why are Singaporeans complaining about high cost of living when HELP is everywhere. Stretch out your hand and you can touch HELP. I couldn't believe that there is so much HELP out there to keep the people warm at night. HELP from the govt, HELP from the NGOs and charities. There must be thousands of HELP organisations with hundreds of millions of dollars helping the poor. And there are so few poor living among us that many did not even know they existed. There are handouts, discount vouchers, subsidies, donations, queues for free food, charity shows etc etc. Sometimes I wonder if we are in Africa! With so much HELP, so many wonderful people helping, a little affordable increases here and there should not mean a thing. We can indeed be called a HELP paradise. If we put all the HELP agencies together, and the varieties of HELP a Singaporean can get, we should rightfully be number ONE in the world for helping our people. And best, we don't believe in welfare state and giving freely to the people. It is so sian to talk about the poor when the poor are so well taken care of. And don't forget, the more the increases, the more HELP will be there. Fear not, for I have known you by your name....

The people don't understand

Many people are moaning about all the increases that are driving up the cost of living here. Many are angry. But they don't understand. These are complicated policies that are postulated to mean well. The people should go about their lives normally. Don't worry, all is in good hand. When the time comes, there will be handouts aplenty, and everyone will then understand why the govt has been collecting all the dues. We must believe that our govt thinks very far ahead and policies are implemented after careful thoughts. The whole process will be carefully thought through. And Singaporeans do not have long to wait to see the fruits of such high fee policies. The next GE is not too far away. Remember the last GE? GE are good times, happy times, just like Budget times. Singaporeans will be very happy then. The GE will be days of abundance, dues collected during good times will be shared with the people. We must have more frequent elections and budget readings.

An example of a simple mind

You don't have to look far to understand how simple minded Singaporeans are. Just read the post by a Chong Yew Mun in the ST Forum today. He is claiming that people were too quick to recognise others mistakes like the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and thinks that they have overlooked the putting down of the recent Tibetan riots. He also finds it curious that Dr Ong Siew Chey, another forumer, suggested that the timing of the Tibetan riots coincided with the Beijing Olympics. He can not see any connection in the two events. His innocence is remarkable. He said China is solely responsible for the recent protest because of its suppression of the riots. It was the rioters fault that led to the suppression. He needs to understand what is geopolitics and why human rights is bullshit when political considerations take precedence. I like his innocence and idealism of a black and white world view. So simple to understand.

Notable quote: Lee Hsien Loong

'In fact, if we test people's understanding of policies, I think even news workers and PAP MPs might not pass.' Lee Hsien Loong I agree with Hsien Loong. Things are getting too complicated for people to understand them. Many take things at face value if we read the remarks of the complacent Singaporeans in msm and cyberspace. Everything is so simple and easy to understand. Real issues go far beneath what we see and read. As for news workers and MPs, quite expected.

The amazing Mahathir

His conscience is clear. He did everything for the good of Malaysia. And everything that he had done were within the law. He did not know that he changed the judiciary and put his friends as judges. He did not know that he fixed up the opposition and put them in jail. He did not know that his children's successes were due to his influence. He did not know that he practised cronyism. And he did not know that corruption was rampant among his UMNO comrades. Just because everyone got something did not mean that it was right or he need not feel guilty about it. And today, he still stand tall as an elder stateman, telling Abdullah to resign. That is the amazing Mahathir, the amazing grace of Malaysia.

Starvation? Not in Singapore

With escalation of food prices, the crisis could lead to war and starvation. But complacent Singaporeans need not worry. We are safe. With money, nothing is impossible. We have spent billions in our investments and have billions more in reserves. What is one or two millions more to pay for food. Now, what is $22b as compare to $2m? It is $22,000,000,000 to $2,000,000. There are quite a lot of zeros there. The removal of GST from rice will save the Singaporeans 7% and this is only a few millions a year. Singaporeans are simply lucky, and can continue to be complacent. Actually incorrect. Singaporeans are lucky to have such an efficient govt that plans ahead and accumulates so much money to cushion a rainy day.

4/13/2008

Singaporeans complacent?

I get angry when I hear people saying Singaporeans are complacent. They have chosen the best politicians to lead them and given them the best standard of living in Asia after Japan. They have so much faith that they are willing to put all their eggs in one basket and have faith that tomorrow will be better. And they know that everything is in good hands, no need to worry about, no need to question, no need to ask, no need to think, and no need to do anything. The Singaporeans are not complacent. Definitely no. The word stupidity is not in the Singaporean's vocabulary. Ignorance is bliss.

All road signs in Melayu

I drive to Malaysia very frequently for leisure. And I did not have much problems with the road signs. I could make out what they meant most of the time. Only once when I was a little confused when I was in Malacca. I was driving along this road and it seemed that there was no ending to it. I kept turning and turning and I kept hitting Jalan Sehaja. It must be the longest road in Malaysia. The Sunday Times complained about signs that Singaporeans could not read or understand. Well, that's your problem. The roads are in Malaysia and the signs are meant for Malaysians only. And if you want to drive in Malaysia, you better buck up on your Melayu. That is the practical way to do. And Singaporeans being practical, they should not be complaining. In Tokyo I too had no problems reading the signs. Neither do I have problems in the big cities in China. They have signs in English to make it easy on the foreigners. It is their way of saying foreigners are welcomed.

Great place to hunt for politicians

The SICC was in the news recently on issues like who whispered about who and who had married more than once or guilty of bigamy. Today the SCC is in the news, this time about who were overstaying in office. It was reported that President Anwarul Haque, deputy President Leow Kim Liat and games control board Chairman Jurgen Martiens have been in office longer than usual. A member, Teh Leong, is challenging the three on grounds that a Rule 34 allows 'the maximum term of president, dep president, chairman of games control board and finance member is three consecutive years.To be eligible again, an affected office holder has to stand down for at least a year.' Mavis Toh reported that Anwarul has been president since 2001, Leow and Martiens both have been in office for more than three years. It is now a legal tussle and lawyers were engaged to unravel the meaning of Rule 34. The SCC is a microcosm of what Singapore is like. A place with a dearth of political talents and leaders. Given such a serious problem, the Rule 34 has provided for past office holders to stand up for reelection, but for good corporate governance I think, a break of one year is required. In my view, this is all unnecessary. With good and honourable men in charge, there is no need for such provisions. There is a great shortage of such talents and it is better and desirable for them to continue serving for the good of the club for as long as they can. Otherwise, if no other talent is available or willing to stand for office, like Anwarul being elected unopposed, then the club will end up with no leadership. All these rules on one term or two terms should be abolished and amended. The SCC is a club of luminaries and many eminent lawyers and there is no fear of wrongdoings or another NKf.

4/12/2008

Public Assistance Allowance up

The govt has brought forward the increase in PA allowance for the needy instead of taking the one year to study the implications of such an increase. We must thank Vivian for short cutting the process and give the additional $40 to the poor recipients. Don't forget the push by Lily Neo for the amount to be raised. Without her, this may not have happened.

Protesters to the Olympic Flame

Dalai Lama is due back in Washington for his briefing and for more instruction from the American Administration on what further steps to be taken. The mastermind is not making it a secret anymore as to who is the boss in this Tibetan violence. And the naive Dalai Lama is painting himself into the corner as the lapdog of the American Administration. At the same time the riots of protesters are lining up the streets in the big cities, clamouring for some publicity and TV coverage while trying to douse the Olympic Flame. I can appreciate the feelings to the Tibetans as a minority group, as other minority groups in every country. Everyone wanted independence or autonomy. The reality of politics and geopolitics will not allow that to happen. Otherwise we will have the disintegration of the USSR in every country's doorstep. Even the USA will not be safe from such forces of self rules and breaking up. In Asia, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines are all threatened by such breakups. If this is the precedence to be set, the world will be in turmoil. Many protestors are protesting out of ignorance. The western media say so, the western human rights group says so, the western govts say so, it is fun to join the protestors without knowing what the shit it was all about. No need for any reason or objective reasons to protest. Many are just silly people joining the protest thinking that it is another party, an interesting movement to be in, to be seen in support of a cause. Otherwise their lives will be meaningless. There are suckers born every second.