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10/31/2010

‘Best losers’ guaranteed seats in Parliament

In his dialogue with NTU students, Chok Tong told them that our Constitutions have been tweaked to guarantee that the ‘best losers’ in a general election will still get to Parliament. At present 9 seats were provided for the losers. Is this a concession, a grace or an effective alternative to having opposition members in Parliament? What is the purpose of having oppositions in Parliament? Personally I do not want to be represented by losers, and definitely not losers that cannot vote when serious issues are at stake. Maybe other people will disagree with me on this. Some may just want to have an alternative voice in Parliament and whether they can vote on issues is not important. Some Singaporeans are smart enough to just want a voice but not to oppose the policies or rock the boat. A little kpkb in Parliament to let out some steam should be enough. After all the govt is doing a very good job and let’s not be too serious in having opposition members in Parliament. There is no need for real oppositions. Consider this as a pragmatic view from some corners of the masses. How many really feel it this way? If they do, then the govt has read the ground well. They may even provide more seats for more losers, as long as they cannot vote. But if this is not the desire of the people, would it make any difference in the coming election? Or would the next general election be a watershed election in more than one ways? Who needs losers by the way?

And we thought George Bush Jr was crazy

The woman was invited to the East Asia summit In Hanoi. Before she even warmed her seat she declared that she was the leader of the summit and she was taking over. And she lectured the Asian leaders on how their territorial disputes should be resolved, in her ways of course. Then she strapped a magnum .457 in between her tights, tugged another behind the back of the Japanese PM and turned to tell the Chinese that she had appointed herself as the mediator for the China Japan island dispute. She did not think the Asian leaders were capable of handling their own affairs and only she has the wisdom and leadership to lead them and solve their problems. The Empire strikes back with a joker. In an era when war between the two superpowers is obsolete, both nuclear and conventional, the Empire can no longer threaten China with the use of force. The silly war games of beach landing belong to the 20th century. Today, any hostile ships within a 200 miles radius of China will be sunk, the bigger the easier. This applies to aircraft as well. The immense fire and destructive power, the sophistication and accuracy of modern weaponry have made war a no option. War is only possible when there is a disproportionate balance of military strength between the two protagonists. Iraq is a good example. China should stand firm and not allow the evil Empire to dictate terms and think that it still controls the world. China should make it know that its territories taken by foreign forces through unequal treaties must be returned, that it will not honoured any treaties signed under coercion during the days of gunboat diplomacy. It is too polite to use such a term. It was a time of gangsterism in international relations when big powers plundered the weaker nations by threats of wars or wars. The injustice should be made right by the light of justice.

10/30/2010

Turning greed on its head

Half a billion is small change to him. When people are buying fast cars as a hobby, he is buying football clubs. That is what money can do when you have enough of it. Peter Lim did not get his Liverpool Football Club. It could be a blessing in disguise. He has just acquired Thomson Medical Centre for half a billion bucks. This in all sense is a much more meaningful buy. And he could make it more meaningful to himself and to the people in the streets. Peter Lim is getting close to a state like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, though still far away, but he could still uttered, huh, another $500m profit, what shall I do with it? He is comfortable enough that another half a billion is not going to make him a different person or to excite him. So what is he going to do with his new acquisition? To make more profits, to live the Singapore ethos that profit is everything, or to live the Gecko mantra that greed is good? Could he turn the Medical Centre into an institution to benefit the people at large? Medical cost is spiralling up like housing prices. Of course it need not be if there is less greed. Here we have a man who does not need any more small change of half a billion. He could be another philanthropist in the making. What Singapore need is a no frill hospital to serve the people without breaking their bank account for every admission. We need a hospital to make a point that medical and hospitalisation fees need not keep going to the sky. Would Peter Lim answer to this higher calling, that making money and more money is not the only reason to live? That money shall be made to good use, that one’s good fortune can be share with the common folks and the less fortunate. No one is going to begrudge him should he take the conventional path, to turn it into another successful business enterprise, and making more money for himself. And one day he will join Gates and Buffett, to give the money away because he just have too much of it.

10/29/2010

Temasek Review, New Temasek Review

I thought Temasek Review has changed its name to New Temasek Review. I am pleasantly surprised to see the original name reappears again. This is a good sign.

The USAS

The hysterics were unbecoming. Who would expect the Australians to behave like third world countries and kpkb just because some entrepreneurs saw a good opportunity to raise their bets in the merger of the two stock exchanges? The Australians are behaving and jumping around like some of our neighbours, rearing the ugly xenophobic face of little townfolks. Can any of the politicians see any good in the merger? The benefits that can spew out of this venture are tremendous for both sides. For Singapore it is obvious. We can break out from the constraints of a little dot with Australia as our hinterland. We can proceed from here towards a greater economic and social integration, a kind of United States of Australia and Singapore. Of course, political integration is something that we shouldn't talk about at the moment. This will release a lot of pressure from our system, particularly the constraints of land, which is self inflicted in the first place. More Singaporeans can move on to the big island and relieve the pressure in the property bubble. Provided the thick heads did not stuff in more foreigners here to replace them and everything back to normal. Our dependent on food supply will be solved with the agricultural products from Oz. The advantages are enormous and can fill the pages of a library. Same for Australia. We will help Australia to effectively plug itself into Asia, as a member or extended member of Asean. The dynamism of this little dynamo can be infectious, and together with the liquidity here, it will be boom town Charlie for Australia. Growth will be everywhere, in all sectors. The Aussies can continue with their laidback lifestyle and enjoy the boom while the Sinkies will do the donkey work for them in developing this big island. Win win huh. The USAS is still the longer term goal and not far fetch. Australia, New Zealand and Singapore have been cooperating for 40 years in the 5 Nation Defence Pact. We have a similar history and colonial system, and colonial mentality. I think Singaporeans would welcome the chance to sing God Save the Queen once more. And Peter Lim can buy Liverpool and be welcomed as one of time. In fact we can buy up all the British football Clubs as well, once we become a part of Australia. Then we can bring the English Premier League to play in the Golden Triangle of Singapore, England and Australia. The possibilities are unimaginable, starting from just this humble begining of a ASX-SGX merger. Think about it mate.

10/28/2010

Obama and his new hunting dogs

I read in the New York Times that Obama has acquired three new dogs to do his bidding and will use them, together with Japan, to contain China's growing influence. The eager beavers are so elated after being wined and dined in the White House and being 'consulted' by the Empire that they are thinking that they are part of the Empire. Other containment efforts by Obama, despite the empty Treasury and a mountain of debt, are the expansion of military base infrastructure in Guam in the Pacific Ocean and the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The beefing of all these military bases serves only one purpose, to entrench America's presence in the guise of defending the free world, but actually to contain China and protect American interest. There is a neo colonialist agenda in the American Administration and the old colonies, British, Dutch, French or Americans, were jsut too happy to be part of it. Asia can expect heighten tension and possibly proxy wars between America and China, but with the two protagonists looking from the sideline. And smaller Asian countries will gear up to kill each other or at least spend more on American weapons to provide more employment for the Americans.

$8 for a heart bypass!

Khaw Boon Wan said his bypass surgery which normally costs about $30k in an A class ward ended with him paying only $8. That is cheaper than buying two packs of panadol from a pharmacy. He claimed that he had Medishield and topped up by a supplement medical insurance. Knowing miserly is the payout from Medishield, with co payment, I am very interested to know the break down in his medical bill and how much each of his insurance paid for him. Let us have a peep on the details, Boon Wan. And also let us know how much premium you are paying for the Medishield and the supplement insurance. If it is meaningful and makes financial sense, I think many people will like to have the same insurance coverage. Thank you.

10/27/2010

Australia unmasking its racist face

Just listen to the polemics made by the opposition to SGX acquiring ASX and you can see the truth behind the noise. As a business transaction, it is a great deal where both parties will benefit. The Australian investors are the first to benefit in a big way, they could actually cash out and still own a big chunk of the new ASX-SGX which I thought should be renamed SAX, short for Singapore Australia Xchange. It also sounds more sexy. For all the accusations, which is the standard tactics employed by the West against Asians or their enemies, to point the finger first and let the victim to defend himself can Australia hike from its true nature? In the process the victim will forget about the accuser's own imperfections. For a country that prospers after centuries of racist policies, abuses and discriminations against the local natives, Australia should be shameful of itself to talk about human rights and freedom. This is a smaller version of the Americans. The biggest arms merchant in the world, the most highly armed nation, the greatest currency manipulator, the biggest violator of human rights, not just the past in the form of genocide and slavery. Just think Guantanamo, Abu Graib, Afghanistan, Pakistan will do. If one still did not get the picture, go to Wikileaks. The Americans are the worst warmongers in modern history, starting wars and fighting wars and with a huge industry that thrives on wars, providing employments to its own people and soldiering. What else does it possess and do that is anti humanity and against world peace? But it keeps pointing its finger at China and other countries for all the above violations when it is the number one culprit. All the wars and tension in the world today is caused by the Americans. Yes BSE, blame somebody else, and think that the world will be stupid enough to believe them. It is always other people's faults.

World highest home price appreciation

According to a report by Knight Frank, Singapore's home price appreciation is the highest in the world at 37%. China came close at 36.8% and Hongkong was a far third at 24.9%. This is the best news for property owners and property speculators. It is time for celebration. Singaporeans are getting richer by the day, with their properties hitting new highs. Many public housing owners are really millionaires in their own right. Don't be surprised the taxi driver driving the maids and foreign workers around is a millionaire himself. This will be another first for Singapore with millionaire taxi drivers. More important is to go out and grab another property fast. Property prices here can only go one way, up and up and away. And there is no fear of a property bubble forming. Singaporeans are wealthy, and according to all the reports, the properties they bought are all affordable and within their means. So there is no fear of bankruptcies and foreclosures. And those foreigners buying properties here are filthy rich and mostly paying cash. So very little risk of loan defaults. What else, even land for public housing are only awarded to the highest bidder, which means new housing can only be more expensive. And with land so scarce, and with the population going to increase further, one thing is guaranteed, higher property prices. And more than 80% of Singaporeans will be resting on their laurels, as they are all property owners. They are waiting for their eggs to turn into gold, literary. There will be millionaires all around, not only taxi drivers, but many of those taking public transport too. Basically looking right and left one is likely to bump into a Singaporean millionaire.

10/26/2010

ERP rate hike

23 ERP gantry points will hike its rate by $1 come 1 Nov. Ford Road exit from ECP and Kallang Paya Lebar Expressways will now charge $4 instead of $3 for each crossing. Other gantries will increase from $2 to $3 and $1 to $2. With the hike, travelling in the expressways will be smoother and faster. The only problem is that the minor roads will be more congested as drivers trying to avoid paying the higher fees will be diverted to them. And once these roads become jammed, motorists will complain again and there is a high possibility that gantries will be erected in the minor roads to alleviate the traffic conditions there. This is a never ending musical chair game.

A buy out, sell out or a merger?

In very simplistic terms that a layman can understand, a buy out is done when one company pays another company, normally with a premium, and take over the other company, lock stock and barrel. In a sell out it is just the reverse. In the SGX/ASX case, SGX pays ASX shareholders a sum plus X premium dollars, and it ended up in a merger. So it is not a buy out and SGX does not take over ASX, or does it? In the case of a merger, normally both parties will make a valuation of the shares and use that as a basis to determine the number of shares each owns in the merged company. You don’t normally over value one against the other or pay a huge premium. Premium only applies to a buy out. The monetary consideration goes as follows. SGX values the ASX shares at A$48 a share, inclusive of a 37% premium. This will be paid in SGX shares at around 3.5 SGX shares for each ASX shares and another $22 in cash. That is what an ASX shareholders will end up with. After paying these shares and money, does SGX owns the new company and all of ASX? No? It is reported that the market cap of SGX is $7.86b while ASX is worth $6b. This deal is touted as a merger. An ASX shareholder will now own 3.5 SGX shares and still getting a cash of $22 or a total equivalent of 45% of the $8.2b payout. (Today it is reported as $11b based on the same A$8.4b) If this is so, this amount is enough to buy over half of the existing SGX shares in the SGX, which only has a market cap of $7.86b with some to spare. And the Australian share holders could own half of all the shares in SGX plus all the SGX shares in ASX. Am I wrong? What does SGX owns eventually after the payout, and what is the benefit to a SGX shareholder? If it is only a merger, then there is no need to pay a hefty 37% premium. If it is a buy out, I can agree to a premium though how big is the premium depends on many factors. So, is it a buyout or a merger?

10/25/2010

Red Dot buying over Australia

This is perhaps the biggest taking over in history. A tiny Red Dot buying over Australia...well almost. SGX is buying over the Australian Stock Exchange and paying cash! All $8.2b to take over the Australian Exchange. What is $8.2b? This is chicken feed knowing the war chest in our hands. This is only the beginning. Next destination, New York Stock Exchange. Let's buy over all the major Exchanges around the world. I will consider this a major strategic move, like the buying over of some of the biggest banks a couple of years ago. Just make sure this time round the exchanges are not rotten apples like the banks, that were infallible but fell like coconuts. If the homework is done properly, and no cans of worms, this is a giant step forward for a little Red Dot. And it is good to think big. I have always been advocating the buying over of the whole of Australia, starting with North Western Australia, the nearest state to home. We are making a difference, eh. Matilah, you can't run away from little Red Dot. We will call Australia the Red Continent! And you can call yourself Singaporean once more. : )

Myth 225 - The myth of superiority

A Singapore ship was hijacked by pirates off the African coast! The pirates of the Somalian/Kenyan coasts are proving to be invincible. There is an armada of international naval ships patrolling the area, all armed and equipped with the best that money can buy. And the naval personnel are from the best military and technologically advanced countries today. They are also assisted by satellites, brilliant intelligence officers, radars, and manning round the clock to do just one thing, prevent piracy. And they failed miserably. Who are these super human pirates and what kind of stealth technology are they developing that can sneak through the most highly guarded military zone to continue with their piracy at will, anytime, any place at their own calling? The advanced military countries are literally held at ransom by these not so sophisticated pirates and could do nothing about it! What a shame, what a myth!

Political asylum for Assange

Julian Assange is now no better than a political dissident in the US and the Western world. His life and freedom are at stake. They may put a bullet through his head to end his works of exposing hypocrisies, crimes against humanity and deceit at the highest level of public office in America. China should offer political asylum to Assange and his team of dissidents, provide them with a safe sanctuary to pursue freedom of the expression, freedom of the press, human rights, and prevention of genocide through unilateral declaration of war and using myths or distorted truths as excuses. China, why are you waiting, when the US is harbouring all the anti China dissidents and promoting anti China verbiage through supporting their activities? Your turn to do the same, to protect the champions of human rights and press freedom and coercion from the evil Empire.

10/24/2010

Celebrating Julian Assange

I reserve the column Celebrating Singaporeans for notable Singaporeans who have done something really worthwhile to be recognised. This is my little equivalent of an Award, The Redbean Award in recognition of contribution to human beans in little Red Dot. No, Julian Assange is not a Singaporean. But he and his friends have done something that is much more than another other human beans have done, and its impact can be felt across the world, transcending national boundaries, racial and religious barriers. Julian and his friends have taken on the world's most powerful evil empire disguising as the Empire of Goodness. The evil Empire has been lying by the skin of its teeth, claiming to be fighting for freedom, freedom of expression, human rights, the rights to fair trial, to be treated humanely and with dignity even as prisoners of war, and the right to live and choose one's own way of life. Yesterday, Julian Assange and his friends have released nearly 400,000 war logs of American deceptions and atrocities in Iraq. It is revealing a truth that only exceptionally motivated human beans would dare to do, taking own the mammoth machiney of the Empire. They are risking everything, their lives and freedom, to tell the truth, for a better world. They stood by the American Constitutions of Freedom and Free Press. They quoted this in their website. '3.3 Should the press really be free? In its landmark ruling on the Pentagon Papers, the US Supreme Court ruled that "only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government." We agree. The ruling stated that "paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell." ' In every chapter of human civilisation, when evil has taken over control of the human race, some exceptional men and women will appear to change the rule of the game and bring light to a world of darkness. Though Julian Assange and his men and women would not be deemed worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, only war mongers like Obama and maybe George Bush Junior were found more worthy, they deserve to be celebrated by the freedom loving people of the world.

10/23/2010

Everything is subsidised!

Leong Sze Hian wrote in TOC about his friend's encounter with govt privatised hospital and private profit making hospital and the fees they charged. The govt privatised hospital's fees are heavily subsidised(that was I think) while the private hospital fees are not. For the operation of a cyst that took 15 minutes, the cost quoted by the govt privatised hospitals that included paying a visit to the polyclinic to earn the right for subsidies came to $600. Leong's friend went direct to a private hospital, preparing to pay more as there was no subsidy and the bill came to $287. And this did not take into consideration the wait and wait because of the long queue of subsidised patients waiting to be treated in privatised govt hospitals. Below is the detail numbers quoted from Leong Sze Hian's article. 'She subsequently went to a private hospital, and was operated on, on the spot by a surgeon, in a 15 minute day surgery, costing only $287. The total costs of the polyclinic consultation ($9.50), Government restructured hospital consultation ($29 after a $57 subsidy) and day surgery, were $600. Since there are no subsidies in private hospitals, it is puzzling why a simple 15 minute cysts removal day surgery at a Government restructured hospital’s subsidised rate is more than double that of a private hospital.' Sometimes it can be very scary when one hears the term subsidies. The subsidies for public housing is just as pleasantly scary. Who needs more subsidies please put up your hand.

Yes we need help...No we don't

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said the haze is an international problem and Indonesia cannot do it alone to control it. No thanks, we can handle it ourselves, said Gusti Muhammed Hatta, the State Minister for Environment, when Yaacob Ibrahim called to offer help. Do they want help or not? Oh, this is the first time that they had such a big fire and big haze? My eyeballs are rolling all over. Maybe Marty has been staying overseas for too long and just returned to Indonesia. Maybe next he is going to say is that this haze is a once in 50 years occurrence, no need to worry. Given the severity of the situation and the health of Malaysians and Singaporeans are at stake, this cannot continue to go on and on every year. We have been suffering from this, and so do the Indonesians themselves. A solution could have been in hand after so many long nights dreaming over it. Both Malaysia and Singapore will be most willing to help, to contribute to prevent this international pollution of the air. Forget about second hand smoke from tobacco. This is far more serious and widespread. And no, Malaysia and Singapore will not give any aid in the form of money or a free satellite. What could be possible is a joint task force of fire fighters and equipment, stationed in various parts of Sumatra to be on call to put out the fires. This will be attacking the problem directly, putting the fire out, nothing more nothing less, with the Indonesians in charge and Malaysia and Singapore providing the manpower and resources. Boleh Pak? Cukup Pak?

10/22/2010

What if it is Agent Orange?

The perennial blanket covering of Singapore and Malaysia by haze arising from forest burning is becoming an annual Great Expectation. We knew it is coming, and we know that there is nothing that we can do about it. We can ask to talk to them, call for conference, ministerial meetings, but the haze will still come. Perhaps we shall just yield to their demand for a multi million dollar satellite and see if they will stop burning. The chances are that the burning will continue as the satellite could do nothing except to tell them where the burning is taking place, which we already know. They will probably make the best use of the free satellite for other commercial pursuits. The thing is that everyone is treating this as just a nuisance. What if it is Agent Orange or something more toxic? They don't need an armed invasion or an army to decimate Malaysia and Singapore. It is so easy and cheap.

A standing Orgy

It was a case of meat to meat. The people were literally glued to one another. They were squeezed so tightly that if you remove their clothings, the flesh could have fused together. The breathing was heavy. The eyes were in a daze, some in a state of shock and disbelief. Wet, yes, I could see that everyone was wet, perspiring and sweating, young and old, men and women. It was a standing orgy alright. And I was caught in the midst, right in the thick of action. The foreign workers loved every minute of it. That was the standard of public transportation they were used to. I was wondering how the cleanly dressed female office workers and the little girls in school uniform felt about the big squeeze. And this standing orgy will repeat and can repeat practically everyday. All it needs is for the train to delay for 15 mins. And that was how long my morning train took to arrive. And everything slowed down. At every station the commuters going down would have to squeeze slowly through a mess of fusion meat. It took quite a while, and a big struggle to get out of the train. And to make matter worst, the huge crowd outside were panicky, trying to force themselves into the party, to join the orgy. The time taken for the journey simply doubled. This little delay can cripple the normal lifestyle and routine of the commuters. It can bring everything to a halt if the breakdown is extended. This is the price we are paying for living it up to the limits. Good to increase the population to 6m. We can increase to 10m with a little clever planning. And we can have orgies everyday too. Nice!

10/21/2010

All Japanese must not forget Unit 731

What is Unit 731? Just google for it and a detailed description will be available in Wikipedia. For those who intend to, please be warned that it is not good for weak stomach. It describes the monstrous Japanese and their barbaric crimes in World War 2 in China. For ignoramous Japanese like Seiji Maehara, Shintaro Abe, Junichiro Koizumi and the likes, either they refuse to know their history or Japanese school left out this part altogether. If Japan continues to ignore their historical crimes, they can never dream of a peaceful co existence with China and Korea in the long term. Unless they recognized their evil deeds, repent, and return all the loots they robbed from the two countries, including territories and islands, you just would not know when someone in the future will take these issues up and start a war with Japan. While there is time, it is only honourable and decent, and rightful for Japan to return what they had taken. It would put them in a better light than to pretend the past did not happen, they did not commit any crimes to their neighbours and the land or islands seized were inheritance from their forbears. They were robbed from their neighbours at gun point. If they don’t return today, one day they will be taken back at gun point, for sure. The Japanese leaders and people better have the wisdom to do the necessary and clean up this bad patch of their history with their neighbours, once and for all.

The Stock Exchange should go 24 hrs

SGX is still pushing for continuous trading with no lunch break to improve trading volume and to capitalise on the connectivity with other operating exchanges. Though the idea is good, it is half hearted. SGX should go all the way, provide continuous trading round the clock. This will make SGX the only stock exchange that never sleeps and investors who have insomnia or in different time zones can always call our exchange to trade till their hearts contend. This will definitely generate all the volumes that SGX intended and even propel SGX to become the world's number One stock exchange. It will be another feather in our hat. There should be no problems with our pool of remisiers and broking house employees. They will welcome such a great idea with glee. Plentiful of money to be made. The broking houses can help by redesigning the trading area with beds attached to the terminals so that remisiers can literally trade, eat and sleep in the same place. I would suggest something similar to the SQ jumbo airbus first class seat cum bed. That would allay any protest from the remisiers. Just make them comfortable and happy. Anyway the remisiers are very pliable and adaptable bunch and would just adapt to the new demands. They don't have a troublesome union to fight for humanly working hours or other craps that make operating the business difficult. There will be fatigue and stress problems no doubt. Just provide more steriod jabs in case they need them. And if they make mistakes, the stock exchange should be generous enough to pay for their errors. Working in a highly stress environment, none stop for 8 to 10 hours, can be killing and mistakes are bound to happen. And working 24 hours is a new ball game. No joke. If the maids can cope with working for 24 hours without any problems, I think remisiers too should be able to do it equally well. Take this as an experiment and if it works well, other industries too can go on 24 hours non stop operations. Our Ministries and Ministers too can work 24 hours to increase their productivity. 24 hours is the way to go. Make Singapore a city that never sleeps.

10/20/2010

The housing predicament - What we do not know

One thing for sure, we do not know that we have limited land, that land is scarce. We do not know that we should not be selling our landed properties to foreigners, like selling Alaska, gone forever. We do not know that property speculation is bad, as a home is a must have essential asset, a roof over our heads. We do not know that prudence is good, or at least until yesterday. We also do not know that the laws of demand and supply can wreak havoc to our property market. We do not know that allowing private property owners to buy public housing will inflate property prices, and that is bad. We do not know that allowing more foreigners into the island will result in high demand for property prices and high speculation. And we also do not know who is the main cause of high property price. Maybe now we know, or do we?

War Dead Medal Tally

What I would like to see is for Asian media to maintain a War Dead Medal Tally similar to the Olympic or Commonwealth Medal Tally to be viewed by their audience daily during news presentation. In this case instead of Gold, Silver and Bronze, the count will be war dead by nationals, those killed in the ensuing wars in Asia. The Tally Board shall read for example, Iraqi 1200 Afghan 800 Pakistan 600 Palestinian 500 Israeli 100 American 300 English 150 German 30 French 20 Australian 10 Such a Tally Board not only serves the purpose of tracking the number of war dead, it also gives a clear picture of the people that have been sacrificed in the name of country and nation or as war collateral. It also helps to remind the politicians who support and promote the wars to know the number of lives they have killed. For the moment I think only the Americans and the Europeans are interested or care about the lives of their citizens killed in wars. The rest don’t matter. Or is it? I am sure the rest of the countries too value the lives of their citizens and those killed in wars, directly or indirectly. The statistics should not be difficult to obtain as every country involved will have their reporters reporting in the war zones. Not only that the media will be doing its duty to report and tell the pain and sufferings of wars, it will also remind people that as long as wars are not stopped, people are being killed daily. By not reporting them, by not knowing the numbers, no one feels guilty, no one can relate the horrors and grief of the victims of wars. I really hope some Asian media will take up this proposal as the Western media do not think it as their responsibility to do so, nor would they want to tell the evil side of the story of wars started by their trigger happy Presidents/Prime Ministers. Al Jazeeera and Channel News Asia are suitable candidates to take on this task to educate the people on wars, and indirectly to stop proliferating wars. Countries waging wars should also know that the world is watching at their evil and wicked deeds. It is a duty to humanity to tell the story of wars and war dead to keep people from thinking that war is only a movie.

10/19/2010

Pressing all the right buttons

Mah Bow Tan was very impressive in Parliament yesterday. He was pressing all the right buttons and saying all the right things. I like the word prudence, the need for prudence in buying properties. I like to hear him going after those overseas properties, though I don't agree with him. I like what he said about more calibrated measures to control property prices. Though prices will not fall, they will not go up as much as 5% per quarter, only 3%, giving an annual increase of 12%. Not bad for property appreciation. Still got chance to hit $1m for HDB flats. The Ministry of National Development is doing a great job in managing the housing problem. Soon there will be no housing problems to talk about. Or maybe someone will say you cannot expect to have zero problems. But just don't create more problems to be solved by brilliant remedies.

Is China trigger happy?

According to Paul Krugman, Professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University, China is. He referred to the recent Diaoyutai Incident when the Japanese Navy arrested a Chinese fishing boat captain and China's withholding the sale of rare earth to Japan and made this comment. '...the incident shows a Chinese govt that is dangerously trigger happy, willing to wage economic warfare on the slightest provocation.' What is the US doing in pressuring China to revalue the Yuan? Not trigger happy, just an American right to do so? What about the calls for trade sanctions, branding China a currency manipulator when the US is the real currency manipulator, printing more and more money and depreciating its own currency? But wait, let's talk about trigger happy? What was the reason for the invasion of Iraq? In this case, real bullets were fired. No, not real bullets, bombs, all kinds of bombs were thrown into Iraq, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis. No this is not trigger happy to the Americans. What about Pakistan and Afghanistan? Oh, the Americans are using water pistols to shoot at their enemies. So the Americans are not trigger happy. They only squeeze water at their enemies. This is the American hypocrisy! They can be trigger happy but point the fingers at other people. Has China fire a single bullet? But he is only talking about economic warfare, firing economic guns. Which country has been enforcing economic sanctions on other countries on its own terms? China has been the victims of all kinds of economic sanctions from the Americans even till today. No need to mention North Korea, the Middle Eastern countries and all countries branded as enemies of the US. The US is not trigger happy. China is, according to Paul Krugman and most of the Americans who can speak and write. And they all believe in this hypocrisy as the American and western truth.

10/18/2010

The relevance of copyrights and internet domain names

Just a hypothetical question. Supposing someone could register a domain name like MacDonald.com.sg, and MacDonald writes a polite letter to ask him not to use it, change it, does he need to comply? This is only a hypothetical situation. It can apply to any domain name. Or would MacDonald call the owner of such a domain name and negotiate to buy it over as a business transaction? If I am not mistaken, the trademark of MacDonald, or any other brand name, is a different matter from a domain name. And every country can have their own MacDonald.com.xx. So MacDonald would either have to register it first or have to buy it over from the first registered owner? Anyone can fill in on this?

Myth 224 - Our land is limited! Property prices must go up!

Everyone is spouting this nonsense daily as if it is a gospel truth. There is limited land, we are land scarce, so property prices can only go up. The supply will never meet the demands. Here is the fallacy or root of this fallacy. Who says we don’t have enough land? Or why is there not enough land? Land was plentiful at one time. The migrants just go around and build their little attap or zinc roof houses anywhere, on any piece of empty land they could find. Our population then was a few hundred thousand and increasing gradually. At 2 million or 3 million, land is not an issue. It is when we keep piling up the numbers, inviting more and more people here that land become scarce. We create our own problem. We make our land scarce. We will have plenty of land once more if people start to run away from this land. Or we can stop the inflow and reduce the population. But economic laws and principles will be against any reduction. It means recession and depression. No growth is bad. So we must have growth and growth and growth. This unending growth is good for us. Same as for the whole world. Keep producing more people and more people. Go forth and multiply. Where will it end if growth is unceasing, unending? Is our limited land a myth or a conjure reality? We have changed from land abundance to land scarce. That is clever from the economics of growth. If Australia will to blindly follow this economic principle of growth, it too will run out of land in a matter of time. The whole world will run out of land. But it does not have to. The pain is self inflicted. We don't have to go down this road. It's final destiny is self destruct. We need to know our limitations and stop while we can. So is the world. Population growth, economic growth, high consumption, high destruction to environment, depletion of resources and food supply, climate warming etc etc etc. All for incessant growth.

10/17/2010

Be prepared for the invasion of the Dark Side

They are already here and in a big way. They turn Singapore into their turf like their home countries. The latest report of three Taiwanese being arrested, jailed and to be caned for loan shark activities is only a glimpse of what have yet to be uncovered. Now we can understand why the loan sharks here are fearless and would have no qualms burning and locking up their victims' residents. They play the game they know best in their lawless societies and think that they can do the same here. According to a govt statement, three Taiwanese citizens were given 7 to 24-month prison sentences after being convicted of loan shark harassment. 'Two of the defendants, identified as Su Wei Ying and Wu Wei Chun in the Singapore Police Force statement, were also to receive "15 strokes of the cane" for their offenses. Su, 28, and Wu, 24, were both convicted of seven charges of loan shark harassment in violation of Singapore's Moneylenders Act and sentenced to 24 months and 21 months in jail, respectively, in addition to the caning.' Source CNA. And their Trade Representative is showing concern that they are being caned. Why should he when the Taiwanese broke our law, got a fair trial, and were punished like any Singaporeans would have been. There was no discrimination or biases? Did he forget that Singapore is not Taiwan? Or did he think that Taiwanese should be dealt with more leniently than the locals? Perhaps in Taiwan they could get away with their crimes with a call from the Dark Side. The loan sharks flouting our laws and becoming more adventurous and defiance is only an early sign of more to come. If we cannot deal with this problem and clean up our city, there would be no way to put a blockage to stamp the flood of Dark Side activities that normally coexist with casinos. In many notorious countries, including those that are claimed to be operating under the rule of law and the respectability of law, it is common that the govt officials were in the pay lists of the mafia and with the mafia calling the shot. We have to be prepared to stamp this tide and stay on the bright side. The Dark Side is sexy and inviting and tempting.

10/16/2010

Temasek Review versus Temasek Review

What is this tussle all about? A case of copy rights, a business wrangle, a political issue or what? One is an internet forum and another a corporate newsletter. Can they share the same name, or does one Temasek Review interferes with another Temasek Review? The target audience or readers are obviously different. What if one Temasek Review is registered internationally? Would it make any difference? Where is the boundary in cyberspace? I hope mysingaporenews is not being used by some other corporations. I have heard of mypaper and your news so far. Will I be looking forward to some nasty surprises from a conflicting claim? And I think redbeanforum is quite safe. At least it has no grand labels attached to it. The closest similarities are tomatoes, apples and oranges and perhaps peanuts. I hope Temasek Review may be able to squeeze some juice from it's name. Or would it be the other way round? Would the word 'pap smear' be banned?

10/15/2010

Nobel War Prize

Ever since Obama received his Nobel Peace Prize he has been engaged in the same wars as his predecessor. He added a feather to his cap by adding 300,000 more troops to Afghanistan. And they are fighting another rag tag militia like the Vietcongs, without planes, without tanks, without sophisticated satellites and smart bombs. No Rambos or Arnie too. And the American commanders are asking for more fighting men as they can’t deal with the problem. But that is not enough for Obama. He wanted to start another war with the North Koreans by conducting provocative exercises at their doorstep. And that is still not enough. He wanted to use Asean as an excuse to start a war with the China. It is time that the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to him be renamed the Nobel War Prize. If not, they need to switch the definitions for peace and war.

What a pity, No Liverpool

Peter Lim's serious and business approach to acquire Liverpool Football Club failed. They did not want his money even when he was willing to pay 60 million pounds more than the successful contender. So, was it a business decision or political decision? Was there more that we do not know? There is no corruption in fine English gentlemen. So what went wrong? Never mind. But it is a pity that he failed in his bid. Otherwise we will become famous as a football nation. Not they we can kick football, but owning a champion English football club will do the trick. Our football fans would have the chance to cheer themselves crazy every time Liverpool plays. We will fly Liverpool flags everywhere, sing Liverpool's anthem and wear Liverpool colours. Just hope they did not get carried away and change our National flag and national anthem as well. They will be prouder to call themselves Liverpudlians than Singaporeans. Whatever, a football club in big debt cannot be a profitable business except for some bought fame. I think it is good riddance that Peter Lim did not get to buy it. Why throw good money after bad money or money for a bunch of hooligans? Some will disagree and feel that this is closest to our dream of being in the World Cup. The possibility of our Liverpool team playing as our national team can be arranged, with some money in the right place. Maybe someone else has a bigger dream to make this come true.

10/14/2010

The most enlighten article on North Korea

Doug Bandow, a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, I dunno where it is, has his article published in the ST today. Let me quote some of his ’intellectual’ comments about North Korea and Kim Jong Il. ‘The so called Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the world’s first “communist monarchy”, poses no threat to America.’ Clap, clap, clap. This is ingenius observation. ‘Its economy is a wreck. Its military equips undertrained and malnourished soldiers with ancient equipment. One American aircraft carrier has more firepower than the entire North Korean military.’ This must be based on objective academic observation and empirical data. Obviously he did not see the recent parade and the well fed, well uniformed and well armed North Korean soldiers. The US should just march in like they did in Iraq and see what happens. ‘…Dear Leader Kim Jong Il is evil but not stupid. He knows that the US could wipe his nation off the map. He wants his virgins in this life, not the next, and would not waste his time attempting to pass power to his son if he planned self immolation in a pyre of fire.’ Kim is evil? How many people has he killed compared to Bush and Obama? And he wants virgins. Kim must have confided in him privately. My god, this is an academic piece of art! ‘The South’s forces are better trained and its equipment is more capable; Seoul has a much large army reserve and military industrial base. It has twice the population and upwards of 40 times the gross domestic product of the North. Moreover, neither China nor Russia, the North’s traditional allies, would support it in another war.’ Obviously this joker did not remember what happened during the Korean War. Let me remind him that the North nearly drove the South Korean army into the sea. Only the American intervention saved the South from a complete annihilation. And his simpleton’s conclusion that China and Russia would not come to the North’s aid in another war is as good as saying there is no Christmas comes December. After reading till this part, I wonder what kind of academic integrity there is in this article. This looks like a thrash written by a bigoted secondary school boy. I couldn’t bear to read further for fear of being impressed by his silliness.

How rich are Singaporeans?

A recent survey claimed that Singaporeans are the 4th richest in the world with net worth of US$336k each or something like that. So how to compare this money with someone with only $30k to see who is richer materially? Of course the Singaporeans have more money, big and strong Singapore currency. The deception is only beginning. Think of how hard it is to save $100k and how fast it slips through our fingers. It may take someone 5 to 10 years to save up $100k but his decision to buy that car will instantly burn every cent away. Ok, Ok, he does not need to buy a car. He can take public transport or buy a bicycle to promote green life. And a young couple saving their first $150k only to see it vanishes when they sign on the dotted line to buy that little flat, and another 30 years to slog to pay up everything. Yes, they need not have to buy. Just rent or stay with the mummy and daddy. Young couples who are able to save this kind of money cannot buy HDB flats, very likely earning more than $10k pm. It is the govt’s ruling. Then the retiree with his $200k savings! They may feel happy and secure to put such a sum of money away for their old age. However, one admission into a hospital for a serious illness, gosh, not a single cent left, nothing left for his remaining years. Are we really that rich and well off? What is the purchasing power of our strong dollar at home? A Singaporean with $50k could barely pay for his Korean car. A Singaporean with a family income of $1k-$2k may need financial help to make ends meet. So we are rich. A major economic crisis will bankrupt a large portion of the population when so many people are indebt of $500k or more. We are exposing our people to such a high and unnecessary risk which we believe will not happen. We have forgotten what happened in late 1990s. Don't they have nightmares of a crash and living in debt, unable to pay their big loans?

10/13/2010

Chia Thye Poh deserves a Nobel Peace Prize

He is the longest surviving political prisoner in modern history, serving more years than Nelson Mandela. He was imprisoned without trial for 23 years and under house arrest for another 9 years, giving a total of 32 years in detention. Mandela served 27 years in all. Wikipedia describes Chia Thye Poh as a prisoner of conscience, a person who stood firm on his belief without wavering and sacrificing his freedom and the best part of his life. If any one deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, it must be Chia Thye Poh. The politicians or political parties should nominate him as a candidate for next year’s award. He might be a communist, though he has never admitted to be one. But communist or no communist is no longer an issue with the award given to the first communist in China in Liu Xiaobo. And if the Nobel Prize committee does not know where Singapore is, it will be an advantage by telling them that Singapore is part of China. It will give the committee more reasons to give the award to Chia Thye Poh, ‘to spite China again’. And we can celebrate our own Nobel Peace Prize winner, our very own son.

10/12/2010

The prostitution of Nobel Peace Prize

This was once highly acclaimed as a respectable honour when bestowed on a recipient. The recipient in most cases reserved such a recognition without any dispute or controversy. The first misgiving concerning the award of the Nobel Prize was when it was presented to Barack Obama, a greenhorn president that had all words and no actions during his early days as President of the USA. Everyone was embarrassed. Obama too was embarassed. For what had he done to deserve such an honour? Or was the title President of the USA be good enough for such an honour? Probably because he is the first black President of the USA and thus deserved such an honour. Regardless of the reasonings, no thinking person will think that Obama deserved the Nobel Peace Prize. And to rubbish the award further, he went on to increase troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and to continue fighting the wars instead of looking for peace. Many more lives were lost because of his decision to extend the wars. All the previous Nobel Peace Prize recipients must be turning in their graves. And those living must have felt how cheap the award has become. Nelson Mandela was jailed for political reasons for 27 years before he was deemed fit to receive the award. Just a few days back, a Chinese national by the name of Liu Xiaobo, was also given the same honour. He was jailed for only 4 years. Would political prisoners like Chia Thye Poh and Lim Hock Siew, who have both served terms as long as Mandela be more deserving of such an award? No, the Chinaman, with 4 years of jail was chosen, in a way to spite the Chinese authority and an attempt to pressure them, to meddle with their internal affairs. No doubt Liu Xiaobo has made great sacrifices for his cause. He has given up the good life to choose imprisonment instead. But he has become a convenient political pawn for the West to attack China. It is such a shame to the founder of the Nobel Peace Prize. An award to be respected and now being prostituted for political gains.

The art of investigative journalism

The amount of work and effort put in by a reporter to reveal the true identiy of Dr Joseph Ong Chor Teck as the anonymous writer in Temasek Review deserves a lot of praise. Not only that it is newsworthy, it also set a new direction on what investigative journalism is all about and what it can do to tell more interesting stories about people and their backgrounds. We can expect that such important news and news trend would gain more acceptance and popularity both in the main media and in cyberspace. The other new media like TOC and TR and some others with the resources may also feel encouraged to do their own investigative journalism and tell their versions of interesting and newsworthy stories. It will add a lot of zest and jest in cyberspace and the media reporting as a whole. Great development!

Asean now a US protectorate?

Is Asean a US protectorate? From what the Americans are saying or doing, it appears so. In mypaper's front page news today, it has this, 'US: We'll protect states unnerved by China.' This statement was made in Vietnam prior to the Asia defence talks attended by all the Asean defence ministers plus China, US, Japan and other Asia countries. What did Asean do to deserve this honour? Isn't Asean professes itself to be a non aligned organisation, freeing itself from big power rivalry? How did Asean become a US protectorate. No, Asean did not ask the US to be their protector. Asean only invite the US for tea. And on entering the room the US took over the tea room. It then appointed itself as the protector of Asean with China in mind. This is much easier than setting up Seato. Here there is an organisation and the Americans just walked in, declared that it is now the boss. What is happening? If there was any invitation for the US to be the dominant power in Asean to take on China, it is likely to come from Vietnam, and very likely without the approval of the other Asean members. The possibility of confrontation and conflict is very real given the track records of Vietnam and the US, both belligerent countries and trigger happy. Would the peace in the region and Asean's neutrality be compromised and be dragged into a war it does not want? Would the region become another Middle East? In reality, Vietnam does not need Asean to take on China. It has defeated the mighty Americans in the Vietnam War. It is reputed to have taught the Chinese a lesson during their last border war. Vietnam should confront China using its own mightly army, seize the islands it claims. And if China reacts, Vietnam should conduct another border incursion into China like it did before. And now with the Americans supporting from behind, the Chinese would not be able to teach Vietnam a lesson any more. Why the need to drag in Asean into their foray? Would Asean leaders be foolish enough to turn their organisation, painfully built over the years, into another American protectorate, and be sucked into a war it does not want and is meaningless to them? Whatever, the US has now assumed the role as master of Asean. The mafia boss has shown its true intent.

10/11/2010

An oasis for freedom of expression

I am proud to say that mysingaporenews.blogspot.com and redbeanforum.com are two rare gems where you can find freedom of expression as best as it could be. Seldom are post deleted, nor are they moderated, or subject to a moderator's whims and fancies. All posts are posted as they are. Rarely were there be exceptions, thanks to the mature bloggers posting in these the blog/forum, that the moderator would have to remove a piece. I have done it a few times on grounds of extreme vulgarities for the sake of vulgarites, or when the posts were inciting violence on religious or racial grounds. I am happy that this simple ground rule is observed by all here. Thank you and continue to post freely and sensibly. Cheers.

Is China being over assertive?

The Western media has been drumming up this tune, that China is being over assertive and bullying its smaller neighbours. Really? China has been a victim of aggression for several centuries. Some of its territories are still in the hands of the colonialists. It suffered trade sanctions, economic embargoes, containment, threats of nuclear attacks, unfair trade practices, isolations etc etc. Then it wakes up one day and sees aggressive countries still conducting war games in its courtyards and backyards. And there are big powers forming military alliances at its front doors with its neighbours. And little upstarts also trying to claim its territories when the territories belong to China for centuries, centuries before these little upstart countries could call themselves countries. Is it wrong for China to drive away the bullies and retake what historically belonged to China? Turn it the other way round, how would the Western countries react if China were to form military alliances with their immediate neighbours, conduct war games in the Carribeans or the Mediterraneans, send spy planes across Europe and the USA? What or how would the West responds or reacts? How would the Americans and Europeans react if China were to incite their neighbours to champion their rights? China should work with the Red Indians and aborigines to defend their rights, reclaim ownership of their land, and ask the perdatangs to go home to Europe. Would that be seen as being assertive? Is reclaiming their rights and land from the robbers, yakuzas, gangsters and frivolous opportunists assertive? Is telling the marauding hordes of hyenas swarming around their homeland and territorial waters assertive?

Trivialising a mistake!

The same attitude emerging. So what if the swimmers did not compete in the finals of the men's 4x200m relay? They are not medal contenders anyway, and swimming in the final or not swimming in the final would not make any difference. Really, why are we sending athletes and swimmers to the game for? Participation, sportsmanship, learning, experience and exposure to an international meet is it not? And, shsssshh, why are we spending all the money to send our swimmers there if participation is not important when they are not going to win a medal? I want my money back. Please don't waste public money like that. And in the next international meet, please do not send any athletes when they do not stand a chance to win a medal.

The third scenario

I have posted two possibilities of how the govt could be like after the next GE. The first is to increase the number of MPs to 100, plus more ministries and ministers, to keep pace with the changes and developments of the island. If this path is taken, we will have a bloated govt and the people will have to sacrifice another 3 plates of char kway teow to feed them. The next option is a lean and young govt, cutting away all the fats and waste. Then the people may be able to save on a plate of char kway teow and still having a govt to run the place. The third option which is highly likely is that there will be hardly any changes except for the inevitables and cosmetics. For sure LKY will not be in the next govt. So Chok Tong may be elevated to the revered title of Minister Mentor. Hsien Loong may want to move up to become SM and Chee Hean the next PM. The rest of the changes would be the normal self renewal with some oldies stepping down, and some with serious medical conditions may as well call it a day before it is too late. With the third option, basically nothing changes.

10/10/2010

A Sunday morning mood

I have not had a Sunday morning mood for a long time, the kind of feeling or sensation of doing nothing or just relaxing and smell the roses. Browsing through the Sunday Times this morning did that. It actually tells me to reframe my mindset into the less serious or more pleasant things, like food and food and how in the hands of genius chefs, simple stuff could be turned into something so appetising and mouth watering, even a sight to behold. There were plentiful of articles about food this morning. Or perhaps I shall reflect on the number of top notch gyms and their programmes or where they are located and how they could have such a great influence on the people’s lives. And there is the iphone and ipad to marvel at the wonder of technology and how to live my life around them. They make the best companion in a modern world, so nice to have, so nice to hold. Now I understand why so many people are hooked on to playing games or watching movies in the trains and buses. Maybe I shall take the train and go malls counting. It can be a delightful past time for an oldie that has nothing better to do. They can exercise the mental by trying to do some calculation on how many malls are necessary and efficient to serving the population. Oh, there is an interesting article that made me turn a little serious. It is about expert advice to the widows and widowers who are griefing over the loss of their life long partners. The recommendation points to the visit to a shrink, or a psychiatrist, or is it psychologist, to help them overcome the difficult period of grief. Other than trying to share their grief, ask them to cry it out, talk about it, go out and mix around, try a new lifestyle, even relocation, not to live in the same room, house or location, professional help is still the best answer. And another advice, don’t throw away the deceased personal belongings too quickly, they bear many memories for the surviving spouses. Good, now I know what to do to help the grieving spouses, especially the older ones. The older they are, the more help they needed. The Sunday Times can be very educational on a Sunday morning.

10/09/2010

When gods must also die

Would the demise of Balaji and Kwa Geok Choo make any difference to the political landscape of the future? Balaji was 55 and Geok Choo was 89. This simple statement could make some open their eyes a little to the fragility of life, that between 55 and 90, one could be called home with very short notice. Gods or immortals, no exceptions, no wonder drugs could prevent this eventuality from taking its natural course. Would those who have plentiful of wealth sit back and relax and say, what’s all the money if at the end of it they could not spend a cent on themselves? Would they decide to call it a day and enjoy the time with the wealth they have accumulated in abundance, to lead a life of their own choosing, at their own pace, without having to watch the clock or appease anyone? Life can be a very pleasant experience to those with the means. And it could be heaven on earth if they want it to be. But how they create this heaven is very individual. Some may find peace in solitude, free from the worries of daily living. Some may want to frolic with the nubile kind, of wine, women and song. Some will find contentment with their children and grandchildren, some with a book in a lonely beach. And there are some who would want to continue with the banter and battering of life till their legs no longer run. One possibility is the acceptance of a new political reality, with the oldies calling it a day, not wanting to be in the thick of things, not wanting to waste public resources for doing so little and collecting so much. We could have a trim and lean, and younger govt in charge. Hsien Loong could wipe the slate clean, no more MM or SMs, or ministers without portfolio in the PM’s office, except for the traditional Labour Chief. Even at the MP level, it could be more refreshing to see new and younger faces that are filled with energy than the lethargy of old have beens. It could be a welcoming breath of fresh air for a new beginning if these changes would to take place after the great revelation that life must come to an end for everyone, even to pseudo immortals…unless they prefer the existence of being I, Robot.

10/08/2010

Michelle Obama is world's most powerful woman!

Really? What did she do to deserve that title? Does she run the state of USA and make decision for the country? All I know is that she is the wife of the President and maybe decide what food the President eats and what clothes he wears. Does she have any executive power, other than pillow talk? And second most powerful place goes to a food manufacturer, Irene Rosenfeld of Kraft Foods. Third to a talk show host called Oprah Winfrey, then Angela Merkel, German Chancellor and then Hilary Clinton, Secretary of State of the US. All these is bull. The woman that I think should deserve the honour is none other than Ho Ching. Who in the top 10 list manages a few hundred billions, maybe one trillion dollars in hard cash and has the power to decide on how to invest this sum of money? None of them comes near to Ho Ching. The people producing the ranking must either be ignorant or biased. oh yea, they have their own criteria, influence on the American public opinion is a major factor huh? My vote goes to Ho Ching, the world's most powerful woman, not that she is the wife of the world's highest paid Prime Minister, but truly on her own merit, as the person in charge of a war chest that could be $1 trillion in size or there about. And the authority to decide on how the money is to be used. That is real power.

Do we need more MPs and Ministers?

My answer to this is an unequivocal yes. Look, our population has almost doubled, land size increased by at least 20%, economy tripled, oldies quadrupled, foreigners almost half of the population, and many more. With all the big developments, we could easily need double the current MPs. We can start off in the next election by having 100 MPs. And with more MPs, we should increase the number of mayors and town council CEOS as well. That will make our constituencies better managed and with better facilities. My other consideration for this is to separate the roles so that more people can enjoy such quality jobs with quality pay. Also, we do not want to over work our MPs to death do we? With more MPs, there should be more ministers too. I can see the need for a minister for the islands and islanders when they are occupied, a minister for public housing and one for private housing. With hospitals doubling, and the bill size unimaginable, we can afford to have a minister just to take charge of hospitals and manage the revenue. We need a minister for foreigners and foreign workers for sure, in view of their size and importance. The job of looking after the oldies shall be formalized with a minister for the oldies as this is becoming a bigger issue over time. The ministry of Home Affairs will need a minister to take care of terrorism. Transportation too needs another minister as the job is getting too big for one minister to handle. So does education with more universities coming up. With more ministers and ministries, we will need to have more coordinating ministers to prevent the same problem happening again, when one ministry is doing something while other ministries are sleeping or have no clue of what is going on and ended with big uncoordinated problems. We deserve to have the best govt. And big is good.

10/07/2010

The credibility of media and reporters

Many media pride themselves as serious and credible institutions reporting and producing news that are reliable and newsworthy. But when it comes to political agenda, many drop their guards and went on a rampage printing silly news, ridiculous news, unsubstantiated housewives gossips etc etc. The darling of such gossips and petty news, if they are news, is North Korea and its leaders. It is almost a daily occurrence, and the source is often western, and often reproduced in silly Asian media, things like the successor of Kim Il Sung has gone for a plastic surgery to look like his grandpa? Or Kim Il Sung is buying French wines etc etc. How credible are such media and their reporters when they resort to petty gossips of little minds and published them as news! At best it makes their newspaper like evening tabloids famed for scandals or comic strips. At worst, it puts off serious readers for insulting their intelligence. Why would serious and reputable media willing to put up such craps as news? Do they have a special agenda or are they paid to do so?

What's there to grief?

Human beans have made progress in many fields, in leaps and bounds. The one area that is most neglected is life's journey, living and dying. All the best brains do not think the understanding of the meaning of life is that rewarding and devote their energy in science and technology and in fields that are more rewarding in material comfort. What ended up is that the meaning of life is left to many rascals and half literates to interpret and formulate for the rest of the beans to observe and follow. Why should there be grief when someone passes away to start another journey in a different realm of existence? For those who believe that dying is the end and nothing happens after that, dust to dust, I can accept their belief. I can also accept whatever beliefs about life after death. My belief is that there is life after death and living is just a short sojourn on earth. No need to go into big argument about the different beliefs here. My question is that why should there be sorrow and pain when someone has lived a good life, a life of abundance, a life of comfort and luxury, having everything there is to have? There could be some sadness for the living that the deceased will not be around anymore. But it is nothing more than going on a long vacation. Grief and sorrow are understandable for the down trodden who did not live a good life, depending on one's individual interpretation of good and bad of course. The deprived, the people who are struggling to have the minimum of material comfort and necessities, full of wants but not having them, those who died living behind dependents to eke out a living on their own, those who left behind young and helpless children, those who have many unfulfilled dreams, unfinished tasks, there are reasons to grief and to be sorrowful about. The Chinese custom also acknowledges that people who lived a good life calls for a celebration. The green joss sticks were changed to red joss sticks. There will even be live shows and orchestras at the funeral. Such death is called 'hee song', meaning happiness cum sadness, a mixed of both. But in most instances like this, the family is well off, abundance of children and wealth, and the deceased live through a ripe age, generally above 80 with at least three generations of family relations, and passed away peacefully. It is time to understand and appreciate life and what is a good life. It is time to re edit the customs to see life in another perspective, and call for celebration in recognition of a life well lived.

10/06/2010

Indonesia an up and coming big power?

Indonesia's aspiration of becoming a respectable big power took a knock in Holland yesterday. Yudhoyono had to cancel his 3 day state visit for fear of being arrested by the Dutch court. The court was to hear a trial against him lodged by the separatists from the Maluku Islands. Another reason quoted was the indignity of the trial of an Indonesian President in its former colonial master's court. Is Indonesia still a colony of Holland? Or what audacity would the Dutch court think that it has the jurisdiction to trial an Indonesian President or even an Indonesian citizen? The whole issue is so absurb that at best it was a rude reminder to the Indonesians who their master was. The Dutch court is totally ridiculous and pretentious to think that it is proper to put an Indonesian President on trial. The Dutch govt is wholely arrogant and disrespectful to even allow the trial to go on. Indonesia is no longer a Dutch colony. But the colonial mentality and mindset is still prevalent among the Dutch. So what if Indonesia is being dined and wined in the White House? It is still regarded as a colony or at best a pariah state in the eyes of the western powers. What aspirations of greatness is poof poof and smoke in the air. Yudhoyono should just go ahead with the visit and tell his rude host to get lost in their face if Indonesia is to be respected as an equal to Holland. It is unimaginable that the Dutch would dare to touch him or arrest him in Holland. And to conduct the trial during his state visit is totally disrespectful and a slap in the face of Yudhoyono and all Indonesians.

I am impressed with Western Australian Police

Saw this video clip on Australian Police manhandling an aborigine man on the news last night. I was so impressed by the use of force to protect the policemen. Oops, I mean to protect the aborigine. The whole episode should be used for training purposes for policemen around the world on how to handle a ‘violent’ aborigine. Let me try to recall the procedure involved. First you will need about 6 to 8 burly policemen, preferably twice the physical size of the victim. Then give them a Taser gun each. The next important thing is to handcuff the victim. When the victim, in this case an aborigine, is safely secured, take turns to use the Taser gun on him. The safety of the policemen is guaranteed. But just a precautionary statement, don’t be over zealous in the application of the gun. And never exceed 13 times. By 13 times, death is highly possible. In this case the aborigine died after being hit by the Taser gun for 13 times. Oh, one more precaution. When conducting such an exercise, make sure that no one is video taping it, whether by a handphone or a close circuit TV. The aborigines in Australia are in good hands. They are safe under the protection of the Australian police.

Behind the veil of civility

Everything on the surface looks fine and nice. All the pleasantries and heaps of praises poured in. Everyone has something good to say, so refined and well mannered, so cool and measured. Everyone is so sweet. Why am I seeing things? Behind the veils of niceties and civility I am seeing the face of a beast. I can’t really figure it out, could be a tiger, a wolf, a hyena or a crocodile, but a beast alright. The great pretence is first class, betterer than anything MediaCorp can produce. It even beats the best make up artistes of Hollywood. The battle will soon be fought. The daggers are hidden for the time being. Occasionally a little blinding reflection flashes across the scenery when a knife is unsheathed prematurely, only to be quickly put away. Brutus, where are ye? Brutus, my good friend!

10/05/2010

While there is still time

For the good of the country, LKY must divorce himself from all aspects of govt while he still can. Goh Keng Swee was also a giant in Singapore politics. His passing away did not rock the boat and life goes on as usual. It should also be the case for LKY. But this is not going to be if LKY is still in the thick of govt and the sudden eclipse of his overwhelming presence will trigger a shock, and foreign funds will use the opportunity to sell down the stock market for sure. It may be a knee jerk reaction but the damage can be severe. There is still time to prevent this day from happening. LKY should retire completely and be out of the picture to let the govt run without him. There is a need for a transition period for the world to know that nothing changes with or without him in charge or in the govt. His fading away is good for the country and for everyone. No one knows how long he will be around and the earlier he takes step towards this end will give the govt that much more time to run on its own. It will also prevent the doomsayers from creating havoc at the crucial moment when it arrives. As long as he continues to grant audience to state dignitaries, there is no doubt who is in charge of the country. LKY owes it to Singaporeans to make the transition of Singapore without him as smooth and uneventful as possible. That will be his last great contribution for the country.

When workers raid the treasury

How could that be when they are still begging for some kind of minimum wage for their labour? And they are fighting only for another $30 or $50 more, not like asking for thousands or millions more. The workers that are raiding the treasury are those at the top of the heap. Whether they call themselves presidents, MDs, CEOs or whatever, they are workers, employees, employed to do a job. The owners of the property or organisation are the minority shareholders, who are lost, disunited, and did not know their rights. And the expensive workers at the top took over the organisations and began to pay themselves crazy without the owners consent, but by default. That is when the workers start to raid the treasury. It is happening everywhere, from small to big companies. When this takes place, it is a matter of time when the greedy workers break the bank and let it go bust. It happened in America and Europe, during the financial crisis. It is back to square one when the workers are back to do what they know best, for their own interest, by raiding the treasury. Until the minority shareholders wake up and exercise their rights as shareholders, to stop the raiding, the raid will continue. The raiders will usurp the power granted to them with the silent consent of the powerless shareholders and manage the treasury as their own personal coffers. And they will tell the workers at the bottom of the heap to take whatever there is left and not to ask for a cent more.

The lure of the dark side

It is officially approved. MAS has given the green light to Chi East, a joint venture between Chi X Global and SGX to operate a dark pool trading platform here. This controversial trading platform that hides under a cloud of secrecy for big traders as against the principle of aboveboard and transparency trading is not new in Europe and America. So the big boys, the front runners, the smart asses are doing it and it cannot be wrong. I remember toxic notes and minibonds that were then so respectable because it came from the world's centre of finance and cannot be wrong too. The dark side has always been sexy and exciting. And playing with secrecy, like James Bond, with a licence to kill, is that much more glamorous and adventurous. It has all the thrills of cloak and dagger and the advantage of being above the law. Has any trading principle been undermined by the dark pool operation? Are the operators having an advantage over those that trades in the open? Is the principle of a level playing field been violated? Every step taken, even a small step, towards the dark side, is a wrong step. It may not be apparent now. It will eventually, but only when the sky turns dark. A frog being boiled to death never know how far it had crossed to the side of death. Little incremental changes are deceiving and comforting. Skirting with the danger of going down the slippery slope may not be evident. Yes, a single step has been taken. Welcome to the dark side.

10/04/2010

Obama apologises for Americas evil deeds

by Karin Zeitvogel Karin Zeitvogel – Fri Oct 1, 6:43 pm ET WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama personally apologized Friday to his Guatemalan counterpart for a US-led study conducted in the 1940s, in which hundreds of people in the Latin American state were deliberately infected with sexually-transmitted diseases. In a phone conversation with Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom, Obama expressed his deep regret for the experiment conducted by US public health researchers in Guatemala between 1946 and 1948, and apologized "to all those affected." The US president also vowed that all human medical studies conducted today will be held to exacting US and international legal and ethical standards. "This is shocking, it's tragic, it's reprehensible," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters, adding to apologies and outrage voiced by the president, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and other US officials. Is it really shocking? Robert Gibbs really did not know how reprehensible the Americans were and still is? This is nothing compare to all the genocides of the past and present. Do the Americans really believe that all was well in Guantanamo, in Abu Ghraif, in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in Pakistan and elsewhere around the world when the American’s dirty hand is present? This is the true America, the real America that all Americans did not want to know, and neither did the rest of the world. They only want to know the great and charitable and honourable America created in Hollywood. Long live the Empire. Below are some of the comments from the innocent and naïve in the same article. "What happened all those years ago is a crime against humanity and the government reserves the right to lodge a formal legal complaint over it," Guatemala President Alvaro Colom said. Hilary ‘Clinton and Sebelius said in a joint statement Friday that the study was "clearly unethical" and apologized to all those who had been affected by it.’ Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the US government body that funded the study, called it "deeply disturbing" and "an appalling example in a dark chapter in the history of medicine." Senator Robert Menendez, a member of the congressional Hispanic caucus, called the experiments in Guatemala one of the "darkest moments" in US history. "No innocent fellow human should be treated as a lab rat, no matter your nationality," Did the Yakuzas in Japan remember their chemical and biological plant in northern China during WW2 era and how they experimented with Chinese prisoners as guinea pigs not dissimilar and could be worst than what the Ameicans did to the Guatemalans.

I almost bought SPH shares

Looking at how thick the daily newspapers have become, it is a good sign that the media companies are making good money. The advertisements, including obituaries, are filling up the pages. And these are real money pouring in. And the last few days the obituary pages could swell into a voluminous book if the PM's Office had not made the announcement of no obituaries for Hsien Loong's mother. The idea of obituaries in full page or double spread can be a great source of income. It would be better to market the idea of having colour pages for obituaries or even gold plated one with special papers for keepsake, to be framed up, or as collector's items. When that day comes, I will definitely rush out to buy up shares of media companies.

10/03/2010

A reminder of what the yakuzas are capable of

Treaty of Shimonoseki 1895 Article 1: China recognizes definitively the full and complete independence and autonomy of Korea, and, in consequence, the payment of tribute and the performance of ceremonies and formalities by Korea to China, that are in derogation of such independence and autonomy, shall wholly cease for the future. Articles 2 & 3: China cedes to Japan in perpetuity and full sovereignty of the Penghu group, Taiwan and the eastern portion of the bay of Liaodong Peninsula together with all fortifications, arsenals and public property. Article 4: China agrees to pay to Japan as a war indemnity the sum of 200,000,000 Kuping taels. Article 6: China opens Shashih, Chungking, Soochow and Hangchow to Japan. Moreover, China is to grant Japan most-favored-nation treatment. Japan’s infamous 21 Demands on China 1915 Japan, under Prime Minister Ōkuma Shigenobu and Foreign Minister Katō Takaaki, drafted the initial list of Twenty-One Demands, which were reviewed by the genrō and Emperor Taishō, and approved by the Diet. This list was presented to Yuan Shikai on January 18, 1915, with warnings of dire consequences if China were to reject. The Twenty One Demands were grouped into five groups: • Group 1 confirmed Japan's recent acquisitions in Shandong Province, and expanded Japan's sphere of influence over the railways, coasts and major cities of the province. • Group 2 pertained to Japan's South Manchuria Railway Zone, extending the leasehold over the territory into the twenty-first century, and expanding Japan's sphere of influence in southern Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia, to include rights of settlement and extraterritoriality, appointment of financial and administrative officials to the government and priority for Japanese investments in those areas. • Group 3 gave Japan control of the Hanyeping mining and metallurgical complex, already deep in debt to Japan. • Group 4 barred China from giving any further coastal or island concessions to foreign powers except for Japan. • Group 5 contained a miscellaneous set of demands, ranging from Japanese advisors appointed to the Chinese central government and to administer the Chinese police force (which would severely intrude on Chinese sovereignty) to allowing Japanese Buddhist preachers to conduct missionary activities in China. The above were copied from Wikipedia. The Treaty of Shimonoseki was what the yakuzas demanded of China then under the Qing Dynasty. And in 1915, they made the obnoxious 21 Demands which would turn China into a Japanese Protectorate like Malaya under the British. These were how atrocious the yakuzas were and will be again if they become too powerful militarily. Today they are trying to revive their glorious empire days. Unfortunately the China today is not the China they could stamp on at will. Without knowing the acts of the scoundrels then, the world may still believe that the innocent party is Japan and China is the aggressive party trying to encroach into Japanese islands. Prior to 1895, the Diaoyutai was still Chinese territory. So was the Ryukyus which is now called Okinawa. Who is the gangster?

Kwa Geok Choo

Breaking my morning silence to the passing of another historical figure in the history of Singapore. She stood shoulder to shoulder with the first generation of leaders including her husband Lee Kuan Yew and the likes of Yusof Ishak, Goh Keng Swee, S Rajaratnam, Toh Chin Chye, E W Barker, and the rest of the political leaders of the founding years. Wife of a Prime Minister, mother of a Prime Minister and could be grandmother of another Prime Minister. Everything needed to be said have been said and will be said in the official media. Over the next few days Singaporeans will say farewell to this quiet pillar of strength in PAP leadership.

10/02/2010

'Mohammed' going to the mountain

The first 'Mohammed' has gone mountain visiting. Giovanni Bisignani, the director-general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association, called on LKY at the SGH yesterday. When you are the mountain, the visitors will come for their pilgrimage. They may even be willing to take a queue number for the privilege of visit. According to LKY's press secretary, ' the two men discussed key developments in the aviation industry'. Shouldn't this be discussed with the PM or with Raymond Lim, the Minister of Communications? What is happening? Looking at the betterer side of things, LKY, in his old age, in his medical condition, will not run away from work. He still works when he is sick, hospitalised, for the sake of the country. This would be part of the script when the time comes. A grea

Maids and brokers are human beans too

It is a common practice, though not prevalent, to work the maids from 5am to 12 midnight or more. I have personally hear the noises of maids working in the wee hours of the morning, or washing laundry in the late of the night. The number of hours the maids have to go through for the miserable pay of about $400pm is simply inequitable. Ok, all the employers may disagree. You have your right of views. Other than a contractual agreement which the maids signed to work as required by the employers and the compensation, which are absolutely legal, human rights or abuse of human rights is not an issue to them. I always believe that my god is bigger than your god and children of lesser gods have lesser rights. The other issue is that maids are human beans and need the time to have a break and rest. They are not machine that can go on and on. A decent break, for all the things that the body naturally needs to do is not demanding but a necessity. Only cruel and obnoxious people would ever think that human beans shall be put to work and work for long hours. It is only a decent thing to do. The SGX is pondering over a decision to scrap lunch breaks for remisiers, commonly known as brokers, to increase the volume of trades. This idea is as stupid and making students mug for longer hours to expect betterer grades. The intrincacies and complexities of the business require more than just a few words to explain. Brokers too are human beans and need all the time for the body to rest and recharge. The jokers suggesting that brokers should work without lunch break also need breaks for themselves. But they don’t because they can go on shifts, so do fund managers, dealers and house traders, who can all work in rotating teams. Oh, brokers can work in teams too and go on shifts. Unfortunately the nature of the business which is individual and client based would make such an arrangement difficult to operate. It would require a quality change in the way the business is structured, and brokers would have to form themselves into small business groups. This is best left to those supertalents being paid super salary to think about than a flimsy idea of scrapping lunch break to boost business. The bottom line is that maids, brokers and all tradesmen and professionals are basically human beans and cannot work without breaks, time for lunch and time for other social and even business related activities. It is immoral, unethical, callous and indecent to even make such a suggestion.

10/01/2010

Every 4th person in Singapore is an Indian

With the number of settlers from India almost doubling in the last two years, every fourth person in Singapore now belongs the Indian community, which is showing much interest in setting up firms in the island state. The city has a population of 1.79 million, including expatriates, and out of that 400,000 are of Indian origin, showing a 100% increase in the community size in two years.... 1 Oct 2010 The above is quoted from The Financial Express. I am very curious with the numbers mentioned. Singapore's population is 1.79 m, including expatriates, and 400k are Indians. How do these numbers compare with our 5m population, including expatriates? And if every 1 in 4 is an Indian, there should be 1.25m Indians here. Initially I though the numbers were those in the 1960s. I just don't know. Has there at any time in our history that the Indian population hit 25%? My memory says no.

New EC and how much to pay

The new EC at Buangkok is asking for $730-$750 psf and the buyers are those within the $8k-$10k income group. The average price of a 3 bedroom unit is around $850k. Presumably those earning more than $10k pm are too rich to buy these cheap flats. What would this amount mean to a young couple who probably have worked for less than 5 years? Assuming they could cough out $100k for the initial sum, it would mean taking a loan of $750k for 30 years. Roughly it would mean paying a total of $1.5m by the end of the mortgage. Divide this by 30 it will mean a yearly payment of $50k or $4k monthly. This sounds very reasonable and very affordable. The couple would still have a balance income of $6-7k pm. This is the new minimum price for EC. Can’t get it cheaper any more. And anyone buying a unit will instantly join the millionaire class.

The stages of decomposition

A forensic expert was relating this story to me on the stages of decomposition of the human body. A murderer could cut up a human body, packed it up nicely in a neat box, wrapped with gift wrappers to look like a present under a Christmas tree. The first stage of decomposition will be the stench of decay(ada ba woo). A little can be hidden by some fragrance spray. But it will only get stronger by the day and become unbearable. If the stench still did not get any attention, the next sign will be liquid oozing out of the box. This could be wiped away at the early stages but more will come out. Next little maggots will start to crawl out of the box, one at a time, and will get more and more. But don’t open the box. For inside will be a whole box of maggots. Though the gift wrappers may still look good, by this stage it is better to throw the whole box away. Beyond redemption! Oops, better burn it in the incinerator. The stench, the liquid, the maggots are all too unbearable to be left around. The stages of decomposition starts slowly be gain pace rapidly and will change whatever beyond recognition. Why am I writing about decomposition and decay? My apologies if it mess up your breakfast.