Who needs help? Practically everyone is asking for help these days. From the middle income to those who are desperate. From those in the comfort of homes and Homes to the destitutes in the streets. From the citizens to the new citizens and non citizens. From the mother without child to those with many children or with problem children. And the govt says a welfare state is not the way to go. But disguised in all kinds of terms, help is everywhere, in billions of dollars made available in all kinds of funds. We have grown into a nation that depends on handouts and getting things free by just asking. That may be the reason why so many charity organisations sprouted out. Some are just self help organisations where the promoters were actually helping themselves. What happens to the migrant spirit of helping yourself and make do with whatever there is? The true migrants do not ask for any help from the authorities. They formed their own self help groups if needed. And most of the time they truly helped themselves just to be alive. They lived in broken sheds, in squatters, cubicles and backlanes. Mothers with 10 or more children running around like little piglets, picking up whatever nature could offer as food. Got school or no school, they get their own education and funny,... they survived and some did very well. Some even became prime ministers, ministers and MPs. It is not that those days were the ways life should be or how we should live. It is not that we should encourage our people to live in poverty like their foreparents. But the way help is being asked by every quarter is getting ridiculous. We are getting soft. And we are encouraging people to keep helping or come forward to ask for help. And we are creating situations in which the people have no choice but to ask for help. The latter is quite different from the past when the situation then was dire. Here we have created a social economic system that is quite mean for those who are unable and then tell them to ask for help. Please ask for help and we will help you. Don't be shy about it lah. And many are asking and demanding for help, except those who really need help and still too embarrassed or too shameful to crawl out from hiding.
What a GEM! To hold a by-election would be a waste of public funds and will be an invitation to political mercenaries to appear from the cold. They will promise the naive and the gullible the moon and the stars. Lionel De Souza (ST Forum) This is the most enlighten quote so far. If this has come out of Parliament, I will definitely insert it there. Once in a while wisdom speaks for itself.
This is the article by Lee Wei Leng in the ST today. She encourages people to speak up, speak up when it is right to do so. And speaking up is not necessarily being anti establishment. The fact that she has to say this is very telling. It tells on the stupidity or fear in the mind of Singaporeans, that they should not speak up and the fear of being branded as anti establishment for doing so. Redbean must be anti establishment. If Wei Leng were to say what she wrote in cyberspace, without disclosing who she is, some of the bloggers will tell her to leave if she is not happy. Some will brand her as anti establishment. And, would her article be deserving of a place in TOM?
Everyday one is likely to face with some articles in TOM urging the people to treat the foreigners better, embrace them as friends, make them feel welcome etc etc etc. What about treating Singaporeans a little better? We don't even treat our Singaporeans well and we worried ourselves crazy that the foreigners be treated well. Just look at how Singaporeans treat each other, the neighbouring quarrels, the snubs in public places, the way they stared or glared at one another? But maybe that is the true character of Singaporeans. They are socially inept, callous, peasants with rude peasant manners. So what can we expect of them when coming into contacts with foreigners? The only people that can teach the Singaporeans how to treat the foreigners well are the SPGs. They are classic in the way they make foreigners welcomed here. Then there is another group, the counter salesgirls. Or even the taxi drivers. We should use them as role models, making some video clips and air them on TV.
The author wrote about how crazy the Chinese were in their quest to learn English in an article in Today. And what actually turns out is Chinglish. They got it so confused that they even write their Chinese name sometimes the right way and sometimes the wrong way. Sometimes back first, sometimes front first. Now this author, is her name Lian Pek or Pek Lian? Is she a Miss Pek or a Miss Lian? Chinglish is really confusing. But that is progress in a way.
While we were all speculating on how much Temasek has lost in its bank forays, it is now reported that Merrill Lynch is compensating Temasek a sum of US$2.5b. This is about the amount Temasek has lost on paper at this point in time. So due diligence and contigency measures were built into the purchase. And if similar terms were included in the other purchases, then things are not that dire. And this must be expected from the professional managers at Temasek.
S’pore’s soaring food prices (video) Monday, 28 July 2008, 9:14 pm 320 views Al Jazeera reports on the soaring food prices in Singapore and how Singaporeans are coping. In the report, one lady, who lived in a one-room HDB flat, said she was given $30 when she asked her Member of Parliament for help. “The extra cash can be used to pay for the children’s expenses. Obviously, it’s not enough,” she said. “In the last couple of years, we’ve seen a concerted increase in these prices,” said Dr Chee Soon Juan, secretary general of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party. “So, we’re very concerned for this and as a government, they have a duty to ensure that the poorest segment of society are able to cope with these matters but they’re not doing [it],” he said. The above article is copied from theonlinecitizen forum. I would think these people who can't cope with the high cost of living should be send away. There are some bloggers who have been telling Singaporeans to quit if they cannot contribute or are just losers. How many shall we send away?
The latest turn of event in the Anwar sodomy case is more revealing than just an attempt to destroy Anwar. A medical report has been leaked, showing that Saiful went to see a private doctor to complain about a piece of plastic being shafted into his arse. The doctor found no lesion, ulcer, laceration or damage and told him to see a govt hospital for a second opinion. And this report is now leaked and available to the Anwar camp. What it means is that once a govt has lost its credibility, when the people even suspect that the govt is not trustworthy, would resort to play dirty, the people will do what they could to reveal the truth. And when the people have decided to champion their own cause, to fight a perceivably unjust and corrupted govt, it is impossible for the govt to top them. And the people is everywhere, from the man in the street to top govt officials, even those on the govt side. Injustice will find willing justice fighters to bring it out and be aired. The situation in Malaysia has reached a point where the govt is no longer believeable or respected. The whole govt is now in question. The people have lost faith.
With property prices going higher and higher, with a 4 rm design and build HDB flat going for $500k and above, the loan portion of the transaction is certainly going to be bigger. Other than those upgraders, a new buyer is going to borrow in the region of $300k or more. Then there are the private property buyers when the loan can be half a million or several millions. But that is a market where the players are very well off and is not an issue. Back to the small people's market when a young couple starting life could be settled with a huge loan to service. Touch wood that everything goes smoothly, and the job and the high pay, and the higher pay expected down the line will be there, it is still affordable. What if, the job is not there, what if the plans are derailed, it is not easy to service that kind of loan. Thrift and frugal living are good virtues to live by. Do not over commit. But not many are giving such advices anymore. And the property developers will keep urging people to commit, it is cheap, can't get it cheaper, good buy. The sales pitch is irresistible. Who does not want to live well? And our system is designed as such. You want to live well, you are welcomed. Prepare to pay like well. There is no turning back once committed. With so much money committed to housing, to car and transportation, and education and medical, there is no savings and no safety lines available except rich parents or family fortunes. Many will be hanged by the millstones around their necks if things do not work as planned. An economic slow down, a crisis, and all will end in big debt. The good living will be gone with the wind as fast as the wind blows.
'SINGAPORE: A new package of measures to raise Singapore's baby count will be introduced next month, said Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng. Speaking at the 150th anniversary celebrations of the KK Women's & Children's Hospital on Sunday, Mr Wong warned that Singapore's population could be hard hit if its total fertility rate is not boosted....' ST. Let me offer a few suggestions. 1. Sack the whole Film Censorship Board. 2. Stop checking and arresting people bringing in VCDs and DVDs at the causeway. 3. Free prescription of Tongkat Ali and friends. 4. Generous buffet dinner of prawns and oysters huh. 5. No one allows to stay in office after 7pm. 6. No night ERP charges. This one a bit tricky. No ERP charges may slow down traffic and delay reaching home early. 7. Lights off at 10pm to save electricity. Video watching permitted. 8. Media Corp needs a new programming team. Too many comedies and laughters may drive away the urge. What else? Money not enough if the small stuff refuse to work.
We are cheaper than London and Sydney. And Sydney is charging as high as $1000 pm for parking in the business district. What we are paying, about $300, is way too cheap. Gear up motorists, there are plenty of rooms for higher parking fees. How can the operators be short changed when they can charge more. And we are not even the most expensive city in Asia. We need to be number one. Then we can brag about how good we are for people willing to pay number one prices to be here. It is a sure measure of a great city.
A Primary One child starts school at 7.20am. Depending on the distance and mode of transportation, the child may have to wake up before 6am to get to school. Now why is there a need for a child at such a tender age to start school at 7.20am? Oh, the parents need to go to work. So they need to pack the child off to school first, could be on the way to work. Huh? For the convenience of the parents, for the convenience of meeting working hours, we force our little ones to wake up so early in the morning, sleepy eyes, to go to school. Are we humans or monsters? For all decency, there is no need for young children to start school before 9am. The parents can go and sort out their own problems. Do not sacrifice our children for the sake of the adults.
This is the often repeated message by Singaporeans or new citizens when Singaporeans are griping about some of the things that they are not happy with. Goh Wen Zhong, a LSE student also said the same thing in the ST forum today. This is a simplistic view of a snobbish response, an arrogant and thoughtless remark. Not only that many cannot afford to go, you need to be welcomed, qualified to go where you want to to. And the people who can do that would likely be the talents that we want to keep. The other is the issue of our right to stay. As citizens, it is our right to stay. And as responsible citizens, it is our right to demand changes for the betterment of country and people. Running away is not an option. And if any silly politician would dare to tell a citizen to quit if he is unhappy, kick him in the arse. He deserves that for being childish and rude. Singaporeans must stay in this place they called home. This is where they belong. How and what shapes the country takes shall be decided by them, not by a few individuals. Let no one threatens you or ask you to leave your home, your country. Singaporeans must be stayers, to redefine and rebuild the country to what they want. The country belongs to everyone who is a Singaporean. Running away is to give this island away be default.
Yes, and it seems legal, technically. I am sure many of you have received unsolicited credit cards and given lines of credit. When the cards plus all the terms arrived, you will find that you will have to pay an annual fee. Sometimes they called, and I politely told them that all my credit cards are free. If they are giving them free to me, I will keep them. If not they can cancel the cards and facilities. Now this practice is getting more arrogant. They just send the package to you, And they bill you if you did not call them to reject them. The onus is now upon the recipients to call and act on something he does not ask for. Now he has to take the trouble to make those nonsensical calls to a phone machine and to wait for several minutes, pressing stupid numbers to get through. And you don't normally get through on the first attempt but after several attempts. I just received another card, with lines of credit, with cheque books, and of course with an annual fee. I conveniently threw everything into the rubbish chute. I am waiting for the bank to call me for payment of annual fees. You can expect what I am going to show them. Is there any law that I can go to for redress against such extortionist acts? The banks may even use their legal muscle to threaten small people like us for not paying. What is this country turning into? Oh, and I remember sometimes back a big shot banker was complaining about unethical practices in the industry. Is this unethical practice?
Salimudin was jobless and penniless and was a petty thief. That was his life offering. He offered a part of his liver for a sum of $44k in a illegal organ transplant. The operation did not pose a risk to his health if done professionally. This is reported in the Sunday Times today. He has since bought a house and live with his family, including two children, respectfully. He also bought a 5,000 sq meter oil palm plantation. He is a little rich plantation owner now, and life is comfortable. Is he exploited? The picture of him and his beautiful family flashing their happy smiles say it all. He is a very happy man. If there is no change in the current thinking to consider legalising organ trading, I doubt his case would stand a chance to be aired. It would likely be forgotten, better not to talk about things that the conventional wisdom is against. The mass hysteria being stirred up can end with people being burnt on the stakes. Now we will probably see more stories from the dark side, which actually becomes brighter because of organ transplant. But Salimudin was a lucky one. He did not get cheated by the parties in between. With organ trading being illegal, many could be cheated and there is no redress. That can become more tragic when he gets only a pittance and the middle men took the king's ransom. And both illegal donors and illegal recipients can be found guilty by the court of law and punished. Tang Wee Sung paid $300k and is facing criminal charges. His potential donor have been jailed and fined. And yes, some will enjoy discussing about it as a matter of ethics and morals while people are desperately trying to keep themselves alive or dying. And people like Salimudin will still be prowling the night as petty thieves.
9 candidates will stand for the Indonesian Presidential election. We can't find even one willing to stand unless the ruling party nominates him. And the restrictive rule that one must be an elite before one can even qualify further removes a large number of good candidates. The Indonesian do have their rules governing eligibility, like being a member of a political party and with a 15% representation in Parliament. Another built in barrier favouring the ruling party. What is important is that there is no dearth of qualified and respectable candidates offering themselves to the people. In our case, even without the elitist ruling, not many will want to stand. Some misfits may stand up. But we cannot simply dismiss the intelligence of the people to vote for a freak. Let's have more trust in a people that is well educated, well informed and good enough to be comparable to a first world country. And Chok Tong was talking about tweaking the system to make it more relevant. The question is that why is the current system unable to throw up more good people in politics and the presidency? Is the system accommodative or seen as hostile to political participation? Obviously the latter, given the lack of participation and only participates when invited. If the system is allowed to continue without any serious changes, what will happen is that no good people will want to come out voluntarily. And those who come out will join the opposition and probability have a kind of attitude that the ruling party fears most. A recklessness or do or die attitude, bring down the system before the system brings them down. The divide will grow and becomes irreconcilable. And things will naturally gets more vicious and unrestrained, for the good of neither side. We are seeing this happening. Why would good and decent people want to get involve in politics when their little indiscretion could suddenly be a national issue? Things like putting a ball point pen from the office in his bag and use to sign his personal cheques as well. Or his little relaxation in a spa in Bintan suddenly floated in the rumour mill. Or worst things could even happen. Chok Tong talked about a system that would throw up good leaders in both the ruling party and the opposition. Is our system doing that? Looking at the opposition camp, we know that it is definitely not. Looking at the ruling party, it is apparent that they are scrapping at the bottom of the barrel. Other than the key appointment holders, let's face it, ...I shall save my comments as they are not very flattering. We need a system that promotes healthy participation from good people in politics. We need to accept and listen to alternative views and grow with them. There seems to be some changes in this line of thought in the ruling party, with more conciliatory messages for a better opposition. Would it turn into a reality or just a red herring? Under the present system and political climate, it is near impossible to have good people forming their own political parties to provide a decent alternative to the ruling party. They won't. The rules of the game is stacked against one side and the price for participation can be untold misery, when the opposition becomes a real potential to win an election. No one knows what will come out when the gloves are off. Can we really move forward and evolve into something healthier?
Why is the govt struggling with the baby problem? Our baby growth rate may be lower, but why is there a need for more babies? We are not producing enough babies to keep the pyramid game going? Or is it that we are still chasing the 6.5 mil target? More incentives and more money will be considered to make parents start to reproduce again. The question is, reproduce for what? To keep the economy going, to keep the social and family structure viable? To keep the main core of the population local Singaporeans? Having more babies should not be just a simple case of economic consideration. It used to be a natural thing, get married and keep mating and producing babies. Today, having babies bring along a life long series of problems of maintenance and making sure that the babies are going to get a reasonable life when they grow up. The rich have accumulated wealth, bought houses in advance, to make sure that their progeny will have a comfortable life. What about the poor who are struggling to even feed themselves? Is it responsible to ask them to go ahead and produce recklessly without much thought of their children's well being? Many from the lower income homes will grow up handicap, unable to compete with the more materially well endowed children. Many will start life with a ball chained to their legs. Is this a good thing, producing cannon fodders? What about a promising future, a brighter future of hope and happiness? Many at the lower rungs of society will only continue to perpetuate their pathetic life of deprivation by bringing more children into this competitive and highly stressed country. It is very difficult for them to break free from the poverty trap they are in. If they so choose to have a couple of children, that is a choice that they have made for themselves in their given circumstances. But to push that choice into a non thinking quest just to produce more cogs for the economy, that may be quite tragic. We have done it for many years. Instant trees, instant population, and why not instant babies? Are we having second thoughts on the consequences of having instant babies that may lead to more instant problems when they grow up? Would such questions be unnecessary as we claimed that we are all migrants and having more migrants is only a natural thing, a good thing? We can have a more migrant and vibrant people in the future. And they shall be the new Singaporeans and they shall decide what kind of Singapore they want. No need to sweat the small stuff and coming out with more and more costly options. We have created a system that technically is fair to all but in reality put those in the lower income group in a very disadvantageous position. Why are we making things so hard, so expensive to raise a family by pushing up cost of living without a second thought of how it will impact the people and change their lives and expectations? Did someone say we create our own problems only to find superficial solutions for them?
Despite the high inflation rate and prices of everything going up, Singaporeans are coping excellently without govt assistance. All they did was to tighten their belts a little, apply food substitution theory for cheaper products and kpkb to let go some steam. Then life goes on as normal. Actually Singaporeans were hit more with the introduction of more ERPs and higher tolls to pay. They took it in their strides. No problem at all. This is the strength and depth of Singaporean wealth and healthy income. And the workers would not be expecting much of a wage increase to compensate for the rising prices. Singaporeans should be proud of themselves to be living in the 5th most expensive city in Asia and 13th in the world, and doing fine.
"Temasek Selling Merrill Lynch Half or total of 87m shares have been sold off at a loss, according to US recorded filings. By Seah Chiang Nee Jul 24, 2008 Temasek Holdings has sold off half its ill-timed investment in Merrill Lynch - or about 87m shares, according to a mutual funds report on institutional trades on US stocks. The online report, MFFAIRS (Mutual Fund Facts About Individual Stocks), reported it sold off 86,949,594 shares (50%), leaving a current holdings of 86,949,594 shares (50%), according to the filings made public.... At that price Temasek would have suffered a loss of $17 a share - or a total loss of about US$1.48b for the 87mil shares.... Huge paper losses The disposal leaves Temasek Holdings and the Government Investment Corporation (GIC) still holding substantial parts of big troubled Western banks. Its remaining investments in UBS (Switzerland), Citigroup, Barclays and Merrill Lynch - at an original cost of US$21.88b - have declined on by some 47 percent in value. That is a paper loss of US$10.28b. However, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew had said these investments were made as a long-term strategy of 30 years...." The above was extracted from www.littlespeck.com Murphy's Law working? Things that can go wrong will go wrong? When I first posted on the acquisition of these top international banks, I was a little optimistic that this was a god sent golden opportunity to be a big player in the internation financial market. I was also expecting that enough groundworks were put into it and the risk factor of this turning bad has been factored in. And should the investment becomes a bad deal, the losses are limited and we are protected from digging a big hole for our reserves. I am feeling very depressed now. It was a huge investment, an opportunistic one as someone has called it, but betting with such a big sum of money cannot be taken lightly. Didn't the financial experts cover their arses just in case it goes like what we are seeing? In stocks we always talk of trading in short term but often we are caught and short term trading turns out to be a bad long term investment that could eventually melt away. This is going to be a really long term investment now.
News reporting by the TOM is as flawless as you can get. They have been impeccable in their reports on govt policies, what political leaders said, or on national issues. It is tough to find them being critical or taking a dissecting knife to cut them to pieces to show just a little flaw. Generally, everything is flawless. I am not sure about reporting on other issues or on alternative parties and their members. But glancing through some of the criticisms in cyberspace recently, I think TOM must be good at critical analyses that naturally will incur the wrath of netizens. The drawback of a flawless TOM is that the flaws will be left to the netizens to expose and report on. And netizens are never kind in writing about things they are unhappy about. The division of roles will continue. The more flawless one side is being painted, the more flaws will be repainted in cyberspace.
Money solves everything. Have babies, more babies. We will give you money. No one wants to know why must have more babies. No one wants to know what life will be like for the babies when they come. Having babies is no longer an emotional or sentimental thing. It is about got money or no money. It is not about loving the children and giving the children a life that is worth living. No need to think about such things. How much you need? Tell me how much you want for each baby you produce. Very clinical. Very economic. The state needs your babies. For what? Come to think of it, it is better to produce babies for money. At least there is a reason to do it. Many produce babies without knowing why? No reasons, just keep producing.
We need the vibrancy of a cosmopolitan city to prosper like New York or some big American cities. We also need the foreign talents, given the few and limited talents we have among ourselves. The American formula is the way to beat the world. But the American formula comes with other terms. A big country with abundance of resources and opportunities, a lawlessness culture with a can do attitude. Then the contradiction of a strong constitution and a legal system. The fourth estate and a people who are ready to challenge the highest office when the law is broken or undermined. There are many other conditions to add on, not just the influx of foreigners to make America a great country. And obviously an authoritarian culture with a submissive or dismissive population are not compatible to what makes America what it is today. Then there is that big American Dream to look forward to. Actually America is an aberration. Not many countries can survive a mixed bag of communities and continue to be the number one super power, the number one economy. If foreign talents is the prerequisite to making a nation great, there would not be any German Empire, Dutch or Spaniard Empires, the British Empire or the Japanese Empire. All these empires rose to prominence because of a strong sense of nationalism and homogeinity. If the American formula is right, we can forget about the reemergence of India and China, both relying heavily on indigenious talents and resources. On the other hand, the former empires like the Brits are falling apart and fading into oblivion with a huge influx of foreigners into the countries. But the homogenous countries like Germany and Japan are doing exceptionally well. Is the American Dream sustainable? Or is the American formula the way to go? Before we get near to our Singapore Dream, there may not be a Singapore to talk about in the future if we no longer become a people built on some shared values and history. The broth is too small and too little and will not be able to retain its originality when too much new ingredients are added into the cooking pot.
As the opposition corner quiets down in their protest against organ trading, there are still some whimpers of unhappiness. Words like organ trading, selling or buying organs seems to be getting on the nerves of the protesters. To overcome such great misgivings, I would suggest that we shall henceforth desist from mentioning the words organ trading or buying/selling organs. In its place we shall creat a Organ Donation Charity Fund. The organ donors can donate their organs to this Fund and be allowed to have a lucky dip. Depending on where he/she is from, the price will be the equivalent of a sum of money decided by the Fund either in S$, US$, rupiah, pesos or whatever. On the other hand, kidney patients can donate a sum of money as decided by the Fund and be entitled to another draw which will be his date for a transplant operation. By doing these, both will be donors to a charity fund, no buying or selling. And the public can help by donating as well to boost up the Fund. And celebrities can also do their parts to participate in a Organ Donation Charity Show. The telco will be happy as well. Actually all will be happy. Nothing changes. And some eminent people can lend his or her name to the Fund or charity show. Back to square one. To cater to those who have strong objections on moral, ethical or religious grounds, HOTA scheme should remain. The poor or those who do not want to donate to the Fund can continue to remain in this scheme. And people who do not want to donate their organs to the Fund can have their organs harvested by HOTA and distributed free to those in the waiting list. Nothing changes. Nothing to cry about. And we shall not deprive those who have the money and willing to pay for it from external sources on their own effort. They should be allowed to do as they please as long as they don't cut the HOTA queue or the queue in the Organ Donation Charity Fund. With these well thought out plans, am I brilliant, I think no one shall have any more objections or unhappiness, except me. I will be giving this plan away free, not collecting the consultancy fee, the survey fee and the research fee. My estimate is that I will lose about half a million by sharing my plan openly. What the heck, it is for a good cause, though a bit silly not getting paid for it. Hope people would not think it is not a good plan because it is free.
In one of my earlier posts I did mentioned about the unusually high standards set by the first generation leaders and their intolerance for mistakes. Basically the message coming down from them was that 'Don't fool around and no slipshod work.' No mistake was tolerable. Zero defects was the standard. What we are hearing from Parliament yesterday would make our first generation leaders cringe or turn in their graves. We are not perfect. So mistakes must happened. Fatigue, too much work, different facts, different circumstances, so mistakes happened. We are only humans! Yes we are only humans. We all made mistakes every now and then. But to use such arguments as justifications is simply bad. A mistake is a mistake, is a mistake. Period. Deal with it. No amount of excuses is good enough and the more one tries to explain them away, the more ludicrous it will sound. Just simply said, yes, it is a mistake and unacceptable and inexcusable. How to react to all the finger pointings? Just listen quietly and show some shame and remorse. Nod the head in acknowledgement that the criticisms and unhappiness are justified and deserving. Eat the humble pie.
The brevity in the reports on TV last night did not disclosed any gems worthy of posting here. The closes that one can get is a gleam of a shiny and beautiful head of Siew Kum Hong. I was so distracted by the glare that I totally missed out on what he was saying. I will now have to refresh myself from the factual reports in TOM.
In Parliament Kan Seng announced that a $1m bounty is waiting for anyone who squealed on Mas Selamat's whereabout and leading to his recapture. What he emphasised is that the money is from private individuals, not from the govt. Maybe the govt does not believe that people can be motivated to work for money. But apparently the two individuals thought so. And they would like to sacrifice half a million each to motivate the poor Singaporeans to look out for Mas Selamat. Will it work? Is money that important in the psyche of Singaporeans that they will not work harder to capture Mas Selamat? Why won't Singaporeans go out and hunt for him in the name of country and nation? What happen to the selfless Singaporeans that believe in some virtues like sacrificing for the nation, dying for the nation, instead of working just for money? The other point to note is that till now, 5 months after his 'escape', there is not a thread of news on his whereabout. There are two possibilities. He is long dead in the wilderness. That explains why no one knows where he is. The second explanation, more frightening, is that the people who helped him to escape and harbouring him, are damn professional, committed and will protect him at all cost. And these are people who are unlikely to be moneyminded. They are unlikely to sell him out for money. People who are motivated by a cause will die for the cause, like those suicide bombers. Money is not important to them. Money only motivates the superficials or those who need money. As a country, we need to motivate our people to work, sacrifice and die for the country on more noble causes or on some silly idealism. This kind of motivators will beat money anytime. Our NS men will die and fight for the country even if they are paid a pittance. Without such sense of duty and commitment to a nation, we are as good as a goner. The $1m will be a test to see if Mas Selamat's accomplices could be bribed by it. And if $1m is too little, maybe gradually increase the stake and see how much will they bite. Eventually the price should be high enough to move some of them, hopely.
Singaporeans got it made for life. They should not fear being unemployed and penniless. I am not referring to the CPF Life. That one is bull. The real stuff is to cash out when property prices are up. And it is up and up as it has been reported almost daily. Just pray that more foreigners keep coming onto our shores to support the property market. After selling their HDB flats, should be between $500k to $750k, park the money in fixed deposits and live frugally. That will be enough to last them for 30 or 40 years. Where to stay, squat in a temple if possible or with the children. If not, rent a room from the FTs who have bought over their flats. Two old folks, why do they need more than a room? They could not even have the energy to mop the flat. Renting a room will remove such a chore. Let the FTs look after and maintain the flats. Never mind if they become the new landlords. When you have more than half a million in the bank, nothing to worry about. Sell everything, don't own anything. Just convert to cash. This is the latest mantra now I think. And the beautiful surroundings and parks will be like the garden of Eden to be enjoyed in the twilight years.
HDB must have sold the 10,000 units of unwanted flats by now. Today, despite some trying to talk up the private housing market, the numbers are telling, that many are unsold and the stock is growing. The developers must have built and continue to build on the premise of a 6.5 mil population. With this as a guiding principle, building another 50,000 units would not be a problem. But should there be a change of the master plan, many of these private units will be left high and dry. Then again, knowing that we don't meddle with market mechanism, we can still open the immigration door a little wider and the new arrivals will quickly snap up the excess in supply. Private developers are in such a privilege position and in land scarce Singapore, investing in properties is a sure win formula. This may be the reason why the 6.5 mil population target is unshakable. Too many stakes involved.
Parliament sitting today and we can expect more gems to come out from it. And with topics like organ transplant and ERPs to wet the appetite, I think we can expect a glorious time. Let's wait and see if some will argue on high moral grounds and invite their gods or religions to sit on the high pedestals in Parliament. Would not that be a forceful way to get their points across? With such uppertance, sectoral views can easily be used to influence or be shafted into the throats of people who don't believe in the same virtues, gods, religions or cultural smugness. This is normal in a small society like ours when the gods are already in place and know that they can command order and respect. Relax and wait for the fun to start. I don't think we will be disappointed.
Below is an extract of a ST report that ERPs are well received and motorists are happy with their brightly coloured designs. I think they could make motorists happier by giving them a cup of free ice cream or coffee every time they pass through gantry. That will be great service! And the motorists will all be talking about how good the ice cream or coffee was, and how thoughtful. "MOTORISTS are giving the thumbs up to ERP charges - at least the way the amount payable is displayed on gantries. Snazzy colourful icons of vehicles and the amount motorists have to pay at various times are now revealed brightly in a panel at the top of the gantry. First unveiled on July 7 when five gantries downtown became operational, the new-style display has since been set up on 40 of 65 gantries in use. By Nov 3, the panels, each costing about $65,000, will be on 70 gantries. This is when five more gantries will come onstream in places like Commonwealth Avenue, Jalan Bukit Merah and Alexandra Road."
During the days of western colonialism, things were cheap. Cheap labour, cheap land, and low tariffs or no tariffs. The British came and just take over Africa, India and Malaya, including Singapore and many Indonesian islands. And they plant rubber trees on them, mining tin etc. No land cost to talk about. Then they imported indenture labour cheaply from India and China. No need to pay for work permits, maid licence, levies etc. And their import and export to their colonies around the world, tax free also, or very low taxes. A world economic systems built under the same principles of the colonialists must be a god sent solution to the worlds problems. There will be no inflation as all the costs of production will be very low. Instead of planting rubber trees on colonised land, they can opt for palm plantations. But better still, build high rise and high end residences for the rich. And they can sell them cheaper if they want to, as the land is free. Or they can maintain market prices and reap in obscene profits. And some land or sea are rich in oil. And labour must also be must cheaper as colonised people cannot bargain nor have they any rights or be protected by labour law. The wages can be suppressed and kept very low. Looking at all the advantageous of colonialism, it looks very attractive for the 21st century!
Sunday is a good time to relax and ponder over things in a leisure pace. Time to take a look at issues that one tends to set aside in a fast pace lifestyle. Over the weeks we have talked and discussed about things and certain views need a little reflection when there is no pressure from time. There is one particular point that some bloggers like to point out whenever the CPF money issue is raised. To put it more correctly, our money in the CPF, not CPF money. Or to put it even more correctly, our money that does not seem to be our money as we no longer have any say in it or know when it will be returned to us, if it ever will. At this point in time, there seems to be some timeframe and formula for us to expect that one day some will be returned. But we cannot be very sure of this either. Some gods may discover that we may live till 100 years, and hold back the money till we reach 99. What particularly concerns me is that there is a view, often cited, that the reason for delaying the return of our hard earned money is because someone already have designs on it, to use it for his or her investment plans. And our CPF money is the most handy, with low interest rate and also the ability to delay repayment if the investments did not turn out right. Just push back the repayment to a latter date, or hopefully some may not live long enough to claim back their money. It becomes an endless source of fund. Is this view valid? I am sure no one has any proof that this is the case. But the people will have their own perception of things and will speculate whatever they want depending on how their minds play with their emotions. Would people do such a thing, I mean scheming to use the people's savings for their private thrill of investing or gambling? If hit the jackpot, claim all the credit and pay themselves crazy. If not, just delay payment for as long as possible? Assuming that this is possible? Is there any thing to change the minds of these people? Legislation is not an option. Public demonstration is also not good. Pleading, kpkb are about the only avenues left, but are totally ineffective. Can we call on god to deliver his justice for the disadvantaged people? I think highly successful people are never god fearing. Any signs of god fearing is only a show, to put the people's guard down. See, god fearing people are honest people, do no evil. People who are too successful have a tendency of self delusion. That it is their destiny to be god of the people, to decide the fate of the ruled. They have full control over the direction of the future, and they will do want they think best. And they are beyond reproach. Above law, beyond god, what else could man be made to watch their actions and be met with justice should they erred? The Buddhist has this concept of karma, and karma debt. It is like Newton's Third Law. Every action has a reaction. But it is just a belief, a philosophy of life. Do evil begets evil, do good begets goodness. In reality, there were some examples of bad people ended badly. But there were also many evidences of bad people, evil people, living a life of abundance, and enjoying their wickedness happily. For the meek and weak, they can only hope that something that will deliver justice to them will work. Only such untainted justice, above race, wealth, power or religion, can level the playing field and turn the table on the strong and mighty. The bigger the misdeed, the more people suffered, the greater the retribution. This could explain why royalties or rich landlords did not last forever. It is nice to think about an invisible hand or natural justice standing up there watching over human beans and will strike or reward appropriately. Then again, this is another opiate of the downtrodden. The victims of might and social injustice will dream of such dreams. But life goes on. The poor and weak will continue to be exploited and abused by the strong and powerful, as sure as the sun will rise.
Have we progressed in the area of political development where the people feel more Singaporeans, more involved, more participatory, and feel more as owners of this island? Or are we still in the third world stage, where the people are still ignorant, illiterate, unthinking, wild and violent, bankrupt of ideas, naive fools? Or we have progressed to another plane, the ethereal plane of sheep, a sound proof plane? While we are seeing more people speaking out in the media forum, and more in cyberspace, we are also seeing fear resurfacing now and then. And for those who are talking, they are very guarded and fear treading on people's shoes, and watching the OB markers like hell. Can we blame them? How can we blame them when the official view is that if you want to talk politics, you better be a politician or join a political party. With such middle age mindset still existing in the minds of our veteran politicians and instant tree politicians, I don't think we are progressing at all. We are still Africans in our political make up. Or at best we are living in the days of the dynasties where authoritarianism is the only virtue in statecraft. Alvin Yeo is quoted in the ST as saying, '...political discourse should be carried out through the political process and through political parties, not societies or associations.' What is political discourse? HDB flat allocation is political discourse. Number of babies is political discourse. National Service is political discourse. Jobs and wages are also political discourse. What is not political discourse? Sex and drugs perhaps? I glance through the discussion on the role of the Law Society and the gag on their learned comments on political issues with a big yawn. Maybe we should define the law more clearly. Every profession can only comment on issues related to their specific expertise. The medical profession only on medical matters. Lawyers on legal matters, architects on bricks and mortars, and workers on how to get more pay rises. etc etc And politicians can comment on all matters as all matters are political matters. This must be the best part of this kind of thinking on division of roles and responsibilities. As all things can be seen from a political angle, the politician shall have the privilege to comment on all things. When will we grow up politically despite the world class education and first world economic status?
In any discussion or issue, there is always the tendency to go overboard or to take an extreme view. The organ trading is one and will continue to be a hot issue as different people harbour different views arising from their social, religious or cultural background. Unless people are prepared to moderate their positions and take a sensible look at the issue objectively, nothing will change. We will see if there are any fanatics in Parliament on Monday. Let me just talk about another current issue, babies. Go forth and multiply, so says the lord. And some mothers are literary taking this as a new commandment and wanted to have more and more subsidies or assistance. Careful mummies. 3 or 4 looks a sensible number in view of the high cost of bringing up children and the time and attention available for them. Going beyond such numbers must be the privilege of the very rich who can afford to look after them and pay for them. Expecting the society to pay for such personal interest or affection may be asking a bit too much. And that is exactly what 5 mummies are asking in their letter in the ST forum today. They are all mothers of 5 or 6 children and wanted the govt to provide more support for the 5th, 6th or more children. It is all good if they are able to provide for themselves if they so choose to have more children. Just keep it as private matters, private endeavours. The govt is not against people having 5 or more children. Please go ahead if you have the means. If not, be aware of the tragedies that may follow. But for the govt to go all out to support such a desire, we may end up with different problems. Population explosion! Be sensible and pursue your dreams or hobbies within your ability. Done excessively may not be a good thing. Modern living and lifestyle is very stressful and time demanding, and money demanding. Just take it easy. And of course these are educated mothers who are aware of the high cost of living and the problems associated with money not enough. Anyone who knows that money is not enough and goes ahead to produce without restraints is very irresponsible. We must be responsible for our own actions.
7 gleaming blocks of high end condominiums will rise along Farrer Road. And the developer, Capital Land, can rest assured that these flats will be quickly mopped up by the rich and famous. As Liew Mun Leong has said, Singapore is such an idea place for the rich and famous to park their money and enjoy their lifestyle in peace and comfort. We are indeed a paradise. Efficient infrastructure and security for people and money. An oasis of glorious living in a sea of uncertainties. At the rate the rich and famous are buying up the high end properties here and moving in, we are going to live among the very wealthy of the world. Just hope that their wealth will trickle down and benefit the economy and the locals. Our service industries should do very well with people willing and can afford to pay for their services. While one end is seeing constant upgrading, will we see the other end contantly downgrading, trying to keep up with the high cost of living with their miserable pay and existence? How could we keep this lower end happy and improve their living condition and lifestyle? We have heard of many beautiful plans but am just wondering whether they are affordable when the plans are completed and offered to the people.
Many issues have been deliberately forgotten by the media or people. But they are not dead. They are still very alive and painful to the people affected. Just because they have been swept under the carpet does not mean that the people have accepted them and will move on. It is important that these issues be aired regularly to remind people that the people would still want them to be done right. Otherwise some people will declare, 'See, no one talking about it anymore, no protest, so the people have accepted them.' The most important issues that should be contantly talk about is our money in the CPF. It cannot be left as it is. It is our money and must be returned to us when we are still alive and kicking and needing them. The money to be locked up in CPF Life and those in the Medisave, are our money. We want them back when they are still useful to us. Not when we are dead. Then the whole concept of CPF contributions needs to be reviewed. When people are expected to live and work till they drop dead, why is there a need to keep on pumping money into CPF after 55? Why are self employed people still needed to keep contributing without an age limit to stop? As it is today, we are expected to keep contributing to the CPF as long as we are working, even till 100 years. People are too busy and no time to look at these issues huh? OK, if they have no time to know that these are the people's concern, we should remind them that it is high time they relook at them given the changes in the working environment. Then there is the high cost of living where the prices of things are pegged to our income, our affordability to pay but not the actual value of the goods and services. With such a philosophy, no matter how much you are earning, the pricing will take care of your income so that you will not have much left for your retirement. Many things have changed and many policies need to change. The old ways of thinking and doing things need to change accordingly, to better the life of the people. The money is everything policy is going to do us in if we keep going in the same direction.
One freak election will ruin us - LKY I think this is very real. Under a normal electoral system of one man one vote and one MP one constituency, the chances of a freak election is lesser. Today, our election is decided by slightly more than 10 GRCs. And with the way things are happening, all it needs is one MP or minister in a GRC to incur the wrath of the people, and the particular GRC can go kaput. And it is not easy to lose a handful of GRCs at the way things are going. Losing a handful of MPs in a single ward electoral system will not cause any harm. Losing a handful of GRCs can be as good as losing an election. The GRC can cut both ways. It can entrench the position of a ruling party, it can also cause the ruling party to lose everything in a freak election. It can happen. Murphy's Law is very powerful.
The new mantra that everyone is singing is that authoritarianism is good. At least it is good for Singapore. And China and Russia are coming here to learn our new authoritarianism. I think this could be our national day message. Singaporeans prosper under authoritarian rule and Singaporeans love it. Long live authoritarianism. We are going to teach the world about this new authoritarianism.
As I type this post my fingers are trembling with joy. It is such a profound idea that I have come across since an apple fell on Newton's head. Even in the darkest hour of the night, the thought of it could make me see light everywhere. I could even feel the surge of orgasmic pleasure rising in my veins. We have heard about imported inflation. And this could be managed somewhat by maintaining a strong currency. The raising of fees and prices of goods and services will not cause any inflation. This is true. You just pay more that's all. What then causes inflation? It is the workers' salary. The workers form the bulk of any population. Controlling their spending power is the key to inflation and controlling inflation. And the easiest way is to make sure they don't get any pay rise. Freeze their wages and you will freeze inflation. If the wages of workers is frozen for 10 years, we will have inflation controlled, or no inflation, for 10 years. The simplicity and enormity of this powerful idea is stunning.
Many are shocked and many still in disbelief that Ren Ci's Abbot Shi Ming Yi is being charged for cheating in court. The complacency is quite deep rooted and has been inculcated into the Singaporean mindset over many years. Singaporeans have been taught to accept and believe that everything is in good hands. Do not question. Questioning is creating trouble and will have its due consequences. Better shut up and let the gods do what they think is best. Even in blogs and forums, you can feel the discomfort expressed by the fearful that speaking up is bad. You may even be attacked for speaking the uncomfortable truth. We need more fakes to be exposed to kick Singaporeans out of their long slumbers. And the higher the profile, the better. Let's have a few more big ones. We need the shock treatment to get Singaporeans questioning again and not to accept things as they are told to accept. We need a relearning process which could take another whole generation to rise up to be competent first world citizens. As of today, we are still third world in mindset. We are simply believers in blind faith. Best part is that we are told to be believers. Where got complacency?
You are all small boys in the big league. You have tried so hard, think so hard, employed the best money can buy from the world. You have the best super talents to do the sums. How much are you making together? $5b, $10b? Petronas made $24.4b just simply pumping oil from the ground. No need to work so hard, think so much, hair all turning white, and taking great risks. And they are raising petrol pump prices by 41%! They cannot afford to subsidise their people because everyone is not subsidising. Err, not exactly. Everyone is the non oil producing countries or net oil importers. For the oil producers, some are selling oil to their people for less than US 30c per gallon. No wonder the Malaysians are protesting. What a lucky country! Only unfortunate thing is that the leaders are not thinking. People cut subsidies they also must cut subsidies.
Exploiting the poor if organ trading is allowed is the most popular reason so far to ban such trades. The poor will not know what they are doing and the rich, the middle men, the thugs, all will target them for their organs. They will be hunted down, cheated, kidnapped, murdered etc just for their organs. Here this poor guy is pleading to be exploited. He has two aged parents, an uneducated wife and 4 young children. He does odd jobs and tends to a small patch of land for vegetables, and a small chicken coop for eggs and meat. Their home is a broken wooden shed that barely shields them from the elements. Having 3 meals a day is a problem. And the children are unlikely to go to school. He is willing to exchange his kidney for $30k which he could build a nice decent house for his family. He could put food on the table for the next 20 years. He could clothe them and send his children to school, buy a bigger piece of land to farm. He is pleading for someone who is kind enough to buy his kidney. He is pleading to be exploited to give his family a better life. Please help him. Or don't help him. Tell him selling his kidney is bad for him. Tell him that the govt is protecting him and his family from being exploited. Tell him to keep his organ. It is good for him. He goes down on his knees, crying, 'Please, please exploit me, do a good deed to help my family. My children are hungry. I want to send them to school. I want to buy them new clothes to wear, shoes etc.'
After Joakim Kang and Durai, now Shi Ming Yi. And we have the names of the Catholic Church, the NKF and Ren Ci all dragged into the mud. How many more fakes are there waiting to be exposed? Are we really what we are, pristine, clean and incorruptible? Or are we waiting for time to tell the ugly truth? I hope this will be the last of the fakes. But I know that this will not be the last. What is happening in paradise? Or should we take it as part and parcel of the tooth in paradise and move on?
Hong Wai Leng wrote to ST forum saying that it is the right of workers to ask for more pay. This is only natural and it is the right of management to decide to give or not depending on the business and their ability to pay. To tell management not to give pay rise to workers because it will lead to inflation is pure nonsense. And she went on further. Why didn't the minister tell the oil companies not to raise petrol prices, the govt not to have more ERPs, govt services not to raise their fees, as all these must lead to inflation? Good questions. Very good questions. The govt is elected by the people for the people. Obviously someone has forgotten this.
We should encourage more debate on the organ trading issues. And after the debate, whatever the decisions we take, at least we can claim that we have discussed it thoroughly and not based on gut feel. Then we can close the topic, satisfied that we have done what was needed. Is this good enough? If the decision is not to allow organ trading, many kidney failure patients will continue to die, will continue to wait to die. Have we done justice to them? Then the very desperate poor who want to sacrifice to better their families' lives, are we closing the little window that can give them a better life and be happy about it? We have decided, the not involved party, distinterested party, the neutral party with no vested interest in the process, must be the best people to make the decision. Is this so? There is a saying, if you have not lived in the other person's shoe, you do not know what you are talking about.
With the internet opening up and challenging the views in TOM and exposing how one sided TOM can be, how many readers still have faith in TOM being fair, objective and balanced in its reporting of political events and issues? Though this realisation is nothing new and people have resigned to it, things have changed lately when any unfair and biased reporting will come under immediate heavy artillery. This must have greatly affected the credibility of TOM. It is very difficult for TOM to continue with the make belief that they are highly objective and unbiased or neutral. Nothing to cry about actually. Most TOMs take a certain view that are necessary given the specific environment that they operate. And readers would have to come to accept that this is the fact of life and the truth to live with. What therefore would be welcomed is for different political groups to have their own media of expression and report political issues from their own perspectives. This is happening in many mature polities, and Malaysia too is having the same practice. What if we continue to deny the alternative parties to have their own media? The answer is obvious. Cyberspace is already a ready and effective alternative. But what is bad is that many sites will sprout up and take the position of hate press, expousing very negative and extreme views against the party in power. It will become a black and white divide. A pro govt TOM and and anti govt cyberspace. Now this must be bad. What is a better alternative development?
The average Singaporeans are not too demanding, I believe. I will venture a guess on what an average Singaporean would think is a decent and comfortable life. 1. To be able to raise a family of 4, ie two children, put them through schools, polytechnic or university, without begging for assistance. 2. To live in a 4 or 5 rm flat, and being able to afford it. 3. To own a car, and be able to bring the family around for leisure. This may be a bit difficult given our space constraint and further complicated by the thoughtless ambitious dream of a 6.5m population. 4. For those without cars, decent public transportation that does not cause them an arm or a leg. 5. Basic medical healthcare that will not empty one's life savings. 6. Able to retire by 60 or 65 without having to work till death. I don't think the above expectations are unreasonable for a first world country. But it is evident that some of these basic dreams of the average Singaporeans will be unattainable. Bringing up two children is now impossible to a big number of Singaporeans. I was being generous in my earlier post suggesting that a family income of $3k could put a child to university by setting aside about $1k a mth. In reality, many, even with a household income of $4k cannot afford to save $500 pm. $3k is a bit far fetch. Then to retire at 60 or 65 is going to be very difficult. And buying a 4rm or 5 rm flat is gradually moving out of reach of the average Singaporeans. Medicare, if hospitalised, is going to bankrupt many Singaporeans or at least empty their live savings. It is time the govt rethink their policies on what is good for the average Singaporeans to live their lives and at a cost that is manageable. No need to waste so many millions and billions on gardens and world class resort facilities that the average Singaporeans cannot afford to enjoy.
This is exactly what is happening with the LTA's drive to get more people to take public transport. The ERPs are hurting the people's pockets and more are switching to MRTs and buses. Both service providers are going to see higher profits through no direct effort of theirs. MRT reported that last month the number of trips taken have increased to 41.27 millions. At an average of $1.20 per trip, that is a cool $50 mil a month of revenue. Profit is going to soar. And they are going to apply for fare hike still. Oops, I have forgotten, the fare hike will benefit the greater majority of the commuters, which means the greater majority will pay less.
The coming transport fare hike is not only affordable, but also manageable. It may be 3% or 1%, regardless of how many millions the transport companies are still making. They needed the fare hike in view of higher oil prices, and of course accounting to the shareholders for a better profit. That is not all. The most brilliant part about the fare hike is that they will ensure the 'greater majority of commuters gain from the adjustment'. This is just as ingenious as the GST increase to help the poor. These supertalents must be nominated for the Nobel Prize for such creative fare hikes and GST hikes. No where in the world can increases in tax and fare hikes ended up benefitting the poor or the majority of commuters. This is uniquely Singapore. The same formula should be applied to other ministries and stats boards. The new ERPs will also help and improve businesses. Can we have more taxes to improve the well being of our population? Singaporeans should appeal for more increases in hospital bills and other bills to better their lots. Uniquely Singapore. That's the way to go. More pay for the ministers to better our lives. Just don't tell us to tighten our belts.
Yes, we need to mean test the population to see how many can still bear with the high cost of living. We need to know how much have the value of their money fallen or how much can each dollar buy now. We also need to know how much is need to get by for a family or 3 or 4. Mean testing is needed to see how mean is the runaway inflation caused by the upping of prices, of everything, is affecting the livelihood of the hardlanders.
Another sign of the bursting of the seams. Lack of hostel space is pushing up rentals at HDB flats. Is this a good sign? We are seeing signs everywhere that this little rock is about to burst under the weight of an exploding population. MRT squeeze, more ERPs needed, property prices and rentals skyrocketing, parents fighting for place in schools for kids, students fighting for place in universities, patients fighting for place in hospitals, public places jammed to the brim etc etc. How much more can we take? How much more signals will it need to waken the fanatics to stop the inflow of foreigners into the island? We are doing more harm to the country by feeding the appetite for those who seek economic growth through population explosion at the expense of the general population. What can be done to stop this madness? This is our country and we must not allow mad people to run it to the ground.
At the moment the inertial against legalising organ trading is very strong. And the medical profession have their valid reasons for keeping it so. There are different schools of thought and different opinions. And if one chooses to take the traditional view, there are all the reasons and apprehension to say no. On the practical side, there are also all the reasons to say yes. No one will be able to absolutely say that one position is right and the other is wrong. The only thing that is wrong is legal, the law says so, for the time being. Watching Tang Wee Sung walking in and out of the subordinate court is the best reason to say that we should legalise organ transplant. Otherwise we are condemning him to a sure and slow death, and a pathetic existence. On the other hand, the CNA programme on kidney donors in the Phillipines showed that some people are will and can benefit from selling their kidneys and live life normally, and quite happy about it. Of course the critics may shrug this off as superficial. Yes, the poor always have to sacrifice and pay a heavier price to live a little better, even selling their organs. What is the alternative for them to break out from the poverty trap? Or shall the righteous condemn them as well to a life of drudgery? Can we give them a choice?
PN Balji wrote an interesting article about a world class nation needing a few good men and a thinking and questioning citizenry. In paradise, such a thought will be simply denounced as bull. We don't need a thinking citizenry. That is about what we have been brought up to believe in. Mind your own business, make your money and live your life quietly. Only a few good men are needed to carry this nation to a higher platform. We used to have a few good men with us for the first 20 years of our history in nation building. Good, decent and selfless men. Today's conventional wisdom is that these are foolish men who sacrificed for the nation at their own personal expense. So today we claim to have a few good men but of a different kind. A few good men that needs to be paid top dollars or else. Would this kind of good men really carry the nation forward? Self before nation or nation before self? The latter is naive idealism. Balji said this nation will be doomed if these few good men suddenly disappeared for there is really a dearth of good men available. This is a false assumption surely. We have many men that have been trained by the best universities. I believe there must be some good men among them, but because of the political system and culture, they rather stand aside. Anyway, if they stand up to say that they will run the country for half the pay they will be immediately denounced as only half as good. For if they could not command the top salary which top brains are associated with then they are no good. I believe some of the good men will know that they are being paid beyond their abilities and contributions. A good man will stand forward and say, look, you are overpaying me. I don't deserve so much. Balji also talked about a thinking and questioning citizenry to fill the second part of his equation of a great nation. We are not a nation but a hotel. Everyone who is able is hoarding as much wealth as he can to prepare to run. Only the less able and losers will stay behind when the dam breaks. In a nutshell, do we have a few good men and a thinking citizenry? Maybe not. But I am contradicting myself as I have said earlier that there must be many good men sitting on the sideline. Maybe we need a revamp of the system and the values for the really good men to come forward. Under the present system and values, it will invite a different kind of good men to rule the country. Is this system sustainable, able to last in this form into the future? I have my doubts. Our system started well. But when its continued existence or perpetuation of its existence is for the wrong reasons, it will end up in the dumps of history.
The centre of growth has shifted to the East. The two old giant civilisations have woken up and powering ahead. Then there is the revitalised Russia in the north, and the Koreans slightly to the east. And the old war horse, Japan, and Taiwan, Hongkong etc. Then there is Australia to the south and the world's biggest commodity producers, Indonesia and Malaysia. Singapore is strategically placed in the midst of these spectacular growth and growing economies. And we are gradually becoming the centre for the region. We will be the beacon of growth, playing the role as a capital city for these countries. We will draw their talents, their products and services and their funds here. We will manage and process them with our expertise and first world infrastructures and systems. We will grow with them. We have everything they need, and the ability to balance the delicate sensitivities of these countries by being neutral and acceptable to all of them. We have a bright future as the centre of this growth.
The recent addition of more ERPs and higher toll rates is a huge success in terms of effectiveness and acceptance by the motorists. About 70% of motorists and motorcyclists polled would rather pay more for a smoother ride. The poll was conducted by The Sunday Times on a sample size of 200. With such a high rate of acceptance, the LTA should give themselves a pat on the back for being proactive and for being able to read the minds of the people. It is a tough decision that the people know is coming and will accept it as they know it is good for them. There were some grouses of course. A commuter complained that MRTs are too packed. A shop owner complained that business has dropped. A cabbie complained that he would lose out if he pays for the higher tolls but could not pick up fares. But all these are a minority and they will get use to the new changes. And they will soon appreciate the goodness of the ERPs and be thankful for it. Things will die down and be normal again. As for the MRT jams, I think this will be resolved when the circle line comes in in 10 years time. Not to worry. Time will solve all problems.
We are hearing the all for a new direction or misdirection, have more babies. We need to bring back the good old days and our mamas and grandmas. We need to worship them as the heroines for producing by the dozens. It was a time of ignorance, of who cares, of wanton irresponsibilities perhaps, or were the children born in those days were children of love? The new mothers are shunning to have more babies for very practical and serious reasons. The days when children will grow up by themselves and fend for themselves are over. The children who will find their own food and live with a pair of pyjamas shorts tied by a piece of cotton string will not return. Simply, having babies is not cheap. Only the ignorant and irresponsible will keep producing beyond their means. And what will become of their children? Materially deprived, mentally disturbed, psychologically suffering from a complex of the have nots, and educationally good to be guards and waiters and waitresses, maybe salesperson. That is what many of these lower income children will become when they grow up. Not many parents can afford to bring up children to university levels, a minimum qualification to live a decent life. Given the high cost of everything, including education, how much would it need to bring up a child? Conservatively $250k or more for his first 25 years of dependency, ie $10k annually. Any parents who want their child to be properly and adequately brought up and educated, need to be able to set aside $1000 pm for 25 years. How many families can afford such a sum? Can a double income family with a $3k take home pay be able to set this aside? Barely, given each needing $1k to live by. This will rule out any family with an income of less than $3k to have babies if they want their children to grow up normal and live reasonably, and to be the pride of the family. But how many of our population is earning less than this amount? With the rate of inflation running away, with everything going to cost more, especially education, are we serious to call people to go forth and simply multiply? Yes, many irresponsible parents will do that. They will see their wrongdoings and the problems their children will face in the future when money is not enough. If we are real in wanting our people to procreate more, then the cost of bringing up a child must be brought down. The cost of education must be brought down to a manageable level. Otherwise we are asking these people to dig a hole to bury themselves in the future. What we can expect to hear for sure tomorrow is that education fees will go up and up. Then what will happen to the children who cannot afford the education?
We need strong and tough leaders who dare to tell the brutal truth even if it hurts. It is bad if leaders say all the nice things to gain popularity. Leaders must say the right thing and do the right thing. And Tharman has just done it. He said the most unpopular thing, but good for Singapore. He has warned employers against giving pay rise to workers to offset inflation. And the best judge of his wisdom is that the union leaders also support this view. And not only the union leaders, 2/3 of the people also voiced out in support of his position. I have read 6 comments in the ST and 4 were in agreement with him. Only two were slightly in disagreement. This only shows that the people are reasonable and thinking and will support hard policies as long as the reasons are sound. And in this case, 2/3 of them support Tharman. That is a good sign of Tharman's potential as the next PM.
There is a new Singapore in the making. Singapore will be transformed in a world class city with world class facilities for world class people. We are inviting all the rich and famous to our shores. They are going to be greeted with world class universities, medical facilities, recreational and entertainment facilities, world class transport system, world class housing, in short everything world class. And we all know that we have to pay world class prices for world class servicesand facilities. It has to be. It is going to be better than the Swiss standard of living. It is what every Singaporean is dreaming off. How many can afford to live this dream? For the lower income wage earners, inflation is soaring and eating into their petty income. Not only that they are getting not enough, it is dwindling. And we are going to keep their wages down, to remain competitive. With low income and shrinking income, how are these people, the majority of the Singaporeans, going to pay for their dreams? The only way to live their dreams is by dreaming. The reality is too harsh and will not be attainable to them. And many are agreeing that their wages should be kept low. It was reported in the ST, 'Deputy president Philip Lee, 51, said his union(SISEU) would not push for higher wages because economic prospects were uncertain. "If jobs are not coming in, employers may retrench workers," he said.' He has his point. Job security is important. Meantime we have full employment to the extent that more foreign workers are being brought in to cover the shortages. And more foreign workers and foreign talents will find employment here while Singaporeans are worried of losing their jobs and competitiveness. The best part is that we cannot stop the inflow of foreigner workers. For they are here to help the Singaporeans and to provide jobs for the Singaporeans. Low income Singaporeans would just have to bear with their low pay jobs. Better to have jobs than no jobs...and keep dreaming of a world class lifestyle.
“If the operators’ returns are satisfactory, then it is a win-win situation. If they are unduly penalised, they do not get returns commensurate with their risks … then you would have a new set of problems – too few trains, too old buses.” Cedric Foo (TODAY) With this kind of statement and acceptance that public transport will be allowed to run to the ground if profit no enough, it is time that the govt should consider taking public transport back as a statutory board. With so many supertalents in the stats board, I am sure they can do a better job without being profit crazy. And if they cannot perform, sack them. You don't pay people so much who cannot perform. And I hope no one is going to say that only privatisation can make an organisation efficient and effective. Bull.
Look at it positively, this is another measure to curb inflation. The people are having too much disposable income. Take a bit away then they will spend less, and travel less. All in all, there will be less demand for goods and services. So inflation pressure will weaken. Good for everyone. And lesser congestion in MRTs and buses. Just hope the motorists don't go back to driving.
Tang Wee Sung should have spent a short holiday in the Phillipines. I was watching CNA last night and there was a programme showing trishaw riders in the Phillipines. Several healthy young pedicab drivers were being featured. They were so vibrant, energetic, healthy, and happy. There have all sold one of their kidneys and are not only happy, but living life normally. And one kidney was sold for US$3,800! For that one of them said he could buy a pedicab to earn a living and also a small store. They all did it for the well being of their families. Who is to say that they are wrong, exploited, suffering? They did it willingly, as a personal sacrifice. Of course we the rich Singaporeans felt very sorry for their plight. But can we offer them any help except to deprive them of the opportunity to do something for their families? This is the haughtiness of a self centred and self proclaimed morally righteous people. No it is wrong, don't let them do it. Let them continue to live in poverty and indignity, begging for handouts. And let the kidney failure patients die. These are the honourable and right things to do. And the witch hunt is on.
Many of us tend to laugh, snigger or sneer at some of the policies that were meant for the good of the people. But we simply missed the point. I too. And so too will be the brilliant economic professors from Harvard or Stanford or the Ivy League Ivory Towers. We were too superficial, and simple minded and could not see the brilliance of such policies. They were were grounded on solid economic principles, supply and demand. Take the case of the raising of GST to help the poor. Yes, we laughed. But after implementation, the results tell. The people, especially the poor are happy that they have been helped. Otherwise we will have them protesting violently on the streets. Such evidence of contentment must be proof that the policies are working well and well received. There are many wonderful policies that have made us successful. The last few days we were hearing people warning about inflation. But over the years inflation has been tamed. Though it tries to raise its ugly head again, immediate measures were taken to curb them. Take the ERPs and the raising of toll rates as an example. It is not just to curb traffic alone. It is multi prong. It also helps to allow more people to buy cars. But what is important is how this tackles the inflation tendency. The middle class, the motorists, have a pretty big pocket and can afford to spend. By making them pay more on ERPs, and petrols, that will take away some of their spending power. Then they will not compete with the lower income people for food and necessities. Without them spending like crazies and saying everything is cheap, there is less likelihood of raising prices by the providers. The biggest and most effective effort in controlling the people's spending power is the CPF. When the money are locked up, you simply cannot spend. So the purchasing power is reduced. So inflation too will not be an issue. People with little or no money to spend cannot cause inflation. So don't laugh when minister called on companies not to raise the pay of workers. This is an important inflation curbing measure. If all the workers are getting a pay rise, they are going out to splurge and spend. Everything will go up when there is increase in demand. This is Economics 101. Raising salaries of those millionaires is not a problem. First, the money will be extra cash that they will likely put away. It does not bother them nor would it affect their lifestyle even if you give them another few millions. They already have everything and are living it up. Their main concern or problem is what to spend on? That is a big headache. Very likely they would not be spending locally and so will not drive up demand and inflation here. They will export the inflation overseas, in their holidays and big purchases in Paris, London or 5th Avenue. Now, that should be ok as the people who will be badly affected by their inflationary habit will not be the locals here. The wonder of it all is that all our policies are so carefully worked out, implemented, that even the best economic gurus will be stumped. They are simply ingenious.
The first right that the people should ask for is the right to stand as a candidate for the Elected President of Singapore, regardless of his status in society. This right has been taken away from every Singaporean when conditions like one must be running an organisation with how many million dollars worth or must be a very senior civil servant or a CEO of such and such a big company etc etc etc or else not qualified. What it means is that losers and hardlanders are disqualified immediately. As citizens of this country, born and bred, sacrifice the best part of our life to do National Service, this right to stand for election as an Elected President is our basic right, our intrinsic right. Every Singaporean must have the right to this office if the people so decide to elect him or her. And he will have all the supertalents and councils to advise him on what to do and not to do for the good of the country. Should not be too difficult a job. All the position need is a person of good character and respectable in the eyes of the people. What say you people?
Yes, this is true and nothing can be more true than this. Wage increase will cause inflation. To be specific, worker's wage increase, not any other wage increase. The logic, there are so many workers. And if employer gives one worker $20 increase per month, you know how much more money will go into the market. Sure it will cause inflation. Nasi lemak and chicken rice demand will go up and hawkers will quickly raise their prices. Other things can increase no problem. When other things increase, the workers will have to pay more for them. So their disposable income will come down and they cannot anyhow spend. So less demand for food and necessities. So prices will not go up and inflation will come down. This is a secret to our success. It's elementary, Watson!
LKY said that we need at least 65% of born and bred citizens to form the core of our society. Has this number been breached. My guess is that it has been breached long ago. With 4.6m population, with the born and bred probably 2.5m, excluding the PRs and new citizens, the born and bred are likely to be slightly more than 50%. As a hotel this is good. In fact, as a hotel, the born and bred should be reduced to 20%. 50% is pushing the limits for a nation. This kind of number can only be attained by unthinking policy makers who are shallow and short sighted and do not know what the consequences will be. A country without a people that will call this place home and will die fighting for it is no longer a nation. We are in all aspects a hotel or a hotel in the making. If the kpkb about not wanting to defend this country as it is not worth defending gets more prevalent, this little rock can go to the rubbish dumb. It will soon be up for sale to the highest bidder, just like Christmas Island. The first generation fought and built this island with their sweat, blood and tears. In less than 3 generations, we are seeing a new group of people who have no qualms in giving it away. The Chinese saying of a fortune that will not last 3 generations is going to be realised soon. The local born and bred will soon be a minority and will be asked to get lost if they are not happy here. And not only the unthinking citizens will be telling them that, the new residents too will be urging them to do so. And who shall inherit this piece of rock? We have not gone down the slipppery road that far yet. There is still time to put on the brake and relook at some of the policies that are being implemented and pull back before it is too late. LKY knows what he is talking about. But would others understand him or working towards a different direction.
When the foreigners landed in paradise, it is like waking up to a dream comes true. Everything is exactly what they want and are looking for. The beautiful infrastructure, the gleaming buildings that they can desire to be home, the first world lifestyle, and jobs aplenty. Then the great hosts welcoming them with red carpets and open arms. What a beautiful dream. The elite too wake up to a reality that many could only dream off. Everyday is wine, women and song. No need to work too. Just manage their assets well. Make sure that property prices and all prices go up. Property prices up means asset value increase. Rental up means income increase. Higher ERP means having the road to themselves. Jobs, no need jobs. No need to work. Some are even luckier. Being paid in millions to go on holidays or sipping teas attending board meetings. The citizens, the Singaporeans, wake up to a different dream. Tighten your belt, don't expect charity or welfare. Look after yourself and live within your means. Work till you die. Downgrade lifestyle and expectations. Eat less, use less, take bus or walk. Actually the writing is on the wall. Move out if you can't fit in. Even the foreigners are singing the same song. Move out if you are so unhappy. We are here to replace you. All you ingrates, not knowing how lucky you are. And the system is designed for the locals to move out. Money lock up in CPF cannot touch. So got money as good as no money. When one is going to work till he drops dead, there is no need for savings for retirement anymore. Outdated concept. The message is very clear, that you can have your money only if you move out. Migrate, denounce your citizenship and the money will be returned to you. And good bye, good riddance. All in the same bed but different dreams.
There is an article in Zaobao forum on 8 Jul discussing why the PM needs two senior ministers and two DPMs to assist him. Given the super talent nature of all the ministers, surely the PM should be capable to hold the fort himself, alone. The forumer were trying to reason why is there a need for so many ministers to assist the PM. Subsequently he set this aside and commented on the impression of all the PMs, including the Chief Ministers that Singapore has had and found only David Marshall was the only one who could inspire and create a special aura around him. He then suggested that if the senior ministers were to volunteer to serve the country by taking a $1 salary, the people will greatly admire them for their greatness. After all every one of them have fortunes that could last several generations. Money is not an issue to them. Don't forget they are still receiving their great pensions, probably in the millions. This is an interesting article, really.
This is surely unbelieveable for a tiny dot to acquired such formidable weapons, the F35. At US$68 mil a piece, wow, we will surely become the most well equipped air force in the world. We will become invincible! I am worried about my income tax and more taxes, and our national reserves. Such advanced aircraft, with stealth capability, are employed by sophisticated airforces like the Americans and other super powers to evade equally sophisticated defensive radar systems. And the capability of the aircraft is to achieve air superiority over equally capable aircraft. Looking around, who are our enemies and what to they have? Do we need them when the defence is made up of coconut trees and catapults? But can't be too sure. If we upgrade, they also upgrade. We spend more, they also can spend more. I will like to be the arms merchants, inspiring the boys to spend more money on their toys to be one up against each other.
Petrol prices shot up and converting to CNG becomes an attractive option. Now the converts are crying foul. After spending so much money to convert their petrol cars to CNG, they are now at the mercy of the CNG suppliers. With only two points, maybe more later, it is a MONOPOLY! CNG price has shot up by 25% in 3 months from $1.28 per kg to $1.59. And prices of CNG were not affected like the speculation in oil. Producer price of CNG was stable during the whole duration. Someone sleeping to allow such profiteering to go on under the clear blue sky. Wake up, wake up. Oh never mind. It is ok to sleep until master says 'Fetch', then start running.
Cyberspace is gaining ground in Malaysia. The Malaysian Govt has accepted that online journalists are also journalists and have started to issue press passes for them to cover official events. Now there is no need to be paid as a journalists to be recognised as a journalist. The paid journalists can no longer thump down at the online news providers. And Singapore has taken a ginger step forward to dip its toe into cyberspace. Ministers are signing up in Facebook to test water. Workers Party also has its own Facebook. The breakwater has been broken. The flood water is going to fill the land.
Oil price took a knock and ended at US$136, a $5 fall. We must demand that petrol prices be cut immediately by at least 10c a litre. The petrol companies have been very prompt in raising their pump prices. It is time that they be equally prompt to cut their prices. If not, CASE better step in immediately, not to ask questions, but to insist on an immediate cut. With Iran willing to talk on its nuclear programme, the pressure for oil price to go up is lesser as the mad men in White House have lesser reasons to attack Iran. And speculators are going to run for cover.
I used to write about the fear of bringing a monster home to tend to the babies and the old folks. It is a genuine fear as the maid that is brought home is mostly an unknown element. You would not know of her past, her medical history or her psyche. And we left our infants and invalids to their care when care was not in their minds. Many tragedies had happened and many regretted their follies to leave their precious loved ones to a complete stranger that turned out to be a monster. That is only one perspective. There are monsters within. The employers are equally possible to unveal their dark sides. Many are cruel, wicked and inhumans. Today ST published about this 'former airforce sergeant Tong Chew Wei' who treated his maid no better than the African slaves in America once. One meal a day and worked till 3am. Then the beating and ill treatment. Yes we have such cruel specimens in paradise. We need to terminate them asap. Or at least present them for public flogging at the padang. We need to put a stop to such evil and wicked treatments of other human beans. It is just unacceptable and intolerable and cannot be condoned, whether they are citizens or our fellow men. No one should think it is ok to ill treat the children of lesser gods. The heavy hand of the law must be used to deal with such vicious creatures. They have not listened, will not listen, and will continue to do what they are doing, thinking that they will be dealt with less harshly. Make a few as an example. Let's do it. There can be no exceptions.
This is Sanjay Perera's article on how Singapore is evolving and he believes 'Singapore is becoming a fair and just society.' Any FT or new citizen who first set foot on this paradise will have the same impression. Singapore is indeed a paradise of fairness, justice and equality. At least when compare to where they come from. When your reference point is one of dastardly mismanaged countries, who can deny that Singapore is the paragon of all goodness in public administration. I think if you ask the Singaporeans, not the residents, many will have a different opinion. Many will be very cynical. For they grew up, see and live with the changes which many are not comfortable with. And Sanjay concluded his article by saying, 'We should ask ourselves how we want to define ourselves and what kind of society we want, free from what others think we should be.' It is understandable that as a new citizen, I am presuming that he is one, it is reasonable to have such a view. The locals will be grinning, with a big dose of cynicism. Who is 'We' that Sanjay thinks he is referring to? The 'We' is a select group of elite that decide everything. The people are not the 'We' in this sense. No, who wants to listen to the people? We will decide what is best for the people. We will tell the people what is good for them and make it compulsory for them. We will decide their lives, even their money. At the rate we are evolving, Singapore will become what India was during the times of the Maharajahs. Just give it a little more time.
Oil price surges over the last few months. So petrol prices naturally go up. The people accept it. Whenever the price of oil goes up, within days, oil companies will raise their pump prices. The rising cost is passed to the consumers without fail. Have yet to see prices coming down when oil price comes down. T he oil companies is not only protecting their profits. At the same time they are likely to be making more profits along the way. Then there is the currency exchange which will add up to their profits. They buy in US dollars and sell to the motorists in the stronger Sing dollars. As long as the Sing dollar is strenthening against the US$, there is the extraordinary gain. Perhaps all these have been priced in and the petrol prices could be much higher. The petrol companies have passed their extraordinary gains to the consumers. Maybe.
Saiful Burkhari has received threats to his life and is now under police protection. Anwar also received threats and I believe Balasubramaniam also received threats to his life. Where is Balasubramaniam? Under whose protection? What happens if the people giving the protection will likely be the people that do the killing? In the case of Saiful, it is so easy to kill him and put the blame on Anwar. Where is safe in Malaysia? In a matter of a few months, the whole climate of politics has changed. Actually not true. This kind of politics started during the time of Mahathir. Many were threatened but kept quiet. Judges and politicians are now starting to talk about it. Who has ruined Malaysia? The exact people who proclaimed that they were the protectors of Malaysia have done it.
This is the plea of Abdullah Badawai for all bloggers to stop blogging. He is putting it squarely on the shoulders of bloggers and those who SMS for creating a climate of fear in Malaysia. The atmosphere is now full of anxiety, tension and cynicism. Even the credibility of his govt and all the national leaders are now in question. Thanks or no thanks to the bloggers. The TOM is non consequential. When the national media is no longer credible or believeable, it is only natural that the people desert them and seek news from where they think is reliable. The TOM is not only telling and repeating stale and unsatisfactory news, it is no longer worth listening to. That is how bad Malaysian media industry has become. What next? After the plea, if unheeded, there may be sanctions and clamping down. Blogging could be banned in Malaysia and bloggers persecuted, arrested and jailed. Their fingers will be chopped off. A new witchhunt will begin and a new enemy of the state will be declared. Yes, bloggers will be the new enemy. The pen is mightier than the sword. The fingers are mightier than the pen. All the bloggers will run into hiding, into the jungle for fear of persecution and had their fingers chopped. Long live the revolution! Long live the bloggers. These will be the new war cry.
What is happening in Malaysia is frightening. Just over a few years, the state of safety and security has gone to such a low that one has to run away from the people who are supposed to protect you. Balasubramaniam, the PI who signed a Statutory Declaration that Najib Razak knew the murdered Mongolian model is now on the run. He must have feared for his life and the lives of his family. The police has made a public assurance to guarantee his safety, just like Anwar's wife asking Abdullah to guarantee his safety. There is now a manhunt going on for him and his family on a scale no lesser than Mas Selamat. Would it be a hunt in vain, that he no longer exists? Silencing becomes pertinent and seems like an acceptable option in Malaysian politics today. And several candidates are ripe to be silenced. Who will be next? Balasubramaniam, Anwar Ibrahim, the Razak Baginda in prison are so perilous. When a country reaches such a state when the citizens fear the law enforcing officers for their lives, it is very serious.