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6/30/2008

Why can't I sell my kidney?

Who is the fanatic who decides that I can't sell my kidney? Why should such fanatics have so much say over my body parts? There are many people who are living in misery, not even able to feed themselves with a full meal a day. Some hungry for the whole of their lives. To these people, to be able to sell a part of their body for $20k or $30k can make their lives so much more pleasant even for a year or two. Why should the elite of the world decide on the fate of these miserable people and condemned them to perpetual misery? Will their lives be better off selling a part of it or will they be better off in their pathetic state of being alive? Then there are also the body parts of the dead or going to die. Cadavers have been so to medical students. Nothing new. HOTA has been farming body parts for free. Should the people have the right to ownership of their body parts and will it to be sold to benefit their love ones? Can it be seen as private properties, assets to be handed down? Why is it that the state owns our bodies when we are dead and also owns our bodies when we are alive? In the case of willing buyer and willing seller, let the market forces determine how it should be sold. Why are we tempering with the market mechanism in a century when oppression or slavery can be persecuted by the law? Should the law make provisions to allow people more freedom to live a life they so choose, even to sell their body parts, fully aware and responsible for their own actions? Human body parts are definitely better than animal or synthetic parts. Many have gone to waste through ignorance. Let the owners of their parts decide what they want to do with them. Any fanatics want to impose their moral values and superior righteousness over the rest of the people?

ERP is getting on the nerves

We are hearing more and more noises in TOM of grouses on ERPs. Some even accused the LTA of right hand not knowing what left hand is doing. But actually they do. Every dept and ministry is functioning very well. The people with grouses are those who cannot afford to pay. If you can, driving around is going to be a joy. We have world class public transport system that is efficient and affordable. Nothing to fret about really. The only little concern is the buses may ply less often once too many ERPs are put up. It will be quite costly to have a few thousand buses paying ERPs 20 or 30 times daily. Some were also concern about the quality of family life. Actually family life should improve as more people will choose to stay at home instead of going out. And with so much time at hand, they can spend time washing and admiring their precious cars in the car parks. Overall, Singapore will be greener with lesser people driving and lesser cars on the road. Business will benefit from freer flow of traffic. And with people all staying at home, there will be more free space around to accommodate the 6.5m population coming our way. Maybe can raise the number to 10m. ERPs not only solve transportation problem, they also solve social problem and green problems.

6/29/2008

The caretaker generation

We have arrived at the doorstep of the first world. The people who helped us get here were mostly gone. The people who are singing the song of praise and praising themselves for the success think that they are the one who have brought us here. That they are the ones with the magic formula, the architect of paradise, and think that without them we will not be here. They think we owe our success to them. The builders of paradise have all but gone. A handful still around. It is they and their effort that should be appreciated. The rest are just caretakers, inheriting a good fortune and riding on it, making the best out of it, that's about it. Before they get too high on their high horses, they should be reminded that it is not them that brought us here. They themselves were brought in to look after the wealth and not to mess it up. The people of paradise do not owe any debt to the caretakers. The people who will owe a debt to them will be the future generations should paradise continue to exist as a paradise.

Is Reach reaching to the people?

I have no idea how Reach is doing. Never been to that corner of cyberspace, yet. I think there are enough feedback in cyberspace, enough of issues and concerns that can be had for free. No need to keep setting up official sites just to gather feedback and attention at a cost. It will only tap on a very small minority who believe that they have to go through proper channel, to be vetted and to get the green light before the message can go up the next step. Something like writing to the forum pages of TOM. When there is sincerity in wanting to listen to the unhappy, the dissatisfied, the disgruntled, the vocal, for their grouses, just go to where they are. These people could be so pissed off that anything official will be taboo to them. They would not touch the official sites like Reach with a ten foot pole. So what Reach will be getting will be from a select group but at the same time isolating and not getting anything from those who are really pissed. When they say, you want to feedback you come to Reach or go to such and such a place and take a cue, only then we will listen to you and attend to you, what are they really saying?

6/28/2008

Chance to 'poke' the Govt

Nice to hear that. The govt is changing and getting more confident and less uptight. It is encouraging people to poke at them. Unbelieveable a few days ago. Yes, Reach, in all seriousness, is taking feedback a step ahead by setting up a Facebook to 'poke, suckerpunch, and send a tulip - or pehaps a Venus Flytrap if you prefer - to the Govt.' No need to send money. They don't need any. Are we seeing more relaxation about cyberspace activities or is it just for Reach supported programmes? Feedback is now taking on a new dimension, not so serious or don't be too serious. Just have fun. 'The Facebook effort is the latest in the arse-nal that Reach is building to engage Singapore-ans as it tries to combat the perception that the Government does not listen enough when it formulates policies.' I am quoting this from the ST with every comma, hyphen and fullstop at the exact spot. Can I just poke a little fun? Would the Govt try to listen to cyberspace in non Govt supported sites or set ups? Must the Govt only listen to their sites and only these sites count as feedback and the rest as gibberish and complaints? Reach is getting more and more hits. It must be doing well.

Need more gantries

A letter by a Liang Teh Hai to the ST forum stated the obvious one more time. There are just those few roads to drive from one point to another. ERP on one will divert traffic to another. It is just like passing the buck. Even laypersons can see this simple logic. But supertalents don't seem to. So more and more ERPs will be erected. This Liang Teh Hai fastforwarded the whole process and suggested we have ERPs at every corner of the island. Then charge on a pay as you drive formula. He forgets to erect ERPs at the entrance of every HDB car park. It is not going to be cheap and cost effective I think. His main concern is people driving the road for fun. So pay as you drive would stop people from driving for fun. But he forgets again that more and more people are just buying car to drive around for fun, on weekends and after work. This is supported by another letter by a Karunakar Krishnan Vasu who is asking for the after 3pm rule on Sat for weekend cars to be relax as this was probably due to the past policies when Sat was a working day. Some still do. But the idea is to let people drive after work for leisure. I think he is not asking too much. But difficult to change the mindsets of fanatics. They already knew what is best for the motorists.

6/27/2008

Singapore will be ruined by the Opposition

So much talk about a freak election and an opposition that will dump Singapore. Nay. The current opposition is so inconsequential that they will not be elected. If they do, it will only be a small handful that could do nothing. The Singaporeans are not dumb. Should a opposition be elected in the next election, it will come from a new group of fresh face professionals. Not anyone who wants to be a opposition candidate can be elected. He or she must be credible. And should such a group come into power, it will be a big plus for Singapore. What I am seeing is that there are many potentials who are in positions to do a lot of harm to Singapore should LKY quit the scene. They are everywhere, in and outside the establishment. Some are just waiting patiently, some, the unthinking kind, will just be swept along by the new force of change without knowing whether it is good or bad for them. Singapore does not need an opposition to destroy it. Like I say before, the forces or factors that brought Singapore to its height will be the one that will bring Singapore to its knee.

Equal misery disincentives

Another way of encouraging people to take public transport the New Zealand way. We discouraged people to drive into the city by raising ERP charges, and in the process aiming for faster and smoother traffic flow. Such an approach will favour those who can afford to pay the hefty charges to drive happily into the city. Cannot afford don't drive. Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast's approach was different. The only charge that is high is parking. (We have high parking charges too) No ERPs. In a way, it is also pay to go in. But there is a subtle difference. Everyone can still drive in without paying if you don't park. The actual incentive is to slow down the traffic deliberately in favour of pedestrains. The motorists will learn that it is faster and more efficient to take public transport to the city. Rich or not so rich can drive into the city but to bear with the inconvenience of slow traffic flow. Equal misery. The catch is that commercial vehicles too will be caught in the slow traffic as well. Not a very good idea and not very pro business. In our case, commercial or no commercial, just pay lah. Also not favouring business and driving up business cost. Straight jacket? I think we are smarter. But could be better if a distinction is made to be more pro business and pro public transport operators, including taxis.

Human failures unavoidable

Toh Yong Chuan from Home Affairs tried to explain that we have all the best systems, but no system can avoid human failures. That is definitely true. But there must be ways to make sure that we get the best people into the system. The best system to emulate is how to entice the best to join the govt. Pay them well, very well. That could be an easy way to avoid human failures. For since we have such a policy, we don't see any human failures at the top. All the human failures are at the bottom. The front line soldiers and staff. These little people have not benefitted from a high pay high quality policy. And the high cost of living is getting into them. I think if we pay the well, the equivalent of well at the top, we may also see lesser human problems. How come never think of that? We could be getting a clear and simple message coming from the rank and file, that they need to be paid well as well. No excuses, pay them well and if they still bungle, fire them. Then we will have the best people manning the best system. It is a sign of going downhill if we keep trying to explain away our problems. Action, the carrot and the stick always work, especially at the lower end. At the upper end I am not sure.

6/26/2008

Cyberspace challenged by TOM

Yesterday's article by PN Balji in Today, 'Now that strike 3 has happened...' was perhaps the most hardhitting piece that TOM had published recently. This kind of articles or stand used to be what cyberspace is known for. Now with TOM taking a stronger and more critical stance, it will pose a challenge to whether cyberspace can do better. It is good news for Today's readers. It is also good that TOM could rise up to the challenge by cyberspace, to publish more serious introspective articles and stories. Let's have more interesting and challenging views on hot issues like Mas Selamat and whether the Home Minister should carry the can.

No Singapore after LKY

Some quarters are hoping that LKY should disappear from the scene as soon as possible for personal reasons. And they believe Singapore will become a better place. Could be. But my view is that it is a deadly wish. There will be no Singapore if LKY is out of the picture. Why? The political picture looks so serene and complete today, like a jigsaw puzzle with all its pieces nicely in place. They are all held there because of the presence of LKY. The dominant players may think that all the right pieces are in the right place. And if not, the high salaries and promotions should have bought some loyalties. What I see is that it is far from the truth. The day LKY is out of the picture, the whole jigsaw puzzle will be in disarray. No one will be able to hold everyone together. No one, after LKY, has the stature and commanding presence to do that. Even now, you can see the forces manoevring to get some pieces out and some pieces in. The juggling for favourable positions will intensify as the day gets nearer. What we are seeing is the calm before the storm. We will have a new jigsaw puzzle with a totally different picture. And what kind of Singapore will come out of it? I think the death wish will see the demise of many and Singapore will never be the same again.

6/25/2008

Pump prices up for 13th time

Pump prices up for 13th time since last July PUMP prices have risen again, with petrol going up by five cents a litre and diesel, 10 cents.... With the latest adjustments here, a litre of 92-octane petrol costs $2.203 before discount. The 95 grade is now $2.236, while 98-octane is $2.31. The so-called ultra-premium fuels cost more. Shell's V-Power climbed five cents to $2.429, while Caltex's Platinum rose by four cents to $2.426. The above is extracted from the Straits Times. Where got problem?

Blame it on the fengshui

PN Balaji is making a strong statement on the state of affairs in the Home Ministry. He is not holding any punches. 3 strikes are unacceptable and no more excuses for a world class system, and paid like one. What is happening? This one must thank TOM. Cyberspace would not have access to all these information to report on them. If only TOM has kept quiet, everything looks so well. This is the power of the media. I think it must be the fengshui. Need to do something about it. Maybe relocate the Home Ministry back to the original Phoenix Park. The new one is just giving too many problems. Maybe it is more serious than just Phoenix Park. All our investments in the foreign banks are looking very dicey. Is it the digging for all the underground MRT lines? Hurting the dragon bones? Any expert wish to comment on this. Things are looking really ugly if we look at what could be coming.

To all the losers

All the losers here are very ungrateful. They could not appreciate how good life has been for them in paradise. People around the world will give up everything, or buy their way to be here. And all the losers know is to complain. But everything here is so cheap and affordable. What is a $200k car or a $3m house? They are within the means of the able citizens. So easily affordable. And it is unbelieveable that people are complaining about paying $5 for ERP charges. Many are willing to pay $20 just for a hassle free drive. And more ridiculous, they are complaining about a 20c increase in public transport fare! Frankly, if you cannot afford to pay $2 for a world class public transport system, you should not be here. This is a land of opportunities! Go and work harder and smarter and become a super talent. Then you will know how good life can be in paradise. It is literally wine, women and song if you want it to be. And if you cannot make the best of all the opportunities available, man, you deserve to be a loser. We have built a great city of world class standards. We have provided our citizens with world class facilities and a way of life that is the envy of people around the world. Everything works! Oh, you have sacrificed your youth in doing 2 1/2 years of National Service, and reservist liabilities. What's so big deal? With the money we are paying, we can buy the best soldiers to defend us and they will do so happily. No complaints. We don't need soldiers that will fall dead while walking. What kind of soldiers are these? Get real, doing NS is a privilege, a chance to redeem yourself and be given the right to be in paradise for the losers. You must be very thankful for such an opportunity. Otherwise we don't even want you here. Ingrates! Who are the 'We?'

6/24/2008

The cynical Singaporeans

Why is it so difficult to explain something so simple to the Singaporeans? The ERPs and the rate hikes are not to increase govt revenue. In fact the govt is losing money doing all these to help businesses by making the roads emptier. I have read everywhere in cyberspace and not a single one is agreeing with this official view. The TOM also mentioned it. Alas, the hopeless Singaporeans just refuse to agree or accept these reasonings. Come on Singaporeans, if there are less traffic on the road to cause jams, there must be more businesses as people using the roads must be genuine shoppers or people who have a reason to be on that stretch of road. And it is very costly to erect all the ERPs. No joke, the physical structures and the software to go with it. And collection of all the fees with people complaining that their cash cards don't work. All these cost money too. The ERPs are good for Singaporeans and good for businesses, but bad for the govt.

Flabbergasted

I was listening to the news in CNA when it came to the announcement of a Chinese player that won his first round at Wimbleton against a seated player. The name flashed across the screen, Zheng Jie. Then came the horror, the newsreader read Jie Zheng! And the newsreader was an overseas Chinese who obviously knew what Chinese name are and how it should be read. Zheng Jie became Jie Zheng! And this is in CNA, not BBC, CNN or some American news agency. Why are the Chinese confusing themselves and in the process confused the world? Chinese name should be written and read the Chinese way, especially in Channel News Asia. Otherwise everyone will be confused as to which is the right order. Kuan Yew Lee, Jin Tao Hu???? Who are they? When I read George Bush, I know Bush is the family name. When I read Lee Kuan Yew, I know Lee is the family name. I will be terribly confused if I have to guess if Lee is the family name, or is it Yew? And so will the rest of the world.

The brutal and unforgiving internet

Gone were the days when people can expound their stupid theories of rights and goodness in 'the old media' TOM with impunity. Gone were the days where readers were treated as fools, to lap up all the rubbish and silly wisdom by people with access to TOM. Gone were the days when the fettered people have no way to talk back. Today, the internet has given the people the right to talk back, to question and to ridicule silliness and stupidity of anyone. People who think they are extraordinary and want to talk down to the people better make sure they make sense. The internet has a very low level of tolerance for nonsense. Not only the people will talk back and tear down stupidity into bits and pieces, it will be aired in cyberspace around the world. People who spout nonsense are advised to shut up before they make a fool of themselves. The only truth that is acceptable in the internet is the truth that people understand and accept as reasonable. Tooth is never acceptable and will be rubbished together with the soothsayers.

Cyberspace is No Man's Land

The internet is in virtual space and does not belong to anyone or any govt. Do not assume that it belongs to the govt. Once you adopted that position, you are conceding cyberspace to the govt. What is important is not to be seditious, don't commit crime, or cause racial or religious strife. Some may want to be scandalous or libellious. Go ahead and face the consequences if one has the money to take on anyone in the courts of law. Other than violating other people's right, the internet is fair game and should be left that way. Live and post freely and abide by some reasonable moral codes of decency. I think that should be good enough. Why invite the govt to impose laws to regulate your rights and freedom of expression? Never surrender your rights voluntarily for no good reasons. Any addition rules or laws on the internet is one law too many.

6/23/2008

Practise what you preached

After Mah Bow Tan, Lim Swee Say met his residence and provided the most brilliant arguments so far for all the price hikes and high cost of living. He looked so earnest and sincere. He told the audience that there was no reason for the Govt to want to make life difficult for the people. The price hikes were necessary. The Govt worked on the principle of market forces. The Govt did not want to meddle with market forces and people must be prepared with the consequences of market prices. As for ERPs, it was a separate issue. It was done to curb traffic congestion. I think they are planning ahead, for a 6.5m population. Otherwise, with the high cost of petrol, no one is going drive around just for fun and will cut down on driving when possible. This will take place even without the increase and hikes in ERP toll rates. In other words, there will be lesser driving around. He also revealed that the high cost of living was affecting everyone. I believe him. Those holidays in the US or Europe are going to cost more. Those children studying overseas are going to ask for more pocket money. Got to feed the limousines more, the aircons, and pay more ERPs. Now these are expensive things and even millionaires will have to pay more. Pity them. OK, the Govt is not going after more revenue by all the increases. It is just market forces. Then can we let market forces determine how many people go over to JB by removing the 3/4 tank rule and the tax on purchases bought over there? In fact we should practise this market force principle fully. No more subsidies for housing and medical fees, or education fees as well. Let the market decides how much it should be. And no more compulsory savings. These are against market forces. Was Lim Swee Say able to convince those people listening to him? For one, I am not convince even a little bit.

6/22/2008

Lions still far from Asia's top 10

This is the headline for Singapore's football dream. The other grander dream was to be in the World Cup in 2010. It is very clear that the dreams are fading away and time to wake up. Fear not, according to national coach Raddy Avramovic. There are some shortcomings and if we can overcome them, we will get there. Very encouraging words. Very good for engaging more foreign talents and more foreign coaches, and to spend more money, for a childish dream. Let's face facts and be brutal about it. Midgets cannot dream of defeating giants that are well drilled. Period. But there is hope. Genetic engineering. This can be done by buying good thoroughbred world class footballers' genes and infused them into the embryos of potential footballers. In 20 or 25 years time, we will have our team of physically big and gifted players to play for us. Minimum 6 ft tall, strong, like horses, and with stamina that only world class footballers have. If they still can't get the picture, go to the US. They have the formula for genetic breeding which they have perfected during the years of slavery.

Cyberspace Jiang Hu

Those who are familiar with Chinese martial art literature would understand what Jiang Hu means. Literary it is translated as River and Lake. It is actually a world outside officialdom, staying away from the formal govt structure and with their own set of laws, righteousness, moral codes and rights and wrongs. It is a self contained and self regulated world. The 13 blogger exponents sought to engage the govt on a new set of law and order for cyberspace. The objective is to have lesser govt intervention in the cyberspace Jiang Hu. They presented, unfortunately, a mixed bag of things they want or do not want to see, not really clear in their mission. They want self regulations, freedom of expression, minimal govt presence or better, not at all. In Jiang Hu folklores, they stayed away from officialdom, no relations. It is like water in the well and the river do not mix or interfere with each others activities. Approaching officialdom to lay out the terms of reference and regulations is the first false step. It is like acknowledging that the authority must be there and its blessing is needed. Worst, while telling the authorities to lay off, they are inviting the authorities to be part of the regulator team and even expecting the authorities to set the OB markers. This is taboo in Jiang Hu. The existing laws provide for all the offenses relating to the rights of an individual and law and order. Period. No need further laws except very specific internet technical issues. Jiang Hu should exist on its own terms and develop its own ethics and moral quotes.

Oil tax cut sends wrong signal: Mah

The front page headline honour goes to Mah Bow Tan. And he is speaking the brutal truth and I must agree. He also encouraged the citizens to get use to the high prices, live within your means, don't drive if you cannot afford it, don't use aircon for the same reason, car pooling, turn off the lights, use candles or oil lamps perhaps. What oil lamps with oil prices so high? My advice to Singaporeans, go and earn a million dollars. Then there will be no problem about rising prices. No need to adjust your lifestyle even. And can come here and talk cock. Other than that, be innovative, try kerosene or cooking oil for the car, read under the stars, eat less, walk or bicycle to work. Better, jog to work and exercise at the same time. Teach your own children, no need to pay for tuition fees or do away with piano or ballet classes. These are privileges for the rich. And stop going to theatres or the Esplanade. Go to Botanic Garden and wait for free shows. The right signal is for more pay rises for the ministers. This one sure to come. It has been announced earlier by Chee Hean. We must pay them their rightful wages or else we will lose their valuable services.

6/21/2008

Sylvia Lim replies to Eng Hen

Responding to Eng Hen's comment that WP was silence on many issues, Sylvia Lim replied yesterday saying that Low Thia Khiang was overseas and that WP has made its stands on many issues, including ministerial pay. I quote, "On Mr Low's silence in response to PM Lee, she said: 'Benchmarking ministerial pay to corporate pay, but without corresponding corporate consequences, brings to the fore the contentious issue of whether ministers should be paid at top corporate rates. Is the comparison of minister to CEO valid?'" Normally, in the corporate world, high pay is associated with responsibility and accountability. CEOs are paid for the job they are doing and for the responsibility they are shouldering. Both come together as a package. You cannot have a big job scope with no responsibility or accountability. The high pay is exactly for these. But Singapore can benefit from learning from the Americans. The Americans will hand the sacked CEO a huge severance angpow in the tune of tens or hundreds of millions for being sacked, or for taking responsibility for a mistake or failure. The recent one from the subprime fallout was a cool US$68 mil! This will be more palatable and kind, and gracious. We should adopt such a practice so that CEOs will be most happy to take responsibility and the sack, and of course the big angpow.

No need ERPs

Roy Chan said no need for ERPs on Saturday. He relatedin Today his driving experience on Saturday in the Suntec City area and said the road condition was acceptable. The question I would like to ask is this, are the road conditions in the city area at the moment acceptable? According to whose standard is that the condition is now so bad that ERPs must be introduced so quickly? Shall we conduct a survey on motorists and find out how they feel about driving in the city? If all the motorists or the majority of the motorists are comfortable with the speed and cars on the road, then what is the fuss? Or is it that some gods say that the situation is not good to their likings, that their standard of goodness must be the norm for all? Which fanatic or fanatics are now saying that according to him or them, the road conditions are not good enough and ERPs are necessary? Can the people have a say? Anyone want to hear what the people say? Want to listen or not?

Cave In - Says Choo Zhengxi

Choo Zhengxi talked about a cave in in the TOC. Figuratively I think we are seeing signs of an impending cave in due to too much weight and a weakening support. We have a huge govt sitting on top waiting to be fed. And to do so, we need a very strong and big support base to provide the feed. Singaporeans alone not enough to do the job. So need to expand the base of the pyramid by bringing in all the foreigners. The problem is that it is turning into a pyramid game with incessant growth at the top, getting bloated and still knowing no limits to how fat it can get. And the hole below gets bigger and bigger, and needing more and stronger pillars to prop it up. Now with the high cost of living and runaway inflation hitting the bottom, the dissatisfaction and grumblings are softening these pillars and soon things will give way and the top will just cave in. The bigger the hole is being dugged below, and the heavier the top gets, a cave in is natural and impending. Prepare for the big tembusu tree to fall and see how the monkeys scatter.

6/20/2008

Singaporeans must demand brutal public caning

We welcome them to our shores. Open our homes to them, open our hearts to them. Give them our jobs so that they can return home and build a new and richer life. We organise picnics for them, treat them very well, feed them...What did we get in return? Our young girls got molested in Orchard Road. And now, a young undergraduate, a possible MP or super talent, got assaulted and raped. This girl would never have been assaulted or raped if we have not opened our door to them. Our kindness is being returned by hurt and pain. We must catch this animal and deal with him brutally, in the padang for all to see. Make him an example for all our foreign guests to know that we welcome them, but breaking our laws and assaulting Singaporeans and raping our women are tabooed. Anyone committing such heinous crimes and hurt against Singaporeans will have hell upon him. Let his cries echo all over the padang. Let the message go down, loud and clear.

After ERPs - The natural things to come

As more and more people feel the pinch of driving to town, two natural possibilities. Some will switch to taxis or occasionally use taxis. More will switch to public transport like mrts and buses. Soon demand for both will go up. The taxis will play hide and seek again. The commuters will complain that there are not enough taxis available. Waiting time takes longer. You want a cab, call and pay for that extra for calling. More fuming by commuters. Then what? Think, think and more thinking for better solutions to increasing demand for taxi problems. Eureka, found the answer. Increase taxi fares to cut demands. In the mrt and bus sector, we are going to see everyone being packed like sardines again. Trains fully packed, buses fully packed. More buses needed, more trains needed to cope with the high demand. Yes, yes, SMRT and Bus companies need to upgrade their services and buy more trains and new buses. Where to get the money? Think, think, think harder. Eureka! Solutions found. Must increase fare. How else to provide more trains and buses. The natural things to come.

We want branded drugs!

Yes, some patients are rejecting generic or less well known brand drugs. To them, they only trust branded stuff. This is quite natural for those who can afford to pay for the branded qualities. Hospital should provide the patients with the choice for branded or non branded drugs. Did I hear someone saying that since patients are demanding branded drugs, then all hospitals should prescribe branded drugs only? I hope this is only a voice in the wilderness. I have to say it out loud now as things reported in TOM always carry a message. It could be testing for reactions or an early announcement that something may happen along the way. Choice is important to the consumers. Let there be choice and no one jumps the gun to make branded drugs compulsory just because there are some who could afford them.

Even Workers Party gone to sleep

Eng Hen has taken to task the silence coming from Workers Party over recent events. Apparently since the parliamentary glare, nothing much was heard from the Worker Party camp. Now, if this is true then it is very unbecoming of a political party trying to represent the interests of the people. They need to be heard, to be seen to be doing something, if not speak louder on issues for the people. Did they? Did they speak in their party news or party website and not reported? Or is it true that they just kept quiet about all the social and political issues that are happening around us? The internet is still very active with a lot of issues being raised, in TOC, in Littlespeck, in Molly Meek, and also in Redbeanforum. I will be very disappointed if Workers Party has actually gone to sleep and not talking about all the issues. Or is it that the TOM are not reporting on their stand? If Eng Hen is right, then it is a sad development for alternative political parties here. They must be active all the time, no need to mount street protest, just speak out to be heard. So far only the SDP has been doing the job. What happens to the rest? Reform Party is still new and needs sometime to get off their feed. Is there a SDA or SDP or something like that? What other political parties we have? I can't even remember their names.

6/19/2008

Malaysia can never compete with Singapore's efficiency

Whenever Malaysia thinks of a get rich scheme to collect more money from its people, it must think of spending a few billions outfront on some mega projects. Now they are thinking of another one to by pass JB to the North South Highway from the Causeway. What Singapore did was to erect a few more gantries or to raise the toll charges. Cost is minimum. Why can't Malaysia learn from us? All it needs to do is to cook up some very good reasons for it and the people will pay willingly. As long as the reasons are logical and seen as necessary, that is all that needs to be done. Just have a good reason to do it. But step one is to recruit super talents into the govt services and pay them well. Then the rest will take care of itself.

Vote for Continuity!

I think this will be an excellent slogan for the next General Election. Vote for more prosperity, more continuity, and more of the same, and more of everything that we are having and enjoying today.

Notable quotes: LKY

'A society can only survive if there is a sense of equity and fair play. ' Lee Kuan Yew
Singapore role models Be proud of every cent that you earned. Be proud that every cent you earned is justified by the effort put in. Do not take any cent that you have not work for it. Be ashame, and feel ashame, if one is paid, or over paid, for not doing any work to justify the money being paid. These are the qualities of what role models should have. And the best role models who fulfil such basic decent criteria are the ah peks and aunties cleaning tables and washing plates in the kopitiams. They put in their full effort to earn every cent that they get paid for. They should be proud of what they are getting, never mind it is only a few hundred dollars. It is not how much money they are taking, especially when they don't have to work for it. And Singaporeans should feel proud of these role models. The people who earned their keeps.

The people are getting angry

With the high cost of living, with every dollar being stretched (says who? who's dollar being stretched?) some are crying out against the news of more gantries and higher tolls. A letter written by Karen Tan in Today complained why the timing, why now? A little congestion for a cosmopolitan city is normal. In fact you need traffic jams to show the world that you a busy city. How would the city look like if there were only a few cars? Is the introduction of gantries and toll hikes a strategic move or an insensitive one? Or is it another case of fanatics at work, where they think that they are always right and no need to care about how others are affected by it? Maybe it is done in preparation of the people towards higher costs in driving a car. The people needs to get use to it and soon they will accept it. Then it would not be so painful. Buy SMRT shares quick.

6/18/2008

Leaders must inspire!

I was a young officer in the civil service working under the first generation leaders. The standard demanded by them was very high. Any report that I submitted must be 100% free from factual or typo error. Not even a comma or full stop in the wrong place was acceptable. I shivered at the thought of sending out a report with a comma or full stop missing. That was the standard set and demanded from the leaders. And we knew what that standard meant. We were inspired to achieve those standards, tough as they were. And for those who could not inspire, or down the line who were not inspired, there was the element of fear. Other than inspiration, there was also the element of punishment. The fear of making mistake and the fear of facing the music. Some will respond to inspiration, some will only respond to fear and punishment. Fast forward today, the Mas Selamat case was not a problem of a missing comma or fullstop. The mistakes were ugly. Imagine what would have happened in those days if such mistakes were to be made? Everyone would be trembling in their pants, maybe wetting as well. Today it was just Jack Neo shooting his movie. And can we expect people to learn from the mistakes? Yes, people will learn, that it is ok to slack, to be complacent, to make mistakes, and to walk away with a slap on the wrist. The message of complacency being acceptable has gone down the line. And what happened at the Magistrate with prisoners in the lockup walking out so easily spoke for itself. If leaders cannot inspire, they better be feared. If leaders cannot inspire, and still want to be nice, that is a recipe for more complacency.

Singaporeans are truly stupid

Every morning Today paper will be given free in several places. Every morning I pass Raffles Place MRT, quite early. And there will be piles and piles of Today paper to be given away. And sometimes the crowd will build up and jam the MRT station, all waiting for 7.30 am, for that is the time that the paper can be given away. Why 7.30am? Because the latecomers complained that they did not get their copies. So now must wait till 7.30am so that latecomers are happy. What about the early birds? Of course they are unhappy. What the fuck! If they have 1000 copies, 1000 readers will have the chance to get them. Why did they bother to care about early or late birds? And causing so much congestion in the station. And tempers ran high as well with some cursing and swearing at the distributors. But Singaporeans are rule followers and just cannot think. The boss says 7.30am. So do as the boss said. The boss can be stupid, doesn't matter. Follow orders and nothing will harm you. Maybe I should not generalise that all Singaporeans are stupid. Only some. The stupid decision makers.

Gantries and more gantries

Motorists will be the happiest people in paradise. Driving around will be a breeze, or at least around town comes 7 Jul. 5 more ERP gantries will go up and 32 more will up their toll fees. Or like they said, 'Have money will travel.' Just pay your way and all the way. It is great to be toll operators. It is only logical that the central business district be restricted to people who have a reason to be there. No more jalan jalan or makan angin in CBD for free. It is another form of Disneyland for the banking and finance people. In fact all other offices that are not related to these industries should not be there. They only add to the congestion and high demand for office space. Yes, have another set of regulations to keep non related industries from locating in the business districts. Set up a list of criteria to fulfil, something like mean testing. If don't qualify, no business to be there, shift out. We need to put people in their proper places.

6/17/2008

Malaysia - What petrol subsidy?

Malaysia is a net exporter of oil. It is producing oil and selling oil at a highly inflated price due to speculations by western oil traders. The cost of production of oil is also relatively unchanged. So what subsidy is Malaysia talking about? They should be talking about profits, and huge profits. The only kind of subsidy is market subsidy, a uniquely Singapore experience. Because of the high market price, the Malaysian govt could sell their petrol at a much higher price. So to sell them at a lower price, it is called SUBSIDY! Does the Malaysian Govt understand this term? Singaporeans do and are very cynical about it when it is mentioned. And why cut the 'subsidy' and then decide to give back to the people in kind while at the same time incurring the wrath of the people? There are good things to learn from Singapore. But some things are quite silly and should not be copied without knowing what they meant and how badly they are received by the people. Low petrol prices in Malaysia is not subsidy to the Malaysians. It is lesser profits to Petronas, to the Malaysian Govt.

Fanatics in Paradise

We were talking about fanatics of human rights, pushing their views to everyone as if their views were the only one acceptable. Everyone must accept what these fanatics say or believe in. We have another kind of fanatics in paradise. They believe that Singaporeans will all live past 80 years old. And they did not stop at that. They did not just push their views and quarrel with people to believe in them. They did what was necessary. For they also believe that if one is to live past 80, then one needs more money to live. And they sincerely believe that all these are tooth and it is good for the people to have a lot of money when they are at their dying years. And they have good reasons too. When you are at that age, you need more money, not for holidays, but to pay big hospital bills. These are very logical. So from July 1, 2008, the sum in Medisave will be increased to $34,500. This is untouchable unless the sickness is serious enough or approved for payment from this saving. Never mind if one already have Medishield or private medical insurance. The important thing is to have this sum of money in Medisave. Safely kept there for you. Then also, the Minimum Sum in the CPF will be increased to $106,000. This is to ensure that citizens of paradise will be rich before they die. They can be poor when they are young. But they cannot be poor when they are old. And if this sum is not enough because inflation is going to eat a big chunk from it, you can be sure that it will be increased progressively. Do not be surprised if the Minimum Sum will hit $1 mil one day. And Singaporeans are all very happy and grateful for this savings that they must put aside. There is a Chinese saying, suffer first and enjoy later. Provided if you live that long to see the money.

6/16/2008

Myth 183 - I am helping you

The hungry tiger was poised to devour the little goat. The little goat was shivering and unable to move, partly at the sight of a huge and ferocious tiger, partly because it was too weak to run. It had not eaten a full meal for several days. The owner of the little goat was equally worried. He must do something to help the goat. 'Wait, wait!' He shouted at the tiger. 'Please don't eat my little goat.' The tiger roared back. 'I am hungry and need to eat the goat to live.' The owner was very understanding. He knew that tigers would want to eat small animals for his meal. It was a reasonable act. He looked at the little goat and came out with a solution. He told the goat, 'Look, whatever, the tiger is going to eat you. And there is no way to run. The only way to save your life is to offer a leg to the tiger.' The little goat knew that it had no choice. And the owner was trying his best to help. It squeezed its eyes shut, bit its teeth and prepared itself for the tiger to rip off one of its legs. The owner was in a way a savior. The little goat was grateful for the help. A monk came along. 'Amitabha (or O mi to fu).' He said in his peaceful and serene way. 'Let me help.' Then he turned to the tiger, 'Here, have my arm instead.'

For the people or for the fat pay?

This has been the bugging question that many are asking. And the answer is also expected. Why is it that people are perceiving that everyone is working for that fat pay, that big bonus rather than for the people? Or can we blame the people for having such a wrongful perception? Trying to be objective, just look at all the policies and try to pick one, just one, that is really for the people and not to make the people pay more. Just pick one, and I am also having difficulty finding one. I think my question is absolutely biased. Is there a policy that is for the people and not after the people's pocket? I think I must be blind not to be able to find one. Aren't transport fare policies for the people, aren't ERPs to help the motorists? Oh, must include the 3/4 tank rule for this. Then the heavy subsidies for HDB flats to make flats affordable to the people, then the world class hospitals with heavily subsidised bills, the cheap education fees, low maintenance cost for a bloated world class govt? All these are and must be for the people. Why are people still so cynical and refused to see the all the goodnesses? Why are people holding so negative views about things, unbelieving, not believing? I think a new campaign is necessary to change the people's perception of the govt, that it is working all for the good of the people. Yes, the people are getting complacent and do not know how good life is in paradise. They forgot to count their blessings.

6/15/2008

No time for pettiness in Officialdom

In times like this, narrow minded and petty officialdom should step aside. The people need to save every cent they could or stretch their dollar to the fullest. It is time for the govt to really think for the people and help the people to tie over such difficult times. No more silly excuses. A simple way, without subsidies, without handouts, is to let the people free, free to take advantage of the relatively cheaper cost of things in Malaysia, take advantage of the stronger dollar, to spend time and money across the causeway. Is this so difficult? Is this so disturbing, unbearable, so unacceptable? Or is the petty mind still thinking big? Remove the 3/4 tank rule. The silly reason that Singapore motorists will go over to pump their tanks and flood the roads because of cheaper petrol is the thinking of idiots. Unbelieveable that such reasoning can still be thrown at the people as million dollar wisdom. It is crap! Let the people go freely and spend freely in Malaysia. This is free trade as opposed to erecting trade barriers. The people must be given the freedom of choice to spend their money wherever gives them the best value. Restricting them from pumping petrol in JB is amoeba thinking. If there is any restriction on the sale of petrol, it should come from Malaysia. Malaysia should be the one to decide how much petrol it wants to sell to Singapore motorists. They will have to do their sums right, to offer cheaper petrol for more business, earning foreign exchange and other side effects of more Singaporeans travelling to JB.. We do not need petty thinking and rules to make life more difficult for our people just for more petrol taxes. Or are we waiting for the motorists to mount a protest with cars jamming BKE before this rule be relaxed. Think for the poorer motorists. Not everyone is earning a million dollars and can afford all the increases.

6/14/2008

Let's not turn human rights into a battle ground

This is the title of Lydia Lim's article in the ST today. In the international scene, human rights has taken the form of inter state rivalry, a new form of warfare launched by the Americans against emerging nations, especially China and the rest of the world. Domestically, it is another issue that bothers around civil liberty, freedom of expression and the right of choice, independent choice to do and live as unfettered human beans. I will just mention a few phrases or sentences from Lydia's article which she quoted from Walter Woon and replace the words 'human rights' to 'civil rights' and see how the meaning could change to something more relevant to the people. 'What we are against is the assumption of some people that when they define what human rights are, that decision is the decision for the rest of humanity.' - Walter Woon. Change this to 'What we are against is the assumption of some people that when they define what civil rights are, that decision is the decision for the rest of Singaporeans.' Then substitute these civil rights and decisions with issues like CPF savings, CPF Life, etc, do we see that there are some similarities in the imposition of what some people think are good onto everyone, like it or not? Walter Woon also stated his fear of human rights fanatics and said, 'these are people who evidently believe that they and their values represent the apex of human moral development'. Do we have fanatics who think that their values or assumptions are the apex of human moral developments in our midst? Do we have people who think that it is good for you and decide to structure your life, your lifestyle and also how to use or spend your money? The only paragraphs that I share with Lydia are these, 'Like Ms Singam, I firmly believe that Singapore needs human rights champions, but I would like to point out that we need them not just in civil society but within the ranks of officialdom as well. I agree with her that the social realities we are confronted with show that respect for human rights is crucial to the right conduct of relations within societies and between states.' Absolutely. Between the ruler and the ruled, some must be champions of human rights. It reminds me of the days of the colonial masters in Africa and India, when the rulers would dictate the rights of the ruled people. The human rights champions in a democracy are different from the human rights champions of feudal societies.

It is just the beginning

It nearly overthrows the Abdullah govt, but done enough to put it in a crisis. Now it is reshaping public opinion in South Korea on a very popular and generous President. The South Koreans are changing their support for the President to a low approval rate of 20%. Despite donating his fortune for the poor, President Lee Myung Bak's political fortune is now in a tailspin. Public opinion of Lee Myung Bak has changed drastically because of his perceived compromise with the US to allow import of American beef feared to contain mad cow disease. And the internet played a huge role in disseminating all kinds of information and reports and struck fear in the minds of the Korean populace. The old media, TOM, tried its best to spin different stories but lost out to the internet as the people have lost confidence in what the TOM says. The internet and sms are two new tools that have transformed the politics of Malaysia and South Korea. They have also transformed the lives of many around the world where freedom of expression has been limited. Information and news are now flowing freely in every nooks and corners of the world. Plugging this is near impossible except with draconian laws that will violate human rights and internationally accepted norms of what is acceptable or unacceptable govt actions. We are all standing at the doorstep of a brave new internet world, watching and participating in it. The change that will come along is difficult to envisage.

6/13/2008

Have no mercy

A kidnap scam schemer, Ren Tin Ming, was caught and jailed for a maximum of 9 months. This is definitely too lenient. A kidnap scam is a very cruel crime against the innocents. Be it a scam or a real kidnap, the parents of the 'victim' will suffer the same agony of going through the whole ordeal. We have placed a mandatory death sentence for kidnapping. The law must be amended for mandatory caning of at least 24 strokes for such crimes. It is not a simple scam. It is very upsetting emotionally, and very traumatic. People can die of heart attack for it. Cane the bastards! Paradise is turning into a playground for criminals, con men and tricksters. And the victims are mostly its citizens. And the criminals are foreigners. How can we let this go on like this. Make it be known that guests to paradise are welcomed but will be severely dealt with if they violated our laws and turn to crime against the citizens.

What is National Service?

Many will simply brush it off as wasting two years in uniform. Many see it as a necessary chore. What does the govt think of the NS men, some digits to be used to fill the needs of the armed forces? Some cheap labour that the citizens must return to the state on demand? Something to be taken for granted from the people they called citizens? OCT Clifton Lam Jia Hao did not don the uniform to waste 2 years with the Air Force. He gave his life, his everything. His parents/family gave up their hopes, their future and their precious son. Fortunately they have two more sons. For many parents with a single child, in such a situation they will have to look towards the Medisave and CPF Life for their retirement support. And that's the end of their life journey. There is no one else to carry on, to inherit whatever material possessions and their memories of life. With the death of their sons, everything is no more. NS means a lot of sacrifices on the part of the citizens. This must not be taken for granted. The citizens have a bigger right and say of what this country should be and what this country meant to them. They must not be treated less well off than non citizens.

The Master and Student

There is a Buddhist teaching that the person that gives you the most trouble, makes your life miserable and challenging, that person is your master in life. Through all the pains and suffering inflicted by that person, you grow stronger and experience more of the ups and downs of living. The Lees versus Chees case presents a great opportunity for both parties to grow and become better people. From one party, there are great lessons to be learnt in humility, magnanimity, kindness, and generosity. From the other party, there are lessons in forgiveness, lessons in abrasiveness, graciousness, and lessons in accepting fate. There are many other lessons to be learnt by both parties. Who is the master and who is the student? Maybe both are masters and students at the same time. They are definitely masters, dishing out lessons. But were they students, learning from the lessons and coming out better at the end?

6/12/2008

Police officer beaten in lockup

Police officer beaten when passing a cup of water to two detainees arrested for robbery with hurt. The poor officer was violently attacked, punched and kicked real bad. And when the detainees pressed the buzzer for the door of the lockup to be opened, no one bother to check on the CCTV and simply unlock the door to let them out. We could have a nation wide hunt for the two escaped men if they were not arrested immediately. We are not complacent. Just a bit slack that's all. Unbelieveable that this could happen after Mas Selamat.

Another fallen NSman - Rec Andrew Cheah Wei Siong

Recruit Cheah died after fainting during a 2km march. A polytechnic graduate, his life was cut short in the name of duty to the country. Another family, mother and father, lost their beloved and precious son to the call of duty. This is the price that every citizen and family pay for the security and well being of this country and its fellow citizens. Let no one forget this ultimate sacrifice of all Singaporeans.

Eng Hen asking tough questions in MOE

Why do we need so many universities and so many graduates? If everyone is a graduate, can they all become CEOs or professionals? These are very basic questions that are not new. It is good that we go back to basics and start to question the fundamental premises before we get lost along the way. It is the same as questioning the basics of public service, of the role of govt and of the motivations to become politicians. It is a popular move to have a 4th university or even a 5th, and turn everyone into graduates. But the job market will still be the same. There can only be one Prime Minister, one CEO or one Permanent Secretary in their respective organisations. The pyramid shape of the organisational structure will remain fairly the same. It can only be flatter or steeper. It cannot stand on the opposite end. Why are we asking such basic questions now? Has someone got carried away in the past?

No place for gangsterism

Gangsterism must not be allowed to set roots in paradise. Recently there was a lady who was cornered in a lonely carpark in Chinatown by two men and forced to pay for speakers that she did not need. She had to part with more than a thousand dollars for fear of her safety. Such high pressure sales tactics is nothing but daylight robbery and cannot be accepted in our society. I read about two companies, a Naughty by Nature and a Time sharing company, both admitting using agressive sales tactics, even detaining customers until the customers sign and pay up. And they got away with a tap on the wrist. This is a sure sign of erosion towards accepting gangster-like practices in doing business. The law must come down hard, real hard, on anyone behaving like gangsters and threatening ordinary citizens. The citizens need protection from the law and law enforceing officers. How can we tolerate a situation where innocent citizens fear walking into a shop or office? We will slide down the slippery road of lawlessness if we take such behaviour and practices lightly. How can such things happen in paradise? We are allowing paradise to turn into living hell if it is not stop for good.

6/11/2008

The New Media Revolution has arrived!

Today I officially announce the arrival of The New Media as the Main Stream Media of the future. And it should take over the term MSM. The Old Media shall henceforth be called TOM. Its days of dominance of news and views are numbered. No longer will readers be fed with one sided views of issues and events without the chance or opportunity to question or clarify. They used to tell the readers what they want to tell the readers and what were good or appropriate for the readers' intellect and consumption, according to their wishes. Let's welcome the new Main Stream Media, MSM, of the future. The MSM offers unlimited possibilities in the exchange of news and information as freely as one would want it to be. It is a new freedom of the 21st Century. Discard the shackles of old, and swim in the new MSM, with your views heard the world over. And no one is there to restrain you or to decide whether it is suitable for publishing. You are what you post.

A difficult act to follow

Character assassination of the most uncharitable kind I was following TOC on the above issue and am very pleased at the level of discussion and the etiquette of the forumers. Both sides were allowed to express their views freely, without censorship or distortion, without name calling, in a very sensible and objective manner. And the discussion could go on to its fullest extent as long as all the parties still have something to say. No abrupt curtailing or termination of the discussion, no interference from an editor(to please) and no limitation of time and space. This is an act that the old media, TOM, can never ever think of following. Yes, the new media, should be rightly called the Main Stream Media, MSM from now on, will be the main media of the future.

Malaysia, wrong again!

In the face of inflation and oil crisis, Malaysia took steps to cut Ministerial entertainment allowances and other expenses. What a wrong move. It goes against the grain of human greed and motivation. The ministers will be demoralised, no heart to work, and everyone will suffer. Why don't Malaysia learn from Singapore? In times like this, minister's pay will surely go up. We need them to work harder to pull the country out of the crisis. Cutting allowances or pay will be the last thing to do. It is time to motivate them to work extra hard. They may not be able to bring down oil prices or inflation. But they will find enough money to help the people. Our formula has been tested and proven. There will be no demonstration or riots on the streets. And there is no need to cut petrol taxes as well. Everything will be fine and Singaporeans will feel better off with more handouts coming. This is our secret of success which the Malaysians just refuse to learn. Too stubborn perhaps. Too much pride.

6/10/2008

When something is bad...

When something is bad, real bad, do not try to defend it. It will make it look worst. And it will make the defender look silly. Many 'tooths' in paradise are indefensible. Don't try to defend them. Just say it once, that there are 'tooths'. No need to explain further. Everyone understands. 'Tooths' are 'tooths'.

The Chee boomerang

'I would have thought there could be a little more charity in commenting on Chee rather than indulge in augmenting the already prejudicial opinions of this man.' - Anthony Yeo The tarring of Chee has reached an overkilled position that it is boomeranging and ricocheting in all directions. For many years, people have written Chee off for his ruffian style of confrontation politics. Sensible people just stayed clear of him. A strange development is happening over the last few weeks. He is getting the sympathic vote that is escaping him all these years. And people are speaking out for him and ignoring his offensive style of politics. More are saying things in his favour, even lambasting the labels tagged on him. The labels are falling off quite rapidly. There is a kind of disbelief that Chee is so bad.

Increasing credibility of blogs and internet forums

The quality and credibility of cyberspace have been exonerated over the last few weeks. It is reporting not only truth, but its analyses and discussions on current affairs were miles ahead of the msm. Relatively, and unbelieveably, the standard is highly intelligent. It makes minced meat of professional journalists. Well done everyone.

Expensive? Make it more expensive.

Property prices go higher. Good. Rentals higher, good. Medical bills higher, good. Education fees higher, good. Salary higher, excellent. More expensive means good quality. You get good value for your money. But that is not all. Motorists are hoping that the Govt scrap the 3/4 tank rule with high petrol prices. Some, like me, suggested that the petrol tax be cut. Never. That is against our success formula. When it is expensive, make it more expensive. We must not tamper with market forces. If it is going to go up, Singaporeans must be educated and get use to it. Just like the precious water. Slammed a Water Conservation Tax on it to make it more expensive. Then Singaporeans will learn to conserve this precious item. It is also a way to prepare Singaporeans to get use to the high prices. The same magic formula shall be apply to petrol. Petrol is precious, the people must learn not to waste it and get use to its high price. Slam a Petrol Conservation Tax on it and start a campaign to educate Singaporeans not to waste petrol. Cannot suka suka go 'jiat hong' with the car. The car shall only be driven when necessary. Provide a list on how to best use the car and not waste petrol. The 3/4 tank rule is good for Singaporeans. So is the petrol tax and a Petrol Conservation Tax. Make it 20% for it to be meaningful and work. This is a very well kept secret of Singapore's success.

6/09/2008

A new Singapore religion

Do not judge God. Just believe. Anyone judging God or questioning God is already a sinner. And all sinners will know what the punishment will be. And the punishment will be harsh. I shall have no mercy on Judgement Day. The sinners will be burnt in the sea of fire. Singaporeans shall not judge the judiciary. They will be dealt with very strictly. The integrity of the judiciary shall not be questioned. The integrity of the judiciary shall be upheld at all cost. Singaporeans must have confidence in the judiciary. This sounds so religious, so familiar, like being in church on Sunday. But it is true. If Singaporeans start to have doubts about the judiciary, we will have a lot of problems. Let's all stand united and steadfastly to protect the integrity of the judiciary.

No more ERPs!

Yes, believe me, ERPs are obsolete. With the price of petrol shooting to the sky, casual driving is out. Driving to work is also out for many drivers. The road congestion problem is solved. There will be fewer cars on the roads. Now comes the big headache. How to find alternative revenue to replace ERPs? Congestion in car parks! Car parking fees to go up.

Illegal demonstration in Queenstown

6 Jun, more than 30 protestors held a vigil at the Queenstown Remand Prison where Chee Soon Juan was held. Each of them holding a cardboard with words and pictures of the siblings on them. And they were not dispersed. More than 4 gathering in public places without a permit is illegal assembly. Did they have a permit? Presumably not? So the gathering should easily be classified as illegal assembly. But it seemed that they were not disturbed. This must be the first sign of relaxation and tolerance. We must be progressing in the way we handle public demonstration. Or this is not a demonstration but just a vigil.

Of human rights and obligations

Walter Woon is trying to make his position clearer by bringing in obligations and human rights as complimentary issues. While the fanatics are singing their human rights like religious hymns, there is also the obligations to the people with the rights. But fanatics came in different forms. There are fanatics who think that it is for the good of the poeple, to protect them, that it is ok to take away their human rights or civil rights. They even have the audacity to take their hard earned savings away. Oh they never say that. They just say it is better to lock them away just in case the owners throw them away carelessly. Then they decide for the owners how to spend them or how much and when to return to them. Now, is this an abuse of human or civil rights, or is it a form of obligations? Would our great legal minds care or be bothered to discuss this issue? Or it is safer to stay clear of it? And yes, this is another definition of human rights by another group of fanatics.

6/08/2008

When a country is well governed...

Japan is perhaps the best model of a country that is very well governed, putting aside whatever idealism about a perfect political philosophy and system. The best characteristics to observe are the quality of life and the way the people go about living their lives, in contentment, in self fulfilment of individual pursuits, in being able to be the best one can be, on his own, without help and no charities. Everytime when the msm flashes on its front page about how much subsidies or handouts the govt is giving to the people, it is a sure sign of regression, a mismanagement of resources. The bigger the handouts and subsidies, the bigger the mistakes in the accumulation and allocation of funds. For when efficiently managed, there should be no necessity to over collect and ended up with over giving, or the need to give. Something is wrong in the process. Then the fad or misplaced zeal to run charity shows and set up charity organisations. These are all bad signs that things are not well. For when the people are able to take care of themselves, there is no need for charity. Charity is actually a disguised form of begging, an act that demeans the recipients. The charity mindset is something that we must erase from our memory. Charity is bad. Charity is only a last resort. It is shameful to celebrate or praise charity. It honours or give a sense of well being to the givers and tears down at the pride and dignity of the receivers. The more charity organisations we have, the more charity shows we organised to raise funds to be charitable, the greater is our failure as a society. I don't think we hear much or see much of charitable activities and charity shows in Japan. I don't hear the Japanese govt spending its time accumulating money and setting up all kinds of organisations to help their poor, or to provide all kinds of handouts and subsidies at the scale and frequency that we are doing. The subsidies are more in areas of economic activities, trade protectionism, etc, but not directly to give to the people. When we have reached a state when there is no need for subsidies, no need for charities, and people willing pay for what they need, and their taxes, then we have arrived. For the moment, we are living like the days of Jesus when he was the saviour, performing miracles to spread the loaves and fishes to the hungry and poor. And the poor could not look after themselves and will be eternally grateful and dependent on the miracle bread, and eternal bondage to the giver.

Celebrating Singaporeans - Stand by your man.

Many people did not know who she is. Many would not want to know her or speak to her. And in the list of honours for National Day, her name will be missing. This is a mother of two children who has given up the a normal and comfortable lifestyle of an academic and bring up children in a family friendly environment. She stood by her husband, no matter what his beliefs and pursuits, and soldiers on in virtual disgrace and humiliation, to stand by her man. These are virtues that not many women are prepared to live by in this materialistic world when success is measured in how much is the man's pay packet. Dr Huang Chih Mei is the wife of the infamous leader of an opposition party, Dr Chee Soon Juan. The latter's political experience and antics have made life very uneasy and uncomfortable for many, and was at the wrong end of the political justice. He has been named with all kinds of unfavourable and undescribable adjectives. He has been tarred, feathered and paraded on the pages of the msm. He has lost a decent and respectable lifestyle and the opportunity to bring up a family like any high income earners in paradise. This role is now left to this dutiful and loyal wife. Under many circumstances a weaker woman would have bowed out and take on a new life. Huang Chih Mei did not, and strive along despite the many material and financial disadvantages, and social ostracisation as well. Her qualities as a woman, a wife and a mother, are all that family virtues can ask for. And if anyone is deserving of an honour during the National Day, she deserves to be one. She is not in politics though her husband is. She confines her roles as the other significant half of the family.

6/07/2008

More handouts coming!

With the Malaysian upping their petrol price, everything that we buy from Malaysia must go up. It is the natural way of things. It is definitely beyond our control. What is within our control is more handouts as all our food from Malaysia will be that much more costly. Holy mother, where are you? Holy mother, we need you!

Letter by Huang Chih Mei

Below is a letter by Huang Chih Mei, wife of Chee Soon Juan which I copied from Sammyboy.com. I am not sure if it is printed in our msm. If does give a different and personal perspective from the family angle of how a family has to cope with the political wrangling and spillover effects. Singapore, my home too Friday, 06 June 2008 Dr Chee's children visiting their grannies in TaiwanHuang Chih Mei We were on our flight back to Singapore from Taiwan. I picked up a complimentary copy of the Straits Times before boarding the plane. My eldest daughter glanced at the front page and read out loudly, "Papa, 12 days; Korkor, 10 days...are they going to jail, again?" I quickly surveyed those fellow passengers nearby, no one seemed to raise an eyebrow. I presumed they were either tourists or Singaporeans who were not quite on the radar of this island's political watch. For me, I was apprehensive that we were just in time to send them off to prison the next day. Our kids are great, especially the eldest one who was born when her father was in jail. My then gynecologist was a bit fazed for a moment after sewing me up and looking for the new father for the customary congratulations. He ended up shaking my hand. We have our kids late, but we always feel thankful that they came at the right time รข€“ just when things are getting more difficult and challenging for us, they are best in keeping things in perspective for us. Several years ago, we met Malaysia's DAP politician Lim Guan Eng and his wife Betty when they were invited to speak at a public forum organised by the Open Singapore Centre. During our private conversation, Mr Lim mentioned that their young kids were told that "papa went to work" when he was jailed for 18 months. Subsequently, their children were frighten and didn't want him to leave the house whenever he told them he was going to work. We didn't have kids then, but I sort of learned that it's better to tell children the truth although they might not fully understand why. Most parents will naturally think of what they can best provide for their own children. But we never know where life will bring us or what fate might deal with our dearest in future. To impart them a positive attitude and right values would go a long way than giving them things material. Our children are involved in some of their father's activities and they are familiar and comfortable with the people who participate in these activities, too. Apparently, they come to know that these are decent and interesting people to be around and there's nothing sinister or needed to be fearful about. Our youngest boy always enjoys "going to the democracy place to light candles". In Singapore, these are certainly rare occasions that not every child gets to experience. Before I embarked on my Ph.D. program in the U.S. decades ago, I was rather hesitant and uncertain about the prospect of continuing my miserable student life for a few more years in a totally different university located up north that the weather can get really icy cold in winter. That was about the same time I met my future husband. He was all very encouraging and saying things such as "you've got to have dreams in your life." - the kinds of words we frequently wrote for our composition class in school but we don't actually believe in them. I couldn't help to take a second look at him. In deed, I had my share of middle class prejudice such as that I would have readily agreed with the opinion that those who cannot provide for their own children financially should not have more than what they can afford. To respect each individual's reproduction rights is just one of the things I have learned over the years. With a life partner of beliefs, I am glad to be exposed to pluralistic ideas as well as humanitarian values and become a more sensible person. The fact that I am from Taiwan, another Asian country with its own authoritarian past, has somehow equipped me with the ability to empathise with the present Singapore and continue to be hopeful about its future. What we are going through right now is certainly not the best arrangement, but I always believe that the process itself is as significant as its final destination, because often times our best human qualities are redeemed through these unenviable tasks and challenges. It has become increasingly clear to me that my own destiny and the wellbeing of my family are closely tied to Singapore's political development. To me, it's very important to see Singapore democratised soon. Dr Huang Chih Mei, Dr Chee Soon Juan's wife, has promised herself to write something every time he goes to jail.

Sedition Acts

When you are not seditious when discussing sensitive racial, religious or political issues. The Acts have provisions to allow discussion of such subjects provided the intent is not to incite, cause hatred and stir up the emotions of the people leading to violence, anti govt activities etc. Para 2 below provides for discussions if the intent of the discussions is to alleviate misunderstanding, reduces differences, to improve or to point out errors etc without doing the above. 3. —(1) A seditious tendency is a tendency — (a) to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the Government; (b) to excite the citizens of Singapore or the residents in Singapore to attempt to procure in Singapore, the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of any matter as by law established; (c) to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the administration of justice in Singapore; (d) to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the citizens of Singapore or the residents in Singapore; (e) to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Singapore. (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), any act, speech, words, publication or other thing shall not be deemed to be seditious by reason only that it has a tendency — (a) to show that the Government has been misled or mistaken in any of its measures; (b) to point out errors or defects in the Government or the Constitution as by law established or in legislation or in the administration of justice with a view to the remedying of such errors or defects; (c) to persuade the citizens of Singapore or the residents in Singapore to attempt to procure by lawful means the alteration of any matter in Singapore; or (d) to point out, with a view to their removal, any matters producing or having a tendency to produce feelings of ill-will and enmity between different races or classes of the population of Singapore, if such act, speech, words, publication or other thing has not otherwise in fact a seditious tendency.

Japan imprisoned US Marines

Two US Marines were imprisoned for several years for beating up a Japanese taxi driver. In our recent case a few months back, a drunk US marine beat up a Singaporean in the car park. It was not a seizable offence and the Singaporean would have to take up a private suit to sue the American. If he has no money, he would have been beaten and the American gone scot free. Similarly, if a Singaporean is beaten up by another resident, he will have to fight his own case in court. It is a civil case. Maybe it is time that this non seizable offence law be modified to protect the citizens from being beaten up either by foreigners or another Singaporean. The state needs to protect its citizens and maintain law and order. Leaving it to private individual to sue is not the best solution. It would mean that justice comes with a price. No money no talk and no justice. Or the bully and rich can beat up the poor and the poor has no recourse for justice because he cannot afford to sue.

6/06/2008

Myth 182 - When human rights is not right

Walter Woon warned against following the cult of human rights believers, when championing human rights becomes a religion. Constance Singam wanted more human rights fanatics to push the boundary of human rights. Walter Woon has his concerns as human rights has been used as a tool by the West to serve less than rightful purposes. It is only human rights when it serves their interests, and violating human rights when needed without any inkling of guilt. No hypocrisy? No? Human rights is all wrong when it is adulterated by politics. Human rights is rubbished when pushed by evil people who were violators of human rights. The plight of the Myanmar typhoon refugees could have been better handled if aids/human rights do not come with all the conditions for political interference. Human rights when pushed for its own sake could be much more palatable. At least it is an ideal to live and fight for. But when human rights is used to bash people for one's political ends, then it is all a big farce. Having said that, it is also wrong to pooh pooh away human rights per se. We are to a big extent violators of human rights ourselves and these should not go on without any condemnation. We shall start at home, to treat our people better, fairer and more equitable. Oops, not only our people but every human beans, even children of lesser gods.

What it could have been

A clean and good looking young professor packing his two kids into his car and driving them to school on a bright morning. On the way to the college he drops his wife to work. Back in campus, standing in front of bright eyed and eager students delivering his lecture, and the young ladies swooning over him. A lawyer in court mesmerising the judge and his opposite counsel with his brilliant oratory skills. And at the end of the day drinking at the Cricket Club with all his peers to make merry. These could be the wonderful lives of Dr Chee Soon Juan, JBJ and Gopalan Nair. Life could be so beautiful and easy. All these are gone now. Is it worth it? They have paid very heavy price to want to participate in the political system of the country. And not only they are suffering, their families are equally badly affected. The wives and children don't deserve all these. Paradise can be hell for some.

6/05/2008

Quality FTs coming

(SINGAPORE) Thousands of job cuts in US and European banks - a fallout of the sub-prime mortgage crisis - are forcing bankers in those countries to seek jobs further afield. And they are showing interest in a region still relatively insulated from the crisis: Asia, particularly Singapore. 'It used to be difficult to get any senior finance professional in the US interested in moving to Asia. Now we are getting way too much interest!' This is the best news for Singapore. Real and quality FTs from the US are coming here. Let's start to be more selective and pick the best instead of any donkey that carry a foreign passport. This is a great opportunity for the banks to upgrade their mediocre talent pool and transform themselves into real international banks. As for the not so talented locals or those not so talented FTs who are already here, please make way or seek employment elsewhere. The best are coming.

When no one wins

ldzmyiiqThis is my observation on the civil suit against Chee Soon Juan recently. The Chee siblings lost, simple as that, and had to spend a few days behind bars. Did the plaintiffs win? They only won the judgement of the court. Otherwise they lost in all counts in the court of public opinions. The big loser is the Judge if what was heard in the gossip corners and cyberspace were to go by. Oh there is a bigger loser, make your guess. There is a common saying that one can win a battle and lose a war. This is an unnecessary skirmish that should not have happened. Not worth a minute to be spent on it. But people can have different opinions and think it is important and the show must go on. This is at best a hollow victory with an immeasurable price.

The disaffected Singaporeans

After the front page news of Singaporeans being kept out by a niteclub in favour of foreigners, I was expecting more reactions from Singaporeans to stand up for their rights. Or at least there should be some letters appearing in the msm forum. Nothing. Singaporeans no longer bother about such stuff. Take their money, treat them life serfs, take away their rights, no sweat. They don't mean anything to them. Such an attitude of disinterest only shows that they do not identify with the things taken away. And you cannot take things away from them when they don't take ownership of them. Mentally or psychologically, they do not think they are the owners of this island anymore. This is also reflected by a recent blog on why doing NS did not make the blogger more Singaporean or wanted to defend Singapore. Singaporeans have given up on Singapore by default. They are treating this land of theirs like the guest workers, as a hotel. They probably will run or fly off when things are not going the way they want. If Singaporeans are feeling this way, soon any foreigners can walk into their HDB flats and ask them to get lost and they will. There is no belonging, no ownership and no commitment to anything here. With so many things happening that affect them directly, were there any reactions? No. Let it be. Singaporeans can be pushed around in Singapore by anyone. We have failed miserably in nation building. Or maybe that is not what that matters. Let it be. Let this island be a no man's land. Free for grab. When nothing matters, nothing matters.

6/04/2008

Ugly Singaporean maid abusers

Singaporean couple jailed for maid abuses Husband to be jailed 4 weeks and wife 6 weeks for beating and abusing maid. They even imposed fines on the maid for every mistake she made when the maid's income is so miserably low. We need more severe punishment for such cruel behaviour. There is no excuse to abuse maids. The msm should make it a standard practice to print mug shots of maid abusers on their front page when found guilty by the courts. This will be an effective deterrence for such inhuman behaviour.
Batam official threatens to cut PNG supply to Singapore JAKARTA, May 06, 2008 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX) The regional Indonesian assembly of Batam threatens to block the gas flow pipes from ConocoPhilips via Batam to Singapore unless Perusahaan Gas Negara (PGN) normalizes gas supply to the industrial island. "We and the people of Batam will block gas flow to Singapore," a regional assembly leader Batam Ruslan Kasbulatov said. Ruslan said the state-owned gas distributor has increased supply to Singapore at the expense of supply to Batam. "As an Indonesian state company PGN should give priority to Batam instead of Singapore," he said. I copied the above article from a post in Sammyboy.com. This is the kind of tribal mentality that still exists in our neighbouring countries. They do not know how it will affect foreign investments/doing business in their countries when investors cannot find confidence and consistency in their application of the rule of law. This is the kind of fear for investors in the Johore IDR. Any time they can mess up whatever business agreements when they want to appease domestic politics. They just cannot separate business interests and considerations from politics. Who would dare to do business with them? And they will say, 'Don't invest don't invest lah.'

No dogs and Singaporeans allowed!

Can this really happen in paradise? Or, according to one anonymous blogger, it is already happening, except not written? And who is manning the gate to keep Singaporeans out? Singaporeans? But don't worry, Singaporeans will get use to it. We have got use to compromise our civil rights.

The fight against dictation culture

Two letters to the ST Forum by Alan Chuang, Accident Analyst and Bernard Low, President, Singapore Motor Workshop Association, were strongly against the recent new rules dictating that motorists should compulsorily do a list of things when involved in an accident. The one I am very cheesed off is the demand for motorists to drive their car for inspection even when there is no damage to the car. This is totally uncalled for and outrageous. Why should motorists whose cars are not damaged be incovenience to such an extent? Petrol and time are very expensive and not free. Then there is a whole list of difficult demands found objectionable as put up by the two forumers that borders on anti competition, cartel, high handedness and authoritarian. The GIAS is behaving like they own Singapore and is dictating to the motorists with unfair conditions. The two forumers are calling for the govt to step in to protect motorists from such haughty demands.

A Significant Silence

Singaporeans are not dumb. But I can hardly say that they are smart either. At best they are selfishly clever in staying away from troublesome issues. They are only interested in their own vested interests and would not mind acting dumb. The latest court case involving Chee Soon Juan and Chee Siok Chin is a great example of how Singaporeans go about their compartmental lives. The case is transparent to them. Did not happen and they do not want to know or talk about it. What Singaporeans do or react to happenings around them can best be described by asking a few questions. Who is involved, will it benefit them to get involved, why would they step on a pile of shit when they don't have to, better to continue with their own lives than to invite trouble. This is the kind of attitude that is pervasive in our society. And that is how many serious breaches and crimes were allowed to go on without anyone putting a stop to them or even whispering a word. None of my business. Just walk away. The numerous corporate governance problems, the intrigues in corporate world, where little warlords ruled and messed around in their little fiefdoms are obvious to many but blind to many as well. The little Red Dot has many juicy red apples with many worms gnawing inside. The silent culture, see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing, and do nothing will do us in as a matter of time. What? What's happening? No I don't know.

Citizenship has its privileges

Front page news on My Paper, Singaporeans, being citizens, have the privilege of paying cover charge to enter St James Power Station Disco. It is the club's policy to allow foreigners in free but Singaporeans must pay. Such a privilege status in our own country will make Singaporeans stand up, at least as graceful and generous host. Now no one can complain that Singaporeans are not friendly to foreigners or even xenophobic. I think all our entertainment or consumer outlets should be encouraged to have such a policy. Foreigners special discount, or serve foreigners first. But no clubs or public places should have any signs saying 'Singaporeans not allowed' or Singaporeans no welcomed.' And in buses or MRTs, Singaporeans should stand up and offer their seats to foreigners. We are getting truly international. We are a world class hotel. St James Station and all its Singaporean staff should be given a medal during the National Day Celebration for putting Singapore as the best place for foreigners to be. They should be named Outstanding Singaporeans of the Year.

6/03/2008

Moral and Ethical conduct of people in high office

Whether a person is in the public service or in private organisations, there is this unwritten rule of maintaining a high moral and ethical standard of conduct in the performance of his duty/business. These include making profits and treating their consumers/clients and staff fairly and equitably. Money or profits made through unethical means are ill gotten gains and are to be despised. As we cheered our great monetary wealth, if we allow all the immoral and unethical conduct to go unpunished, it will destroy our social moral fibre and be the cause of our ruin and infamy down the road. Tan Kin Lian said that he did not know that Income made 7.8% pa yield over the last 10 years. And he was the CEO for some part of this duration I think. I am not sure how long he has left Income. What's happening? And Income was paying out bonuses to its policyholders that 'were lower than orignally projected, due to the cut in bonus in some of the previous years.' He 'felt that it is more important for these past bonus cuts to be restored, subject to financial solvency.' I think anyone reading his article published in Today would be able to see the kind of problems that are surfacing. And it all boils down to transparency, ethics and moral conduct of how corporations are being run and how consumers are getting an unfair share of what they are deserving. Maybe Income has quoted wrong numbers.

Help is everywhere

I say it again, Singaporeans are so fortunate. We do not need a typhoon or devastating earthquake to get help. And the help Singaporeans are getting are not small change. Just imagine that Myanmar and China both got US$200k from us officially. And compare these to what the govt and NGOs are giving back to the people to help them. The govt is giving back in the billions to the people. Even CDAC and Sinda gave in hundreds of millions to help the people. CADC gave '$600k last year and expects to provide $250k more to needy families and students.' This amount alone is more than what we gave to Myanmar and China. Aren't we lucky, when help is everywhere. What I am puzzled is that why is it that Singaporeans need so much help? Aren't they going to suffer from a clutch mentality? Aren't these help going to rob away their drive to work hard and be self sufficient? I think we are giving away too much money to help Singaporeans. No wonder they are now not able to compete with foreigners.

Malaysian journalists and bloggers joined hands

They are coming together to demand for more press freedom. They are not happy to see Malaysia falling behind in media freedom. Now would that make any difference? I think they ranked much higher in press freedom than our 146th position, or is it 157th? Does it matter when economic well being is the better criteria to judge the well being of a people? We may be ranking below everyone, but we are rich and prosperous, we have everything other poorer countries are envious off, except, a little less press freedom. But since there are no protest, it means that Singaporeans are happy with our position. We don't need the press freedom that will lead to trouble and riotings in the streets. We don't even need street protests. I hope our msm will rise up to the occasion and propound on our virtues of being 146th or 157th. We are the best in our own ways. We do not need to follow the standards set by the rest of the world.

6/02/2008

The Malaysian political intrigue

What is happening in Malaysian politics today will easily beat West Wing or Yes Minister! There are so many plots and sub plots and juicy news, including conspiracies and counter conspiracies. And there are also enough sex to liven up the stories. Malaysia will have an international hit serial if they could turn it into a mega movie. And the best part of it all, it is real! If no want in Malaysia wish to produce it, Singaporean producers should quickly rush over and grab the story.

Transparency versus behind the scene dealings

PN Balji was not too happy that Tan Kin Lian took the issue with NTUC Income public. To Balji, it is better done behind closed doors. I thought transparency is good. Now that the issue is open and no matter the messenger or the way it is being done, right or wrong must be upheld, and so must be the insterest of the consumers. In this case, Balji's conclusion is that because of the way it was aired in public, the consumers will suffered. He is presuming that all the great leaders will take it personally and will dig in their heels at he expense of the innocent consumers. I believe our leaders are objective and rational people and will rise above personal differences and will put the interest of the consumers first. Let's see if I am right or Balji is right. Will the consumers be better off or at least not be worst off.

6/01/2008

The changing demographic pattern

'Foreign Affairs Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury yesterday said Singapore is a good destination for skilled and semi-skilled Bangladeshi workers.' I can add a few more. Singapore is a great place for Filipino, Indonesian, Indian and Sri Lankan maids. Singapore is also a good place for Chinese, Indian, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi workers. With Singapore becoming a haven for these third world low talent and low skill workers, the demographic pattern will soon change. I can simply divide them into two groups, the haves and the have nots. The haves will be the elite and the real foreign talents, driving around in their limousines and residing in exclusive suburbs or in the clouds. At the lower and down to earth end will be the hardlanders and the MRT squeeze with our third world workers. After travelling in MRTs for a while, the ingenuity of nature soon makes one less sensitive to odour and human heat and sweat. Well, got to get use to life in the lower strata of society, taking public transport to work. Mind you, this is world class transport at its best. Imagine if the population continues to increase or when the aircon breaks down. Life in paradise or more accurately living in a third world haven is really great, especially if one comes from the rundown and properly kept public facilities of developing countries. Everything here is like heaven indeed.

Rule less, do more

The MOE has this brilliant concept of teaching less and learning more. Can this same concept be applied in the current state of our national development? After 40 years of rapid growth in all areas, except the political system, are our people matured enough, educated enough, to be ruled less and be freer to do and live a freer life on their own? Or are we still in the same state of enlightenment as the Middle Ages when the people were still made up of the ignorant masses and needed to be ruled with an iron fist? Are we progressing or regressing? Looking at some young upstarts who have never been concerned about the people's well being except how to make their first million and telling the people about life and nation is quite creepy. As we continue to brag about how advanced and progressive we are, how knowledgeable and wealthy we are in the pocket and in the head, which I believe is true relatively to our past, it is time to change the mindset of the rulers to lead instead of to rule. Or what we are experiencing today is actually an advanced stage of ruling less?

Being led to believe

You were being persuaded to buy something on the belief that it will perform according to some specifications or will provide some satisfaction to you, or will reward you in some ways. A certain expectation is being built into the transaction. And if it is not met, no deal, or there is a breach of the agreement, in this case a downgrading of expectation. This is perhaps what the NTUC Income bonus issue is all about. Tan Kin Lian said, 'please keep to your promise.' Is such an expectation unreasonable? Why should the buyer be made to accept terms that make them worst off because the seller has to juggle and improve his solvency problem? The key question here is whether the existing buyers are better off. Would it be too much to ask for or to demand that the seller keep to its promise to existing buyers and only apply the new terms to new buyers? I thought this is the only decent and ethical thing to do. Apparently this shifting of the goal posts and applying it to existing buyers and incumbents is the accepted way of doing business here. The changing of the terms of CPF contributions affecting the date of withdrawal, the interest rate, and the withholding of the money saved are similar to changing the terms in an agreement. The affected people keep quiet, so they are presumed to have given their consent or approval to the changes. The decision maker will say, see, no protest, so the people must be happy. The people who made the changes think that it is ethically and morally right to do so, probably on the declared objective that 'it is for the good of the buyers or incumbents.' What kind of logic is this? There are many brilliant people here but none of the brilliant people has questioned these changes. Would Ngiam Tong Dow say something on this since he is on a speak your mind spree? Maybe all the super talents share the same logic, that it is alright. Another Uniquely Singapore feature?