A council of wise men deliberating over a girl and stirring up a storm. The little girl is in the lower centre of the pic, long hair and sitting, surrounded by rowdy men. View more pics by clicking on the Art of RAR Gallery image on top right.
I have heard rumours that these two MPs will make way for new blood. These are the two strongest voice in the PAP that spoke out for the underclass, the less privilege in our society. They are the conscience of the party as well as the conscience of the nation. It will be a sad day if they were replaced. Replacing these two MPs will speak loud and clear that their views are not welcomed in Parliament. What will Parliament become without them? Who would stand out for the under privilege without them? Maybe some from the new batch of MPs with humble backgrounds and who knew hardship will take their places. This reminds me of the exchange between Zhou En Lai and Khruschev, the former of gentry class and the latter from the working class. Kruschev was sneering at Zhou En Lai, hinting that he was unfit to be a communist because he came from a rich background. Zhou En Lai agreed and said they had both betrayed their own class.
Someone told me that the PAP will be fighting for Singaporeans and the Singaporeans’ future. I must have missed this piece of good news. Anyway it is comforting to know that someone is fighting for Singaporeans. I feel good already, no, feel betterer. I was enjoying this feel good feeling while I laid back to enjoy the time passing by. The future is going to be good or at least something to cherish. There are a few things that caused my mind to be all tied up in knots. In the first place there must be something to fight about and someone to fight with. There must be this something, ok the future, and we need to fight with someone to have this future. Assuming the future is good and worth fighting for, so not need to dwell on it. Ok, who is going to deprive us of this future or take this future away from us that the PAP has to fight for us? If the army is not involved, so this somebody must be within the piece of rock, not another country right? Let me guess, the opposition parties? Maybe, if they got elected our future will be a goner. But they should not be a threat for at least a few more GEs as they are not going to be a force to be reckoned with in this election, or maybe even the next GE. So who is the PAP going to fight against for the future of Singaporeans? Don’t have leh, can’t think of anyone to fight with. The foreigners are here to help the Singaporeans also. The new citizens are already regarded as one of us. So good for them, good for Singaporeans. The PRs are also regarded as part of us and helping us also. Can someone enlighten me please. I am so dull. Who is going to take away the future of Singaporeans that the PAP has to fight to keep it for the Singaporeans. Can’t be a red herring right, that there is really no one to fight against.
At 27, she is one of the youngest candidates ever fielded by the PAP. The oppositions had field some who were younger in the past if I can recollect. All these young things are so cute and promising. What is unfortunate is the dirty linen being dragged out in cyberspace. Why should people go and dig into someone’s past, some private and some personal to embarrass or discredit another person? This is definitely bad behavior and disgusting. Anyone guilty of such practices is unbecoming and undeserving of respect in the eyes of the public. Politics is already seen as a dirty game. Let’s not make it dirtier by having dirty people airing people’s dirty linen in public. We need to raise the political culture and ethics to a higher level, for respectable people and for politics to be a respectable endeavour. And it should be, as everyone in politics is seen as a leader of the country or aspiring to be one. Everyone, regardless of which party he/she belongs, should refrain from personal attacks and digging of people’s past unless it is criminal or something that makes the person unsuitable to be a leader of the people. Let’s leave this young lass alone. She is the future of PAP and Singapore. She will grow up and who knows, become the first female Prime Minister of Singapore one day. The people should look at the future with optimism and show more tender loving care to nurture it. Attacking and destroying the future is not a practical thing to do.
Hawkers are told to be responsible and not to raise prices irresponsibly. Kopitiams were closely watched in case they raise another 10c on a cuppa. Today the headline for the Today paper is ‘Electricity tariffs up 6.5% from April’. Of course this is well considered after the hike in oil prices. The headlines in ST are about the nuclear crisis and the flood in Koh Samui and a footballer that ran away. There is a letter in Today by a Huang Lifen complaining of hawker stall owners subletting their stalls at huge profits. A $2000 monthly rental could go up to $10,000 when subletted. How could genuine hawkers maintain their prices if the rental is so high and so irresponsibly raised? And the hawkers who subletted their stalls are not the only culprits. The landlords are all happily raising rentals over the years, some with the excuse of upgrading while some simply raised because property prices are up and they need to book their returns based on a percentage of market prices. Who are the real culprits that are fleecing on the people and raising the cost of living?
Saw this headline in the ST today. Roughly I guess it is about the use of water or getting more water for the needs of the people. Actually, there is no rocket science about plenty of water if we are smart about it. I did not go through the article but just want to borrow the headline for a simple discussion here. Stretch this statement a bit further, there is plenty of food, energy, land and resources if we are smart about it, even in this little rock. The silly thing that human beans are doing is over consumption, Greed. We just want to consume and consume and consume, all for one silly formula called growth. We need to be growing, keep growing. Without economic growth everything will fall apart. And if our consumption is not enough, import more people to help to consume, to increase demand for land, energy, goods and services, and demand and more demand. Fucking silly thing to do I think. So we keep chasing after more water, more land, more energy, and more people to use them. And we will never have enough of water, never have enough of land, never have enough of energy, and never have enough of people. Are we really that smart or simply daft? If every country is doing what we are doing in the pursuit of growth, mother Gaia will die in double quick time. The Americans are irresponsible consumers of the earth's resources to conduct wars. Are we that different? We are also over consuming and wasting precious resouces in our build and rebuild programmes.
Witches used to be burnt at the stake by honourable men in the medieval age. Today, with Harry Potter and his school of witchcraft gaining acceptance, the last thing we want to hear is the burning of witches. Witchcraft is a special craft practiced by a select group of very talented individuals called witches and wizards. Their skills are in great demand if they are good, like mediums and bomohs. The distinction is how good are they. A really good witch or wizard can command any price as they are able to bring someone back from death. They have life and death skills and with the riches willing to pay to save their lives, the witches and wizards can literally write their own pay checks. This is nothing new. In every profession, the so called very good ones are writing their own pay checks everyday. It is a free economy, laissez faire. What is wrong with writing your own paycheck on a willing buyer willing seller basis? It is pure business and contractual. If the buyer does not want the price go somewhere else. If a witch is that good, just name the price and tell the customer to take it or leave it. There are no rules or regulations or norms to say a witch cannot charge a million or 4 million bucks. Is there? Did someone say cannot? 1 million or 4 million is too high a price to pay? If I were a very good old wizard, I will simply say this is how good I am, and this is my price. No further explanation needed, and neither do I need to give any excuses. As a good wizard, I can even charge 1m for a visit, no matter whether I dispense any medicine, advice or witchcraft. That is how good I am and I know that those who need my service will come to me. Can or not?
A small flood in Orchard Road and Singaporeans kpkb non stop. What kind of attitude is that? Can't Singaporeans take a small unusual occurrence and live with it, and move on? A small flood is actually good as it shows the fragility of the system. It also wakes people up to scurry for better solutions. Things will improve after the flood. How about a little flood in Parliament? I mean figuratively of course. The small flood can come in the form of a few more opposition candidates getting elected into Parliament. Now would Singaporeans start to kpkb? Or would there by hysteria?
The tsunami and earthquake in Japan have in a way mend some ties between the two countries. China has sent a search and rescue team and offered $5.8 million of aids for reconstruction and relief for the victims of the disaster. There are some views that the Chinese should not gloat over this little assistance given to the Japanese. In terms of aids, the Japanese have given China much much more, hundreds or thousands of millions over the years to help reconstruct the modern China today. Say thank you, China. This is the view of shallow minded individuals who have forgotten all about the history between the two countries. And probably they are expecting China to say a big thank you to Japan for the millions given to China which made the $5.8 m insignificant to mention. Should China say thank you to Japan? I think most Chinese well versed in the history of the two countries will still give a two ups to the Japanese despite the aids. The disaster in Fukushima may look big and dreadful today. But it is an act of God, no ill intent by anyone. Compare to the disaster and death toll inflicted on China by the Japanese Invasion in the 1930s and the Rape of Nankin, the death toll in Fukushima is nothing. The tragedy in Nankin could literally make one go mad trying to relive those dark days. Several hundred thousands of human lives were killed and maimed, not by an act of God, but inflicted on by another( in)human specie. It was brutal murder and atrocities to young and old, woman, babies etc etc. How about throwing babies into the air for bayonet practice? And the Americans prevented the Chinese from asking for war reparations after the end of WW2, and also no war crimes against the Japanese. What the Japanese had given to China was a kind of war reparation but without the negative incrimination of their heinous acts. Should China say thank you to Japan for those aids? No amount of money can compensate for the rape of a country, bombardment and destruction of properties and lives, and unremorseful killings of people. Another count is the huge war reparation that the Japanese extorted from the Chinese during the earlier Sino Japanese War. Of course the war was started by the Japanese, who had superior war machines. And the dying and near bankrupt China had to empty everything that was left in its treasuries to the Japanese. Compare this to the aids Japan gave to China which were excesses that Japan could afford in an era of affluence and high economic growth. Compare to the war reparations that the Japanese demanded from China which was outright cash with no strings attached and the Japanese aid to China with strings attached? The generosity of the Chinese people to come to the aid of the Japanese, though not amounting to very much, is a good gesture of human kindness, to give help in times of adversity unlike invading a country in times of adversity. The Chinese may not have forgotten the barbaric acts of the Japanese when China was weak, but are willing to keep those records in history, never to be forgotten. The Japanese on the other hand have forgotten everything and will even deny that they happened. Who should be thankful to who?
Anyone looking for a part time job will be resigned to the fact that it comes with no job security and a paltry allowance. But this is not true in the uniquely Singapore context. The part time job of a Member of Parliament comes not only with job security for 4 years, could be a life time, and with a handsome allowance which many CEOs may not even smell. This part time job offers an allowance of more than S$13k per month, with a 13th month bonus, with a productivity bonus or maybe 3 to 4 mths and with a GDP bonus that is 8 months for this year. All in all the total bonus could be something like 12 to 15 mths. Not bad really, for a part time job. And the perks of being appointed as directors or chairman of public listed companies and public companies….Really bee tang. The next best job is a full time job that some may reckon as a vacation in a palace. But this is not true as it comes with really heavy responsibilities. Anyway, it pays S$4m a year plus all the perks of a presidency and, yes, the same number of months of bonuses as an MP. The total payout for year 2011 could be more than S$8m! Where on earth can one find such lucrative part time and full time jobs?
Here are two samples of half boiled eggs that I ate this morning. Both were placed in the same container of hot water for 7 minutes. Did not feel comfortable and went to the toilet twice after that. One egg is more normal with the egg white fairly well formed. The egg white of the other is loose, powerdery, like diaorrhea but white in colour. Egg white should not be in such condition. The question is, is this kind of egg safe to eat? Is there anything seriously wrong with it? It may not cause immediate harm now, like a little dosage of radiation, but over time, prolonged exposure/consumption, could it lead to a kind of slow death or sickness?
I read about this scheme in the Sunday Times. YES stands for Youth Entrepreneurs Scheme. It is a scheme specially designed to help young people to start their own business, and many young entrepreneurs have done that. Started in 2008, the scheme has given grants to 72 applicants worth $3.5m. To be eligible for the scheme the applicants must qualify under the following criteria, • Singaporean/PR, below 26 years old. Parental consent must be sought for those applicants 18 years old and below on the date of application • 1st time entrepreneur • key driver in the company This is a good scheme as it opens up another avenue to the young people instead of applying to become employees. It encourages entrepreneurship, self employment and risk taking. In view of the healthy pool of retirees that are unwanted as employees, and with the understanding that they have another 15 or 20 more years of living to get by, it may be opportune for Spring Singapore to consider setting up a similar scheme for the oldies who still need to earn a living or who may want to try out something new in the new phase of their lives. Life does not end after 55 or after retirement. A new pool of manpower that is self employed and not dependent on applying for jobs and would not stress up the job market. The above criteria may have to be amended to suit the background and experience of the oldies. There are more and more of them coming into the workforce but only to hit the great wall of corporate Singapore that sees nothing good except youth. YES, youth is what living is all about. How about a little thought for the oldies, the yodas? Have another version of YES, Yoda Enterpreneurs Scheme, for the ‘has beens’ may be timely given the govt’s push for the oldies to be independent, resourceful and be useful to themselves and society. There are many campaigns to teach the oldies how to keep themselves alive and active, but unproductive. They are still dependent on their CPF and savings to carry on. Boon Heng may have slipped his mind on how to make the oldies young entrepreneurs again and live life to the fullest, and be useful and creative again. Just make sure they don’t indulge in it in the biological sense.
A Singaporean, I presumed, Kanagasabai Haridas wrote to the ST forum with the above heading. I am trying to grasp what is his real message, a statement of approval or a poke at the issue of honesty and corruption in the city state? Kanagasabai mentioned four reasons why Singapore must pay the price to prevent its govt officials from going the corrupt way, by paying them of course. First we are a young country and the spirit or culture of goodness or incorruptibility is lacking. No choice but to pay or bribe. Two, the turnover of ministers in other countries are high. Our ministers remained in the job for a very long time, ie more opportunity and temptation to be corrupt. So the longer they stay in the job, the higher must they be paid to prevent them from becoming corrupt. This is very logical. Three, the candidates came to office relatively poor and wanted to make their fortune. Unlike the example of Hank Paulson who could serve the country out of conviction alone, the case of candidates that have not made their fortune is precarious. He added that in the American case, the candidates could also leave the govt and ended in high paying cosy jobs which Singapore did not have that luxury. More reasons not to pay exceptionally well. Finally he said Singapore leaders could not go on a lecture circuit to make their money after leaving office. This is true. So must make the fortune while in office. The bottom line of Kanagasabai’s position is that money is the main motivating factor and money must be paid to keep a person from becoming corrupt. This is exactly the same as the govt’s position. People may agree or disagree with his version of human goodness and motivation. If he is right, then we should revise our govt’s pay formula and forget about pegging them to the market. Just measure the corruptibility index of the person. Pay the person the amount to keep him from becoming corrupt. This is easier I think. But if this assumption is correct, it will also mean that the corruptibility index will rise over time or will follow the course of inflation. The higher the inflation, the higher will be the corruptibility index, and the more must be paid, or else corruption will be rampant. It is sad if we have to pay people to keep them from becoming corrupt. It defeats the purpose of education, in schools and in religious quarters, or in families. There is no need to teach about ethics, morals and goodness. Having said this, I have to agree that pragmatism prevails. Pay and pay for good govt must be the mantra for a young country that has not developed a culture of goodness, honesty and high morals. It is all about money.
Some foreigners including Singaporeans are staying put in the Fukushima Prefecture. They claimed that they were not fair weather residents who would run at the first sign of trouble. They sneered at those foreigners fleeing Tokyo/Japan. There was a sense of pride, bravery and commitment, that they will not abandon Japan just because they were foreigners. The issue is whether the place is safe. The Japanese authority has been repeatedly trying to calm nerves with statements that the radiation fear is low. Tokyo is safe, water level is also safe now, amidst more cases of radiation spreading in food and vegetables to harmful levels in Tokyo itself. PM Naoto Kan in his grim message also acknowledged that the situation in Fukushima is grave. What is the difference between safe and grave? Evacuation order was given to those staying within the 20 km radius of the ailing nuclear power plants. The Americans ordered their citizens to stay clear of 80 km. Between these two safety limits there must be something not told or said. Or the Americans are just plain chicken and the Japanese have a higher tolerance for radiation? The cases of severe radiation levels on the Fukushima workers are surfacing. Japanese travelling abroad are also found to have unsafe level of radiation. How safe is Fukushima and Tokyo and the surrounding areas? Key point to note, no high govt officials are seen visiting the area. Today’s ST headlined, ‘Signs of breach raise radiation fears.’ The 3rd reactor, the most dangerous one, is apparently found to be leaking. How much and how severe will this leakage be as time goes on? What are the consequences of those exposed to the radiation continuously by choosing to stay in Fukushima when they don’t have to? Many things are not told for sure. Many things are better not said for fear of creating panic. Is it responsible or irresponsibility to try to calm nerves and allow people to continue to be exposed to the radiation hazard in the surrounding area? Is it grave or safe?
Many must have missed this piece of frightening news today. It was hidden somewhere in the article by Salma Khalik. Her article in ST talks about the challenges Singapore is facing to be among the best in health care. Then inside she quoted Boon Wan saying that he wanted to transform health care here ‘to be among the best in the world.’ Frightening isn’t it? Still don’t get the idea? You want the best, it means the best medical professionals, the best equipment, hospital facilities and supporting staff. Can you afford it? Are you willing to pay for it? Please, please Boon Wan, leave the best only to the private hospitals and A and B+ wards in govt privatized hospitals. The rest, please keep it good more than enough. The patients can only afford that level of medical services. But if it is free, by all means. And please don’t force them or mean test them to go for the best. Let them have a choice on how much money they can afford to part, not you decide how much they should part. The same goes to the best public transport system in the world. You want good, comfort, the best, you must pay for it. You want world class transport, make sure you got world class wallet. And world class people would not want to sit in the train with not world class commuters. I read somewhere this morning that one sikit atas aka high class woman called a radio station to complain that the low class HDB dwellers are spoiling the atmosphere of Holland Village. Only high class people with high class taste, mannerism and not complaining like low class HDB dwellers are allowed in Holland Village. This is the perfect complain awaiting the perfect answer and perfect solution. Gantry points will be up around Holland Village and patrons must pay $20 for entry to the Village. This shall ensure the cheapskate and bad manner Ah Sohs and Uncles from going there. Hit their pocket hard and they will stay away. World class, high class, there is a BIG price to pay for.
'Chinese paper condemns Libya air strikes 2011-03-21 15:18 BEIJING - Chinese official newspaper People's Daily on Monday stepped up opposition to Western air attacks on Libya, accusing the United States and its allies of breaking international rules and courting new turmoil in the Middle East. The paper likened the assault on Libyan sites to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and suggested it followed a pattern of Western overreaching in other countries' affairs. "The blood-soaked tempests that Iraq has undergone for eight years and the unspeakable suffering of its people are a mirror and a warning," said the commentary in the People's Daily. "The military attacks on Libya are, following on the Afghan and Iraq wars, the third time that some countries have launched armed action against sovereign countries," it said....' We all know that the Americans are such peace loving people. And they did all the invasions of Arab countries to maintain peace for the world. Their next target for war, oops, I mean for peace, is North Korea. Then there will be peace in Korea, like in Iraq, with many infrastructures flattened and many Koreans bite the dust. All for a good cause. Long live the peaceful American Empire. Yes, we believe America is a peace loving country. Not like China! So belligerent and aggressive, fighting wars everywhere! Where, where? Don't worry, the silly Asians and Africans will believe that America is the best thing that happens to them and to the peace loving people. In the meantime, Arabs, please don't complain. It is all for your own good and the good of the world.
2 out of 6 candidates introduced so far are new citizens. Both became citizens in 2008. After Janil Puthucheary comes Foo Mee Har, from Ipoh. If this is the general trend, then we can expect 1/3 of the new PAP candidates will be new citizens, not local born. Foreign talents are showing how dependent Singapore is for their contributions in the private and now the public sector. With the dearth of local talents, this is the natural thing to do. Evolution, Singapore style or we will go the dodo way. The next big change in PAP policies is to field lesser Chinese educated candidates. But Kan Seng quickly assured the Chinese educated group that their interests will still be important and that national decisions will be based on national interest. What is he trying to say? Hopefully national interest and the interest of the Chinese educated will coincide and not contrary. Over time this has to be the way to go. Either there are now no more Chinese schools or the proficiency of the students from the SAP schools is just not good enough. Or maybe there are no worthy talents from the SAP schools, or maybe the students from SAP schools are not willing to serve. Or maybe there is no more Chinese educated community to talk about. So gradually evolution will take place. A third change is the passing of the baton. We are seeing more ‘tai zi’ and ‘gong zi yeh’ stepping forward to fill the shoes left behind by their fathers. 3 out of 6 so far are children of the first generation of PAP founders. And more are on the cards. This must be the year of the princelings. Or is it the year of the foreign talents? I must say that these are important developments in the evolution of PAP politics. It will not cause any revolution for sure.
For those who remember, the infamous Killing Fields of Kampuchea where millions could have been killed by the Pol Pot Khmer Rouge regime of children soldiers. What's left in the Killing Fields were stacks and stacks of skulls and bones. A new life has taken over kampuchea, thriving, while the memories and skulls of the Killing Fields, and the pains, live on as part of Kampuchea's gruesome past of a political regime gone badly wrong. More photos at www.artofrar.blogspot.com.
An interesting front page article in mypaper today by M D Nalapat, a professor of geopolitics, Manipal University, India. This is the first time someone pointedly argued that all the craps about regime change in the Middle East and the world is about oil. Saddam Hussein was murdered by the Americans because of oil. Gaddafi is next in line, also because of oil. And the Americans are in every corner of the world guarding their oil interest and scheming for regime change to secure oil for its huge appetite. Nalapat said, ‘Not many people know that the US Dept of Defence consumes close to 500,000 barrels of oil a day.’ Shit, and govt’s of the world are telling their citizens to save on using plastic bags. And Greenpeace is attacking everyone across the world for destroying the environment. Mind you, the 500,000 barrels of oil a day is only for the Dept of Defence. What about the other uses? The wasteful consumption of petrol by private individuals in their energy guzzlers, 6 to 7 litre cars, jetting down the freeways and the big trucks, could consume another big chunk of the world’s little precious oil that is left. Nalapat went on to claim that nuclear energy is safe and the way to go. Another controversial statement. For big countries with big space to host the nuclear plants and the ability to abandon site in case of a nuclear accident, and the population can be moved away, maybe still a viable option. Please don’t encourage those people living in a small piece of rock to have one. Abandoning the nuclear plant is abandoning the whole piece of rock for good. No option, no way out. Nice food for thought.
I have been thinking about writing a book on the housing fiasco over the last ten years. There are plenty of materials to write about and it is also of great public interest. I thought about it but decided not to. For everything that needs to be said were all public knowledge. How the fiasco started, how it was continued and how it was solved or presumably solved were all very subjective? Whatever I write will be a very biased one sided view, my view on the issue . So what is new other than flattering my little ego? Yes, there are things that the public still wanted to know but will not be told. Some hard truths like the cost of building a flat, the nitty gritty that goes into the formula to come out with the cost of building a flat will be such a highly guarded secret that it will never see the light for at least another generation. If such a vital piece of information cannot be written, why would anyone bother to read my book? So I quietly shelf my plan for my great book.
'WASHINGTON, March 22 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday named Singapore's finance minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, to head its key policy-steering panel, the first Asian to head the advisory committee.' Though this is only an advisory committee, it is still a rare honour bestowed on a Singaporean. Next target, head of the IMF. That will be something, but unlikely as it is reserved for an American, I think.
Cyberspace has a rousing welcome for Janil Puthucheary but not the kind that he would have liken. Crossing to the side of his father’s political enemies, breaking a promise to his wife, and quitting his country of birth were the reasons that did not go down well with bloggers. This may be a bit unfair to a talented man who has stepped out to be counted, to sacrifice and to serve the country, and the very people that are not happy with him. Quitting Malaysia could be easy as the opportunities here are much better for him to practise as a doctor. How he convinced his father to join the PAP must be tricky. How he convinced his wife to forgive him for breaking his promise to her could be even trickier. Look at it this way, the lure of politics must be a very strong calling for Janil to step into the ring. The temptation of chasing a good cause, a national calling to serve the people of his adopted country, must be so powerful for him to resist. Assuming he got elected, assuming he goes on to become the Prime Minister of Singapore, his will be the greatest story ever told of a foreign talent making it good in Singapore. He will become a national hero of sort, a role model for all foreign talents seeking their fortunes here. STB could use him as the poster boy to attract more foreign talents to this island, a place that truly appreciates foreign talents without any biases, but recognizing everyone according to his merits. And once a citizen he can pursue his dream to the highest office in the island. The task of attracting more talents here will become a piece of cake, with PM Janil Puthucheary. Just a good bedtime story.
The PAP is the first to announce a new citizen, Dr Janil Puthucheary, as a candidate for the GE. Though he is just 3 years as a new citizen, he is no stranger to Singapore. His father, Dominic Puthucheary, was a founding member of PAP but joined the Barisan Socialis and ended up as a political prisoner. The family left to become Malaysians. Janil Puthucheary is a kind of homecoming, and a healing of political rift. The other opposition parties are also heard to be considering putting up new citizens as their candidates. This is good news as new or old citizen, they are all citizens with equal rights under the law. The better part is that there are many talents among the new citizens that are much better than the old citizens. With this abundant pool of foreign talents turned citizens, I am sure there will be enough of them to form one or two new parties to contest in the election. And being hungrier and adventurous, more entrepreneurial, in the same mould as the founding members of PAP and Barisan Socialis, they will be a great asset to the political scene. Singapore politics needs new blood and a heavy dose of fresh air to give it a new life. The staleness in the air is getting a bit nauseating when political parties need to scrap the bottom of the barrel for talents. The vibrancy, the new mindset, the never say die attitude of the new citizens should carry the country forward in the 21st Century. There is no longer the need to depend on lazy and has beens Singaporeans that are complacent and waiting for the sky to fall on their laps. Singapore will benefit from the drive of the new citizens and their enterprising spirit. NCP or New Citizens Party, maybe one or two, will be nice to have. Come on, new citizens, it is time to serve the country, to sacrifice for the country that have treated you so well.
The Americans and its European allies are conducting war games in Libya. In this case it is live firing with real ammunitions. The gamers are firing their cruise missiles, known as Tomahawks into Libya to test the weapon’s accuracy and effectiveness. It is also a cheap way to use up old and expired items and to replace them with new inventory. The American weapons industry is yet again given another new lease of life with more orders for new weapons and ammunitions. This is much more lucrative than the war games at the Korean peninsula where limited live ammunitions were fired. Of course things will be rosier if the Korean peninsula could turn into another big live firing exercise area. Who is fighting who? It is the Europeans and the Americans attacking an Arab country. The US, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Norway and the UAE are in. Where are Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt? Without the participation of the major Arab countries other than UAE, the West is going to look very bad. This is going to be ammunition for the Arabs to be more anti West and anti American/British in particular.
Anyone with the money can sleep with the Merlion. Yes, this is true. It is a nice message. Everyone is welcome to sleep with the Merlion. This should be the message or logo for Singapore. Forget about Uniquely Singapore. We welcome everyone with open arms, with loving hospitality. Come, sleep with me. This must be the most exciting experience awaiting our guests.
NaturalNews Insider Alert ( www.NaturalNews.com ) email newsletter (Unsubscribe instructions at bottom) Dear NaturalNews readers, As of right now, the situation remains desperate in Japan, with a confirmation coming this morning that the food near Fukushima is now radioactive. Efforts to cover the spent fuel rods with cooling water have failed again and again, and now there is concern that at least one of the fuel rod storage pools may be cracked, meaning it cannot hold water. Thus, there's no way to cover the fuel rods no matter how much water you pump in (and the pumps aren't even operating yet anyway...) The official government explanations about radiation exposure in Japan are an insult to intelligence. A few days ago, they would say things like "The amount of radiation people are experiencing is only equal to that of a chest X-ray." Today with the irradiated food, they now are comparing your exposure to "the amount of radiation you might get from a CT scan." What they don't tell you is that a CT scan emits up to 600 times more radiation than a chest X-ray. What's next on this scale? Are they soon going to announce that people are only exposed to "the same amount of radiation as a miscalibrated mammogram?" And folks, the radiation exposure in Japan is constant radiation, meaning it's like getting a CT scan that just keeps scanning 24/7 (if you're close enough to the Fukushima plant). This isn't one limited dose that turns off in two seconds, it's an ongoing radiation avalanche that keeps coming. The mainstream media has all but abandoned accurate reporting on this issue, almost as if they were all ordered by the White House to just stop talking about Fukushima (because it was scaring people). Here's my story on that: http://www.naturalnews.com/031748_mainstream_media_nuclear_catastrophe.html There now appears to be a total information blackout on the true status of reactor #4, reports Ethan Huff: http://www.naturalnews.com/031758_Fukushima_nuclear_reactor.html A Japanese Mayor has gone public with his own accusations that the Japanese government abandoned his people and lied to them about the real situation: http://www.naturalnews.com/031747_nuclear_fallout_disinformation.html Mark Sircus brings us a timely update today on the worsening situation in Tokyo: http://www.naturalnews.com/031757_Tokyo_radiation.html
“85% of Singaporeans are living in HDB flats and we intend to keep the values of these homes up. It will never go down,” said MM Lee. If there is one thing that will defy gravity, it will be the price of HDB flats. Wonder how this will be managed if it is subject to market forces and the world economy. Wondering what will the price be if the lease expires. But the formula is for the govt to buy back before the lease expires at market price to knock down and rebuild. And as long as the price of new flats is up, the resale or buy back price can only go up. Sounds good. There is another assumption, that the CBF workers's salary will be able to keep pace with the rising prices. _________________
The growth formula built on population expansion will destroy the earth. The obsession for growth based on high consumption of goods and services to obtain economic growth numbers will also lead to the depletion of raw materials and limited fossil energy sources. It is crazy to leave the world to crazy economists who only believe in growth in numbers and numbers while mother earth is being eaten up, destroyed, without any conscience. High consumption is greed, gluttony for no good reason. Why should a car be built to run on 7000cc engine, why should one person owns ten or twenty cars, ten houses, yachts, and many wives and tens or hundreds of children? Having wants and greed are good to some extent. But when these become wasteful and leading to the destruction of earth, it must be stopped. Imagine if every country just keeps on producing more people to generate more economic activities, more consumption of produces and resources, and of course energy, it will lead to an earlier death of mother earth. There must be a rethink. There were plentiful of land and resources available to humankind when the world’s population was a few hundred millions or less. Now we have several billions to share the space, air and food supply and resources. We are consuming everything at double quick time. It is time to consolidate our resources and improve the lives of people with more production/growth but lesser consumption. Stop wasteful production and wasteful consumption. The free willing economy where the fittest survive and enjoy everything they want in abundance, without any care to how their wasteful consumption is destroying the earth must be stopped. The crazy idea of growth and growth without thinking about the consequences must be stopped. At a micro level, this little rock is overpopulated, over consuming the limited resources. And the crazy thing is that it is claiming progress and claiming that without growth, life will be a misery. Life will come to a standstill and the system will break down. Yes, under the current belief that economic growth is everything, things will change. The formula is a bigger cake for more people. More people, more economic growth, more demand for space, water and energy. Can this be change to smaller cake for lesser people? There must be a freeze on population growth in the world and in every country. Mother earth is under stress. The food chain is under stress. The resources are being depleted. Fossil fuel is being drawn down to a dangerous level. Ya, the savior is nuclear fuel. Everyone is looking towards nuclear energy as the panacea to sustain economic growth and energy consumption. This will eventually lead to a catastrophic destruction of lives and everything on earth.
The economy grew by a record 15.7%. What a miraculous number and what an exceptional govt to achieve such a high rate of growth in a world hit by financial crisis and natural disasters. Time to reward everyone for a job well done. All civil servants and politicians will receive pay rise, performance bonuses and GDP bonuses to the tune of 10 or 17 months of bonuses on top of the basic salary, the 1 mth AWS and the 3 months of variable bonuses. Please correct me if I am wrong. Roughly it is about there, and everyone will be happy happy. The people will also not be left out. Everyone will get something, at least $800 plus whatever savings from taxes, and top ups. And the opposition parties are in the mud ring wrestling and trying to get out to be ready for battle in the coming GE. And let’s not forget the most important man in the country, the President. He too must be rewarded for doing such a fine job, shouldering such a heavy responsibility and still having to look happy and make visitors to the Istana ground feel happy. Of all the good signs, this is the most telling. For some may claim that it is audacity beyond words for the govt to pay the President $4m a year plus all the perks, and almost a $1m pay rise. Such arrogance could be negatively received by the electorate. But looking at it from another angle, it is a sure sign of confidence. The govt knows the ground well and that the people will still give the ruling party a resounding victory in the next GE. They would not dare to risk winning a GE by making this kind of payment if they think it will not go down well with the people. The govt is always right and they must have done their sums well and knowing that all is well. The next GE will be another clean sweep. There will be no meltdown whereby the opposition will do a clean sweep. The budget, pay hike and big bonuses will not be the swan song.
Japan is into the second week of the tsunami disaster and nuclear plant meltdown. The situation is grave but how grave? There were reports and reports and updates and updates. The Japanese on the ground are feeling uneasy. Many are openly questioning the reports coming out from their govt. What is the situation today? Last night I heard Naoto Kan saying that he would be visiting the site next week. This is the first time a senior govt official is talking about a visit to the disaster site. What does it say? For one whole week, with all the assurances that the nuclear fallout is still safe, no govt officials dare to visit the actual site of the disaster. Maybe I am wrong and they did visit the site but not reported. And the victims were accusing the govt of neglect and leaving them to die. Japan is a super efficient govt. Not just talk only. They have proven it in many ways. Why are the aids not reaching the stricken people after so many days? Bad transportation, bad coordination, bad weather, not enough helpers? None of these is valid. The Japanese are the best equipped and best organised. Even in India and China, helicopters will be flying around to drop aids to the victims. Maybe all the helicopters are used in dropping water on the nuclear plants. Is the situation that bad that it is better to leave the affected people on their own, to die as the victims are claiming? Could it be that these people are like lepers, already hit by radio activity and better to leave them there than to risk good people going after bad people? The Americans are helping, but no troops on the ground. They are keeping at a safe distance of 80 km. What does this tell? Is there a message saying nothing nearer than 80 km is safe? Then the exodus of foreigners and those who are able to do so. Embassies and MNCs are telling their staff to get out of Tokyo. Another bad indicator that there is more to it than meets the eyes. Finally, yesterday the threat level using the International Nuclear and Radioactivity Event Scale (INES) was raised from 4 to 5 with 7 as the highest. And the cooling of the 6 nuclear reactors are still work in progress, with one leaking water as fast as water being pumped in, and some still in threatening state. The signs are bad and saying a lot of bad things that were not reported. A sure sign of things are getting better is to see govt officials and the Americans on the ground itself. The UN nuclear envoy also avoided visiting the site. And there is no surge of volunteers rushing to save the victims by the highly nationalistic Japanese and their samurai spirit. Obviously things are bad. How bad?
What if a sudden explosion or discharge of radioactive clouds from one of the reactors and raising radioactive particles to a dangerous level? Fukushima prefecture no longer habitable and the govt order an immediate evacuation from the area. Radioactive clouds are blown towards Tokyo and a similar evacuation order is made. Can you imagine Fukushima prefecture will be abandoned and left barren for years to come? Can you imagine an evacuation of Tokyo! Just pray the Japanese is able to control the situation and prevent it from becoming a crisis of such a magnitude.
This is the heading of an AP article about the cover-ups in Japan’s nuclear industry. The Japanese are angry and no longer believe what they were told, especially of the current nuclear meltdown. Kei Sugaoka, a former nuclear engineer said, ‘There’s not enough transparency in the industry.’ AP wrote, ‘In 1989, he received an order that horrified him: Edit out footage showing cracks in plant steam pipes in video to be submitted to regulators.’ The cover-ups of Japan’s nuclear industry went back to the early days of the 1970s when the plants in Fukushima were built. According to some reports that were in the media, some GE engineers resigned because of fear that the plants were unsafe as they were built to withstand only quakes up to 7 in the Richter Scale. There were reports that subsequently this was rectified. How much was the truth and how much were cover-ups no body really knows. The Japanese people are feeling the brunt of this fiasco.” ‘I can’t believe them,’ said Taketo Kuga, a cab driver in Tokyo, where low levels of radiation were observed on Tuesday.” What about the foreign communities? They voted not to believe all the reports that the radiation level is low and safe by leaving Japan, particularly Tokyo. There is an exodus going on with foreign companies and embassies ordering their people to leave. The honesty and integrity of the Japanese govt are taking a whacking for sure.
This is a reply from Chen Hwai Liang, Press Secretary to the Prime Minister in the ST forum page. I am wondering why is it a letter in the forum page and not an official statement, say in the front page of the ST. The kpkb in cyberspace about the more than 20% increase in the President’s salary must be making people uncomfortable. So here is the official explanation. The salary is pegged to the private sector benchmarks. ‘The principle and benchmarks have been extensively debated in Parliament, most recently in 2007.’ He forgot to add that this was also approved by Parliament. Who and how many MPs voted in favour of this formula? Let me guess, 82 for and 2 against? I am not sure, forgotten already. The vote in favour was almost unanimous. Do the citizens agree with it? Sorry the latter is a non issue since the people voted the MPs as their representatives in Parliament and are indirectly saying that the MPs represented them and voted on their behalf. The other reasons given by Chen Hwai Liang, ‘The President occupies the highest office in Singapore. He exercises custodial powers to protect our past reserves and over the appointment of key public officers to protect the integrity of the public service. As head of state, he represents the country and advances our interests internationally. This is why it is appropriate to peg the President’s salary higher than ministers’ and just above the Prime Minister’s.’ I think the first sentence should be sufficient. It is the highest office in Singapore. Period. But the explanation added that the President’s job carries a higher responsibility, though the ministers may be running their ministries and their thousands of staff. The people may agree or disagree, but this is the official position. Now that the people understand the rationale, let’s move on.
‘What the hell is going on?’ PM Naoto Kan ‘This govt is useless’ Masako Kitajima, Tokyo office worker. ‘I’m not sure if what they’re saying is true or not, and that makes me nervous. I want to know why they won’t provide answers. Tokyo resident Tetsu Ichiura.
If a govt is exploring plans to build a nuclear plant and engages nuclear experts to provide expertise advice, what would be the likely recommendations? If the experts say, no go. Finish, his job ends there. If the recommendation is that it is ok, nuclear energy is the way to go, all precautions can be taken to reduce risk to zero, ha, his expertise will be needed much longer, at least till the completion of the nuclear plant and possibly longer. Now, why would a nuclear expert tell a govt that nuclear energy is too dangerous and too high a risk to take and to risk his usefulness, and his paycheck? Many experts will say, don’t worry, there are risks, but manageable. We have the technology, the knowledge and the knowhow to make sure that it is safe. Go ahead and have your cake and eat it as well. And such soothing and confident words are what many govts would want to hear and will feel very assured. I read in the paper that some countries in Europe are putting on hold their nuclear ambition. I also read this comment from a third world leader, ‘Our reactors will be third generation and they will be able to withstand even the most powerful earthquake.,’ Bangladesh Atomic energy Commission chairman Farid Uddin Ahmed told AFP. He must be rightly advised by the experts and believed everything they said. I believe when the Japanese built their nuclear plants in Fukushima, they must also have been told that the biggest earthquake will not shake the nuclear plants. Absolutely safe! Fear not. Whatever sophisticated and bestest technology and equipment, there must be accompanied by the bestest talents and workforce to operate them. Third world mentality, third world attitude, third world ability, third grade work force, are themselves the greatest risk to a potential nuclear disaster. Just like buying sophisticated military aircraft, without the skill technicians to maintain them, without the skill pilots to fly them, they will all ended up grounded. In a nuclear plant, the ending is tragedy of mass termination.
Matthew Lynn, a Bloomberg News columnist, wrote an article in the Today paper about high speed trading to the fine tune of picoseconds, just to take advantage of the next guy who does not have technology as an aid. Now what is a picosecond? This is Matthew’s definition, ‘a picosecond is one trillionth of a second, or …a picosecond is to one second what one second is to 31,700 years.’ This is the direction the stock market trading is heading to. Hey, wait a minute, what is a stock market, a jackpot machine, a casino or a game of chance? ‘A stock market has two core functions. It exists for companies to raise capital needed to invest in their business. And it should help ordinary people to make a decent return on their savings by investing in those enterprises.’ I quote Matthew. And this is nothing new. Why are the regulators allowing themselves to be led by the nose by the big funds to change the nature of stock trading from investment to one of pure gambling, by odds and speed? Mathew added that ‘at a certain point, you have to step back and ask whether this is a road we really want to go down, and whether it performs any useful function.’ He concluded by saying that ‘The stock exchanges should call a halt – and tell the traders that if they only want to hold their investments for a picoseconds, they might be better off going somewhere else. Like a racetrack.’ I would like to add that it is highly irresponsible for stock exchanges to allow this to happen as it not only gives the hedge fund an unfair advantage over other traders, which is a fundamental principle it must uphold, such trading methodology will eventually lead to the destruction of the stock market itself. High speed trading and many other variable methodologies are undermining all the cardinal principles of stock markets, eg churning, creating a false market, uneven playing field, buying and selling without change of ownership etc etc. The rot has started and its natural ending is the demise of the stockbroking industry if this deceptive trend is not stopped.
Eureka! Eureka! Singapore has finally discovered that relying on cheap foreign labour for economic growth is unsustainable. The govt is now advising the companies to change their business model to raise real productivity instead of just employing more and more cheap labour. The govt is doing the thinking again, to help the unthinking Singaporeans, this time to increase their productivity by other means. This is good news or bad news? If companies are not going to import more foreign workers, will it affect our economic growth? What about the businesses that are dependent on foreign workers, like those in Geylang? I think it will also affect property prices and rentals. Maybe not. I don’t think the spending power of cheap labour really help much to generate economic activities and growth. The only businesses they provide, other than in Geylang, will be public transport and loitering in the casinos and all the public parks. They would also provide more jobs for themselves as cleaners, to clean up the litters they left behind. If lesser cheap workers are imported, the casino operators will be most happy, the local commuters will also be happy. Not sure if the public transport providers will be happy as the trains and buses will be less crowded and their revenue will be affected. Singaporeans and Singaporean businesses will have to make adjustment to live with the presence of lesser cheap foreign workers.
By the time the last head is counted, there could be tens of thousands of Japanese dead after the one in a century 9 on the Richter scale earthquake. The flooding water that rushed to the shore and inland, flooding everything in sight was 10m high. Yet, the Japanese were calm, stoic, as if it was just part and parcel of living in Japan. No panic, no kpkb, no screaming and crocodile tears. They put up a brave front despite the destruction and loss of life. Coming home to Singapore, you should look at the faces of the lucky Singaporeans who escaped death while holidaying in Japan or missing a connecting flight to America. There were grief, fear, and some were sobbing. What a frightening experience and a narrow escape from death. Come nearer to Orchard Road, we had the once in 50 years flood of 2 feet deep water. What a disaster! What a comic disaster. It was just an afternoon monsoon rain that could help to clear the longkangs of the debris that needed a strong flushing. Boo, boo, boo, crying all round and blaming everyone and the govt for not preventing a flash flood caused by two hours of tropical rain. Singaporeans must grow up, learn to take disasters in their stride. The two feet of flood in Orchard Road should be time for a little fun in the rain. Throw some soap powder into it and have a free foam party. Enjoy and have fun the next time when it floods. No need to kpkb on spilling a glass of water. Learn from the Japanese. The next campaign for nation building, clap and have fun in Orchard Road when it floods. Enjoy the blessing of water from the sky. Take a bath or have a party. There are worst calamities than a little flood. And for those who are hell bent to have a nuclear plant here, because no choice, too many people and oil too expensive, the Japanese lesson will help them build a better nuclear plant that will never fail. If the local super talents here are not good enough, the foreign talents will swarm here to say aye aye, they can build one for us and guarantee it will never fail. They will not live long enough to see it fail for sure. By then they would have taken the money and gone.
Singaporeans should be grateful that 106,600 PMET jobs are being taken up by the Filipinos. This is the same as the thousands of construction workers and maids doing jobs that Singaporeans did not want to do. What Singaporeans should do is to retrain themselves for higher paying jobs. Not retraining PMETs to do lower level jobs. If this is the case, then someone’s ass need to be kicked. There are plenty of high paying jobs in Singapore that Singaporeans should aspire to do. Those jobs that Singaporeans are no longer competitive, should go to foreign talents. We should welcome the Filipinos and the rest to be our PMETs. Singaporeans can then seek jobs that these foreign talents cannot do and pay better. I am looking at Members of Parliaments, mayors, town council chiefs, President, or other political jobs. These are high paying jobs that Singaporeans should aspire to do. There may not be that many now but more can be created. We can have more MPs, more mayors, vice mayors, PMs, dep PMs, asst dep PMs, Presidents, Vice Presidents, and even Senior Presidents, or executive Presidents etc etc. And of course there are plenty of directors to be appointed in public and private companies. Singaporeans are barking at the wrong tree to fight with cheaper foreign talents to be PMETs. There are better and higher paying jobs waiting for Singaporeans in govt and in politics.
The nuclear meltdown may happen. All systems failed. Human error compounded by a huge earthquake. Did they plan for such a day? They must have. The construction of a nuclear power station must have taken into account all the possibilities of a meltdown and to prevent it from happening. It happened. But what was disappointing is that the 8.9 Richter scale quake did not lead to an immediate evacuation of coastal villages and towns. If it did, it was too slow. The Japanese have been preparing for such eventualities all their lives. They have tsunami drills regularly, more regular than conducting war games with the Americans. How could so many lives be swept away if there was a tsunami warning and evacuation of the coastal people? Caught sleeping? If it is a once in 50 years act of God, maybe excusable. But earthquakes and tsunamis are part and parcel of the Japanese life and they are very well prepared and equipped to deal with them. Japan caught sleeping. The world expects the Japanese to do much better in preventing such disasters. They are very meticulous and systematic people. They have failed their own people this time.
This is how successful we are in job creation. And if you add the others, we could have created at least half a million PMET jobs for all the foreign talents here. It is indeed a great feat and something to crow about. It is also a great feat that so many ex PMETs are now driving taxis or becoming agents or self employed, and struggling to make a living. Yes, we are an all inclusive country, including all foreigners as well. For those Singaporean PMETs who are still left in the lurch, it must be their own inept, that they could not compete with the foreign talents. Serve them right. And if they have a big mortgage to service and growing children that need to support, it must be their bad karma. I do try to believe that it is all the faults of these ex PMETs for their own failures. Somehow I also have this niggering feeling that something is not right. Maybe 10%, statistically never wrong, to presume that there will be some that deserved to be in the shit hole. For the rest, I believe they are true Singaporeans at heart and are hard working and will be the ideal employees like all Singaporeans are, work and work and work. It is sad that so many of our own PMETs have ended up in such a dire strait, and many in the prime of their lives. The option is to be retrained as service workers, and their valuable training, experience and expertise be dumped into the longkangs. There is no need for their skills as they can be replaced by cheaper and hungrier foreign talents. Is there anything wrong about this state of affair?
Our economic growth is the envy of many countries. We took pride in our economic growth and place all our bets on it. Economic growth, growing the economic pie, is the answer to all our social problems. And the key to our economic growth is economic activity, and the basic ingredient is human beans. The more human beans there are, the more economic activities can be generated and all the numbers added up to a lovely piece of cake, a bigger cake for all. The formula is simple. More human beans, more work, more productivity, more revenue, more activities, more needs, and more of everything. There is more creation of wealth, more consumption, more expenditure, more demands which will create more and more demands of other supporting and service activities. Today we plan for growth. Tomorrow this growth will dictate how the economy will run and all the other human activities. More people mean more food, housing, transportation, jobs, services and space. We can build up and build down. We can share the piece of rock with more people and more people. There will be higher demand for food, water and electric power. So more facilities will be built to store water and generate power. The nuclear option will not be an option but a necessity. There is no way out. The nuclear disaster that is awaiting to blow up in Japan must be food for thought for many who think it is a logical road to take. Our economic growth and growing population and needs for power will push us down this road. Japan, with probably the most efficient and trained workforce, is now staring at a human disaster they think will not happen. It happened. They are trying to play it down. People from a radius of 20km were evacuated. If we have a nuclear plant on our shore, 20km radius means the sea. No where to evacuate, no where to run. And the beautiful architectural feat of high rise buildings, the new Towers of Babel, are massive disasters and tragedies waiting to happen. They are death traps. So are the massive underground living space. No, we don’t have to face an earthquake or a tsunami. The worst we could get was a little tremor from a distant quake far away. And the water level, if there is, will be a knee deep flood in Orchard Road. We are blessed with no dramatic natural disaster, yet. We cannot escape from human error and human created disasters. With so many people packed tightly together, even a full loaded sardine packed train can take several hundred out at one go. A high rise collapse can be more destructive. Our planning for economic growth today could be our planning for a major disaster tomorrow. If the Japanese can foul up a top security nuclear plant with all the safety measures, the lesser beans of this region better restrain their ego trips and don’t think they can do better than the Japanese.
Greed is good. And that is coming out quite freely from all the successful people. There is no denying the fact that our prosperity has been driven by the power of Greed. Greed is the greatest motivating force that transformed what we were to what we are today. Greed is now the prevailing culture in this great and affluent city. Anyone who does not subscribe to the goodness of Greed or condemns Greed is condemning themselves to mediocrity. Greed has brought the best out of our super talents in all fields. Through Greed, they have reached the peak of their fields of expertise and are among the best in the world, with many excelling and becoming the bestest of the best, or at least in the income that they can command. The highest paid professionals in several fields are Singaporeans. We can boast of the highest paid President, PM, ministers etc etc and surgeons and lawyers. In other words, Greed has propelled our citizens to the top of their profession. The belief that goodness, ethics, morality, sacrifices, selflessness, are virtues is only meant for the losers or the idealists. The pragmatic and talented know that these are useless values only to be taught to children. They have no time for such idealism. They are busy making themselves worthy and reaping the reward of Greed. Because they are so good, they can demand any price they wanted. A dying man needing some expert to save his life will have to take the price. And asking a million a day is reasonable in a life and death situation. The more professional one may go one step further and ask the victim if he has the money to pay before proceeding to save him. Check the affordability of the victim first. In a highly competitive world, Greed is nothing to be ashamed of, and is doing us well, to compete and be the best in our pursuit for excellence. The culture of Greed pervades every level of our society and is being practised zealously to a fine art. And the epitome of Greed is not the contribution but how much one is able to ask to be paid. Some may do very little and being paid a ransom. That is the ultimate art of Greed at the highest level. It is time to vote for Greed. Give a resounding vote of confidence that Greed is Good. No kidding.
Up from $3,376,800, the President's pay is now $4,267,500. And the govt announced this in Parliament and believing that it will go down well with the people, or the people will quietly accept it. I am not sure if this is arrogance or what? Maybe the govt knows that the people will accept everything as long as it is passed in Parliament. It happened. What can you do about it? One thing the people can do, clap, clap and say the President deserves it. It is peanuts really, compared to the medical bill a good surgeon can charge. It is peanuts really, as it cost less than $1 from every resident in the island of more than 5m people. Cheap, cheap.
I was reading the papers today about the cruel beating and harsh regime administered to two brothers age 9 and 11 under the care of a taskmaster. The boys were caned till they bled for dozing off while studying. They had to wake up at 4.30am to study and slept at 11pm. The parents thought that the taskmaster could discipline the boys and probably improve their grades. The harsh regime is common in China, and with a little trace of the sadism in a book praising Tiger mums. Beat them into shape. It is for their own good. The more you beat them, the better they will turn out. And many silly ‘masters’ employed such methods on their students. The notables who went through such regimes are Jackie Chan, Samo Hung and their peers. Many were maimed for life. Still many silly parents allowed their children to be cruelly beaten for their own good. How stupid can people be to perpetuate such barbaric behavior on the young? And there are adults who still think beating and cruelty are good to shape up children. I would recommend caning for the taskmaster and the parents. I thought such mentality only can be found in the rural areas among illiterate and ignorant farmers. ‘The 45 year old electronics scientist was sentenced to six months’ jail…’ ST. Poor boys.
Worrying about the jobless yodas. Our oldies are going jobless, unemployed, unemployable. Serious problem! We need to find jobs for them. We need to restructure jobs, amend legislations, to let all the old fools to continue working, till they drop dead on their jobs. What is happening? What have happened to the happily retired and living on a nest of life long savings? We are and were a nation of big savers. We save more than anyone else. What have happened to our savings? Why must oldies keep on working to earn some money to live on? Crazy thought. What have gone wrong to our great retirement schemes and plans? What happens to the golden years, to see the world, to enjoy the grandchildren, to be happily retired, lying on a rocking chair and reading a book or watching the sunset? Now it is like a big crisis to have all the oldies hanging around, jobless! They must have jobs, they must be working, so say all of us. No more golden years? Soon golden age will also be passé.
We need more foreign talents. And we need more foreign talents. We have more than 5 million bodies in this piece of rock. And we need more foreign talents. When we are at 6 million, we still need foreign talents. When we are at 10 million, we still need foreign talents. When we are at 20 million, we will still need foreign talents. We need the bodies to ensure economic growth. Our economic growth is vital to our survival. Without economic growth, we will be history. And our economic growth depends on bodies. We need bodies to fill up our trains and buses. We need to fill them to the brim or else it is inefficiency and unprofitable. We need bodies to fill up our shopping centres and food courts. If not, business will be bad and rentals will fall. We need more bodies to fill up the factories and offices, or rentals will fall too. We need more foreign talents. We need more bodies to buy up all the properties, housing or commercial, or else prices will fall. And when all the properties are bought, we need to build more to generate more economic growth, and we need more bodies, and we need more foreign talents. And our roads must also be filled with cars or else it will be a waste of resources. A jammed pack road system is a sign of prosperity and high economic activity. Also good for COEs and ERPs. Our world class hospitals need to be filled. Can’t imagine if they are half empty or 70% filled. We need more bodies to fill them, from staffing to patients. Every head counts for economic growth. For the sake of economic growth and efficiency, we need to keep growing our population. And since the locals are not reproducing enough, we need to bring in more foreign talents. Don’t worry, economic growth is everything and it will not stop. We will keep growing, and keep needing foreign talents, and more bodies.
Raymond Lim spoke in Parliament about his ministry’s plan for public transportation. More trains, more buses, higher frequencies, and best of all, more comfortable rides. Gone were the comparisons with Tokyo’s sardine can trains. It used to be the reference point, that if our trains were not as crowded as Tokyo’s, we are still not there, not up to Tokyo’s standard. Now comfort and higher frequencies are important. Thank you. And there is more money for everyone. The students are going to get more assistance with their school fees and the qualifying income has been raised. The poorer groups of citizens too will be seeing more help coming their way. Is this part of the election process or what? If it is part of the election process, a pre election morphine jab, what will the post election process be like? For sure, the fares will go up. The delay in fare hikes is only temporary. And for sure, someone is going to say, hey, all this costs money. And money must come from somewhere. Anyway it is a nice change. I am hoping that Boon Wan will also say that medical fees are too high. But no, when an open heart surgery cost only $8 out of pocket, it cannot be too high. In fact it is too cheap. And then we have seen medical bills in the tens of millions. Seriously, there is no reason to say that our medical bills in govt privatized hospitals are too high. The only way to say that they are too high is to ignore the $8 open heart surgery as only good for the likes of Boon Wan. Hope he will share with the people how he could do it. And also the $24.8m medical bill must be seen in a different light. Taking these two examples as anomalies, perhaps, maybe, we can then take a serious look at those $150k or $200k bills and say yes, honestly, undisputably, they are extraordinary high and not suitable for ordinary people. In reality, any bill that is above a couple of thousands is high. Any bill that is in 5 digits is very high and very unaffordable to the average Singaporeans. But they are lucky, with so much money in their Medisave and all the Ms to pay for them. What if they have no Ms? And would somebody admit that the prices of public housing is no longer affordable to many average Singaporeans? It will be a pleasant sound to hear. But I just heard a loud No, they are very affordable. Hey, this is pre election time, would it not be nice to say something nice?
LKY has made a statement that he stood to be corrected on his comment that the Malays should loosen up a little in their observance of Islamic norms. He was just being polite. As an elder statesman, he was being generous to offer his advice for the Malays to integrate better with the other communities. For him to have made the statement, the reason is obvious. If the Malays have integrated at a pace and level that he found comfortable, he would not have to say this. The Malays may think otherwise and feel that they have integrated very well and no need further advice. It is just a matter of perception from two different perspectives. Some may agree with him, some may not. I am still reading many comments that LKY needs to apologise. Apologise for what? For trying to them to be better integrated? Is that a derogatory remark, something that hurts? If the Malays disagree with his observation, just tell him they don’t agree. Both need not see eye to eye. Actually the way LKY puts it, the comment was most polite. He is not demanding the Malays to do what he wanted or else…. He did not reprimand the Malays for the pace of integration which he found still not good enough. The more the Malays and the other communities integrate with each other, the better it is for hotel building. Oops, I slip. I mean nation building. Even if it is just a hotel, integration of all parties working and living in the hotel cannot be bad. Need to apologise for wishing the community to be better? Come on, grow up lah. Take off the blinkers and see the world from the level of a higher good and stop being so petty and personal. The Malays are lucky that the MM is thinking about their problems and how to help them along. He could just keep quiet and pretend, which everyone is doing, that all is fine.
The flame that is burning in the Middle East is all about the rulers ignoring the people. There you have dictators and kingships and democratically elected leaders who are dictators in all counts of the word ruling the people at their own fancy. The people were just subjects or masses that could be ignored. And the leaders thought they own the people, the country and all its wealth. Now the time has come when the people no longer wanted to be ignored. They are taking their countries back. They are throwing out the dictators and royalties too. It is only a matter of time as the tide has changed. There is no where to hide and no where to run. The ignoring of the people have gone on for too long. Some may want to relate the crisis in the Middle East to the situation in South East Asia, and in Asia, with fingers pointing to China and praying that China should be the next to fall. There are differences. Every country is different. The oppression and subjugation of the people in the Middle East and their standard of living are all grievances that prompted the people to rise against the rulers. Relatively the people in Asia and South East Asia are fairing much better. China is a big contradiction but a country that is making the most progress to improve the livelihood of its people. Many are getting richer by the day and the middle class is growing. China and the Chinese have never seen such good times for several centuries. At the rate it is moving, China is heading towards its golden age. The rest of the western craps like freedom of expression will fall into place as the country grows in affluence and abundance and when everyone is well fed and well clothed. Singapore is another aberration. A little pearl of progress, a little shining light as far as economic growth and material wealth are concerned. Are the rulers here guilty of ignoring the people too? There were some demands, nothing critical, for more transparency. What are the assets worth under the wings of GIC and Temasek? The rulers have explained that for strategic and business reasons, cannot tell. How much assets are the elected President supposed to guard? Too complicated and will take many hundreds of manhours to tell. I think the rulers are still working on it, another work in progress. Both explanations are reasonable from the perspective of the rulers. Then what about the cost of building public housing? So far also no answer. There is no commercial or national consideration to keep this information confidential. Would the rulers tell? The people have been asking for so long and have been ignored for so long until the issue is as good as forgotten. After a few times of being ignored, case closed. Such issues are not life threatening and not telling will not make any difference. There will be no uprising over such minor non disclosures. No need to tell. No problem at all.
This was the title of an article in the Sunday Times yesterday. The conclusion is that they need more help from the govt. And this mentality of more help from the govt can last in perpetuity. 100 years down the road, they will still face the same problem and will still need more help from the govt unless…. Apparently they did not know why. I may sound arrogant to make this remark, but that is obvious. No one wants to say it. Saying it will only draw all the brickbats and accusations and demands for apologies just like what LKY had to face recently. If one does not want to look at the problem squarely, one can never solve the problem. Period. Having said this, I think it is a myth that the Malays are not doing well. I think they have done exceedingly well. Am I kidding? No. To measure how well one does, one needs to know what one is aspiring to be and what one is prepared to contribute and work towards that goal. There are two elements here, the goal and the effort. What is the goal of the Malay community? Are they seeking materialism or religious comfort and way of life? Some may want the rewards of materialism which mean that one must put in all the time and effort to achieve that. You want to be a CEO, a doctor, a lawyer or whatever in the corporate world and industry, what is needed from you? You can’t be there if you don’t work for it. Many Malay families have reached these positions, though more are welcomed. Then there are those who aspire to be imams and religious leaders. They pursue higher education in this field. They succeeded and became religious leaders. But religious leaders don’t come with big houses, big cars and big pay packets unlike some mega churches. They have achieved what they wanted and should be happy with their achievements. They are not under achievers. They have different motivations and goals in life. And the in betweens, some wanted to be footballers, musicians, singers, performers, some wanted to be salespersons, some wanted to be workers, and they put in the equivalent effort to achieve these goals. And they are there. You can’t say that they have not achieved. There are many great Malay footballers and in fact the whole national team are Malay footballers if the foreigners are excluded. They did well in their chosen field. And there are some who just wanted to get married, make babies and enjoy life, with little pressure and stress, and not having to work 12 or 16 hours daily. That is their goals in life. They too have achieved. You can’t claim that they are failures because they are not professionals and did not live in big houses and driving big cars. It is their aspirations and the time and effort they put in to get what they wanted. One other point that surfaced in the article is that the Malays cannot succeed because they are the minority and did not have the numbers. Is that reason valid? Just look at the Indians and the Chinese, they are minorities in countries around the world. They did not need the numbers to be successful. The Indians are exceedingly successful not only here but in the US. They literally own and managed some of the biggest American and European banks. And they are minorities, absolute minorities in the exact meaning of the word. The Chinese too are coping quite well in many western countries, as minorities though not excelling the way the Indians do.. Numbers is not and never the only reason to be successful. It is what you want and what you are prepared to put in to get it. How many Indians or Chinese are there in the West? In many of the countries, they are not even 1% of the population. And they did not ask their govt for help. They just do it. So, is there a problem, a contradiction, or just a wrongful perception? Can the Malay bridge the gap? What gap? The gap of material success is attainable if they set that as their goal and work towards it.
Sam Tan, the MP in Tanjong Pagar GRC said, and added that ‘You don’t need to wait for the Finance Minister to dish out incentives to get married.’ So is making babies, a natural process that one does not need a university degree to figure out what it is and how complicated is the process. The teens and pre teens are doing it happily and enjoying every bit of it. The moral of the story is, don’t think too much, ‘Just do it’. Why is getting married and making babies such an angst among the thinking Singaporeans? Yes, they think too much. They think from cradle to grave, and wanting their whole life to be lined with gold. If that was the thinking of their parents, many would not be here today. Many of their parents and grandparents were just too poor to think and worry about feeding them and bringing them up. They did not need Nike to tell them to just do it. They were well ahead of Nike’s philosophy. And many of the young are doing it even before they passed their teens. Some got married before they even started to earn a living, all with the blessings of their wise parents and elders. It may be a case of following the leader. They have done it and cannot be wrong. And they too did not need the advice of a MP to do what they wanted to do. Getting married is the simplest thing to do. Housing is never a problem. Some were given landed properties by their parents, who have planned well ahead for them, as marriage gifts. Those without such thinking parents can always live with their parents under one roof in their spacious HDB flats. Our 2 and 3 rm flats are a luxury compared to what the Hongkongers are having. And when the babies come in the following months, it will be complete, three generations under one roof. This is what living is all about. This is what a happy extended family is all about. No need to have maids when the grandparents are around to baby sit. Don’t worry, everything will take care of itself. The flats will come one day. The babies will grow up on their own and take care of themselves. If one thinks too much, there will be no marriages and no babies. And that is a serious problem for the country. The country really needs more unthinking people to just get married and make babies to drive economic growth. We need the super talents to think and the non talents to work. It is a perfect arrangement, both complimenting each other. Everyone is happy.
PAS has just raided several shops selling lottery tickets in Kelantan. They find gambling against their values and life style and would not allow it to be on sale despite the provision of the Federal Law. Selling lottery tickets and some forms of gambling like betting on 4D, horse racing, and a casino in Genting Highland, are allowed under the Federal law. If I am not mistaken, night clubs and bars were also banned in Kelantan. The MCA is raising its protest as an infringement into the rights of the non muslims. Just because the state govt does not agree with the lifestyle of other races, it does not have a right to ban them. If this precedent is upheld, then many things can be banned and the non muslims will have to live like the muslims in Kelantan, no eating of pork, no night spots or night entertain, no bars, no gambling, no movies, no drinking and maybe no drinking of alcohol as well. What else will be banned? This is the kind of intolerance that is getting more pervasive and intruding into the lives and social activities of other minority races. This is the kind of danger when political power falls into the hands of intolerant groups or people that have no qualms about imposing their wills and beliefs on the minorities. The big question is how intolerance is PAS should it won political power in Malaysia? For the moment there are some moderate voices within the group and some forms of give and take. When the chips are down, when the more secular parties lost power to the likes of PAS, what would be left of the rights of the minorities in Malaysia?
I must repeat what I said about GST again. 1. Unborn babies pay GST. Mothers to be have to visit gynaecologists for consultancy. Pay GST. 2. Babies pay GST. All baby food, clothing and utensils, including pampers and pacificiers subject to GST. 3. Children pay GST. All their food and clothings and accessories include GST. 4. The jobless pay GST. They pay GST for food and clothing and whatever. 5. The retirees pay GST. They pay GST for food and clothing and medical bills. Since people like to use percentage as a measurement or for comparison, how many percent of the incomes of the above goes to GST?
This is the first time that an independent director was jailed. In the past they simply resigned and disappeared when trouble was brewing. That was an easy escape route for this profession. Would this jailing of independent directors be a signal that collecting director fees is not going to be a cup of tea and independent directors will now be held accountable and be put in jail if they failed in their duties? I really hope so. Oh some are crying foul, $50k or $60k not enough to risk being jailed! My two big balls! If one is doing his job well, there will not be any jailing and $50k or $60k is a big sum of money. And some even claimed that there is a shortage of independent directors. Really, just because some are sitting in 8 or 10 boards? The fact that people are rushing to grab as many independent directorship as possible is proof that it is a very lucrative job and many people are willing to do it as a full time job. Now part timers are aplenty, hoarding 5 or more directorships and pretending that they are able to cope with the demand of the job and its responsibilities. Let’s be serious, and make this a responsible profession and independent directors be made to work for their keeps. Imagine some could be taking hundreds of thousands and quickly resign the moment they see trouble coming. This is making a mockery of the system and the good money paid. If nobody wants to be independent directors because money not enough and risk too high, just let me know and I will be able to recommend to them qualified professionals who are more than willing to do the job, including your goodself.
With all the best talents, with all the planning, pre emptive policies and targeted response, the housing market has been swinging like a pendulum, from over supply to under supply and to stop gap measures. Is this how the housing of the people should be managed? Over built and under built seem to be a norm because supply and demand are fickle and unpredictable. This all boils down to the meddling of a public housing policy to house the people to one that turns housing into a commodity for trading and speculation, responding to market forces with different objectives. When the supply of public housing is determined strictly be demand and trying to anticipate demand and not to provide a home for the people, this is what we get. Public housing is not only an economic consideration, it is a political issue and cannot be simply decided based on profitability and market forces. A 10,000 unit over supply is a problem that should not be from the start. Why, how could it happen? But having a situation that there is completely no available stock and to build only when there is a demand and be completed in 3 to 4 years down the road is equally disgusting as a public policy. Heard the latest stop gap measure that raises the income ceiling to $5000 for buying of 3 rm flats. The reason, to prevent these buyers from over stretching themselves and forced into buying more expensive flats that they could not service. What about those who happened to earn more than the commandment that $8000 ceiling is immovable and be forced into buying private properties and overstretching themselves? Is it alright to force those who earn a little more into the crazy private property market to be squeezed by the astronomical prices of private properties? Where is the responsibility to ensure that people should buy within their means and not endanger themselves by over committing? It is individual responsibility to manage their finances. But how can govt policy force people to over commit themselves with an immovable income ceiling that is already obsolete? Can we have another stop gap measure tomorrow to raise the ceiling for 4 rm flat and another one for 5 rm flat next year? Such piece meal changes are manifestation of not thinking through the whole problem and not looking at the big picture. Can someone remove the blinkers please.
Peh Shing Huei, ST’s China Bureau Chief interviewed several Chinese and was disappointed that most were just not interested in the call for a Jasmine Revolution in China. In a way a revolution is fun, as long as it is happening in someone else country, and other people’s blood are flowing. Many anglophiles and western biased Chinese analysts would love to have a Jasmine Revolution in China. For the ethnic western journalists, no need to say, for a China in disarray is a good thing. Why would the Chinese want a revolution at this point in time when China is on a roll? China has risen like a phoenix from the ashes. Yes there are problems, but the problems are miniscule given the enormity of the problems when China was a poverty stricken state when being a Chinese was a shame. During those dark days, many Chinese probably wished they were not born and wanted to be Europeans. Some Chinese today still want to be Europeans. But the number is dwindling. There is great pride in China and in being Chinese. China and the Chinese are positioned to upstage the Americans in a matter of time. Why would the Chinese want to kill this golden opportunity, to turn their country upside down, and to be conquered and treated like pariahs by the westerners one more time? No doubt there are still some silly Chinese who had a few hamburgers too many and think that China should succumb to western pressure and be a failed state. They are praying everyday for it to happen. The Chinese in China must not make the same mistake and destroy what their govt has done over the last 40 years. They have done everything right with some exceptions which are more of failings of individuals rather than the govt. Would the Chinese be stupid enough to listen to silly overseas and local Chinese who advocate them to destroy what they have built today? If China would to be messed up today, it will never be able to stand up again for another century. And some of the western minded Chinese will be most happy. And they will call themselves John Smith wherever they go and proudly announce that they don’t understand a word of Chinese. And being Chinese would once again be a shame.
A dictator controls everything in a country, the people, resources, finances, power and ideas. A political party can also behave like a dictator, controlling everything in a country. Have we reached such a state? I was reading Tharman’s reply to Low Thia Khiang in Parliament and I came away with the feeling that everything he said was true, right and the best for Singapore. He and his team had thought through everything in detail and came out with the best solution available. ‘There is more than enough for lower and middle income households in the Grow and Share package in this year’s Budget to tide over this period of high inflation.’ Period. Believe it or not, agree with it or not, like it or not, that’s it. That’s the final answer. ‘A retired couple is likely to see their costs of living increase by $400 this year….A three generation middle income household’s living expenditure for the year is estimated to rise by $1,850….’ Undisputed hard numbers and hard truths. And the GST issue… The current system is the best. The other variations, permutations, modifications, are either not effective, bad or too difficult to implement. GST is not regressive taxation. Next please. And despite all the questions and questions, the answers given by Tharman are all the answers that will be given, and that’s it. The party has all the correct and perfect answers and solutions to all problems. Do we need another alternative party or alternative voice? As for the dictatorship of the party, we are not there yet. At least there are some who acknowledged that they did not have the monopoly of ideas. They only have all the answers.
This is exactly what a truly free economy is like. Offer to anyone who has the money to pay for it, citizen or non citizen, good or bad person, no question ask as long as the party is willing to pay. The door is always open, and so are the legs. There is no consideration about right and wrong, about morals, obligations, loyalty and responsibility. A prostitute is only responsible to provide a service to satisfy the customer and collect her keeps. Period. Please don’t ask the prostitute to be nice. A prostitute is only nice to the one with the dole and for the moment. Do not bother about charity from the prostitute. Her mind set is that if she can offer or sacrifice herself, everything, pride and dignity, to earn that dollar, you better take care of yourself. Can prostitution be an honourable alternative for the viability of a state? I mean figuratively of course. Is our country just another prostitute?
Tampines GRC is one of the few that were left practically unchanged in the redrawing of boundaries. Might as well since any redrawing does not give the PAP any advantage over the opposition, be it Tampines or anywhere else. However, Tampines presents a very interesting case for speculations given the opposition’s assessment that it is one of the very likely GRC to fall. Then why is Tampines left uncut? Would it also be that Mah Bow Tan will still helm the GRC in the no horse run race? Assuming that it is a win or lose situation, what does it mean? One possibility is that the housing problem is already resolved by all the remedial accelerated housing programmes. The house hunters, especially the first time owners, must have been appeased and their housing needs taken care of. So it would not be an election issue any more. Tampines is safe. Another possibility is that Tampines will be the sacrificial lamb. Well, if the reading is that some GRCs will fall, might as well let Tampines go without too much hustle to redraw the boundaries. It is already too far gone. Let there be no complains from the opposition that its boundaries were redrawn to protect the ruling party’s interest. It looks like a pretty fair proposition, boundaries intact and the GRC team intact, maybe with one or two changes for renewal. And Mah Bow Tan is going to dig in and defend his turf like a man. My guess is that Tampines will go to the opposition unless they fumble again in the last minute and got themselves disqualified. Pray no such idiots surface to overturn the apple cart. Why am I feeling so nervy that this is gonna happen?