No matter how bad the people are affected by the high cost of living and the shrinking dollar, price increase must be it. No let up, no one is going to bother about how it will affect the people. Just tell them to tighten belt. If they can't, go for charity. And even with charity still cannot tahan, go for more charity. Hospital charges have gone up during these difficult times. I have copied the numbers from: http://singaporenewsalternative.blogspot.com/2008/07/price-watch-updated-10-jul-2008.html Medical SGH inpatient room rates rose in all the 3 classes selection: 1. C class rose the highest by 7.69% from $26 a day to $28. 2. B class rose by 7.55% from $53 a day to $57. 3. B+ class rose by 6.6% from $106 a day to $113. Come to think of it, the increases are small. Very affordable. Ok let's move on. And no one should be blamed. These are private hospitals and run for profit. Privatisation is good. Now cannot blame the govt also.
Roger Hancock wrote to the ST forum on the alarming CEO’s pay here. Alright, compare to the Americans, we are really paying them peanuts. But relative to Singapore worker’s pay, relative to the size of the businesses, it sure is a huge sum of money. And of course these CEOs are still complaining money not enough. I empathise with their plight. Poor buggers. The issue is that do they deserve their exorbitant pay? The way they are paying themselves now is not how much they are worth in terms of how much they contribute to the shareholder’s value but by comparing with another turkey and cry, huh, he got more than me. What utter rubbish. The other way they pay themselves crazy is to show a year of big profit, not really in terms of returns on investment vis a vis what the same money would have brought in just putting them in fixed deposit, but just claim that it is big. A good year! Then comes big bonuses, big pay rises and big share options. Then comes the next year, the next 3 years, company nearly goes bust. Not the CEO’s problem. Blame it on something else. Pay just keep collecting as usual, bonus may cut a little. It is a sure win formula at the expense of the shareholders. Yes, Roger Hancock had a point. Time to rein in the out of proportion pay rises of CEOs. The huge pay they are getting has made the meaning of money or pay obsolete. How could someone justify his pay in the millions? What kind of returns to shareholders is he bringing in,and is it just his effort or the people in the organization or the capital the shareholders pumped in? Roger Hancock concluded by suggesting, ‘Using the considerable govt shareholding power in major Singapore companies to force a greater sense of realities on the over generous remuneration committees might serve to kick start a necessary process of sobering up for the benefit of all’ is barking up the wrong tree. The CEOs are so use to getting huge salaries that anything less will see them marching out and join the MNCs that will pay them much better. And local companies will be left in the lurch and all might even fold up. These CEOs are indispensable and the only way to retain them is to keep paying them more and more.
As we continue in our political development, brand name is getting more important. Some 30 years ago, political scientists used to claim, very seriously, that if you put a party’s brand on a donkey, the donkey will also get elected. Today, this message is even more real. People are now identifying more with the party brand than the candidates put up. Who cares what is the candidate? The natural progression down the road is likely to see people voting for parties instead of voting for individual candidates. And this is getting more desirable with more candidates looking more like liabilities than assets. In a way, thanks to the internet, any flaws will quickly be highlighted. There is no escape. Some bloggers will bite like a bull terrier and refuse to let go until a piece of flesh has been torn off. In this sense, the internet can become a very dangerous instrument and cannot be taken lightly. So what’s up Doc? You guess it. Just contest for the parties in year 2069. If that be the case, I would like to form a party too. Now the trick is what name to choose for the party that can instantly be recognizable and will be embraced by the electorates? How about MacDonald Party? It is a familiar name alright. Ah Kong and Ah Ma also know that. But my favourite is Coke. Coke is it? A Coke Party will be a hot favourite. Coke is a recognisable name. Just don’t mispronounce it ok?
The Bugge brothers have been in the news lately, bugging Singapore to let them give up their Singapore citizenships so that they can come visiting their relations in a place they were born. Here we have 3 brothers who chose not to serve their NS and left for their father's country, Norway if I am not mistaken. Many people have read their case and are sympathetic to them. A letter from Yong Yin Min was published today calling for the govt to be less uptight and generous towards its ex citizens who have not served their NS and allows them to return. Such sentiments are fair and we should look at each case for its own merits. Given a choice, it is good to be generous in treating our ex citizens. But the administrators must also be very concern that it may set a very bad precedent and more will take advantage of such generosity and make those that don't look silly. Maybe we should do a time bar or moderate the punishment and not equate it to a life sentence. Let them return with some conditions attached so that no one should thing that this is an easy way out. In the Bugge case, there is a point which I find nauseating. They refused to serve our NS but willingly served in the Norwegian military service/NS. This is a kind of snub that is difficult to accept. Ang Moh tua ki huh? Having said this, the govt can still have a few choices to take. It has made its point by not allowing them to renounce their citizenship so easily. It may want to tweak this and allow them to do so at a certain age, maybe 35 or 40. Or it may just stay the rule and make this as an example to give notice to all not to diminish our laws or to spite us as an unworthy little red dot. As Yong Yin Min has said, we should welcome our children back as they were once a part of us. Many are still out there living a different life, some happily, some with a little regrets. We should find ways to accommodate them without upsetting our system and make many Singaporeans feel like suckers and a few jokers happier.
Lee Bee Wah has said sorry in a press conference for the storm in the tea cup that she has stirred. In a strange and ironic way, she has become the centre of the storm instead of the absence of a coach for Gao Ning. That incident when a player was apparently seen as being abandon in a world stage is no longer an issue. Case closed. With the apology, it is right that Singaporeans should move on. It shows that we are maturing and have a heart wide enough to accept people's mistakes and would not rub salt into the wound. I hope no one will stand up and demand more to make a point. There is a certain decorum and ethical conduct that we should abide by and let this be an example of what good public behaviour is all about and be the guiding light into the future. Singaporeans should be seen to be genuinely nice people and not mean little people that are unforgiving and vindictive. When one is kind, the karmic force of kindness shall return to you.
UMNO is in a hurry to pass this DNA Bill in Parliament. And they think this will be the ultimate weapon to hang anyone they deemed necessary. Yes, the DNA Test will not lie. The proof is conclusive. Once your DNA matches those in the scene of crime, there is no place to run. But it is so dangerous. With everyone's DNA floating all over the place, it can land in the wrong hands and appears in the wrong place. If this Bill is passed, Malaysians should stop giving blood. They should even claim back their blood from the blood bank. And they better wipe the utensils they used in public places like pubs and restaurants. Going to the barber is also dangerous. The dentists, seeing a doctor and giving blood samples etc etc. With such a dangerous Bill, no where is safe.
Cannot afford to pay electricity bills 13,700 families cannot afford to pay their electricity bills. And 35% of these are living in 4 and 5 rm flats, each costing a few hundred thousand dollars. The better 5 rm flats may fetch near to a million dollars, almost a millionair in assets. Dear me, cannot afford to pay for electricity bills! In many countries, these are rich people. But in paradise, these are poor, the poor rich. I think many people will want to be in paradise to be poor. Anyway, tell them not to worry about not being able to pay their bills. Help is on the way. How about raising electricity tariff to help them?
Malaysia and Malaysians were seeing themselves heading into the longkang. With so much wealth but a country going nowhere. Political leaders were just there to look after their own personal interests but unable to carve a new direction to take the people and country forward. Sometimes one wonders what is going on in Malaysia. The stone the builder cast aside shall now be the corner stone to build a new nation. Anwar has returned from the wilderness, cast away by the dark forces to contemplate in solitude, in a jail, to find a new path forward. Anwar could have succeeded Mahathir in the conventional way, and inherited lock, stock and barrel of what UMNO was all about. He could have been misled to believe that that was the way. Or he may not have the choice but become a victim of the system, to play along and finish the song. He could just be another Mahathir, bullying all the component parties in his ruthless way, become as corrupt as anyone of them. It was not meant to be. Heaven has greater plans for him and for a better Malaysia for all Malaysians. Anwar must be cut off from all the wrong doings he was stuck with. He must be cleansed, through the baptism of fire, to suffer all the injustice and inequalities. Then to discover there is another way, a better way to lead Malaysia forward. The current way is the surest way to self destruction. Anwar must be humbled and brought down on his knees and reborn into a new man. Anwar had seen the worst. Having tasted how bad life could be, and even worst, he is then led by the force to return from the mountain, like Musa, to lead his people under a new covenant from heaven. It has to be this way. It is Anwar's destiny and the destiny of Malaysia. Inshaallah.
The electorates vote their MPs to look after them and their interests. Looking after the constituencies, looking after the people and estate, meeting the people, organising activities for the people etc etc are what the people can expect of their MPs. Why are MPs sitting in all kinds of committees that have no direct bearings on their electorates? Is it necessary for MPs to sit as heads of sports clubs or clan associations, religious or cultural associations that are outside their constituencies? When a person becomes an MP, regardless of his or her background, he/she becomes an immediate expert in everything and are appointed as advisors to all kinds of organisations to provide guidance and advice. Some even become instant business people, sitting in board of directors of companies or even as chairman when they have never even work in a business organisations. This instant metamorphosis is truly amazing. Unbelieveable that an ordinary person can be transformed overnight into a knows-all. And more unbelieveable is that he or she is able to cope with so many roles within the same 24 hours, including being husband/wife, father, mother, and children as well. I don't think it is an easy job to be an MP. One must be really talented and have 25 hours a day to live with. The unfortunate thing is that some may find themselves out of depth in these associations or organisations and found wanting. It is a disservice to them and to expect so much from a MP who is afterall another Ah Beng or Ah Huay at one time.
The high class shops in Orchard Road say it all. Brand is important. Not only that they buy branded products, now they must buy branded products from branded shopping centres. Paragon! Ooooh, walking around Paragon is also an experience. Only the smartest and most well heeled walked inside Paragon. Fake Rolex watches are also selling better than other brands. The brand is good enough. Inside all cheap plastic doesn't matter. Still a Rolex. Political parties are aware of this and they make sure that their brands are marketable. Once you got a marketable brand, proven and tested, you can put anything behind the brand it would not make any difference. The people will just blindly vote for the brand. Maybe that is our political culture. We have developed a people that can hardly think politically, or just do not bother to do so. They go to the polling station and look for a recognisable brand and simply tick. Politicians need not waste time campaigning so hard trying to explain or convince the people of their worth. The people are too dull for that. Sorry guys, when you are voted, it is not to your credit. When you are voted out is also not due to your lack of talent. It is just your brand. The way it goes, we can simplify our election process by simply voting for the parties.
'Good govt needn't fear a by election' Redbean There is no need for a by election at Bukit Batok. The people would not want it. They would prefer the govt to spend time working on the economy and more handouts to help them in such difficult times. I spoke to so many people, all 3 of them said no need for by election.
The Election Law states that no by election needs to be called in a GRC unless all the MPs in the GRC vacate their seats. This means that in a 5,6 or next time 10 member GRC, if only 1 member is still around, no need to call for by election. Does anyone think that this is not acceptable, that such a law is heavily flawed? No, not many think that this is not right. This is good in fact. One MP can serve a GRC of 5 or 6 MPs! If Singaporeans cannot find anything wrong with this law, that nothing can be wrong anymore.
'Good govt needn't fear demos' Goh Chok Tong This is the quote I read in the ST today. I must agree. When you have good govt, there is no need for demos. See, Singapore got no demos. But after the opening up of Hong Lim Park, maybe got demos. But that does not mean we have bad govt. We allow or ask them to demo. See the difference. In Thailand it was spontaneous demonstration or orchestrated demonstration.
Does anyone know why we need GRCs? Just give a guess even if you don't know. Don't be shy. Ok, you. Yes? GRCs were introduced so that we have several MPs serving the citizens. More MPs serving the citizens means better service. Good. Next. Mmmm...I think more MPs in one GRC means economy of scale. Resources can be pooled and can do bigger things together, like producing records for the Guinness Book of Records. Good answer. Yes? GRC means you vote only for the party. No need to worry about the quality of the candidates. The party is the brand that guarantees quality. Nice answer. Oh yes, you at the back. GRC means if one candidate dies or cannot serve the people, no need to worry. Got many other MPs to help to stand in. Service to the people is guaranteed. OK, sounds logical. Wait, wait, I think GRC also means no need by election if one MP is not around. Save money and save time. No need to trouble the citizens to go and vote. What about you? My answer is all the above. Excellent. I give you a F grade. It's ok if you people do not know the answer. Most of you probably were not born yet when GRC was introduced. Some of the older ones may have dementia and forgot why too. Never mind, I will conduct a refresher course on the Development of the Singapore Political System and the importance of GRCs. Course fee is $500.
The Anwar machine is steamrolling at full speed ahead. Nothing can stop him now, except of course you know what could. What the Malaysians could expect tomorrow after the swearing in of Anwar will be a political avalanche starting in East Malaysia. All the BN component parties there will just abandon ship and switch allegiance to Anwar. This will be followed swiftly by a mass exodus of MPs in West Malaysia. MPs from UMNO, MCA, MIC and Gerakan will simply walk across the benches in Parliament House to join Anwar. It will be open rebellion and the BN will crumble to dust. That I think will be the scenario on Thur and Friday when Anwar attends his first Parliament sitting. And he could immediately declare that he is forming the next govt. If it does not happen, then it must be just a fairy tale. Hidup Malaysia.
Now this must sound familiar to many of us. When was this magic formula uttered? I am sure with the higher transport fares, the commuters will be happier. At least they know that it was done to help them. Please don't help us, please. Just keep your kindness inside your heart. We know you are all very kind. And god knows too.
Why are we clamouring for world class lawyers to practise here? Even if they are for commercial and international arbitration, there is really no need for them. We are like starting an arms race here and in the region. Aren't our lawyers the best in the region? All we need is a lawyer that is better than the other lawyer to win a case. Put two Class D lawyers in the court room, one will win. Put two Class A lawyers in a court room, only one will win. The only good thing coming out from having world class lawyers is for the people to pay world class legal fees. Having Class C or D lawyers are not that bad actually. Even if they think they are legal aces, they will still charge local prices. If one party starts to engage world class lawyers, the other party too will do the same. How many of our losers here can afford world class legal fees? This is the same logic as the drive for world class medical facilities, world class public transport etc etc. Our losers will have to pay for them. And all our losers are crying for help for money no enough. There is no need to put piranhas into a small local pool of tilapias. The story will have a sad ending with many more hungry piranhas. This is what is happening to the stockbroking industry. Too many piranhas, and all the longkang fishes have been eaten up. All limping and lambeh lambeh. Take this story as a bad learning experience.
He has won back his seat in Permatang Pauh with a bigger margin than Azizah. It only shows that his people are strongly behind him. What is more important is that the sodomy case is dumped by the voters. Not important or seen as a mere political ploy. Anwar is marching back to Parliament with a long list of agenda to reform the country. Would he be given the chance? Would the MPs in BN break ranks and join him? His star is shining and he looks every inch like the next PM. He has suffered so much injustice done to him and tested in the caudron of fire. He could be the real man for a new and revitalised Malaysia. Now the question is whether the govt will get to him first and lock him up before he gets to Parliament. If the former, it is likely for law and order to break down in Malaysia. It is now a dangerous move after Anwar has proven that the ground swell is behind him. What a race and what a result.
A bill was passed to allow foreign lawyers to practise in Singapore. This will encourage more competition and raise the standard of local lawyers. But some lawyers and MPs were against this even if foreign lawyers were limited to commercial and international arbitration. Domestic legal matters will still be protected from foreign competitors. My reaction is that why should our legal profession be protected when other professions are not? Liberalisation and allowing better talented foreigners to practise here will be good for everyone. The standard of legal practice and the legal profession will have everything to gain. This is a laudable move. The next phase of our liberalisation should be allowing foreigners to stand for election to Parliament. This must be good for the country and people too as better foreign talents would be able to serve the people better. I fully support such liberalisation. Before we go ahead with all these great liberalisations, I would like to propose selling the whole country to the highest bidder. Then the money be shared equally by all Singapore citizens. Subsequently these ex Singaporeans can choose to stay or leave this island since it is no longer their country. Yes we are moving into a borderless world and country, nation or citizenship has no meaning and no relevance anymore. There is no need to protect the interest of citizens. This is a boring and tedious thing for any govt to do. By selling this island, everyone will have to take care of himself and be self reliance. It is meritocracy at its best. Survival of the fittest. The weak and poor will no longer be a burden to anyone or the govt. Just give them a fair share of the sale and everyone can do anything they want. Would that be nice?
A bill was tabled in Parliament to put lawyers to a medical test to determine their mental soundness. This iss necessary as some may be quite advanced in age or may be having psychiatric problems that may render them unfit to handle legal matters anymore. Ellen Lee spoke against this motion on the ground that it would put undue pressure on these lawyers and also embarrass them. There will also be a stigma against them and very difficult for them to face the world again. I think I can support this as learned lawyers should be treated with due respect and should not be put under the microscope. It is very humiliating. Mean testing the ordinary people should be ok. They have lesser feelings, lesser pride and will not be embarrassed, and neither will they protest. And definitely no social stigma. And they would not have MPs to speak for them in Parliament. It is regrettable that the bill was passed and the dignified lawyers will be subject to such humiliating test. Shanmugam argued that the interest of the clients that must be protected from medically or mentally unsound lawyers. I can also agree with this.
With the opening up of HongLim Speakers Corner for demonstration and effigy burning, those people in the trade making paper cars and houses will have a new business niche, making effigies of political figures for burning. They can have a push cart stall at HongLimg peddling effigies for burning. Should be good business. I think this is not prohibited.
There are many things we can learn from Hongkong. But there is one thing which I think we have done far better than Hongkong and should be proud of this achievement. Don't look at me like that can? I am talking about public housing. I heard that we are sending a team to study how Hongkong manage their public housing problems. We used to have the best public housing programme. But with all the tweakings, we are sliding down. Maybe a few years more, we can learn from Hongkong as we forget the main objectives of public housing. The other perplexing thing is that with the quality of our supertalents, at least that is what we claimed, couldn't we work out our problems ourselves? Anyway, anything happening here is unique to us, Uniquely Singaporean. What is happening in Hongkong or Japan is peculiar to them. A better alternative is to pay for some international consultants to study our system and tell us our problems. Just hand them our watch and let them read the time for us. That will be simpler. If we do not know our own problems, cannot understand our own problems, something is amiss.
How much do you want to cover, 30%, 40% or 50%? This was the response from Foo Yee Shoon when Lily Neo when the later asked for more assistance for the poor. This reminds me of the same kind of response in the last Parliament sitting. You want to eat in hawker centre, foodcourt or restaurant. And both reponses came from the MCYS. That must be their style of discussions. Lily Neo was right to reply that that was not what she was asking. And I think she deserves a more appropriate reply than a challenge to her request for more help for those who need it. What she did not expect was a retort when all she did was to ask for more help. But some people may disagree with me that the response was a challenge or a retort. Fair enough. It is all a matter of interpretation.
The love child, the accidental child, the no priority child, now we have Ah Kong's child. In the 70s, the third child, sometimes by accident and also known as accidental child, is frown upon. He/she will face life with a lot of handicaps. No priority in many things. Always last in queue even for schooling. Ah Kong has changed his mind. Ah Kong is getting in age and wants more children. Today, 3rd, 4th, 5th or more, will become Ah Kong's child. Ah Kong wants them and will pay for them. The mother is simply a surrogate mother, producing the babies for Ah Kong in return for some cash or compensation. Will these Ah Kong's children be getting any priority in life? Not very likely. Will Ah Kong change his mind one day? Or will Ah Kong suffers from dementia and claimed that he is not responsible for their being born into this world? Will their surrogate mothers bring them here out of love or out of money? And if the later, what happens when money runs out?
Our legal system is built on the foundation that a man is innocence until proven guilty. Now we are hearing in Parliament that a person having been acquitted in court can still be presumed to be guilty or not innocence. On this ground, an acquitted person cannot claim compensation from the state. It is too high a burden on the state, but not too high on the acquitted accused. This issue was raised in Parliament to compensate people who were charged by the govt and acquitted in court. Shanmugam, the Law Minister, dismissed this and was reported over the news that Singaporeans would not agree to it. I don't know what Singaporean he was referring to? The Singaporeans he spoke to, the 66.6% or the 33.3%? I for sure will agree that acquitted Singaporeans should be compensated. Today, going to court is no masak masak. The charge must be serious enough and the accused must definitely want to fight for his innocence. And how much will it cost to prove his innocence? Many will be backrupted for life. It is thus important that wrongfully charged and acquitted Singaporeans must be compensated. If not, it will be another case of guilty for not being able to afford legal fees to defend. We all know how expensive fighting a legal battle here. And we have seen how the rich people threatened people in court and the poor buggers, though innocent, ended having to pay to get out of the legal tangle just to save some money. Engaging a legal counsel to fight for the truth would be too costly for many average Singaporeans. I think our system will be more just if people are not handicapped or disadvantaged by the exorbitant legal fees and ended up being wronged for money not enough. The other alternative is for the govt to provide a defence counsel and the fee be waived on acquittal. How else can the poor losers find justice when they got no money? After rejecting the provision of compensation, Shanmugam added that 'if one can prove that prosecution was "malicious or vexatious", there are provisions in our laws for compensation.' That will incur more legal fees to prove maliciousness or vexation. Who got that kind of money to pay for legal fees to get himself acquitted and then pay for more legal fees to prove such things to get compensated? If the charge was an honest mistake, just too bad. Singaporeans will just have to accept this system as it is.
The message is loud and clear. Produce as many babies as you can. There are so many perks, goodies and money to be had. So why not, it is like striking lottery. Before the ordinary people get carried away and reopen their child bearing factories, a little caution is warranted. Do not create more miseries. Do not bring children into this world if they are to be deprived of the basics. It is not cheap to bring up children. Unfortunately the unthinking and unable to afford parents will be the one going to produce more, and to perpetuate their miseries as the down and out, producing more waiters and waitresses, more office boys, cleaners and sweepers etc etc People must be responsible to themselves and the children they are bringing into this world. Before they jump in happiness, think again about the future of the children. Can they provide them with enough to live life like normal children?
We have our table tennis medal. Nothing else matters. Let's celebrate. Forget about Gao Ning. Anyway who is Gao Ning? Did he win any medal? This looks like the message we are getting from all corners of Singapore. It is time for big celebration man. Pour the champagne and don't ever bring up the ugly news. We went to Beijing as Team Singapore. We also believe that as a team, no one shall be left behind. Was Gao Ning left behind? At first I heard that his coach was running a high fever. Then it was another player's coach. And his coach went to help the other player. And he was left to play without a coach. Every player had a coach to guide, to comfort, to sooth nerves, to psychic the player, to be a moral boosters, to be part of a team. Gao Ning was not part of a team? He was not Team Singapore? He played his game alone, by himself, in a world stage for all to see. Is that how we treat our player in Team Singapore? The table tennis battle was brought home. Team Manager Antony Lee was sacked. No, his term expires. No he wasn't sacked. Which is more embarrassing? Who should be sacked?
This is what Nazry Bahrawi said in his article in Today. We are in difficult time, we cannot afford to waste time for a by election. Ooooh, does it mean that come 2011, and if Singapore is hit by a recession, no need to call for General Election? Quite logical really. The Ministers and MPs will be working their guts out trying to bring us out of the recession and cannot spare the time for a General Election. And a General Election is a costly affair too. Save the money for a better day and skip the election. So, now is bad time, the four MPs can help out. Why waste time and resources for a by election? Did we hear that more and more people are seeking help from the MPs in such time? Would the increasing load makes it more urgent for Bukit Batok to have a full time MP to help all those in need of help? Let me think about it again. It is a very difficult question to answer.
I have just read a post in YPAP on a video clip in Youtube, specially made on the tussle for the organs of Sim Tee Hua a few years back. You can view it here, HOTA Saga - Sim Tee Hua http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PE2u0l083Nc. What is important about this video, which is also about Youtube and cyberspace, is that you, everyone of you, is now master of your own destiny, in a way. You determine and decide what you want to say, when you want to say it, how you want it told, and how often you want it retold. No issue will die and fade away. If no one wants to talk about it, or someone says move on, you can totally ignore that person and continue to do what you deem fit. This changes the whole equation completely. And this HOTA Saga video will be in Youtube forever until it is removed. After viewing the video again, there is one point I want to make here. The medical profession and all its wise men, people that are as wise as god, can have their learned definition of brain dead. To them, once a person is brain dead, he is dead. On the other hand, the peasants, the people like you and me, have our own interpretation of what constitute death and when a person is considered dead. When the heart is still beating, the person is still breathing, the body is warm, or when the hand can still grip, there is still life. The wise men may disagree, but that is the definition of the peasants and that is how they live life. The wise men may disagree and use the authority of their super knowledge and the law to squash any protest from the ordinary beans, they will win and can do what they want, but the victims and their related ones will never agree with them and will never forgive them. We have human bean justice and rights and wrongs here on earth. What if there is another justice and rights and wrongs system in the next realm of existence? Who knows? The thing is that what some wise men think is right may not be right to other people. What if they err? Medical knowledge is progressing everyday and a next truth is found every moment. The truth today is not the ultimate truth and a new truth is waiting to be discovered tomorrow. The other disgusting part about the whole episode is the unthinking enforcement of a medical directive that has become law. It was totally devoid of humanity and compassion. Totally inhuman, insensitive, robotic or machine like in the execution. The bad taste and the pain and suffering of the victims will always be etched deeply in their minds. Did anyone learn something out of that episode and become more human? Has the execution of such an incident been carefully reviewed and modified? Who dares claim that he is absolutely right in such cases, that a brain dead man is dead and not an ounce of a chance that he may live?
I wanted the title to be 'A medal to show', but it seems that 'A medal to boot' is a more appropriate one. So we have our Olympic medal, what's next? Malaysia have sent a man to the moon. Do we also want to send a Singaporean to the moon to cook the biggest plate of fried kway teow? We have sent our teams to climb the Everest, the Artics and Antartics. We have our name splattered all over the Guinness Book of World Records. We have added another one after this Olympic, for offering the biggest bounty for a gold medal. What would all this greatness lead us to? A greater country, a more respectable people, a more cohesive society, more nationalistic, more chest thumping moments? I can appreciate the fun part, and this also goes to the record breaking feats in the Guinness Book, but there is a big difference. The feats for Guinness were done in jest, a social event, and with little cost. An Olympic medal is no child's game. It takes many years to nurture and train an athlete, together with a host of people and training programme, medical, nutrients and other facilities. It is not small money. Now that the medal is in our pocket, and the hilarious excitement has died down, shall we ask the same question again? Is it worth it? Will we be cheering and rooting for Usain Bolt in London in 2012 or some minute Kenyans running the distance events for us? The Chinese have proven that their hothouses could turn little Asians in world champions. What were needed are patience, perseverence, financial resources, pain and sacrifices. The children paid a very heavy price for it. They were weaned away from their parents at 5 or 6 years old, actually taken away from their parents, at a time when parental love and warmth were the things they needed. We could do the same. But the emotional price is too high. We could hardly find any parents here willing to dump their children in hothouses at that tender age. The children may not recognise them in their next visits. And we cry that we cannot produce world class champions. How can, when everyone sees the academic school system as the end all of a good life, no parents dare to let their children fail in our education system. It will be the end of their road to a good life. So we shall continue with instant tree solution. Buy, buy. If we are willing to pay, 10 gold medals will be within our means. So is the road to the next world cup. Its elementary.
Why so much cynicism? We are going to have more freedom. We are going to have a bigger space to talk about political issues. Aren't these happenings great? It should be for bloggers who have been warned or subtlely told to watch their steps. The insurgent squads are still there lurking in every corners. Now it is officially sanctioned from the highest authority here, that it is ok to kpkb in cyberspace. Would the insurgents go away? Actually many things are still unsettle. The details on how much liberalisation or what liberalisation means are still on the drawing table. Down the line, the power crazy or those used to run roughshod over people, or those who have been enjoying the freedom to talk nonsense with impunity, would still want to hang the noose on the tree branch, just in case it is needed, or as a warning that it can be brought back. The comfort zone of no one talking back is now threatened and the feeling is not very easy. Then for the believers of human rights, individual rights, rights to freedom of expression, these people will be angrier. To them, these are our basic rights. What is there to give back to the people? It is akin to the money collected from GST. It is our money in the first place. What's the big deal giving them back as handouts and we are supposed to be grateful? For the time being, there will be a lot of discussion on definitions, how much to give and what to give or not to give. The opposition corner may want to try organising big walks or mass cycling events to test the water. Would the same reasons be given not to approve such events? Take it positively, it is always good to have something return to you when they have been taken away or not consider yours in the first place. I would like to see some liberalisation in the CPF so that we can take some of our money back, those that are kept to a point that we may not see them until after we die. Even a few dollars will also be good. Better than not having them back at all. And Singaporeans will be eternally grateful. We are very easy to please. Let's enjoy the new freedom as much as we can and stop bickering about it. Time to open that dusty bottle of champagne. Singaporeans are so lucky that they need not have to fight for their rights. We have a listening govt that will give us our rights as we mature as responsible and thinking people.
SINGAPORE, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Singapore sovereign fund Temasek's assets were worth S$185 billion ($131 billion) at the end of March, Temasek's chairman S Dhanabalan said on Thursday, up 13 percent from a year earlier. "Growing with our blue chip companies and our direct investment activities, Temasek now owns a net portfolio of about S$185 billion at market value as at March 31, 2008," he said in a speech. Do you people know how many zeros were there behind the 185? 9 zeros, or S$185,000,000,000. That is quite a big sum of money. How much more were there in GIC? Wonder how much these are worth now? March 31 was four and a half months away. Dow has fallen by more than 1000 pts, STI by 400 pts. UBS, Merrill Lynch, Citibank, Barclay, how much were they worth in March and how much now?
Balji may have been hoping for a change in the mindset with his call for a give-now-talk-later approach. The reality is that we have been practising the take-now-talk-later method for too long and it is becoming a national habit. And I am very sure many of you understand what this take-now-talk-later means through your own personal experiences. We have been victims of this practice for too long and in many ways. While on this, one thing that comes to mind is that you should not put your money into someone else pocket. That is the most dangerous thing to do. No matter what assurance the person tells you, it is safer to put your money in your own pocket. Even if you don't spend it, you can feel it, touch it, and know that you can do whatever you want with it. Once you put it into someone's pocket, you can be very sure that someone will apply the take-now-talk-later principle, and whoosh, your money becomes not your money anymore. And in times like this, even putting in banks is pointless. Banks can run into trouble too. So there is a risk involved. And for the miserable 0.5% interest rate, it is not worth the risk. Keep your money in your own pocket. Beware of this take-now-talk-later mentality.
Singapore is indeed a paradise not only to Singaporeans, but to the many PRs and foreign talents working here. They have good jobs, good pay, good environment, and treated very well by Singaporeans. And the govt is still trying to convince the locals to treat the foreigners even better. Where on earth can a foreigner find another country that is so friendly to them? Filipino Mac Gregore Ponce Tan (31, architect), a PR since last year, balloted successfully for his daughter to a school of his choice. And he had this to say, (I quote from Young pay and pay blog), "Although I am a foreigner, I am not discriminated here. I receive the same privilege and rights as Singaporeans. This is very fair. This is a place I like most!" Native Singaporean Foo Wang Heng (My own translation of his Chinese name. 40, stockbroking sector. ) was unsuccessful. He said: "(My daughter,) such a little girl, every day having to spend so much time on transport, it's not a good thing! And as for the school's quality, we have now reach a stage, where we no longer have a choice (because it's now up to MOE to anyhow allocate)" I think any Singaporean who is in Foo Wang Heng's shoe and claimed that he would not feel unhappy about the situation must be lying or an idiot. It is good that we treat our new citizens and PRs well since we welcome them here. We shall provide them with the best environment possible to make their stay comfortable and pleasant. We want them to enjoy our hospitality as a gracious people. I still think we need to do something more for our very own people. We must provide enough classes to accommodate all the children of our citizens and PRs. But putting them together under the same balloting scheme will surely create bitterness among the citizens when they got out balloted by non citizens. It is only a human reaction. It would be better to give priority to Singaporeans by separating PRs and Singaporeans into two balloting schemes. If we can assure the PRs that there will be places for their children in our good schools, I don't think they will be unhappy. I don't think they will demand to be treated as equal as a citizen. Some may have the audacity to demand so. We can tell these talents to go home if they think we are not treating them well. But the process to ensure that children of PRs have a reasonable chance of being enrolled in good schools will be something the talented administrators have to work out without incurring the wrath and unhappiness of the citizens. Perhaps a percentage of PRs to provide a healthy mix be use as the justification for an admission formula. Call it the PR phase or whatever, but let them ballot among themselves. For citizens to be ballotted in the same phase as PRs will definitely incur some displeasure no matter how reasonable or magnanimous the citizens are. Something to think about. I think we are being very insensitive to the feelings of citizens.
The term 'entrepreneur' connotes a certain kind of adventurism, dynamism, gungho, pathfinders, self reliance, risk taking etc etc. The Singaporean style entrepreneurs are slightly different. It is all about reliance, about relying on the govt. Singaporeans want a gold medal at the Olympics. The govt knows the answer. Singaporeans want to venture overseas, the govt will take the lead. The govt is the pathfinders. They beat the path to China, India, the Middleeast and Russia. And the Singapore Inc follows. Now, Singaporeans who are lonely and not knowing how to go dating, the govt steps in. The govt will teach them how to go dating and find a mate. Actually the one and only entrepreneur in Singapore is the Singapore Govt.
When Chok Tong became the PM, LKY took a step back. This was the first phase of preparing Singapore to continue without a LKY. It was the beginning of a transition. LKY was like the dowagers behind the veil, there in the background to keep things in check. When Hsien Loong took over the rein from Chok Tong, it was expected that the transition to a Singapore would move one step ahead and be complete, and LKY would fade away from the political scene. He had achieved what he wanted for Singapore and what he wanted for himself as a father. He could spend his time telling stories to his grandchildren. The transition of Singapore to the next phase, to run efficiently and effectively in the absence of LKY, is vital to give the impression that Singapore can continue on its own under a new leadership. And even without LKY, it will not run to a halt, there will be no leadership crisis and no drastic changes in policies and direction. The ethos and ways of doing businesses, running the country, will be as predictable as before. In other words, have faith and confidence that things will be normal. The last couple of years have seen LKY not only in front of the veil, but walking beside Hsien Loong in the running of state affairs. In some instances he was walking ahead. The direct participation of LKY in state affairs can be seen in different ways. From the positive angle, we have the strongest team ever, the Dream Team, running the country. We have two Dep PMs, a PM, an Immediate Past PM and LKY himself. It is a formidable team. The strongest team that Singapore ever had. What is a bit troubling is that the transition of a Singapore to a post LKY era is back at square one. It is still the LKY era with LKY fully in charge. It may be a perception, a wrong perception, but still a perception. For those doomsayers, there will be a new song to be sung. Or old song actually. What would Singapore be like without LKY? Will it sink, will there be a leadership crisis, will the new team be able to manage without him? Will there be fear, a loss of confidence and a flight of capital and investment? We have unwittingly taken a big step back in our process of having a Singapore running confidently and proving to the world that with or without LKY nothing changes. Is this good or bad?
In this extraordinary time while many people are still gasping for breath chasing at runaway prices of basic necessities, PN Balji suggested that the govt should consider a new approach, a give-now-talk-later way. During Hsien Loong's ND Rally speech there were a lot of giveaways, but all came with a series of conditions. These may not be good enough when some people need an immediate jab of morphine to be revived. This formula of giving with conditions, a proven formula to underline the need for self reliance, that nothing comes freely, has worked for some times but needs to be tweaked. It will also show a little more caring and compassion and less calculative. This is only one aspect to look at the govt. But how could this give-now-talk-later style match up with mean testing? The principle of mean testing is to take as much as you can. Check and see how much he has left for you to take. It also goes against the principle of thrift. When inflation is eroding the value of money so rapidly, when things are getting more expensive by the days, everyone is fearing that his/her little savings may not be enough. But the principle of mean testing wants people to spend and eat sharksfin if they have a few dollars more is really bad. What the govt needs to do is provide the medical services that the people want and willing to pay for. Not the type of services that people want but cannot afford to pay or services that people do not want but must want and pay. Somehow it is like take-now-talk-later instead of give-now-talk-later.
At 60 or 61, Anwar can easily walk into a clinic and ask the doctor to certify that he is suffering from ED, Erectile Dysfunction. Period. No more case. Just a little embarrassing on his manhood but solve all his problem. Someone can whisper this to his advisors : )
Why would parents care for their own children, love them so dearly even though some may be less than normal, even unbearably handicap? This is the unexplained greatness of parental love. My child, and I love my child regardless of anything. Some spent a fortune, gave up jobs, sold all their belongings, just to look after the child, against all odds. There is no such thing as giving up on the child once brought into this world. They would not trade anything for the child, even if someone would to offer them a beautiful child in exchange. Parents will not abandon their own children. My child is everything. There is an emotional thing involved. Reflect on this and the concept of foreign talent. Why are we indulging and dotting on foreign talents and neglect our own children just because they are less talented? Why are we splashing valuable resources on foreign talents, not our children, and not using the same resources on our not too gifted children? Have we gone crazy? If foreign talents are so important, and no talents or lesser talents, even if they are our very own, are less regarded, would we one day exchange all our children for talented foreign talents? Would we forsake and trade our children for other people's children? Our parents will not. We, if we become parents, will not. We wish the talented children of other parents well. But foremost, we will care for our own children first, with everything we got. Don't get carried away with foreign talents. If this necessity is the way to go, culled our own less able children and replaced them with talented foreigners. To live with this logic of pragmatism and survival of the country, we cannot afford to have laggards even if they are our children. It is survival of the fittest. No feelings, no emotions, no attachment, no self. Just simple economics of survival. Take in only the best. Is this the way to go? Why do we called ourselves Singaporeans and this island our home?
The ink is still wet, or the sound of clapping is still reverberating in the ears, and we are hearing the old message again. Hsien Loong has given the go ahead for netizens to blog about politics, even race and religion as long as they are treated respectfully. Now Baey Yam Keng is saying that bloggers reporting on govt issues should be regulated like traditional media. Did he attend Hsien Loong's rally? What is more ludicrous is that he waved the flag of objectivity and responsible reporting as the outstanding trademarks of traditional media when traditional media was not only bashed in cyberspace for its stupidity and highly biased reporting recently. What kind of objectivity are we talking about? And responsible to who? He added that the regulating of bloggers could happen in the future, but not now as the govt would not be comfortable. Is this the confidential thinking of the govt and regulation is only a matter of timing? Maybe it is only a personal view. Lam Pin Min 'was "not aversed" to credible bloggers covering press conferences to engage them in feedback.'
'Make sure that our young people are hungry. If our young people are not hungry enough, bring in hungrier ones from overseas. Make them feel hungry, increase the hunger index.' Philip Yeo This may be a magic formula to keep our young competitive and not becoming complacent. Get hungry people who are willing to do more for less, who wanted to do more just to make their lives a little better, bring them here. One very difficult task, and very formidable task, is to make people who are very full to feel hungry. One contradiction is that while everyone knows and can see that these very full people are very full of everything, they sincerely believe that they are very hungry and wanted to have more, but not to do more. This is the biggest challenge facing paradise. The money not enough is not a problem of the poor. It is the problem of the rich. Everyday they kpkb, money not enough.
This is the famous quotation from Deng Xiao Ping. A cat that catches mice, black or white, is still a good cat. While we are in the mood for liberalisation, while we embrace all things, white, black and grey, there are certain basic values, moral values that we should not forget or lose them. Black cat or white cat, black talent or white talent, as long as they can produce are good cats or good talents. But talents who are cheats is not an issue of black or white cats. Cheats are cheats. It is criminal to praise cheats as talents and let the society think that cheats are ok as long as they are talented. This message must not go down to the people and everyone thinks that after cheating, pay a price, one can still be glorified, and walk tall. When out elite promote such a perception, our moral standing is in question. Yellow ribbon is good. The wrong doers must be given a second chance. But to praise wrong doers like role models or idols, that is not very right.
Did anyone of you hear what Hsien Loong said in his National Day Rally last night? It was a shocker alright. More space for political participation. Outdoor demonstration allowed at Hong Lim. Liberalisation of the internet for political campaigns and factual movie scripts. This is a big move definitely. The devil is in the implementation of this change. Would it be just a motherhood statement or is it real? It must be as this is broadcast over the TV and in the papers as well. I was getting worried a few weeks back when Chua Lee Hoong was trumpeting that our authoritarian system is the alternative model to the liberal western model. I thought we are heading that way. And when Ho Peng Kee still insisted that anyone who wanted to participate in political discourse must get into the political arena, things looked grim. Would Ho Peng Kee and his men go around cyberspace asking bloggers if they are poets, philosophers or public intellectuals, or else join a political party? Did Ho Peng Kee got Hsien Loong's message? Or would people and kids be rounded up for putting up white elephants or selling white elephant T shirts? The reality and perception must be in sync, and the reality speaks louder if it is different from the perception or publicly announced govt policies. If things are what Hsien Loong had said, we are marching into a new revolution, a New Age of Internet. And every blogger is a pioneer and active participant in this revolution. And we should be proud of ourselves to be in this movement. Over the last couple of years the govt must be monitoring very closely the happenings in cyberspace. And they must find some comfort that cyberspace could self regulate, and there are decent and passionate bloggers who are airing their views, disagreeing with policies, but all for the betterment of the country and people. Cyberspace is not just rubbish and rogues and scoundrels who abuse their freedom of expression to attack people recklessly. Mysingaporenews and redbeanforum have played a small and significant part in proving that discussion of political and national issues can be conducted rationally and sensibly. We have been in existence for quite sometime and no one has come knocking at our doors in the middle of the night. We should continue to say our piece in the way we are doing, kpkb if necessary, to get our views heard. 90,000 hits a month, that can translate into a substantial number of people reading our news. And they will pass it to their friends and their friends to their friends. It is a communicating process that cannot be under estimated. Keep posting fellow bloggers. Hsien Loong has given the green light. And if Ho Peng Kee ask if you are a poet, philosopher or public intellectual, tell him to see Hsien Loong for the answer.
He is the most prolific forumer in YPAP forum. For several weeks, he has disappeared totally, just like Matilah Singapura in mysingaporenews. What happens, what can happen to him to keep him away from posting? Matilah may have been finished off in Soi Cowboy in Bangkok, or kidnapped by his lovely companions. Both can be a possibility in such popular tourist hangouts. As for robertteh, the only possibility is that he is sick, so sick that he could not post any more. Cyberspace has lost two veterans. Good grief!
'We want to (continue) developing talent, be it local or foreign. One way is to get kids started playing at the kindergartens.' Lee Bee Wah So we got our silver medal. We had our fun and the opportunity to cheer and clap and shout. Now the hilarious moment is over, we should take stock and ask ourselves, 'Is it worth it?' To be able to answer this question, we need to know how much public money is being spent for that medal? This is not like keeping up with the Joneses next door. To do that you are spending your own money. But we are talking about spending millions of public money in the quest for an illusion. Fun to have. But always remember the price and how the money could be channelled for more meaningful things. When we are prepare to mean test our people for hospital admission and not prepared to provide more C class beds, should we be spending so much money to nurture foreign talents to win medals? Spending on our own sons and daughters is an acceptable thing. Spending a small sum of money for a little fun is also acceptable. Just don't get carried away.
This is the title of an article by Julie Chia on the Chinatown complex. She was talking about implementing safety measures without sensitivity and this may affect the disabled being help. I would like to borrow her title to talk about the mean thing. Mean testing is being introduced after all. No matter how well meaning, subjecting a fellow citizen to mean testing is cruel, disgraceful and insensitive. Why would a govt think that it is so necessary, that there is no better way out and will implement mean testing on its people? Is this the best solution from our supertalents? If this is, then we need to double the pay and look for better talents. The principle that I am against is that the strong, rich and powerful think that it is ok, acceptable, reasonable, to subject the poor and less able to a demeaning test of his personal wealth, his confidentiality and little self worth. All these are put onto the table to be viewed and study by people with their nose in the air. Huh, this is what this bugger is and has! So pathetic. What a loser! Historically, the rich, the powerful, and the rulers, will gradually degenerate to a state when they no longer empathise with the less fortunate. To them, they are above all these and not affected by it. The poor bugger has no sense of pride or shame, no dignity. And it is ok to line them up and strip them of everything for all to see. Anyone who thinks that mean testing is acceptable and well meaning should not spout the word compassion any more. Let the word compassion be thrown into the dustbin. There must be better ways than mean testing. When the rulers think that mean testing is not mean, we are going down. We have taken the first step down this road. More things will be found befitting for mean testing. It has been suggested that buying HDB flats should be considered for mean testing. What else? Anything that has an element of subsidy should qualify for mean testing. School fees should be the next candidate.
'Citizens wishing to participate in the public discourse are free to enter politics and fight for their convictions, or to stay outside the ring as 'poets, philosophers and public intellectuals'. Ho Peng Kee I can call myself a poet, but I can't write poems. Can I call myself a philosopher? Hmmm, better don't delude myself. How about public intellectuals instead of private intellectuals? What's the dif? Who dares to call himself an intellectual? I will be content with the 4th P, just simply 'people.' Can the people of a country participate in public discourse without entering politics? I think in a democracy this is the right of a citizen, the people of a country to discuss matters that affect them and their lives. In an authoritarian state, the people are expected to shut up and just obey. So, if the people indulge in public discourse, are they committing a crime here? Looks like so leh, according to this interpretation. It only permits 3 types of people to talk cock. How many people qualify as poets, philosophers and public intellectuals here and can be given licence in public discourse? Who says we can speak freely and those who think otherwise are having a wrong perception?
Last week The Sunday Times published an article by Nur Dianah Suhaimi on the least favourite child. I commented about the article here and in mysingaporenews. Both were greeted with an eerie silence. That is uniquely Singapore. Turn the other way to be safe. There was also no follow up on the article in the Straits Times. It appears to be a red herring and finding no takers. Surprisingly, The Sunday Times reported that more than 300 emails replied to the ST forum and a few were selected for printing today. If what I read is representative of the 300 emails, we are making progress in this area. The replies were positive and progressive. As a minority, there were discrimination but the thorn is on the issue of NS in the Army. And the Malays felt that they have to work harder than anyone to be successful. This was what my parents told us when we were pathetically poor in the 60s. We were not fortunate to be from an affluent or well to do family. And much more effort is needed just to keep up. What is important is the spirit of wanting to compete and preparing to work harder and knowing that it can bring results. There is also a confidence that they can do it, and many have proven so, competing in the same playing field and excelling. We have our fair share of history and historical baggages. What is important is to leave them behind and move forward. Some things cannot be changed quickly but change they will. I think we are not stagnant in this area and if we keep on progressing, we can make this a better place for all. If we can make it so good for foreign talents, there is no reason why we cannot make it better for the Made In Singapore. Made in Sin for short.
Yes it works. After testing it out for the last decade or so, the formula works and is showing results. Singapore is finally on the road to an Olympic medal, maybe even a gold. The whole nation was glued on the TV screen, sharing the oohs and the aahs, one moment thumping in triumph, the next moment the heart sank in despair as our table tennis players battled the South Koreans for a place in the final. After 1960, we have nothing to shout or look for at the Olympics except to send a couple of calefares, for the experience. And we echoed that sports was about participation and sporting spirit. Win or lose did not matter. But sports has transformed itself into a different kind of battlefield for nations to stamp their mark of success. Millions and billions have been spent on sports and sporting talents to win that gold medal. The money is no small change and every country is doing it, grooming and paying their local talents or buying foreign talents. We are no exception. Tonight is a big night for Singaporeans. Even the live telecast of the National Day Rally has been delayed to make way for the table tennis final when midget Singapore will take on mighty China. You can bet, critics or supporters alike will be glued to the TV, biting their nails and groan when we go down to China. I can't imagine the explosion of joy if the Great Wall crumbles. We can see more of such events in the future now that the golden formula has been confirmed to work. If we increase our budget tenfolds, we could have ten times to cheer and feel elated. But that might be asking for too much. Perhaps we can be more targeted in spending the money by going for individual sports. One talent is enough to win a gold. Go to Jamaica for sprinters, and Australia for swimmers. Discover a raw diamond that may turn out to be a Bolt or a Phelp. An Olympic gold is not within our reach. We can afford it.
Anwar Ibrahim will destroy Malaysia. A Jihad has been called to defeat him. He is a monster and that is what the Malaysian ruling party would want the Malaysians to believe. We are also hearing similar calls at home. The opposition will destroy the country. When the opposition comes into power, Singapore will be finished in a matter of a few years. This is what the Messiah of Doom is saying. How many believe in the Messiah? For what I can remember, Singapore prospers and is what it is today because our forefathers voted in an opposition. And the opposition was not a monster or irresponsible people. They were men and women committed to build a better nation for all Singaporeans. For the believers of the Messiah of Doom, they must believe in a few assumptions. One, the opposition are evil men out to destroy the country. Two, the electorates are fools and reckless and will vote fools and reckless people to govern them. Three, what we see is what we get, and what we are seeing of the opposition are not very encouraging. Four, when in power, the opposition will sack all the able civil servants and bring in a team of retards to help them plunder the country. I think it is very unkind to make assumptions that the opposition leaders are evil men who have nothing better to do than to scheme to destroy the country. And it is also very insulting to belittle the electorate to think that they are unthinking and foolish enough to vote any joker to Parliament. If that notion is true, then all the elections in the past years was a joke and jokers were voted to Parliament by a foolish electorate. The electorate are no fools and will use their vote wisely. When the time comes for them to vote in an opposition, it will mean that the opposition has put up good and decent people to be elected. What we are seeing is only a temporary state of things. The few opposition leaders we are seeing is not a good example of the things to come. And when good opposition candidates are voted to govern the country, you can bet that they will be reasonable and able people and will be supported by all the talents in the civil service and all sectors of the society. We cannot simply dismiss the opposition as irresponsible adventurers who are out to destroy the country. The future of every country is in the opposition, just like when our forefathers voted in the opposition to bring us to what we are today.
Loh Choon Yong and Professor Thio Li-ann are tabling a motion in Parliament to debate on the issue of a by election, a need triggered by the demise of Ong Chit Choon, MP in a GRC. What is surprising is not that such a motion was initiated by the NMPs, but the law that needs to be discussed and amended. Which law? 'Under the current Act, no writ shall be issued unless all members of a GRC vacate their seats. The Act does not provide any timeframe for a by election to be called, merely stating that the President shall issue any writ and stipulating hwo far in advance Nomination Day should be scheduled.' I quote from today. The ridiculous nature of this law is evident for all to see. How could this be our law? Why does it take so long to be noticed and to be raised? Or how did it become our law? This is an example of why checks and balances are necessary and important to ensure that our laws are fair and equitable. But again fair according to who, equitable according to who? These are subjective stuff and to those who passed this law, it is very equitable and very fair, and good for the country. Let's see if Loo and Thio could get this law amended and be prepared to hear some gems coming from Parliament in the defence of this law.
The new mission of education, according to Eng Hen, is 'imparting values by engaging a more questioning young generation, while keeping them rooted to Singapore.' The message is loud and clear. Any jokers going into cyberspace forums or blogs and telling people not to kpkb, not to question, not to think, or get out, better read this message again. For I will report them to Eng Hen: ) Today's young are expected to be questioning. So those who were brought up in the era of not questioning should retune their frequencies and start thinking. Thinking is now expected. My god. Masters student Wilson Tan was doubtful if this is possible. With people questioning more, it will lead them to demand for more space, freedom and autonomy. How to reconcile these expectations in an authoritarian state when authority must be obeyed, people must not be seen or heard? Eng Hen disputed Wilson's comment that we are 'a bit stifling.' It is only a perception. Really? How many of you think that it is only a perception and not the reality? And who causes this perception, who causes a few generations of Singaporeans ended up as unthinking and fear of thinking or questioning? Would this new quest to engage the young into thinking and questioning be real? Can we simply tell the young that they should start to do this in schools when the whole system is proclaimed as authoritarian and authoritarianism is the new model for economic progress?
This tradition of holding wedding dinner in posh hotels is coming to an end, at least for the average Singaporeans. The rich can continue to have their expensive and once in a life time wedding, and ensuring that every wedding dinner is different and memorable. But with the kind of pricing and the hongpao that must be appropriate, the guests will find it quite unaffordable. A $400 hongpao for a couple is getting to be the norm. And in hot or favourite months, one can easily receive two or more invitations. This is going to be a big financial burden to bear for many who are trying to make ends meet. A time will come when invitation to a wedding dinner will not longer be welcomed and be frown upon. And do not be surprised when one of these days the invitation will be thrown back in the face of the bride and groom. It could be seen as a kind of social extortion. We need to look for a cheaper and reasonable alternative. The church wedding, the void deck wedding or maybe a buffet lunch wedding may become more practical. Brides and grooms beware. Your invitation may become offensive.
LKY said we have a Division One team in charge. And the team is made up of top rated men and women. The best surgeons, doctors, lawyers, soldiers, architects, men at the top of their profession. Is this what a top political leadership team should be? Or can top professional skills be translated into passion and caring for the people, to uplift the quality of lives of the people? Is a top medical man or legal man automatically becomes a good political leader? Yes, we have the best brains, academically and professionally, from the various professions. Sometimes I got this feeling that they are better off remaining in their own profession and making themselves rich and contributing more in an area that they are excellent in. We not only need top talents, but we need top talents that are willing to serve and not self serving. I am not saying that our top talents are self serving. I am saying that national leaders are best when they are more selfless and put more priority into serving the people. I think it is safer to claim at this point that our leaders are all selfless and the people's welfare is their top priority. But as we go down the road this may not be the case. We have seen this blind worship of talents becoming a virtue here. Talents are embraced like gods or idols, even if they are found to have serious character flaws, cheats, or plunderers of public funds. When the society or people can no longer see more than one metre ahead and do not place much importance to integrity and high morals, where else can we go? Soon we will be clamouring for cheats to be Prime Ministers. No sweat as long as they are talented. No need to fear a third division team to destroy the country. A Division One team with one or two cheats could do more harm than a weak team.
The boom years of the 70s and 80s are over. Those were the real golden years when everyone is upgrading and improving their lives. Today the decline has set in. There is still great growth to the very rich. These are the people that are living it off and having the best of everything. These are the people, the same few people, that are buying up the high end properties, their 6th or 10th properties, maybe 20th. The affluence is confined to a smaller and smaller circle. Compare to the 70s and 80s, there was a general uplifting of the standard of living of the majority of Singaporeans. The people were moving from rented flats to 3rm flats, 3 rm to 4rm, to 5 rm and to private properties. Everyone is looking to move to a bigger flat or a private property every few years. What is happening today? Dr Beng Teck Liang, a member of the PAP's Policy forum council found out that 'When it comes to money woes, the hardest hit are those living in 4 rm HDB flats.' They are not able to pay their utilities bills and would be better off to downgrade to 3 rm flats. They simply cannot afford to live in 4 rm flats. Huh? What's happening about more good years? And this is the biggest group of people in trouble. Mah Bow Tan is even considering mean testing for HDB flat applicants to make sure they can afford to buy 4 rm flats. How come 4 rm flat is now beyond the reach of so many Singaporeans? Why are they so unaffordable when our economy is growing by leaps and bounds and our country is getting richer and richer? Are we saying that our people are getting poorer and poorer or because everything is getting more expensive? On the other hand we are hearing that Singapore is populated by jet setters and trend setters and their lifestyles revolve around Formula One car racing. It is more likely that paradise and hell are existing side by side.
Muhyiddin Yassin, the Malaysian Trade and Industry Minister was in town yesterday to promote more trade and investment in Malaysia. He promised that politics would not get involved in economics and everything that needed to be done to create a favourable business environment would be done. He appeared very sincere and earnest in what he was saying. Would the Singapore business community bites? After so many years of abuses and politicising of economics and the judiciary system to adversely affect Singaporeans and Singaporean investors in Malaysia, after losing so much money over ridiculous changing of rules and uneven playing fields, would anyone dare to invest in Malaysia again? The precedents set by the former govt and his reckless style of managing politics and economics are still reflected in the style of many Malaysian leaders. And anyone of them can be another Mahathir or even worst. Can there be any protection or guarantee that things will be normal and our investment be protected by the rule of law and the law enforcement officers? The sins of the past is catching up with Malaysia and it is a tricky business to cleanse itself from its devious past.
There were repeated clips over the local news on MPs and grassroot leaders giving up food packages to the poor and needy. It was reported that more of these desperate poor are appearing to seek financial assistance as they could not cope with the high cost of living. Many must have reached desperation point that they could no longer hide in their little nooks and corners and are crawling out for help. They need not look far. Help is around the corner. The MPs and grassroot leaders were there to help them with food and financial assistance. And they are doing it with great zeal and enthusiasm. After distributing the packages, they went on a flat to flat hunt for more needies who would not come out to look for help. The MPs and grassroot leaders must be very happy that they were doing a good deed to help the poor. What was obviously overlooked, in my view, is that the act of giving and help the poor, so many of them, is a sign of failure. We have done something wrong that resulted in so many people needing help. We can expect such situations in poorer countries and should not happen in one of the richest country in the world. A few pockets of poverty are inevitable. But the scale of poverty in paradise is unacceptable. Who or what is causing all these poverty and desperation? High cost of living, high cost of basic necessities and transportation, not forgeting high GST. They all eats into the pockets of the poor. Why is there a need to take so much from them, force them into difficulties only to give some back to them? When help is needed openly, by so many, we have failed. The most effective way of helping the people is to create a system that allows them to help themselves and be self sufficient. Helping them without having to be seen to help them through a systemic change in our economic structure is the better way. When the people can help themselves to earn enough to feed themselves, there is no need for all the high profile help to be flashed across the tv screens. We need not have happy helpers helping those who need help. It is not a happy thing.
More than 400 foreigners were caught last year for using fake or forged certificates to apply for jobs here. This may just be the tip of the iceberg. How many more were not caught and happily working here and being highly paid? The sad thing is that some Singaporeans would have lost their jobs to these fakers and none the wiser. Would there be a systematic review of all foreigners and their qualifications to return some justice to the displaced Singaporeans? It would be good if the MOM set up a committee to look into this and splash it on the newspapers. This will tell those who have yet to be caught to make their exits. And include caning in the punishment. If we can cane people for vandalism, we should cane people who cheated Singaporeans of their livelihood and jobs.
Is there a disquiet among Singaporeans? We have 4.6m people here. The Singaporeans do not include the more than 1m foreigners. It does not include the probably another 1m PRs. Don't let anyone change the definition of Singaporeans. The Made In Singapore, the true owners of this land is about 2.5m. And if we remove the top 20% from this group, we will be left with about 2m Singaporeans that really matters. The top 20% don't matter in the sense that they can go anywhere and are welcome anywhere. And many of these 20% may have made alternative arrangements to be somewhere if need be. The unhealthy disquiet is about the disquiet of the balance 2m Singaporeans who are gradually being displaced or eased out of their comfort zones. It is like the parents bringing in a few strangers and telling the children to make room for them, squeeze out a room for the strangers. And also being told to smile and to be nice to the strangers. The children will not accept that and will protest or refuse to budge. Why should they give up their space in their home to strangers? But parents would not do that. They know the difference between home and the right of their own children. They will provide for their own children, even sleeping in the corridors themselves. That is what parents would do. The landlord will do exactly as above. They will make the tenants make way. They will tell the tenants the best rooms will be reserved for the one who can afford to pay. And if the tenants could not pay the higher rent, they will have to squeeze into one room, or move out. Is this disquiet healthy? Some may think that since no one is screaming or protesting, then it is good. But do they read into the disquiet? Why are Singaporeans not protesting? Resigned, gave up, no use fighting, accept their fate, or think of leaving? A nation is a collection of people who owns and belong to a place. The people must think and believe that that place is theirs, their home. And they will not take it lightly when their rights to their home is challenged. But when there is a disquiet, something is missing. The soul of the nation, the spirit of a people is missing. Where is the spirit?. When a people gives up fighting, when a people gives up protesting, they deserve to be replaced. It may be a good thing replacing these hopeless and less talented people. They lack the motivation to fight for themselves and their rights to ownership. They should be replaced by the highly motivated and energised foreigners who brought along a different vibration, a higher vibrancy. They should be the new owners of this paradise. You find them everywhere and they can be easily recognised. The chirpy and happy faces in trains or foodcourts are the distinct faces of the newcomers who have found their paradise here. The grumpy, groomy and lost look faces are those of the Singaporeans. Lost in the pursuit to making ends meet, and a lot of bills to pay. Singaporeans who are complacent of their rightful existence in their own homeland will live to regret it one day. Many are still in their comfort zone and think it will not affect them. Before they know it, things would have changed so much that they would not know what hits them.
Heng Chee How replied to a forumer, Daniel Tan, in the ST explaining that NTUC is not against pay rise. It is wage inflation that NTUC is against. This, I think, means that if the pay rise does not contribute to wage inflation, then NTUC will support it. If it does, than it will not support it. This is the simplest way of looking at it. Maybe there are more complicated ways of explaining this which I too find difficult to explain. Heng Chee How also said that, 'The most effective and sustainable way to help workers tackle inflation is to grow the economy, create more jobs, upgrade skills and improve productivity to keep employment high and unemployment low. What I would like to add is to raise GST. That will be able the help the workers more.
Mercy Relief was formed 5 years ago in the wake of the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia. Since then there were earthquakes in Sichuan and typhoon in Myanmar to keep Mercy Relief busy. Now that these were over, while waiting for another natural disaster to happen, it is good that Mercy Relief takes on something useful, like helping Singaporeans to be graceful, and to be grateful of what they have. A 5 month campaign is on the card, Cultivating a Grateful and Gracious Society Campaign with an equally attractive slogan, 'If we could care for strangers, caring wouldn't be strange.' It is good that after learning to care for strangers, we start to look inwards to care for our own people. Charity begins at home is not applicable for Singaporeans. We are so gracious that we practised Charity begins at Strangers. Never mind that we suddenly realised that we need to be graceful to our own people. The campaign will include concerts , exhibitions and talks to schools and religious organisations. It is comforting to know that Mercy Relief has a big budget for such a campaign. Only affluent societies can afford to spend money on being graceful and grateful.
Is it an overkill, the roads inside CBD are practically empty especially around the Chinatown area. And the retail and food stall owners are manning empty stalls. Business has been hit and is down by 50% as reported in the news. The jewel of Singapore's tourist attraction is turning into a ghost to at least for this month. We have empty roads to help businesses. The businesses now need help. The newly opened Chinatown Food Centre, if I get the name correct, is said to have 60% of the shops open for business. And shops are closing early as customers are hard to come by in the evening. Roads are made for use, not to be empty. There is an optimum point before congestion slows down traffic and leads to dysfunctional roads. And empty roads are as good as dysfunctional for being under utilised. Maybe it is still too early and motorists have not got use to the higher ERP charges and more ERP gantries. Give it another 6 months and business will be roaring. The motorists just need to get use to paying more.
I would not dare to attempt to write about what it is like as the least favourite child as in Nur Dianah Suhaimi's article. You need to be in that person's shoe to know and feel what it is like. It is good that on our 43rd birthday, we can talk about it in the mainstream paper. It was a very sensitive issue for the last four decades and we are loosening up a little and tipping our toes into this issue warily. There were stereotyping for sure. There were also genuine concerns and historical concerns. The inability to participate fully in all avenues and areas of a nation's development is very painful. And this is especially true for the Malay elite who think more and could rationalise more. Many questions were asked and many were unanswered, or difficult to answer, or poorly answered. National service, to don on the military uniform to serve the nation, a statement of loyalty and trust, cannot be dismissed lightly. To be left out of this process is a very difficult thing to accept and to many, unacceptable. And it is good that the Malay community want to serve and fighting for their right to serve the country in the most honourable way. Nur Dianah's father did not serve NS like any other Singaporeans. And this is bugging him and his family for being left out for no fault of his. And for those who are serving NS, but in the Police Force, the slight is also being felt. Could we come up with a better and more acceptable solution to this problem? We have made some inroads and some progress over the years, but not enough. Until the sense of being left out, being the least favourite child is removed, the solution or status quo is far from adequate. Now, with so many talents and so much being paid to these talents, this is an issue that is worthy to crack their talented minds instead of being stressed over mundane issues that no talents can also do better. We as a nation need to embrace every member of our citizenship equally as one of us. No buts. Don't ask me for solutions. I am not up to it and neither am I being paid for it. We need to help our Malay community to chase their aspirations like any other Singaporeans unhindered by any roadblocks.
Two articles worthy to read appeared in today's Sunday Times. 'Time to tolerate political diversity' by Cherian George and 'Feeling like the least favourite child' by Nur Dianah Suhaimi. Both expressed an inner feeling of what things are and what were their aspirations of how things could be better from two groups of disfavoured children of paradise. Let me deal with Cherian's piece first and Nur Dianah's in another post. Cherian George dealt with three issues, political intolerance, lacking of civility in politics and passionate people wanting a better Singapore for all Singaporeans. We have seen the worst of political intolerance in our history and this intolerance is not going to go away. It may get worst. It is already in our blood. The victims were people who chose to take a different path, join a different political party and sing a different song. Even when they were doing all these legitimately, legally as far as our constitution and political system granted them, their fate was absymal. This is mixed with a high dosage of lacking in civility on both sides. Yes, both sides. None is better than the other as far as civility is concerned. And this has led to a point that good people would not join the alternative parties and neither will they want to be seen to be associated with the ruling party. As Cherian George put it, 'Nobody should be surprised when either bully talk by those with power or histrionics by those without leave the broad middle ground turned off....There is that well known fear of taking positions that can be construed as anti government. But there are also talented young people who feel embarrassed about joining the Government because their peers scorn such a path as lacking in idealism.' A kind of sell out of principles and idealism I supposed. Lately there have been many calls by well meaning Singaporeans in power or close to the power saying that Singaporeans must speak out fearlessly, with passion and sincerity. There is this belief, or new trend of thought, that being passionate and sincere is a licence to say speak freely. I hope this is real. Turning back to what Chua Lee Hoong wrote yesterday, that we are now unfurling our authoritarian flag unashammingly and with pride, would we see a meaningful change in our political culture and political system? Or we are seeing encouragement to stride proudly into the realms of authoritarianism? We should not be confused with having a tough govt making tough decisions for the good of the people and an authoritarian govt that runs a country for their own good. The two are not synonymous.
Hsien Loong's National Day speech was devoted to three key areas, 1, create wealth, 2, create more babies, and 3, embrace the internet. No surprise that the internet is growing in importance here and around the world. It is instant information at 24/7 and unstoppable and very difficult to apply censorship other than blanketing the whole cyberspace. Over the last few days we are hearing internet and cyberspace everywhere and ST is going into cyberspace in a big way. Perhaps they are entering the arena for the purpose of educating and engaging the cyber citizens. Educate comes first, engaging is secondary. Cyber citizens can look forward for more free education from the professional journalists and the govt and will turn out wiser and more educated.
The Singapore model for economic development and authoritarianism is The Model for the world to emulate. This is the first time some one so close to the establishment actually, formally, admitted the term authoritarianism as an intrinsic element of our political system. There is no denial and no need for denial any more. We are a good and successful authoritarian state. This is the gist of Chua Lee Hoong's article in the ST and a must read for National Day. And who can speak for us more authoritatively than a westerner by the name of John Kampfner, a British journalist writing for The Guardian. We have our endorsement from the liberal western world than this model might not be a bad thing. This is what Kampfner said, 'The model for this is Singapore, where repression is highly selective. It is confined to those who take a conscious decision openly to challenge the authorities. If you do not, you enjoy freedom to travel, to live more or less as you wish, and - perhaps most important - to make money....' The strength of this system is economic freedom, to be rich, to chase your material wealth and dream, and to enjoy your rich life freely. The only condition is not to challenge the authority. Repression against those who challenge the authority is the right of those in authority, and justified. Are Singaporeans really accepting this precept and willing to go down this path? Political challenge or offering an alternative political solution, an alternative team to run the country, cannot be a crime in any sense. In fact providing an alternative political solution must be enshrined into our system to encourage good people to challenge the system for the betterment of people and nation. But once we accept the precept that all political challenge can be lawfully and rightfully repressed or suppressed, we are in for a very dangerous slide down to a dictatorship or an authoritarian state. Is that what we want? Some may argue, like Chua Lee Hoong, that we are already an authoritarian state and we are progressing very well. The world is looking up to us as The Model for economic growth and uplifting the livelihood of the people. We are on the right path. Really? How much is Chua Lee Hoong's position of an authoritarian state a reflection of the thinking of the political elite? Is this her position or the position of the elite and they are giving notice to the Singaporeans, that this is the real stuff and this is what we gonna be? In a separate article Tommy Koh wrote about the role of the legal profession and urged them to be passionate for justice and against injustice. If we are to accept repression against political challengers, do we need to consider or think about justice and injustice? Is political repression an injustice to be fought against?
It's not my Beijing! Where's the charm and chaos gone? What charm and chaos that this foreigner is talking about her Beijing? Oh, it is about the shabby apartment complex across the street, about bare-bottomed babies, horse draw carts and chickens pecking the sidewalk...that's the real Beijing to this foreigner. And it is regrettable that all these real things were gone and Beijing is now 'unnaturally sanitised and stiffly coiffed, with much of its frenetic grittiness and earthy charm falling victim to zealous organisers who want a flawless event(Olympic).' To this western, Beijing should be as old and charming, and downtrodden as it was for centuries, and the flavour preserved for the visitors to savour. The new Beijing is unreal and disgusting. This is the stereotype view of what a westerner would write or want to see of most Asian cities, the slums and the centuries of neglect, and stuck in time without progress. To be specific, the writer is an Asian wearing western lenses and thinking like a westerner. The article is in Today.
If there is anything, the best position to be in is god. God is the master of everything. He owns everything and controls everything. He dishes out punishment as he deems fit, according to his fancy or which side of the bed he wakes up. Basically, he calls the shot. And the best part of it, he is beyond reproach. It is always someone else fault. He is faultless and above all things. Nothing can stick on him or his spotlessly white garment. Nice, very nice. Please bow and pay your obeisance.
We have heard that many scholarships were given to foreigners. Many did serve their terms before leaving for greener pastures. Many also decide to stay. Do we have any statistics to show how many we have sponsored and how many are staying or have left. After so many years we should have enough numbers to decide whether it is a worthy or worthwhile investment. We also need to balance the amount of money given to foreigners and the amount given to our own children. Are we giving more, in numbers of scholarship to foreigners than to our own?
And there are plenty of them, trying to make meanings out of their dumb decadence lifestyles with an abundance of money and nothing in the head. And Richard Gere came out as one of them. He saw our Ambassador Chan Heng Chee in her beautiful cheongsam in a party in Washington. And he went after her saying 'Oh Ambassador, we must talk about Tibet.' To this clown, every Chinese woman in cheongsam must be from China. Our Ambassador plainly told him that she was from Singapore and walked off. Poor dumb ass stood there trying to figure out what is the difference between China and Singapore. He may not have heard of Singapore at all.
ERPs not for profit. Childcare also not for profit. Are we going mad? We privatised govt organisations and statutory boards to make them efficient and profitable. And in order for them to exist, they must make profits. Even charitable organisations are thinking of making profits, or at least some of those running them. And here we have the childcare operators saying that making profits is not their main priority. So what are they existing for? Shall we rename them as charitable organisation and give them the IPC status? These operators must be so embarrassed about making profits and became so defensive about their business. Why don't they bluntly quote some big shots saying that it is important to make profits. They can't be fools running a business for nothing. Or maybe there are some kinds of saints. Maybe they are right. All the organisations do not make profits as their priority. It is just incidental. They exist for more noble reasons.
Singapore and Singaporeans have been emptying their savings to help the unfortunate victims in the tsunami, in earthquakes and typhoons. The public even donated $660,000 to the Nepalese conjoined twins and a team of doctors and nurses ran a marathon operation practically for free to separate them. Now Singapore and the surgeons are being accused of breaking our promises and being irresponsible. Dr Basant Pant, a Nepalese surgeon, accused Singapore for starting the operation and not completing the job. Hahaha. This is what we deserve for being too hasty and eager to help the desperadoes. It is our duty and responsibility to finish the job and raise more funds for it. Actually Singaporeans will do it enthusiastically if the surviving twin, Jamuna, returns for her next operation. And Dr Keith Goh will willingly complete what needs to be done. But for what this Dr Basant had said, and pointing the finger at us, it has left a very bad taste. Do we owe them a living? Do we need to bother about what happens to a Nepalese child? Do we need to empty our pockets to help this child? Do we need to be accused of being irresponsible and trying to be good samaritans? I think we should tell this Dr Basant Pant to shaft it and take care of his own people and their own problems.
We have all the time believed that there is an unofficial oil cartel regulating the pump prices. When one petrol company raises its price, the rest will follow suit for the same amount. This has been going on for the last round of increases when oil price shot to US$145. Then the prices started to come down in unison, same day same amount. Today, surprise, and surprises, the petrol companies are bring down their prices in drips and pieces, at 3 or 4 cents, 2 cents, 6 cents and 1 cents, all at random over a few hours. Now, this kind of pattern indicates that there is no cartel and they are all acting independently. And possibly a price war in the making! So, will all the pump prices steady in a few days and all settle at the same price again? My guess is that it will be the case. Those school bus operators should do the same if they want to raise their fares. One at a time at different amounts. Some by $10, some $12, some $15 etc, and do it at different times, then all will be ok. No price fixing.
I would like to take up Shriniwas Rai's suggestion of having 2 member GRCs. I think this is getting more relevant if we look at the composition of the population. We have two main minority groups and a growing foreign talent group. The 3 together will probably make up 50% of the population. And to give every group proportional representation, we should convert all GRCs to 2 member GRCs with one member from the majority group and one from either of these 3 groups. Oh, not to miss out on our Eurasian group, they can be included as the fourth member. So the new composition of GRCs should be one Chinese and one Indian/Malay/FT/Eurasian. The FT can be Indian, Chinese or any foreigner turned Singaporean. That should be a good thing to make sure that all groups are equally represented in Parliament. How's that?