NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Lawmakers say China's currency is unfairly cheap and passed a measure Wednesday that opens the door to tariffs that aim to help U.S. companies compete. The legislation, which authorizes the Commerce Department to impose duties on imports from countries with undervalued currencies, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 348 to 79. The Senate, however, is not expected to take up the issue until later this year. The bill got support from both sides of the aisle, a rarity in recent sessions, with Democrats framing the legislation as a jobs issue.... China seems to be the cause of US failing economy. And to be specific, it is the Yuan that is causing the problem. By forcing the Yuan to appreciate, all the American problems will go away, jobs will be created, trade deficit will be in America's favour. And all the American heroes in the Congress are in unison, in one mind, to fight China, the new spectre, the new enemy. They have all united, Republicans or Democrats, just like they were united and stood shoulder to shoulder in their votes to invade Iraq. Fortunately China is not a pushover. Otherwise American warships will be in Shanghai like Commodore Perry sailing to Kyoto to open up Japan for trade. Well done America, the champions of free trade! Who is going to pay for this gungho, bravery and madness! The American public of course. Just like they paid with the lives of their children and public money for the invasion of Iraq. The Congressmen can thump table in the comfort of Congress and cheering everyone on. The American public will have to pay more for everything they import. No more cheap toys for Christmas.
Western Intelligence has uncovered the biggest terrorist plans targeting Britain, France, Germany and USA. The historical bullying, looting, plundering and suppression of the victim countries by these empires are going to meet its pay back time. But, but, it was all history. The bullying, destruction and killings were done by their predecessors. The people today are simply innocent, very nice people, have nothing to do with the cruelties and oppression of their forefathers. It was all in the past, forget it and move on. Would the descendants of the victims accept their fait accompli? The sins or mistakes of the former colonialists and imperialists were their inability to do the job completely and leaving behind hordes of descendants to avenge the wrong doings of the past. They only did right to the Red Indians. They were killed to near extinction and no way to fight back. Quietly spending time in the reservations to forget their sorrows and the injustice done to them. The beneficiaries of past brutalities will say, why bring out the past? It’s over. Tell that to the terrorists. America does not need to start fires everywhere outside Europe and the US. The fires are coming home, to stay.
LKY has to skip paying his last respect to Balaji because of his hospitalisation. He had a fall the day earlier but managed to appear as the key speaker in the Russia Singapore Business Forum. His mental faculty was still vivid, but his physical appearance was simply bad. Anyone watching the newsclip would know what I meant. I have never seen him in such a horrible condition physically. The point is that he is going to continue what he is doing, flying around and expounding his political wisdom. I am not against him doing it, but he should do it in the comfort of the Istana, probably in his most comfortable couch or a rocking chair. Let Mohammed come to the mountain and not the other way. Any political leaders wanting his advice or his views should pay a visit to the Istana. Even simple courtesy will dictate that the young and vibrant visit the elder who are less mobile. Unfortunately no one is able to tell LKY to stop doing what he is doing. Maybe Hsien Loong should take out an exclusion order to keep him from hurting himself. Biological age respects no one and will take its toll when the time comes.
The GIC said its investment strategy has paid off, 'and it has significantly recouped most of the losses incurred during the global financial crisis.' Its annual report said that the 20 year nominal average rate of return pa of investment was 7.1% for the preceding 12 months ending March. This is better by 1.4% over the previous year. Real rate of return rose from 2.6% to 3.8%. How much do these numbers mean? How big is the portfolio, how much profit or was there any profit, assuming a positive rate of return means there is profit? Never mind, the money is in good hands and there is an official annual report. Good enough. And the report said everything is doing just fine. We trust the good men handling the good money, and plenty of money in any measures.
My feeling is that many are cheering to read more news of the happenings surrounding the YOG. Today it was reported that some volunteers were supposed to be rewarded with F1 tickets that came after the race was over. Cock up, cock up again! I can hear the screaming and cheering. And some will be asking for blood or demanding another apology from Vivian. Poor Vivian. It seems that he is the only one responsible for the YOG, an OMO, one man operation event. The critics may want to give him a break. How about asking the person tasked to mail out the tickets to take the blame? It is definitely not Vivian's fault. He can't be over looking at a mundane task like this and can be expected to rely on the staff concerned to do the necessary. If a minister has to do all these jobs, then every position shall be replaced by a minister and we will have thousands of ministers everywhere. Time to place the blame at the right person.
Was it official wisdom or economic expediency that we want our old and sick to work till they die on the job? There compelling economic reasons to do so, that the old and sick should not become a liability to anyone, to be financially independent and dignified. There are also compelling and compassionate reasons not to allow the old and sick to work when they are unhappy to do so or unable to do so. We have forgot the meaning of life. Living is not just an economic activity, to work to live and to live to work. There are many dimensions of life that are there to be explored and experienced. Work to death is never an enlightening option. What happens to the old adage of retiring and smelling the roses and watching time passes by, enjoying the moments with the grandchildren? We can afford it, with a little ingenuity and thinking, to provide for our old and sick without making their lives miserable. And for those who are financially able, there are many things more valuable than just working and collecting more money. And for those who have not much time left on earth, it is decent and proper that they spend their time in a more fruitful and valuable way, to be with their love ones and enjoy every moment they still have. There is a need to rethink this economic wisdom of working to pay for our time here. As civilised, organised and enlightened society, we must think more than just in economic terms.
A 3 year old toddler had his thigh bone broken by a maid who was hired to take care of him. I feel so sorry for the poor child. There must be many children out there who were in the charge of maids and suffered pain and injuries, victims of maid abuses. And the parents had to be out earning a living to pay for the maid and hoping to bring up the child, to give the child a good home and a good life. It is not just brave but foolish, silly, to trust your children to a stranger, called maid. Do these parents feel any pain leaving their children to strangers and being battered or tortured in their absence? I can feel the pain for the poor children. This is another reason why it is difficult for young couples to bear children. It is very expensive and if they are unable to take care of their full time, or with reliable help, it is suffering for both the parents and the children. Who says go forth and multiply? So easy meh? Please have a heart for the children and their parents. Not many can afford to bring up children and have peace of mind when the cost of living is so high. Don’t think having children is just for fun, for economic reasons. It is a life!
For two centuries, China suffered in the hands of the international gangsters and yakuzas. They raided and plundered the country to bankruptcy. They humiliated and robbed the Chinese of all respect and dignity as a people. China suffered constant threats of war, containment, embargoes, incursions, spying and trade discriminations for many years. This is the same fate that many small and weaker countries suffered at the hands of the international gangsters and yakuzas, once called colonialists and imperialists, and now neo colonialists and neo imperialists. They have never let up in their domination over the small and weaker countries. China is saying no to the bullying but the bullies are denouncing China for standing up to them. To the bullies, it is wrong and unacceptable to right the wrong of the gangsters and the yakuzas. What they have done and taken are rightfully theirs to keep. The rules of the game in their favour must be maintained and no one is allowed to challenge them. And the only language they know is power and might. China would have to behave like gangsters and yakuzas when dealing with them. There is no other choice. The small and weaker countries now have a leader in China to change the rule of the game of the gangsters and yakuzas. Would they want to change, rock the boat for a fairer system instead of being suppressed by the existing power blocs? Or would they want to side with the gangsters and yakuzas for a little crumbs left on the table? Asean looks like taking this road and joining the dark side. A little flattering and a little handout are all that is needed to win over the leaders of these countries. They will be divided and ruled as before, under a different guise. The small countries will miss a chance to fight for a level playing field if they join forces with the gangsters and yakuzas. They forgot that they are being courted now because there is a China to spoil the party. Without China, the gangsters and yakuzas will rape them again and again.
Life is short. At 55, Balaji was even younger than Hsien Loong. What is pronounced in his passing is that he lived the Singapore Spirit. What is that? The Singapore Spirit is the desire to work till one's last breath. Even when he was very sick, he never stop working. He powered on, to serve the people, doing his duty as an MP and a Senior Minister of State. For his devotion, commitment and dedication to public service, he deserved a beautiful eulogy to his honour. The current leaders should look at Balaji as an inspiration and soldier on in their tasks to build a better nation. In sickness or in pain, answer the call of duty and persevere in an honourable role as leaders of a country. Then again, the people must not demand such an unreasonable expectation, that our leaders should plod along if they do not think they could take it. Some medical conditions or biological conditions will make this onerous task that much more demanding and excruciating. For those who have good reasons to want to spend more time while they can, to enjoy a little of life's pleasantness, and quit their jobs, the people must understand and wish them well. Singaporeans shall not demand that our leaders shall work till death do us part. They must also be given the privilege to have a good time and enjoy life while they can. To be honoured with an excellent eulogy is a good thing. To enjoy life and live well is equally good, though a bit selfish. As a Singaporean, I am feeling a bit guilty that we made our minister work to his death when he was already very sick. We should be more graceful and generous to our selfless leaders and remind them not to over work in the call of duty to the country and people. May Balaji rest in peace.
At 55, he is a young man in the PAP's lineup of candidates. Quite a waste for a talented man to pass away at the prime of his career. Statistically he should have another 30 years to live for. Looking at SR Nathan, he is a marvel, looking chubby and younger every day. He looks like someone who is going to live forever and ever. He should write a book to share his secret on how to live longer and look younger. Indeed he is living a good life, free from care and want. My little bird has made one prediction right for the next GE.
Everything was perfect. Even the threat of inclement weather was blown away. The evening was surprisingly cool and the spectators were happy enjoying themselves while the cars roared by, right to left, the heads kept turning. That’s what F1 is all about unless one is following closely on who is winning the race or chasing who. My best time spent was behind the grandstand, in the padang itself. The performers were great. The aerial dancers were better still. I did not stay back for Maria Carey and Adam Lambert show. But many came in just for that. I was quite pissed off with the F1 itself. I got a sore neck after repeating my head turns for an hour following the cars whoosing from right to left. That’s not all. I brought two cameras to shoot the cars and all I could shoot was the fence. Even at the top of the padang grandstand I could not overlook the fence. Eventually I folded up, and that’s when I got my sore neck. And there was even a clause in the terms and conditions of sale of ticket that copyrights of photographs taken of the F1 race belong to the organizer. Unbelievable! Do the organizers really feel that their competent photographers could not shoot better than amateurs and they have to fence up the whole circuit to make photographing the race impossible? Where is the freedom to take photographs? I am sure the event would have more exposure and interest if the public and amateur photographers were able to shoot good pictures and post it everywhere in cyberspace or in other media. It is free publicity and promotion for the F1. Surely safety can still be ensured by some ingenious fencing and location of the spectators with the fence lowered in some sections for a clear and unobstructed view of the race. It really spoilt the fun watching through the fences and unable to take a single clear shot. This is shit to F1.
China is demanding that Japan apologises and pay compensation for the arrest of fishing boat captain Ding Xiping. Japan had detained him for 3 weeks before releasing him under intense pressure from China. For the uninitiated, Japan annexed the island with the Penghu island group and Taiwan after it defeated China in 1895. It also claimed war reparation and many other rights and territorial claims. It wrestled Korea as its colony and hundreds of tons of silver from China. The weak and defeated China could not do anything but resigned to its dismal fate. And Japan went on to rape China and extort more and more rights from her, creating all kinds of incidents for more apologies and demands. The Marco Polo Incident was etched deeply in the minds of the Chinese populace. The closest equivalent of power between China and Japan then is between Iraq and the US today. The US could do anything to Iraq without any credible response from the Iraqi people. Today Japan is till a powerful military state. But the equation of its military might vis a vis China is that of Germany or England vis a vis the US. The Japanese still did not realise that there is a mismatch of the power equation and not in its favour anymore. For every soldier the Japanese have, the Chinese have 1000. For every military aircraft or tanks the Japanese have, the Chinese have 100 more. The bow and arrow and big sword armies of the Qing Dynasty were long gone. Today China will be making demands and more demands for any Japanese incursion and violation of its territorial integrity. And China does not need to create any incident like the Japanese did. It only needs to claim back all its territories ceded to Japan during the days of gunboat diplomacy and unequal treaties. The Yakuzas in Japan still think that they can take on China in the battle field. They are dreaming. The China of today is even ready to take on the US if forced to defend its national interest and territorial integrity. If Japan still does not take heed, it will be China declaring war on Japan and demanding apologies and war reparation. Naoto Kan said it is unthinkable for Japan to apologise over this incident and that Diaoyutai is Japanese territory. Such a stand will have grave consequences as China will no longer accept the unjust treaties it signed under duress. China will not and cannot back down from this Japanese position or it will be seen as acceptance of the Japanese claim. Let’s see what China will do next.
A 400 crowd attended the SDP rally yesterday to express their unhappiness on the social political situation in the island. The crowd could be bigger if there were more publicity, and if public transportation is cheaper. Attending such a rally could cost a lunch or dinner and could be an inhibiting factor preventing people from attending. The organisers should have tried to contact those bus operators that were recently out of job to ferry hardlanders to Hong Lim instead of the casinos. That way the crowd could easily swell by a few thousands. The three main issues raised were foreigners, jobs and cost of living. The SDP's position is that too many foreigners is not good, not enough jobs and escalating cost of living, which reads bad. The response from the govt could be like this. They are slowing down on the intake of foreigners. And those foreigners that are still here are no foreigners any more. They are new citizens. As for jobs, who says no jobs? Just lower the expectations, there are plenty of jobs around and that is the reason why we need so many foreigners. The bestest living spirit of a Singaporean is to take any job that comes along. A foreigner with a PHD is willing to drive taxi, so what are Singaporeans complaining? And the last one, cost of living which equates to high public housing. This is definitely not a good reason. More than 80% of Singaporeans are living in public housing and the higher the prices the happier they will be. They can smile every day, not every month, when they read the newspapers reporting that the value of their flats have risen. The little annoyance is that all the CPF money will be sucked into it and nothing left to withdraw on retirement, taking into consideration the huge minimum sum and medisave account. But the latter two are for the good of Singaporeans. At the worst, they will die rich, with plenty of money to pass down to their children, if any, or worthy of the inheritance. See, so easy to rebut the opposition claims.
This must be something everyone is guessing and wanting to know. Allow me to pick my list, not in order of merit or demerit of course. The following are likely to miss the next GE. 1. Lee Kuan Yew 2. Goh Chok Tong 3. S Jayakumar 4. Lim Boon Heng 5. Khaw Boon Wan 6. Mah Bow Tan 7. Abdullah Tarmugi 8. S Balaji 9. Chan Soo Sen 10. Yeo Cheow Tong 11. Foo Yee Shoon 12. Ang Mong Seng 13. Charles Chong 14. Lee Bee Wah 15. Seng Han Thong 16. Ong Ah Heng 17. Irene Ng 18. Wee Siew Kim The above 18 will make up about 15% of the current 82 PAP MPs. The percentage seems about right if past election numbers were used for self renewal. Some of the names I throw out here may be a bit startling but given the way things are developing, I think it is a good guess. Or at least this is what the little bird thinks so. OK, I will let you people in on the methodology used for this prediction. I bought two packs of cards and pasted the photos of the MPs onto them. Then I lifted the door of the bird cage and whistled at the birdie. And these were the cards picked. Now if this birdie is as good as the octopus, I will put her up for sale. Should fetch quite a handsome price. I must apologise for thinking of making money all the time.
On 24 Sep 10, Singapore welcomed the return of one of its infamous supertalents in Mas Selamat. Although Mas has never achieved anything in his career as a mastermind terrorist, his reputation has been elevated to a cult status. He is a legend in escape that makes David Copperfield looks like a school boy. His skills and talent in planning terrorist acts are second to none. I am not sure about the execution part as he has no opportunity to put this plans to work. He has a knack to be arrested and re arrested after his great escapes from fortress Singapore. The potential of Mas becoming a world famous and successful celebrity is immense. There are many big things lined up for him. The copyright to his story of the great escape is worth millions in books and celluloid. He could become a professor in the academy to lecture on terrorism, and how to escape from prisons, or how to float across a body of water using empty plastic bottles tied to his body. He has also made famous the art of breaking a fall by using toilet rolls. At worst he could set up a security agency to provide security guards. I am going to submit my application to Mas Selamat as his business manager. I will promote his talent world wide and bring him instant fame. He can go on a world circuit to give speeches at US$2000 per head to attend his talks. It is so easy to dramatise his heroics and mind blowing feats as a terrorist. I have not read any reports of what he had done, but he must have done many to his credits. Then no sweat, all I need is to engage a few terrorist experts to endorse his talent and write about them, like a comic book super hero. I hope Mas Selamat is reading this and realise his great potential to be a very rich and famous man. PS. Double posting deleted. I honestly posted once only. It must be his special power that rendered my single post becoming double, like seeing double.
Hilary has done a great job. The Garuda was seduced by her charms and the lure of power and glory, military hardware and foreign aids, to become a regional power. F-15s, F-16s are on the way. So are frigates, battleships and battle tanks. Of course there will be investments and financial aids too. And Indonesia will be invited to all the grand parties organised by America. There will be more visits to the White House and more photo takings with the President of America. The Indonesian President will have his rightful place beside the infidel President. After the courtship and after being hooked, the hardware will no longer be free. The money from timber and palm oil will be needed to exchange for them in times to come. What would happen to Asean? For decades, Asean grew in strength under the banner of peace, freedom and neutrality. By keeping Asean neutral and staying clear from big power rivalry, Asean was able to carve out a bigger space to manouvre in the international arena. The big powers courted and wooed Asean like a pretty maiden but just enough, fearing that it would push Asean to the embrace of its rival. They treated Asean with tender loving care. No harsh words. What if Asean starts to take sides and sleeps with one of the big powers? When the chips are down, when the cards are open, the battle lines will be drawn. No need for any more niceties. The knives will be out. Will Asean regret the efforts put in all these years to keep the big powers at bay and the freedom to drive its own policies and interests? Or will it enjoy more the opportunities to engage and be full participants in big power conflict? Musharaff and Pakistan are living examples of what will happen when a country traded peace for glory. How would Indonesia transform itself while trying to be a member of Asean and a member of the Muslim brotherhood? Would Indonesia become another Iran, a Pakistan or a Saudi Arabia? And what would Asean become? Or would there still be an Asean?
Singaporeans continue to amaze in things they think are normal but bizarre to foreigners. I have previously wrote about how Singaporeans paid millions for a house which they hardly stay but left to the maids and their boyfriends when they visit in the middle of the night or when the owners are at work. Fully furnished and well appointed homes that they paid for through their noses but spending their time elsewhere. The next most costly consumer item in a Singaporean’s expenditure is of course the car. Before buying a car they need to buy a COE, Certificate of Entitlement to buy a car, which will cost between $30k for a small car to $50k for a big car. And the small car will cost easily another $30k for a total cost of at least $60k, not including insurance and road tax. The best part is that Singaporeans are encouraged to part their cars at home and cycle or take public transport to work. And parking in public housing car parks is not cheap either. Maybe I am wrong in that the next most costly expenditure item is the bringing up of a child. It easily costs between $250k for the average hardlanders to bring up a child through university and more than $1m for the well heeled that comes with tuitions and all the perks, plus an overseas degree. And Singaporeans are encouraged to have more children, assuming that they can all afford to cough up this huge sum of money to bring up children. Sure, money is not important to Singaporeans as money is abundant. Another baffling thing that the Singaporeans take for granted is to keep saving in a saving fund that they cannot touch, except for housing and specific needs, till a ripe old age of 62 and above. And they enjoy smiling at the big amount of savings from the monthly statements but barely able to make ends meet in their daily lives. Oh, this one got a best part too. The inflation will find their savings a wasteful effort at the end of the day. And the startling discovery is that despite the big savings, between 40 to 50% of their income, retirement is still a problem to many. Some would have to remortgage their flats or sublet them to keep themselves alive. This is how successful Singaporeans are and in their retirement plans. Oh wait, despite having full employment and needing to import millions of foreign workers, there are Singaporeans still complaining about joblessness. And they are qualified, some are graduates. Amazing indeed. One small secret. Some maids and workers own bigger houses in their home countries than their Singaporean employers.
The US officially welcomes Indonesia as a member of the big power league with Indonesia rejecting China's stand that the US should not meddle with the territorial disputes in the region. The Indonesian Foreign Minister, Marty Natalegawa, after a meeting with Hilary Clinton in Washington, 'has rejected China's stance that the US stay out of territorial disputes in the South China Sea.' His positive commitment will be rewarded with an audience with President Obama who would probably announce his visit to Indonesia as icing on the cake. With Indonesia openly supporting a US backing for Asean states to negotiate with China, Vietnam already in support of this position, and with Asean's number one military power sure to take the same position, Asean is likely to grow in confidence to thump table with China. China will find it tough handling the most populous Muslim power in the region, back by the US. Marty Natalegawa added that the current row between China and Japan 'reminds all of us that we cannot take for granted the relatively benign atmosphere we've had for many decades now in the Asia Pacific region.' It is time to raise the temperature and have some fun with a little tension and possibly war. Pakistan had many years of peace but found it too uncomfortable. It then invited the US military to have a little fun and the rest is history. Indonesia will be the first recipient of generous military hardware sales to beef up its defence forces to take on China, just in case. And the other Asean states too will queue up to buy more sophisticated American weapons. The US war merchants are salivating with such wonderful opportunities opening up. Soon we will have a militarily strong Asean standing at par with the super powers. Forget about ZOPFAN. That is history. Asean should change its name to SEATO.
Ask the Americans, or ask George Bush in particular. It is so easy to start a war. The Americans have been doing it for decades or centuries. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the WMD and the war on terrorism are recent events of history. Some of the reasons for starting a war could be fictitious or fabricated and involving some hare brain issues. The latest is to declare it a national risk as if America will be attacked, or an issue of American interest. The latter has surfaced at the recent Asean meeting with the superpowers. Just declare that it is of America’s interest, no matter how far and how detached or remote, it is good enough a reason to start a war. The present heat generated in East China Sea between China and Japan is not hogwash. It is not a fabricated no brainer. It is about territorial sovereignity, about a country’s territory. In this case it was an island seized by Japan when China was weak, helpless and powerless. The Japanese just declared war on China, won and extracted land and islands from the defeated. China must not forget the atrocious Treaty of Shimonoseki and the 21 demands that came later. A militarily weak China was of no match to the then mighty modern Japanese army, navy and airforce. And China had to sign away its territories to the Japanese, just like it signed again Hongkong to Britain and Macau to the Portugese. And more land to Russia. Is it unreasonable or belligerent for China to declare war with Japan to reclaim its territory? The Western view is that such an act will prove that China is an aggressive and hostile power. China is doing it all for face? China should send Japan a 37 demands to commemorate the 37 Incident and to avenge the 21 demands shafted to her in 1915. Declaring war on a fabricated truth like WMD is acceptable and not aggressive, not warmongering if done by the USA. In fact it is an act of a peaceful power. Japan took away Chinese territories by force, by an act of war when it was strong and China was weak. Today Japan is still strong, but China is stronger, militarily. Is it unfair and unjust to take back one’s lost possession taken when someone put a knife at your throat? The tension could easily flare up and war could be here tomorrow despite the heavy tolls and destruction on both countries. Japan seems to be very eager to prove that it is still the supreme military power in East Asia and what they took by forced would not be returned unless by a superior force. From the tough stand taken by its leaders, they are more than ready to take on China, with the Americans backing them from behind. China will be easy meat, like in the 19th and 20th centuries. Asean is enjoying peace for decades since the end of WW2. Asean too can enjoy some tension and possibly war if it finds peace too dull and uneventful. The Americans are there ready to back Asean countries to wrestle with China in the battle field instead of the negotiating table. America is the number one superpower and has no fear of China. But it would not fight China and neither does it have any legitimate reason to do so. It can fabricate another WMD or China is an expansionist power and need to be stopped. Even then, fighting China directly is a deadly business and not much benefits or profits to be made. Getting Asean to do the fighting and America supplying arms is more lucrative. America can stand at the sideline, watching and profiting from selling all the weapons that Asean countries would need. Asean is being invited to Washington for a cosy conference and for a little cajoling to intoxicate them with the feeling of power and how fascinating victory in war can be. It is a nice feeling, and terribly exciting too.
Singapore will be sending a team of sportsmen and sportswomen to New Delhi to compete in the Commonwealth Games. Other than training hard for their respective sports, there is one additional drill that the athletes would have to be trained. And this part they must take it very seriously, as the training involved a matter of life and death. The athletes must be properly and carefully briefed and trained to react in the worst eventuality, a terrorist attack! The syllabus must be quite a bundle, how to react, what to do, what not to do during an attack, in the line of fire, becoming hostages, how to stay safe from harm, how to behave to avoid antagonising the terrorists should they be caught in a bad situation like in Manila. Or how to escape, how to survive, treat injuries…. And the list goes on and on. This is one kind of a sports event that is more than a sports event. My thought, what kind of people would organise such a sporting event in a country where terrorism is not mere threats but real? And what kind of govt would send their athletes to such an event? Of course it will never happen to our athletes. We have also made all the necessary preparations. Our athletes will be safe. Did I hear someone whispering, better safe than sorry? I don’t like it a wee bit. Is it the height of Irresponsibility or Stupidity?
Hi everyone, Below data show the traffic flow to mysingaporenews last month. I am surprise how international our blog has become. Cheers. Singapore 11,575 United States 4,117 Norway 2,481 Australia 657 Malaysia 326 Canada 237 United Kingdom 234 Germany 210 Hong Kong 91 Luxembourg 79
Intangible benefits of the YOG are priceless! This is the title of an article by Shalini Samuel in mypaper today. I could not describe it better. The $387m the govt spent on the game is a steal. Imagine all the great experiences that our organisers and volunteers gained from just participating as host of this event, the opportunity to serve the future leaders of the world, to shower them with food and food, courtesy and hospitality, to make them remember what a great place Singapore is! Wow, wow, how come I never think of that in the first place. Hold the next Olympic game, even the Olympic for the veterans. Put it on man. For all the intangible benefits coming out of the games, we should be willing to pay more and hold more of such events. Another $500m should be good money spent for the betterment of Singapore. The masses are just too low thinking to be able to see how great the benefits are for Singapore and our volunteers and organisers. I can see one. They can include that in their resumes when applying for jobs related to international sporting events. I think, and I hope, this will put a stop to all the criticisms and accusations on how the YOG budget blown. The crux of the matter is actually how the organisers could even put up a number of $104m in the first place. Would it make a difference if it was known before bidding for the game that it was going to cost a walloping $387m? Would the govt then withdraw from the bid as it was too costly? Hindsight said they will go ahead even if it is $387m. And if they all agrees with Shalini's view, then $500m would still be cheap for the priceless intangible benefits. Would the criticism ends now? Or would god be invited to tell Singaporeans to move on, and assure the Singaporeans that every cent spent is worth it? PS. My heirloom of a labourer's hook used for dragging rice bags is also priceless.
When property prices were at its height of frenzy, the people complained furiously. The answer from gods, it was all the doing of market forces. The govt cannot do anything about it. It was a case of free market forces and supply and demand. What happens? Who were the fools who were trying to pull wool over the eyes of the people? What market forces? The truth is so apparent that it is looking ugly and embarrassing. But to deaf frogs, they chose to hear nothing and thought they had done a good job, the right thing, good for the people. And they let the momentum run. Was it being clever or foolishness, was it market forces at play or was it intentional? Your guess! Saturday’s ST frontpage news was about how effective the new anti property speculation measures were. They are taking effect, lesser demand, lower asking price for flats and COVs etc etc. So the frenzy is slowing down. It could be just a cooling period. The wind down could be just a knee jerk reaction. Prices could spiral again when the speculators see that prices are not falling and still good profit to be made. How could prices fall when the demand and supply mechanism is still the same one that led to the froth? How could prices come down when the bidding system for land is still the same, going to the highest bidder? How could prices fall when the official position is not to let it fall? They could not let it fall as the buyers of exhorbitantly priced flats would become suckers overnight. How could prices fall when the same…. But that is beside the point. The point here is that it is not market forces at work. At best it is managed or contrived market forces, engineered market forces of supply and demand, and turning a blind eye to the huge increase in population. See the myth?
If there is a debate that could ignite Parliament and bring it alive, it must be Vivian Balakrishnan versus Lim Swee Say. And the topic, Speak Good English. And allow them to bring in a few co debaters, 3 for each side like all debates were. Vivian’s choice would be quite easy to guess, Shanmugam, Mah Bow Tan, a great debater in his heyday, and perhaps LKY or Hsien Loong. He would be spoilt for choices I am sure. Now who would be on the side of Swee Say? Dum, dum dum….Ok, for this matter, we should break parliamentary protocol and allow Swee Say to bring in the bestest from the island. I am hearing clapping sound and good, good, in the streets. If this is can do, the first obvious choice would be ex Miss Singapore Ris Low. Clap, clap, clap. She is hot favourite to spiak good Singlish. Two more, just two more. Oh dear, Swee Say will be spoilt for choices too. Let me just throw up a few good potential contestants. How about Phua Chu Kang aka Gurmit Singh, or his wife Rosie aka Irene Ang? Mark Lee or Jack Neo may do quite well too. But if he prefers betterer candidates, he could even invite some FTs to join his side too. Then we can have a Special Edition of In Parliament, 2 hours long, and no one would complain it is too long. And it will also be full house in Parliament, including the public gallery. MediaCorp can air in both Channel 5 and 8. Guarantee all Singaporeans sure stay home to watch one. Just kidding. KNN can take a little joke or not?
Scouting around cyberspace, the immediate impression is that many Singaporeans are angry, very angry, with Vivian for the way YOG had turned out. No one cares how well the game was managed and how perfectly were the opening and closing ceremonies that showed to the world how efficient we were as a people. We could managed and organised big time world events. And the YOG was there to prove our worth. One particular vibe about Vivian is the blown budget by some 300%. The final bill for the game came to $387m. And Singaporeans were unhappy. Singaporeans should look at the whole thing in proper perspective. Vivian was actually very prudent and careful about public money and would not anyhow give them away, even for $10. That is his reputation. He emphasised his thrifty management style in Parliament. According to Vivian, the blown budget was his fault. Yes, but not because he was careless in managing the money. It was the reversed. He constantly and repeatedly reminded the Organising Committee of the YOG to be careful about the money spent. It was OPM after all. And he squeezed the budget to keep it small and that no one dared to over spent. And his conscientiousness in controlling the expenditure turned out to be his undoing. Under his guidance, the Organising Committee became too careful and tried their best to present as small a budget as possible. They tried to cut corners, lower the quality of the things needed for the game. I think the food for the volunteers was a good example. If only the Committee had been forthwith and direct and presented a reasonable budget that was closer to the real thing! If only Vivian would have been more generous and let them quote and spend whatever the Committee wanted! Then the original budget presented could even be $500m. And Vivian could then tell them to cut cost, and the final bill, $387m. It would be a different story. He could even claimed credit for saving more than $100m! Or a discount or a subsidy or whatever you want to call it. And everyone will praise him instead of blaming him. His fault now lies in his thriftiness and honesty in working with the truth. Only if he would have followed the unscrupulous business or commercial gimmicks of generous discounts after jacking up the prices, things would have been different. The people must relook at the whole issue and say a big thank you to Vivian for a job well done. And if he had not been thrifty, the bill could be $500m. Singaporeans must be more understanding and appreciative. It is not an easy job to start with. _________________
I was watching In Parliament last night, looking for gems again. It was another disappointing session. After sitting through the 10 minutes of airing on Channel 5 I could not remember anything worth noting. All I could recall was a few familiar faces like Halimah, Zaqy, Ho Geok Choo and Hawazi. Oh, I remember the camera zoomed in on a handful of faces in the back bench. To be exact, I remember 3 faces, De Souza, Pauline and Sylvia. And the camera kept coming back to Pauline as if the room was too crowded and it was being blocked from taking other faces. I was hoping that it could pan the whole Parliament room to show all the faces but no. Viewers watching In Parliament could go off with the impression that our Parliament had not more than 10 MPs. Of course there were 84 of them out there. This morning's ST reported that Mah Bow Tan was there and so was Lee Bee Wah. She dispelled the impression that Parliament was having a sleepy session. It was indeed very busy. This is what she said. 'Sometimes we are not called on even though we put up our hands. I would like to see more time devoted to hot topics in particular, so that the issue can be thoroughly debated.' That I agree, will be a good change instead of limiting debating time and the session ended with a minister making his prepared speech and followed by a few prepared questions from the MPs. To give justice to Parliament sitting, MediaCorp should devote more time to it rather than the 10 minutes accorded, same same like Talking Point. Even Blog TV has longer air time than the highest body meeting in the country. It would give an opportunity for the people to share some of the wisdom from the best talents in the country, anytime betterer than Blog TV.
Don’t ever mention the word ‘planning’ in the public. To plan ahead, be proactive, and prepare for problems before they arise! Saying this word is going to result in many red faces. Just whisper it in private if you want, and have a good laugh at it. A little bird said that to me. I think it makes a lot of sense. The word may be raised to the same status as ‘boomz’. Or it may even become taboo.
Up till today, they are still using the same stupid reasons to explain the fiasco in public housing. There must be demand before HDB will build more flats. What about the demand of those who could not afford and could not apply, no demand by default of inability? And what about those that were kicked out of the HDB queue because their incomes are deemed too high? HDB will build flats to cater for the lower income first. Those who earn above HDB’s arbitrary income ceiling cannot apply for HDB flats as they will compete with the lower income and push up demand and prices! How silly. But they cannot see the silliness of this argument. The higher income group can only apply for the bigger and more expensive flats. So they are not competing with the lower income group for smaller flats. So what is the problem? What is the problem? The whole problem is NOT building enough to meet the demand. That is the stupid problem. And how silly of it when the flats are sold for huge profits? Hey jokers, you are not doing charity and selling flats at a loss! Can you get it? It is profit and profit and more profit. The difference is how much profit. So what is your problem in building more flats to meet the needs of all citizens irrespective of their income? Is it that citizens buying HDB flats will deflate the prices of private properties and the coffers of private developers, and the rich/speculators who have bought private properties and waiting to dump to these suckers that have no where to turn to? How thick can they get? They are still thinking that they are selling HDB flats at a loss and so must not build more than necessary.
I could not find any specific gems in yesterday's parliament session to broadcast. Instead I found a new mood of confidence and self assurance that everyone had done a good job. Getting betterer by the days. The new housing measures to curb speculation were carefully thought out to benefit everyone in the property game, from existing home owners, new home owners and even speculators. Only our supertalents are up to it to come out with such a perfect measure to correct the fiasco of yesterday. Then the abrupt curtailment of free bus services to the Integrated Resorts. The measures were timely and necessary and for the good of the people. The govt is in control of the whole situation and will tighten the noose when necessary or when the IR operators cross the line. Would the govt have let the free bus services to continue if the IR operators did not mention or promote anything related to the casinos but emphasising only the goodness and wholesomeness of the IRs? Are the two resorts meant to be for the family, wholesome activities where everyone from Ah Ma to Ah Soon can enjoy? Or the IRs were just cleverly disguised casinos with all its evils and should not be promoted to the hardlanders as wholesome family entertainment? I think the truth is out. The IRs are hideous highouts for gamblers. Keep the Singaporeans and their families away. No promotion to their attractions allowed. And no free buses from hardlanders. And the YOG was money well spent. I also think so. I remember one project where the towkay wanted everything to be the best and no one dare to say no to him. It also had the same result, everything was top notch, plus cost overrun. But then that project was on OPM. So didn't matter. Sylvia's question on why the cost was overran by 3 times was well explained by Vivian. Sylvia thought if the whole event cost $387 million, and the cost of the recording system and upgrading of the facilities already cost nearly $200m, the latter should not be too difficult to project . The reply was that we did not know that it was an international event and we needed a higher standard of everything when we knew that it was so. So the cost needed to be scaled up to meet the world standard expected of the event. Sounds very reasonable and convincing. Luckily they didn't provide food for the volunteers at international standard or the cost would blow a bit more. My overall assessment of yesterday's Parliament is that everyone was happy that they had a job well done. You could see that on their faces, full of confidence that everything is going well. It is good that they feel that way especially when the election is around the corner. Confidence means half the battle won.
Sylvia Lim is going to ask Kan Seng about employing non Singaporeans as security officers. To many, with the line between Singaporeans and foreigners being blurred, employing foreigners as security officers is just a commercial activity. Yes we also have the Gurkhas as a precedent. So nothing to sweat about. After all Singapore is now a country for everyone or anyone who is a talent and want to settle here. If they don’t, we may even want to force them to. For Singaporeans, the Sinkiputras who value this little piece of rock as their only home, seeing how it is being abused by the influx of foreigners is heart wrenching. Personally I will feel very pissed off if I return to my country and is being checked and queried by a foreigner. I hope no foreigners are being employed and deployed at our doors to check on Singaporeans. It is a very obnoxious and pungent thing to do. This is like asking foreigners who became Singaporeans and asked to defend the country. All you need is a few bad apples and many lives can be lost. Remember the case in Australia when two of our young men were murdered by a new citizen turned soldier? We accept foreigners on face value and with good intent. Do we know who they are and what they are in the first place, what is their intent? Yes Sylvia, please ask Kan Seng.
All it took was one resident(dunno citizen or PR) to complain and a zealous MP to raise an alarm, and the free bus service to the IR was stopped, immediately. Got to be careful here, is it free bus service to the IR or to the casino? Are the IR operators allowed to provide free transport to their customers? The casino is only a small part of the whole IR and most of the people taking free transport went to many other places except the casino. But one resident and one MP were enough to ruin the pockets and enjoyment of the majority of Singaporeans. Many low income children will now not have a chance to visit the IR as their parents cannot afford to pay for the expensive public transport. And fuck heads are claiming that this is progress, a great achievement! Why should one resident and one MP dictate the lives of millions of residents? Or why should 10,000 residents and 30 MPs deprive millions of residents from free transport? There were several theories for the mad rush to stop the free bus service. One is that the free service is eating into the businesses of other transport providers. Another reason is that it is election time, so must show that the govt is listening to the resident's complaints. ST correspondence, Elgin Toh commented that this is encouraging. The residents must complain more to get things done. If they don't agree with the govt policies, complain lah. I know someone is frowning. The little bird has two theories. One is that is it similar to the Aware saga where a small group of bigots try to impose their holier than thou values on the majority. They are against gambling and took the opportunity to stamp the free bus service. Think they will all go to heaven after chalking up such great merits in saving so many mindless Singaporeans from gambling. The second little bird theory is that this is a sign of political struggle from within. The IR was Hsien Loong's baby. And if this is too successful, he will get all the credit. And maybe one or two more IRs could be added. This cannot do. The IR cannot be allowed to be too successful. Quickly take the opportunity to kill the free bus service when he is away. This is just a bird theory, mind you. Free bus or no free bus, I have not taken a step nearer to both IRs. But I was planning to take the free bus to visit my island in the sun. Now I can't even do that for free. Shit to those holier than thou creatures! I hate minorities trying to impose their superficial superior values on the majority. It is good for you! Duh. My middle finger to you.
US plans massive arms sale to Saudi to counter Iran threat AFP - Tuesday, September 14SendIM StoryPrint. US plans massive arms sale to Saudi to counter Iran threat WASHINGTON (AFP) - – The United States plans to offer Saudi Arabia 60 billion dollars' worth of hi-tech fighters and helicopters to help counter the threat posed by Iran, in the largest ever US arms deal, officials said Monday. A senior defense official said President Barack Obama's administration would formally notify Congress this week or next about the groundbreaking deal, which follows months of talks with the Saudis, who are increasingly anxious about Iran's missile arsenal. "If you look at the kingdom, the major threat that they face in the region emanates from Iran," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters. "And this gives them a whole host of defensive capabilities to defend the kingdom and deterrence capabilities.".... The above news will bring comfort to the American arms merchants. After years of inciting tension and wars in the Middle East, it is bearing fruits. The Arabs are divided and poised to attack each other and buying arms is an indispensable alternative. This is a US$60b deal. Finally the Arabs have an avenue to spend their old money. Who says starting war is not a profitable business? Next big buyers on the list are Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Asean states.
In Malaysia, Bumiputra connotes privileges, special, govt protection and favours, a kind of prestigious badge to be worn for the advantages it came with. In Singapore, Sinkiputra, the original citizens from the day it gained independence in 1965, does not seem to be a badge of honour. It is more a badge of hindrance, heavy responsibilities and disadvantages. The advantages are on the side of the PRs and foreigners residing in the island. The non citizens more or less have the cake and eat it as well. While the Sinkiputras are burdened with 2 years of NS and another 20/25 years of reservist liabilities, the PRs and foreigners are earning their keeps happily with the knowledge that the country is safe and sound for them to live and make money. While the Sinkiputras lost two years of income, work experience, training and expertise, the non Sinkiputras are filling up their bank accounts, gaining work experience, training and expertise and lining up for promotion ahead of the Sinkiputras. While the Sinkiputras are saving madly to pay for a 99 year lease micky mouse flat, the non Sinkiputras are saving their money to buy their dream homes in their home countries, one that is 10 times bigger than the Sinkiputra’s and sitting on freehold land. While many Sinkiputras are depleting their savings to buy that precious little cars for a little convenience, the non Sinkiputras are dreaming of the limousines they will get when they go home. While the Sinkiputras have to squeeze with the non citizens in their world class public transportations, which they could travel in comfort otherwise, the non citizens are enjoying them when compared to what they had to put up with at home. While the Sinkiputras were educated not to litter public areas, to keep the country clean, the non Sinkiputras are trying their best to do otherwise. While most Sinkiputras are educated in world best local universities, when come to hirings, the foreigners from foreign universities, probably ranked lower and with lower grades, are preferred. What else are the Sinkiputras disadvantaged in their homeland when they are the sons of the land? What else? Who enjoys better privileges, Bumiputras or Sinkiputras? Oh, a few more points, Bumiputras are allowed to talk louder against non Bumiputras, even offending them at will. Sinkiputras are told to talk softer and be nicer to non Sinkiputras. Sinkiputras even funded events to make the non Sinkiputras feel at home, welcome. On the contrary, Bumiputras will tell the non bumiputras that they are orang tumpangan, and to go home if they are not happy. If only Sinkiputras are treated betterer, a bit like Bumiputras….
NSP announced to field 30 candidates in the next GE. This is an interesting piece of news. If NSP is confident of the number, then Workers Party and Reform Party could easily attract the same number if not more. And we have another few parties out there to add to the number. If this materialized, then there will be no walkovers anymore. You will have your chance to vote for your future. The moment has come to make your choice wisely. Some mishaps cannot be ruled out like parties disqualifying themselves by slipping on banana skins, or too many opposition candidates competing in the same wards and cancelling their own chances. That will be stupid. The voters can only hope that the petty disagreements among the alternative parties will not be in the way of the bigger mission, to get in as many opposition candidates into Parliament. The best hope is still the dark horse Reform Party. It has a clean slate and led by highly qualified professionals. They could attract equally qualified candidates to join them to present a solid party to the people. My gut feel is that many professionals and qualified people will run this time, sensing that the end is near. May the force be with the people and for the good of the people.
From the conversation of a group of Yuppies, one cannot help but get the sense of betrayal. Yes, they felt being betrayed by their own govt and govt policies. They were young, talented and upwardly mobile, earning good money, too good that it becomes a liability. There are many young professionals who are earning more than $5k pm, some much more. They served their NS diligently and dutifully without expecting anything. It was just a service to the country as expected of every healthy young man. Their sin was not to find a partner and get married sooner. They delayed their matrimonial pursuits to carve a niche in their professions. And when property prices shot through the roof, they found themselves out of the HDB scheme and must pay a robber’s ransom for a small private flat. Some tried, but because of the small supply and slow down in building programme, they ended without a flat, and their salaries exceeded the HDB ceiling. And they are the local talents, the future leaders and captains of their industries. Many ended up renting and paying through their noses because govt policy forbids them from buying HDB. They could buy private but why pay so much for so little? Private properties may be peanuts to some but terribly expensive to the prudent. What would happen to them? Is it unnatural for them to feel betrayed? Where other Singaporeans are given two bites of the cherry, when new citizens are also entitled to two bites of the cherry, why are they not even entitled to one? They are the talented children but feeling unwanted and becoming victims of the system. Is this how we reward our very own children?
The western reporters could only quip that the Chines furore over the Diaoyutai Incident is about face saving. These are the only two words that they knew over the centuries of reporting about China. Other vocabularies include Chinese are inscrutable, good housekeepers, good cook for chop suey and laundrymen. The arrest of the Chinese fishing boat captain by the Japanese in the disputed Diaoyutai Island harks back to the days of Unequal Treaties. The island was wrestled from China at the Treaty of Shimonoseki. China than was a weak nation in the dying days of the Qing Dynasty. It went further down as the Sick Man of Asia after repeated raids and territorial aggression by the Western Powers and Japan. In the days of gunboat diplomacy, might is right. The Japanese told the Chinese then that they deserved to be attacked and defeated because the Chinese were weak. Yes, weakness was sexy and tempting. And Japan and the Western Powers raped and invaded China, and extorted all kinds of war reparations and ceding of Chinese territories and concessions. Diaoyutai was one of the islands ceded to Japan. Taiwan was ruled by Japan for several decades. So was Korea. History has come full circle. The difference is that China has the power of balance in its favour now. Japan may still think that it is a great imperial power and could do what it did to China all over again. It is in for a rude surprise. The Chinese, including the Koreans, are ready to take back whatever they lost to the Japanese during Imperial Japan. The stupid westerners can only think of Chinese face. They refused to acknowledge the days of humiliation, aggression and Unequal Treaties when China had to give up its wealth and land, and islands. Today China is strong enough to stand up to the aggressors and will demand the return of all lands taken from old China. They will do it on the negotiating table and will use the gun only if necessary. Japan want a war with China, with the US backing? The Chinese will meet the Japanese and Americans in the battle field. This time it is not a ragtag army of ill equipped peasant soldiers carrying only rifles and small arms. The Chinese military is in a position to take on the most advanced military power in the world today. Japan is chicken feed. Of course the militant Japanese will think otherwise, that they are capable of invading China once more. They want to return to the days of Imperial glory. The show has just started.
Two international conglomerates invested in more than $12b in the two integrated resorts with casinos as the major component in their business model. No matter how we tried to deceive ourselves, how to disguise them in all kinds of grandiose terms, the two integrated resorts would never be built without the casinos. And the casino concept was relented, accepted, despite the negative aspects associated with it, for there are many benefits too that would come along. They became operational at a time when the world was hit by a financial crisis and economic slowdown. They brought along a lot of jobs and investments, prior to their openings and after that. And more jobs and business opportunities are opening up because of these two ‘demons’ in the temple of god. Construction industry booms, tourism booms, meetings and conventions, and many supporting businesses sprang up because of them. Many people found jobs. And now because a few children complained, because a few whiter than white or holier than thou voices were raised in the right places, the operators of the casinos and their business partners are troubled, and their business plans and arrangements in disarray, looking so evil. Are we real in curbing the free buses from the hardlands? Do we really believe that stopping the buses will stop hardland gamblers going to the casinos and save these people from the harm of gambling? The only people that will stop going to the resorts/casinos are the occasional gamblers. The serious gamblers will be there. Their lives have changed the moment the govt decided on the casinos. The saving of $2 from free buses are not going to be in the calculations of people intent to gamble. The stopping of the free bus services hurt more of the casual visitors going to the resorts, the families going to the resorts, the retirees who could enjoy a few free rides, the general public who are going to the island or Marina Bay other than the casinos. Gamblers will not be deterred by not having free buses. The $100 levy is already a big deterrent, and the age limit. So what is all the fuss about, and the urgency, as if the sky is falling down if nothing is done, immediately? Hsien Loong is away and may not know what is going on. Would he reverse this panic decision and reinstate the free bus services? He was the one who gave the green light to the casinos. Minor irritations like free buses are not going to look good on him. The two big investors may abide quietly by the sudden change of regulations. What would they be thinking? What would other potential investors be thinking? What kind of place is this paradise? Are there really angels guarding this place and the goody residents sip tea, sing hymns and recite the gospels as past times, and pray to god day in and day out? Isn’t this a fun place, a place of action and excitement, entertainment, boozing and free mating? I have been living in this place all my life and I think the lives of the people are as colourful and complex as any big city, other than a few hypocrites. The sinful and pleasurable activities permeate every level of society for all I know. No? Then I must be imagining. Or I am not AWARE of the good side? The gamblers will still be at the casinos. The brickbats will come from those who want free buses to the resorts. They will be really pissed off by the few holies. Some are asking aloud why should kids decide what is good for them and what is not? Would this result in more anger votes? I am sure there are more humans than holies walking around in paradise.
Incurring the wrath of god is a bad thing in Sin City. The Sintizens need to be protected from evil and temptations. No one shall tempt the Sintizens into sin. The edict came down swift and fast. Not a moment shall be lost. No buts. Just stop promoting evil. And so the free bus services to the casinos or integrated resorts ceased immediately. No grace period was needed to unwind for a matter so serious as sin. Bus operators, casino operators just have to bear with the edict and take their losses. Free loaders taking the free buses would have to find their way home. If they had no money, thinking that they could take the free buses home, walk or do anything to get home. The decision is not about pragmatism or profit making. It is about goodness versus evil. The bus operators and casino operators losing their investments is of no concern. Now that it is official that gambling is not allowed nor encouraged among Sintizens, especially the hardlanders, I can expect the act of cleansing will go down further to make it real and complete. And it cannot be a half hearted measure or it will look hypocritical. Phase Two could see the eradicating of gambling booths in the hardlands. No more toto, 4D, football bettings, horse racings in the hardlander's neighbourhood. No one shall be allowed to tempt the hardlanders into gambling, all kinds of gambling. Phase Three should see the termination of online trading in shares. This is even worst than going to the casinos. It is bringing the casinos into the homes where adults and children all can play together. I mean gamble together. It is so convenient, free bus or no free bus, gambling is now available in the bed room, living room, study room and even in the toilet. Isn't this disgusting? To be real, to be really caring, to protect the Sintizens from gambling and indulging in sin, Phase Two and Phase Three must be enacted too, as immediate as the termination of free bus services. What about Phase Four, cleansing of Joo Chiat and Geylang? Maybe they are ok, as long as they don't bring the sleaze to the hardlanders. These unthinking hardlanders must be protected. They can't look after themselves and easily succumb to sin and temptation. God bless the citizens of Sin City.
1. Young couples who been saving to buy that flat but still cannot buy because the price has gone beyond their means. 2. Because unable to get flat, put off marriage. Some ended up quarrelling and breaking off with their potential spouses. 3. Because no flat means delay in childbirth. Sometimes delay too long could lead to infertility. 4. For those who managed to get their flats, they could be made to cough out another $100k or more, which means slaving for the next 10 years all for nothing, just to pay for the flats. 5. Because of the small supply, some may have unsuccessful in too many ballotings and ended being booted out of the HDB schemes when their salaries exceeded the ceiling. 6. Some may ended up with no flats as the private flats were beyond their means. People have different commitments and responsibilities to their families and the balance of a $8k or $10k salary may be insufficient to buy private properties. 7. Those who could buy a private property could end up steep in debt because of the high loans. 8. Parents agonised over their children unable to buy HDB flats and may have to share the burden by emptying their retirement funds. 9. The pressure of getting a flat could result in many family quarrels, frictions and breakups. Of course the culprits causing all the hardship to the people would not know or not wanting to know about these consequences. All they did was telling the affected to downgrade their expectations, buy within your means. Some may be able to down grade but some can't. How could those who were planning to buy 3 rm flats downgrade further when HDB don’t even build 2 rm flats? How could those booted out from the HDB schemes and could not afford to pay for private flats downgrade to? Can’t afford private flats and HDB refuses to sell them? Isn’t that wicked? Not criminal enough? And the foreigners and new citizens walked in happily and buy direct from HDB or buying resale to jack up the price further. Good heavens, I would like to strip the pants of the jokers and give them a few strokes of the rotan.
They are fuming mad at Resort World Sentosa for providing free buses to the little tropical paradise. I don’t believe that providing free services can incur such a wrath from the holies. Ok, there is nothing free under the sun. We don’t believe in freebies or anything can be free. Actually they are against luring the poor unthinking masses to gaming, or gambling to sound callous. How can RWS encourage the poor people to gamble in their casinos? I heard that at least 60% are going there to enjoy the resort and not to gamble. And many are retirees who probably can’t even afford to pay the $100 entry fee. So what the fuss is all about? Is it the gesture, the act of luring people there and they will be tempted to enter the casino? Or is it an act of providing free transportation that is intolerable? With the $100 entry levy, I would think that it will be prohibitive enough to keep the poor out of the casino. And those who can afford to pay the levy surely can afford to lose. So no need to worry lah. Now go back to your prayer rooms. Still something must be done. No need to carry the stick to force people from getting on the free buses. Just make them sign an undertaking not to go to RWS to gamble. Can or not? If not good enough, check their pockets and make them declare that they did not bring more than $100 to Sentosa. That should fix them from entering the casino. Now they will be saved, protected from evil. For added safety measures, to prevent people from gambling, please close all the toto outlets in the hardlands and supermarkets. Please also tell the stock exchange not to operate through lunch hours with no lunch breaks. And no online trading. The latter is encouraging gambling even in the homes. No need free buses, can gamble in the bedroom, kitchen and toilet, with a laptop. I think I have brought out many good ideas to be raised in house of gods on how not to encourage gambling.
'The Labour's main purpose is to serve the people' - Julia Gillard, PM Australia. Am I dreaming? Is she stupid or what? Maybe she is being naively idealist. If she is to stick to her serving people idealism, Australia will continue to lag behind other developed countries. If she wants to lead Australia to become the most properous nation, be Number One, be betterer than America, she will need to change her tack. She must rule Australia and tell the Australians it is for their own good. Australia needs a heavy dose of pragmatism in govt. A govt that knows what is good for Australia, and just do it. The people may be unhappy, may complain repeatedly, but they will continue to vote for a govt that will bring them progress. Promise them growth of 15% annually. Promise to double the value of their assets. Promise them that they will all own their properties, the size of Singapore's Istana each. How could the Australians refuse such prosperity? How to get there? Have an open door immigration policy and bring in the best talents money can buy. Not the prostitutes, maids, cleaners or construction workers. Be selective. A 15% growth in quality population will easily give Australia the 15% growth promised or more. Then play the property card. Build as many properties as possible and sell to the Australians. Then let free market forces to inflate their prices and all Australians will not only be property owners, but millionaires too with million dollar properties. Be ambitious and let the population grow to 200m. Then build an armed force as powerful as Singapore. Oops, I mean America. And be the number one superpower to replace America. And all they need is to pay their ministers top salaries. I think they can afford to pay more than what Singapore is paying and get the best talents to be in govt. All it costs the Aussies is 3 pieces of kangaroo meat per Aussie. And if they still cannot find the talents, they can always look to Singapore for help. I am sure we will have all the talents they want. Australia can be the number one superpower with the richest economy and the richest people. All it needs are some pragmatic policies. Forget about serving the people. Run the country, rule the people. That is the real formula for success. Always believe that the people are mindless and needed to be led and governed for their own good. PS. Matilah will be pleased with my suggestions. Borderless world, no restriction to immigrants, 'free' market economy, meritocracy....He is the ideal candidate to be Gillard's advisor from the red dot. He has all the experience and qualifications for the job: )
Mah Bow Tan has announced that he would be using the 6.5m figure for planning purposes. Just planning only lah! I think he used 5.5m in his earlier plans and we have seen the great results. Flats get smaller and more expensive among other things. And there were huge distortions in supply and demands for public housing. Let’s see if he can do better this time and not caught by surprises again. My big surprise is that they have a planning department doing planning. What would 6.5m do to our infrastructure? I visited a friend in Hougang, in a small corner that was left with a few landed properties. Around them were high rise HDB flats that made their existence look so small and out of place. There were many low rise properties in the area, but no more. And I think the few left will be no more soon. That will be the fate of low rise properties if our population growth is unrestraint, or coveting that 6.5m target. When it is hit, they will be thinking of 10m. It will never end. In the not too distant future we can expect that they will have to downsize the Istana as well. Perhaps build an Istana on top of some new pinnacles like the Noah’s Ark on top of Marina Bay Sands. But before that, all the landed properties in District 9, 10 and 11 will have to make way. How else can the island keep on taking in more people? I am asking a silly question. HDB flats can also be downsized to 500 sq ft. After all the family size is getting smaller and with some choosing not to multiply. And one of the things that we can do in approving future citizens is to pick them according to size to fit into our micky mouse flats. Only those below 5 ft tall qualify to become new citizens. I am just talking about the consequence of space. There are many areas that will have to face the brunt of this 6.5m nonsense. Ha, I am talking nonsense again. We have plenty of space to build on, above and below, and land reclamation. Do Singaporeans have a say in the making of their country? Can the elected govt do anything it thinks fit without the consent of the people? In crucial matters like this 6.5m thing, Singaporeans must take a stand. Everyone has a stake in the well being of this country, for themselves and their children. No one shall be given the power to do whatever he wants to the country. The country belongs to all the citizens. If this is a bad thing, Singaporeans must stand up and say no.
"On housing, Mr Goh acknowledged that the surge of immigrants in 2007 and 2008 caught the Government by surprise. But the Government had not stopped them from coming because the booming economy needed workers. Mr Goh also acknowledgedthe National Development Ministry 'did not provide for the sudden surge' in its housing plans." The above was reported in the ST on 7 Sep 10. I may be caught by surprises every other day. It is a normal occurrence for an ordinary mortal to be hit by the unexpected in daily life. But for a top talent whose bread and better is to plan ahead, plan for all eventualities, to be pro active, is it inexcusable to be caught by surprise? That’s what they are being paid for. Ok, there can be exceptions as we are not god, and there are acts of gods that are difficult to prepare for. Was the influx of immigrants unpredictable, an act of god? They swarm onto our shores overnight? Were their needs for housing surprising, so difficult to anticipate? I am really surprised that top talents, being paid top dollars were taken by surprise by such events. It is unlike a thunderbolt that can strike anywhere anytime. Now, is there anything else that is surprising? This is how many mortals would have reacted to all the surprising comments. On the other hand, look at the admissions as a sign of humility. You don’t get this kind of things happening often. Yes the election is around the corner. It is still an admission that, well, they are not gods or immortals after all. Let’s be kinder and accept their confessions of not being on top of the problems. You people don’t be like dat can? Let’s be more gracious and look at things in the proper perspective. PS. An interesting point to view this admission is that Mah Bow Tan will be the sacrificial lamb to take the heat off the party, and will not run in the next GE. Anyone want to put a wager on this?
We are so rich now that throwing up a number like $1b seems nothing. And what can $1b buy? A signalling system for the MRT to get the trains travel faster and to move people faster. That's all. What can $1b do to SBS Transit? For one, they have ordered 600 brand new and 'all environmentally friendly and Euro V compliant' buses at a total cost of $268m! $1b could actually buy 2000 of such modern buses for the road. The signalling system better be worth the money.
We religiously laud and preach our great beginnings as an immigrant country and how this great phenomenon has done us well. There is no doubt that immigrants can contribute to the growth of the country. There is also no doubt that a country that depends mainly on its own indigenous population could also reach the stars. And there is no doubt that both have their weaknesses and consequences to bear with. After 45 years of independence or nearly 200 years of very loose immigration policies, taking 1819 as the starting point, are we getting anywhere as a nation of people with our own identity and a people that would root for this land and call it home? Prior to 1965, there was no concerted or conscious effort to build a country by the govts of the day. We were more like a frontier town existing only to serve the needs of the power that be, and building a country was the last thing in their minds. 1965 was the real beginning to establish a country with its own people from a collection of immigrants. A society of immigrants is but a transient society. A country of immigrants is a nation in the making. Could we have done better and be nearer to that goal, that we are a nation? Officially the position is that we are still a work in progress. We even have doubts that we are a nation. Pathetic isn’t it? So much for all the nation building campaigns, effort and education. So much for a flag and a pledge and National Day Celebration. Today we are just about in the same square as we were in 1965. Many of the things that we have been made to believe in, our social habits and social norms, even identity, are disintegrating and need reeducation and reinforcement. We are diluted by the large presence of foreigners in our midst. And it is believe that this is good. A lot of oomphs! This immigrant mentality, is it for real, for perpetuity? Are we going to enshrine this formula of having foreigners in large numbers at all times, 30 years, 100 years or more? The first victim of such a strategy is nationhood. We will forever be trying to get there but never will. We will be a transient society, a transient people, a nation that never will be. Every generation will be new, vibrant, hungry and dynamic, but not knowing who their forbears were or what were their histories. There will be no ownership, people come and go, buy and sell everything for instant gratifications. Maybe one day they just hold a referendum and sell everything away. Without a national identity, without a people who believe in this place, with everyone thinking that immigrants are good, how can there be a soul, how can there be a nation of people? Maybe statehood or nationhood will become irrelevant in the future.
We are going to force some PRs to take up citizenship or they will have to leave. What is this? Is this a solution to the overcrowding problem? Is this a solution to the citizen versus non citizen problem? What is this trying to achieve? What were the people unhappy or angry about? Would this solve the congestion problem, the over crowded trains, the high property prices, the NS angst? The govt is going to select from among the PRs, some, presumably the good ones, to become citizens or forced to be citizens. From the word go this is a no go. In the first place these must be the really super talents that we want. And they know, and they also know that they can go elsewhere. And if their hearts are not here, not wanting to be citizens, who are we going to get? Or what are we going to lose? I think we can live with the PRs here. The unhappiness is the overall number, too big a population in too small a piece of rock. In fact it will be better to have PRs than to have them as citizens. I would say, keep them as PRs, but make the distinction and privileges between PRs and citizens clearer and betterer for the citizens. There are many reasons why we should not force people to become citizens. We only want the numbers, the head counts, and their labour and skill for economic growth. Citizenship is a different commitment, an emotional and psychological one. You mean we cannot differentiate that? And forcing people, forcing the issue, is that the only thing that we are good at? My goodness!
The new measures to curb property speculation has raised the voice of the disadvantaged to their needs. Before this, it was always the voice of the big developers calling the shot, the voice of the speculators telling how successful they were in investing in properties, and the voice of some corners praising the virtues of free market forces, and the govt cannot to anything about it. There are more people writing to the forum to express their support of the new measures. The reason is simple. Housing is a basic need and can be a very serious problem in land scarce Singapore. Leaving it to the fictitious market forces will make the rich very rich and the less well to do in big trouble if they miscalculated or missed the chance to buy a place to stay. It could mean slogging for 10 or 20 years all for nothing. Would the govt review its fundamental assumptions on housing for the people, as a speculative investment instrument, to ensure that all Singaporeans be given a chance to buy a HDB flat? Starting with a HDB flat is the first stepping stone to many Singaporeans who don't have the privilege of wealthy parents buying properties for them in advance. The govt has a duty and obligation to see that no Singaporean is cut off from the HDB route. There is no need to butter the bread of developers on both sides. There is no need to make sure that private property prices must always go up. The top priority is to provide every Singaporean a roof over their heads, at an affordable price according to the buyers' ability, not some joker's private definition. The public housing sector must be separated from the private sector where everything goes. The public housing is the backbone of this country and its people. Breaking this backbone will undermine the social structure and well being of the people and country. The disadvantaged, the losers, the not so well endowed, cannot be thrown into the deep end with the sharks, the speculators and the super rich. They simply cannot compete. The govt cannot shirk this responsibility if it is to be the govt of the people and for the people.
Those who are complaining about not being able to buy that flat or house, not enough car parks, crowded MRTs, are victims of our own success. Think about those who are struggling to make ends meet, can't even afford to take MRTs and put things in perspective. There are people who are in much worst situation than the grouses and complaints in the media. Or think about Africa, then we will know how lucky we are. I would like to look at these problems from another angle, the people who caused all these problems. We cannot just blame the people who are complaining. Sure there are some who are responsible for their own plights. Some were lesser endowed and unable to compete or do the normal things and were left behind. We need to stare hard at those creators of the problems. In many cases, the problem creators are very well paid for their jobs, and should not be creating problems for the people. These are the people that need to think a little about the people who are hurt by their decisions. The fare hike is one issue. Though many can very well afford the few cents increases, there are some who really cannot. Why don't the decision makers take them into consideration? don't they care, or they just want a simple solution that gives them the mostest returns? Insufficient car parks? Who created the problem? Blame it on the people's success? Or do the decision makers think that each family shall only can only own one car? This is the same mentality as those who decided to build HDB flats smaller. They want to own more cars, want to live in big mansions themselves. But when they look at the miserable people, they dictated that they should have the bare minimum and be done with it. So we don't have enough car parks and living in little mickey mouse flats. And why are we having all these housing problems? The problems caused by itself or the people are causing the problems? Nay, it is bad policies one after another. It is bad decisions one after another. The latest case of unhappiness is the NSRA. It was all unnecessary if a little more thought is put into it. But it was a rash and arrogant decision to write off a few hundred thousand ex NS men with total disregard to their feelings. It only needs 5% of them to be unhappy enough to be vocal, we will have a bad problem at hand. So, shall we tell the people to count their blessings and stop complaining when jokers keep creating problems for the people?
At the rate our population is growing, Stop At Two policy will make a come back not too far in the future. Be it 6.5m or 10m, it will be hit in no time. And looking at the rate of congestion everywhere, in public transport, on the road, competing for services, school places, I think we will hit the limit much quickerer than we hit 6.5m. And when that breaking point is reached, there will be strong pressure to limit population increases. No more space for anymore heads. We could also hit a major financial crisis when the world economy turns into a tail spin. Companies go bust, jobs lost, huge unemployment. We will be in a similar position as the British pull out in early 1970s. A new NS for women may be introduced to absorb the jobless. Population restraining measures will also come in. Stop At Two v2.01 will be enforced. Third child will face discrimination in all fronts. No priority in schooling or medical benefits. It may come sooner than you think. Many things will come in full circle.
For those who are earning million dollar incomes, they could conveniently brush aside the $9000 NSRA. What is $9000 when they are swimming in a pool of money? There is a different story for those who are sleeping on a piece of mat. A letter to the Today forum today highlighted the angst of the lesser beings that drooled at the chance of touching that miserable $9000 to some. It was about the earlier batches of NS men, a 60 year old who has nothing much left after bring up his children and thinking of what that $9000 could mean to him. I know that the elite would laugh at such desires of the have nots. It is indeed a different world out there. This NSRA case is a manifestation of how people with different means would look at issues from a very different perspective. I wonder if the award distribution would be different if the decision makers were people that are less well off. Yes, it is a case of hawker centre, food court or restaurant mentality. We can sneer at those who only think hawker centre and salivate at the sight of a plate of kway teow while the regular restaurant customers would snub at a bowl of sharks fin that have too little fins in it. Politicians must think like a politician and look at the electorate at large.
M1 put out an advert with a double page spread of a Singapore map taken from a satellite. It was a very clear map on the state of development or build up of the island. Other than the catchment areas around the reservoirs, we are as good as 90% fully built. There were a few scattered plots of land left which could be taken up in no time. Finish! Where do we go from here? It is clear that the next big phase of development will be down under or destroy and rebuild. All the land with lowly built properties would be next to be mowed down to ground zero and new pinnacles will take their places. That's a good way to realise the value of all the little precious land we got. And we can then sell them away to make more money to be kept in our reserves or to invest overseas. Investing in overseas is a great way to grow our wealth. Each plot of our land is worth a hundred or thousand times what we can get in other parts of the world. By trading ours to the rich investors, we should be able to buy up land that are hundreds or thousand times what we have sold. Then we can have scattered colonies all over the whole and we can call them the Greater Singapore. All we need is a little more focus and planning and not to buy anything that did not fall into this Greater Singapore Plan. We can then become a bigger country: )
'...for male citizens, NS obligations have the highest priority, ahead of studies and personal reasons,.... Judge V K Rajah Goh Khim Siong was jailed for four months for evading NS. The importance of NS and how it affects the personal life of all male citizens cannot be understated. Goh Khim Siong had been deferring his NS to complete his studies, to look after his parents and brothers, cut no ice and was jailed for 4 months before starting his NS from scratch. This is how serious this obligation to the country is. No one should trifle or rubbish this obligation as just a passing phase in life. The NSRA is just a token to this heavy responsibility and tedious constitutional commitment. What the govt can do is to make this sweeter by tying it to the right to purchase a HDB flat for all NS men who have completed his NS liability. With housing becoming so 'AFFORDABLE' to some jokers but so unafforable to many NS men, the linkage will make NS much more palatable and meaningful. The NS men will be more committed to serve the country and to defend his home. At least he has something to fight for and to defend for.
There is no quarrel that in many fields and ways of life we have done exceedingly well, and surpassed many of the western countries. The danger is that we may get carried away by our successes, be complacent or be lost in chasing the wrong goals. The blind and unquestioning pursuit of material wealth and physical comfort, and the madness in chasing for more money and more money could lead us into an abyss. The citizens who are concerned about the long term viability of this country, the quality of life, must speak out and shout, scream, if things are turning bad. We cannot let some silly buggers to tell us that we must achieve Tokyo's infamous mass transport cram as the ultimate goal of having arrived. That is a bad example of success. It is regression. Let no fools utter or compare our transport system with Tokyo as a yardstick of the best in the first world. Let no fools compare Hongkong's property prices and be gratified that ours are cheap. Let no fools think that living in micky mouse flats or coffin size boxes is a new lifestyle, desirable lifestyle, because some countries are doing it. We must set our own criteria on what is good and gracious living for our people and consciously set out to achieve them. The govt should stop degrading the people's quality of life by building ever smaller flats and ever higher prices. Our medical cost is daylight robbery but still cheaper than the West. This is deadly. How many hardlanders have $30k cash, or $50k, $200k, or more, to be ready to be robbed in privatised govt hospitals? The citizens cannot be robbed by a system at a time when they have no choice to act otherwise. The obnoxious medical fees, hospitalisation fees must be curbed. Don't ask me how unless you want to pay me to do it. We have the best paying jobs in govt. Even an ordinary minister will earn more than the President of USA or the Prime Minister of UK or Japan. We must get the best from the best paid ministers. No buts. No more comparing with Africa or third world countries and say we are betterer. We must compare with the best and their best as our standard of goodness and achievements. Are we being too demanding? Or should we be complacent and leave things the way they are going, and be like the proverbial three monkeys?
The latest statistics show that there are 3.2m Singaporeans to 1.8m foreigners in the island. In the trains, probably for every 10 commuters 6 are foreigners. Though the Singaporeans are technically still a majority, in many other counts Singaporeans are already a minority here. For the 3.2m, I am not sure how many are new citizens who were foreigners a few days or a few months ago. And in the trains, Singaporeans are definitely a minority. So what is this call for Singaporeans to integrate foreigners to our society and way of life? It should be the other way round when Singaporeans are a minority. At the rate it is going, soon Singaporeans will be an absolute minority here and have to integrate themselves to the foreigners way of life. It must be a good thing for the well being of country and Singaporeans to plunge into this situation with eyes wide shut. One puzzling phenomenon, where are the foreigners hiding, or living? In Orchard Road or Bukit Timah and Tanglin? It is not possible that for every 5 HDB flats 2 are occupied by foreigners. Where are they other than those living in the workers dormitories? Oh, some jokers will compare with Bahrain and say look, they have 80% foreigners there and very happy about it. So we are still far from being overwhelmed! We can do much more and have more foreigners here.
The NSmen Award may not be well thought out as it totally disregard the hundreds of thousands of reservists that have completed their NS liabilities. Brushing them aside with a stroke of the pen is the most insensitive thing to do. I would thought it would be more amiable to reduce the budget for those currently serving and apportion a little to those who have done their duties diligently without complaining. A token sum of a couple of thousand dollars could have soothe the nerves and avoid a backlash from those who were summarily dismissed from the award. That is only one part of the problem. Compare to the measures to curb property speculation and runaway prices, the NSmen Award is nothing. A whole list of complaints and grievances are going to be poured out by those affected. Just wait and see. A trickle has started in the ST forum. The broad strokes are going to anger many who are caught by the sudden measures which were anything but brunt instruments. After having created such a big mess for so long, and affecting so many innocent home owners and potential home owners, Rip Van Winkle suddenly realized that he had overslept and jumped up to catch a train, knocking everyone and everything in his path. When the problem is so huge and turns into a Gordian Knot, being denied, a hurriedly push out remedy is likely to create more unhappiness. That’s what I think it will generate.
In the days of the 50s and 60s, the tongs and triad activities were high. They ran the country’s business world parallelled to the limited presence of the police force. They were quite successful and were part and parcel of life. They had their ways to gain acceptance by the communities, rightfully or wrongly. They had their own modus operandi, from thugs to saviours. They brought along peace and order in an otherwise chaotic society. Of course they were the bullies and took advantage of the people whenever they could, for their own benefits. They disturbed the businesses, from street hawkers to shopkeepers. They harassed the operators and workers. They threatened them as well as their customers. Things were broken, shops broken into, electrical and water supplies damaged, fires were often encountered. Robberies and theft and whatever that gave no peace to businesses. Then, with the situation grinding to a point of near collapse, help was needed to restore order and stability. The village or kampong headmen would invite the gangsters to help. And what else could happen if the devils stopped playing punks? The gangsters became the heroes, for saving the villages and kampongs of their problems. How would the villages know that their problems were caused by the same gangsters they appointed to help? So the devil became the saviour. They were honoured and given their dues. That was how the gangsters claimed credits for undoing their own dirty works. The formula, create a mess, chaos, problems for everyone, everyone crying for help, then step in like a knight in shining armour. Always work.