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7/31/2011

The last talented yodas

The people rejoiced when it was announced that JY Pillay is coming out to save Tiger Airways. Cheers and jubilations everywhere like the appearance of the American Hero, the one wearing the red underwear inside out. On the other hand I feel so sad, so tragic, that Singapore needed another yoda to come out from semi retirement, to save a small little organisation. It is frightening, how many more yodas we have left before we ended up high and dry?

The few yodas left are the few native talents we have produced in this little island. After their arrivals, from a stroke of providence, there was a long eclipse, and no more talents were produced here. And that is why we are so dependent on the yodas, some actually walking corpses, and in their place we have to beg foreign talents to save our future generations.

We need not fear of Singapore going into the gutters when we have a strong opposition presence in Parliament, to be called a two party or multi party system. We need not have to wait for that long for it to happen.

Singapore will go down within the next few years as most of the leftover yodas will be gone. Deleted. And without them, you can bet that they will be no one to save Tiger Airways, or SIA, the big banks, the public transport system or any organisation or institutions of any worth.

Unbelieveable but it happened. When there is no native talents available, go knocking at the caves of the yodas. If that fails, open the door for more foreign talents. So pathetic. We are indeed a country dearth of talents. I am still so amazed, very lost, that they could not find anyone to save Tiger Airways except to fall back on a yoda. This is slightly better than finding a departmental store manager to run the MRT.

I just dunno what to say.

The daft Singaporeans putting Tony Tan on trial

It is looking like a public trial of Tony Tan and his son’s NS record. They are questioning why he was allowed to defer his NS liability twice and not assigned to be a Medical Officer during NS after completion of his studies.

Tony Tan has explained. His son Patrick Tan has explained. Mindef also came out with an explanation. Unfortunately the daft Singaporeans could not understand the logic given and is pursuing tenaciously at this issue. Maybe there are simply too daft, or maybe they just refused to accept the explanations, or maybe the explanations are not up to their expectation. And they wanted more explanations like saying sorry is not enough.

When will they end their pursuit of this case and call it off? How many more explanations are required from Tony Tan, the Presidential Hopeful, and Mindef before they are willing to say let’s move on?

This is unprecedented, that a top ex politician, a member of the elite, is subject to so much public scrutiny. I just dunno what to say. What is happening?

Some are calling for a BOI. Would it help? The bigger question is how would this incident affect Tony Tan’s hope to be the Elected President? For the moment he is like a man on public trial, a kind of kangaroo court conducted by the faceless public.

Who will be next in the dock of public conscience and people's court?

7/30/2011

Who is getting the most heat?

As the Presidential Election gets closer, the heat is building up. It used to be one way, with the main media setting the agenda, and the ‘outlaws’ on the run, targeted and trying their best to duck the arrows. With the new media in play, not only the ‘outlaws’ are being arrowed, the ‘in laws’ are finding the situation a bit uncomfortable as well, as they have never been in such a position before, with their dirty laundry and skeletons dragged out of the cupboards.

Of the four candidates, Tony Tan is in heat or deeply in the heat. Cheng Bock, Kin Lian and Jee Say are getting some shit but not as bad. The past is catching up with the present. There is no running away. When both sides can play the same blame game or shit throwing, it can end up with who is better at digging for shit. And the more one party tries to dig deeper, the other parties will not be outdone. The playing field is finally levelled.

Tony may be regretting for quitting his comfortable position in GIC which probably paid more than the EP and without having to face the ugliness of the media. I think it is a bad decision for him to offer to run for the EP.

The real heat is actually on the shoulder of the three wise men. They are to decide who meets the stringent legal criteria to even stand as a candidate. And the whole population is watching them like a hawk. Any mis-step is going to see their fathers and mothers being invited to the media for a big screwing. They have to think very carefully. Their integrity as honourable and respectable citizens are at stake.

Do they have to take sides? Or in a non political presidential race, are there two sides and two vested interested parties to account for? To disqualify any of the candidates this time will bring the sky down for sure, unlike in the past when the people had no voice and no avenue to voice out their displeasure. To allow all candidates to get through will, ahem, make some corners very unhappy and uncomfortable.

The three wise men must act wisely, objectively, without favour, with the greater interest of the country as the key consideration. Anything else will bring the wrath of the people on them. They may end up as the villains in the history of this island. They are under pressure, tremendous pressure, to watch which way the wind blows. You need very strong and independent minded people who will act regardless of… to give the people a fair choice on who to elect as the mostly ceremonial, rubber stamper.

7/29/2011

Serving for Life!

Public service is also called civil service or civil servants, a job to serve the people. Some stay for awhile while some serve for life. Political leaders too are in the act of serving the people, as long as they are not self serving. Some serve a few years, some serve for life too. Some may argue whether they are serving the people or serving themselves.

One thing for sure, the people will have to serve the retired politicians for life, and to live in abundance. Serving for life is taking on a new meaning.

The Age of Obsolescence

Everything comes to pass. In the Age of Obsolescence, the process just gets a little faster. Everything gets obsolete in double quick time. The handphone, the Iphone, the computer, all becomes obsolete the moment it is bought.

Ideas too get obsolete too. Democracy is good. Democracy is bad. Dictatorship is bad, dictatorship is good. Big is good, big is bad. Monopoly is bad, monopoly is good. Big income gap is bad, big income gap is good. Corruption is bad, corruption is good.

Today a hero, tomorrow history. Today spreading wisdom, tomorrow talking cock. Nothing last when everything is changing fast. Europe is going, so is America.

How long will paradise last? How long more before it becomes obsolete? Oh, some things last forever. Myths and falutins. Myths or falutins preached as wisdoms will revert to their true forms as fast as they are propounded, and will remain in their real forms, forever.

The virtues of ONE

This is probably the most profound economic political theory of all time. It emphasizes that for anything to work well, effective and cost efficient, it must be from the principle of ONE. One govt, one leader, one transport company, one bank, one voice, and one track mind. Singanomics is a mixed of political theory and economic principles.

Singapore is what it is today because of Singanomics. We are punching above our weight not because of foreign talents. That is a myth. We are what we are today because of one party and one man and an economic theory of ONE. We have practically one public transport system and having more than one, a system of multi transport operators will only lead to higher cost and inefficiency. Our transport system is so efficient and cheap or affordable because of this theory. It could have been worst if there are more operators.

Similarly, if we go the two party or multi party way, we will head towards total ruin. The most effective political system is a one party system, like the communist system in China. Everything goes when one party or one man says so. No dilly dallying like the western democratic system of multi parties. A waste of time bickering.

Soon in the not too distant future we will have only ONE BIG BANG, oops, I mean ONE BIG BANK. With one big bank, there will be great savings in cost with economy of scale. This is fundamental economics. We will have only one power station too, maybe a nuclear one.

What, did someone say it is too dangerous to put everything in ONE BIG BASKET? Too big to fail? No, that is a western fallacy as they could not produce the kind of talent we have. And as real good talent is rare, maybe one in 50 years, the Singanomics theory becomes more relevant. Such genius is not produced in abundance. So you can have one organization, one big corporation encompassing everything and be led by just ONE man. Supreme efficiency.

What happens if the Super One turns into a monster? No, cannot happen, will not happen, Never. Just believe me, this theory works like clockworks. We are a shining example of the virtues of ONE, of Singanomics. Who dares to say this theory does not work? It has worked for nearly 50 years, and still working, still kicking.

7/28/2011

Rise of Asia still a long way off

Chinese jets crossed into Taiwan airspace was the headline that screamed across several major Asian papers. For such a headline to be splashed across western media is normal and expected given their anti China agenda. But the headline is just the headline and does not cover the details of the story. Why did the Chinese jets crossed over Taiwanese airspace, and only temporarily? No, the impression given by the ‘western’ Asian media is that China is provocative, violating the territorial integrity of its neighbour, conducting an act of bullying. Why not a headline, 'Chinese jets chased away American spy plane?'

The truth is that the Chinese jets were pursuing an American U2 spy plane skirting its airspace conducting reconnaissance mission. If the Chinese were to do the same to American airspace, the Americans would be screaming foul and may shoot it down. No worry, if the Americans continue to conduct such spying mission against China, the Chinese will return the favour when they are able and ready to take on the world’s number one bully.

The Americans have been conducting such spying missions against all countries, including the Soviet Union, since the Cold War, and are still doing it. The Chinese have demanded that it be stopped as it is unfriendly and provocative. The Americans insisted that it is their right to fly over international airspace. Let this be documented and make known to the world that such an unfriendly act is claimed to be an acceptable conduct by the Americans. They have sanctioned such acts and do not see anything wrong with it. Other countries should thus also be permitted to do the same over North America. And they better don’t complain.

What the Americans can do, the rest of the world can do also. The western media will be on the side of the Americans in reporting such incidents. So too will be the ‘western’ Asian media, reporting such violations as acceptable when committed by the Americans and will scream aggression if the Chinese or any other country will to do so.

The Evil Empire will continue to bully the rest of the world, and China. But the window for such aggressive bullying is closing. The game of tic for tac will be played across the American shores. The evil and belligerent intention of the Evil Empire is clear as daylight. They will continue to bully the weak in the name of peace.

Taking the people for granted

This kind of attitude must come to an end sooner or later. Though the trend is changing, that the govt had admitted that they did not have the monopoly of ideas, the other truth is saying otherwise. The political leaders are still shafting their ideas and policies down the throat of the people. They are still saying that one party govt, or the ruling party, is the only party that can run this country for the good of the people, forever. Opposition parties, multi parties, will ruin this country.

They cannot accept that there are better educated and talented people outside the ruling party and in the opposition parties. What is seen is only the surface. There are many able people that will come out when the time is right, to represent the people to run this country for the people.
The cries of over population by foreigners are simply ignored. We will think what is best for the people, and we will do it, like deaf frogs. This has not changed. More foreigners will be coming. So what can you do about it?

The policies of paying political leaders crazy will not be changed. The policies of making the people pay dearly for their homes, cars, transportation, will not be changed. There is no other better ways.

The policies of holding on to the people’s savings, increasing minimum sum, increasing Medisave, raising withdrawal age, increasing CPFLife, will be there no matter how much the people are complaining. There is no regard to how the people feel about their money being kept away from them. The govt think that it should be done, it is done.

And the political leaders will keep calling the people daft. Only the political leaders are bright and know best for the people. And the people, the daft Singaporeans, cannot do anything about it. They will continue to be daft and continue to vote the ruling party to rule over them, to decide everything for them, in their version of ‘for the good of the people’.

This will go on and on, as long as the people accept their station in life, to be taken for granted, as daft.

Rise of Asia Forum – A summary

I attended this forum last night at the NUS Alumni House. It was quite a pleasant evening with good weather and good company. The session started off in pretty good mood with Viswa Sadasivan, the NMP, in the chair, and throwing a dig at Kishore, reminding him of his reputation as an apologist for a dictator. Kishore’s friendly replied was to remind Viswa of his whacking by the dictator.

This kind of talk must have astounded the audience but not all got the message. A young foreign student later told the forum that he was reminded to be careful when he opened his mouth in this country. Kishore reassured him that both he and Viswa would not be arrested after the forum and so there was nothing to fear really.

The main gist of the forum was how, after 60 to 70 years of independence, the Asians are still lacking confidence to think like Asians and have to speak and write with a western agenda behind their writings and ideas. And the Europeans still think that it is their right to dominate the world in all fields when their colonial past have long been resigned to history.

If one is to read the Asian media, one cannot go away without reading one sided articles coming out from the desks of CIA or other American and European intelligence agencies. And the stupidity of it all is that the Asian media probably have to pay for such craps. And these western paid writers are filling the pages of Asian media, writing about the impending demise of the rising Asian countries, corruption and collapse of their economies and polities. They forgot that the American and European economies are already in the abyss. The IMF Chief was not anywhere to twist the arms of the American President or the Presidents of the PIGS countries to sign on the dotted line for financial reform like they did to Suharto, in glee.

But last night was all talks, talks of an Asian cultural renaissance, from Asians growing up in a diet of roti prata, nasi lemak and char kway teow. Not the kind of Asians that were fed with hamburgers and have a head full of baked beans.

Would Kishore take it one step further, with his intellectual and political influence, to rein in the media and make them report Asia by Asians, seen from Asian eyes, and the thoughts and views of Asians? Or would nothing be changed and more bacon and eggs are being fed to the empty Asian minds, daily, by the unthinking ‘western’ Asian media?

The rise of Asia, if it is to be, must be comprehensive and not just economics. The colonial hangover must have been long gone, gone with the wind, and the Asians should be sailing in a new wind, the wind of Asia, be confident to speak out their minds with their own agenda, not the hidden western agenda that is crystal clear to even the dullest Asian mind. Would Asia rise? This is will depend greatly on the Asian renaissance, of a complexity of people growing out of the ruins of western colonisation of the Asian minds.

7/27/2011

Rise of Asia Forum - Tonight 27 Jul 7.30-8.30pm

The key speaker for this talk is Professor Kishore Mahbubani. The topic is whether Asians believe that Asia is on the Rise. The talk is taking full advantage of technology and is beamed across the world. Singaporeans, Asians and the rest of the world can plug in to the forum by a simple click of the mouse and watch the whole process in the comfort of their homes. They can also participate by voting or posing questions to Kishore.

Both links are on the top right of this page. It will be interesting to see how well participated such a forum can be with audience across the globe. The power of the internet is at play.

I will be making a trip to the NUS Alumni House for an on site experience.

Notable quotes by LKY

“If Singapore depends on the talent it can produce out of three million people, it’s not going to punch above its weight. Lee Kuan Yew

We were 1m, then 2m, then 3m before we added all the foreigners to 5m. When we were 1m and 2m, we were already producing the talents that built the foundation for our economic miracles. We were producing talented Singaporeans even then. Unless those were not talents, then we are just slapping our own stupid face.

Now we are 5m. Did the increased population with foreign talents, throw out any great talents? The only foreign talent that is worth mentioning is Olivia Lum of Hyflux. The rest were plain employees, sitting on their fat asses and get fat pay which any Singaporeans can also do so given the chance. Many of the CEO positions can easily be filled by Singaporeans and you will not see any difference in performance, maybe even better.

The three local banks were built by Singaporean talents. Without local talents there would not be any big local banks to think of. SIA, SMRT, Creative, Singtel were also locals. Not sure about Temasek and GIC. The hospitals with their specialists and state of the art equipments were mainly run by Singaporeans and Malaysians. By the way, I think Singaporeans have never regarded the Malaysians as foreigners historically.

Did we produce lesser talents when we were 1m and 2m than we are now? There are some great talents in R and D, imported. But these are instant trees. Would their offsprings be more talented than the offsprings of coolies and labourers, washerwomen and salesmen? What about the risk of offsprings from fake papers and fake talents?

If we can produce talents before, when we were 1m and 2m, I don’t see why we can’t produce talents when we are 3m. The bigger the population, the bigger the pool of genes, but not necessary will produce better talents. Many small countries are producing more talents than bigger countries with bigger populations.

Today we are punching above our weights by individuals who were produced during a time when the population was a million or less.

Two party system will ruin Singapore

This is LKY’s view. In his one dimensional experience with Singapore, he can only see goodness in one party system and badness in everything else. I could up his ante by claiming that dictatorship is even better, without contention, with a dictator or emperor calling his shot, everything can be done at his beck and call. Super fast and super efficient, for good or for bad.

Really, every system is good and every system is bad. It all boils down to the goodness of the leader. A dictator or emperor can be an excellent leader and can bring progress and greatness to the country and people, provided his intention and goals are benevolent.

Historically the goodness of such leaders was often temporary as they soon got intoxicated by power and their own egoistic pride that they could do no wrong or they were gods. There have been many such examples when the leaders could not see glaring mistakes of their own. They will believe only in themselves and their self serving logic.

We have seen that, and have paid for it. All men are fallible and corrupt to a matter of degree. A one party system can be good but can also entrench corruption and misdeeds of the leaders. And in such a system it is very difficult to dislodge them and undo their wrongs. To make matter worst, one party rule or its dictatorial equivalents are often run by strong men that makes removing them even more difficult.

Two party and multi party systems have their strength and weaknesses as well. But given leaders with good intention, from both sides of the coin, it can be a more amiable system, more compassion, less brutal and brash in policy making. In a mature society where the leaders of both sides are made up of honourable men and women, knowledgeable and wiser, all striving for the good of country and people, and not self serving, it can be much better than single party system that often failed to check itself and its own abuses.

Single party or multi party systems are just systems. It is the leaders that make them good or bad. We have seen how a single party system can be good and also can be bad. It is not the panacea or the only panacea for good governance. It is as flawed as the leaders running it.

7/26/2011

Rise of a regional military power?

In his speech to the nation, Benigno Aquino III announced that he will increase the purchase of more weapons, including a patrol boat to defend the Spratley Islands. The Philippines will defend by force, in this case against China, and from his tones, will attack Chinese ships entering the area. China has to be careful of this rising military power and avoid sending its naval crafts as they will be attacked and probably sunk by the mighty Filipino Navy.

Aquino can talk loudly, while standing on the head of the Americans, waving the military treaty they have signed in the 1950s. While the Filipino patrol boats may be good only against fishing vessels, there lies, lurking in the dark and under the South China Sea, a mighty American fleet and submarines that are waiting for the Chinese ships. One can expect the Filipinos to fire at the Chinese fire to draw fire from the latter and the US jumping in to declare that China is bullying its smaller neighbours. And the White Knight will have all the reasons to flex its muscles and entrench their presence in the region.

The Americans may think that the Chinese will back off. They must not forget that China will not blink and will go to war when their territorial sovereignty is at risk, even taking on the mighty Americans. The emerging regional power or flotsam navy can continue shouting their lungs out and think that they have come off age. This dangerous pariah country is a risk to regional stability, thinking that it has the world’s biggest bully on its beck and call, and it can take on the Chinese. It is a frivolous and dangerous tribe.

Legally right but morally wrong?

The issue of life long pensions in the millions is going to bug the govt and the people for a long time to come. Though everything has been above board, approved and passed in Parliament, something seems to be missing. Why are the people so unhappy about this pension scheme for the ministers and political office bearers?

Recently two ministers and an office holder lost their parliamentary seats. Several senior ministers were retired from the cabinet for good or not so good reasons. What is shocking is the revelation that they will all be receiving million dollar pensions for life, even if they are no longer ministers or office holders. What is more shocking is that many are already receiving million dollar pensions on top of their multi million dollar salaries when they hit 55, or have been receiving them for umpteen years. Some have been collecting the huge pensions for more than ten years.

What irks the people more is that the age for CPF withdrawal and retirement age for the public at large have been pushed further back. CPF savings can now be withdrawn partially at the age of 62. And the political leaders, with their huge salaries, are getting their huge pensions at 55.

Is this a case of legally right and morally wrong? Of course in cases of morality, everyone has his moral standards and everyone can claim to be on moral high grounds. The only hint of morally wrongdoing is that when the guilty party is afraid to stand up on the high box of morality to state his case. If it is morally right, everyone will jump on it to pronounce their innocence and that they are on high moral grounds for what they are doing.

Would the political leaders stand up and say that the high pensions are not only legally right but morally as well? Would they be able to tell straight in the eyes of entry level superscale admin officers in the H Grade, who are working their guts out, and drawing a couple of hundreds of thousand in annual income while they are receiving millions for life for doing nothing? Would there be a full disclosure on how many political leaders are already on the pension schemes and how many more will qualify and the cost to pay for these pensioned leaders? Even if it is going to cost only 2 plates of char kway teow, it is of public interest that the people should know.

It would be nice if this is reported in the next parliamentary sittings to clear whatever doubts and wrong perceptions there may be among the people. Political leaders must be seen to be standing on high moral grounds, not just legally. This issue has to be raised in Parliament and buried for good as the doubts and uneasiness are spreading quietly. Or would it ever be closed?

7/25/2011

The Rise of Asia Forum at NUSS

Professor Kishore Mahbubani, would be speaking live on 27 July 2011 from 7.30-8.30pm. The event will be webcasted live through the dedicated website (http://ualive.nus.edu.sg) and also includes an interactive forum that allows viewers to send real time comments and questions to the speakers via Facebook, Twitter or MSN messenger while watching the live show. Viewers can watch the seminar live on Wednesday through the URL (http://ualive.nus.edu.sg).

In addition to live participation, we are also trying to encourage interested viewers to post and vote questions here (http://www.google.com/moderator/#15/e=a18b6&t=a18b6.40&f=a18b6.4e0cbe) from now till the actual event. These too will be addressed by the Professor.

Awesome Red Lions!

Watching the Singapore Malaysia soccer match on Saturday was so satisfying and with a sense of pride. For once, don’t have to shake the head so often for silly passes and silly mistakes. Wow, we played like a real contender for a place in the World Cup. All the Singaporeans supporters walked with a special air around them after the game.

I was cheering and screaming, ‘Go Qiu Li, Go!’ or ‘Go Jia Yi, Go!’ Then the two great goals by Duric, the old war horse, at 40, still beats every young lion to shame. But he scored. We may missed the 2010 deadline to be in the World Cup. But what the heck if we can make it in a couple of years later. The World Cup is where we are going.

Singaporeans are all so proud of our national football team.

Temasek Review unable to access

Whenever I hit the forum I will end up at some used car site or something else. Don't seem to be able to get in. Anyone able to get in? Something fishy eh?

The new meritocracy

Regardless of race, language or religion, regardless of one’s background, worker or RMS, everyone who is good can aspire to be the best he can be in paradise. Through education, everyone can change his station in life and rise to the top of his profession or calling.

For several decades, many Singaporeans have lived their dreams, many become successful and living well. Singapore is a land of opportunities. If one is good, one can do well. There are no serious false ceilings to talk about, except one or two.

The country is run on meritocracy. No favouritism. This meritocracy has taken on a new meaning, regardless of nationalities. We welcome foreign talents and they can find their dreams here based on meritocracy. Membership has its privileges but meritocracy is paramount. Citizens that are no good will be discarded based on merits.

The new National Day Pledge may need a little modifications like the Gaga Song. We the people of Singapore, regardless of race, language, religion or nationalities….The National Day Message must be one where we acknowledge that we welcome foreign talents based on meritocracy. Maybe they can become political leaders and run for PM and the Elected Presidency as well.

One more thing, all the restrictions against foreign talents owning or buying properties must be removed. We cannot discriminate against our foreign talents. And so are all the unjust policies where foreigners should pay more for this or that. Let this be a truly meritocratic country where talents are welcomed from across the world, to help the daft Singaporeans and to give them a lift to better life.

Vote PAP for more FT Policy?

Would this be the election slogan of PAP in 2016? The praises heaped by LKY on the great contributions of the foreigners and how Singapore owed them for being what we are today is a clear message that this country, or is it a country, must continue to depend on more foreigners to bring a better life to the daft Singaporeans. During his speech, and Hsien Loong’s, the immigration door is fully thrown open, an open invitation for more foreigners to come ashore. 900,000 may now be an under estimation.

We are going to celebrate our National Day in another few weeks. 46 years of independence and nation building and economic progress. We owe it all to the foreigners. Without the foreigners, we would not be punching above our weight. I think I saw a rat standing on the head of a lion and thinking it is roaring like a lion. That is beside the point. The truth is that for 46 years, the daft Singaporeans were sleeping. Or they were lazy and not contributing anything useful to the progress of this place.

Today, they woke up to enjoy all the good stuffs, and have the foreigners to thank for. I fear the day the foreigners leave or stop coming, the island will sink, and yes, all the women folks will end up as foreign maids. And everything will ground to a halt. The daft Singaporeans will not be able to do anything to maintain the prosperity and growth of this island. And all will become the poor coolies like their forefathers one more time.

And by then, regrets will be too late. Without the foreigners and their talents, we will be finished. Quickly change the National Day message to make sure the foreigners get it, that they are indispensable to our well being and we will kneel down to beg them to come and stay with us, and have our jobs, the jobs that we are unable to do for the lack of talents. Majulah, the Singapore Spirit? Or Majulah, the FT Spirit!

I am convinced by the powerful arguments. I am a new convert. I will join the 60%. It may be a bit too late to change the theme of this year’s National Day Parade of the Singapore Spirit. I hope the foreign talents will not be offended. The theme for the next NDP is obvious. We shall celebrate the Foreign Spirit. Our FTs will be honoured and be invited to be the VIPs. Dick Lee and his gang, please step aside. We will bring in some FTs to write a FT song for the parade. After so many years of praising our coolie spirit and how a fishing village became a modern city, it is time to honour the true contributors to our progress, so that we can punch above our weight.

I am getting excited about the thoughts of NDP 2012. It is so refreshing.

7/24/2011

The bankrupt hijacking ARF agenda

The Asean Regional Forum in Indonesia came to a peaceful closed but not before the world’s biggest bankrupt nation tried to hijack its agenda. Last year it tried to take over the leadership by nominating itself as the arbiter of the South China Sea disputes between China and its southern neighbours. This failed.

This year it tried a different methodology, insisting that all parties must show legal proof for their territorial claims, which Hillary Clinton forgot, would only weaken the claims of Vietnam, the Philippines and the rest of the Asean states involved. The Chinese have written records long before these states became countries and nations and have their own written languages. The Chinese were sailing the South China Seas long before these states built a boat that was more than 10m long and could sail the high seas.

Hillary still declared that ‘These incidents endanger the safety of life at sea, escalate tensions, undermine freedom of navigation and pose risks to lawful, unimpeded commerce and economic development.’ This was poof poofed by Yang Jie Chi, Chinese Foreign Minister who said China guaranteed freedom of navigation in the region and the proof was that no one had its freedom to sail in the seas impeded.

What Hillary wanted was the American’s version of peace and stability, without endangering safety of life, escalating tension, like in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, with American’s military might in full play. Fortunately the Asean states and China would not be drawn into a conflict dictated by the Americans and turn the region into another Afghanistan or the Middle East.

A bankrupt country, with US$14 trillion in debt, and expending US$4 trillion in the Afghan and Middle East Wars, is trying to start another war in East Asia. Now how much is US$14 trillion? The combined economy of Asean and Australia is only US$3 trillion. That is how big the American debt. And the Americans could not see the bleeding. They are running out of American dollars and could only resort to printing and printing. It is only a matter of time before they bleed to death. They just have no money to continue with their wars and war mongering. Every conflict, every day of wars is going to be every costly, and the clock is running before they end up like the former Soviet Union. The Americans would soon join the ranks of beggar countries.

The Americans again left the ARF empty handed, banging and pulling their hair with no one listening to their nonsense and war mongering.

The Govt’s responsibility in Education

The top and foremost responsibility of the Govt is to provide good and affordable education for the people. Tsk, my first sentence is already flawed when people argued that with so many loans, financial assistance schemes and bursaries available, our students need not come out with any cash outlay to study in our universities. It would be better to say that they can study for free, like my mother used to say, govt hospitals are free, can pay by CPF, no need money.

Back to my first principle, the Govt’s responsibility to its people, the tax payers, the people that will defend this country in the event of war or crisis. It is very painful and disgusting to hear of Singaporeans, fully qualified, with distinctions, with very good grades but unable to find places in our local universities. And the parents, some are able financially, some have to sell their homes or take loans, to send their children overseas. And the sickening cause of this, many university places were given to foreign students.

What is our govt’s responsibility to these foreign students that ended with our children being pushed aside, our citizens being discriminated and have to suffer financial obligations when they don’t have to? Does our Govt owe an obligation or duty to educate the foreign students? Is the Govt doing an international social duty to provide some places to foreign students? Or is provision of university places for foreign students a way to up the rankings of our universities? Or is it a revenue generating source? This is unlikely as many were here on full scholarships, fees and lodging and allowances.

Look at the practices of the European countries, the countries that we always used as our role models. Why are they accepting foreign students? Are they doing so at the expense of their own people? If I am not wrong, many are doing so to generate revenue. And they have spare capacities to do so without compromising the interests of their citizens. The least thing in their mind in accepting foreign students is for their rankings to look good. If this is the reason, it is plain silly.

If we want to take in more foreign students, by all means, go ahead, to make money, to provide more vibrancy and diversity, but never do it at the expense of our own people. If the foreign intake is going to be big, increase the capacities. If this cannot be done, then don’t do it. There is no greater reason to take in more foreign students only to force our own to study elsewhere. For those who have the means and wanted to study overseas, as a matter of choice is irrelevant.

Let’s treat our people well. Our people are deserving of a good education at home, first. Foreigners must be second. If need be, build another university for the foreign students, and funded by the tuition fees. And whatever ‘subsidies’ the Govt chooses to provide.

Singaporeans first must be real and seen to be real. Talk is cheap and the Govt will have to pay the price for neglecting the interests of its own people and for frolicking with foreigners. The Singaporeans are not daft. They know what is good and what is bad for them, especially when their pockets are hurt real bad.

7/23/2011

Distorting an argument

Argue for argument’s sake. Argue just to win. Argue just to insist that one is right despite all the evidences proving against it. This seems to be the position many have taken in the issue of foreign talents in Singapore. We need foreign talents or else we will not be where we are today. Yes and no.

In a way, practically every Singaporean is a foreign talent. Our forefathers were migrants, so we are migrants. Up to a point, I may say yes, our forefathers were migrants. But we Singaporeans born and bred here are not migrants. We were the original people here on first principles just like the aborigines of every country were the first people. There were some locals but not many. Our forefathers built this place and we inherited from them as the first owners of this land. Subsequently the Johnnys come lately are the migrants, the foreigners. This is where the line I like to draw. We are not migrants in this sense. So for those who still want to push the argument that since our forefathers were migrants, there is nothing wrong with welcoming more migrants. I say bull. Our forefathers maybe migrants but we are not.

And neither are Singaporeans anti foreign talents. Which clown still harping on this point that Singaporeans are anti foreigners? No one is anti foreign talents. So anyone accusing Singaporeans for being anti foreign talents is talking through his arsehole. The crux of the matter, of why this foreign talent issue becomes such a pain, is that many were not really talents vis a vis Singaporeans. And worst, they were made to look better than Singaporeans and given plump jobs which otherwise would have been given to Singaporeans. The other issue is the over crowding which I am not addressing here.

Singaporeans would have no difficulty accepting real foreign talents. Singaporeans would have not difficulty if a position has to be filled by a foreign talent because of job specific needs or because no Singaporean is good enough for it. We need an angmoh face to look good. Ok, get an angmoh. The good examples are the CEOs of SMRT, DBS, SGX, OCBC, and even some positions in the academia. These are talents that are much superior to Singaporeans, or jobs that no Singaporean is good enough to do. I read in the paper that it took SATS 37 years before they were able to find a Singaporean good enough to fill the job of a CEO. Now he has just left, and very likely a foreigner will replaced him as Singaporeans talented in airline food is hard to come by.

And Mediacorp finally got a Singaporean to be its CEO, a President scholar, when they could not find a more talented man than him after months of search. If they could, this President Scholar Singaporean too will have to play second fiddle. Oh, I forgot, even MPs and Ministers, when they can’t find Singaporeans good enough, they can find foreign substitutes.

When and which Singaporean is against genuine and real foreign talents? Please lah, don’t talk nonsense and argue for the sake of arguing. Singaporeans will continue to be pissed off with ‘foreign talents’ when the foreign talents are not really talents or anything better than Singaporean talents. Singaporeans will continue to be pissed off when jobs that Singaporeans can easily filled but given to foreigners who are no better than them, which is a great insult to our own people.

Seriously, how many of the top jobs given to foreigners cannot be filled by Singaporeans? Seriously, do we need foreigner, or new citizens to be MPs? Oh, we have many great ministers that were foreigners. This was due to a different stage in our history when we were a new nation. Even Boon Wan has been living here and a citizen for many years and not really new. Now what is new? No need silly reasons to win this argument.

Can Singapore do better without the average ‘foreign talents’ or the many fake talents with fake papers? Having said all this, I am sure all Singaporeans will agree with me in showing our appreciation to all the real foreign talents that really make a difference to our economy and well being. No one will deny their great contributions. But please lah, nothing great about the average foreigners that are here to contribute to be the bread and butter in our society and to deprive jobs and university places that should rightly go to Singaporeans. This is like being sold out, betrayed.

I can only say one thing. They refused to listen to what the Singaporeans are saying and refused to understand them.

7/22/2011

Can the President speak?

Elgin Toh talks about the right of free speech by the Elected President in his article in the ST today. Apparently, the official position is that the EP has no right to speak independently as a President. This is what the Prime Minister’s Office said, ‘It is not the president’s role to support or oppose the govt of the day or to advance his own agenda or policies’. Shanmugam was also quoted as saying, ‘National policies and running of the Govt are the responsibility of the prime minister and Cabinet…’

So, if the governing of the country is none of the EP’s concern, does he have a right to speak for or against govt policies? It is not his role to support or oppose? What does this mean? He cannot talk about them except speaking neutrally or no comments?

He is not allowed to have his own agenda or policies. It is as good as saying, please shut up. Let’s gag the President. I am in favour of it as he is basically a ceremonial piece, good for waving hands during National Days or shaking hands with foreign dignitaries and the people visiting the Istana grounds and engages in the exchanges of pleasantries. No, he can be an extension of the govt, by speaking in favour of govt policies and agenda. He can also promote trades!

Why the hell is the President being paid $4m annually, and maybe another 10 or 20 mths of bonuses when he is just what he is constitutionally, a rubber stamp? How to justify this kind of obscene pay?

UK more corrupt than it thinks

The mypaper picked a very interesting article about how corrupt the UK is though it looks clean and good in public. The choice is timely, as it seeks to expose corrupt govts hiding under the veil of legality and decency through the use of camouflage and control of the media. I will just quote some of the pertinent verses by Peter Apps, a REUTERS Analysis, below. Read them and reflect a moment on their relevance to present day context.

‘Britons love to lecture the world about integrity and the rule of law, but the News of the World phone hacking scandal has laid bare a web of collusion between money, power, media and the police.

Behind the façade of probity, London offers a haven for oligarchs and despots, a place where foreign media magnates have bought access to and influence over the govt….

In fact, it points to a bigger problem in British society – overly cosy relationships among elites that are ethically dangerous, even when they do not involve outright criminality….

“It is ….often a more sophisticated form of high level political corruption. It may not be strictly illegal – or it may be more subtle – but that does not mean it is not very costly for society or the economy,” said Dr Kaufmann, a former director of the World Bank Institute….If unchecked, “elite capture” of political systems can become “privatization of public policy”….

Transparency International published a report earlier this month titled Britain: More Corrupt than You Think, showing that the majority of people believed corruption was worsening in the country….”The long term result is likely to be a further erosion in the credibility of the British establishment, particularly the media and the police, in the eyes of the citizens.”

7/21/2011

Battlestar Galactica Episode 2

‘Funny how SIA keeps putting foreigners in charge at their ICC (low cost carrier). Don’t they have faith in Singaporeans. I do. My Commercial Head is a Singapore. Odd company. If I were a Singaporean, I would really be upset with SIA.’ Tony Fernandez. CEO Air Asia

What Fernandez is saying is part of the Battlestar Galactica plot. There can be several reasons for this. One is that Singaporeans are really inepts despite their great paper grades. Two Singaporeans lack confidence and need to hide behind a European face to do business. The colonial hangover is difficult to treat. Four, and this is like doing a Michael Jackson act. No I am not white. It is natural, or a disease. Not my fault.

Don’t be surprise the next President could be George Bush or Bill Clinton if they are willing to change to a pink IC. Anyone clamouring to have Queen Elizabeth II as our head of state again? We will have Prince William and Princess Kate gracing our community centres and flagging off our marathons. Nice, ain’t it?

My second daft Singaporean story for the day

Transport fares are going up, as sure as the sun will rise. This law is more permanent and unyielding than the law of gravity. So what can the Singaporeans do? KPKB is one thing. The next logical thing in the daft Singaporean mind is to say, fare goes up we want to see improvement in services. If no improvement, cannot.

So they are willing to concede to have more fare hikes if there is improvement in services. And they are still complaining that the service quality is bad. Now what does this mean? After 10 or 20 fare hikes, the same daft Singaporeans demanding that service quality be improved and the promises that fare hikes would lead to improvements, and what is the situation now?

Was there any improvement in the service quality after every fare hike? Or would this call for improvement be just a lip service that the daft Singaporeans sought to appease themselves, that there is nothing else they could do? If I were the operator, I will simply say the fare hike will improve the service quality.

Come next year, ask for fare hike to improve quality again. Imagine if there were 20 fare hikes and really 20 times improvement in quality, our transport services must be the best in the world. What or where were the improvements after every fare hike?

But of course, this time the call for fare hike is not to improve service quality but due to higher cost, petrol, manpower and also new buses. Ok, the later could be related to better services, with new and more comfortable buses. But the main part is higher cost. So what is this call about improving services?

Myth 230 - The Presidential Myth

Before 31 Aug is up Singaporeans would have voted for a Tan to be their next Elected President. And many are gearing up for the event, to decide who they want as the President. They want to use their vote to pick their man. This is one myth that they did not bother to think about. No they did not decide, or cannot decide, who should be their man to be President.

No? The man to be the next Elected President will be decided by the Presidential Election Council, by three wise men. They will pick the man or men whom they decide will be suitable to be the President of Singapore. Only then can the Singaporean cast their vote. If they so decide on one candidate, Singaporeans would LL have to accept it. So, who decides who can be the Elected President of Singapore? The citizens?

Then again, this is only one of the myths. The second myth is that the three men could only decide on whoever was deemed good enough, eligible, by someone else. The criteria, the conditions were already decided before the three wise men can say who? This is the bigger myth that daft Singaporeans totally forgotten. That is why we need more thinking foreigners to lead the unthinking and simplistic Singaporeans. They simply can’t think, can’t see anything beyond their noses.

Who really decides who can be the Elected President of Singapore? You tell me.

7/20/2011

Let’s teach the Brits

Rupert Murdoch was quoted to have told the British Govt that they should emulate Singapore in paying millions to their political leaders. In that way the politicians can be cleaner and less corrupt, no need to resort to making spurious expense claims, or having dinners with him and Murdoch picking up the tabs. I think this is a wise thing to say.

Singapore has the cleanest and least corrupt govt in the world, by paying them not to be corrupt. We should share our world best formula with the British and the West, plus the ingenious arguments. They will be very thankful that they could finally learn something from the East. We are the pathfinders for a govt that is not corrupt, with a pay that is so good that makes corruption obsolete.

The British and the Americans would surely love the formula. Obama could be looking at $200m and David Cameron could probably be looking at 50m sterling pounds. Given that they have not been corrupted with their present salaries, maybe a 50% discount from these amounts would be enough to send them to the moon in glee.

If we do away with the President…

Think of all the advantages of doing away with the president. I can think of all the good things and nothing bad. There is no need to hold on to this historical legacy. Why waste so much money and land just to keep up such an image? Even the British were thinking of doing away with their monarchy many years back. The only reason is that the British monarchy provides jobs for the people. Dunno who is paying for it.

In our case we don’t need those jobs. We have full employment and the staff can be deployed into more productive areas. But don’t think of building properties on the Istana land for sale. Keep it as a green lung, a park in the city for the benefits of the people, everyday, not 3 or 4 times a year. The property belongs to the people and everyone should be allowed to benefit from it, not a few individuals under the present system.

And I am sure our foreign workers would love to have the Istana park for leisure over the weekend. We need all the free space we can get hold of to share with the people and to loosen up the crunch.

So much money saved. And no need to spend time and money just to elect a ceremonial head that is mainly a rubber stamp but collecting millions and millions from the public coffer. This is definitely bad.

How many of you agree with doing away with this office? To me it is not an institution that is a must have, definitely no need to be so costly. If we are so preoccupied with high offices or monarchys, it may be more romantic to instal a royal family. Then we can have coronations, prince and princess, uncles and aunties of royal families. These will be good stuff for fairy tale authors and the media.

Battlestar Galactica Singapore

I was reading the discussion on how the three universities have been colonized by foreigners. Oops, maybe colonized is not an appropriate term. There seems to be a pre occupation and adoration of foreigners from academic staff to students. Some said it got to do with the rankings. The more foreign or alien elements there are, the higher will be the rankings for the universities. I say, to hell with it. If our university’s high rankings are due to the presence of foreigners and not the quality of local staff and local students, forget it. Want Liverpool to represent Singapore in the World Cup?

Then again, many will disagree with me. A brand, a good brand, is important. Who cares if the handbags are made in China or Thailand. They care if it is meant to be made in Italy but then found to be from China. Other than this little aberration, a top brand is a top brand. Made in China or Thailand or Indonesia, also can. Actually some of the products out sourced to these countries are still working just as well. My Nikon is made in China.

How could this relate to a degree Made in Singapore but with academics from Europe and America and students from third world countries? Yes, on paper the ranking is high and nice, maybe close to Harvard, MIT or Cambridge huh? Can stand side by side with such premier academia must be good. But would employers buy the degree and say good degree? Would the graduates be sought after as quality graduates? Or would employers go after graduates from third world countries for cheapos or graduates from second or third tier universities in western universities as quality? The job market never lies. The truth is out there.

What about Battlestar Galactica? Are our universities turning into Battlestar Galactica? Those of you who have watched this Hollywood creation will know who are the masters and the majority in Battlestar Galactica. They ruled the universe. Is this the bigger game plan, to turn Singapore into a Battlestar Galactica where the locals will play second fiddles, as supporting casts? Yes Captain, what’s his name? Not Spock, something more western. Oh yes, Commander William Adama, I think.

No lah, this cannot be lah. It is Singaporeans first. Just look at some of the big local institutions headed by foreigners for a little contradictions. But can’t blame these institutions as the local employees are just not good enough. It is the low quality of locals to be blamed. Would UOB be headed by a foreign talent soon? What about SIA, GIC, Temasek?

Battlestar Galactica cannot be the big game plan. It would only become a reality out of necessity and circumstances, when the locals are not good enough, that our world best and highly ranked universities are unable to produce the world best local talents to put the mantra ‘Singaporeans first’ into a national practice, where Singaporeans will be highly sought after to head our big institutions.

For the time being, Battlestar Galactica Singapore will sail on to bring glory to Singapore.

7/19/2011

A taste of bad govt

Boon Wan is talking about the BTO woes. When has it been a woe? Everything was fine until he took over. The housing policies were perfectly tuned to the needs of the people. And the people were happy queuing up for the new launches religiously, and willingly paying more for each new flat knowing very well that the prices could only go up. And they stood to make a pretty hefty gain on their valuable purchases.

It is kinda strange to talk about woes after barely two months in his new job. And he is ramping up BTOs to the tune of 25,000 units and possibly more, building ahead of demand. What demand? There was no demand before, or was there? And HDB was only willing to build when there was genuine demand. Obviously there wasn’t and the housing programme was scaled down.

It was great time for property developers and property owners then. Everyday they were counting on how many times their properties had appreciated in value. A couple of hundred thousand dollars price hike for public housing was the norm. And the owners were quietly happy.

There was some panic in a little corner, particularly among the young and those who are not property owners. They literally panic every time they failed in their ballot for a new public flat, peeing in their pants. The next one would mean another few more years of savings just to pay for the increase in price. Yes, there were fears. The fears of runaway housing prices that they could not catch with every passing day. Many jumped into whatever they could get hold of, private properties or resale flats. Better get it today or gone tomorrow.

Boon Wan was trying to restore some calm into the lives of these sweet young things trying to start a family. But don’t expect the prices to fall. It is sinful if prices should fall. 90% of the property owners would not want that. Boon Wan is happy, believing that his policies are good. So was his predecessor. If Boon Wan’s policies are good, then his predecessor’s must be bad, or vice versa.

The things that Boon Wan is doing are a result of the people’s voices in the last GE. The people had spoken and changes are taking place. Are they enough? What if the people did not make their concerns heard in the last election? Would the housing policies be the same as before, and Mah Bow Tan still writing his columns praising his achievements?

I am still puzzled by the two sets of policies. One must be good and one must be bad. Can’t be both good or both bad. Are the people having their first taste of bad govt?

7/18/2011

Putting our oldies away in a foreign land

I read Andrew Loh’s articles on the number of senior Singaporeans having to make do with nursing homes across the causeway. It was much cheaper and more caring staff, but a resting in a place so far from loved ones, so far from everything that is familiar.

In Singapore, the cost of nursing home has rocketed from slightly over a $1k to $2k or even more over the last few years. The oldies have little practical values and no economic value at all. It may be a little different if we can house them in a $200m state of the art building for them to narrate their stories as living history to the young and paying visitors. They all have a story to tell, a rich past that connects the present from what it used to be.

What we need is a living museum of sort, well equipped with the best sound and visual systems to share the contributions of the oldies. I think they have more value and should be better care for than some bones from Wyoming and needing a $300m building plus $12m public donations to acquire.

The old are living assets, if we care to look at them from a proper angle. They can be turned into money generating specimens too if money if the only reason for their existence. But maybe they would attract the oohs and the aahs and the whoas. Maybe JB is where they should be.

PS. The strays are much better taken care of.

It is easier to get a BTO flat

Boon Wan showed some statistics that first timers applying for BTO flats are finding it easier than before. With his ramping up of the housing programme, more units are being built to meet the demands of first time flat owners. This is good news as it will mean that these new buyers(citizens and reservists) will be able to get relatively cheaper govt flats than from the private sector and not be forced to take up a big mortgage that could make life quite uncertain and draining their savings.

For almost 10 years, HDB had scaled down the building programme and cost many first timers many trying times to get their flats. Some were unfortunate and ended being pushed out of the public housing programme after several years of unsuccessful attempts. Some could have bought into private properties. Some are still stuck without any, with their income ceiling exceeding the HDB limits but not enough to hang themselves with a frightening loan when buying private properties.

These young people, some with genuine financial obligations, some being prudent and not wanting to be high in housing debt, are still waiting for a little mercy from HDB to be allowed back into the public housing programme. It was never their fault to wait till their income ceilings exceeded. When they first applied, for the first 3 to 5 years, their incomes would definitely be within the HDB limits. But with the passing of every year, the eligibility slipped away.

They should thank Boon Wan’s predecessor for their plight when the queuing system and building programme were drastically altered. Would Boon Wan make an exception, in his compassionate best, to accommodate those who are still left in the lurch? Or would he adopt his predecessor’s famous logic, that these people should buy private and not add into the public queue? It is the faults of these first timers for not buying a public flat when they could. Good riddance.

The Devil’s Advocate

I am trying to put myself into the shoe of the devil and to understand his logic and motivation as the master planner of our transport system.

Let me start with cars for motorists. Being the devil, he would want to make as much money from the motorists as possible. These can come from road tax, PARF, ARF, petrol tax, car parking and even motor insurance. But the two schemes for easy money must be COEs and ERPs. For COEs, make sure that the supply is always limited. And this must be the easiest thing to do and all the right justifications given the space constraint. The pumping in of more foreigners is a god sent backup that would ensure that the number of cars on the road would always be critical. Then play on the rich who are able to afford to pay more and more to have the roads for themselves. At the same time tell those who cannot afford to take public transport. At $50k per piece of paper, without production cost, negligible manpower and material cost, what a sure win formula.

As for ERPs, just keep shifting the gantry points. Another easy scheme to make money. Put up one and shift the jam to the next bottle neck. That would be good justification for a new ERP. And when the jam builds up at the peripheral roads, more good reasons to erect more ERPs. It is kind of a never ending opportunity to make more money by simply putting up money collecting points.

What about public transport system? Just make it look good but never allow it to undermine the price of COEs and people wanting to drive their own cars. What does it mean? Don’t make it too comfortable or cheap enough as a substitute. It must look like a substitute, but weighing all the costs and inconvenience, the motorists will still want to pay the $50k COEs and the multiple ERPs to get around.

Also, it will increase the profits if the buses or trains are packed like sardines. It will be maximization of every inch of available space, for the same number of drivers and trains or buses.

The public transport system and the availability or convenience of private transport must be carefully managed to give the best yield in terms of profits. The ability for both systems to lay the golden eggs must not be undermined.

The above scenario is only valid in the minds of the devil. Luckily we have a good govt constantly trying to improve public transportation and to minimize the cost for the good of the people. And a minister had to pay the price for the people’s unhappiness in public transport. Actually it is very unfair. Why remove a minister who have made our transport system world class? The same logic should apply to our world class healthcare system that made Boon Wan an icon.

We now have a new minister who even tried to feel how it is to travel in public transport, off peak and during peak hours. More improvements will be on the way.

Myth 229 - The myth of objectivity

It is a taken, a belief, that in order for a person to perform the role of checks and balance, that person has to be neutral to be able to act objectively. It is also a practical consideration. The last thing you want is a person in such a position to have kinship relations or be beholden to the parties that the person is supposed to check on. Thus a person coming in from the cold, with no attachment, is the ideal candidate, provided the person has all the qualifications needed. Between one that is completely unrelated versus one that is related or connected, it is clear that the former is best suited for the job.

For many years, an independent director of a listed company, someone who is called such, and must be independent, often are picked and appointed by the management, paid by the management who could fire him at will. Often the independent director could be a family member or a good friend or a close associate. And he is expected to watch over the management and blow the whistle if they did wrong. It looked very untidy.

This was the happy arrangement for many years and nothing or very few things went wrong. Only recently that someone thought it should not be the case and an independent director must be truly independent to act as checks and balance over the management. If past experience over all the years gone by is a good indicator, such a concern for neutrality is superfluous. All or most of the independent directors, despite being handpicked by the management, despite being ‘pally pally’ with the management, seemed to have done their jobs well within the law.

With the new regulations, family members, relations, friends, golfing kakis, would most probably be ruled out from being independent directors. If such a reasoning is extended to the management of an organization, you could not have a CEO being the husband and the spouse being the Chairman or vice versa. Or in a worst case, the Finance Director is the wife, the CEO is the hubby and the Chairman is the father or father in law. Such a situation will undermine all the concerns of independence and transparency and give grounds for suspicion. Then again, given the lack of talented individuals in paradise, if such arrangement is not allowed, most organizations will have problems filling up senior positions. And the alternative will have to be foreign talents.

Our historical and empirical evidences have proven that as long as the person in charge is an honest and upright person, incorruptible, there is no problem even if one is father and the other is son, or between husband and wife. The key is the uprightedness of the person. The rest of the conditions and precautionary measures are hogwash. Just pick a person with good upbringings, all the right values, integrity, all the problems will go away.

The current issue of an Elected President may come under the same scrutiny for neutrality and free from attachments from the ruling govt. The Elected President has a check and balance role over the nation’s reserves that he is supposed to guard against an errant govt. We have 3 candidates that have one time or another been part of the ruling govt. So will they be suitable to place the custodian role to guard their former comrades in action?

The answer is not to worry. It has been proven that an ex PAP member, even cadre member/minister, could execute his presidential duties independently without being corrupted by past relationship. The honourable President Ong Teng Cheong had proven that it could be done. The only condition is the right person, with high personal integrity and a commitment to carry out his duty honestly, righteously, free from any encumbrance or association. It is the person that will determine whether the Elected President will do his job well and as expected of him.

So, all the three ex PAP candidates should have no problem acting the role of an independent Elected President. Their past association is not material. The criteria of neutrality is not applicable, just a myth. They will act independently, like independent directors, watching over the govt, and protecting the nation’s reserves for the good of the people.

With this doubt being removed, the people can go on and vote any of the candidates standing. Go for the one that looks good, look presidential, looks like a president. And we will have a good looking President that can fill our family albums and the pages of the newspaper across the world. Looking presidential is a great quality.

7/17/2011

The people’s prayer answered

With the three ex PAP Tan’s in the race, it was kind of who was the lesser evil, or who was the least PAP. It was like a GE where the opposition could not come out with good calibre candidates and the people were left with a half past six choice. They wanted to vote opposition but not what were offered on the slate. Some reluctantly threw their votes behind a less than acceptable opposition candidate. Some were forced to give it to a PAP candidate against their will.

Voting for any of the three Tans is something like that. It is like voting PAP when the people wanted something else, someone totally untainted by the culture, values, policies and records of the PAP. Some may say what’s wrong with that? Just listen to the ground and feel the scorn and anger and you will understand the feeling. But one can choose to ignore the ground and bury the head in the sand and called them nonsense, that PAP still represents what is best and good for the people.

While the people were caught in another dilemma, the invisible hand acted, just like throwing in Chen Show Mao and a few gallant and worthy candidates during the last GE into the opposition camp. Out of the blue came Tan Jee Say. He might have been with the civil service, but he was not with the ruling party. Now there is a clear and unambiguous choice for the people.

The angst of the people was heard and their prayers answered. The people have a choice to vote for someone not from the PAP, a virgin of sort. Would the people squander away the chance like they did in the last GE? Or would they have learnt their lessons and take this god sent opportunity seriously?

The fear of uncertainty, of a new and untested govt is not there. The govt is in place. The voting in of a neutral President that can check the ruling govt must be the top priority in the minds of every thinking individual. The blind believers can continue to vote according to their belief and teachings. The rest of the people must now vote wisely. When you can choose between black and white, there is no need to compromise by choosing another shade of grey. When a situation is murky, when awkward explanations and justifications are needed, it is best to go for one that is clear and free from adulterated reasonings.

There is now a non PAP candidate versus three ex PAP candidates. What would the people be thinking, and who would they vote to be the next Elected Presidential that could objectively check on the ruling govt when the nation’s reserves are concerned? Yes, Tony is a nice man, looks very presidential. So is Cheng Bock and Kin Lian, all very nice and will make very good looking Presidents. What is the crux of the matter? What matters most in this election? Is it just personality or the purpose and function of the Elected President?

7/15/2011

3 Tans and one more Tan

Tan Jee Say just announced his candidacy for the Presidential Election. With 4 Tans in the contest, this presidential race is going to be exceptionally heavy. By his personal disclosure, he looks like one that should have no problem with the Certificate of Eligibility.

Now the picture changes. 3 ex PAPs against an ex SDP. How would this change the odds and the choices of the people? If they are all anti PAP, Jee Say will be there collecting all their votes. The pro PAP camp will be splitted by the ardent believers for Tony, the old guards for Cheng Bock and the rebels for Kin Lian.

At first I thought it will further dilute the chances of ‘opposition’ biased candidates. But it may look good for Jee Say as the only non PAP associated candidate. But then there is Andrew Kuan. But he will likely be disqualified on precedence. His last application was unsuccessful.

So we have Tan, Tan, Tan against another Tan.

Expensive yo yos

I was at a toy shop looking for some toys to amuse myself. And I must say that adult toys are really getting quite expensive, and many would be just too much to pay for. Just for curiosity I asked the owner of his most expensive toys. He pointed to two yo yos.

I was amazed by the price tags. Unbelieveable! So I walked over to take a closer look. There were testimonials attached to the two yo yos. Mine, great stuff for reading. They were previously owned by top celebrities and had performed in many big events, had seen better days. Despite the price tags, they were a bit worn down and had lost some of their shines.

I asked the owner how long had they been on the shelf. He said quite a while. Some customers came to ask but were taken aback by the asking price. Some thought the asking price was a joke. Looked like they would be left on the shelf for a long while, I thought.

I asked the owner about the chances for the two yo yos to be sold. He grinned. ‘Don’t worry, just wait for some suckers to come by.’ Anyway, by pricing them so high, it made the rest of his stocks looked cheap.

Brilliant sales tactics. I believe he will soon put up a big sales sign claiming 50% discount. That would make the yo yos look like a bargain.

The attacks on Presidential candidates

As expected the attacks on the presidential hopefuls will come in a matter of time. At the moment the guns were trained at Tan Kin Lian. Some smears have already been spread in the internet. Would it work or would it work to the advantage of Tan Kin Lian? The supporters of Tan Kin Lian will not be swayed by such smear tactics and are resolute in their support. They knew that some will have private agendas to bring down a candidate and it is nothing knew. Perhaps some could be mercenaries being paid to do the smearing, or some may have an axe to grind.

There are no saints among mortals. Everyone will have a few warts here and there. And it does not take much effort for the smearers to get hold of any unpleasant gossips to tar anyone. So far Tony Tan and Tan Cheng Bok have been spared the worst. But as the election gets nearer, will shit begin to flow more profusely? Will those who are comfortable with throwing shit dictate how the presidential election be conducted and every candidate walks away smelly and embarrassed? Or will there be some restraint by all parties to maintain some dignity and decorum in an election for the highest office in the land?

Who will set the tone? The first shit has been thrown. Will it get worst or will it end abruptly just like what happened at the Bukit Timah Holland GRC during the GE? The field is quite level. Everyone can play the same game. When the attackers feel that it is free for all and everything goes, it can get really nasty.

And finally Tan Cheng Bock is making his appearance. He has been absent for a while and there were speculations that he was told to back off. This has proven to be untrue. Now the action is just beginning. Would there be smears thrown at him, or at Tony Tan?

7/14/2011

Myth 228 - The Myth of changing clothes

The most advanced public administration theory today is that all govt services and govt employees are inefficient and lack motivation to improve what they are doing. Or they basically sit on their chairs, drink kopi and read newspapers. They are lazy and irresponsible. Only know how to collect pay and more pay, but not willing to work. Thus the services they provided will only get worst and worst. They will not try to improve and nothing can be done to them, not even firing them.

But there is hope. The panacea for making govt services and employees become responsible, hardworking and efficient is to privatise them and the organization. So, the same bunch of employees, from the CEO to the office cleaners, all will become efficient and hardworking, and highly motivated, the moment they change their clothes to those worn by private company employees.

The same theory applies reversely. A bunch of private company employees will become lazy, inefficient, lack motivation etc etc, when the company is nationalized and when they put on govt employee clothings.

This is the magic formula of public administration. Just change the clothing and it will work instantly. The only thing they cannot privatise and will remain inefficient will be the govt. If only they could privatise the govt as well, efficiency will go up immediately. And of course, cost will be down.

Lui Tuck Yew defending the privatization of public transport

Lui Tuck Yew spoke against the Worker’s Party proposal to nationalize public transport. To him, the privatization formula works and if it is nationalized, it will become inefficient, non commuters will also have to pay and cost will go up and everyone ended paying more.

Assuming he is right, and I think he is. Look at the housing programme after it was privatized. Look at the medical care services after they are privatized, and transportation of course. All became world class and all so cheap and affordable. Ok, cannot say cheap, but affordable. If they were not privatized, the cost would have gone up even more and everyone paying more. Please be grateful that they are privatized.

And there will be no motivation for a nationalized public service to improve, except maybe the ministries. The ministries are not privatized, and presumingly running well. Or are they, like all non privatized organizations, running inefficiently and incurring more and more cost? In a nutshell, is the govt runnning efficiently without being privatized or it is running badly and incurring higher cost? If it cannot run efficiently without being privatized, then the govt/ministries should also be privatized.

Let’s move away from all these circular arguments that are self serving. Let’s ask a simple question. Can the transport companies continue to run, under the present system and staff, ceteris paribus, and don’t run into the red for another 3 years?

Another question, can the public transport companies operate with the current profit margin or lesser profit margin by ploughing back some profits to commuters and avoid another fare hike in the short term?
How much profit is enough for the privately run companies? Or is it a privately run company in the first place? Why is a minister defending a privately run company and its profits?

In my opinion, any able administrator could run the companies without raising fares for the next three years without making losses, unless fuel cost shot up dramatically.

So why the hurry to raise fare?

7/13/2011

Singapore’s two most valuable living assets

LKY and Chok Tong are in great demand as statesmen dispensing good advices to less experienced leaders over the world. There must be a beeline queuing up to meet them and to seek their views and advices on world issues and economic development.

These are two very valuable men. In fact world leaders will be more willing to hear their views and wisdom than Bush or Clinton and the likes from the White House. And to think that these ex American Presidents are taking millions on their public talks just for novelty sake, I am sure our two wise men could command a bigger lecture fee.

They should engage a manager to market their popularities and turn themselves into profit centres. It is also good for the country to have two eminent men in the lecture circuit and educating the world leaders. If world leaders are prepared to pay to listen to jokers or one line puns from Hollywood celebrities, I am sure they will pay good money to hear pearls of wisdoms.

What are we waiting for? Both are living legends of modern history. Why give free advice when there are plentiful of money to be made? The income can be used to defray the cost of their offices and the supporting staff.

Is it a god damn right?

What makes the transport companies think that it is their god damn right to make millions in profits every year? And when profit is not enough, they simply apply to the LTA to raise fare? Is it a business that guarantees them profit year after year? Is there a business that has such a privilege status? Pow chiat business!

If they cannot make decent profit they should not be in the business and let someone else runs it. Don’t give the crap that they are answerable to the shareholders. They are answerable to the commuters too. Just because they are privatized, they can claime shareholders interests as the number one priority. Have they paid back the huge infrastructure cost of constructing the lines from public money?

In whatever guises, it is a public transport system and has a national duty to keep transportation cost low and to run efficiently. Making profit is secondary. The most important thing is that it is not running at a loss. For the last 10 to 20 years, how many billions have the transport companies been making, at about $200m to $300m annually?

It is time they think of the interests of the nation and the commuters. No business has a god damn right to be profitable year after year. Allow real competitors to run alternative routes and break down this monopoly.

A new game called Treasure Hunt

Treasure hunting has taken on a new meaning in paradise. About 10 bodies were found over the last few months. Yesterday two more bodies were found, one in Clementi and one in Serangoon Reservoir. The Clementi body belonged to a housing agent and her housemate, another woman, was arrested. The body in the reservoir was an elderly man.

Just a month ago half a body of a Chinese National was found in Bedok Reservoir. Later another 5 were discovered. And these findings were random. If a concerted effort to search for bodies is mounted, there could discover more I supposed.

How about a Treasure Hunt and a reward for everybody found? Oops, better not, or else more bodies will be fabricated just to claim the reward. This is a new phenomenon here. Never heard of so many bodies being found in so short a spell of time.

7/12/2011

Some images of the Bersih 2.0 demonstration

The big turnout. Bersih crowd faceoff with the police.
The red shirt from UMNO Youth

Photo credit to Azlan Zamhari's Gallery. The photos were circulating in the net and I received it in my email.

Transport fare increases coming

Cost is going up, fuel cost, labour cost and buying of new buses. The commuters pay. The commuters are expected to pay for all the cost increases, bonuses, and the inability to increase profits from other sources. There is an expectation by the management that they must make so much profit. If all things failed to hit profit target, just raise fares. That is a sure fire way to meet profit target, and the easiest way to do so. The commuters must make up for the shortfall in profits.

It is not that the transport companies are making losses. In fact the profits are growing by the years, and in hundreds of millions. Can the transport companies absorb some of the cost with a little lesser profits in view of the higher fuel cost? Can the transport company pay lesser bonuses and lower salary increases to hold down cost?

Why is it that the transport companies are given the birth right to make profits and profits and millions of profits, and the commuters just have to pay?

For those people who are finding public transport unaffordable, please cut down on your travelling. Do not travel unnecessary if you don’t have to. Don’t go for bus ride or train rides just to pass time. Cycle, walk and find other means to amuse yourself. Take bus or trains only when necessary. Lower your expectations and live within your means.

Transportation cannot be cheap with cost spiraling. In fact walking is good for health. Go for long walks, there is a new green corridor, from Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands. Everyone is walking, for fun. Rich people also do that No need to take bus or train, and free fresh air too.

Time to take ownership

I was at a foodcourt and happened to be next to a hot discussion on the future of Singapore. Two gentlemen, a citizen and a PR were in an intense discourse on the slippery road the country is taking. The PR was all heated up. He came here more than a decade ago and liked it, settled down with a local lass, and started a family.

He was terribly worried and angry at the things that were happening. He feared for the future of his children who are citizens. The boy would have to do his NS bits. What he was incensed with was the unfair competition that his citizen children were facing today and into the future. There were simply too many foreigners everywhere, in schools, in work place, queuing for medical services, representing Singapore in sports, and being imported here with full lodging and food provided, plus expenses, to compete with the children of citizens. The country is spending so much money and resources to bring up foreign children to compete with the children of citizens.

Many Singaporeans have left, ran away from the competition. They said competition is good. But the Singaporeans who left felt that it was unnecessary and unfair competition against the citizens and their children. Many are kpkbing in cyberspace. The happy ones are writing letters of praises in the main media of how great this place is and how great the foreigners are.

In the meantime the country is sliding down the slippery road to Third World. Today books were written about how we climbed from Third World to the First World. Tomorrow, there may be books written about how we slipped from First World to Third World. Several decades of nation building only made us a work in progress, not a nation. What rubbish! All the efforts is either wasted or ineffective, redundant stuff. What the hell have they been doing?

All the education on social graces, keep the country clean, do not litter, be gracious and kind, and compassionate, be a peace loving people, a safe and clean environment, are now at risk, deteriorating. We were turning into wine and almost became wine. But for greed of quantity, we added more peels, orange peels, banana skins, coconut husks, and all kinds of skins into the fermentation. Our wine is turning sour, and will not be wine anymore. It is back to square one.

The Japanese will not want to turn themselves into Third World. Over the decades and centuries, they have nurtured a people with discipline and social graces, and proud of being Japanese, to keep their country in a meticulous state of goodness. They will not accept the Third World being imported en mass to undermine a society, system and culture they took so long to build, just to make the economic numbers look good. Economic growth numbers are not everything. There are better and more important things in life, in the creation of a nation, in nation building, in the overall improvement of the quality of life, in social graces, in a clean and safe environment, in living life.

Look at what is happening around us? More litters, more crimes, foreigners coming here to cut up our people, beat up our people, more spittings and ugly social habits, all for what, economic growth numbers? Is that what we want for our children? Is that how we want our country to be? If the Singaporeans, do not agree, stop running away. Do something. Take ownership of the country and shape it the way you want it, the way YOU think is good. Not the way other people think is good. Singaporeans must take charge of their own country and future. One man’s goodness may not be the goodness for the rest of the citizens. Singaporeans must decide what they want for themselves and not accept everything that is thrown at them.

This is your country. This is your home. You stake your life and the future of your children for this piece of rock. Don’t let it go to the sewers. Don’t let it become Third World.

7/11/2011

Wow, wow, wow!

Good things come in threes. We have the three iconic towers in Marina Bay, the three wise men, now three dinosaurs are coming. They cost only slightly more than a billion bucks, including the housing for the mammoth exhibits. Any visitors seeing the exhibits will definitely say, Wow!

For $1b, the wows don’t come cheap. But what the heck, we have so much money and dunno what to do with them, getting wows is not a bad thing too. I will suggest that a floating platform be built in the Marina Bay Reservoir so that it would not take up more precious space from housing. It would not be of a shoebox size for sure. Shoe boxes are only for the privileged citizens.

Alternatively the $1b can be used to buy a boulder of gold in its natural state, to replace the dinosaurs. The value can appreciate over time, and there will always be buyers for the gold. I think there will be the wows looking at the glistering gold, wow!.

By the way, who is paying for the dinosaurs? If I am going to pay for it, would I have a choice to say yes or no?

Crossing the Rubicon

Anyone who has been fed with a diet of Hollywood or Hongkong movies must be familiar with the endings of gamblers in gambling dens. The stories almost always have a similar sequence and a similar ending. A habitual gambler could be on a winning streak and walk away with his winnings. This can go on and on as long as he does not break the bank.

A certain amount of winnings is tolerable to the operator. Once the rubicon is crossed, when the takings are too high, the gambler often live to regret for taking so much. He could be robbed, maimed or may even pay for his life.

A smart gambler will know how much he should take from the table and call it quits, and walk away to enjoy his windfall. A greedy gambler that does not know when the limit is up will not have the chance to walk away.

The moral of the story is simple. Don’t be too greedy. Greed will take you in and you will have to return everything, with a bad taste. Take some, win some, but always watch the rubicon.

2 times oversubscribed, 35% sold

When Centrale 8 was launched, it was reported that it was oversubscribed by two times which technically translated, all should be sold as they were more buyers than units available. Today’s paper reported that till yesterday, on a notice board at the showroom, it showed that only 35% were sold. And the number of people visiting the showroom was about 20 families at any one time.

What happened to all the applicants? What happened to all the eager buyers and long queues? Centrale 8 was reported as a great place with great facilities, a mature estate, good value for money.

Was the report on the oversubscription wrong? Anything wrong with the 35% take sold figure? Anything wrong with all the hypes about the attractiveness of the estate?

Is the lack of interest got to do with the pricing, the location or the measures taken by HDB to build more new flats? Or is it that the influx of foreigners is slowing down?

Will Centrale 8 be the first DBSS project that is going to be partially sold, at least in the short term? Is this the first sign of a cooling down of the public housing market?

7/10/2011

The perpetrators of violence

The Bersih Rally was a peaceful rally with tacit approval from the Yang di Pertuan Agong. The Govt also agreed to allow the Rally to be held inside a stadium. It was not meant to be an Arab Spring, but a call for a clean and fair election, prevention of corruption by the Govt, and a level playing field for politicians. Are these too much to ask for?

The Govt had a change of mind and no permit was issued. So the Rally became illegal. Once anything is declared illegal, the full force of the law and the legal gangsters can do anything they want against the ‘criminals’. On the contrary, anything that is declared legal, passed by the Parliament, will be legal and right, even corruption.

So, a peaceful demonstration turned violence. No, the demonstrators did not start it. They did not fight back. They sat on the roads leading to Merdeka. Pardon my pun. Who were the real perpetrators of violence? The demonstrators were sprayed with chemical treated water, tear gas, blasted by the might of water hoses and batons. And 1,600 were arrested for attending a peaceful Rally that ended in violence, by the authority that was there to prevent violence. Perhaps it was done for the good of the demonstrators.

Yes, the authority was there in full force, to prevent violence and to protect the peaceful demonstrators from harm. Looking at the parties that received the full brunt of the violence, you cannot miss the truth, as to who were the real perpetrators of violence.

Maybe, if the peaceful demonstrators were to handcuff themselves, they will be safe from violence against them. Handcuffing is the safest and most ingenious way to protect them from harm. It will keep them from harms way too, and to prevent people from causing harm to them.

My apologies if all this do not sound logical. It is Sunday morning, and a little hangover makes logical thinking a bit funny.

7/09/2011

For the love of money or justice

This is an era extremely starved of ideals (骨感), but precisely because of this, our ideals can take flight.

In such an era, what expectations and aspirations do I have for you? I know that a professor from Beijing Normal University once told his students, “If you don’t get 40,000,000 dollars within 10 years after graduation, don’t come and look for me.”

I won’t say the same thing to our graduates.

I don’t hope that you people become prominent elites. I will only say that 10 years from now, if any of you dare to plot against the good and the loyal, I will refuse to let you step across my door, I will refuse to acknowledge you.

You don’t have to be Bao Gong (a historical figure from the Northern Song Dynasty known for his sense of justice), but you cannot frame the innocent and get the loyal and the good into trouble. This is the most basic and minimum baseline to follow and live by.


The above is an extract of a graduation speech by Professor He Bin of China University of Political Science and Law that went viral. Professor He is the Vice Dean and Department Head.

His speech is a dig at the money driven motives of modern Chinese and the widespread ills of corruption and injustice in the Chinese society, where the elite have no qualms to do the innocents in, for their own selfish agenda.

It is a plea and a revelation of how sick a society can be when the elite themselves are sick and abusing the trust and power of their office.

PS: I copied the quotation from an article in The Kent Ridge Common.

A Walk for Merdeka

Today is the day. Bersih 2.0 is rallying Malaysians to a Walk for Democracy, for clean and fair election. And the venue, the Merdeka Stadium. The cries of Merdeka is going to scream through the air like the cries in 1957.

The Walk for Democracy was meant to be a street rally but strongly opposed by the BN and Perkasa. It took the Agong to intervene for a compromise venue inside the walls of a stadium. This is not to be with the BN sending the police to cordon off all roads leading to Merdeka.

At the same time Perkasa and UMNO Youth Wings, both branded as ultras with very strong Malay rights views are opposing the Bersih Rally. They wanted to hold counter rallies on the same day to march towards the Bersih gathering. Officially these were turned down. But they will continue with their march in one way or another as a show of force against Bersih supporters.

The undertone of their protests against Bersih is racial. They are accusing Bersih of splitting the Malay unity which was something furthest from the Bersih position. Bersih is calling for clean and fair election. What has this got to undermining Malay unity is only for the BN, Perkasa and UMNO Youth to interpret.

By all means, the Rally today is going to turn into a confrontation that can become ugly. The police are there to prevent the Rally from taking place, by order of the BN govt. So which side would the police take in a flare up or when the Bersih supporters approach the Merdeka Stadium?

Tension is rising in KL. The stronger the govt tries to stop the Rally, the greater the resistance and the greater will be the counter resistance. KL is seeing a showdown for a new Merdeka cry. The price to pay for this new freedom can be very high. Would tomorrow be just another Sunday in KL and Malaysia? It all depends on how the police handle the two opposing sides and how violent it turns out. Would 9th July be remembered in the same vein as May 13?

7/08/2011

The debate between foreign talents and citizens

This debate has been going on for quite some time and some heat has been generated as a result, with some getting personal and Singaporeans being accused of being xenophobic. The debate is healthy but when pointing a finger, one has to be aware that the foreign talents should not be blamed for being here and taking away the jobs from local PMETs. Neither should the foreign talents blame Singaporeans for exhibiting some hostilities. Both are misplaced.

Put it simply, if there is no policy to invite the foreign talents here, if the immigration door is not opened by the govt, no matter how hard the FTs tried, they will not be able to get in. The fault is not with the FTs.
And Singaporeans got reasons to be angry when their jobs are taken over by FTs but not at the FTs. If someone let in the thieves, don’t blame the thieves. Singaporeans should not direct their anger blindly at the FTs, the FTs too would not react so negatively to Singaporeans.

As the saying goes, while the two balls got hanged banging at each other, the guilty one is still having a good time screwing around. True or not?