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3/31/2010

Soaring demands, prices hitting new highs

These are the headlines in today's paper. The new HDB launches in Sengkang and Sembawang are greeted by soaring demands. Private properties are hitting new highs in prices. What do these news meant? Demands exceeding supply? We have seen HDB launching BTOs after BTOs in the last couple of months. How can there be unceasing demands? Someone is bluffing right? These demands are fictitious. And the high prices must also be fictitious. I don't believe demands for housing is so high. Not true, cannot be, they may apply but will turn down when offered the flats. These flat applicants are just fooling around. Don't take them seriously. We have BTOs, DBSS and Exec Condominiums? Better don't build Exec Condominiums. Force these people to buy private properties to boost up their prices. Make them pay for it. They are professionals right, got a lot of money right? High pay right?

Najib calling Malaysians to return home

Najib is putting his neck on the chopping block by calling for a change in govt policies, from favouring Malays to helping the poor. It is a fundamental shift to give a kick start to the stalled Malaysian economy but at the same time compromising on the position of Malay supremacy. This line of policy could undermine his position as the PM when the ultras make their war cry. And with Mahathir showing his true blue ultraism, Najib will come under strong pressure and may be ousted from power. So what now? Even if Najib is genuine, how long could he last? One term, half term or two terms? What next when another ultra takes over the premiership? The problem with Malaysia is the inconsistency of govt positions and the tendency to revert to extreme racist policies. Whatever Najib or any new PM may want to steer the country towards a fairer and more progressive system, there is a stronger underlying current that will threaten to derail it. Would any successful professional Malaysians take the bait and return home to rebuild a new Malaysia? I think this is far fetched. Malaysians, what are your views?

How many directorships can a man handle?

This issue was discussed at SMU. JY Pillay said not more than 5 are ‘humanly possible’. I like the word humanly and the inverted commas used by the ST. I am sure there must be a distinction between humans and inhumans. Lee Suet Fern also shared Pillay’s views and added that it was ‘physically very difficult to do so many directorships because the time demands are all bunched at the same time.’ Of course she is very clear on this, she is referring only to humans and not inhumans. The Chairman of Singapore Institute of Directors (SID), John Lim, felt that ‘it should be left to the individual directors and boards to assess the matter’, and an arbitrary number should not be imposed. I am wondering if the individual directors or boards’ decision on the number of directorships is considered arbitrary or objective? Teo Soon Hoe, senior ED and group finance director of Keppel Corp, agreed with John Lim. A limiting number is unnecessary, ‘it is an individual director’s responsibility to ensure that if he sits on any board, he has time for it’. Hmmm, I think I fully agreed with the latter two. Why have regulations and arbitrary numbers to say someone is unfit to do the impossible? Everyone is different and some have inhuman abilities that humans will not understand nor comprehend. And Teo reinforced his position by stressing that it was so difficult to find good directors in this land of no talents. This I agree also. The experienced directors are so hard to come by and are precious resources to be treasured. It was reported that Lee Suet Fern had observed that ‘self regulation has not worked because there are a good number of very egregious instances where people are taking on too many directorships. It is bad for us and bad for the investing public. I accept that all guidelines are arbitrary…but sometimes it’s better to have it than have a free for all and a wild, wild East’. Again Suet Fern is talking about people, the humans, and that makes perfect sense. But if we can find inhumans that are upright and uncompromising, they will be able to act independently always, and 10 or 20 directorships would be chicken feat. Let them decide for themselves arbitrarily. Oops, no I mean independently, with their good judgement. My conclusion, we must know what we are referring to. In the case of humans and humanly possible, Pillay and Suet Fern are right. In the case of inhuman abilities and integrities, John Lim and Teo Soon Hoe are right. I rest my case.

3/30/2010

Why are Asian media carrying so many anti China and North Korean news?

It is understandable for western media and journalists to write and post articles that paint a very negative picture of Asian countries that are not in their favour. They did it with a known agenda, to influence the readers and manipulate their thoughts. It is a conscious effort and they are probably paid for it. Some may have an axe to grind, some because of their own prejudices, some of their own ignorance, and many just for the money or for god. T Now, what have Asian media got to do with such mischievious and one sided propaganda? What have they got to gain other than making the countries they reported on angry or even hostile to them? Are they also being paid? If yes, ok. If not, aren't they being foolish, doing someone's dirty work, knowingly or unknowingly? Do they have an axe to grind against China or North Korea? Is there a need to be a pawn in a big power game?

A Singaporean is a Singaporean

Singaporeans should start to call themselves Singaporeans and not Chinese, Malay, Indian or Others. What's wrong with calling yourself what you really are? It may be an artificial construct, but given time, it will sink in and will be accepted by the rest of the world. And Europeans call themselves Americans, the Africans call themselves Americans, the Asians call themselves Americans. And American is a well regarded nationality that they are so proud off. They would not call themselves European Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, but simply Americans. It is time every Singaporean starts to call himself/herself 'I am a Singaporean'. The only drawback is that Singaporeans are so bashful and spineless that they may be smacked by foreigners if the foreigners know that they Singaporeans. It can be quite shameful to be smacked by foreigners in your own country. But that is the price to be paid to be Singaporeans. And that is the price to be paid for not being proud of your own nationality. Any foreigner dares try to smack an American in America or an Arab in his own country, or a Malaysian in Malaysia? No way. Only in a country when the citizens have a mindset that they are inferior, would they allow foreigners to slap them left and right and feel so proud about it. And they need to respect foreigners and respect their cultures too. A Singaporean is a Singaporean, albeit a shameless one.

3/29/2010

Must read for the heartless who acted like having a big heart

From temasek review: 28 year old Singapore teacher burdened by hefty mortgage loan for HDB flat before marriage March 24, 2010 by admin Dear TR, Thanks for publishing the article by Ms Judy Eng. (read article here) It really strikes a chord in my heart as I am in the same situation as her too. I am 28 this year now working as a teacher in a secondary school. My fiancee just found a job in a GLC as an engineer after six months of looking for one. The pay isn’t fantastic as there is an abundance of foreign engineers in Singapore. He considered himself lucky to finally secure a full-time job after months of being on contract. We are planning to get married in July and just bought a 4-room resale flat at Sin Ming. Guess how much it costs? You won’t believe it, we bought it at almost $500,000. No kidding, it’s true! All the flats in the vicinity cost above $500K. After paying about $30,000 in COV partially paid for by our parents, we do not have a single cent left for our wedding which we will have a simple afternoon tea buffet at our church instead of the traditional 8-course Chinese dinner. I am really worried about our future. We earn barely $5,000 together and the mortgage loan already took up 30 percent of our income. We still have to cough out some cash after using up the entire CPFs. The moment I think of this, I lost all the mood already. People used to say that marriage is the happiest moment in a girl’s life, but I am not looking forward to it. I feel very heavy, like a burden placeed on my chest, sometimes choking me, it is so suffocating. Can we buy a new flat? I do not wish to wait for another 3 to 4 years, anything can happen to our relationship during this period of time. It is a risk I cannot afford to take. My hubby-to-be is burnt out everyday from work – OT, OT and OT and he is not paid for it. For me, my weekends are either burnt in school CCAs or marking the homeworks of my students. We hardly meet each other at all, sometimes just enough time to have a meal or catch a movie. Somehow I feel apprehensive startinig life together with another person, am I ready for it? I don’t think we can start a family, at least for the next three years or so. How to have children when we are not financially stable? I will pay the loan mostly on my own as my hubby still have to pay for his student loan and car loan. I have only a few thousand dollars in my savings now and I wonder how long they can last me. What happens when there is an emergency? Or if we are retrenched? I dread to think of the worst…but women being women, they always think alot. Every month, my pay gets used up almost immediately after it’s deposited into my POSB account – living expenses, allowances for parents, and now with housing loan, I really don’t know how far we can continue like this. Did we do our Maths before we make the purchase? Yes, but what can we do, the flats are expensive everywhere and we want to stay near our parents. Even 4-room flats in Jurong are calling above $400,000 nowadays! The prices are really going crazy, the agents told us that they will only go up in the future as the govt will never allow them to come down. Sorry for the ramblings. There are so many things on my mind now, I can’t think or type clearly…..Thanks for providing me an outlet to vent my frustrations, who can understand what we are going through? Sigh, maybe I am one of those few unlucky souls. Please edit and publish this rant of mine as you see fit. Thanks again for listening. Melissa Quek This is what we are doing to our young. All mercy, compassion and caring. Really? I see it more as being ruthless, uncaring and simply irresponsible.And this type of letters will not change the govt's policy on housing. They will see it as pressurising them to act and they would not be seen to be pressured to do anything. Redbean

Almost Singaporean

I am very proud of 3 year old Prateek Garg. The son of a PR, he feels every inch a Singaporean. He gave a smack to a Singaporean boy for calling him otherwise. He only sees himself as a Singaporean and felt offended. "'I'm Singaporean!' bawled the child, whose favourite food is chicken rice." I am also glad that ST printed this heart warming news with pride. And the stupid Singaporean boy deserved to be smacked for not knowing his place. Singapore should welcome more PRs who are prouder than Singaporeans. Never mind if they do not want to take up citizenship. And of course some of them may feel that the new policies of giving more privileges to Singapore a bit unfair to them. This is understandable. And if they want to move on to greener pasture, it will be a waste of talent and Singapore will be much poorer without their contribution. Singaporeans better be nicer to PRs. Please don't smack me, I am just a Singaporean.

Is the world getting better?

The Pope is under pressure to take a stand against paedophile priests and to reveal what Vatican knew over centuries of abuse cover ups. London MPs were accused of collecting money to lobby for causes, bankers are now called crooks everywhere, politicians are infamous for sensuous affairs. What else is new? Robin Hood turns robber? It is now very difficult and confusing to tell who are the crooks and who are the good guys.

Notable quote by Liat Teng Lit

Your heart rate would not go up 'When you come to this hospital, your blood pressure and heart rate won't go up.' Liak Teng Lit, CEO Khoo Teck Puat Hospital I am still trying to figure out what he meant. People with high blood pressure can get instant relief, pressure will go down by visiting KTPH? People with hearts beating too rapidly can go to KTPH and the hearts will beat slower? Amazing. And a ear check cost only $2! This is getting ridiculous. How could a modern and well equipped hospital charged this kind of rate? Is it just a gimmick? If not the hospital will soon lose money or the standard will drop. They need to charge more to ensure that the quality is good and be able to pay for good doctors and medical professionals. Or maybe Khoo Teck Puat is subsidising the cost. Thank you Khoo Teck Puat.

Losing money investing CPF money

In a ministerial dialogue session, or is it pre election dialogue, a Mr Goh claimed that he lost $350k from his CPF account! This is the strangest thing I have heard so far. I always read glowing reports about CPF members making money from investing in the stock market. And since the stock market always go up in the long run, and the return, as was used to justified in the liberation of the CPF investment scheme then, would always be much more than bank savings. I remember some figures quoted then was something like 25% to 30% in the long run. The scheme started in 1986, revised to include an Enhanced Scheme in 1993. Now it is 2010, average about 20 years since it started, should be long run enough to make money, not 25% but should be at least 10%! Why got people lost so much one? This is really the first time such a big number in losses is reported, and only when a loser admitted it himself. How many more losers out there who have lost their life savings in the hundreds of thousands since the scheme started? Oh, the scheme was revised to downwards in 1997 to protect the CPF members from losing more of their life savings. Talking about smart Alecs.

Sheng Siong, the people’s choice

Sheng Siong came into the supermarket business with a bang. It sold goods and sundries at prices that are more competitive than NTUC FairPrice. It soon gained a big market share and expanded into several markets to the relief of price conscious consumers. At last they have a choice for cheaper products. The latest foray of Sheng Siong was to buy over 5 wet markets from the HDB. There were initial fears that Sheng Siong would upgrade these wet markets like the big property developers do as their trademark modus operandi, and then everything becomes more expensive with a quality and better badge hanging on its door. This fear soon proved to be unfounded as Sheng Siong said it would keep them as they are, cheap wet market without the modern aircon and cleaner environment that come with a different price tag. The relief was a bit short lived but through no fault of Sheng Siong. It did kept to its position of not changing the wet markets to aircon markets. But the takeover of the wet markets is costly. It was reported in CNA that Sheng Siong had no choice but to increase the rentals of the stalls in the wet markets by a whopping 30%. It has to as it has to pay bank interest, maintenance fee, property tax and probably legal fee as well. There was a big outcry in cyberspace when this was announced as the cost of higher rental must surely be passed to the consumers. Some even talked of boycotting Sheng Siong. Overnight, the Robin Hood of small time consumers and housewives who need to buy their food and sundries has lost its glamour and brand name. What a shame. But business is business. Sheng Siong will soon become a bigger player, maybe a global player and providing jobs for the people. The people should be thankful to have Sheng Siong instead of feeling betrayed. Well done Sheng Siong, for the takeover. The consumers will be better off, in the long run.

3/28/2010

The fall guys are usually the small guys

The Hongkong authority have arrested two female employees of Bank of China for selling the Lehman Minibonds 'on suspicion that they had fraudulently or recklessly induced others to invest money.' This Lehman fallout is becoming a joke in the whole wide world. Only the small guys got caught and no one else. What about the people who created this scam? Oh cannot call it scam. It is sophisticated financial instruments thought out by the best talents in America, for sophisticated clients with the knowledge, intelligence and appetite to lose big. So the note creator is innocent, the banks who allowed the notes to be sold are innocent, the regulators too are innocent. Only the small salesmen and saleswomen are guilty. This must be the bigger scam than the Lehman Minibond scam itself.

A good policy is a good policy

Hsien Loong revealed that certain groups have sent emails to pressurise the govt to lower property prices and threatened not to support the govt in the next general election. And it is likely that these people are going to benefit or profit from lower HDB prices. The only people I see that could benefit from lower HDB prices are those that were caught gasping for air when HDB prices galloped away. With so many govt help and subsidy schemes, this aggrieved group should be very small. The group that are going to benefit more with high HDB prices and should be pushing the govt would be owners of HDB flats. Then they can sell them at huge profits and migrate to somewhere cheaper. Beach camps are also a good alternative. Hsien Loong’s main message is that people should not pressure the govt to act in any way. This is a sure fail tactic. The govt will probably stick to its gun no matter how well meaning or logical is the course to take. It is better to write to Reach and make a genuine plea, and the govt will listen better. It even gives awards to good contributors. The high price HDB policy is going to stay. It is the best policy that benefits all flat owners. And buyers can be assured of getting their flats in 3 years instead of 7 years. And the govt believe so, and will likely to be campaigning for this policy in the next general election. They have to after Mah Bow Tan and HDB have so successfully defended this position and turning around will be self defeating. The govt’s view is firm. Whether the people believe so, or some people believe so and some don’t, let this be the election issue to be decided by the votes. Let there be no pressure but a contest of ideas. Those who believe that this policy is good and the way to go, continue to vote for the govt that is promoting it. Those who don’t agree can vote otherwise. It is just a govt’s position and policy.

3/27/2010

Who is talking strange?

There is no property bubble, yet. Did anyone see the elephant inside the classroom? No, where got elephant? Property prices are hitting the roof, demands are incessant looking at the queues at property launches despite the record releases of new BTOs. Maybe it is all carefully managed and expected. Within expectation. The govt will not intervene in the property market and if it does, ‘we do it only because we want the market to work better’ said Mah Bow Tan. So no need to panic, no need to complain, the market is working better. Better for who and in what ways? The govt did not intervene when the population shot up by more than 1m people. The govt did not intervene by building more flats to meet the demand. Maybe it was managed to be that way. Or maybe they did not know that the population had grown disproportionately and no need to intervene. The govt prefers to leave it to market forces, supply and demand. The two cases of Ten Mile Junction and Tampenis were an aberration. The low demand was not due to market forces. And the developers will buy low to sell at big proft. Cannot be like dat. So when the prices are low when there is no demand, don’t release the sites. Afterall the govt has the responsibility to make sure that state land gets a good price. All perfectly sound argument. Not talking strange. And today, there is no property bubble yet. Everyone is happy, the govt is happy, the developers are happy, the speculators are happy, the home buyers are happy, the owners of all properties are happy. We have a perfect situation with everyone happy. This is how clever the property market it being managed. I am not talking strange either.

3/26/2010

Great News, Resale home prices at new high!

This is the best news on the front page of the ST. More than 800k HDB flat owners are going to celebrate, and those owning 5rm flats and bigger are instant millionaires. The latest transaction at Bras Basah HDB complex fetched more than $600 psf. Whew, everyone is going to be very grateful. Now they should know who to vote to protect and increase the value of their HDB flats. And private property owners will also be waiting in glee as HDB upgraders will have more money to buy private properties at higher prices. For those singles and still waiting for a HDB flats, cannot wait liao. Go quickly and grab a flat fast. Tomorrow will be more expensive. The prices can only go up and up.

Property bubble is good

Justin Chiu of Cheung Kong Property lives by the religion that property bubble is good. It has to be. High property prices mean big profits for his company and big bonuses for him. Every property developer must live by this religion, or they should not be in the property business. They are in to make money, big money. They are not in a charity business. Sorry, I think I must qualify this. Some charity businesses are also very happy with big bonuses. No one should demand that property developers build properties and sell at a loss or at subsidized profits. That is fundamentally wrong. They must make the most profits they could from their projects. They must sell at market price, as high as the market can afford. It is not their responsibility to make sure that properties are affordable and reasonable. That is the job of the govt. The govt is responsible to the people and has a moral duty, a social contract, to house the people in decent homes, not in dog’s kennel. The roles of the govt and property developers are different. It only becomes a problem when a govt thinks it is a property developer, to max profits and a property developer thinks it is the govt and sells property at a loss. But in a world when the lines are blurred, when confusions set in, when the govt is not the govt, when the developer is not the developer, the people will become collateral damages in a greedy game of profits.

3/25/2010

Going ahead with the Water Festival?

We respect the foreigners here. So we are going to celebrate their Water Festival. Do we respect other foreigners and celebrate their festivals as well? If we don't, does it mean that we are not respecting them? What if we celebrate some and don't celebrate some? Would those affected feel slighted and not respected? What if we celebrate this year because it is the in thing and don't celebrate in the following year or years? Would the foreigners say we have stop respecting them?

Calling a spade a spade!

Finally someone with the guts to stand up and tell the truth that everyone pretends not to see. It is govt intervention in the property market that caused high prices in property, not market forces. Simon Cheong, President of Redas, 'argued that the Govt's land sales programme has, in some instances, in fact accentuated the mismatch between demand and supply and contributed to higher pricing....His candid comments - which he said he had been "advised" against making, "for fear of it being a sensitive topic" - found resonance among some industry watchers, while others still argued for the State's role in curbing market volatility.' For someone in his position to take such a stand is a sign that he could not take the nonsenses anymore. The lip had blown off. He has to tell it as it is. Let's see if any more professionals have any balls in between their legs to repeat his stand publicly. Simon quoted the case of a plot in Tampines with a bid of $118 psf but rejected and now sold to a top bid of $421 psf and the Ten Mile Junction which failed at $162 psf and now sold at $437 psf. How not for property prices to go up? But it is wrong to say that the govt interfered with property prices. The govt only manages the property market to ensure that HDB prices can only go up. And that is an election position. Vote for the govt to protect the value of HDB flats. So, with a little management of land sales and building of new flats, the prices will simply and nicely go up. Then when new flats are built, they are sold at 'market prices' and with a 'subsidy'. So nice. The equation in simple form is to manage prices of sold HDB flats to make sure it can only go up. This in turn will create a synthetic market of higher prices for newly built flats. Another option, as a national policy, is to manage the new flats to be really affordable and let 'market' forces determine the prices of sold HDB flats. Both involved interference. Sorry, cannot use that word, a little managing at one end and pretend that the other end is the real market forces. The advantage of the present system is that prices would likely to keep spiralling up and makes owners happy. But new flats would also be equally expensive. The problem comes when there is a crisis and prices plunged. Buy high would mean losing big. In the latter option, prices may not go up too fast and also may not go down much. In a crisis, with smaller outlay, the losses will not be too heavy either. Which is a better policy? One is an illusion of wealth, manipulated and with the danger of people falling flat on their faces. The other is more prudent and less adventurous and less likely to bankrupt the owners.

3/24/2010

Google is so funny!

Google has left China and move to the British territory called Hongkong, to escape from Chinese laws and to propagate unfriendly Chinese news. It can now raise the Union Jack and claim protection from Great Britain. I think it should prepare other options like Macau and Taiwan. And if these proved unworkable as well, then it should look no further than Singapore, where there is internet freedom for it to do what it wants in the name of press freedom. It is quite a common thing to read China bashing news here. I strongly recommend Google to relocate to Singapore if it wakes up from its slumber and found out that Hongkong is in China and no longer a British colony.

Casino Autonomous Regions

Smoking allowed in the two casinos. Isn't that great? While Singaporeans have gotten rid of this dirty and smelly habit and could not stand the sight and smell of tobacco and cigarette butts, we know have to bear with them all over again, all because of money. For money's sake, what else do we want to sell out? Maybe we can turn the casinos into autonomous regions and allowed whatever we do not allowed in the main island. Let them have chewing gums, littering and spitting are ok too. And let the Ah Longs operate there. Oh, move Geylang over there too. Just keep all the sleaze there may be a way to keep the main island clean and healthy. What am I talking about? There is one casino in the main prime city area. How? Imagine all the hard works and campaigns and money spent to educate a population to be like the civilised first world, clean, impeccable and sauve, and we are going to abandon it for money. We allowed the foreigners to come here to spit, litter, commit crimes and now to smoke in our midst, in our island in the sun and our prime Marina Bay. What is going on?

A new twist to Your Singapore

Netizens were furious on the news that a grassroot organization is planning to organize a Water Festival, the same as those celebrated in Thailand, Myanmar and the IndoChinese states for the foreigners here. I look at it differently. If we are going to tell the world that Singapore is theirs, then it is only expected that we should also share their festivals and make them feel more at home here. Let's make it their Singapore for real. And having more international festivals here is also a good thing for tourism. We can show the world how happy we are as a people, partying everyday to every festival that we can find. We can even declare every other day a holiday for a festival. Now, would that not be fun? Come to Your Singapore and party for a life time, everyday of the year. There is never a dull day or a dull moment. The thought of it already brightens up my day. As for integrating the foreigners to love Singapore, there is an easier way to do it. Just stuff some money in their pockets. I am sure the whole world will descend on Singapore and call it home. Your Singapore will truly live up to its name.

3/23/2010

Talking cock about China and Yuan revaluation

The Western media and the US Congress have been talking cock about the Yuan as the main cause of their economic misery. So China must revalue its Yuan to make its export more expensive and save the US economy and American jobs. China cannot keep on growing at the expense of America and Europe. The assumption of these attacks is that China's economy will keep growing relentlessly, unstoppable. The Chinese will probably hope so. Then we read another bunch of cock stories that the Chinese economy is a big bubble waiting to explode. The Chinese housing is a bubble, the car industry is a bubble, and what not is a bubble. The rich and poor gap is going to break China, the corruption is going to break China, the cities are over built and wealth inequalities will cause unrest in China. The minorities insurgency is going to cause upheavals. In other words, China is at the brink of a collapse of gigantic proportion. The biggest economic tragedy in history is about to happen to China. With such a scenario, should the Chinese revalue its Yuan to invite an immediate collapse? Its economy and political system are so fragile and so unsound. How could the mean westerners demand that it revalues its Yuan knowing that it is going to collapse soon? There is no need for China to revalue its Yuan. China will collapse in no time and it will turn into a house of cards. And all the problems of America and Europe will solve by itself. How's that for talking cock? As good as Paul Krugman and all the professional western experts, journalists and reporters huh!

The American Israeli Wayang

While the Israelis continue their pounding of the Palestinians in Gaza, the US pretends to be pricked by conscience and is looking displeased. And that is the best they would do to show the Arabs that they are their friends. And they let the Israelies to continue to kill the pariahs of human civilisation as if it is a natural thing to do. And when I flipped through the pages of the newspaper there was hardly a mention of the killing of the Arabs. Non event. There are more important news about how to bash China for causing the ills of the bankrupt America, and blaming China for it. In the meantime, the Palestinians can only look to Allah for help while the US looks the other way.

Another shark in the pond

Goldman Sach is now a full clearing member of SGX. Is it good news or bad news for the small investors? We have seen how the stock markets have been transformed into a casino without the stringent rules governing casinos. We have seen how the odds have changed into a vicious cycle where the big hedge funds have huge unfair advantages over the small investors. Now Goldman Sach is in our water. Would this shark gang up with all the other sharks to eat the small fishes or would it fight with the other sharks for a share of the pie? Would it make things worst for the small investors?

Motorists are also citizens

Motorists are also citizens and need protection from scams and robbery. Who is responsible to protect the interests of the motorists in the face of outrageous surge in motor insurance premiums at their detriment? No one is responsible? Or just because the silent motorists are not complaining so there is no issue and it is acceptable for the insurance companies to keep fleecing them? The No Claim Bonus is meant to be a reward for clean driving records and not making any claims against the insurers. This must be translated into lower premium, not higher. How on earth can the increases be more than the NCB when the motorists are not making any claims? Why should the motorists be made to pay more? Where is JUSTICE! Where can the little motorists find justice? More motor accidents, more claims, higher claims! Whose fault and who should be accountable for the higher insurance payouts? The motorists that did not make any claims? The sickening thing is that the insurers also knew that there is a big scam going on. And instead of tackling the problem at its source and make the culprits pay, the buck is passed to the motorists. And nobody cares, not anyone's business. Let the motorists continue to be fleeced. And if they are not complaining, it means that the premium is still affordable. And why not, the premium is determined by market forces, so must be right. What kind of principle are we following? Cost overrun also no problem. Just make sure the people can pay. Medical cost goes up, make sure the people have more money in their Medisave. QED. Problem solved. Are Singaporeans willing to live by such thinkings?

3/22/2010

Thong Chai Charity

This Charity has followed the showbiz road to raise fund to support its charity work. It has been in existence since 1867, providing free medical treatment to anyone who goes there for help. Free medical treatment! What, what, what's that? In Singapore still got free medical treatment when medical and office space costs are so high! Is someone pulling a joke? Should they be raising their fees to keep up with inflation and rising wage cost? Indeed there are still a few of these dinosaurs that refused to keep up with time and still stupidly providing free medical treatment and medicine. They have taken the first step to the new world of commercialisation. I hope they don't go much further and start to privatise and become a profit making organisation. For more than 140 years, Thong Chai Charity exists quietly and doing its honourable job of providing free medicine to everyone who cannot afford the great names in modern medicine. And they don't mean test anyone. Just get your treatment and medicine, no question asks. Last night was the first time they came out to raise fund and many celebrities were moved to come forward for the cause. They included big names like Jackie Chan, Emil Chow, Mi Xue, Sky and many more from China, Taiwan, Hongkong and our local artistes. Prior to this event, the Charity survived on donations from many generous donors to keep it going. It is a worthy cause with noble and selfless doctors and staff doing their part to help the needies. The fund raising was successful. My only concern is that they don't get carried away by the generosities of the donors and make it an annual affair to raise funds for more ambitious schemes. Just raise fund when needed and not raise fund for the sake of raising fund to build a reserve for the next 100 years. The Charity has so far been doing a great and honorable job, and not distracted by the huge money that the medical profession can command. They have still not gotten to the idea of charging an arm or a leg to desperate people in need of help. We need such institutions to show what genuine compassion and charity mean.

Selling Your Singapore

With this new brand name called Your Singapore being brandished as a catchy tag, our representatives will soon be spreading out to the world to sell Singapore as a tourist destination. Let’s try to imagine how other people will react to this tag. First stop is likely to be China. I can imagine the Chinese asking, ‘How much?’ They would be keen to pay for it if it is for sale. It’s neighbour the Japanese would probably frown and say, ‘Can we have it back?’ It belonged to them for a while back then. Further to the East, the Americans would likely to give an approving nod and saying to themselves, ‘We had it in our pocket for so many years, didn’t you know that?’ As for the British, they would thank you for reminding them of their glorious past. They may regret for having giving it away to us on a silver platter. Our Indonesian neighbour may say don’t try to tempt us. Up north, they would not take it too kindly and give our representatives two black eyes for inviting them to ‘Your Singapore’. And hopefully the representatives would not be foolish enough to ask what was that for.

3/21/2010

Your Singapore!

My first impression is distaste. How’s that for a logo to be viewed across the world, the message from Singapore? I don’t know how much they paid for this gimmick? When I started this blog, I had this little task of giving it a name. MySingaporeNews, or YourSingaporeNews were my initial choices. Both were quite meaningful. I wanted YourSingaporeNews for everyone to post their news here. MySingaporeNews also has the same meaning when ‘My’ means everyone who post their news here. I chose it as it is shorter by two alphabets. Your Singapore News has since been adopted by CNA and inviting forumers to contribute their news to the station. I have no quarrel with My Singapore or Your Singapore, as it is about Singapore and Singaporeans writing about Singapore. I feel rather offended by telling the world that Singapore is theirs, Your Singapore. Haven’t we have enough of foreigners here thinking that they also own Singapore? Haven’t we been selling every inch of our precious land to foreigners who came here to snub at the poor Singaporeans? And now we officially tell the foreigners that Singapore is their Singapore for the taking. Is it ours or no longer ours? Does Singapore belong to Singaporeans, for us to call Our Singapore, or to tell the foreigners, Your Singapore. All you need is money and you can buy it. Of course the promoters and advocates of this catchphrase meant different things. They are telling the foreigners that they can design their trips the way they want it, to see what they want to see. And definitely not to think that they can have Singapore as theirs, if they have the money. Your Singapore sure does not sound good to the already unhappy Singaporeans seeing their private space being invaded and taken away by foreigners. And for those who are chasing their little homes and cannot afford it, they will be more pissed off to hear this message. It is Our Singapore, not Theirs. Your Singapore can be demeaning to start from this angle. It is like an attempt to sell out. Telling Singaporeans that this is Your Singapore is different from telling foreigners this is Your Singapore. Just try telling the foreigners here that your home is their home.

Oh, what a beautiful name!

I have never heard of this expression for a long long time. The new reaction when a name is introduced is a kind of a blur. Uhh, what’s dat? Bikina. Oh, uhh, could you spell it out. Oh, cute. Never heard of that. Lee Wei Ling and Colin Goh both wrote about the trend in naming. And the raison de tre ranges from a colonial hangover, trendiness and being unique or cute, or for showbiz. It used to be trendy to be John or Michael, or Kevin or Edwin or Edwina. But they have become so common that everyone is a John Michael or Michael John that it is no longer fun anymore. The colonial hangover is fading away as the new generation grow up blind to that hideous and humiliating past. Yes, there was a time when being a little more angmoh meant one is of a different and better social class. It was much better to hear an angmoh shouting over his beer mug with a hi John than a hi, Ah Kow! Many illiterate parents were guilty of this demeaning act of naming their precious children as Ah Kow or Ah Ngeow or Ah Gu officially. Today we have another kind of apparition. I would not call it inanity. This affects the Chinese most with the presence of different dialects and words sounding quite different though written the same. Choo Keong, Chee Kong, Zhi Qiang, though similarly written to mean to be able to stand on one’s own or independently, could mean different things when spoken in different dialects. Chee is often made fun of in a negative sense in various combinations. Then you can have Sai Chwee or Sai Tang, or Kah Chui etc etc. The individuals are often caught in a not very amusing situation. The convenient way is to give one another name for a social setting. Some would change their names officially. Many names were given today for more innocuous intent. Some may have a chip on their shoulder to want names to mean certain things, from aspiration to aloofness. Whatever the case names will evolve just like our taste for things and trends. I briefly look at the names of a few cute babies in the Sunday Times this morning and they were called Afeef Shahid, Theeksha Shivani Suhanthan, Athrin Gan, Tan Yu Qi Jaslyn and the more mundane Gerrard Lim Wen Han. The latter is a combo of Hokien and Mandarin. I think Tan Yu Qi is also of the same mix but I am not too certain as Tan can be totally different in Mandarin. We will have varieties in names as we are Uniquely Singapore. What goes to a name has a good reason or many reasons, right reason or wrong reason, or simply just a name.

3/19/2010

Motor Insurance Taskforce Recommendations

After one year of in depth study, the Motor Insurance Taskforce has come out with a series of recommendations to arrest the runaway cost of motor insurance. I am not sure whether it will make any difference, but definitely not going to affect those who have to pay for this protection money this year. Anyway I couldn't wait, and luckily did not bother to wait, and have found my own solution. Hmmm, saving about 50% shouldn't be bad. Now I need not bother with all the shit that is going around.

Quality education doesn't come cheap

The quality of university education in Singapore has just gone up by 4% to 10%. The three state universities have just increased their fees by that amount for the Singaporean students in the next intake. If the quality goes up annually by 10% or bi annually, soon the quality will increase by 100%. I think a monkey could even become a Einstein at that rate of improvement. Singaporean students got one more thing to celebrate other than better quality education. They can feel comforted that their fees are subsidised to a tune of 50% or more compare to foreign students. I am not sure how to put it, a discount or a subsidy against market rate? One thing for sure, they are affordable. For you would not expect anyone demonstrating at the increase but grateful parents and students for the quality education that they are getting.

3/18/2010

Temasek into technology companies

Below article is copied from Business.scotsman.com by Terry Murden Dotcoms set to bounce back out of the bubble ON THE tenth anniversary of the dotcom bubble bursting comes news from the East of a new appetite for technology. Temasek, the Singapore state investor, has a massive war chest ready to be plundered for a buying spree. Temasek is among a number of institutional investors now ready to splash the cash after turning bullish on a sector that has seen a lot of blood on the walls in recent years but is now undergoing a revaluation. Shares in some technology firms, including Intel, are now hitting record highs, and Temasek has not been slow in buying shares in blue chip companies such as Yahoo and Research in Motion, the company behind the Blackberry mobile device. It is now said to be looking to buy private firms which a view to listing them.... Other investors share Temasek's views. Henderson Global Investors and Franklin Templeton have turned positive on the sector with Henderson particularly bullish on e-commerce firms such as Amazon.com, and online advertising through Google and Baidu. It also likes online entertainment. It is a cross-section of contemporary technology businesses which differ from the old model by having sound fundamentals and real growth prospects. ------- I was worried when I first read the article. Then when I came to the para that said other investors share Temasek's views, including Global Investors and Franklin Templeton, I am now terribly frighten.

Another mad fortune teller

This mad fortune teller knew for sure that Kim Jong Il will not live past 2013. Actually he is better than a fortune teller, a doctor and god combined. It is reported in the ST, in an article by Associated Press and REUTER, that he has medical reports to prove his clairvoyance. And the mad fortune teller came by the name of Kurt Campbell. And he has a title called Assistant US Secretary of State. Actually the mad fortune tellers have been predicting Kim's death so frequently that it is next in numbers to those who predicted the end of the world since the time of Jesus.

The arrogance of power

The American senators wanted to punish China for not revaluing its Yuan. What rubbish! They wanted the Yuan to float so that they can manipulate it to their advantage. And they have roped in the World Bank and the IMF to sing their song. How atrocious can they be? The world's greatest manipulator of currency complaining about China who refused to let its currency to be manipulated as the manipulator. At least the UN, through UNCTAD, could see through the flawed and mischievious American argument and is calling on China not to float its Yuan. The peg on the Yuan has ensured stability in the financial world to facilitate growth by the developing countries. Floating the Yuan will allow the Americans to continue in their mischievious role in money speculation, price confusion and trade distortion which led to the global economic crisis. And there was this article in mypaper by another mad man called James Rickards. He claimed that 'it is the greatest bubble in history with the most massive misallocation of wealth.' And he was pointing his finger at China and Russia. Didn't he realised that the biggest bubble in history has just burst, in America? The greatest bubble had popped and he failed to see it and is blaming everyone for it. The greatest and massive misallocation of wealth is in America, where money were made in the billions, or robbed, by the most unproductive people in the finance industry. They did not produce any goods except pieces of papers which they sold to the world as worthless collaterals. The world shall stand by and watch the greatest failure of the 21st Century. Will it be America or China? And if the guru of liberal economics goes down the drain, the ardent followers and unthinking students will go down together.

Motor Insurance - The robbing must stop

The headline in ST, Insurance relief for motorists! What relief? They have increased the premium over the last few years by at least 40 to 50% and they said any rise this year will be marginal. What a hogwash. Look at the numbers given, record premium collected at $1.08b. Claims were $44.5m last year from $214m the year before. So where is the big losses incurred by the industry? What we are seeing are big profits. Who is responsible to stop the robbing of motorists by the insurers? Motor insurance is compulsory and motorists cannot say no but just pay grudgingly. Isn't there anyone or agency or ministry responsible to look after the interests of the motorists? Oh, a report is coming out today from the Motor Insurance Taskforce. And everyone knows that there is a big scam in motor insurance claims. And the buck was simply passed to the innocent motorists to pay. How convenient! How could this happen here? Let's see how much more will motor insurance premium be raised.

3/17/2010

The unfathomable depth of intelligence

The whole world is so foolish. Why are they so afraid of inflation? Why are they so afraid of high property prices and property bubble? And the Americans too are getting silly, trying to curb speculations in derivatives and hedge funds activities and more stringent regulations on their brilliant bankers. And what is so wrong with huge income gap between the rich and poor? The bigger the gap, the better. They should come down to paradise and take a lesson or two on how good inflation is, how good high property prices is, how good deregulations and hedge fund activities and derivative tradings are. And they would surely be impressed by our world class number one income gap between the rich and poor. We are the best, with the unfathomable depth of intelligent beans, everything is just fine. Oops, my mistake, I mean demigods and immortals.

What arrogance of strength?

China had many embarrassing and humiliating experiences with arrogance of strength in the past. The British sold the Chinese opium only to be confiscated and burnt by the Chinese. They declared war on that ground, raided China, demanded indemnity for war raparation and the opium, including seizure of Hongkong. That was arrogance of the British Empire. The Americans followed by demanding that 5 ports be opened as free ports. Another arrogance of strength. Then the rest of the wolf pack consisting mainly Europeans powers, plus Russia and Japan followed to designate Chinese territories as their territories. That was arrogance of strength. Today, the American signed a defence treaty with a renegade defeated political party in Taiwan and insisted that they have now a legal right to arm and defend Taiwan. This is arrogance of strength in modern day. And the Americans and British cooked up the threats of WMD to invade Iraq and murdered its President, turned the country into a war zone, and getting away free without anyone daring to whisper a word about war crimes. And better still, dragging all its weak allies to help in the killings of the Iraqis. This is arrogance of strength. Is China exhibiting an arrogance of weakness? In the first place it was not even arrogance but standing up to the number one bully. You call that arrogance? Bloody fool! And China is weak? The whole of Europe can join forces and do a 8 Nations attack on Beijing today, like they did before, and see if China is weak. The US can also try to test how weak China is today. Between the two, I must admit that China is very much weaker. But it is not that weak for the US to attempt to be adventurous.

3/16/2010

The fictitious American War against China

The Americans are accusing China of everything under the sky. The latest is currency manipulation. Who owns the major hedge funds manipulating currencies around the world? Or perhaps the Americans are angry because they could not manipulate the Yuan as it is pegged at a fixed rate against the dollar? Unpegging it and letting it free will be fertile ground for the American hedge funds to do untold damages to the Yuan and Chinese economy. I think this is likely to be the real reason. Oh, the Chinese are causing job losses in America, and unemployment problems. Why? Did the Chinese put a gun at the American companies to shift their production lines to China? And when these companies moved to China, they are making profits for who, for the Chinese or Americans? And China is the world's number one polluters of the environment. Their factories are pumping up all the gases into the sky. By the way, who owns these factories or the products and manufacturing processes? Isn't it true that the Americans didn't want them to pollute their own environment and the convenient place is to park them in China to do the polluting? In turn the Chinese are sweating it out in the factories to make the products for pittance and only to sell them cheaply to the American families. How atrocious can the Chinese be? Working so very hard to earn a bowl of rice on the table to enable the Americans to pay cheaply for their hard work. It is sinful! And the Chinese are hoarding trillions of Treasury Bills. Did they robbed them from the Americans? Whose faults, the Chinese of course. Put up more tariffs and taxes, maybe sanctions against the China. Or go to war with China.

The western hang ups

Why is it so difficult for Asians to have independent thoughts, to see the world from the Asian perspective instead of parroting the agenda of the West? We have CNA, probably the only credible media that speaks Asian other than Al Jazeera and China Daily. I read an article in the ST titled 'China arrogant? Maybe, but that's not the point'. I thought I was reading an article written by some western journalists. The views and contents were similar, everywhere in the western media, whacking China for standing up to the bullying of the US and calling China arrogant is the politically correct thing to do. Is China arrogant or just standing up to the bully? From the Asian perspective, I would say, show the Americans the middle finger. The US have been accusing and threatening and bullying every country other than its major allies. It is time a new power tells the US to shut up. It has nothing to do with being arrogant but refusing to be pushed around. What's wrong with that? I couldn't imagine that the writer is an Asian, by the name of William Choong. And he went on to explain that China was reacting from a sense of insecurity. A weak power fumbling around trying to make a defensive stand from a position of weakness. And he even talked this cock about 'face' as if the West do not have a face to worry about. The Chinese are sensitive to face. Obama gate crashed a meeting in Copenhagen when he was not invited. It was not about face but about American pride. How could they not give the American President face by not inviting him to a meeting? Then he went on blabbing about China's weak arrogance being troubling and maybe waiting to be kicked by the number one super power. American arrogance like George Bush's triumphant claim during the Iraq War is good. Weak arrogance like China is bad. And China is an irresponsible power not pulling its weight to protect the existing balance of power. Maybe it would be better for China to help the Americans to kill the Arabs and Afghans, then China could be welcomed as a responsible power. Maybe China should also join the US to threaten any country that it does not like, threaten them with sanctions to make the US feel better. Is that what is meant by being responsible? Attack another country, killed its leader, under the pretext of WMD. That must be a very responsible way to act as a big power. Now what is the point? China an arrogant irresponsible power? Let's give this writer a Congressional Medal or an OBE.

Issues that are not forgotten

There were many issues raised before, and nothing happens. I have to renew my motor insurance and to my horror, I have to pay even more after another 10% of NCB. The premium is now nearly $1,300 despite the NCB. Three years ago I paid less than $800. And the reason, more accident claims so premium must go up. What has that got to do with my premium when I have not made a single claim? Where is the statistics to show that there are more accidents and claims? I thought someone is looking into this fleecing of the motorists by a cartel of crooks. After one whole year, nothing heard. Like loan sharks, very difficult to catch. So the innocent public has to pay for it. Maybe no one is complaining so they think everyone has resigned to the fate that they have to pay more insurance premiums. Legitimate daylight robbery! See, if the people don't kpkb, don't raise problems, then it is taken as no problem.

Is the property market hot?

Fiona Chan of ST asked when is a property market consider hot. Of course this is another statement like affordability. I can simply answer by saying that it is only hot when god feels the heat. Today's news is still screaming that despite the high property prices, the rush to buy is still very strong. All the launches were successful and many are fetching more than $1,000 psf. This is good news to the developers and speculators and also those who own numerous properties. They must be quietly congratulating themselves for making the right decisions to buy so many properties and sitting on a mountain of wealth. Now who dares talk down the market or wish that the market will fall? The rich property owners will come smashing with everything they got. It is only right and normal and good for the property prices to go up. And our economic fundamentals also demand that property prices must go up. It is just a natural and good thing for all property owners, including the 80% of HDB owners. So who is complaining or why should people be complaining? Yesterday, for the first time, two senior professionals from the real estate industry were warning about a property bubble forming. Who cares, as long as people are queuing and rushing in to buy. Let it rise, let it rise. It is good. Everyone can feel rich. Down here, people compare the prices of the lodging you live in. In other places, they compare how big is the space available. So a 500 sq ft unit at $2m is better than a 10,000 sq ft unit costing $500k somewhere on earth. The thing is to feel rich, living in a $2m kennel, or home.

3/15/2010

The ultimate test of leadership - Thaksin

A few hundred red shirt protestors are on the streets of Bangkok in support of their democratically elected leader who was robbed of his titled as the PM of Thailand. Several years after being ousted, in exile, found guilty in court, half of his fortune confiscated, Thaksin is still the leader of the rural Thais. Can anyone doubt that he is a leader of the people, by the people and for the people of Thailand? And it looks like he is going to ride back to power with the people's power behind him. Ahbisit is now hiding in an army barrack, protected by the military. Would there be a clash between the soldiers and the farmers? Would other farmers and ordinary Thais stand up and take sides, join hands with the farmers? Would the soldiers unite or split and some take sides with Thaksin? Would Thailand be splitted as a result of the surge of popular support for a leader cut down by the Thai elite and soldiers in Bangkok? Like him or be against him, Thaksin is sure a formidable leader of the Thai people, to be able to command their support and loyalty to challenge the establishment in Bangkok against all odds. It is a mark of true leaderhip.

Say a big thank you to Mah Bow Tan

In the programme Talking Point, he gave the impression that he had done a damn good job in housing and probably expected the people to give him a pat on the back, and say thank you. He forgot that the good job was done by his predecessors, and in his case he messed it up. He still thinks that his BTO, his control of supply, and his market pricing policies are the next best thing that could happen to Singapore after PAP. He still cannot see the damages and hardship he had caused to many young people seeking to buy their first home. Even the taxi drivers are complaining as Lim Wee Kiat said. With the income of driving a taxi, they could buy a 5 rm flat. Their graduate children could barely afford a 4 rm flat, on two incomes. Is this a problem? Has this tell something about affordability? I would like to give a pass to this by not posting about the issue. But if everyones does that, the smart alecs will say, see, no one is complaining anymore. The people are happy with our policies.

Why didn’t Singapore think of it?

For years, the only way to get to Sentosa was by ferries or hanging on a piece of wire from Mount Faber. The latter, hmmm, they find it more amusing and interesting, never if it takes longer, to drive up a mountain before being flung into the island by the sheer force of gravity. Getting to Sentosa was never easy, and to move masses in a short span of time will need an ingenious mind to carefully think it over. And they came to the conclusion that causeways, one and latter two, will be the most efficient way to do so. And one is now running and collecting tolls and paying for itself. My thought, why didn’t they think of a more efficient way, like a bridge, and then another bridge? And in this case, there is no need to spend dismantling a causeway, just build the bridges anywhere they want. It was clean and tidy, and no extra cost, no need to change mindset on how to get to the island. And a bridge will make walking across near impossible, thus ensuring that more tolls can be collected. And they didn’t even consider the water on both sides of the causeway that will get stagnant and foul. And the ships cannot sail from one side of the causeway to the other, from Pasir Panjang to Tanjong Pagar. And shipping is a major revenue earner for the island and facilitating trade. Are we making things difficult for ourselves? And the pleasure craft cannot take a short cut from Keppel Marina to the South China Sea. We have done it all wrong! Imagine how beautiful and functional it will be to have bridges to Sentosa instead of causeways. Or is it a case of pride, that copying other people’s great idea would make us look second best?

3/14/2010

The roaring business of infidelity

While we have refrained from joining the mob in tearing up the parties in the recent case of infidelity, the case has been receiving more than warm attention. All the tabloids and media have allocated significant space and resources to it. In cyberspace, some blogs have dedicated themselves to it with gusto, constant updates and youtube clips. It is a roaring business and everyone is happy enjoying every little bits of the news. It it showbiz all the way. With such news all over the pages, what else is news or interesting news for the masses? I wonder what will happen to the General Election should a piece of such infidelity appears concerning some big time celebrities. Maybe they will have to call off the election. For good business and a decent bottom line, the one and only major newspaper would do well to produce a tabloid of its own to cover such matters of the hearts. Sure to sell very well. We have enough celebrities to produce materials on a daily basis, and a hungry mob of imitation paparazi that have nothing better to write about and want a little attention of their own. The advent of the casinos and liberation of lifestyle, many juicy things are there waiting to be reported. Then we have the new age felines that believe, with some truth, that kiss and tell will pay. And telling such stories is like wearing a badge of recognition and instant fame. They did not invent the word infamous or infamy for nothing. Fame and success are attainable in many ways and there is no right or wrong ways. Our society is maturing, getting more like Hollywood, more glittering. Someday any attention seeker would be inventing hit/her own juicy stories to tell and to appear on the front pages of the media for that bit of fame.

3/13/2010

High quality debate in Parliament

The Speaker of Parliament, Abdullah Tarmugi, thanked the MPs and Ministers for their high quality contributions and debate in the House. He said it was the best session he had seen in his 26 years in Parliament. Chua Mui Hoong in her article in the ST this morning lamented that if the MPs and Ministers would just speak instead of reading from scripted pieces of papers, Parliament seatings will be that much more livelier and interesting. Our Parliament has been turned into an exercise of reading essays. The questions were written and submitted in advance for the Ministers to reply. They will then be read out in Parliament and the Ministers will then read out their replies. Was there any debate at all? Maybe thanks should also be given to the ghost writers for their contributions to the quality of the essays. I wonder how many of the essays read out in Parliament were written by the ghost writers. I think I can offer my ghost writing services too, with full confidentiality of course, at a small fee.

The lure of hot money and big funds

We welcome hot money and big funds into our market. In fact the mention of such items will send saliva dripping down the corners of our mouths. Hot money and big funds mean a lot of money to be made and a more vibrant economy. Why then are countries getting the shivers when there are too much hot money and big funds pouring in? Why then is IMF talking about change and applying more controls on such hot money and the activities of big funds? There are two sides of the coin. The hot money and big funds will benefit the developers and speculators in properties and in stocks. In the case of properties, they will buy up everything they could for profits of course. Who pays for their profits? Anyone loses out? When someone is making tons of money, someone else must be paying for it. The whole thing will spiral down to the little guys who will find the roof over their heads getting costlier and beyond their reach. The big guys will all be laughing to the banks and having their parties. In the case of stocks, the big funds are making millions and billions at the expense of the small guys. Yes 1 or 2 may make some money, but the big picture is a sorry state of affairs. Just like listing of foreign stocks, when they grabbed the money and run, leaving a shell for the local investors. The Stock Exchange may be happy earning the $600 clearing fee per trade and add a few millions to its bottom line. Contrast this to the billions of profits that the big funds are wiping from the market and sending the small investors to the laundry. The net sum gain or loss is frightening and negative to the country as a whole. Is it worth it? Earning a few penny and losing billions in the process? Would anyone bother to look at the big picture? Would a few privilege ones making a few millions be enough justification for the majority losing their billions? The hot money and big funds are here to make a quick buck from the locals, and leave the carnage behind when they depart. Maybe the IMF is crazy. Maybe those countries that shunned hot money and big funds are stupid. Maybe we are smarter

3/12/2010

Another China bashing article

China Business Mar 12, 2010 China lassoes its neighbors By Walden Bello Asia Times With the Doha Round of negotiations of the World Trade Organization in limbo, the heavy hitters of international trade have been engaged in a race to sew up trade agreements with smaller partners. China has been among the most aggressive in this game, a fact underlined on January 1, when the China-ASEAN Free-Trade Area (CAFTA) went into effect. Touted as the world's biggest free-trade area, CAFTA will bring together 1.7 million consumers with a combined gross domestic product of US$5.9 trillion and total trade of $1.3 trillion. Under the agreement, trade between China and Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore has become duty-free for more than 7,000 products. By 2015, the newer members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) - Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar - will join the zero-tariff arrangement. The propaganda mills, especially in Beijing, have been trumpeting the free-trade agreement as bringing "mutual benefits" to China and ASEAN. In contrast, there has been an absence of triumphal rhetoric from ASEAN. In 2002, the year the agreement was signed, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo hailed the emergence of a "formidable regional grouping" that would rival the United States and the European Union. ASEAN's leaders, it seems, have probably begun to realize the consequences of what they agreed to: that in this FTA, most of the advantages will probably flow to China.... The above are the opening paras of Walden's article. The writer took the position that the Asean leaders were all dummies and did not know what they were going into, and the peasant Chinamen were first class conmen. I think the Chinamen cannot beat the conmen that caused the SWFs to lose hundreds of billions within a few months. Those, in my view, were either real first class conmen or the victims were really dumb asses. If one were to remember the early years when the empires put a gun at the heads of native headmen and forced them to sign away their countries and national wealth, perfectly fair deals. Today all the trade agreements signed between China and any country, no matter how small, were negotiated by the countries best brains on a willing buyer willing seller basis. No guns on their heads for sure. The western propaganda machine is still in full swin to attack and discredit China in all ways, but how many would believe in them today?

Looking at Parliament

Yesterday's In Parliament was showing quite a full house, maybe 50 MPs were present. Not bad attendance when they are only paid an allowance. Over the last few sessions what impresses me most is the slate of our Malay MPs. I think there are a few doctors and several doctorates. Impressive. But what is more impressive is the way they present themselves, very professional, articulate and cool. The Malays need not look any further to find the role model for modern and sophisticated and well educated Malays. Just look at the who's who in Parliament. No need to wear head gears of robes to look like Arabs. The Singaporean Malays have progressed in leaps and bounds and they look very very different from our neighbouring Malays. They are world's apart. They don't remind you of village chiefs and the days of Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat anymore. So too are our Indian and Chinese descendants of indentured labours and coolies. They all, including the Malays, look more like the English aristocrats and gentries, and a bit of American Hollywood. Suave and very international. But once in a while, when irritated, a little of the crudeness of their forefathers still resurfaced. Maybe in another generation all the traits of humble origins would no longer be there. CNA should have longer takes of In Parliament and beamed it across Asia. Maybe the Arabs, the Indians and the Chinese will all look towards their Singaporean counterparts as the role model of the future, successful and smart looking. And so will the rest of Asia. The Singaporeans will set the trend for others to follow instead of following and imitating others. The Singaporean Style!

Who the f@#% does he think he is?

CPF Life will be compulsory for those with $60k in their retirement accounts at the age of 65. They missed them when they got the bulk of their money out at 55. Now the net closes in and they are going for those who slipped out to be caught again at 65. Who does he think he is? It is the people's money. Don't touch, you have no right to confiscate the people's money at your whims and fancy. You are no god, boy. 'Such was the level of interest in CPF Life that it was opened up last Sept to Singaporeeans and permanent residents aged 55 and older. Since then, some 37,000 people have signed up, committing a total of $1.7 billion.' Why such a great and popular scheme only had 37,000 members? If it is so great, people will all be rushing into it. And why the need for compulsion? Is the govt so short of fund that it has to resort to locking up the people's money in all kinds of scheme? Boon Wan is waiting to transfer more money into Medisave. The people who are not happy with a govt that thinks it can do anything with their money must vote for the return of their money in the next GE. They must assert their rights to their own money and tell whichever joker to lay his hands off their money. I will definitely vote for the right to my money.

A system of crooks

Jonathan Weil wrote an article for Bloomberg in New York and is reposted in mypaper today. His main gist is that the robber bankers are blaming short selling for the ruins in the financial system and banks under their charge. Actually he said it is more than just short selling. He added, 'Neither short sellers nor rumours spread by speculators were to blame for any of these companies' collapses. Bogus balance sheets and incompetent regulators were, along with the panic that ensued once investors decided that they couldn't deny the reality any longer.' I want to add that it is the whole financial and trading systems developed by the geniuses trained by the best American Unis that is at fault. The Americans are awared now that derivatives is a deadly instrument and must be curbed. The SEC Chairman is asking for more measures to control derivative tradings and undisclosed deals. Her feelings are echoed in the big cities of Europe. Derivative tradings, short sellings, programme tradings, big fund and big muscles, are all part of a flawed system that is out there to cheat the small investors. And with regulators closing an eye, deregulations, or becoming participants to the scam, indulging in dark trades and providing a system that facilitates the big funds to rob the small investors, what can one expect? The financial crisis is only the tip of an iceberg and an early warning. The collapse of the world financial system is imminent if nothing is done to stop the robbers from what they are doing. Just ask, who is running all these banking and financial institutions into ruins, turning them into a big casino and con game? The Americans are pulling the rug from the feet of the robbers. But the silly Asian bourses are still dancing to the tune as if nothing has happened and nothing will happen. The derivatives and default swap deals and dark deals may be banned from the US and maybe Europe soon. But they will be welcomed blindly by their Asian counterparts. And the crooks will be welcomed with open arms to do what they were doing best in Asia, once they are banned from the US and Europe. Actually their tentacles are already in Asia and robber the investors of every penny they got left.

3/11/2010

Indian graduate school as good as American's best

Singaporeans not good enough: Temasek offered 110k – 130k USD per annum to fresh Indian IIM-B graduates All 270 students from the 2010 batch of the post-graduate programme (PGP) of the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM-B) have been placed in just five days since the opening of the process. IIM-B also claims to have completed the final placements ahead of all other IIMs.As many as 120 reputable firms from and outside the country – from both the traditional and emerging sectors like healthcare and energy – visited the institute during the placement period.Fifteen new companies took part in the placements this year, recording a 41 per cent increase from last year.Prominent among the new entrants were: AT Kearney, Alvarez & Marsal, Bain & Co, Booz & Co, Diamond Consulting, Nomura and Temasek Holdings.Nomura is reported to have made the highest offer of Rs80 lakh per annum for the role of vice president finance in an international location. Temasek Holdings offered Rs50-60 lakh per annum. The students have accepted as many as 15 international offers from companies including Nomura, Temasek, P&G, Enzen, Arvin Meritor and UAE Exchange. About 45 women in the batch accepted offers in sectors, like investment banking, consulting and PE. In the lateral placements held for students with two years of work experience, 30 companies made recruitments. A total of 66 offers were received by the students in lateral placement as compared to 50 offers last year. The above article was copied from Transitioning.org. I am pleasantly surprised to see an Asian graduate school commanding such high respect from around the world. Good for India. Singaporean post grad students should enrol in the school instead of American Univ or our local Univ. Then they can be courted and be paid better salaries than our local post grads. I just hope it is not another case of unthinking blind followers following the crowd like queueing for MacDonald toys.

Meet Yotaro, the hottest baby in town

Yotaro has blue eyes, cute cheeks, cuddly, can smile, cry, throw tantrums, everything a baby can do. It is going to be the latest craze and will be selling like hot cakes. The Japanese has developed this Robobaby to train parents in parenting and how to take care of babies. The best part about this toy is that it can be switched off when the owners got tired of it. This is the greatest advantage over a real baby. And it will never grow up and does not have the problems, sickness and troubles that real babies will bring. I think this product will be a must have, just like internet baby craze where two young parents neglected their own baby to feed and look after an internet baby. Move aside, real babies. You are not needed nor wanted any more. What is this world turning into? Real babies nobody wants. Instead they will buy cute Robobabies, toys, dogs and pets as subsitutes to be showered with love and tender loving care.

To talk or not to talk

Following the revelation of Pastor Rony Tan in his Youtube testimony I posted this thread in redbeanforum.com and mysingaporenews. A hearty discussion followed but subsequently stopped when the defenders of Rony heeded his call and disengaged. The sensitive issue of race and religion was raised by Vivian Balakrishnan in Parliament and the question is always about drawing the line to prevent any discussion from getting overheated. Two articles in the ST Editorial today continued with this debate calling for more public discussion instead of just leaving everything to the religious council to deal with behind closed doors. Could the public handle such discussion sensibly and rationally? Did we? There was some heat as many were emotionally and spiritually attached and empowered to defend their positions against those who would also have very strong feelings about the subject. I think we had done well to keep the discussion under control. Maybe if Rony had not restrained his followers, things may get more heady. This brings us back to the same question, are we mature enough, sensible enough, to talk about such issues publicly? Or we should pretend that there is no problem or just sweep the problems under the carpet and forever live in blind ignorance, or never grow up? This is the 21st Century of enlightenment or are we still in the Dark Ages?

3/10/2010

Faces of Chingay 2010

These are a few of the photos I took with my friends at the Chingay 2010.

Day of reckoning

In 50 years or 30 years time, if you are still alive, many Singaporeans will start to cry. Because in that time frame, many of the HDB properties will have less than 50 years of lease left. And some may have lesser. And the million dollar properties will not be worth a million anymore, and may not even be worth half of it. That is the reality when the day of reckoning comes. There is no running away from it. Today, many are trying to make hay while the sun shines. Profit can be made by short term flipping. In the long term, the HDB properties are going to worth nothing. Yes, $0! Don’t be mad to plough in your millions. At $500k, with interest of 30 years, it is going to cost $1m for nothing at the end of the story. And this applies to all 99 year leasehold properties. The $1m condo is going to cost $2m and will come to nothing too. It cannot keep going up. It must come down to ground zero! Only freehold or 999 years properties will retain their values.

Year 2010 - Sayanging the footballers

We were supposed to be in the finals of the World Cup this year. I read that the coach is going to submit a nasty report on the behaviour and discipline of our professional players who were booted out of the Asian Cup in Amman. Aren't they playing the in World Cup Final? Maybe that's the reason why they felt so disheartened and depressed. The coach should forgive them, for oversleeping, for smoking, for not attending training sessions. He forgot to sayang them I think. And he thought that they were too big for their shoes! What's happening? These are our first class talents, our Dream Team for the World Cup.

Buffer stock for HDB

Today's ST editorial suggested that HDB build a buffer stock to meet contigency demands of flat buyers. I hope no one is going to reply that once there was a 30,000 stock of unsold flats and very costly. And I hope that no one would comment that last year they sold so few flats and sufferred a deficit of $2b, so if sell more and build buffer stocks, the deficit will be even greater. The idea of a small buffer stock is elementary, and no one needs to teach super talents about this. It is only whether there is an intent to want to do it. Who doesn't know that having a small surplus will shorten the waiting time and become very handy and expedient for those who need flats urgently? Like I said earlier, there are many things that can be done to help the people who need flats urgently. The current system is shitty at best.

The disappearing Act

I wonder how many of you watch the clips on Parliament shown on TV. I have a hard time trying to spot my favourite MPs as it flashed quite rapidly and often only showed a small section of the floor. It is very rare that one has the chance to see the whole house and all the MPs. And also, on a daily basis, the same few faces would appear again and again What happens to those that don't appear at all? There are some MPs that appear to be on perpetual leave, or the camera just refused to look at them. Blame it on the camera man huh.

Another silly article to ridicule China

There is another China bashing article in mypaper today by a Ben Blanchard. He asserted that China's military might is only good on paper and questioned whether they are real or can work. He suggested that most of them would not work especially the missile system but then contradicted himself by quoting how China shot down its own dysfunctional satellite in space. And he laughed at how China handled the Sichuan earthquake as bad in joint operations. He forgot to compare it with how well the Americans handled the Katrina flood. A piece of exemplary joint operations! And he boasted about the US being battled hardened and experienced as they were engaged in two massive military operations in Iraq aand Afghanistan while China had not been in full battle for three decades. The last time was, he claimed, a bloodied nose from Vietnam. He forgot that the Vietnamese drove the mighty and experienced Americans out of their country while the Chinese drove them back from their borders to Hanoi. Who got bashed? To be sure China is still far off in comparative strength from the Americans. And he questioned China's ability to threaten the Americans. But that is not the intent of China. China does not seek to threaten the US. Only the US seeks to threaten everyone, including China, and use war as a means to seek control and supremacy over other nations. What China seeks is simply to deter the aggressive intent of the Americans and to ensure that should any war breaks out between the two, there will be many American boys and girls going home in black plastic bags. Yes, a full blown war will see the US blowing China into pieces a 100 times over. But China needs only to blow the US into pieces, one time over. That is good enough. China had fought the US before, and triumphed. They drove the US soldiers from the Yalu River to the 38th parallel with outdated rifles while the Americans were using air power and heavy weapons. China need not have the same high tech and leading edge weapons to defeat the US in a conventional war. It has proven it could do it, in Korea and in a proxy war in Vietnam. Would the US dare to take on China believing that China's military is all paper only?

Khaw Boon Wan is a good man

Khaw Boon Wan acknowledged in Parliament that the Medisave is our money. And he is there to guard and protect our money. I say very good. Just guard the money and make sure it is safe. But don't have any more designs to take more money from the people to guard. It is too huge a sum and too big a responsibility. Don't ask for more. there is enough money for him to guard already. We are talking about hundreds of billions of dollars in prison. Also, good man don't keep thinking of taking other people's money without their consent, and to keep it away from the people till death do they part.

3/09/2010

Cost of living in Cloud Nine

Temasek Review, TOC and several blogs have reported that the budget provided for a 8.8% increase in ministerial salary. The hint is that this is outrageous given that the workers are being asked to be cheaper, better and faster. Superficial impression will make many to agree with such a perception. How could the ministers still be thinking of raising their sky high salaries? Then think again. The workers need not have to have any salary increases, or the increases need not be too high as property prices, I mean public housing, are very affordable. Compare to the prices of private properties, each costing $5m to $10m, it is tough to buy such properties. And 8.8% increase of a $1m salary is only $88k, $2m salary is $196k and $3m salary is only $264k. It will take several years of savings to buy a private property with this kind of small increases. It is thus unfair to frown upon the 8.8% increases as we cannot compare apple with oranges. The cost of living in high society is very high. Properties are expensive and so are luxury cars and overseas holidays. Even the meals are costing that much more. I can't remember how much it cost for cooking class in France. The increases should be comparable with the increases in the cost of living and property prices in the stratosphere. Only then will it be fair. It will be more appropriate to provide for a bigger raise in order to minimise their hardship. Without a pay hike, life can be very tough with a $1m or $2m or even a $3m income. The people should not complain and should count their blessings. At least they need not have to keep on worrying about where and how to get those millions to pay for the high cost of living.

Myth 218 – The market forces determine the prices of public housing

Who believes in this shit? Can repeatedly telling this will make it another fictional truth like affordability? Who controls the supply of land sales? Who controls the minimum price of land sales through reserved price? If not equal or above the reserved price, don’t sell. Who controls the building of public housing, how many, when, where and sizes, ie the supply? Who sets or determines the price of public housing? No, sorry, it is the market that determines the price of HDB built flats. Just like the Pinnacles, the market or buyers decided to pay $200k more for the same flats in the same estate. It is all due to the magical market forces. Adabracadabra…., Ladies and gentlemen, the price of public housing is...., according to market forces....

Has PAP lost Tampines?

Did he break? No, he didn't. Yes he did. Watching Mah Bow Tan defending his housing policy in Parliament, this question kept popping up. Under the spotlight, subject to criticisms from many quarters, he stood tall in Parliament, telling the house that his policy is the best, his BTO scheme is the best, his land sale system is the best, and there are enough supply of flats for everyone. He also dismissed all the complaints as myths. It seems that the whole wide world is telling myths and he is telling the truth. He forgot to smile to the camera last night. Public housing has been the strongest pillar of support for the PAP. The people were happily housed in affordable and good quality housing. Why is it that there are so many people crying and complaining about the housing policy today? No, no one is complaining. The complainants are making a mountain out of a mole hill. There are plenty of public housing available. There are also enough supply of private housing, if you have the money. There are two possibilities. The complaints are genuine and the complaints are false. If Mah Bow Tan is right, then the complaints are mere noises and nothing to worry about. If the complaints are genuine, they may have already lost Tampines GRC before the election is called. How could the PAP lead if it refuses to listen? There are public outcries and it is turning on a deaf ear. Can PAP rely on the motto of a deaf frog to lead the people? The deaf frog could reach the top of the mountain, but alone. His team mates could have left him long ago. Or they could be trembling and shivering in their pants or skirts while watching the gungho deaf frog charging fearlessly up the mountain, alone. Maybe this is a new kind of leadership, the leadership of a deaf frog.

3/08/2010

A little window dressing not going to work

The few changes in housing policy are not going to make any difference. The target of 30% of the buyers household income is fixed and viewed as affordable and reasonable to take. No need to bother about cost of construction, no need to bother about the risk that the buyers will be exposed to. In such cases, the bigger the income the bigger the stone mill hanging on the neck. And when a crisis comes, the bigger the income/stone mill, the bigger the losses and pain. We have got through that many times. Preventing people from buying what the people think is affordable to them, and dictating what is affordable to the people is another mean policy like the mean testing in hospital admissions. The govt decides on what the people should spend as reasonable and affordable. The people cannot decide what is prudent for themselves. And like the deaf frog, no need to listen, just move on, bring it higher for the good of the people.

Gopalan Nair can be arrested

Gopalan Nair wrote an article yesterday claiming that LKY sufferred a massive heart attack and was warded in SGH. He also posted about demonstrations which gave the impression of civil unrest in the island. He has admitted today that it was a hoax created by him. Gopalan should not play with such rumours as it can get many people killed. Just imagine if his article comes out this morning and the stock market reacted negatively to it with fearful investors unloading and causing many to lose their little fortunes in the market? It is utterly irresponsibile for Gopalan to post such vicious rumours in the net. It only destroy the credibility of himself and other bloggers. I hope no bloggers will think this is funny and exciting and follow what he did. Be responsible and post rationally. Do not stoop to spreading vicious rumours.

Myth 217 - Govt that listens to the people is good

This statement is now a myth. Good govt does not need to listen to the people. This is especially true when the govt is manned by the country's top talents and knows best what is good for the people. The high price housing policy is an excellent example of a govt that does not need to listen to the people. It is very sure that the policy is right and the best. So, despite the people's cry that public housing is unaffordable, the govt just insists that it is affordable, and moves on. In the long run, the people will learn to appreciate this high price public housing policy. And the wisdom of a govt not listening to the untalented people and just do what is right is best encripted in the story of the deaf frog that climbed to the top of the mountain. No one asks why the frog would want to go to the top of the mountain when it is more comfortable in the ponds below the mountain. Deaf frog or undeaf frog, I will vote for a frog or a donkey that listens to the people than a deaf frog that is too smart and not willing to listen to the people. For those who want to vote for deaf frogs, this is democracy and they are free to do so.

3/07/2010

Sunday, March 07, 2010 Temasek's recruiting spree at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IMM-C). This article is posted in Singapore News Alternative. And there is another article there by Seah Chiang Nee, More Grads join jobless queue, published in The Star. Putting the two articles side by side, what can one make out of it?

The badge of pride and pedigree

The princelings of China are emerging everywhere, and very successful. Their pedigree background is a badge of honour and also a badge to a smoother path to material success. It gives hint to an age old culture when princes and royal ties were equated with power and status. This is a big contrast to the days of communism when poverty and peasant background were brandished as a badge, as a true red communist. And in the days of the flower people of the 60s, rich kids rejected their affluent trappings to smoke pots and donned filthy and tattered clothes, living in the parks, as the way of life. Rejection of society and wealth was the in thing. Scions of the rich left their homes and families to look poor and smelly. This reminds me of a confrontation between the Soviet leader Khruschev and China's Zhou En Lai. Khruschev came from humble and peasant background and was very proud of it. His badge of pride and pedigree. Zhou En Lai's background was from the gentry and landlord class. And both became communist leaders. Khruschev used to sneer at Zhou En Lai for his rich background and proclaimed to everyone that his was of poverty and peasantry. We were both communist, but from different classes. Zhou En Lai agreed, yes we were both communist, I was rich and you were poor. And we have both betrayed our class. And they toasted to that.

3/06/2010

High pay who pays

The Diary of a Singaporean Mind has a pretty meaty article on the issue of high pay by the bank robbers in America and did a little correlations with the high pay in the Singapore context. I quoted a small extract of his quote: Kenneth Feinberg[Link] is Obama's "pay czar". After the US govt bailed out major banks, Fienberg was appointed to make sure bankers don't go back to their old bad habits of paying themselves tens of millions given the outrage among the general public for the bailout. Yesterday Fienberg appeared on CNBC because Maria Bartiromo was doing a segment on Wells Fargo executives wanting to double their own pay. Because Wells Fargo had already returned the TARP money, Feinberg has no juristriction over them and can't do anything about it - all he could do was give his opinion on the matter. This was what he said. Very often bankers would come to him to authorise fat bonuses or pay hikes saying that the executive is "especially talented" or he might be poached up by a foreign bank. He would ask for proof this "talent" and in every single case he found the person replaceable without loss to the company. It was mostly, in his own words,"spin" - bankers over the years have been very creative at manufacturing justifications for their high salaries even as they were about to cause a lot of economic pain to the rest of the population through their careless lending. Buffett asked why the CEO pay has gone from 50 times the lowest paid worker in the company in the 1950s to 500 then to 5000 times - is the CEO today 100 times more productive today? Not possible. The low down people must never ignore this issue of high pay. It comes from everyone's pocket. The banks are not paying the bankers. It is the ordinary folks. The high pay checks of the banks must come from more profits and this will be squeezed all the way down to the people in the street who thought they have nothing to do with it. But they do. Everything will be more costly, services and goods, to keep the robbers fed. Banks cannot feed the robbers with 1 or 2% interest rates. They must schemed all kinds of toxic instruments to muster enough money to pay themselves. At the worst, they will cook the books, hide the losses until it cannot be hidden anymore. It is so easy to churn the books from loss making to profit making, like Greeece. And oh, most of the major banks were in the same boat. That's how they got busted and needed public fund to write off their debts. The immediate turnaround to profitability in the hundreds of billions is fiction. Something fishy must be going on inside those bank books.

What if HDB bungled?

According to Mah Bow Tan, the following are myths. 1. There are not enough HDB flats to meet demand 2. HDB flats are unaffordable 3. PRs push prices 4. Private property owners push up prices 5. Subletting of HDB flats is rampant. The above are reported in the ST today. And he gave his reasons to dismiss them as myths. So I will add them into my column as myths of Singapore. The following facts are either quoted from official sources or are well knowned, or maybe perceived wrongly. 1. In 2008, there were 79,200 new PRs and 20,500 new citizens. 2. In 2009, the numbers were 59,500 and 19,900 respectively. 3. Our population has increased by more than a millionn in the last decade. 4. Property prices are shooting to the sky with HDB flats tripling their values in less than the recent 10 years. 5. Mah Bow Tan said he was caught by surprise of the strong demand in properties. 6. HDB is scurrying to build more flats with 13,500 last year and another 12,000 this year. All these will take another 3 or 4 years to be ready. How many flats did HDB built in the last 5 years? Has HDB bungled in the supply and demand of public housing for the people in the last 10 years? I think the official answer is no. Then why the unhappiness especially among young and new home owners? Myth? During the tight supply of flats and surging demand caused by high population growth, have there been young people who failed to get their flats over these years and were booted out of the public housing system because their combined income went past the $8,000 ceiling imposed by HDB? If there are, is it their fault or HDB's fault? These young people are now caught in a dilemma, disqualified from HDB and not rich enough to pay for private properties. So how? Would they be pissed off with the HDB and the govt? The answer will come in the next General Election if their housing needs are not solved by then. Maybe their needs are just a myth and all will still be voting happily for the PAP. Maybe not. Only the result will tell the true story. In the meantime Mah Bow Tan can stick to his position and fight his election in Tampines, and win.

3/05/2010

The tragedy of being old and lazy

It is a tragedy to become old and lazy in paradise. When one is old is already bad. Old and lazy!...tsk. tsk. In the past, being old, one can look forward to a well earned retirement. Today, one cannot afford to grow old and retire. One needs to work till death. And if one is old and lazy some more, no one is going to help you. Wake up lazy Singaporeans. But for those who cannot grow old, then it is a different story. They can continue to dismiss the old Singaporeans, especially the old and lazy ones, as useless rubbish. Can anyone recommend me on how to stay young forever?

America tightening the ropes on credit card robbery

The Fed is proposing to limit the excessive late fees imposed by credit card companies on their card holders. An example of the change is that 'a person cannot be made to pay more than the sum he is owing for late fees. So if one is owing $20, the card company cannot charge the bugger for $60 as late fee. Holycow, I thought this is only a decent thing to do. You mean they have been allowing such robbery to go on for so long and just work up to it? And there are several other commonsensical changes to limit the credit card companies from robbing their cardholders, like suka suka imposing higher interest rate, or the number of days that the payment was late before penalty can be imposed. But regulators complained that the Fed forget to lower the absurdly high interest rate of 2% monthly, which is quite similar to what loan sharks are charging. But I think the Fed's hands are tied. The bankers and credit card companies need the huge interest and profits to pay themselves billions in bonuses, and this must come from somewhere. Talking about robbers, I was robbed by a local bank of several hundred dollars in a dormant account which I had forgotten because of the $2 monthly fee charge for anything less than $1,500 left in the account. Some people are reviving this complain, that people's bank must also take care of the small people. But the message is that if you cannot have $1,500 in your account, please don't 'kar chow' the big banks. They got no time for small people. And since we are the admirers and blind followers of the American system and anything American is good, would the credit card changes in America be followed here?

The great market forces at work in Sengkang

The Sengkang executive condo site was awarded to the top bidder at $315 psf. And the likely selling price will be over $650 psf. So no one should complain about the high sale price. It is all determined in an open and fairly bidded exercise. And the price final price will be determined by the highest bidder. Oops, no, by market forces. No one shall be blamed for the surging prices for public flats even if the developer bid it to $1000 psf. It is just market forces. Demand and supply. What kind of demand is there on limited land available? Last year, there were 59,500 new PRs and 19,900 new citizens. How are these numbers to be translated into demand for housing? Beats me. Very difficult to compute or guess. Even the professionals would not know.

3/04/2010

Are the grievances real?

There seems to be a lot of criticisms against the govt policies, and people felt that they are disadvantaged. How true are these? Are they just noises from a small unhappy minorities or are they genuine? Read the main media everything seems so rosy and good. Everyone seems to be very happy making their millions, buying expensive cars, going for holidays, and still jamming up at property launches. I think the PAP has nothing to fear. Grousing and kpkb by small groups of unhappy people will not be enough to swing the votes against them. They will still ride to power with comfortable majority.