The world of high finance is characterized by huge funds, mammoth funds, steam rolling into small financial markets around the world. These big funds take full advantage of their size and will flatten anything in its path leaving behind ruins and destructions. The currency markets, stock markets and commodity markets are helpless victims in the face of these financial gangsters and pirates of modern times. The central banks of Taiwan, China, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia etc etc are all stepping up efforts to reduce volatility of their currencies caused by these funds and the banana currencies they are bringing in in exchange for the higher yielding Asian currencies. The attacks by these huge funds are only the beginning and the damages inflicted are only the tip of the iceberg. More serious consequences would come along if the big funds are left unregulated and free to do as they want. For the moment they are the only worthwhile export that is generating real income to their home countries. The Asian capital markets are for the time being addicted to the liquidity these funds are bringing in and looking at them as gods. Many have let their defensive instinct down and welcome the funds with open arms to rape and loot their investors of their hard earned money. These funds are merciless and must be kept in a tight rein. They have to be cut down in size and cannot be permitted to thump down everyone with the weight of their banana notes. Ignoring the dangers posed by these funds is simply irresponsibility at its height.
HDB households will get up to $190 in utility rebates starting in January 2011. A second tranche will be paid in July to offset the hike in electricity tariffs. 1 roomers could get as high as $190 while those in Executive flats will get $45. Interviews conducted show that HDB dwellers are very thankful for this money falling down from the sky. Not many countries in the world will have govts giving money to their people to offset hikes in prices of goods or services. I believe this will go down well with the people and will be a good point to raise in the next general election.
Electricity tariffs will go up by 3.3% for Jan to Mar 2011. Data reported in the Today paper shows that there was a 5.4% hike for Jan to Mar 2010, 3% for Apr to Jun, 2.42% for Jul to Sep, a fall of 3.3% for Oct to Dec resulting in a total hike of 7.5% for year 2010. It was also reported that the decrease of 3.3% was due to oil price falling from $102.35 to $95.41 in the third quarter. Since then oil prices have been hovering around $90 or below. Oil price for the last few days maintained at $90 but not exceeding $92. This is still below the $95.41 high in the third quarter. If oil price is holding below the $95.41 mark, why is there a need to raise it by 3.3%? Funny right? I am a little confused.
Jeffrey D Sachs, Professor of Economics and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University has an interesting article in the Today paper titled, America’s political class struggle comes to a head. The key points he raised in the articles were about how deep America has dug itself into the abyss of self destruction. Yes, America did it all by itself. It all boils down to ‘America’s corrupted politics and loss of civic morality.’ Nothing new and very familiar. For once, an American professor is talking about corruption in America and in high places. Thought corruption is only a hallmark of Asian countries like India and China. He said, ‘The level of political corruption in America is staggering. Everything is about money to run political campaigns, which have become incredibly expensive.’ He also said that ‘Amazingly, the richest 1 per cent of American households now has a higher net worth than the bottom 90 per cent.’ I think this could also be true in paradise. And the govt is going for more tax cuts for the rich to protect the rich and their wealth. At the same time, the govt is wasting huge money fighting ‘useless wars in Afghanistan’ and unnecessary weapons systems, but cutting education, health, and other benefits for the poor and the working class. ‘With their backs against the wall, I(Sachs) predict, poor and working class Americans will begin to agitate for social justice.’ He added that, ‘If this continues, a third party will emerge, committed to cleaning up American politics and restoring a measure of decency and fairness.’ Though he admitted that it would take time, he fell short of saying that America is ripe for a Communist Revolution where the poor working class will rise to over throw the elite class. It sounds ridiculous, unbelievable, but if the greenback turns into banana currency, if the working class Americans could no longer afford even to buy cheap goods from China, who knows what will happen. A Communist America and a Capitalist China by the mid 21st Century! Can you believe in that? Anything is possible. The Sick Man of Asia is now the main contender to be the Number One super power and is the main financier of America, and also giving loans to save Euro zone countries. And America is deep in debt that it knows it cannot pay except for printing more money. And this will naturally lead the way to a banana currency. $200 buck for a bottle of coke is on the way. Viva la America!
I can’t believe my eyes to read this in the forum page of the ST. Amine Delage’s family has been the victims of loan sharks harassment for 6 long years. And their only crime was to buy a HDB flat whose previous owner owed money to loan sharks. For 6 long years they suffered verbal abuses and defacement of their flats. And nothing could be done! Yes, the law could not apprehend the loan sharks. And now we have this public appeal for help! In the meantime they have to leave their children in the homes of their in laws for fear of harassment or harm. Unbelieveable but true. It is real! I lower my head in shame to think that this is first world country.
China is the most irresponsible emerging power for its failure to rein in the belligerent North Korea. It did not punish North Korea after the sinking of the Choenan as told by the Americans. (In this incident the West has already convicted the North Koreans of the crime but not allowing it to defend itself. The North Koreans have admitted the firing into Yeonpyeong but denied its role in Choenan and wanted an independent investigation to view the evidence. The South Koreans and its allies who conducted the one sided investigation pointedly refused to let them. There is no reason why the North Koreans needed to deny the shooting if they did it. There is no reason to deny an independent investigation if the evidence is convincing.) Every country wants to be friendly with China but it was China that is behaving aggressively. All Asian countries are viewing China’s rise with suspicion and fear. And China is rapidly beefing up its military forces and getting more aggressive in its disputes with its neighbours. The above is standard western American and western views. But inside many Asian heads, including the heads of WOGs and westernized Chinamen, this is the prevailing view that coloured their thinking process. Oops, I meant whiten their coloured minds. No one questions the role of the Americans, Japanese and South Koreans in provoking the North Koreans. No one wants to know the truth in the sinking of the Choenan. No one wants to know how the Americans have been orchestrating and creating the tension in the Korean Peninsula. No one wants to tell the South Koreans to stop their war mongering war games in the front yard of the North Koreans. Now that the Americans has given the green light to unleash the monster of the WW2, to allow Japan to rearm and become another military power, this idea will be accepted as the correct way to go by these Asians with western thinkings in their heads. The remilitarization of Japan is a very dangerous development. The beast in the Japanese people has not gone away and will resurface itself to terrorise the Asian countries and people. Is America just a peace loving country? A sweet darling to sleep in bed with? Nicholas D Kristof has an article to describe the modus operandi of the Americans which he titled ‘Military force is not effective at solving modern problems’. This is what he said, ‘The US spends nearly as much on military power as every other country in the world combined, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. It says we spend more than six times as much as the country with the next highest Budget, China. The US maintains troops at more than 560 bases and other sites abroad, many of them a legacy of a world war that ended 65 years ago….The US will spend more on the war in Afghanistan this year, adjusting for inflation, than we spend on the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican American War, the Civil War and the Spanish American War combined.’ Is this a benign and friendly super power? Why does it invest so much money and resources in the weapons of war and keeping so many military bases? For tea parties? This is the way the Americans choose to deal with countries that do not tow its lines. It will use force to deal with them. And it will do it again and again, as it has the monopoly of power. Ahh, the aircraft carriers and their fire power! But the silly Asian heads, thinking American or Western, took all this for granted as the order of the day. The flexing of American military muscles and starting wars is a peace loving thing. It is America’s right to instigate and start wars. America is a benign and peaceful power. China is a belligerent power. When America schemed and orchestrated the tension in Korea, it is China’s responsibility to defuse it. By not doing anything, China is irresponsible! What kind of silly heads will think like this?
A letter by a Neo Leng Hui appeared in the Today paper appealing to the MOE to start primary school later. And with full day schools, shouldn’t this be easier? Whatever the ‘f’ reasonings, efficiency, convenience, parents can fetch the children before going to work, blah, blah, blah, the current system demands that many primary school children will have to be up by 6am or earlier to get to school on time. The consequences of a system that compelled young children to wake up at the wee hours of the morning cannot be good. Those hours are meant for nocturnal animals. Even adults will have problems waking up in those hours. But clever adults think that it is ok for little children! Waking up at those hours to rush to schools would mean that the children will have difficulties trying to eat their breakfast. The body system may not be ready to consume meals. And rushing food into the body can be a problem too. Very likely the children will have to pack their food to eat when they arrived in schools in more humanly hours. It is not an uncommon sight to see little children slumping at the lift doors or the gates as they were barely await and trying to go back to sleep again. Some parents have to carry them all the way to the cars or buses where they could knock off again. These are terrible sights and a terrible thing to do to our little ones. But the experts in childcare and schoolings may think otherwise. There are social problems too, in the dark hours of the day. Would the parents feel good and comfortable bungling their little ones out of their way to schools? Would it be more sanely and better for children to spend some decent times together during breakfast instead of rush rush and rush, or when the children were all half asleep? Are we abusing our little children for their own good, to go to schools? The efficient tickling of the economic system is more important than the welfare of the little ones?
Reading from articles originating from India, the visit by Wen Jia Bao seems to have created a storm instead of bridging relations between the two countries. Even George Yeo could not miss the unfriendly vibes in the Indian media that kept blowing up the differences in the two countries, from border disputes to super power ambition. Both have many similarities, ancient, populous and corrupt in their own ways. One is already a super power and another pretending to be one. There is no need to claim who is more successful or who is a bigger power. There is no need to claim who is number one in this or that. The truth is all out there. India has historical claims over territories that it claimed was hers, and so does China. How this dispute is going to be resolved or can be resolved in the near future is anyone’s guess. India is claiming that China is getting more belligerent and aggressive and is responding by reinforcing its border military forces, including beefing up its air force. It seems that war is the only solution in the Indian cards. One far fetch drama is the belief that China is encircling India by helping to build sea ports in the littoral states of the Indian Ocean. The concept of containment originated from the Cold War between the West and the communist states. This has been proven to be ineffective as no states the size of China or India can be contained in any way. The Americans failed to contain China and at best only to restrict China’s relation with the American allies. But sooner or later, the allies, if they are independent countries, will have their own interests to look after as these are above the interests of whichever super power. Actually what China is doing is to thwart the efforts of the Americans and the West and also to expand its economic and political space. India is hardly in its equation for at least the next 30 years. In many areas, there is simply no contest and India should not think too highly of itself. It should just go on developing its economy and infrastructure. The influence and stature of a country will be accompanied by its economic strength, backed by a strong military. There are many interstate and strategic differences between the two countries. India should learn from the way China break out from the stranglehold of the Americans by economic development and advancement in technology. There is nothing the Americans can do to contain or restrain China short of an all out war. America has failed miserably by wasting its resources in military prowess and hardware and allowing China to grow by leaps and bounds in the economic field. India can do like wise, develop its industries and technology. No matter how much it aspires to be a super power, it cannot be one if its rockets keep falling out from the sky despite having no problems with its design. Get the basics right, strong economy and military, and all things associated with super power will fall into place. Having a noisy media talking nonsense and creating more animosities would not turn India into a super power. Militarily the US is still the undisputed super power. Economically it is a bankrupt super power. It is in a very precarious state where it could not produce enough to pay for all its adventurism except by printing money. The G2 is not coined for nothing. It recognizes that at the top of the heap there are two super powers. The Chinese may not be as powerful as the Americans militarily. Financially it is the undisputed super power. It helped to ward of the financial crisis of the late 90s. Today China is the most sought after Santa Claus of the financially strapped countries. The US is a pauper, Japan is not the Japan it once was. So is Germany or any other European country. No need to mention India. Only China has the financial muscle to pull the sick European countries out of the quagmire. Even if there is a property bubble burst in China, which the West is hoping everyday and eager to say I told you so, the incompetent Chinese can never manage their economy, the huge cash reserves will pull them through. No need World Bank or IMF. The rest of the poor ‘rich’ nations are equally impoverished to be able to lend a helping hand even if they are willing. This is what China is today. No need to claim super power status. The European knew who has the dole.
The supreme Singapore logic is unquestionable inside Singapore. This simple and clear logic only Singaporeans can understand. Some examples like privatized companies are run privately with no govt interference are easy to understand. The HDB, privatized govt hospitals, transport companies, are all run under commercial disciplines and using the logic of profits and nothing else. The banks, stock exchange, universities, national newspaper etc etc are independent from the govt. They make their decisions based on their own commercial and business interests. When the same logic was applied in other countries, somehow they could not understand how our logic and reasoning worked. They kept messing up by insisting on believing that our govt linked companies are part of our govt and controlled by our govt. In Thailand, our purchased of their telco from Thaksin hit a wall. They claimed that their security was compromised by us. How ridiculous. Then there is Australia who could not separate our Stock Exchange from our govt. They did not like the way our govt functions and implicitly thought that our exchange is less worthy too since it is associated with the govt. And in Indonesia, just because shares were held by two Singapore owned companies, they simply lumped them together as one entity and accused us of collusion, monopoly and all that jest. Now their courts even ruled to confiscate the assets of our companies. Luckily our head offices were not informed and they can’t do anything about it. If our head offices had been informed, they would have taken everything away, legally of course. Is this an issue of misunderstanding or a kind of difference in perception? Or is it culture and different way in thinking? Or is it because of different world and different world view?
The communist countries have their best men and women in govt services. The western democracies have their attractive and good looking men and women in office. One selects the best based on their intellect and abilities. The other uses popular votes to vote in the best looker or talker to look good on TV and make lovely speeches. Singapore modeled its govt on western democracies but deviated by choosing the ‘best’ men and women to be in govt. This has served the country well for many decades. But the problem of getting the best in govt is hitting many road blocks. For one, not necessary the best will want to stand out for one reason or another. This has resulted in the ‘best’ being the best of the willing. Another major problem that marred the selection process is the dearth of political talents and leaders. The consequence is that many have no choice but duty bound to stay on even when they are not in the best of condition, physically. Some could be hard of hearing, walking or even making a speech. But they sacrificed themselves for a noble cause. Some even have to take less money home. Pathetic is the word. On the other extremes we may find children in govt as well. These must be very exceptional talents to be selected and elected by the people to serve them and the country. They are bright and clever but may be lacking in experience and wisdom in some cases. Experience and wisdom do not come about by reading books alone or an inborn thing. These are the mistakes and adversities one encountered, directly or indirectly, over time that make a person wiser, more circumspect, humbler and able to appreciate the problems and difficulties and meanings of life and living. Govt is not child play and we need the best of the best to govern the country and make life better for as many as reasonably possible. We cannot have half ins and half outs in the govt. Agree that the best means many things and different things to different people. The people and the quality of their life shall be the best to judge what is best or betterer for them. A big contradiction in this quest for the best to serve the country and people is to have part time MPs but with a pay that is not part time. No matter how talented, when a job is part time, it is part time.
The PIGS countries in Europe are counting on the Sick Man of Asia to bail them out of their financial woes. While America is spending its financial resources starting wars and fighting wars, China is extending financial aids to countries that asked for its help. And China has obliged the Euro zone by promising to buy up their bond issues. China will come to their rescue to nurse them back to economic health. Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain will be the first of Euro zone countries to benefit from China’s huge reserves. More Euro zone countries will soon be queuing up in Beijing for their grants. While this is taking place, some western analysts are writing articles about the impending implosion of the Chinese economy. They do not believe that the Chinese is capable of running their economy in the pink of health. It must collapse and this is imminent. China will soon become the Sick Man of Asia once again. And Europe shall rise, together with the US, to be the economic powerhouses once again. And they live happily together again. And they are pointing fingers at China as an irresponsible power. When will the responsible powers like the US, Europe and Japan coming to the aid of the PIGS?
Kolkata, Dec 21 (IBNS): The world would benefit from cosy ties between India and China and pitting the Asian giants against each other is detrimental to the global economy, Singapore's Foreign Minister said here on Monday. "There is no profit in the India China antagonism," minister George Yeo said at an interaction organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Aspen Institute of India. He rapped the Indian media for plotting a negative image of China. "I don't think the media's view is neutral," Yeo said. He said, "China has its quirks, but so does India and so does Singapore."…. Another way to build that trust is to get to know each others countries. He said the knowledge about the other side on either side of the border between India and China was "woefully insufficient". The above was copied from washingtonbanglaradio.com. George Yeo has pointedly lashed out at the sinister motive of media and the destructive influence it has on international relations. What the Indian media is doing is similar to what the western media is doing to North Korea, by painting it as an irrational and backward country and a regime change American is good for the country and its people. It conveniently chose to remain silent on the right of interference in another country’s domestic affair while accepting the connivance and forceful invasion of countries by America as an acceptable behaviour. The latest nonsense is that the Kim Jong Un is just like a young head hunter coming of age and he needs to cut off some heads to prove his manhood. Thus he has to conduct a war with the South Koreans before he can become a man. Such silly western views reflect how stupid and low down the western journalists and so called academics are prepared to go and compromising their credentials for their own personal aggrandizement. The daily provocations by the South Koreans are there for all to see. It is a nation consumed in madness and thinks that war is a party, and Lee Myung Bak and his soldiers are all smiling. They are oblivious to the next phase of development, when many will become dead soldiers. And their families will be mourning and wailing for their return in one piece and alive. The irresponsible media continues to cheer them on to provoke a supposedly ‘evil regime’, yes, an axis of evil, and they were the innocent and good boys being threatened by the North. The media would not tell them of their stupidity and the destruction of lives and the country should war breaks out. War is good and should be encouraged.
The MFA had commented that ‘One purported meeting did not even take place’ and ‘Records of what was spoken differ,’ in response to the WikiLeaks revelations. What did these comments imply? Did the Americans concocted their reports and identified Singapore as the source when nothing of the sort took place, or they twisted the words to fix Singapore? It sure looks like we have been done in by our good friends the Americans. If true, it shall warrant a formal protest to the American govt and those being offended parties be duly informed. Unfortunately, even if it is true, it only concerns two cables, one that did not take place and another being altered. Then what about the rest of the cables? They must be true. Then what? Or was it an early Christmas gift? Do we need to say thank you to the Americans or return a gift in kind? Or an apology from the White House is warranted?
“While the challenges in the next phase will be different, the HDB’s core mission of building homes and bring hope of a better life for hardworking Singaporean families remained unchanged. With the continued support of other agencies, community leaders, and residents, I am confident that we can build an even better home for all – one where ‘we’ll build our dreams together. Just like we’ve done before. “ Mah Bow Tan The above quote is copied from the Today paper.
Is it possible that a 5 rm HDB flat costs less than one year’s combined income of two young graduates? Young graduates refer to those working less than 5 years after graduation. And this could also be extended to mean any two young executives with the same income. Definitely. At one time a 5 rm flat cost only $27,500 in Holland Village. If the couple were earning $1,500 pm each, that’s $3k pm or about $40k pa inclusive of bonuses. I know some of you are shaking your heads. KNN. How could this be possible when we are supposed to better off than before? Those people then could pay off the whole $27k with less than a year’s income and with plenty to spare. And they could set aside some money as savings in their CPF or in their bank accounts. Better still, with that kind of price, today the same flat could have appreciated and may be valued at $600k! Damn nice feeling huh. Using the same magic formula, a $400k flat today could well be valued at $8m in the future, using a multiple of 22 times. But things are not that easy now. In the first place, an average young couple would have a combined income of $6k pm or an annual income of $90k. This would not even be enough to pay for half the price of a 3 rm flat. So it would be a no go to begin with. Buying a 4 rm flat will probably eat into all their CPF savings for the next 20 years, leaving very little as savings. Can things be the same again? Can they really believe that their $400k flat be worth $8m in the future? The catch is that many workers, especially the CBF workers, would not be able to see their salary go up in leaps and bounds to be able to pay for a 4 rm flat. Who can afford an $8m public flat? If a public flat is selling at $8m, then a plate of char kway teow would likely cost $100 and an average young couple should be paid like $30k pm. Maybe, just maybe, when everyone is using banana currency.
The Evil Trinity is led by the Madman of the 21st Century. One member is the beast of the 20th Century and the other is the psychopath in South Korea. The Madman is infamous for starting wars everywhere and killing innocent people to satisfy its lust for power and control. It could do it as it could deliver the most destructive power to its victims and knowing very well that the victim could not hit back. And it will continue to attack any country on this basis until someone stands up to give it a bloody nose before it would stop. To continue what it is doing in a bigger scale it is pandering to the lust for glory of the old Japanese empire in the beast. It is encouraging the beast to take on a bigger and more belligerent role in world affairs by expanding its military capability to wage wars. And the psychopaths in South Korea were given full military support to provoke the North Koreans to start a war. The 21st Century is going to be a precarious century with the Evil Trinity out to conquer and dominate the world. The only hope to push back this evil force is an alliance between China, Russia and North Korea. A better balance would be to include India, Brazil and even the European Union. The latter is a far fetch hope as they are likely to join the Evil Trinity instead and become an Evil Gang of Four. All peace loving nations should unite against this force of evil and voice their opposition to what they are doing. They cannot allow them to go on setting the world, country by country, on fire. The rest of the world cannot continue to be divided and duped into complacency and be controlled by the neo colonialists and be victims of a new formula of oppression. Every country has to stand up to oppose this evil trend or risk losing their independence and become subservient to the Evil Empire, fronted by the Evil Trinity.
While the Americans have tasted their own bitter medicine of going big, big and bigger, we are still sleeping like Rip Van Winkle. Big is still good and we are going bigger by killing the smaller ones. Read the article below to see the evil of being too big and the unfair advantage it has in exploiting the small guys. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2010 The Economy Cannot Recover Until the Big Banks Are Broken Up A lot of people still haven't heard that the economy cannot recover until the big banks are broken up. In fact, virtually all independent economists and financial experts are calling for the big banks to be broken up, including: Nobel prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz Nobel prize-winning economist, Ed Prescott Former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan Former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich Dean and professor of finance and economics at Columbia Business School, and chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, R. Glenn Hubbard Former chief IMF economist and economics professor Simon Johnson (and see this) President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Thomas Hoenig (and seethis) President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Richard Fisher (and see this) President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Thomas Bullard Deputy Treasury Secretary, Neal S. Wolin The President of the Independent Community Bankers of America, a Washington-based trade group with about 5,000 members, Camden R. Fine The Congressional panel overseeing the bailout (and see this) The head of the FDIC, Sheila Bair The head of the Bank of England, Mervyn King The leading monetary economist and co-author with Milton Friedman of the leading treatise on the Great Depression, Anna Schwartz Economics professor and senior regulator during the S & L crisis, William K. Black Economics professor, Nouriel Roubini Economics professor, James Galbraith Economist, Marc Faber Professor of entrepreneurship and finance at the Chicago Booth School of Business, Luigi Zingales Economics professor, Thomas F. Cooley Economist Dean Baker Economist Arnold Kling Former investment banker, Philip Augar Chairman of the Commons Treasury, John McFall Leading bank analyst, Chris Whalen Why do these experts say the giant banks need to be broken up? Well, small banks have been lending much more than the big boys. The giant banks which received taxpayer bailouts have been harming the economy by slashing lending, giving higher bonuses, and operating at higher costs than banks whichdidn't get bailed out. As Fortune pointed out, the only reason that smaller banks haven't been able to expand and thrive is that the too-big-to-fails have decreased competition: Growth for the nation's smaller banks represents a reversal of trends from the last twenty years, when the biggest banks got much bigger and many of the smallest players were gobbled up or driven under... As big banks struggle to find a way forward and rising loan losses threaten to punish poorly run banks of all sizes, smaller but well capitalized institutions have a long-awaited chance to expand. Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/11/justice-department-plans-_n_201409.html So the very size of the giants squashes competition, and prevents the small and medium size banks to start lending to Main Street again. And as I noted in December 2008, the big banks are the major reason why sovereign debt has become a crisis: The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is often called the "central banks' central bank", as it coordinates transactions between central banks. BIS points out in a new report that the bank rescue packages have transferred significant risks onto government balance sheets, which is reflected in the corresponding widening of sovereign credit default swaps: The scope and magnitude of the bank rescue packages also meant that significant risks had been transferred onto government balance sheets. This was particularly apparent in the market for CDS referencing sovereigns involved either in large individual bank rescues or in broad-based support packages for the financial sector, including the United States. While such CDS were thinly traded prior to the announced rescue packages, spreads widened suddenly on increased demand for credit protection, while corresponding financial sector spreads tightened. In other words, by assuming huge portions of the risk from banks trading in toxic derivatives, and by spending trillions that they don't have, central banks have put their countries at risk from default. Now, Greece, Portugal, Spain and many other European countries - as well as the U.S. and Japan - are facing serious debt crises. We are no longer wealthy enough to keep bailing out the bloated banks. See this, this, this, this, this and this. Indeed, the top independent experts say that the biggest banks are insolvent. Seethis, for example. By failing to break up the giant banks, the government will have to keep taking emergency measures to try to cover up their insolvency. And by failing to break them up, the government is guaranteeing that they will take crazily risky bets again and again, and the government will wrack up more and more debt bailing them out in the future. (Anyone who thinks that Congress will use the current financial regulation - Dodd-Frank - to break up banks in the middle of an even bigger crisis is dreaming. If the giant banks aren't broken up now - when they are threatening to take down the world economy - they won't be broken up next timethey become insolvent either. And see this. In other words, there is no better time than today to break them up). Moreover, Richard Alford - former New York Fed economist, trading floor economist and strategist - recently showed that banks that get too big benefit from "information asymmetry" which disrupts the free market. Indeed, Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz noted in September that giants like Goldman are using their size to manipulate the market: "The main problem that Goldman raises is a question of size: 'too big to fail.' In some markets, they have a significant fraction of trades. Why is that important? They trade both on their proprietary desk and on behalf of customers. When you do that and you have a significant fraction of all trades, you have a lot of information." Further, he says, "That raises the potential of conflicts of interest, problems of front-running, using that inside information for your proprietary desk. And that's why the Volcker report came out and said that we need to restrict the kinds of activity that these large institutions have. If you're going to trade on behalf of others, if you're going to be a commercial bank, you can't engage in certain kinds of risk-taking behavior." The giants (especially Goldman Sachs) have also used high-frequency program trading which not only distorts the markets - making up more than 70% of stock trades - but which also lets the program trading giants take a sneak peak at what the real (that is, human) traders are buying and selling, and then trade on the insider information. See this, this, this, this and this. (This is frontrunning, which is illegal; but it is a lot bigger than garden variety frontrunning, because the program traders are not only trading based on inside knowledge of what their own clients are doing, they are also trading based on knowledge of what all other traders are doing). Goldman also admitted that its proprietary trading program can "manipulate the markets in unfair ways". The giant banks have also allegedly used their Counterparty Risk Management Policy Group (CRMPG) to exchange secret information and formulate coordinated mutually beneficial actions, all with the government's blessings. Again, size matters. If a bunch of small banks did this, manipulation by numerous small players would tend to cancel each other out. But with a handful of giants doing it, it can manipulate the entire economy in ways which are not good for the American citizen. Moreover, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley together hold 80% of the country's derivatives risk, and 96% of the exposure to credit derivatives. Experts say that derivatives will never be reined inuntil the mega-banks are broken up, and yet unregulated derivatives are one of the main risks to the economy. In addition, as everyone from Paul Krugman to Simon Johnson has noted, the banks are so big and politically powerful that they have bought the politicians and captured the regulators. So their very size is preventing the changes needed to fix the economy. PS. My apologies for not accrediting the source. It was emailed to me without the source.
Hooray, my old car has appreciated in value. Many old car owners are jubilant and praying that the COE prices will continue to rise, to hit the $100k mark. And in tandem the value of their old cars will rise as well. But beware, this orgasm is short lived. Just one last time. No more orgasm subsequently for many. After the old car’s life span is expired, some would not be able to cough out another $100k for a new COE and a new car. Many have the same experience in owning HDB flats. Prices going up, happy like hell. But don’t ever sell, no chance to buy back unless one still got one more chance with the HDB. What is disturbing in the two great price hikes is how they will eat up the limited disposable incomes of many families. Some families rely heavily on the car for their mobility, to bring children/seniors to schools, to care givers, to all kinds of classes and activities. Minus the car, life is going to be very disruptive and miserable. But there are convenient and easily accessible public transports available, the MRT, buses and the taxis. When time is an issue with tight schedules, shuttling between work, home, schools, tuition centres, parent’s homes etc etc, it is going to be hectic and a frustrating waiting game for taxis even if they can afford to. Our social system is getting to be less caring and less family friendly. Can families who really need the car make do without them? Is the high COE prices really unavoidable, like high HDB prices, high medical prices? Where are we going? For the sake of the poor motorists and those who really need a car, the present COE bidding system must be changed. No more stupid explanation that it is the best system. For one, no bidding by car companies. Two, the bidders shall pay the price they bid and not the lowest. This will prevent the crazily rich from bidding $100k or $200k for his COE knowing that they need not pay for what they bid. And neither can the car companies bid as high as they want while the helpless real buyers suffered in silence. Let’s hope the super talents will use their talents for the good of the motorists. But worst is to come. When more people give up car ownership, the MRT is going to be bursting in the seams. And they would be another good opportunity to hike fares to provide better services!
When the Americans come a calling, and pretending to be seeking advice and tapping one’s wisdom, the best thing is to shut up. The second best thing is to say only good things, even about your foes. This will save a lot of embarrassment when what is said in confidence is aired in the open. Giving advice is a great honour only reserved for the wise ones. Being asked to give advice and opinion is quite flattering. But beware of the ego and don’t get carried away. What is spoken can be used to compromise one’s position and standing in the eyes of friends and foes. With hindsight, I think all diplomats would be wiser now. The Americans have blown their wicked intent for the last time and never will be given a second chance. But suckers will be born everyday and some will still think very highly of themselves and will continue to offer more advices and more opinions to the Americans. The Americans will be laughing themselves silly that these were given free of charge, and willingly. All they to do is to stroke the ego a little to get it excited.
The New York Attorney is taking Ernst and Young to task for its role in misleading the public that led to the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The fall of Lehman Brothers resulted in a worldwide financial crisis culminating in several big banks going under as well. Many investors lost heavily from the fiasco. The first strange thing about this is that it will be a civil suit brought by the New York Attorney General against Ernst and Young for aiding Lehman to mislead investors. Why it is not a criminal suit in the first place is quite funny. Maybe it is meant to be a joke. Whatever, it is good that finally the law is catching up with the most important partner of crimes against the innocent masses at a scale that is beyond comprehension. The auditing companies have so far been left untouched in many cases of fraud or misleading the investors across the world. Somehow they are always free from prosecution. They are blameless when in reality they were the one that played a vital role in hiding all the frauds in the financial statements. More needs to be sued and put behind bars. This brings me to the second strange thing in this civil suit. The accused is the inanimate institution and not any of the senior executives. The humans who made all the decisions, committed all the frauds, were free from blame. It is the lifeless institution called Ernst and Young that was at fault. How ridiculous can it be? Sounds very familiar too, huh! So, from one big scam, the New York Attorney is going to create another bigger scam. No human bean is at fault or to be held responsible. It is very, very neat indeed. This is first class American rubbish. And the robbers are still wining and dining in their mansions and yachts around the world.
Not many days ago Tommy Koh was said to have commmented that India was half in and half out. Quite an interesting expression that left many wondering what he meant. Today I read that India is deeper into Singapore. Hmmmm, what does that mean: ) Tomorrow the media may report that Singapore is getting wet. Too much rain in the December season I suppose. Or it may be India is pulling out!
South Korea has announced that it will be holding the biggest live firing drill this Thursday 50km from the North Korean border. The scale of the drill is unprecedented. If this is not provocation, what is? The failure to lure the North Koreans to retaliate last Monday seems to have agitated the psychopaths in South Korea to a point of frenzy. They must do more to provoke the North Koreans. These irresponsible and reckless lunatics in Seoul need to be put in an asylum for the good of the Korean people. The UNSC must act to stop all the provocations from the South Koreans. The other two third of the evil Trinity are keeping mum. The western media are keeping mum. They are all waiting for the North Koreans to react. I thought the insanity is over and the Korean race is safe. I am being too presumptious and too optimistic about the psychopaths in charge. When will the South Koreans rise in revolt against them? When will the UN stand up to stop this madness? Don't count on the Americans and the Japs to stop the South Koreans. They are part of the evil scheme. Go on, blame the North Koreans!
The British court has found Jonathan Wong, a MOE scholar reading History at York University, guilty as a sex offender. What did he do? He possessed child pornography videos in his computer. I am also sure that many people watch pornography in Youtube. Are they sex offenders too? Or must one be found to have pornography in ones lap top to be considered a sex offender? My simple understanding of a sex offender is one who committed a sexual act that is not permitted, either by force, without permission or against a minor. Did Jonathan Wong commit such an act? Viewing pornography could be for curiosity, a process of growing up, a animal lust. Admittedly viewing child pornography is a step further to the dark side. Did Jonathan do what he did out of curiosity or a process of growing up? Or is it a sickness, a mental condition? If it is a sickness, a disease that results in perversion, should he be treated as a sick man rather than a criminal? If it is just a case of curiosity, a temporary perversion, is the punishment too severe? Murderers or rapists could get away with their crimes on grounds of mental sickness or even an abused childhood. The University also expelled him and prevented him from completing his studies. Now this would do more harm to him as a human bean than in helping him in any way to right his sick behavior. He has a life to live and needs to be equipped with an education to complete his life journey. Is the University being too harsh to Jonathan in this case? Jonathan has not harmed anyone except himself. What he did is not acceptable to what society would consider as decency. But there is no need to destroy his life. He has taken his punishment. What he needs now is help to become a normal person again. Depriving him of an education is akin to hammering the nails into a coffin. At most his act is deplorable. He did not rob, maim, kill, rape or hurt anyone. Where is the appropriateness in the punishment dealt to him? The court is fair in the six month suspended jail sentence. Is the University being fair and enlighten in expelling him? Hard core criminals are also allowed to study in prisons and sit for their examinations. Where is the Yellow Ribbon?
MSN India, 20 Dec 2010 Kolkata, Dec 20 (PTI) Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo today pitched for strong Sino-Indian ties, saying that "some" of what is being made of the "rivalry" between the two countries was in the interest of "third parties". "Much has been made of the rivalry between China and India in the recent months, some of which no doubt is in the interest of third parties," Yeo said while speaking on ''Tagore''s Dream for Good Relations Between India and China'' at the Netaji Research Bureau here.... After being on the wrong end of the stick when Singapore's leaders were fixed nice and proper by the WikiLeaks, the normally well composed George Yeo is feeling the heat. In the above statement quoted, he lashed out at the Third Parties for causing rift between India and China. The Third Parties have been messing around and fixing all the Asian countries to be at logger heads with each othe for a very long time. India and China were no exceptions as they were courted, conned and misled, and hit by disinformation, to end up in deep mistrust of each other. Who are the Third Parties hiding in the dark corner, causing the rift and getting the ire of George Yeo?
When Hsien Loong took over the rein of the govt he inherited an A Team in his cabinet. Over the last few years it is obvious that the A Team is underforming. There is no doubt that he has the best of the super talents in his team. Everyone is a super talent, great leadership qualities and great abilities to run the country. In reality, many of them are not working at optimum capacity for one reason or another. LKY is working extremely hard and is everywhere. But as the saying goes, the heart is willing but the body is not. His ram chips, hard disk and motherboard all needs to be replaced. Otherwise he will be operating on an outdated and ageing system. The speed is definitely much slower than desired. Chok Tong, Jayakumar and Boon Heng were giants in their old days. They could do very much more. Boon Heng’s main portfolio, without a ministry, is to look after the oldies. Not sure what is Chok Tong’s main duty. Both could do very much more given their talent, youth and energy. Hsien Loong is another case of system go but a bug is there waiting to strike. Running at full speed may risk a system crash. It’s a pity that he could not go charging down the highway in maximum power. Things would have been very different. Kan Seng has had a very important portfolio in Home Affairs. His credibility took a disastrous hit by the Mas Selamat saga and it would take a long long time to rebuild his credential. Whatever he is doing now will always be viewed with a tinted lens. This could have affected his confidence and performance. Boon Wan found out that he had a bad heart. The surgeons opened it up and confirmed that the heart was bad. Though he had done a major overhaul, it is not easy to turn a bad heart into a good one. He may be excused if he wants to retire and spend value time in things that are more dear to him and his family. He has done his fair share of public service and no one will blame him should he retires. Mah Bow Tan is or was the most profitable minister and has done an excellent job in building the HDB’s coffers. And the people got to thank him for helping to raise their asset values for retirement. All they need is to downgrade or sell their properties to live out their golden years. The only little flaw is that the people’s CPF savings were depleted in exchange for the high value HDB flats. As for the young people he is working extra hard to help them buy their first property with great success. Though he has redeemed himself, he still has a lot of explanation to do and he is doing it extra time in his column on public housing in the main paper. That takes times away from his main job. The more people misunderstood him, the more time he has to spend to try to explain his good intention and the virtues of his schemes and policies. George Yeo the sage was doing an excellent job in Foreign Affairs until the affairs of the MFA were leaked. Now he would have to waste a lot of time in damage control. His effectiveness will depend heavily on his counterparts in the other countries. Though he is optimistic, I doubt things will be as easy as before. The third party is laughing at the dire straits he is in. Vivian is another great surgeon, and orator. Unfortunately he made a few slips in his comments, which were not too correct politically. His image has taken a hit since then. The YOG also did not give him the lift that he needed. All those people who fouled out in the process should be kicked in their asses. Otherwise Vivian should have been very well received given his charm and articulating skills. He must be feeling pressurized. The good thing is that his hair is still not turning white or thining like the other wise men. The rest of the A Teams are doing OK I think. Chee Hean and Tharman were the least tarnished of the Team. Oh, I almost forgot about Swee Say. He has done an excellent job in NTUC. He even leveled down to speak in worker’s lingo. He is getting betterer by the days. And the workers like him and his wise cracks. Think he is even much betterer than his predecessors. There you are, an A Team that could have done even better if all engines are finely tuned and firing. For those that I have not mentioned, let’s take it that they are performing as expected of an A Team member. Would the next A Team be the same or betterer?
The Korean peninsula crisis has come to an abrupt end. Thanks to sanity and good riddance to madness. Who is the sane party and who is the reckless and irresponsible party is clear for the whole world to see, except those who have eyes but cannot see. The South Koreans risked everything, even a war, to conduct provocative military exercise, firing live artillery shells near to the border with North Korea. In committing such an act of provocation, it even had to order its citizens to hide in the bunkers. Is it really necessary to act so foolishly just to prove their manhood? Is it necessary to conduct such an act in the front yard of a neighbouring country and destabilise peace with its neighbours? Just by not conducting such an irrational act, or do it in some other parts of South Korea away from the border, no one will be challenged and no South Korean citizens will be inconvenience or their lives put to danger. Why must the South Koreans stubbornly persisted to push its neighbour to the brink of war? A war with deadly consequences was avoided all because of a sensible and calm North Korea. They felt that it was not worthy to react to such a naïve provocation. The North Koreans have proven to the world that they are reasonable and mature people and will not fall easily into a trap laid by the evil trinity of South Korea, Japan and the US. They would not provide any excuse for the South Koreans and Americans to strike at them. If the North were as mad as the West have painted them to be… If Kim Jong Il or Kim Jong Un were as irrational as the West claimed them to be… The repeated provocations by the South Koreans would be the best excuse to retaliate, and as the West had accused them, just to prove that they were in charge. No, they have proven the West wrong, that they could not be easily provoked by crazy South Koreans and mad Americans and risk a destructive war. The Koreans on both sides of the border should say thank you to the North for behaving sensibly unlike their provocative and irresponsible South Korean leaders. Thank god that because the North Koreans were able to stay calm and walk away from a game of chicken. To hell with the crazy South Koreans and the mad Americans! The Americans and Japanese must be crying their hearts out that they have no opportunity to start a war in the Korean peninsula. And the Koreans as a human race is saved from extermination.
The South Koreans refuse to call off the live firing drill and will proceed with the firing this morning at 11am Singapore time. The UN Security Council held a meeting last night but did not come out with any decision. Susan Rice said the differences would not be bridged. The intent of the Americans is very clear, war is what they want. They would not rein in the psychopathic South Korean leaders. In fact they are encouraging them to provoke the North Koreans.. Yeonpyeong is an island only a few kilometres from the North Korean mainland and in disputed waters. If the live firing is not provocation what else is? Why is the UN not condemning such provocations, conducting war games and live firing at the border of another country? Why aren’t the western media and pacifists, and journalists, raise this issue in their reports instead of denouncing the North as the provocateur? Why aren’t the Americans and Japanese rein in this mindless animal called South Korea? The North has declared the continued live firing as a provocation and will respond in bigger kind. So, when the North responded after being provoked by the South, the North is the provocateur? This is not a joke! The North is threatening to go nuclear if the South insists on conducting their war games near their disputed border. The stupidity of the South is mind boggling. Pardon my harsh words. A nuclear war in the peninsula will guarantee that no Koreans will be alive in the aftermath. Japan will also be in ruins. There will be no Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka to talk about. Of course the North Koreans will be wiped out as well and any Koreans left in the two sides of the 38th parallel will be half beasts and will no longer be allowed to live as citizens of an independent country. The Americans are waiting anxious to push their nuclear buttons. The Koreans don’t deserve to live after showing their propensity to self destruct. It would be in their best interest to be ruled by the Japanese or the Americans. The South Koreans are playing with death and the annihilation of the Korean Race. Thanks to their strong supporters in the US and Japan egging them on and promising more weapons to help them do the job faster and more effectively. If the Korean War breaks out again, next year will be the anniversary of the demise of a human race, the Koreans. The Americans will erect an obelisk in Pyongyang and one is Seoul to remember the Korean Race for their bravery to exterminate each other. And the world will also mark that day to remind any crazy leaders to engage in another war, the Korean style.
Kim Jong Il? Come on, don’t be stupid! He is just making noises to get himself heard and to protest against all the provocations hurled at him and his country. He may prance around like he meant real business, but no way is he mad. The Madman of the 21st Century is the USA. It is not only starting wars and fighting wars everywhere on self perceived threats of its own security, it is also the personification of a crazy bunch of people living in self deception. It wants to bomb Iran, it wants to nuke North Korea. And the South Koreans are helping this Madman to wipe up their fellow Koreans. In the meantime this Madman is frantically going around the world to sign military alliances to contain China. It is living in constant fear of losing its pole position as the top dog in the world. What other madness will it do? I quote this from Imran Andrew Price’s article, ‘Stop the warmongers’ The US Defense Secretary, Robert Gates has argued that a “successful” attack on Iran’s facilities would delay the Iranians by at most a few years. Oh, the Americans had used the same kind of logic to invade Iraq too. And the same argument is also being reiterated by the joker Michael Mullen in Korea. Unfortunately no one can stop this Madman other than the ordinary American citizens. But this bunch of idiots is easily swayed by the calls for war and victory. They needed the self assurance that they are the number one super power, and war victories will make them feel good. Not until the reality of their own sons and daughters coming home in black plastic bags will then awake from their drunken stupor. The world will continue to be harassed by this Madman till he trips and fall over his own mines that he laid to kill his imagined enemies all over the world.
For those who complained about higher tuition fees in the universities, they were assured that what they were paying for was for quality. Good education does not come cheap unless one is willing to accept lower quality education and paying less. This is the same logic in hospitals. You want world class medical services, be prepared to pay for world class medical fees. Going backwards, the media had an interesting article on the fees parents are willing to pay for their children to attend pre schools. The fees can go up as high as $20k pa in the best pre schools, and this fee is higher than what undergrads are paying. But the parents are not complaining as their children will be getting the best education their money can buy. For those who are paying $6k they can expect that their children will get the value of a $6k pre school education. And for those who are paying a few hundred bucks, don’t they dare to complain that the quality is only as good as the few hundred bucks they are paying. They pay for what they get. What else could they expect? Want quality, pay more lah. By the time the children enter Primary One, the gap between those who attended the top end pre schools and those at the low end pre schools must be pretty obvious. Of course the top end pre school graduates will be smarter and betterer than those from the low end pre schools. Oh, top end pre school children would not know what betterer means. Now many parents will have another thing to stress them up. Finding money to enrol their children in high end pre schools to give their little ones a head start in life. Good luck to them.
I watched the news and the South Koreans are adamant about continuing with the live firing drill in Yeonpyeong. Not only that, they are sending balloons with anti Pyongyang leaflets into North Korea. Why are they so keen to go to war with the North Koreans? Are they insane, or are they being forced to act like mad people, insisting on provoking the North Koreans? Do they know that today’s warfare is not the same as WW2? Warfare today no longer moves soldiers, sending divisions to fight one another. Warfare today is about pushing buttons and sending monstrous bombs that would destroy infrastructure like sand castles and killing people in the hundreds of thousands. Do they think they can survive a war, or do they think they are going to a tea party with no casualties? Fighting North Korea is not like the US fighting Iraq. If war breaks out between the two Koreas, count on it that the Americans and Japanese will come join in. And they better count on it that the Chinese and Russians too will join in. The people of South Korea shall rise up and remove their govt before being led to their death in a war that they don’t need. This is an American and Japanese war against the Korean people. And the soldiers killing each other, and the people killed in this war, will be mainly Koreans. Unbelievable, why are the Koreans so dense? Any Koreans reading this article care to comment.
Very simple, throw all kinds of drum up charges against him. If nothing meaning can be used, sex crime is the best. If sodomy is not common to the target, simply rape will do. The world is now witnessing the best show on earth in the WikiLeaks saga. Julian Assange is the target of American character assassination. The sophistication and sophistry in trying to gun him down are first class, standard operating procedure out of the textbook. Luckily Assange is an Australian, a member of the tribe. So the disparaging attack is not homogenous. Some of the tribe members are revolting. Australia is also attempting a weak defence or it would not go down well with its people and the friends of Assange. The western media are split and not sure which direction to take. This is not common enemey like the case of Liu Xiaobo. In the latter, the wolf pack simply closed ranks to train their cross hair at China. Assange is a bit complicated. Here there is a case of a state abusing its authority, violation of human rights, rights of an individual, freedom of the press, justice and fair play, compromising the judicial system, fabricating evidence, all rolled into one. And there is also the lynching of one’s own kind. A bit messy definitely. The world should sit back and watch this spectacle unfold. (Please be reminded of the silence as a clever little country and its leaders are now in deep shit trying to extricate itself out of the shit hole, all by itself. No one cares or is willing to give this little country a helping hand. Don’t belong to the same tribe, I think.)
The Europeans are getting wiser to the game of the robbers. They are going to stop them from robbing the banks and the people of their hard earned money. Stringent laws are going to be put in place to prevent the robbers from robbing the banks to pay themselves crazy. And only the govt can do it. They are going to curb on the huge bonuses which the robbers have got so used to. No multi million dollar bonuses can ever be enough. And they will scheme and worm their ways to getting more. Only the US is still allowing the robbers to operate quite freely. And they can only do so with their accomplices in the govt. The robbers are threatening to flee to more hospitable and unthinking Asian countries like Singapore and Hong Kong. Singapore is likely to be the first to open its doors widely to welcome them. The stupidity of Singapore is infamous in the financial world in terms of overpaying all kinds of craps and robbers with huge sums of money. Gullible is a disease here. This is accentuated by the mantra that foreign talents are best or betterer, and are worth every cent of their weight in gold. Who knows, the recruiting party could already be in Europe now and talking to the robbers and offering them generous terms, and agreeing to terms dictated by the robbers. What is wrong with that? They are paying good money for good talents. Even if they are robbers, if they know how to rob well, the owners will get a bigger cut of the loot. What if the robbers rob the people or citizens instead? The ignorant masses must not be duped continuously as if paying huge sums of money to robbers is harmless. Eventually everything comes to them. Someone has to pay big for the robbers to receive big. And that someone has no name except that he or she will likely be known as the people or the masses. The prices of everything will go up, the cost of living will go up. Everything is interconnected and forms part of the system which the robbers thrive in. Roll out the red carpet quick, the robbers are coming.
China called him an old friend, an affectionate term for a good friend one has known for many years. He learnt and spoke Chinese and was every inch a gentleman, from the exterior. To win the trust of the Chinese he even called himself a Chinese name. And he became a Prime Minister. His unfaithfulness or dishonourable conduct was revealed when he spoke to the Americans. Without WikiLeaks, his bad mouthing of his friend will not be known. And his friend will still hold him dearly as a good friend. Now his true self is known and he can’t hide anymore. He had told the Americans to wage war against China if China did not bow to American pressure and did not tow the line. This must be quite shocking to the Chinese. They must have felt betrayed. Would they still regard him as a friend? The initial for his Chinese name is LKW. That’s Kevin Rudd. WilkiLeaks is making many people redfaced. Can Australia be a part of Asia? Who is recommending Australia to be part of Asean?
Last few weeks redbeanforum was attacked by a flood of supposedly innocent advertisements for bags, shoes and electronic goods. Each spammer could hit a few hundred posts at one go, on every new threads in the page. A lot of effort to just do that. My response is to barred everyone from posting except the moderators. But I leave a hole for the supposedly keen advertisers to keep on posting in a section specially for them to post their adverstisements. Guess what? They gave up posting. All I had was one miserable advertisement posted there. What happens? Don't they no longer want to post their advertisements? The ill intent of the spammers is loud and clear. They are not just spammers or advertisers. They have a different and sinister motive. The only way, and best way, is simply to lock them out completely. The next thing they can hope to do is to kill my forum completely. Any genuine forumers can private message me to post in redbeanforum. I will allow them access by designating them as moderators for the time being. Oh they are still attacking mysingaporenews with a lot of porn postings. I hope Blogger will do something to their firewalls.
Christians must be quietly smiling at this quote. This has been spoken by God a few thousand years back and they know. The truth of the statement is there for all to see. The rich shall get richer is the natural law of God. With their wealth, the rich could only multiply them at much faster rate than those who are struggling to earn their money through muscles. How easy it is to buy a property at $1m and loo behold, two years down the road it becomes $1.5m, reaping a profit of $500k. This amount may take a worker a life time to earn but would be spent everyday leaving him with nothing to spare. Many folks are earning tens or hundreds of thousands without have to exercise the muscles of their limbs. See how comfortable they are to write that cheque for the $60k COE or the $500k down payment for the landed property! On the other hand the losers are complaining about kopi going to cost 20c more per cuppa! For those who have, more shall be given goes further than this. Some of those who have tens of millions, hundreds of millions, will still be given millions without having to work, in the form of pensions or gratuities, when they don’t need a single cent more to live in the lap of luxury. There are many such lucky people around whose lives are so blessed. But God is cheeky and cynical too. He also said, ‘The meek shall inherit the earth.’ Of course he is joking. How could that be when those who have shall have more and those who don’t have shall have less? The message to the meek is simply, fat hope. The meek shall always live on hope while they live a wasted life of not enough. That is the painful truth of life. No escape.
He lamented what a world would be if America could not project power the way it has in an article in the ST today. He said ‘your’ kids won’t grow up in a different America but will grow up in a different world. Die, American kids are going to get walloped if America could not wallop the rest of the world. He is worried that American kids would not be able to push everyone around. He fears a China and the likes of Julian Assange, who could carry as much weight as America. He fears a multi polar world that would not benefit the American kids that much but also the kids of other countries, notably other powers like China, India, Brazil, Russia and the Europeans. And that is simply bad. He was disgusted that China could exercise so much power to keep countries from attending the circus in Norway when Liu Xiaobo was the celebrated clown for the day, and in the company of greater clowns. And China could do it without the use of the aircraft carriers and fighter bombers, but just simple economic power. And he called this an act of perversity, that China is equated as a failed state abusing its new found power, irresponsible is the word. What about America forcing its allies to go to war in Iraq and other theatres of war, in a Coalition of the Unwiling? The American allies have no choice but being muscled in to kill people, invade countries, execute regime change, and be accomplices to the infamous Guantanamo Camp where freedom and human rights were never heard of. And these were the acts of the Evil Empire which he approved of. America is exceedingly responsible as a super power in doing all these things. Make a comparison between China exercising its economic power in not attending a circus and America exercising its military power in commiting acts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Which is more IRRESPONSIBLE, and more oppressive, abominable? How long and how much more must Asians be preached with such sermons from the West, particularly from the Americans, whose only concern is for their own good. What is good to the Americans, and cruel to others, is still good. What is not good to the Americans, no matter how civil, is not good. Should the world continue to live with such condescending American logic?
The privatisation of hospitals, public transportation and housing is starting to show how serious this mistake is. Essential services cannot be left to the free market to determine how much the consumers should pay. The market forces, if only it is real, is only concerned with profits, and profits and nothing else. The only principle that governs private business is how much the consumer is willing to pay or how much the seller of services and products can squeeze out from the consumers. As long as there are consumers able to pay, it is affordable, at least to those who can afford to pay. A $100k COE is affordable to the one who can afford it. A $1m 3 rm flat is affordable if there are people who are willing to pay for it. Resources, limited resources, are allocated according to what the market dictates, as being the most efficient and effective. Really? However, for sure, resources will not be allocated to those who need it most if they cannot afford to pay. And the haughty and cocky explanation is that one has to pay for it at market determined price.. If one cannot afford it, go for substitutions, downgrade, or tighten the belt. At the bottom of it all, if one cannot afford to pay, one does not deserve anything, even goods at inflated prices.. To overcome such inequalities, to the rich and powerful these are not inequalities, there are govts, not necessarily socialists, who would want to intervene to better allocate the resources to the needy. I would like to make a call for essential services to be returned to the govt, place under the charge of the public sector. My reservation is that govt services are run by incompetents and any services they provide will be inefficient and ineffective. If this assumption that public servants are all incompetents and useless, which was the justification for privatisation, then it is like the frying pan and the deep blue sea. This is a strange phenomenon as our govt services are staffed by the best talents in the island. As economic system approaches the end of the capitalist road, the communists will say, I told you so. The capitalist road will lead to its own destruction and a revolution of the under class is the natural anti thesis.
Through WikiLeaks we must have offended many countries in Asean and Asia. From India and Myanmar through Thailand and Japan, from China and North Korea in the north and down south to Malaysia and Taiwan in the East, they cannot be too pleased with what we said about them. George Yeo said that these were just cocktail gossips, not worth bothering about, should not be troubled by them. Our relations with the countries affected would not be affected. That is our version of how WikiLeaks affect us and our friends. What are our blastered friends thinking now? Would they regard the WikiLeaks in the way we do and dismiss them as nothing serious, or nothing that they will lose any sleep for? If they do, then it is just like a tropical thunderstorm that would not last more than an hour. The weather will be fine again. What if the affected countries are seething in rage? Would they, could they or should they? Would there be any consequences? So far only Malaysia has openly displayed their displeasure and, thankfully, no stone throwing across from the causeway. Our improving relations have bore fruits. The silence from the other capitals is quite uncharacteristic of what could be expected. Is the reticence real or several protest notes are already on the tables of George Yeo and Hsien Loong? It has been rumoured that LKY is going to make a comment on the WikiLeaks’ exposure on Singapore. Is this an indication that we are already in a state of siege and a response or an apology is in the cards? Singapore has been hit in the most unexpected manner at a most inappropriate time. All systems were go for the coming general election. A slate of wonderful things are lined up with nice happenings that would make the govt look good are waiting to be rolled out. Now out of the blue, the govt is in a damage control mode. The WikiLeaks is more than just an embarrassment and irritation. It has given the election campaign cart a big jolt when things were just getting comfortable. Maybe I am drawing too much inference from nothing. Maybe there is really nothing to it and things are as normal as before. I can be dense at times.
Europe urged to recognise slavery as crime Tue, May 04, 2010 AFP PARIS - Historians and anti-racism campaigners are to urge the countries that oversaw and profited from the Atlantic slave trade to recognise it as a crime against humanity, opening the way for reparations. Next week, activists are to send a letter to the leaders of Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain asking them to recognise the trade as an historic injustice a century and a half after it ended. They have already convinced France to do so. Click here to find out more!Click here to find out more! The European Memorial Foundation for the Slave Trade will launch the appeal at the French Senate on May 10, backed by the French historian Louis Sala-Molins and John Franklin from the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington. "There are several reasons for this, including its symbolic value, to restore the memory of this crime against humanity," Karfa Diallo, chairman of the foundation, told AFP. "There's also a question, shall we say, of justice," he said....
Reading the article by Sandra Davie in the ST today, I can’t help but come to the conclusion that students who did well in tests and examinations, with good grades, are all nerds and lack creativity. Also they often do not do well in life. This is the biggest problem in Singapore’s education system. Though we bragged about how world class it is, how other countries are copying our teaching material, and how our students are able to score straight As everywhere, even winning international competitions, in Science, Maths, General Knowledge and also in Law, don’t expect much from them when they grow up. All these will come to nothing as they enter the adult world. Many are destined to fail or become underachievers in real life. Then where can we find all the creative and innovative people in Singapore? One sure place not to find them is the elite schools. Try the kitchens, the football fields, the night clubs, the world of the celebrities, there must be many creative and successful people in these fields. We need more Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, failure academically but big success in life. Personally I doubt they will not be able to score straight As if they wanted to. This is the secret to creativity and success. We should throw out our top students half way through universities and give them a job in the industries. That is the sure way to trigger their creativity and later be successful innovators and inventors. There is no need for elite schools and top universities as their products will only be so so. Parents of children who did not do well in schools must be relieved that their children will be the ones with more creativity and be more successful in life later. This is about the only piece of good news from the article.
Bilahari Kausikan, the Permanent Secretary of MFA, is reported to be leading a delegation to KL to discuss the final phase of the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station land swap deal. Bilahari’s name is also in the lips of many Malaysians for what was reported in American diplomatic sting operations and leaked by WikiLeaks. His views and comments on Malaysia and Malaysian leadership were anything but complimentary. And if there is anything that the Malaysians would want to do with him, it is best not mentioned. For Singapore to send Bilahari to KL for such an important meeting so soon after the WikiLeaks revelation can be seen as being confident that Malaysia and Malaysians will be able to put them aside and negotiate professionally and objectively. It also rule up the discomfort by individuals that often behave strangely because of their own personalities and the baggage they carried with them. These must be the assessment from the Singapore side. Let’s hope the assessment is right and the negotiation goes well under Bilahari’s leadership. His diplomatic skills will be put to a tough test. I am just wondering what he will say to the Malaysians to appease them and be on top of the problem. People have been complaining that Singapore and Singaporeans are arrogant and insensitive. I say no, Singapore and Singaporeans are not arrogant and insensitive. They are just very arrogant and very insensitive. But I think I may be wrong. I really hope so.
The Star, 14 December 2010 SINGAPORE’S most senior Foreign Ministry official Bilahari Kausikan is heading for Kuala Lumpur on Dec 22 as a leader of a delegation to discuss KTM Berhad’s land swap deal in Singapore agreed in May by the Prime Ministers of the two countries.... This is going to be an interesting meeting for Bilahari. The Malaysians may want to feast him with durians after what he had said about their leadership.
The ST Editorial commented on China’s Nobel prize anger as overdone. It said no need to be like that lah. For a great nation that is confident of itself, it should just simply ignored the little country called Norway and its award of the prize to Liu Xiaobo. I also agree. Why get so work up by a silly bunch of people in the Nobel Peace Prize Committee? The same piece of advice is relevant to the WikiLeaks fiasco. All the great nations that are confident of themselves should simply ignore all the leaks even if they embarrassed them. Treat them as some rubbish coming out from small people and ignore them. Then peace and calm shall return to the whole world. And the Americans will find that their effort in throwing a spanner into the world of diplomacy an effort in vain. Great and confident nations should be able to see through the evil scheme and remain calm, not to be provoked into making the situation any worst. Are there any great and confident nations out there that will take this advice seriously?
We have Phoenix, Petir and Pending in the Bukit Panjang LRT line. We are going to have Kadaloor, Coral Edge and Riviera in Sengkang. The ST asked whether these names ring a bell. I heard a thud. Maybe I shall offer a few nice sounding names that will ring a bell. Obama ok? Harry Potter should definitely ring a bell if Obama doesn’t. Mickey Mouse will be music to the children. Buckingham Palace, this should sound glorifying. Pavarotti is another excellent name for a train station. ‘You have arrived at Pavarotti Station.’ OK, OK, I got carried away a bit. Do we have a basis in selecting names for MRT stations? Old landmarks are acceptable. Honouring our historical personalities is also OK. But how to relate to Devan Nair Station in Sengkang? Did Devan lived there before, his birth place, or any institution or landmark that reminds people of him there? A better way out is to hold a naming contest. But don’t engage the professional agencies. They will charge a million bucks for a name. Get the people to suggest and the winners be awarded with a prizes. $1000 for each station name accepted. There will be many participants and the involvement of the people will make them feel proud and comfy with the names they have chosen. Let me guess what the people will choose. The kids will like Valkrie, Ironman or Spiderman. The youth would love to call the station Angelina Jolie or Christie Chung. Who are they anyway? The aunties would be crazy with names like Baey Yong Joon. But those aunties in the grassroot organizations would probably vote in favour of Lim Sway Say or Lim Boon Heng. The well heeled and well travelled may want things like Metzingen, Baden Baden, Marienplatz or something like that. Come to think of it, finding a good name for a station is not easy huh. Better leave it to the supertalents and live with Kadaloor, Coral Edge and Riviera. Never mind if they don’t ring a bell. One final attempt, Timbuktu!
What WikiLeaks said about Singaporean leaders? Hmmm, I declared that I am a Singaporean and I must always say good things about my country and our leaders. It is tough to say not so nice things about them. I can’t call them sneaky or that they have said stupid things. It is very difficult to say it in a diplomatic way that will come out as reasonable and acceptable to the readers after what the Americans have leaked on them. The hallmark of Singapore is all about standing on high moral grounds. Be responsible and respectable in what we say and do. WikiLeaks destroyed all that. Or the Americans destroyed all that. George Yeo was embarrassed and his peers in the other countries may not want to talk to him anymore. If they do, it will be about playing golf or food and wine. He has to, after seeing the horror of the information being pasted on the pages of our own media. There is no where to hide. It is everywhere in the internet for all to see. And more dirty laundry will be aired. Perhaps George Yeo may want to despatch a special envoy to all the countries we called friends and explain to them that the bad things we said about them in confidence must be respected. They are not supposed to know. Let’s put all this aside and move on. After all, if not taken out of context the vulgar comments meant well. Back at MFA he may want to issue a new directive, that we should not bad mouth any country or their leaders even when spoken in confidence. We must expect that they will be leaked to compromise our relations with our friends. And the red flag must be flown once we have to talk to the American diplomats. They are so dangerous that with them as friends we don’t need enemies anymore. And tell Tommy and Bilahari and whoever, no need to explain what they have said. It would only make things worst. Keeping quiet is the best thing to do now. Better, dig a hole in the ground and bury their heads in it. It is a very painful lesson to be learnt at this stage of their lives, to be betrayed by their trusted friends in America. Do we still have any friends left? Can leaders of other countries trust us anymore? What WikiLeaks have done is to stop the gossipings and bad mouthing behind the backs of other countries. And Singapore not only has a swelled head and ego to match in dispensing political wisdom, now has two swelled black eyes to complete the image.
The US has launched the most massive and destructive attack on its allies through the WilkiLeaks. It has created an ill feeling throughout the whole diplomatic community. No one is spared. OK, not really. A few of the US core allies are practically free from any embarrassing leaks. Those that suffered the most from the leaks are peripheral allies or allies that attempt to balance their relationship between the US and China. Countries like Singapore, even Australia, will be fixed very nicely and will suffer an unkind fate for being an American ally. They will have a hard time trying to appease China and to mend their relationship. It will never be the same again. The party that benefited most from the fracas is the US of course. Countries that fell victims should return the American kindness by having their own version of WikiLeaks and see how red the faces of the Americans will be. For the time being the Americans must be having a good laugh at the silly political leaders that were foolish enough to have confidence in the Americans and that the Americans will not compromise them at any cost. They are now left to lick their own wounds. They are simply dispensable. Could the leak be prevented? Why were there no leaks from other countries? Were the security systems of other countries more superior than the Americans? It cannot be, the US is the most sophisticate military power and guarding their own electronic/cable communications with all kinds of complicated codes, cannot be easily penetrated. And their CIAs and all the intelligent agencies are world best. How could the leak have gone to far and so big? It will be ridiculous to think that the Chinese communication security system is far more superior to the Americans. Or for that matter, Singapore or any third world countries. Let’s have a few leaks on what the Americans say to their allies, to the Israelis, Japanese and South Koreans, or to Saudi Arabia, or to the European nations. The attack on its allies through WikiLeaks is a precedent that the Americans have set and they will have to pay for it. They cannot get away Scot free from this kind of black operations. For one, they have proven to be unreliable and dangerous as an ally. They cannot be trusted.
Philippine airport police nabs Singaporean national for carrying shabu Inquirer.net, 10 Dec 2010 MANILA, Philippines--A Singaporean national was arrested at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 Thursday for allegedly sneaking illegal drugs into the country, police said on Friday. Soa K.H., 36, had just arrived from Thailand via the Thai Airways Flight TG-620 when airport authorities arrested him before 2 p.m., according to a report from the police's National Operations Center. Singaporean arrested at NAIA for shabu possession - GMANews.TV Posted by admin at Friday, December 10, 2010 0 comments Singaporean nabbed in Johor for drug trafficking Malaysia Star, 10 Dec 2010 JOHOR BARU: Police have busted a drug trafficking syndicate with the arrest of three people including a Singaporean and seizure of more than RM271,000 worth of syabu and Eramin 5 pills. Johor Police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff said police officers from the State Narcotics Department raided a house in Taman Setia Tropika following a tip-off at 3.30am on Dec 6 .... Above are Singaporeans making headlines for the wrong stuff. The squeaky clean Singaporean image is taking a bashing around the world. My red passport was a cherished and respectable document that could whisk me through many international airports with accorded respect from the immigration authorities. The citizens of less dignified countries looked in awe at the power of our red passport. At the rate Singaporeans are hitting the headlines for drug traffickings and other crimes, it would not be long when holders of our red passports would have to join the long queue to be thoroughly search, like high suspects for crimes. We are progressing in the wrong fields.
North Korea and the Kim family have become our public enemy number one if we go by the amount of hate reports on them as an indicator. We have almost daily angry reports of how bad the country has been managed by a family of irrational, naïve and incompetent family who are still living in the forgotten era of the past. They are expected to throw tantrums, wanting to show their manhood, provocative of their neighbours to prove their worthiness and never grow up. The picture painted of the North Koreans is just the reversed of the fairy tale existence of handsome princes and princesses of the European genre, prince charmings, no matter how dull they were and princesses that really look no better than our Ah Lians and with a brain to match. There is a stable of local and foreign talents masquerading as serious analysts and reporters pushing out vile and childish stories about North Korea and shafting them down the throat of the innocent and ignorant public. As days go by, one wonders whether it is the North Koreans that are immature and obnoxious or it is the reporters/analysts that churned out garbage at their expense. The other interesting question is why the obsession and hatred of the North Koreans that have really nothing to do with us nor affect our existence in anyway. The Korean waves that our youth and aunties are embracing originate from the South. Maybe there is nothing harmless to write about locally and hacking at a distant isolated country is the second best thing to do. Or is there a dark agenda to the whole episode? It resembles a kind of political evangelism.
They used to make it big time catching slaves and trading them for profit. The same group was also active in piracy along the coast of Africa, but not of the Somali kind. They were Europeans. Some went further to China to push drugs, selling opium to the stupid Chinamen. And many built huge mansions in England, Europe and America from their lucrative businesses. Brown University was named after a slave trader. Jardines, Mathesons, Brooklyns, Rockefellers, Rothschild and what else, were all infamous and even became conglomerates. They were the heroes of the crowns and were knighted as members of their empires. There were no moral issues, no righteousness, no fair play, no wrong, all for good and clean profits. And they became respectable gentlemen and nobilities. And they got to be addressed as Sir. The modern pirates, drug peddlers and slave traders are also in respectable industries and professions. The finance industry is infested with these great gentlemen and talents. They pushed toxic notes, toxic bonds and improvised all kinds of rules and regulations and gaming of all kinds, to fleece the unwary and the weary, the innocent and ignorant and the not so well connected. And the modern day robbers, pirates and drug peddlers would also be knighted, respectable, and would build mansions all over the world, hop and sail in their private jets and yachts. And there is also no need to be woolly about morality, about fair play and about righteousness. These are only the concerns for the losers to cry over with, after they were fleeced.
While the belligerent parties are bent on provoking the North Koreans with more war games in the Yellow Sea and the borders of North Korea, and calling the North Koreans provocative, China should not keep quiet and let the unjust blame game to go on. China must name the gangsters as they are and bring the matter to the UN to let the world community knows who are the real provocateurs. China cannot afford to be on the defensive and allow the US to put the blame on her when the US is the real culprit in the whole crisis. The american deception and ill intent to raise tension in the Korean Peninsula must be revealed for all to see. One simple resolution that the UN can adopt is to stop all parties from conducting war games in the Yellow Sea and 200km from the Korean borders. This alone should be good enough to lower the tension in the peninsula. If not, the belligerent countries will continue to carry their big guns to threaten North Korea. In addition, China shall call for a thorough investigation on the blowing up of Choenan and find who is the real murderer of the South Korean seamen. This incident must not be forgotten and laid to rest without giving justice to the dead men and their families. It must be pursued rigorously. Otherwise more innocent people would be killed with more of such incidents to raise tension and war between the two Koreans will be repeated. The two Koreans too must support such an investigation, and avoid conducting war games to provoke one another.
A 23 year old was slashed in Yishun for asking a group of teenagers for his lost mobile phone. The youngest of the slashers was only 13. They attacked the 23 year old with parangs and leaving him bleeding with many cuts. He was lucky to be alive. This must be another isolated incident involving wayward youths. I don’t think they are gang members, just nice little neighbourhood kids on an outing together. The only difference today is that kids don’t only carry mobile phones only. They also tucked a parang in their waist pouch. And they are willing to wield the parangs and chop anyone when confronted. This is how far our society has progressed. We have upgraded our communications skill, from talking to arguing to quarrelling and now to slashing. And the fashion gadgets the kids are attaching to their bodies include tattoos and parangs, not 3 inch jack knives or pen knives. Any slashing incident is just a once in 50 year affair. And our nice neighbourhood kids will not be involved in any gangland warfare. Maybe a little staring incident now and then. Nothing to worry about. Singapore is still a very safe city.
68 medical specialists left the public sector to go into private practice. And the lure is a ten fold increase in income. Current income of public sector specialists ranges from $12k to $60k pm or $160k to three quarter of a million as compare to a million to 5 million in the private sector. And with COE hitting the $100k mark soon, these poor doctors would not be able to buy a decent car to drive. Nothing is wrong with the specialists wanting to earn a few millions a year. What is fearful is that the next round of salary increment in the public sector for medical specialists would push medical fees out into deep space. But that is the price to pay for a booming economy when there is so much money to be made and with a price tag of a few millions for anything as only small change. The way it is going, all the specialists should soon end up in the private sector, and more private hospitals can be built to reap more profits from this life and death business. The public sector can never hope to compete with the private sector on money alone. If they do, it will create a continuous domino theory with every other professional expecting to earn more than the doctors, starting with the politicians. We now have a great trend going in the property sectors when everything is for sale for more profits. And the foreigners are not short of cash with liquidity flooding the world’s financial system. The Chinese, the Indians, the Europeans and Americans are all pouring their petty cash here to sweep up every available property left. The recent announcement of Caldecott Hill being available for good residential properties could see more being built and sold off. And the GDP numbers are going to look very good indeed. Everything is for sale, for profit and for money. For those who fall into the CBF category of workers, tighten your seat belt and trouser’s belt. The ride is going to be exhilarating. We are in the best of time of our economic boom. The big cars are selling fast even with $60k for a piece of COE. The good times are here.
Goh Eng Yeow wrote an article in the ST on 6 Dec expressing concern on the role of high speed trading and the interests of small traders. High speed trading as an instrument used by big funds to take advantage of sophisticated computer technology is giving the funds an unfair advantage against the small traders. With the aid of high speed computers, the fund is able to tap into the system to know the queues of buy and sell and more, and could then come to a quick decision to buy and sell to its favour. When funds are trading in a big way, high volume and high speed, against the small investors or the rest of the investors, the losers are obvious. What then is the position of the stock exchanges on this new development? There are some fundamental responsibilities and roles which the stock exchanges are governed by its own regulations to uphold and to protect investors. Among these are: 1. Provide a level playing field. With the participation of high speed trading, is the playing field level? Is there an unfair advantage in favour of high speed traders? 2. Churning is against the regulations of stock exchanges. 3. Buying and selling without change of ownership is a violation of stock exchange regulations. 4. Buying and selling and creating a false market through such actions is also a violation of stock exchange regulations. 5. Is the trading of big funds transparent to the small investors when transparency is a hallmark of a proper stock exchange? How could stock exchanges protect the interests of investors and maintain the integrity of the system without compromising on its own regulatory role with the introduction of high speed trading? Is there a problem here?