Asean's invitation of the US to play a bigger role in the region is like inviting a wolf into a sheep pen. The US is notorious for warmongering. In fact it thrives on wars. It depends on wars to survive, to keep its weapons industry going, its huge military forces and weapons useful. Starting wars and propagating wars is the US way to sustain its economy and keep itself relevant. Wherever the Americans are, there will be wars. The latest casualty is Pakistan. It had many years of peace without the US. The moment Musharraff went dining with George Bush, the country was plunged into warfare. And it is still at war. The other notables are Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran and Korea will be next. And to keep an incessant series of wars in the pipeline, it is sowing seeds in the Asean region, encouraging the Asean states to stand up to China with their backings. The Filipinos used to do that by arresting or harrassing Chinese fishing boats. Of course they knew that they had the Americans behind them to pull the whiskers of a sleeping dragon. Would Asean be thrown into a state of turmoil and warfare? Will Southeast Asia be no longer a zone of peace, freedom and neutrality? We will have to see how silly the Asean leaders are and the consequences of playing with fire.
There is no doubt who is in charge in Singapore. Whatever the ministers are doing, there seems to be tacit approval before they could be passed as govt policies, except for trivial policies and issues. And when things get rough, LKY is there, the real goalkeeper. He is the final stage of defense and will not let anything go pass him. With his declaration that there should be no retirement age, no retirement, work till death do us part, LKY has announced his return to politics and govt. It is very likely that he will run for Tanjong Pagar in the next GE. I see this as a good sign. We never have anyone that is near his calibre after all the years of scrapping the bottom of the barrel and paying multi million dollar salaries. LKY is still the man that everyone looks up to, locally and internationally. And he is everywhere today, a little slower but not his grey matter. He could talk his way out against the best minds anywhere. He is still sorely needed to run the country and keep things in order. Let's return LKY to power and resume his rightful position as the PM of Singapore in the next GE.
This is the headline in Today paper. It reported that 95% of 4 and 5 rm flats in two BTO projects in Bukit Panjang and Jurong West will be set aside for first timers. So, should first timers be happy? What about those first timers that have been kicked out of the HDB queue and no longer eligible because of the low building rate in the last few years? Many young professional couples would have breached the salary ceiling after 2 or 3 years of work and if they did not get the flat in time, if they found a partner late, they will no longer be able to buy HDB flats even if they are first timers. And their plight is that they will be forced to pay through their noses for private properties. It is like hanging a huge debt on them just when they are starting a new life. It is a very cruel situation for young people to be forced to take up huge housing loans because of mismanagement in public housing policies, or is it an imbalance in supply and demand? And they have to pay the price for the imbalance. Where is the good news to this group of first timers? The media shall do a survey on how many young couples have been forced out of the system and put out a story on this. With housing prices shooting to the sky, every Singaporeans must be eligible to buy a HDB flat. They have served their time in NS, and are expected to fight to defend this country. Why should they be deprived of a public housing flat when new citizens who have not done any contributions to the country, no NS, are eligible to buy public housing?
The new mantra, to work for as long as one is able, no retirement age, will take the Singapore employment scene by storm, that is, if it is implemented. And this is very likely so as the advocate is none other than LKY himself. What does this simple change in employment policy means? Colossal! We will have more ancients staying in politics and govt till the end of time. Legislation will have to be changed. CPF will be obsolete. Lifestyle will change as 60 will now be the prime of one’s life and 20 to 30 years more to go. The young managers, in their 30s and 40s will have to make way or wait long long. The oldies will be making a comeback. And we may not need a 6.5 million population after all. If everyone is employable and working, the workforce will not shrink so dramatically. And it really makes sense to our 25 to 30 year education system. Such a long education will be a complete waste of resources if the graduants only can work for 20 or 30 years. Now, with no retirement age, the productive years could be extended to 50 or 60 years. I am all for it. Anyone want to employ me? Can take another 30 year mortgage! Wow, HDB flats repayable in 60 years, … cheap, cheap, cheap.
'WE got first class ministers and Govt, but still got third class citizens'. By Jack Lin The above quote posted by a YPAP activist in the PAP Facebook is incurring the wrath of netizens and PAP leaders are coming out to contain the damage. Jack Lin too has came out to apologise and explain what he actually meant and not to insult Singaporeans. My view is that Jack Lin, like all netizens, should be free to express his views. We all have strong views of things, positive and negative. It is a freedom of expression and people can agree or disagree with him. Jack Lin and his comrades can then defend their position and eventually a common ground would be reached and both sides will understand each other better. What's wrong with a personal view like this? Netizens took offend in the sense that the view could be a reflection of the party or the likes of what future PAP leaders will be. The party can easily come out, like it did now, to say that it is just an individual's viewpoint. Period. It is a healthy discourse which naturally has opposing views. As long as everyone is sensible, keep it to the topic and not resort to name calling or suing, I would say, let the debate continues. And Jack Lin should be free to say what he wants to say. In fact everyone should be free to express his views, logically and coherently of course. We cannot keep people's views, especially genuine and sincere ones, under the lid. It would be hypocrisy.
When faced with American provocation and drum beating to raise tension in the Korean Peninsula, China did the right thing by telling the provocateurs to get lost. What China did was to conduct its own war exercises in its coastal waters. And by so doing, it activated the live firing zones in the Yellow Sea. So live rounds would be fired and if American and South Korean ships strayed into the area, it would be at their own risk. And the risk would include the surrounding area as the soldiers could misfire or fire at the wrong place or wrong target. The Americans knew that China meant business when protecting its own territorial waters is concerned and quietly move their war mongering to the sea between Japan and North Korea. North Korea should do the same, start its own wargames and activate the sea as a live firing zone. Then stray bullets and missiles can hit wrong target accidentally. That should keep the warmongering nations at bay and to think twice. North Korea is not Iraq and the Americans could only second guess how far their missiles can go. The west coast states of America should not be a problem.
I have this enlightening theory about trading stocks. Ok, it is not new. Sell stocks of mature companies and industries. These are old and have very little growth potential. Buy into growth stocks in emerging markets and industries. Such stocks have very high potential for exponential growth. Ok, there are some risks involved. Out of 100 maybe 90 will fail or fold up. But the 10 or so stocks or companies will make enough to cover for all the losses. This simple theory can be applied to buying and selling companies as well. For example old mature companies like banks, SIA, Keppel, Sembawang Corp, SPH etc etc, are all too old and ripe. Not much growth potential. Take profit and sell them away. Use the cash to buy new growth companies, companies in emerging economies or growth industries. If one hits a good one, like Apple, never mind losing the rest. Oh, just a word of caution. When applying this strategy, make sure that it is not your own money that is put at risk. The best way is to set up a fund, use other people’s money. At the worst, if the theory does not work, just fold up the company and start another new one.
We don't have enough land, above and below, to build longkangs to prevent floods. Our land are about the most expensive assets in the world. We need them to generate wealth than to collect rain water. We may not have land for longkangs, but sure we have plenty of lands to build prime properties for big profits. And sure we have plenty of land to take in another 5 million people. The main consideration is to squeeze as much value as we can from the plentiful or limited land, depending on how one wants to view it, so that the developers can laugh all the way to the banks. A little flooding is acceptable. That we can live with, but no land shall be wasted. It is all about economics and maximisation of returns. I hope no property developers reading this seriously think that they can build properties without having to build longkangs. Shouldn't the two be part and parcel of developing infrastructure? The more buildings and structures are built, the more people living on them, the need to have more longkangs and sewerage pipes. Economics and profits may be important, but the longkangs are complimentary to the existence of all the infrastructure and cannot be dispensed with. You can have your buildings, but you must built a network of longkangs to make the place liveable. Like they say, you can't have your cake and eat it as well.
How many people really believe that Singaporeans are ignorant? I don’t believe a wee bit that Singaporeans are ignorant at all. Singaporeans know exactly what is happening around them. Even the non graduate talents like Jack Neo and Mark Lee are as street smart as the university graduates. And they too know what to say and what not to say, what can be joked and what cannot be joked. The reason why Singaporeans are reticent and appear stupid or ignorant to some is that many are perfecting the art of Tao, the art of doing nothing and all will be done in due course. Yes, when the boat nears the bridge it will straighten itself. In a way Singaporeans are quite like the Thais. The Thais are known to be overtly loyal and obedient to their revered king. But time is near, and they are talking. Even Ahbisit told the military and the King to stay out of politics. And many Thais are saying, quietly in private, and now openly, calling for a change in the political system, without the King and the military’s meddling. Who knows how long will the Thais continue to revere their King and how long will the monarchy last? The Singaporeans are as ignorant as the Thais. Oh, I am not saying that the Thais are ignorant. The word ignorance has a different definition and meaning in a different context and time. So, how many people believe that Singaporeans are ignorant?
In paradise this is the easiest thing to do. There are many problems and there are no problems. Does anyone hear about problems of high insurance premiums? Does anyone hear any complaints about the 40% hike in public transport fares? Does anyone hear anything about CPF, CPF Life, Medisave, minimum sum schemes that turn your money into fixed assets that cannot be moved? The extraordinary rain and extraordinary floods are just acts of god. And the mess in public housing demand and supply is only an imbalance, maybe also an act of god. The trick about willing the problems away is not to talk about it, not to report in the media. Then quietly the problems will disappear. This is Singaporean ingenuity.
'Singapore's inflation is likely to accelerate and policymakers should stay vigilant on the outlook for growth and prices, which may require the "further calibration" of monetary policy, the IMF said....' This is quoted from a front page article in mypaper today. When I read this statement the only thing that came to my mind is that the IMF is talking nonsense again. Where got inflation here. If there is any inflation, it is good inflation. These people from nowhere think they know better than the locals. A 5 rm flat may cost $30k 35 years ago and $600k today. But this is not inflation. It just so happen that Singaporeans have too much money and savings and don't mind spending that kind of money. And what's wrong with it when they can brag about how expensive and asset rich they are now? And then there are foreigners who are willing to pay more for the public housing flats. This is proof that the properties are worth every cent they paid for. It is not inflation and there is no inflation. How could there be inflation when the annual inflation rate is 3 to 5% or even lesser?
I won’t say that to Wally. You see, Wally thought he was smart and had a good deal when an FT bought his 3 rm flat for a fortune. Yes, it was a fortune for Wally to build a palace in LiJiang. The palace is up and Wally the emperor is enjoying his life there. But little did Wally know that the FT, if they are worthy to the name FT, must know something more, or is smarter than the locals. And the FT has proven to be right. The ridiculous price that he paid Wally was not ridiculous anymore. The price of HDB resale flat is going up and up and the FT is going to make a fortune. Wally thought he had a good deal. But the FT is having a betterer deal. All he needs to do now is to sit on this little gold mine and see his fortune grow by the day. Wally must be regretting now. I almost sold my little flat too to join Wally. On hindsight, I can now celebrate for procrastinating to sell my flat. If the FT is right, another 30 years I may be able to buy 5 palaces in Lijiang instead of one today. And if I wait longer, another 30 years, I wonder how many more palaces I could buy. So I am just going to feel good about my little HDB flat and my good fortune. Its price is going to go up and up. And I can keep smiling and smiling as the media keep a good daily update of how expensive my little HDB is getting. Oops, I mean how worthy I am by the day with my HDB flat appreciating in value in an unstoppable manner, and more FTs and those citizens that were squeezed out of the HDB queue came knocking to offer me more. The COV is enough to see me retiring, smiling into the twilight. To borrow a phrase from Wally, I am waiting for the next sucker that is going to pay me more for my HDB flat?
I shouldn't be asking this question as the answer is obvious. Someone's slip and well, it was just a slip. Maybe it is not a slip, just an insurmountable act of god. The insurance premiums for the shops and houses are going up. And the insurers, would they be content with just those affected by the floods? For safety measures, they will apply the new premiums to as many insurees as possible. I am not suggesting that more bonuses could also be bundled into the premiums. The building owners too will have to upgrade their structures and services and all the cost will go the way of the tenants as well. The shopkeeper will know what to do. They are not going to bear the cost for sure. The price of their goods and services are going to go up. Not sure how the owner occupied properties are going to spread the cost or pass the buck. In general, all the consumers will have to pay for this act of god that no human feats can overcome. And some silly buggers are comparing how lucky we are by looking at China and other countries. For one, their wrath of nature is many times for formidable than ours. Our rainfall is like a tropical thunderstorm. Yes it is a tropical thunderstorm that we have lived with for many generations. What is all this nonsense about typhoons being in the picture? And for a little piece of rock and we can't deal with it? Nevermind, just bear with it and with the higher cost coming our way. Maybe we need to import more super talented FTs to help us. Just make sure they don't recommend that when it is going to flood, move to higher grounds.
It is heartening for Asean to ignore the American pressure to impose sanctions against the North Koreans on a drum up charge by a kangaroo court that the North sank the Choenan. The fact or the truth is still in deep water and both the Americans and South Koreans are afraid to let an independent international team to investigate the evidence which they claimed were facts. This is a real slap on the face of Hilary. She and Gates were the most vocal at the Asean Summit in Hanoi, trying to drag Asean to condemn North Korea without giving Asean a chance to verify the truth. They kept shouting that the North Koreans were provocative when they conduct war drills at the North's doorstep and wanted to freeze some 100 North Korean bank accounts overseas. With such outright provocations, instead they are pointing the fingers at the North Koreans. Asean should pass a resolution to censure the US for their provocative acts against North Korea. Further, they are trying to incite the Asean countries against China by offering themselves as the mediator to the counter claims to the Spratleys and Paracel islands. The countries involved in the disputed islands have more or less reach some kind of understanding or agreements. The Americans would not accept that and want the issues to be blown up and raise tension between Asean states and China. Such stirring of shit is the standard operating procedure of the US to get other countries to be at each other's throat. How clever of the evil empire.
Do we need to employ multimillion dollar FTs to tell us that if we don't take lunch break our productivity will go up by 10%? You pay me half of that and I will raise productivity by 40%... by extending trading hours by 4 more hours. How about that? And all our workers need just add another 2 hours of work and our economy could grow by another 10%. And Swee Say please don't worry about quality of work life. No need to talk about CBF. Just work 24 hours better still, more productivity. What is the problem with the stock market that such a desperate measure is even thinkable? Is the market doing roaring business? Running out of ideas or didn't know the real problems facing the market? Why are so many retail investors losing their pants and losing faith in the market, and no longer in the market? Is the market fair to small traders, a level playing field for all investors? Are there parties that are having extra advantage and wiping out the small investors? Are the hedge funds and big funds operating like trawlers, scoping up everything and destroying the market in the process? I don't believe that none of the supertalents knows what is really wrong with the market. I also believe that some will know that scraping lunch break is a silly idea and would not do any real good to the market if the flaws in the market are not removed. If they don't have any idea, just ask Obama or see what he is trying to do to save the American stock exchanges.
What would this country be without the local losers? One thing for sure, no more soldiers and uniformed personnel. No one will be buying the overpriced HDB flats. And no one will be fighting with the FTs for train and bus seats. And no complaining about govt policies.
What a country needs is not just talent, but also commitment and loyalty....Remy Tan Remy Tan wrote to the ST commenting on the Wharton and Harvard couple who decided to move to Singapore because Singapore benefits them but then changed their minds because of xenophobic postings in the blogs. I can agree with Remy Tan's comment but with some qualifications. What he said is only true if it is a country. If it is a hotel, then what is needed is more talents and not commitment or loyalty. And this is the exactly what is happening to the MNCs. All the executives are creaming off as much as they can from the organisations knowing very well that at some point in time they will have to leave. There is no need for commitment or loyalty to any organisation or country. It is one's own pocket and interests that matter. Are we building a country or are we turning it into a hotel? A hotel always places the interests and comfort of its guests first. The staff are there only to work and collect pays. If we go the direction of the hotel, then what we need are talents and more talents and more talents. No need commitment nor loyalty. The latter are foolish ideas to con the fools.
We have overcame many extraordinary challenges to make us what we are today with extraordinary men paid with ordinary salary. Today we have extraordinary men paid with extraordinary salary and we could not solve a little problem caused by a little extraordinary rain. Singaporeans are gasping in disbelief. They would be less demanding and would expect much less if we have ordinary men paid with ordinary salary and trying to overcome extraordinary challenges. Men like Goh Keng Swee and his colleagues would be turning in their graves knowing that we are now stumped by a little extraordinary rain. And more unbelieveable, we have not only extraordinary men but also super foreign talents to tap their expertise from. And we have all the money to pay for it. All we need to do is to throw some money into the air and many great solutions will instantly appear.
After yesterday's report of a maid inheriting $6m from her employer. I am also thinking of becoming a mate, oops, I mean a maid, and hopefully inheriting a couple of millions as well. Being a maid can be quite rewarding at times. My friend's mother gave the maid her diamond ring after a few month's of care giving. The maid was so attentive to her needs, helping to wash and bath her as well. There are wonderful maids and maid employer relationship. There are the other extremes when employers took every advantage of maids, like tying shoe laces in the public when the employer could do it herself. My friend employed a maid with tying shoe laces as a primary duty. He could not tie his own shoe laces for he could not see nor touch anything beneath his waistline. Anyone want to employ a male maid, with a carrot of a few millions at the end of the contract? I know many Singaporeans are already asking to be maids under the same terms. It is not really a bad job or a bad idea you know.
The intene provocation by the Americans against North Korea should not be taken lightly by the world community. The Americans are fabricating all kinds of charges against countries across to the world and raising tension to precipitate a world war. Any miscalculation at the Korean Peninsula could easily burn down the two Koreas and Japan and could drag in the rest of the world. China and Russia will definitely not be standing by idly while the Americans go on with their rampage and destruction of the two Koreas. The UN should initiate an independent investigation into the American claims of the Choenan sinking, send a team to verify the evidence and settle the issue in the name of world peace and justice. The UN cannot continue to standby on the side line like a lame duck or accomplice of the American evil scheme to burn down North Korea at the expense of turning South Korea as a war collateral. Only the silly South Koreans will go along with the scheme and foolishly ignorant of how adversely would they be affected should war break out. The world community must pressurise the UN into action.
Can any of you remember the days when we were young and needed to hide behind papa? Or can any of you recall how your little boy or girl came to you for help or hid behind your back while the teacher reprimanded them? It is a very powerful tactic to invite papa to stand up for you when you are young and running out of excuses. This is even better if your papa is a big time gangster as in Jack Neo's movie 'I not stupid'. I am waiting for his next movie and I am sure there are plenty of social issues and material for him to work on. He may want to try one with the title, 'Inviting the god' or 'chea shin' in Hokien.
I am quite confused actually because reports and data provided by the media told of a different story. There were glowing reports that everything is getting betterer. So if I called it desperate measure for a desperate situation is probably wrong. The stock market is doing roaring business with trading volume at all time high and derivatives and all kinds of American gimmicks gaining more acceptance by the market. So business must be good and so is income, especially those of remisiers. SGX has just announced that it is planning to scrap the lunch break so that trading can be continuous. The extended training hours, 90 min, would allow more tradings to be done and also capture the swings of other markets. The immediate rewards for cancelling the lunch break is that traders can trade more and remisiers can earn more commissions. Maybe for giving up 90 min of lunch break a remisier may earn another $16. That should take care of breakfast, lunch and dinner plus transport fares. Not bad at all. I think this is the most brilliant idea that I have come across in my entire working life. To extend the logic to other areas, imagine if our ministers and MPs work continuously through lunch, no lunch breaks, our economy could grow by another 10% at least. Some may call this idea idiotic, but this is just a matter of perception. And maybe those who are laughing at this silly idea do not have the talent to appreciate what it means. I won't call this idea brilliant either. I think it is simply ingenious, and the person coming out with such an idea is a genius. And as National Day is around the corner, we shall award this genius with a National Day Award. We can call it the Uniquely Singapore Genius Award. The only betterest idea that can beat this ingenious idea is non stop trading, 24/7. Only an exceptional genius like me can think of it. Then we can ride the highs and lows of all the markets around the world. And if any investor has a dream of a stock running up, they can wake up immediately to call the remisier to place an order. And those insomniacs can call remisiers at 3am in the morning for a chat. This will be the added service that remisiers can provide when trading is 24/7. Great stuff. For the time being, just go with the no lunch break. All the struggling remisiers would fully support it. Then we can give notice to the restaurants and shops in Raffles Place not to open for lunch.
We have many calls to make Singapore more friendly to foreigners, to dogs and cats, to the disabled, to little babies in prams, to cyclists. I think Singaporeans may want to scream out loud, to make this island Singaporean friendly. Singaporeans seem to be getting the wrong end of the stick most of the time, and are feeling being left out in the cold. They have been taken for granted, to be left alone to fend for themselves, to be fleeced, to be cheated, to be conned, to be abused, to be threatened, to be told that they are not good enough, to be called losers, to be told to go somewhere else, best, by foreigners. Would there be someone out there kind enough to try to make this island a bit friendlier for Singaporeans?
Teo Chee Hean reassured the public that more able Malays are taking up senior and sensitive appointments in the military and security services. This came about in Parliament after queries were raised concerning a self radicalized Malay, Muhammad Fadil, was arrested by the ISD. The radicalized path of servicemen in the military and police is a serious concern as the danger and consequences could be very damaging to national security. It is also natural to place a linkage on such arrests to opportunities for higher appointments in military and security services. It is also good that Chee Hean put the matter to rest. The Malays should not be unduly worried that an isolated case like Muhammad Fadil would jeopardize their chances in the various govt ministry. The Malay issue has been a difficult problem for the govt and great afford is being made to make sure that able Malays would not lose out in pursuing a career in the military. With more Malays assuming higher appointments, they could only do the Malays proud and prove that they are every inch a Singaporean like everyone else.
The latest Great Flood has led to a new discovery in the Stamford Canal. It was discovered that the Canal with a capacity to deliver water up to 1 and ½ Olympic size swimming pool per minute is not able to tahan two onslaughts of rain of more than 100mm coming within half an hour of one another. Obviously a new canal with a bigger capacity is needed. Maybe they should consider a canal that can take 4 onslaughts of 200mm rain within an hour. Maybe be even bigger to cater for a population of 8-10 million people. Such possibility is now higher with the weather, being the weather, misbehaving so badly recently. And as the world gets smaller, not only that we will have to face the problems from La Nina and La Nino, we will now have to watch the typhoons in Vietnam and the South China Sea for flooding. In the meantime work has started to review the whole drainage system and the weather pattern of unpredictable world climatic changes.
I share the concern raised by Radha Basu in the ST today. She pointed to the xenophobic postings in cyberspace and feared that many talented FTs will be turned away from paradise. She quoted two super foreign talents who had intention to settle here but changed their minds when she showed them the anti foreigner blog postings. This is serious and may become a national crisis when the additional 100k foreign talents that Hsien Loong said was needed refuse to come here to work. Our economy will not see the 15% growth and Singaporeans may lose their jobs as well. And for sure, no big bonuses. Xenophobia has no place in this city of the world. Our country is meant for all the supertalents to live here. We need to quickly introduce laws against xenophobic Singaporeans, especially the oldies and those less talented that are most vocal against foreigners. These people must be put behind bars quickly. Or at least they should be made to wear green vests and paraded along Orchard Road or Raffles Place. But the law must also be fair to the less talented and ignorant Singaporeans. Foreign talents that beat Singaporeans, be they 3 year old or 90 year old, or ridiculed Singaporeans must be given a one way ticket back to where they belong. This would at least appease the unhappy Singaporeans for the anti xenophobic laws. How many of you are in favour of such legislations?
HDB flats will now not be allowed to be used as collateral for loans. This is to protect the owners from losing the roof on their heads. The good thing is that it will join the list of things that Singaporeans can smile and feel happy about aka money in CPF. The high prices of HDB will now make Singaporeans smile and smile. But if they want to go to the Ah Long for a loan, the Ah long will say HDB cannot mah. Never mind lah, it may be a myth of wealth, but many happy Singaporeans with HDB flats worth a million bucks will can be seen smiling and smiling in the kopitiams.
People are starting to question the causes of the recent flooding. It is no longer amusing, or something that will go away. It is something that is going to stay and get worst. June and July are our hottest and driest months. Wait till December and January come, then we will know how serious the flooding will be. For the moment blame has been put to the Typhoon in Vietnam, to little twigs and unusually heavy rain. Looks like the rainfall in one month is equivalent to a whole year's rainfall. Going at this rate, rainfall will be up by at least 500% by the year end. Thank God we got the Marina Barrage or the whole island will be under water. While some may think that the Marina Barrage is a cause to the flash floods, I think otherwise. I am going to put to the blame solely on the building of Noah's Ark. We not only have one already standing on top of the Marina Sands Casino, there is another one coming up at Buona Vista, a mega church that looks like an ark. I think we have one too many arks in this little dot. As was told in the bible, once the ark was built, the heavy rain will come, with the flood. So, blame it on the arks! And to stop more flooding, you got the answer now. Or maybe we should ask Paul, the octopussy, for the answer.
I thought writing and photography are two of the best hobbies for an oldie to take up. After reading the papers, I am got this feeling that they are extremely dangerous hobbies. I read that a photojournalist was handcuffed while taking photos of the flood and the official reason given was that he was obstructing the rescue work. And the author of a book 'Once a Jolly Hangman', Alan Shadrake, was arrested for defamation. I must be very very careful not to obstruct the law and not to defame anyone. But I would like some MPs to ask questions on when and what kind of acts would necessitate a person to be handcuffed. Many people are shocked by such news.
The repetition of several severe floodings over a short span of time is raising goose pimples in Singaporean gossip circles. In cyberspace, practically every forum or blog worth its salt is very unhappy about the incidents. Some even called for the sacking of the Minister of Environment. Flooding is now politics in Singapore. It will become one of the big issues awaiting the General Election, standing shoulder to shoulder with the heavy weights of inflated housing prices, inflation, employment, foreign workers and medical fees. There is no need to think very hard why flooding has become a hot political potato. The root cause of this problem can be traced to the completion of the Marina Barrage which was touted as our solution to flooding. There was kind of an expectation that flooding will now be history with technology, talent and money on our side. And the expectation is not groundless. We have always been trumpeting that we are the best, we have the money to pay for the best, and the best is all we have. Any shortfall in this expectation, any slipshod work, will become intolerable. The people’s expectation has been raised to a very high level. And you can’t fault the people for it. For they believe in what they have been told. They are in good hands and the good hands are paid with good money to do a good job. The only people that should be happy must be the shops in Orchard Road. Whenever there is a flood, they got free advertisements here and around the world. Everyone will be writing or talking about it. Lucky Plaza and Wendy's must be a common household name by now. They shouldn't be complaining, I hope.
While Tharman was trying hard to water down the heavenly expectation of a 13-15% growth, while he was trying to say that it was an anomaly, he even sounded embarrass for such an economic data, he finally ended to the extent of saying that this was a flash in the pan incident. Nothing to gloat about. So there should be more sanely expectation of our economic growth next year. No more than 5-6% if my reading is right, for that is a reasonable number for a nearly mature economy. We are no longer a developing country when everything is waiting to be developed. Our only growth factors now are property and high inflation fueled by importing more foreign workers. Remove these elements and we could see a recession in our way. Then again, there are new opportunities for growth. While we thought that the construction industry has been full blown and should go to a hibernation stage soon after the two IRs and the slew of HDB flats going to be built, I am seeing a gigantic opportunity that could drive the economy for the next 10 to 20 years. The flooding yesterday was serious. No one would dare to explain that it was caused by some twits or twigs clogging up the drain. They have done that, by fencing up the drains from twig clogging. The damages are huge and will continue to do damages down the road. And the frequency and severity cannot be ignored as a one in 50 year incident. There is a need to appoint a consultancy to study the whole drainage system and maybe to rebuild a network of drainage tunnels around the island. The machinery used my MRT for tunnelling work could still have a life. Then they could even consider new concepts like flotation gear for new buildings or capsules to keep water from flooding the basements. A network of tunnels will brighten up our friends up north. Mammoth projects like this is their cup of tea. They may even quote for the building of a floating city or a floating island. All new buildings should be built on stilts. The experience in Kukup will come in handy. They have built a whole new village on concrete stilts into the sea. In the meantime, the car workshops and mechanics and the insurance people will be busy making more money from the cars turned submarines. Oh god, my car insurance premium is going to go up again. It is my fault, the fault of motorists who own cars and so it is only expected that they should pay for the higher insurance claims.
The US of America proclaimed to the world that it is the most peace loving country. And all Americans worthy to be called Americans will rise to clap on that. The American leaders know that they were telling a white lie. The country has been engaged in wars, unstoppable since the end of the second world war, and mostly initiated by themselves on trumped up lies and excuses. The enemies were always unscrupulously inhuman and wrong. Righteousness and goodness were on the American side. So is God. And the American public believe so. Not only the American public believe so, the American allies and lackey countries also believe so, at least when they spoke to the media. But deep down, they all know that they were believing in an American lie. They knew that America was the worst warring country since Germany and Japan in modern history. But for their own survival and vested interests, they have to sing the American tune, and tell the world that America is the most peaceful country. And often these 'axis of evil' countries will also send their soldiers to help in the killings of other human beans, under the command of the evil Empire. How long will humankind stand up to this big white lie and call a spade a spade? How many political leaders would be honest enough to say so?
'A Wall Street Journal article in January this year wrote that the relentless influx of foreigners has depressed the wages of ordinary Singaporeans, increased the cost of living and led to an overall decline in the standards of living.' I lifted the above paragraph from an article in TOC. And I believe that some Singaporeans also feel this way, especially those in cyberspace and the losers. How many of you believe that the above statement is true? I think it all depends on how big is your pay check and whether your annual increment is bigger than the rising cost of living. I have spoken to many people and they said not true leh. They said they didn't feel it at all. Some even asked, 'Oo yiah boh' or 'got shadow or not' in Hokien. But then these are the people who also said, 'What is $10m?' So the above statement is a very subjective one. I am stuck in between. Don't know what is happening. Perhaps I am the lucky few, the ignorant ones. When you don't know what is happening, life goes on quite pleasantly.
The fare hike is now a fact of life, a fait accompli. All the commuters are paying for it by as much as 40% more. And we heard about the restoring of a 3% subsidy. And everyone is happy. No one is protesting or complaining about it. Minister Lim Hwee Hua said the scheme will benefit the commuters in the long run. In the short run just pay more. Just pay first and wait for the benefits to kick in. Benefits for everyone? What about those that just pay more and no benefits? Yesterday the ST also came out in support of the fare hike. And the same note, pay first and let the scheme works. Works towards what? And is this the reason why no journalist or reporter dare to write an article about the scheme, whether the scheme is good or bad for the commuters, how the oldies/students are coping with it and how much more they have to pay? And is there anyone who thinks that this fare hike is unreasonable? Is there any MP going to ask question in Parliament about this? So far never heard of any MP saying that they disagree with this great fare hike. This must be another great scheme that is good for the people.
The Chinese protested to the naval exercise involving a nuclear armed aircraft carrier in the Yellow Sea. To have a major military exercise at the Chinese doorstep is a kind of provocation to both China and North Korea. The American's reply, like all bullies, is simple. We have the capability to hold exercise anywhere and we will do it. This is the same kind of reply that the Japanese told the Chinese when they tried to colonise China in the dying days of the Ching Dynasty. China was weak and was inviting the stronger powers, like Japan, to attack her. One day China will hold military exercise in the Gulf of Mexico and the seas off California and will tell the Americans the same thing. For a start, China should conduct naval exercises with North Korea east of the Yellow Sea. In the meantime, train all the missiles at the aircraft carrier and other battle ships during the American and South Korean naval exercise. Send as many nuclear armed submarines to watch the exercise as well.
Temasek had announced that it's holding is now at a record high of $186 billion. I thought they had more. Anyway, what this crowing got to do with ordinary Singaporeans? Smile and feel happy, like looking at the CPF statement? One Singaporean wrote to the ST forum page today asking for this wealth to be shared among Singaporeans. No he did not ask for the golden goose to be slaughtered. He just asked for a drumstick, and as an example, he was talking about 20% of profits to be distributed to Singaporeans. He is not being greedy. He is thinking for the ordinary Singaporeans where a few hundred dollars each can go a long way. I think the answer is simple. For many good reasons, the money is untouchable or cannot be distributed to Singaporeans. First and most important of all reasons, it is not Singaporeans' money. Temasek is run as a private company and the money belongs to Temasek as a corporate entity. It is not Singaporeans' money. So don't ask for a share of it. The money is managed by a professional team of experts and they should be paid handsomely when there is big profit. When there are big losses, life goes on. Secondly, the money is a national reserve. This is the confusing part. It is not Singaporeans' money but I think it is part of our reserve. And the reserve is meant for the rainy day. So the more reserve we have, the better it is for the country. 30 years reserve, or 300 years reserve, even better. So who is going to benefit from this glowing report of $186 billion? I can't feel any sense of happiness at all.
The signs are all there. Small is the way to go. Our public housing are getting smaller and smaller, not the price of course. So Singaporeans will have to squeeze themselves into small flats as a new way of stylist living. Pay more and live stylistly. With such a small space, every little inch of space and corner is expensive and must be optimised. The whole island is a bigger example of how every square foot of land is not wasted. In a new move, Singaporeans are encouraged to go two wheels, bicycles! Give up driving, even cheap off peak cars should be abandoned. Just cycle, cheap and good. What's next? A new drug will be invented to shrink Singaporeans to half their present size to fit into the new mantra, 'Small is Good' or 'Small is beautiful'. And yes, we can then take in 20 million people and there will still be plentiful land and space for all. Just a side track, they are asking small children to start saving in piggy banks! Holy cow, with banking cost so expensive, how could these children's few dollars justify an account in the big banks? The $2 monthly charges will wipe out their savings in double quick time. Big banks are for big customers only. No little children can bank. Is this also part of the small is beautiful and good campaign?
Andy Ho wrote an article in the ST today claiming that the annual American Human Trafficking Report is a political tool. He also alleged that the report has a history of inaccuracies. And the better part, for almost a decade, the report conveniently left America out completely without any grading. Finally this year it placed America among the Tier One country, that is, free of human trafficking blemishes. Am I surprised or no? This report was a de facto world authority in monitoring abuses in human trafficking. Who has accredited this report and given it such a high status is as good as god knows. For those who have been victimized by the Americans, this report is plain rubbish, biased and distorted and adulterated. It is at, its best, an American doctored bastard piece of work. Only countries that were not smeared or attacked by the Americans would have agreed with the American reports. And they would even believe the American reports to be truthful and authoritative. Only when the Americans shafted the rubbish into their throats would they stand up to repute the reports and call it nonsensical.
Our economy is growing at a phenomenal rate. Thanks to the able govt. The superlative growth will bring prosperity to everyone. The next GE will surely see the ruling party being voted to power again. It can't be helped. The people will have to accept it. Where else can you find a govt managing the country and economy so well.
Our economic growth data for the year is astronomical and unbeliever. Thanks to the two IRs. The numbers of 13-15% are being quoted, way above the 10% of China. In absolute term our 15% may be infinitesimal, but in percentage term it is something to crow about. We are saved by the two IRs definitely. Now what? Shall we have another one or two IRs? With the present two, our economic growth has shot up by 10%. Another two IRs will see 20-30% quite achieveable. That would be really unbelieveable and a world record again. But going this route could push the two and then four IRs into the red, like the stock market. Too many stocks and derivatives and too few investors, with many becoming penny stocks or ghost stocks. The two IRs are doing roaring business. Another two may also do roaring business if the supply of visitors and gamblers continues to grow. If not, they will go kaput. Maybe a little restraint will be better. Follow the public housing policy. Build lesser than the demand and be happy with the long queues of applicants and over subscriptions. Prices can be pushed higher and higher with demand swarming over limited supply. The entrance fee for citizens can also be raised if the number of IRs remains at two. This is creative management of supply and demand in a free market economy and everything else can be left to free market forces. And if prices go up, just point the finger at the free market forces. It is the problem of the market. Or it is how free market should work. Long live free market and free entreprises.
Let me try to figure out what are the features of a Third World political system from what we see in the Third World countries. 1. Often it is run by a dictator or near dictator leader who leads with an iron fist. 2. Political power is used in every aspect of life to the advantage of the political leader. It is as good as power is right, power talk. 3. Money is a very important element to the political leadership. They just keep amassing themselves with wealth and become very wealthy. This is not true for the masses, and the income gap is always very wide, beyond any reasons. 4. The political leader is always surrounded by henchmen that do his callings. And the henchmen can be ruthless but always mindful of who they are beholden to. 5. Govt machinery and organisations are used to pursue the political objectives of the leader, especially in dealings with political opposition. 6. Political opposition are treated with disgust. They are often harassed, intimidated, persecuted, threatened and imprisoned. 7. Change in political power to another party is unheard of and cannot be accepted 8. Political power is often transferred from father to son or within the family. 9. The military is often used to back the political leadership and could be unleashed to seize political power if needed. 10. Children and family members of the political leader are often blessed with exceptional talents and abilities and are thus appointed to head all the important agencies. We can see these features very clearly in the times of Saddam Hussein, in Libya, in North Korea and many Afro Asian countries.
The people are getting a little noisy with their small unhappiness. The latest is the fare hike in public transport which is also reported as a fare deduction. So which is which is a bit hazy and may also cause a little unhappiness. We have many little unhappiness here and there and everywhere. Many people will have their little unhappiness but nothing serious. And the govt knows that all this crap about unhappiness is really nothing to worry about. It is the serious matters that will count and the people are mostly very happy with the appreciation of their property prices and counting how much they are worth everyday, and smiling as their networth is increasing rapidly. Half the population are millionaires in their own rights. Would the cumulation of little unhappiness be compressed over a short interval of time into a big unhappiness like the torrential rainfall over one or two hours resulting in flooding? The coming GE will see all the little unhappiness coming together and bring out as one major problem by the opposition. Will it work to the ruling party's disadvantage or will they simply fade away like all little problems do?
The 9 year old boy was not only brave, but sexually mature for his age. He initiated a discussion on sex with his 36 year old man tutor. And when the man went into the toilet, he pushed open the toilet door to have oral sex with him. The man was like a defenceless victim being pursued by an aggressive sex predator. The helpless victim was found guilty for not warding off the advances of the 9 year boy and was sentenced to 6 years jail and 6 strokes of the cane. Ouch, I thought he was being raped and the rapist was being jailed and caned. This whole episode in today's paper is so confusing. Who was the victim? Was the act so horrendous to deserve 6 years of jail and 6 strokes of caning? And actually there were two willing partners who were not trying to hurt or harm each other. I am very perplexed. What if the victim was a 36 year old woman? Still a crime for sex with a juvenile. But what would be the punishment?
“I hope branch leaders do not make statements that they do not like Singaporeans investing here. “We must be consistent with our signals both from the top and bottom. What is the difference of an investor from the United States or Singapore? There is no difference actually. “We cannot be carried away with emotions or be parochial as we must realise that we are in the 21st century and the country must be developed,” Najib said.... These are clear signs that opposition towards Najib's policy to bring Malaysia to the 21st Century, to become a competitive country like the rest of the developing world, is meeting strong resistance. There must be some quarters trying very hard to derail what he is doing. And UMNO Johore seems to be a good candidate especially when there are so many issues that can be stirred. The railway station issue, crooked bridge issue and the Iskandar DR are still works in progress. Having been kept and held back for so many years with tribal and communal politics and mindset, it is not easy to bring them forward to see the new world. The medieval forces are as strong as the forces of modernisation. Singaporean investors will be more worried of their investments in IDR and how long Najib will last. And as the investments are going to be long term, what's next or who's next after Najib?
The Home Affairs Ministry has announced a few more arrests of radicals last week and Kan Seng is urging the communities and families to report on their kins when they are suspicious of their conduct. This is a tall order indeed. The families, religious leaders, schools etc should keep educating the people to keep this place safe and peaceful for everyone here. The citizens and residents must be free to work, play and go about their lives with no fear of a destructive terrorist attack. It is for the good of everyone. Families and religious leaders should talk to their own people on how important it is to keep this place safe. This is our home. And if they detect any wayward tendencies or behaviors, perhaps they should take the first step to talk the person out of it. This may be easier than reporting them. Should this fail, then for the good of the family and country, they should do the necessary and report them. Failing to do so can hurt many innocent people very badly. Our lives and jobs will be in ruins.
We have heard the impossible, that is, pay more GST to help the poor. Now we are being told that paying more for public transport will benefit the commuters. They will see the benefits later. And after all the increase is only $16 per year. And I know that I am paying $89 more annually as an oldie instead of $16. I know because I am paying for it. How come they claimed that it was on $16 more per year! I am now paying 34c more daily. No need to use computer or abacus to count how much more I will have to pay. The only thing to look forward to now is more benefits coming my way. Wondering what that would be. One thing for sure, the base is higher and if any future increases on a percentage basis will be from a bigger base. It is reported in the paper today that under the old system it was the commuters who needed to transfer that were subsidising those who did not have to. So now it is those who do not need to transfer will be subsidising those who need to transfer. Very fair huh. I posted earlier that those who don't have to transfer will now have to subsidise those needing transfer. So I am wrong huh.
The application of instant tree principle in our social, economic and political structure has brought about rapid growth and, of course instant prosperity. We have instant population and citizens to provide the necessary workforce for a growing economy, leading to glowing economic growth data and culminating in instant wealth, big bonuses and big spending power. Removing the instant population from the equation and we will have instant recession or stagnation, no growth to talk about. Not enough labour, not enough demand for housing and public services, and not enough inflow of foreign capital and skills. All this is good provided the integration is robust and lasting in nature. In fine weather there seems to be no flaws in this strategy of growth. Other than the issue of sustainability, meaning that we continue to add on more people into the island forever, for never ending growth, the signs of stress are emerging. The recent spate of thunderstorms and floodings are reminders of how fragile is this dependency on instant trees. The rapid economic development does not allow the soil to settle, so to speak, in a gradual and natural way as in nature. Instant trees are tumbling and uprooting at the slightest adversed weather in greater numbers. They have discovered the big secret, that instant trees have shallow and weak roots. These, couple with weather and loose soil, were the causes of fallen trees. And naturally they brought about damages and destruction of lives and properties in the process. Our instant population are not much different from our instant trees. Uprooting and falling in bad weather will be a common feature in the time to come. Their instant departure in big numbers can be more destructive than a few fallen trees.
The Americans and South Koreans should stop their provocations against North Korea. Both have been raising tension in the Korean peninsula since the sinking of the Choenan which they accused the North of committing the act. They held their private investigation and ran a kangaroo court to pronounce the North Koreans guilty without allowing them any chance to prove their innocence nor allowing the North Koreans to review the evidence. And they kept on mounting pressure on the North Koreans, threatening sanctions, war games and punishing the North which history could one day prove that the real culprits to the sinking of Choenan could be the Americans and South Koreans themselves. Their latest act is to announce war games near the waters of North Korea and China. China is infuriated and is warning the US and South Korea from holding such military exercises near its territorial waters. The true provocateurs are still pointing the fingers at the North. After the big lies they spun and was proven wrong in the WMD incident in Iraq, the Americans have recently admitted that they had wrongly accused the North Koreans of conducting a cyber attack against Americans and South Korean organisations. The same proof were there where Korean language were detected in the cyber attack. The American/South Koreans also found Korean words written on the supposedly torpedo they recovered from the sea. The same evidence was rejected by one of their South Korean marine expert claiming that it was a fabricated evidence. At the UN, it was fortunate that it stood on its ground not to be taken in by the Ameican/South Korean accusation that the North was guilty of the Choenan sinking. It would be tragic if the UN were coerced by the Ameicans/South Koreans to accept their fabricated truth without doing their own investigations. The UN simply condemned the sinking giving it room to look at the evidence and their own investigation if allowed to. Meanwhile the two provocateurs continue to raise tension in the Korean peninsula with the silly South Koreans thinking that they are going to a dinner party when death and disasters to their country and people were theirs to bear. The American has been very successful since the end of WW2 in their strategy of starting fires around the world, accusing countries of human rights violation, war crimes, weapons sales and proliferation, which they themselves were the biggest culprit, and let these become problems everywhere except in Ameican territories. There were also at their best in instigating and supporting irredentist and separatist movements of other countries.
The Octopus that predicted Germany's lost to Spain will soon be on the dinner table, Goreng. No, his sin was not the World Cup prediction. Someone has borrowed his clairvoyance skill to predict the result of the next General Election in Singapore. Guess what, he predicted that the opposition wins: )
A gang of motor insurance cheats were arrested and would be charged in court. The mastermind was on the run and living in tents in parks and beaches before finally surrendering himself to the police. This gang, 16 of them, was supposed to have cheated more than $100k in claims, forging injury etc. I hope among those arrested will be the medical and legal professionals who assisted in forging medical and legal reports. The fact that this group only cheated about $100k also tells us that this is a small fry and there are many bigger fries out there that have escaped the dragnet. The motor insurance industry has claimed to have been cheated of several hundred millions in claims. What is $100k? In the meantime the losses were passed to the motorists who see their insurance premiums just going one way, like many other things here, up, up and away. And it was not even the motorists faults. Just pass the buck to the consumers.
A girl was attacked inside a bus for half an hour by a man. Everyone just looked. When one passenger picked up the courage to ask the driver to stop the bus and call the police, driver's reply was that he must drive on, his duty as a bus driver. At the end of it, the attacker just walked away leaving behind a badly beaten girl. This is how our society has progressed. To each his own. Take care of yourself, don't get into trouble, don't be kaypoh. Maybe the girl was one of a few locals in the bus and the rest were foreigners who were afraid to do anything in a foreign country. It is quite expected for strangers to be hesistant about such things. We are First World: ) This is only a rare incident. Would not happen again. No need to have sleepless night over it. More important is to think about courtesy campaign and being nice to foreigners, to work hard and to upgrade.
What is so wrong about this hefty fare hike? In other countries, a hike of 10% could have demonstrations in the streets with buildings burnt. In this case, many are facing a hike of 40% to 50% and nothing happens. And those who claimed to be looking after the interest of the people also continue to remain mute. It is social injustice in the first order. Some cock decided to take money from some commuters to pay for other commuters. Get that? Can you believe it? And worst, they went after the oldies who are too weak to fight back, toothless and have no bite, and so poor that going to Speakers Corner will become so expensive that they will rather stay at home. And the no income students also have to bear the brunt of this hike. And some cock got the cheek to say, pay first lah, we will see how much we have over profitted and do adjustment later. Don't worry, trust me, we are fair and looking after the good of the commuters. Someone should tell these fuckers that they are not god and cannot rob from one person to give it to another. This is what we get in a pretentious First World with Third World Thinking people. Just take from whoever that cannot fight back. And they cannot fight back. And no one will fight for them. They are just helpless. Thank god, this is paradise.
Effective on 3 Jul 10, commuters could be paying lesser when taking public transport. This was the great news reported a few months back. On 3 Jul, many commuters wecrying foul, angry, that instead of paying less, they were paying more, some by as much as 50%. This scheme of fare cut was like robbing Peter to pay Paul. Commuters who have to switch services will pay a little lesser. This will be subsidised by those who need not change services and this group will have to pay much more. Actually it is like robbing grandpa and grandma, and school going children to pay for the savings of those that need to switch services. This is indeed a well thought out plan by our supertalents. Simply brilliant. Can't be better.
Singaporeans who are taking public transport are effectively getting a pay cut. And the most hurt are the oldies, the senior citizens, who now have to pay as much as 1.05 from 68c according to an oldie. This is a whopping 54% increase in fare. Holycow, they don't give a damn about the oldies where quite a big number are cleaners and daily rated workers earning less than $1000 pm. At an increase of 37c per trip or 74c daily, times 22 days, this will work out to be $16.28 a month. I know that this is at most equivalent to 5 plates of char kway teow and people can laugh it off, but if the oldie's income is $1000 pm it is a pay cut of 1.6%. And if the pay is $500 pm, it is 3.55% pay cut. I am not sure how much more will the students be paying. If each student is paying half of the increase the oldies are paying, and if they happen to be the children of the oldies, two school going children could mean another 2% pay cut. Just too bad. The transport operators need to subsidise those commuters who have to transfer from one service to another, and the oldies/students just happen to be there to do the subsidising. I am sure the Public Transport Council who approved this great scheme must have thought through all these issues and are comfortable with it. I hope with all the supertalents working on it, they are not going to say they did not know how it would impact the oldies and students.
The ERPs and COEs were designed to control the number of cars on the road and to ensure that traffic flow in the highways is smooth and of an acceptable speed. Looks like these objectives are going to be forgotten soon with the thought of using satellites to monitor cars on the road, for effective and efficient collection of revenue. Now the thinking seems to be on how to charge motorists for road usage. Does this mean that motorists will be charged regardless of whether they are travelling in the highways or in little roads in the estates or in Kranji or Sembawang? Hey, driving inside the HDB may also be charged if we are not careful. So, motorists not causing congestion, or trying to take smaller roads, travelling longer distances, will not escape the dragnet. I am seeing the goal posts wavering as if they are going to be moved.
A few months ago it was reported loudly that there will be a fare cut in public transport when the new system kicks in. Only a few will suffer a little increase. It has since kicked in and this is what was reported in CNA. Source: Channel News Asia, 05 July 2010 SINGAPORE: Monday was the first work-day after the public transport operators started calculating bus fares based on distance travelled on 3 July. Those travelling to Malaysia by bus were in for a surprise. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has said that under the new system, one in three commuters would see a fare increase. For those affected, LTA estimates the average weekly fare rise to be about 30 cents per commuter. However some commuters have called the Channel NewsAsia hotline, saying the fare for the journey from Kranji MRT Station to Johor is up by 40 percent – from $1 to $1.40....
We were not only having Third World Thinking, we are becoming Third World. We used to be First World for many years in the sense that everything works. Turn on the tap and there is drinking water. Press on the switch and there is light. The trains and buses ply the roads regularly. The traffic lights work. People go to work on time and return home on time. Streets are clean and there is social order. We took all these things for granted. We were First World and these are expected. Recently we have floods everywhere on increasing frequency with a little rain. We used to have heavy thunder storms for hours. We have fallen trees, pedestrain bridge knocked by crane, and serious traffic jams. And our biggest bank suffered a serious glitch when its computer system gone down for hours. The standby system didn't work as well. This time no one was caught off guarded. It was unexpected. Where do we go from here? Can we still take it for granted that everything works? Or are we going back to the Third World? We would have arrived there if we see people clinging tightly to buses and trains, hanging outside the doors and windows. We are approaching there when the trains and buses hit their crushed load. And we would be there if our women folks become maids in neighbouring countries. Don't worry. We won't go back there. These are minor glitches and would not happen again. Everytime when any such things happened, there will be a thorough investigation to fix it. They will not be allowed to be repeated. We are First World after all. But don't be complacent and take things for granted.
I received this photo of an 8 year old boy being punished for stealing. Following photos showed his arm being crushed by the wheel of the car. I just hope that this is fiction. Definitely it was not a miracle show on how powerful is the arm of the boy which looks even younger than 6.
Unhappy Singaporeans are talking about taking back control of their country, to decide what and where they want the country to go. Taking back the country would mean changing the policies to favour Singaporeans, like the number of foreigners in the country, housing prices, taking back their money in CPF, among many other things. The importance of taking back control of our own country is becoming more important and of greater urgency. And the next GE could be a time of reckoning and tough decision making. Failing to take back control of the country would mean another 5 years of policies that they are unhappy with. The above are views and expressions of unhappy Singaporeans in some quarters. The happy Singaporeans will definitely want the status quo to continue. The ratio of happy and unhappy Singaporeans is anyone’s guess. From past records, the number of unhappy Singaporeans translated into votes for the opposition, for a new party in power, was low. Is it because of the lack of option or could it also mean that the number of unhappy Singaporeans is in fact small. Who knows better?
Unconsciously or consciously we have quietly been sliding down the road to Third World and expecting the people to live with it. Our streets are dirtier, our shopping centres, places of interests, places where families gathered or socialised, are filled with Third World people with Third World habits, mannerism and antics. In contrast, we built the finest buildings, theatres to be a bit snooty like upper class gentries and aristocrats and ignore the parallel existence of the other world. What is disgusting is that the snooty upper class is barricading themselves in upper class comfort and niceties and telling the lower class to live with it. The crush in the MRT trains is a good example of what this upper class' Third World mentality is all about. Only in the mentality of the Third World is being squeezed like sardines in public transport found acceptable. The situations in Tokyo, Beijing and Hongkong are Third World standards of commuting. It is a shame to think that they are world class. They have made many advances, but treating their citizens by shoving them into little tubes is definitely not worth emulating. They are bad examples. Only in the Third World that commuters needed to be crushed, to hang and dangle outside buses and trains, clinging dangerously to get from point to point. And excess baggages in the form of human beans could be moved to the roof of buses and trains. Would these be acceptable standards if the Japanese and Hongkongers practise them as well? A world class public transport system must be fit for first world people. Commuters must be able to dress to their nines to attend a concert by taking public transport, with room and space to feel cool and comfy. Look at the good examples of the old European rich societies and see what good living condition is all about. Australia with 22 million people living in a continent is feeling the squeeze. Here we are planning to squeeze in more Third World people into the little standing room we have. Or is our public transport system there to ferry Third World people who are expected to live like that, both foreigners and locals? The First World people here, both citizens and foreigners, shall enjoy their First World standard of living in their comfortable lifestyle and environment. The rest shall be grateful to share a bit of the comfort. Where did this Third World mentality originate?
Communism was as good as Satan in the days of the Cold War. It was revolution and armed struggle to overthrow existing govts which were often dictatorships or colonial powers or decadent monarchies. The success of Communism in USSR and China was an affront to Western Imperialism and domination of the world stage. When hot wars could not be fought, Western powers resorted to Cold Wars. As a legacy of Western Powers and ruled by colonialists, we naturally took the side of the Western Imperialist and made Communism a national enemy. I am musing at the moment as writing a statement like this will reward me with a communist sympathiser badge to wear and probably a place behind the Blue Gate in the early years. The political climate has changed today. Communism has proven to be a failed economic and political model of govt. Communists and ex communists and their sympathisers are tolerated and to a certain extent accepted. Some countries have communist parties running in elections for the govt. The release of the Marxist Conspirators and the freedom granted to them mark the ending of one chapter of our political history. Why were the Communist so feared and ISD so zealous in the pursuit of this group of political activists? Other than the Cold War mentality and to be on the right side of Imperial West, Communism stands for the violent overthrown of incumbent govts. Armed struggle was their proclaimed modus operandi to power. Would our govt of today accept a communist party standing for election and accepting the electoral process of free election? What if a communist party declares in its manifesto that they renounce armed struggle and willing to play by the accepted rules and procedures? Would ISD still be relevant and set to go after them? ISD played a vital role in the early stages of our independence and political process. They were the front soldiers in the fight against a militant communist force challenging and attempting to be the govt of this country. The current govt and political system owe a lot to the role of ISD in removing the militant communist equation from our political process. With Communism in the wane, with armed struggle no longer an option to political parties, the role of ISD in quelling political unrest could be put to the back burner. Or should it continue to chase the shadow of a militant past? The threats to national security has taken a different form and possibility more violent and deadly. International terrorism, religious extremism, espionage etc will demand a lot of attention from ISD. They will have their hands full. Would there be a new role and priorities for ISD and would these divert their resources from internal political rivalry to the new threats to national security and survival?
Flooding seems to be a regular occurrence nowadays. Every torrential rain of a couple of hours could see some area flooded. Yesterday was MacPherson and Tai Seng/Paya Lebar area. Where would it be today if it rains? This is bringing me back to the 1960s when flood was a common thing. Quite fun actually, with cars stalling in the middle of the roads.
'Electricity prices will rise by an average of 2.4 per cent this quarter – from 1 July to 30 September. The new rate for households will be 24.13 cents per kWh, up from last quarter’s 23.56 cents per kWh. This is the fifth straight quarterly rise in electricity rates. Compared to Apr 2009, electricity tariff for households has increased by 33.8 per cent.' The above was copied from Temasek Review.
HDB resale prices up another 3.8% for the second quarter. Private housing up 5.2% for the same period. Analysts are revising the annual increase to 12-15%. This means that HDB owners will have a paper gain of more than 10%. A $500k property will appreciate by $50k, $400k property by $40k. Correspondingly the property tax next year will be up. To keep pace with the rapid rise in price of HDB flats, buyers must have pay increases of the same percentage just to stay even. Those who have lower pay increases will find the price running away faster. For existing HDB owners, getting paper windfalls, shall they celebrate or cry? For those who have to buy resale flats, there is only one option, pay more. So, shall the Minister in charge of housing be given a big bonus or a big kick in his ass? It all depends on whether one is benefitting from this glorious rise in prices or having to pay more.
'...a 35-year-old diner, Mr Liu, and four friends who feasted on a steamed fish dish called the white sultan fish at the high-end Feng Shui Inn restaurant on June 12 at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS). ' This is quoted from Yahoo News. Wow, Singaporeans are truly one of the richest people in the world. A 1.8kg fish, called Sultan Fish and reputed to have silky white meat that tasted like fruits cost S$1,224! The fish is noted to be vegetarian as it eats fruits fallen from trees. That is why it is so exquisite in taste and price. Each mouthful will cost $100! Must be more expensive than the best caviar.
A housing agent, Vincent Kang, was so piss off with the way the policy on public housing is heading that he wrong a personal letter to the Today forum to vent his anger. To him, and I agree with him, public housing is to provide a roof over the heads of the average citizens that could not speculate on properties to get rich. That was the original objective which people were generally happy with though there were a few of grouses for not being able to speculate with public housing. Now, when the policy has changed, anger is coming out instead of grouses. For every dollar someone speculates on and profits, someone is gonna pay for it. And that someone is also a Singaporean. The down spiralling of a good policy started when things got to go wrong, when CPF savings was not enough, high cost of housing and high cost of living. This led to finding new ways to squeeze money from nowhere. So the most precious item, the HDB flats, become a commodity, to be traded, to be used to generate income, to keep up with the high cost of living. Some thought it was clever. And clever it was indeed. Those who profitted were laughing, for a short while. Then when the little windfall was not enough, they could end up living in the beaches or the parks High public housing prices and high cost of living are never good. They put stresses and demands for higher income to sustain the useless and unproductive assets appreciation. The people must not be misled into thinking that they are wealthy when in fact they got poorer instead.
More than 20 years had passed since the Marxist Conspiracy gang were arrested. They were mostly young professionals in their late twenties and thirties. I think all have been released with a few abandoning this shore for good. And it is quite unbelieveable that Teo Soh Lung was allowed to write a book, 'Beyond the Blue Gate', about the whole sordid affair, got it printed and published here. There was also a book launching ceremony where some of her previous conspirators and well wishers were present. This must be a sign of civility, maturity. With age and growing confidence, people tend to become more comfortable and less reactionary, and less hysterical over schemes and conspiracies. Wisdom or trying to bury the hatchet? The Marxist Conspirators are now given a chance to tell their side of the story. Maybe the authority should also tell its side of the full story, on why this group of young conspirators were so dangerous and needed to be put away at the prime of their lives. Were they so dangerous that leaving them to conspire in the open could destroy the country or a threat to national security? The book was launched and the reaction from the public was a mute nonchalance disquiet, or disinterest. There was no revolution, no public outcry, no street demonstration. Hardly anyone care a dime of what actually happened. The open wound is up for dressing and will heal. But will there be forgiveness and reconcilation? Can the human beans forgive if god had done the darnest thing?