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2/29/2012

Mass immigration

Mass immigration, and how Labour tried to destroy Britishness

By Simon Heffer
22nd February 2012

Throughout the tenure of the last Labour government this newspaper, and others — while praising the huge contribution immigrants had made to this country in the past — attacked the laxity of what were supposed to be our border controls.

It was clear the very nature of our society was being changed by a new kind of uncontrolled mass immigration — and without the British people ever having been asked whether they supported the policy….
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2104550/Mass-immigration-Labour-tried-destroy-Britishness.html#ixzz1nApMhrYM


The British are feeling the heat caused by immigrants, from the rights of immigrants to be themselves, translating information, competitive for services and infrastructure, etc etc. And they are a pretty big country with a great and proud history, and they are finding their country being pulled apart.

How would the presence of millions of immigrants living among us on a 2:3 ratio? The only thing to our advantage is that we don’t have much of a share history or proud history to cling to. We are rojak and adding more rojak would not undermine the quality of our rojak. We can be a city of continuous change, continuous rojak with no binding history or share identity. All we need is the drive to make money and more money.

Is this what we really want for our children and our country? Is this what we are working towards, a soulless country without any sense of pride or identity, everyone a piece of rojak? Are we really serious in wanting to build a nation of stayers or a city of vagabonds, wanderers, thrill seekers, opportunists, and money grabbers?

For the love of the motherland

Qian Xuesen, the Chinese nuclear scientist educated in MIT and a co founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Caltech, returned to China in 1955 after being detained at Terminal Island in California for 5 years. On his return to his motherland, he was instrumental in the setting up of China’s missile and space programme. He is being honoured as the Father of Chinese Rocketry and the rest is history. China’s progress in space and nuclear technology owed a lot to scientists like Qian and many others educated in the West. They returned home to serve their motherland, exchanging a life of luxury in the West for something where luxury is a rarity.

Many Chinese professors and scholars have gone home to serve their country for anything but money. The emotional attachment and love of the motherland are beyond comprehension. Not to Singaporeans anyway. Singaporeans only understand money. The motherland concept is something intangible, cannot be bought by money, and with intelligent and patriotic people willingly making great personal sacrifices just to serve their country and people.

It may be idealistic, it may sound stupid, it may sound unrealistic, but the power of the motherland is not something to be trifled with. Countries that have developed such values and virtues like patriotism, nationalism, will triumph in adversity, by the sheer loyalty, commitment and dedication of its own people that believe in the motherland.

In Singapore, what kind of values are we teaching the people, to bind the people to this land which rightfully is their motherland? What we are seeing today is the pride of a materialistic people that believe only in money and nothing else. And half a century of nation building is being rubbished, that we conveniently called this island a hotel, a city state, not a country. And we keep dismissing the citizens in favour of alien foreigners for their perceived talents. We buy talents, we bribe talents, we beg talents, hoping that they will be here to contribute to our economic growth and well being. When things are fine, when the sky is clear, they will be here.

When the weather turns foul, will these talents stay and strive with the people in times of adversity? Many would not even want to serve in NS. Would our own elite, the self proclaimed great sacrifices they made to serve the country, also stay and struggle side by side with the people when there is a national crisis?

Or would all of them reveal themselves as just fair weather friends, and would scoot the moment things turn bad? What is there to hold them back when the draw for them to be here is money, while everything else is an aspiration? Would they bother to double think, that this is their motherland, to fight and to die for? Do the elite bat an eyelid if this city state is lost for whatever reasons, sold or snatch away by anyone?
Would those who are here stay and fight? Would those overseas come running home to help to defend this city state like defending their home, their motherland? The Chinese will return to fight for their motherland, the Indians will return to fight for their motherland, the Jews around the world will return to defend their motherland, not for money but because it is their motherland.

Would Singaporeans do likewise, driven by the cause of their country, their motherland, to come home to stand side by side with their fellow citizens? Unfortunately, no Singaporean is calling this island their motherland. The word motherland is alien to Singaporeans. More are familiar with the word hotel. In a crisis, the reverse is likely to happen, with everyone for himself, running away as fast as they could from this island, which was never seen as their motherland.

Bring in the foreign talents, bring them in. Pay them, bribe them, just bring them in to share the good fortune of this island hotel. It is not a motherland to anyone, not to Singaporeans, not to any foreigners. Just a hotel of convenience.

2/28/2012

Zoellick – China needs major economic reform

The President of World bank, Robert Zoellick, has warned that China needs a major economic reform. He said, ‘This is not the time for just muddling through. It’s time to get ahead of events and to adapt to major changes in the world and national economies.’

China has been muddling through for the last 3 or 4 decades and has transformed itself from a poor third world country to the second largest economy in the world. On the other hand, the Americans and Europeans have been so well managed over the same period that the Americans is now the world’s biggest debtor and many of the European countries are running into bankruptcies.

I would recommend that the Chinese leaders should continue to muddle through the way they did and not listen to the World Bank or China would end up like what America and Europe are today.

China, carry on, keep muddling through and be the biggest economy in the next 25 years. Don’t ever listen to advices from people who mismanaged their economies. Never listen to them as their advices are likely to be laced with poison like the apple given to Snow White. The Chinese leaders must have been doing it right for the last few decades to get where they are today. And the losers are trying to teach China how to run its economy with many crying and screaming that the Chinese economy will be doomed for the last 30 years.

New Hawker Centre Philosophy

The most gratifying news today in the front page of ST is about a proposed change in the philosophy of running hawker centres by a public panel headed by entrepreneur Elim Chew. The principle behind the thinking is that as a national institution providing basic needs to the people, it cannot go along like other institutions to be run by market forces where profiteering is the main motivating factor. And hawker centre customers are the average Singaporeans that cannot afford to keep paying ever higher and higher food cost.

The problem of the current system is that hawker stalls are changing hands for hundreds of thousands or being sublet for substantial profits. Also, some private developers are ever eager to grab a hawker centre to ‘upgrade’ it and then you know the story, the prices will have to be double. And the final victims of these transactions are the average Singaporeans. All the profiteering and high cost will be passed down to the customers. And as the prices of these hawker stalls are rising, the hawkers are getting marginal profits despite of it while the poor customers keep paying more for less.

For those who believe blindly about market forces and the fictitious manipulated market forces, I am sure they will be crying foul. How can the govt interfere with the market forces? The customers must pay the price as so determined by the market.

Now, would the govt really accept the recommendations by the public panel? There is hope as the 18 member panel was set up by Vivian Balakrishnan, the Minister himself. So would Vivian finally do something good for the people and fight this case in Parliament against those who believe in fictitious market forces and profiteering?

Pearl Harbour and MRT clips

The clips are falling off one by one. It barely happened for the last 30 years. The first major problem appeared in the North South Line when a series of the clips were found displaced and causing major disruption to the train service. Ah, the reason, train too heavy and affecting the shock absorbing floating cushion on the tracks.

Obviously the weight of the trains is a critical component in ensuring that the train runs smoothly on the track. In the movie Pearl Harbour, the Americans were desperately trying to fly their bombers off the aircraft carrier and still had enough fuel to hit Japan and onwards to land in China. Every gram of weight on the aircraft contributed to the drag and its performance. Many weapons and items were removed from the aircraft to keep it light, to be able take off in the short runway on the aircraft carrier. The aircraft weight was critical if it were to lift off from the carriers.

Our trains seem to be facing the same weight problem. The weight could be the menacing factor that is causing the clips to fall off recently. The solution may be to make the trains lighter by removing unnecessary gadgets or even lower the passenger load to lighten them a bit. And if reducing the weight is not a solution, it looks like the heavier trains would have to be removed from operation before they do more damage to the tracks.

A lesson from Pearl Harbour. The fat lady cannot fly.

High COE for cars

The prices of COEs are going through the roof again. Some car owners or potential car owners are starting to feel the pain. Some openly questioned whether the govt is going to force people not to buy cars. The answer is obvious. If you can’t afford it, take public transport.

And the situation is only to get worst with COEs going higher and higher. Many will just have to take the govt’s advice to take trains or buses. And one thing for sure, the quality of their life will never be affected. This is how the middle class of a first world city will have to get use to, living in mickey mouse flats that cost a million or more, and taking public transport to work. With the millions of new citizens coming in to boost our population and economy, the outlook is quite predictable.

What is going to kill, or who are going to be hit hard, will be those who really need a car to get around. There will be parents who have a few children to send to school, or old folks/medically handicapped that cannot conveniently hop onto a train or bus. Then again, what to do? Life goes on. Just be thankful that you got a first world city to live in and a great govt to manage it for the good of the people.

Many people are waiting at the door for a chance to come into this paradise. Be grateful and count your blessing.

2/27/2012

Is the PAP losing it in Hougang?

Gone were the days when every Minister or MP would be thumping their chests and raring to have a go at a by election to take on the opposition. There were times when ministers would proudly stand out to be the point man to lead the charge in an opposition ward. Gone were the times when MPs and grassroot leaders would want to chionh, beating their drums, as if winning an election was a given.

The vacant seat in Hougang is up for grabs and it is a God sent opportunity for the PAP to wipe the smile off the faces of the WP and its supporters. With Desmond Choo all ready, fresh from the last election defeat, and full of experience and battle scars, and with so many invincible ministers available to fight a solitary battle to capture the hill in Hougang, we are getting the message that a by election is not on the card. And Desmond is willing to serve the people of Hougang with or without a by election. It means that he is willing to serve without an MP allowance. This is very noble of him. And he must have a lot of financial resources to do so.

The PAP is bidding its time, in no hurry. Why? To punish the Hougang residents for voting opposition and now have to live without the service of an MP? An MP has many important duties other than appearing in Parliament or attending board meetings. There is a whole constituency of people with problems awaiting an MP to assist them. That is why there is a need for an MP. It is unfair to let the Hougang residents be left without an MP for practically a whole term. It cannot be that the MP has little to do so without an MP it does not make any difference to the people.

Oh, I heard that our Parliamentary system does not make a by election automatic so no need for by election. It is not necessary as long as there is a govt running the country. OK, since this is our system then got to live with it. It is the fault of the Hougang people to vote someone that would not serve a full term.

The reluctance to hold a by election cannot be a lost of faith, that the PAP is afraid that it will surely lose. I am very sure the party can send all the ministers to battle to guarantee a win. It can also throw in all the goodies, abalone porridge, $10 char kway teow for free, upgrading, more freebies etc etc to sweeten the ground and fight a battle it cannot lose. Or really it is losing confidence of itself and its support from the people? This is not the party that we used to know, a party full of confidence and very garang in every election. In the past, every election is a cake walk, another opportunity to win another seat. So far no minister volunteering to lead the charge of the light brigade.

The Hougang seat is waiting to be taken. Would anyone dare to set up a fight?

US$98,000 for a landed property

For about US$100k one can get a freehold landed property with 3 bedrooms and a garage. For a little more it comes with 2 garages in Atlanta. This is being advertised here by Reapfield Property Consultants. For the same amount of money what can we get here? A Mercedes or BMW would cost more than that.

I presume that these houses are for the average American families. They looked very good though not at good as our top end bungalows here but easily beat our terrace or average semi Ds. Good, decent and cheap housing is the basic to a good life anywhere. And the price being offered to own these properties must be well within the reach of the average Americans. These are great places to bring up children and raise a family. The quality of life cannot be worst off than the average 3 rm or 4 rm flats that the average Singaporeans are cooped in. And for that, the Singaporeans are paying double or more for the little space for 99 years.

And as we keep increasing the population given the limited land that we have, the prices of owning the right to live in smaller spaces will keep escalating. On the other hand the salary cannot keep on going up without driving our workers out of the market. The real international market forces for labour will definitely hit our workers badly.

Is there anything with the kind of housing and prices that the people are paying? The only reason we keep hearing is that we are different, we have no land. But we have a big plan to bring in more and more people to this ‘no land’ island. And the people will have to suffer the consequences of this wild and reckless agenda.

Qatar is the richest country in the world on GDP per capita. It has a population of 1.7m. But they are different, they have oil oozing out from the ground to give them the wealth. Luxemburg is the second richest and has a population of 500k. We are third and with 5m people and not enough and must increase some more. Would we use Luxemburg as a model for comparison, a tiny country with one tenth our population and doing better than us?

No matter how creative and innovative the planners are in squeezing more people into tiny shoeboxes and claiming that the quality of life is not affected, it is not what the people will agree. Sure, give the genious a free hand and they will tell you this island can be comfortable for 20m people or more. I also agree.

What are the cost and the consequences? I believe every average Singaporean would like a bigger space for living, like those in Atlanta and a car to drive around for leisure and convenience and not having to spend a life time paying for them. If we continue with this relentless drive for more people in this rock, we would end up worst than Hongkong with smaller and smaller space for everyone, and forget about car ownership. Are these the quality of life that we are working so hard for and looking for in the future or a future for our children?

2/26/2012

Meritocracy – Singapore’s success formula

The truth hurts. What Baey Yam Keng has said is nothing but the truth. Singapore is successful because we practise meritocracy regardless of nationality. If a person is talented, he is more than welcome than daft Sinkies.

The daft Sinkies must not be so narrow minded, so short sighted. We must support the govt policies of bringing in more talents, give scholarship to foreign talents. If our citizen’s children are not bright enough, then they are not deserving of any scholarship.

And this meritocracy thing must be the pillar of our City if we are to succeed. We shall build the best City in the world filled only with talents and super talents from all over the world. Non talents pissed off, even if they are Sinkies.

Sinkies that have no talents shall know their proper place. There are places like JB, Batam and Bintan or more far away places to go to. Only when the dull and daft Sinkies move out of this City, can this City claim to be a world best City for the world best talents and people.

Ok. Let’s be a bit compassionate to the Sinkies. Those who want to stay but with no talent, there are many jobs available other than those CEO jobs reserved for talents. Cleaning tables, washing plates are aplenty.

All Singaporeans must rise up to the challenge to make this City a world class City. Make the best of it if you can. See how the rich and successful are buying properties worth tens of millions and a car costing several millions. If you cannot afford these items at these prices, you know that you don’t deserve to be here, citizen or no citizen is immaterial. This City is the City for talents based on merits.

Any Sinkie that can make it to be a talent here will find living in this City very rewarding. And he will know that he gets there based on meritocracy, nothing about citizenship has its privileges. No talent citizens, make it or move out.

2/25/2012

MOE qualified that foreign scholars did better

In a letter to the ST today, Han Liang Yuan, Director, Corporate Communications of MOE gave another figure to state that 67% of foreign scholars scored high honours or better than the 45% mentioned by Sim Ann. The latest number is based on the 2011 graduating cohorts. It also said that Sim Ann will be making a clarification in the next parliament sitting.

What we would like to know is how Singaporean scholars performed in the same cohort of 2011 compared to the foreign scholars. The comparison must be apple to apple. Also, the statistics given should cover at least 10 years or more to give a better reflection of the situation. Statistics of just one year will only tell the picture of just one year.

But the real issue is not how well the foreign scholars are performing. The claim that foreign scholars are doing better and thus deserving of the scholarship is the same trend of thinking as as that of Baey Yam Keng, that our taxpayers money should be given to anyone anywhere, based on merits, or as long as they can do better than our children.

I am sure the statistics will show that there is very little difference in the performance of our local talents and the foreign talents as far as scoring high honours is concerned. There could be a few exceptions. Generally, our local scholars will also be able to get as many high honours as foreign scholars, proving that the foreigners are not that better. But this argument is superfluous.

I may only be guessing. But given the thousands of straight A students in every cohort of local students, plenty of them will be able to get high honours, and plenty of them are deserving of scholarships based on merit from our taxpayer’s money.

We can do some charity and share some goodwill by giving scholarships to deserving students from other countries. But we must not forget that our taxpayer’s money must primarily used to benefit our own children, or the bulk of it should go to our children. Another data that Sim Ann may want to provide is the number and sum of money given in scholarships to our local students and to foreign students in our local universities.

The govt is accountable to the people on how it spends our taxpayer’s money. Anyone who wants to give his money to support foreign students in their studies is most welcomed to do so. Please use your own money to do it. Do not use the taxpayer’s money as if they belong to your grandfather and do as you please.

TRE - The heat in cyberspace

Richard Wan and the TRE are facing the heat of legal suits for defamation. Public apologies have been made and whether further demands or legal proceedings will follow are yet to be seen. The furious onslaught of lawsuits has put a dampener on the mood of bloggers and struck fear in some. The hundred flowers bloomed is taking its toll and some bloggers are making a retreat for a while.

The call for more propriety and care in allowing postings and comments to go through without censorship comes into question. The site or blog owners are accountable for what is being posted. There are counter arguments about the amount of control available and possible due to the nature of blogging and posting in cyberspace and how much blame can be put onto the owners.

In redbeanforum.com I was faced with several hundreds of pornographic posts and hate posts every morning when I turned it on. Initially I tried dutifully to delete them one by one. But the flood of unsavoury articles were just too much and demanding great effort on my part to vet them and delete them. My ultimate solution was to ban all postings altogether in the forum. It is now a read only forum except for a few blogger friends that I know.

Mysingaporenews also has its attacks daily. Fortunately Bloggers have quite an effective system to screen out the outright vulgar contents instantly. The other great thing about mysingaporenews is the restraint and maturity of the bloggers here. I have very little need to do any censorship. But that does not mean that all is fine. I tried my best to allow freedom of expression even with personal attacks against me or to other individuals as long as they are bearable. Anyone feel offended can notify me and I will delete the offensive stuff. I had a request once to remove an offensive thread for personal attack and it was done and the matter closed.

The danger of cyberspace and social media is that there are all kinds of bloggers with all kinds of agenda. There are the saboteurs, provocateurs, the internet brigade, the terrorists, the paid instigators, the moles and whatever that can do damage to a blog or site or its owners. Some may be dragged into trouble if they are not careful and thinking that the bloggers are just innocent complainants letting off steams. They could be planted there to do damage to the blogs and its owners. And it is very unjust when owners are prosecuted or taken to task when they were really fixed up without knowing what hit them. This is the ugly part about human conspiracy. The wicked became the innocent and the innocent became the victim.

I would like to thank all my bloggers here for their restraint and propriety in keeping this blog sane and respectable. The only exception is Matilah which we all understand is having some Tourette sickness problems and we can ignore his diatribes when he forget to take his pills. He will get back to his normal self very quickly.

I hope TRE will continue to exist as a social forum with more control of their material and not be dragged down for the wrong reasons. The internet can be a treacherous place if one is not careful. So please bear with me if I have to do some cleaning when necessary. So far I have done very little. Thanks to all of you.

2/24/2012

Scholarship be given to anyone based on merit

‘http://sg.news.yahoo.com/blogs/singaporescene/scholarships-based-merit-not-nationality-baey-152120978.html

No matter where a scholarship comes from, nationality should not factor into the decision of who receives it, says Member of Parliament (MP) for Tampines GRC Baey Yam Keng.
"Whether they are a GLC (government-linked company), the government or a private company, they all want good people to work for them," he told Yahoo! Singapore in an interview on Thursday.’


Would any country go around giving scholarship to anyone regardless of his nationality? Is this the road Singapore is taking, using taxpayer’s money to give scholarship to anyone from any country and not to its own citizens? Whose money, and who should decide how the money shall be spent, to the children of citizens or to the children of someone, somewhere far away, that have nothing to do with us?

How many of you think this is the way to go? To me, personally, is damn stupid. You don’t take the taxpayer’s money and throw it around the world. Is Singapore a charitable organisation, a church for the people of the world? Come one and all, we will pay for your education if you are talented. Our citizen’s children that are not talented do not deserve to be given scholarships.

We have thousands of students who are straight As and definitely deserving of scholarships unless their straight As are unworthy, useless or fake. That cannot be. Their straight As came from our world class education system. Now I have great doubts.

And they are not deserving but students from the far corners of the world are deserving. What talking cock!

Why are our thousands of straight A students undeserving of scholarships?

Hundred flowers bloom

Remember this campaign in China? If I can remember correctly, this happened some time before the Cultural Revolution when there seemed to be a loosening up of govt control and the people were encouraged to speak freely. Freely they spoke, a bit too freely. Then the door was closed and all who spoke freely were rounded up in a dragnet. It was a clean sweep and all the dissidents, unhappy people and anti govt agitators were behind bars on sent to reeducation camps in the rural parts of China.

Free speech and freedom of expression have a price. It is free to speak, to express and attack people, but when done wrongly, unrestrained and without proof, spurious, defamatory, it can be like entering a mouse trap. A hundred flowers bloomed may end up with a hundred flowers doomed.

Don’t take your freedom too casually and for granted. One must know one’s place in society.

No automatic by election

After Professor Eugene Tan’s comment that by election is automatic as in the case of Hougang, Hri Kumar has written a reply today in Today paper saying that it is not so. Hri’s position is that the law and reason behind the law in our system is mainly to elect a govt, and the position of an MP is secondary. A vacant MP seat is acceptable as long as the govt is in place. There is no automatic by election or no need for by election if the PM or govt thinks so.

So if 5 seats were vacant, or to stretch the argument further, 20 seats were vacant, legally as provided by the law and the reason behind the law, if the govt is in place and running, there is no need for by election at all and the vacant seats can remain, and the people can suffer for having no MPs to serve them. It is the fault of the people for choosing a wrong MP who may resign, expel, die or committed a crime and force to quit while in office.

Hri added, ‘It has another salutary effect: It holds political parties accountable to voters for the performance of their candidates. Parties must endeavour to field candidates who can last the term as MP.’ So political parties must now play God to judge that their MPs would not get into any trouble and resign or prematurely die while in office. Would a doctor’s certificate be needed, like runners for marathon, to ensure that the MP is medically able to live through his terms? I am not God and I don’t think any doctor is God enough to issue such a certificate.

But is it the intent of our electoral system to just elect govt and MP can die or go away never mind? Is that specified in the law or is that an interpretation or a personal opinion? This is the first time that I have heard of such a view that is claimed to be the law and the reason behind the law. No need to have by election. Not automatic.

2/23/2012

Foreign scholars - Bad meat bad broth

A piece of bad meat in a broth will turn everything in the pot bad. The Sun Xu incident is gonna turn the batch of scholars around him feeling sour despite the scholarship and opportunities given to them for a good foreign education in a world class university in a world class country.

Sun Xu is unlikely to feel good about the experience. He has shown to be quite an ingrate to rubbish the people of a country over a few stares by a few rude oldies, probably the illiterate type. His close scholar friends would likely be rubbed the wrong way and feeling uncomfortable with the whole issue. And so would other scholars who empathize with his plight.

The broth and meat have to be thrown away, including the millions spent on the whole batch of scholars. One bad apple is enough to affect the whole basket of apples. What a waste of money.

CPF Poll - If you have a choice

I have added a poll on what the people would like to do with their CPF savings. Poll is at top right corner of page.

CPF’s shifting goal posts

While the govt keeps shifting the goal posts, the daft Sinkies, would you believe it, are resigned to the fate that their CPF savings are as good as gone, a given thing, a fait accompli sanctioned by new regulations!

Everyone enters the CPF scheme at a specific time with a list of accepted and agreed conditions and state regulations. The govt must honour them, or can it suka suka introduce new laws and apply them retrospectively like some unpredictable third world countries? The contractual and legal terms existing must continue to be applicable to the original parties. Any new rules, legislation should only be applicable to subsequent parties coming into the scheme. Failing to do so is unfair and unjust to the affected parties.

Of course the govt has all the power, laws and machinery to do as it pleases. It can introduce anything in Parliament and make them effective with little regards to the interests and feelings of the affected parties. The govt is the law. And this is democracy. The people elect the govt to rule over them and do whatever the govt claims to be good for the people. And the people cannot do anything or blame the govt for it. The people ask for it by voting the govt to be their masters and deserve everything they get from the govt.

Having said that, the human beans, no matter how daft, know that there are things called justice and fairness. What is yours must be yours and not belong to other people. No govt can cheat all the people all the time. Thinking that the people are daft and can be taken for granted will only last for a while and the people will wise up to know what is good or bad for them. A good govt will always have the people behind it. A bad govt will be sent away in due course.

What were the original agreements in the CPF Scheme?
1. It is the people’s savings and the money belongs to the contributors
2. There is a fixed date for complete withdrawal
3. There is a regulated interest rate to be paid
4. There are some rules and guidelines on how the savings can be used.

Changing these rules without the people’s consent is a breach of faith, is it not?. Sure, the people cannot do anything about it except to feel pissed off and pui pui all the time. And they will continue to vote the govt to power, trusting the govt to do good, even changing all the rules regarding their life savings and planning when they can or cannot use them.

And this will not change comes 2016. The people will continue to support the govt as they believe the govt is doing everything that is good for them, except for some who will continue to pui pui. And the people are so happy looking at how their savings are growing day by day. They can also bring their CPF statements with them one day, and rest in peace.

Does the govt really think that it can go on and on messing the people’s savings as it like and the people will continue to vote the govt into power to repeat the story forever?

2/22/2012

Govt funding of public transport

550 buses plus operating costs and salaries of bus drivers for 10 years will be provided by the govt amounting to $1.1b. It is a significant sum to a public listed company, though originally a govt owned business started with tax payer’s money. It was also reported that nearly $70b have so far been doled out to the train operators in infrastructure cost and rolling stocks as well.

And the operators cried shareholder’s interest to see good profits. No doubt the majority shareholder is the govt or govt linked companies, many of the other shareholders are also feeding on the gravy train built with taxpayer’s money and demanding more and more profits.

It can’t be helped for the commuters to be pissed off when the bulk of the capital was taxpayer’s or their money in the first place, and now they have to keep feeding the organizations to feed the shareholders and big bonuses for the top management.

It is high time the govt reclaims the public transport companies and run them as they should be, state owned companies, for the country, people and supporting the rest of the economy. Price it as low as possible, (please assholes, I am not saying that it must be run at a loss) a national service to the people and country. The whole economy also needs an efficient and lowly priced transport system. High transportation cost will spiral into other operating costs and salaries of workers. It will affect the social activities and life of the people as well.

The mission of public transportation has to be relooked at and reformulated to serve the people and country, not just the shareholders.

The dismal academic performance of Singaporean scholars

Sim Ann reported that 45% of foreign scholars got second upper or better degrees while Singaporean scholars only managed 32%. Is this proof and justification that the money spent on foreign scholars is the correct one? I am not going to dwell on the merits and advantages of spending millions of public money on so many foreign students instead of spending on our own children. I am not going to whine about spending money on other people’s children than our own.

What I am questioning is the quality of our local scholars? Are they really that bad? From past records, all local scholars are the cream of their cohorts and each would have a string of straight As in O and A levels. Some were even so good that they were allowed to skip the O level. And only 32% made it to second upper? Our straight A students, 68% could not get a second upper? Is there something wrong?

Who are these scholars that made up these statistics? Are they the same equivalent of the foreign scholars, with full scholarship as the foreign students? We need to know the make up of the statistics. If the quality of our local scholars is so bad, then their O and A level results is suspect, or the university grading is suspect. There can be some deviations from the norms, with some scholars getting themselves into problems or losing interests in their studies. But these are extremely good students to be awarded the scholarships and most of them are expected to do better at least a second upper.

68% getting less than second upper is unacceptable. A 20% or at most 30% getting less than second upper may be more reasonable. So, what is wrong with the statistics or with our education system? Can we have more information on what the data is made up of? And I am not even querying on the statistics to include our overseas scholars. It is reasonable to compare our scholars in our local universities and those foreign scholars here. I am not comfortable with such pathetic results of our local scholars. If scholars, I mean full scholarship offered by the govt or GLCs, could not even get a second upper, then something is drastically wrong. What kind of straight As or near straight A students are we having when they turned out to be less than second upper material?

The govt should save the money if the scholars are unable to perform. But it doesn’t mean that we should throw our money to train other people’s children and say money well spent. We need to know more about the statistics to get a better picture of the truth.

2/21/2012

Paying foreigners with our money to call us dogs

‘Despite sparking widespread anger among Singaporeans with his offensive remarks on there “being more dogs than humans in Singapore”, NUS PRC scholar Sun Xu remains unrepentant and unapologetic.
When asked about the controversy by a Chinese tabloid, Sun replied nonchalantly without offering a public apology or showing any signs of remorse:
I am only complaining. It is just a small matter and I do not want to blow it up. Anyway, I have already deleted the comment.’

The daft Sinkies have been bitten again, by the dog that it is feeding with the public’s money. How can the Sinkies accept such a situation, giving out money out of our generosity to be called derogatory terms by the recipient?

What is the moral of the story? Are we that dull? Are Sinkies offended?

The daft Sinkies are still not thinking

The govt is going to spend billions to help the people. $1.1b will be spent to buy 600 buses. More technology acquired and trains be bought to improve the train system. Top people deserved to be paid in the millions in both private and public. One simple question is, where is the money coming from, or who is the ultimate paymaster?

There is no running away from it. You, the daft Sinkies will pay for all these great stuff and the high pays of the great talents in one way or another. Look at the pathetic state of the CPF savings! Is it still your money or other people’s money? Why is your money be kept away from you? You find the answer. For your own good or someone else’s good?

Do not be happy when public organizations are spending huge sum of money in the name of improvement. Make sure that there is a real need for improvement and that there is improvement with the money spent. If there is no need to spend the money, then the money should not be spent. It is always your money that is being spent and you will have to pay for it. Even the pay of top honcho employees of public companies are paid by the people unless they are making their money from overseas. If they are making money from the people, the huge profit is what they made from the people to pay themselves.

And don’t be too happy about the hundreds of billions in our reserves and sovereign funds unless they benefit the people. If they just benefit the few who are managing them, then it is nothing but like the CPF statements, good to feel but cannot touch. And worst, the reserves must come from somewhere, the sovereign fund’s capital must also come from somewhere. Make a guess.

As long as your CPF is being held captive against your will, never be happy about it. Either the CPF savings are returned to the people or the people must elect a govt that will return them to the people. There are just too much of the people’s money being kept away from the rightful owners for all kinds of excuses.

The daft Sinkies are still happily in dreamland. The bulk of the Sinkies that need their savings are deprived from using their savings. Like Gintai said, the minimum sum is going to be bigger and bigger, and so is the Medisave. What is left for the owner of this money? What is the point of saving, or why call it savings? Saving for who?

2/20/2012

The minimum sum straight jacket solution

The minimum sum to be kept by the CPF will increase from $123k to $131k this July. This is based on a person reaching the age of 55 and a retirement income when he hits 65 for life?

The assumptions:
1. At 55, the person only has his CPF minimum sum to live on.
2. He has no family support or filial children to give him pocket money.
3. He stops work at 55.
4. He needs a certain amount to live on as prescribed by the minimum sum.
5. He lives to 80 or 90.

How many of the assumptions are true? What about those with their own savings, flats and children to look after them? What about those who continue to work to 65, 70 or older? Do they still need the magical $131k that will balloon every few years? Do they need $100k or more when they are already in their 70s or 80s? How much do they really need when all they want to do is to stay at home and watch TV? How many of them will live past 60 or 70?

Should not the minimum sum be graduated downwards when a person is economically active, with family support, with savings and properties to live on? Why is this straight jacket sum be imposed unilaterally on everyone? How many people who live past 70 need public assistance and can the govt afford to give them 3 meals in a public nursing home?

Treading on dangerous water

The opening up of cyberspace and social media has given the critics a lot of room to air their grievances. Everything seems to be fair game for the commentators and policy makers would no longer be able to whitewash poorly crafted policies that adversely affect the people. Life has never been that good before until internet came to the scene. It used to be one way but not any more.

I must admit that attacking and questioning a policy is easy. Every policy, no matter how well conceived, would have flaws or would be good to some and bad to others. Some are more bad than good. The housing policy has been whipped and thrashed for quite sometime and will continue to be the angst of the people. But it has done a lot of good in increasing the paper value of property owners and none will be complaining about it. It also has severe consequences on those who come late and could not keep up with the runaway prices. The young and future generations will bear the full brunt of this bad policy.

It is right and proper to want to dismiss this policy for good and modify it to a more well balanced one to be kinder to the young as well. Putting on the pressure for change, kpkb, etc is fine. But the critics have to be careful not to end up attacking the policy maker and ended up with defamation suits.

Shanmugam has sent in his lawyers. Hsien Loong is also taking TRE to task. And the issues or complaints were defamation. They have their rights to clear their names from any accusations or allegations. And being where they are, they have more rights than others for sure. You can’t expect the country’s top leaders to be the same as the man in the street. Even celebrities have bigger rights by virtue of their income and public image which are important to their earning abilities.

So far the lighter touch policy is appearing to be intact with both parties asking for the removal of the offending articles and an apology. Let’s hope that in these cases, sorry is enough and no further action be taken, no cost and damages be lined up after sorry is said.

A reminder to all, criticize for all you want. Attacking and accusing someone for wrongdoings would require proof and the will and resources to go further in the courts of law when challenged.

2/19/2012

Pleasing the small racist mind

We had our D&D last night and we all had great fun. The MC was great with his mimicry and acting to bring live and laughters to an otherwise staid occasion. He used the four major racial groups as the background of his games, the Malays, the Chinese, the Indians and the Others, which is synonymous with Eurasians or the English Language. One of his main acts was to play 4 different pop songs and let the participants lip sync their roles. He was great in his introduction of how to play the game and the staff was equally great to play on as guided. And he kept apologising just in case someone thought it was insensitive.

Seriously I thought it was a great evening. I believe everyone would say that too. Now I am having second thought. Would someone be hurt or felt insulted because of his/her race being on stage to be part of a hilarious game?

The Sunday Times is reproducing several letters on the horrors of UOB’s D&D that was reported last Sunday. It was perceived as a PR disaster, with critiques attacking UOB for being insensitive to the Indians in their party theme, Bollywood Night. The employees were encouraged to dress up in Bollywood fineries and with faces painted black. The whole intent and purpose was to have good fun. Many such theme parties have been organised without big problems.

Why is the UOB theme seen as being offensive and be pronounced as racism? It is all in the minds of the little racists. In many cases, the real racists are the attackers who rapped others as racists for the slightest remarks. Such people see everything in the racist line and are out watching for such violations and infringements.

I was at a scene when a guy was deeply offended when another senior guy called him uncle. The reasoning, he felt that he was younger and thus slighted. But that was not all. To be more senior than the other guy in age connotes the possibly that biology will take its natural causes earlier than a younger guy.

How would another party understand what is going on in the other person’s mind? I called many of my Indian friends ‘mama’ which is uncle if I am not mistaken. The small racist mind will think it is offensive. Now I have a different reason not to use it. No one is going to look at the intent and the context in which a word is being used, or the theme of a D&D. Would the event planner dare to plan such a theme if racism is the intent? Would a big organisation touch it with a 10 metre pole? Would the employees want to provoke the racists to attack them?

Racism and respect of other race and religion are constantly on the headlines to remind people to be aware and sensitive to other people’s sensitivities. No decent or proper organisation would skirt near such tabooed stuff. Attacking them for being insensitive and racist is uncalled for and harbours a hidden agenda.

The society must be more careful of the real racists living in our midst and going around attacking other people as racists. And we are going to face more of such rubbish as we open our door to more foreigners. Europe is starting to face the problems of immigrants wanting their way of life, to live separately, to impose their lifestyle and demanding their own private space.

While we happily and naively go about bringing in the hordes from around the world, and thinking nothing but economic growth numbers, we are intentionally bringing along all the problems associated with the different people, culture, race and religion that they bring. The silliness in this policy must be raised before it hits us real hard in the future. I think it is already too late and the tension is brewing.

There is no place for racism here. And people hiding under the guise of attacking anyone or things which they perceived as racists must be taken to task before they grow in numbers and exploded into our face. There must be no appeasement to the racist living in our midst, the kind of people that see everything in terms of racism and trying to light the fire of hatred and intolerance and trouble. The media has an important role to tell them off instead of encouraging them to go on to paint others in all kinds of unpleasant colours.

2/18/2012

Inclusive budget for everyone

At least 2 families are happy with the budget. Yazit, the general worker with a family income of $800 pm will receive $250 GST cash voucher and $260 utility rebates. He is happy that he could now give his primary one son a bit more as pocket money.

Gina Loo, a part time administrative assistant earning $500 pm, also a sole breadwinner, with a daughter and parents to look after, will get $250 for each adult and a $260 utility rebate. Incidentally, Yazit’s wife is not a citizen and will not receive the GST voucher.

Both families are happy with every dollar they received. It is amazing how they coped with the kind of cost of living in our world class city. But they are managing and can still put on a warm smile for the reporters. Their stories are in the ST today.

The GST voucher is to help the lower income families offset the GST that they have been made to pay as the GST knife is pretty blunt, and does not care if one is a multi millionaire or with a few hundred bucks as household income. The examples given in the ST, a retiree couple will receive enough, $1,240 to offset an estimated GST of $840, with some to spare. A ‘younger lower income households with no elderly members…will also receive a significant GST offset…It should cover about half of the total GST they pay each year.’ This means that they will have to pay the other half of the GST tax despite the significant offset.

Some jokers are still arguing angrily that the poor are not taxed. This is a good example of the unpleasant truth. How could a rich country, with so much in reserves, tax on the very poor? And best, claiming that the GST is to help them.

Well, at least the very poor are still happy that the $250 cash voucher will better their lifestyle for a few months, until the next budget comes.

2/17/2012

$800 sole breadwinner with 3 kids

The front page of ST highlighted the plight of Yazit Saleh, a 42 year old general worker with an $800 monthly income. He lives in a rental flat with his wife and 3 little children. I am lost for words.

How is he going to cope with the high cost of living here? Rental, transportation to work, food and clothing! And how much worse would his financial situation be when the children start to go to school?

No amount of financial assistance can help Yazit if the cost of living keeps running away. This is not a case of eating in hawker stall, foodcourt or restaurant. I can’t imagine how tough life is for them and the children growing up. Simply unbelieveable!

Xi Jinping visited Muscatine

A little time down memory lane. That was what Xi Jinping did when he was in the US for a preparatory visit to meet the American leaders before his appointment as the new leader of China. His trip included a side trip to a little town called Muscatine in Iowa, in the heart of America. He was there 27 years ago as a young govt official to learn about farming, agriculture and pig rearing from the Americans.

China started to open up 30 years ago and one of the most important countries to learn from was America. They have sent armies of young technocrats and govt officials, students and businessmen to learn everything they could from the most advanced and prosperous country of the 20th Century.

Today, practically everything American is in China, technology, pop culture, fashion, the cowboy jeans, American businesses and factories are in China. In a way China is more American than the Americans could ever believe. The Chinese are also producing goods at ridiculously low prices to feed the Americans and reducing their cost of living. And there is no anti Americanism in China. The occasional flare ups were mostly provoked by the Americans but the reactions petered off quickly. The noise made was more of patriotism and pride of a rising China than xenophobia and anti America.

The visit of Xi Jinping to America was to bolster ties and seek avenues for more cooperation and mutual interests. It is a relationship that is of paramount importance for the two countries and for the world. If the two countries can maintain a cordial working relation, promote trade and economic growth, the world could see more pleasant times ahead.

On a personal level the warmth between Xi Jinping and his hosts was quite genuine. Joe Biden was a great host, and so were the people of Muscatine. Obama also stretched out his hands of friendship. Unfortunately such gestures of friendliness often proved shortlived and the Americans would return to their anti China rhetoric in no time. And provocations, insinuation, bickering, accusations etc would return to the American media. And the coming Presidential Election would present a convenient stage for more anti Chinese jingoism.

The kiss and kill relationship between the two countries will go on and on and is not expected to die down for years to come. There is great rivalry for influence and power despite the need to cooperate and prosper in many other fields. As long as the bickering can be contained with kiss and make up along the way, there is still hope that the rivalry will not break out into open conflict. The alternative is unimaginable.

Hougang opening up a big hole for all

Many people see Hougang as a great opportunity to get into Parliament. Tan Jee Say was quoted in the media as a potential candidate. There were also suggestions that Ong Ye Kung could be given a chance to find his place in Parliament. George Yeo was also mentioned as a come back kid.

The speculation is getting wilder. Most see it as a chance to sneak into Parliament. Can’t blame them, everyone who aspires to be an MP would not want to miss a by election or any election. It is like the line of hopefuls queuing up for the Toto tickets. What is there to lose as long as there is a wink of hope.

So, would Hougang be turned into a free for all show for opportunists, the die hards, the gamblers, the desperadoes, the party’s gambits or would sanity and strategic interests still the nerves of all the aspirants?

The most sensible statement to emerge so far is from the SDP. They are opting out to prevent a multi corner fight that will weaken the position of the opposition. Their stand is to keep Hougang away from the PAP. It is a very selfless and admirable decision that is good for the opposition parties. Would others bite and do the same? Would there be some cranks that will step forward to throw a spanner into the works?

Hougang is a carefully nurtured constituency of Low Thia Khiang and the WP. Would the opposition parties show some deference to him and the WP to avoid a fracas, a riot? Anyway, the people of Hougang are strongly behind the WP and Low and any attempt to mess it up will not only reflect very badly on the adventurer and worst, would even fall flat and shuffle out in the most ungraceful manner. Any opportunists attempting to enter the fray could do more damage to their own standing and reflected badly on themselves.

What about Desmond Choo? Does anyone care about the feelings of Desmond Choo for fighting so hard in the last election? Would he be dumped to make way for another bigger chip? Or would the PAP think the ground is sweet to put in a bigger chip into the contest?

There will be a by election in Hougang soon. With only a few months into a new term, not having a by election is deprivation of the Hougang people of an MP for almost a full term is intolerable and unacceptable. If Hsien Loong would to decide not to have a by election, it will only show that he has a weak hand of cards. It will show that the PAP is afraid to take on the WP. The PAP cannot afford to display weaknesses and would want to prove how confident it is to win back Hougang, and now the door is opened again.

When will be the by election?

2/16/2012

Losing a battle to win a war

There are many views on the merits or demerits of the dismissal of Yaw Shin Leong. Some argue that politically it is unwise to risk a hard fought seat in Hougang only to deliver it to the enemy on a platter. A better game is to hold on to the seat, keep it warm and safe till the next GE. This is just another way to play the game. It would also be an option that gives the ruling party the moral high ground, to question the moral standards of the WP and the quality of their MPs. It would be an Achilles heel to be rubbed at the pleasure of the ruling party.

The spread of comments and criticism in the main media and social media is raising the temperature. The WP will be put on the defensive from now on till the next GE and would be ridiculed all over and over again. And they would look very sheepish if they just remain reticent, and looking very helpless.

By dismissing Yaw now, it will take the sting from the attack. They will have a temporary set back of losing a hill but could possibly fight to win it back. What the WP is looking at is further down the road. It is positioning itself as a morally upright party with integrity and respect to challenge the ruling party on high moral grounds. They have won the first battle with Chen Show Mao proving that money is not in their mind. This is a big victory so far.

Holding on to Yaw would greatly compromise their carefully guarded position of high moral and high ethics. In fact they could use this strong position to challenge the ruling party to maintain the same level of moral righteousness which they know would be a tough act to follow. From a defensive position, the WP is now on the attack. And the ball is now back in the PAP’s court. Who is more morally correct? Who can stand tall with heads held high when personal conduct is in question?

The critique will be muted and frustrated that the target for taking pot shots has been removed and nothing to hit at anymore. And the WP’s camp could be lining up targets instead.

Hougang is just a battle, but there is a war to be won in 2016.

Yaw Shin Leong sacked

The WP has finally taken the unpleasant decision that everyone was waiting for in sacking Yaw Shin Leong from the party for personal indiscretion. Though these are still yet to be confirmed, the rumour mills have reached a point that silence is no longer acceptable and a decision has to be made.
It is a very painful political decision as the precious seat of Hougang is now to be contested again and in any election, the final outcome is uncertain. What is pertinent in this case is that the WP has set a standard of conduct for its members standing for election and to tell the people what the party stands for. It is a party that believes in transparency and accountability and exemplary conduct from its MPs. It expects its MPs to come clean and explain if they have committed any violations. On the part of the party, it does not see a need to explain the nitty details of what, when, where and how. If the MP does not account for his own wrongdoings, the party will dismiss the MP.

This is quite similar to the judicial process. A guilty person will be punished and paid for his crime. There is no requirement for the guilty party to say sorry and explain the sordid details of his wrongdoings. And there is no need for his associates to explain in detail how, when and where the wrongdoings started. However, this is not the final position of the WP and they may come out with the details that they knew.

In the case of the PAP, presumably they will likewise sack their MPs for any misconduct or wrongdoing. They also believe in transparency and accountability and a high moral standard from their MPs. The PAP expects more, as what its Chairman Khaw Boon Wan said, ‘…the Worker’s Party needs to come out clean and clear, as I said, what did the know, what did they know in recent days, and how long did they know such information? And if they knew earlier, why did they still field such a candidate? Because otherwise, you are actually misleading the voters.’

Both parties’ positions are now quite clear and both will be held accountable to the standards they claimed to uphold. And they will be challenged and ridicule for failing to live up to their high standards and principles of moral conduct. As for whether the WP would square up with the PAP’s standard of the party having to explain more, this is still unclear. What is clear is that if PAP MPs are found wanting, the PAP as a party will make an explanation, very close to the party’s position that sorry must also explain.

Let’s hope that no more MPs will be caught in the same shit and no party needs to make any explanation according to the standard defined by Boon Wan.

2/15/2012

Scroobal the Deep Throat

If anyone can recall the Watergate story that made two journalists famous overnight, the character Deep Throat immediately comes into the picture. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were the two journalists that brought down President Nixon with their investigative journalism with inside stories provided by Deep Throat.

The narratives of Scroobal were compelling and absorbing reading. How much is truth and how much is fiction no one knows. But he came on as someone well informed of the workings of some inner circles of people in high places.

Scroobal has attained recognition and cult status overnight. This will be the most talk about and recognizable name in the world of paparazzi, social and main media. Everyone will be wondering who is this mysterious person. Is he the Deep Throat, the Woodward or the Bernstein?

Check the interests for your CPF savings

I just checked my CPF statements and found the interest rates for my Retirement Account is 4% but that of my Medisave is 2%. I have just posted an email to CPF for an explanation. I believe it should also be 4% as well.

Please check your CPF statements.

A religious Order for Sin City

The rage against infidelity and personal indiscretion in the media continues unabated. Everyone is taking potshots at the transgressors and demanding apologies or confession. Bill Clinton must be quietly telling himself how lucky he is to be living in the US. If he was our President, he could be stoned to death or attacked in public.

This thing about the high expectation for a high moral conduct could be a manifestation that in a paradise called Sin City, there indeed resided many sinless residents. Only the sinless could dare to demand such a high standard of moral behavior from others, to equal theirs.

And soon there could be a call for a higher standard of conduct from civil servants and political leaders. Do not be surprised that they could demand an annual declaration of fidelity and good conduct like the annual non indebtedness declaration. And all new candidates could be expected to sit through a moral test followed by an interview by a board of monks and priests before being accepted to the religious order. And of course the Prime Minister would then be elevated to the position of High Priest of Paradise. Anything less of a perfect personal conduct would not do.

Just a word of caution. When standing on a high pedestal to pass judgement on personal indiscretion, do not be personal. The power of the internet and the right to freedom of speech do not give anyone the right to personal attacks. Let’s restrain and restrict ourselves to policies and issues. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with policies or be disgusted by them. Every policy can be good and bad to different people. Stay clear from being personal even if in Sin City.

2/14/2012

More privileges for foreigners

Foreign employment pass dependants can stay, but some Singaporeans' foreign spouses can't?

As a Singaporean, I find it somewhat ironic that an average of 35,000 dependents of employment pass holders who are foreigners, entered Singapore each year from 2005 to 2010, of which about 4,200 have gained employment, when thousands of Singaporeans' foreign spouses were denied permission to live in Singapore, or to work here.


The above is by Leong Sze Hian from his article posted in TOC

Foreigner's dependants and wives can stay and work, those of Singaporeans can't. Leong Sze Hian was referring to a Malaysian wife of a Singaporean who died and would probably be deported. Now, does she have children that are Singaporeans and also own a HDB flat? Or they were not qualified?

Petition by Transitioning.org

I was reading the comments in the above petition on employing Singaporean first. One signatory said he is not coming back as he did not have a roof over his head. Some will say not true. There are plenty of private flats out there what? Just because he is not qualified to buy HDB does not mean that he cannot buy from private or rent or stay with his parents. To me, such arguments are cock arguments.

For a professionally qualified Singaporeans and willing to live a less flashy lifestyle, which is prudence, they should not be forced into the private market to spend a million bucks just to have a roof over their heads. This is a $1m ransom just to return home to stay, produce children to do NS after they have done their share of NS.

Compare to the deal for PRs and new citizens, the Singaporeans cannot but feel cheated by the govt policy. The govt must allow every Singaporean the option to buy a public flat. The stupid excuse of the higher income competing with the lower income for flats is simply bull.

There is no competition if the govt builds enough flats for all Singaporeans. A roof over the head is a sound and pro citizen policy that was the foundation of our nation building in the early years. The current policy of forcing Singaporeans to pay through their noses in the millions for a small private flat is anti Singaporean.

Doesn’t the govt understand why Singaporeans are not returning home? The govt should stop singing songs and talking cock. It is such anti Singaporeans policies that are preventing Singaporeans from returning home. Or would the govt prefer more new citizens from other countries without any emotional ties or family bonds to replace our very own citizens who have done their share of NS? The govt must seriously review its housing policy to allow Singaporeans to buy a public flat, a roof over their head. This is how we started, where we came from. Don’t forget the basics. If the govt does not think this is important, then it can forget about Singaporeans coming home to roost and have babies for NS. The PRs will send their children away too when the time for NS comes.

Child adoption could promote crimes against children

CNA recently screened several documentaries about child adoption and the crime of child snatching to feed the needs of childless couples. A child could fetch tens of thousands in places like Quangzhou. I was particularly touched by the documentary ‘I love mommy’, about a little orphan girl from Quangzhou, if I can recollect, being adopted by American parents. There was a little difficulty in the early period of adjusting into a new life. But love by the adopted parents conquered everything and the child grew up quickly into her new home and new parents. It was a very happy ending, with both adopted parents and child having a wonderful union living together as a family.

Many children, especially the girls, were abandoned in China, and in many poorer countries. It is a very good thing for couples with no children to want to bring them home to give them love and shelter. The problem is child snatching to feed the adoption industry. The fear and anguish of children and parents being forcibly separated is a very cruel act of crime. It is simply unimaginable and intolerable. The number of child snatching in China alone comes to a few hundred thousands annually. It is a very serious problem.

There must be very strict laws and punishment for child snatching. The criminals, child snatchers, are inflicting so much pain that lasted a lifetime on their victims.

While the adoption of orphaned children is a good thing, an act of compassion and love, it must not lead to a growing industry of crimes against innocent children and their parents. When the criminals see the demand, the more they will be tempted to snatch children. Parents must be extremely careful when looking after their children, particularly in red areas when child snatching is a common state of affair.

2/13/2012

Misallocation of our limited talents

We are all very familiar with so many top surgeons, lawyers and CEOs joining politics and working in a field that their professionally trained skills and expertise were of no specific relevance. We are depriving the industries and people of these talents and putting them in areas that they may not perform at the best of their talents. It is also a great loss of investments in acquiring their skills and expertise. Training someone to reach the peak of their profession only to pull them out to do something that they are not trained to do but assumed to be equally experts.

The other area of increasing concern is to train graduates, with hundreds of thousands being spent in their education, to become taxi drivers. Not that driving taxis is a bad profession. It is just using over qualified people to do a much simpler job. It is definitely a misallocation of talents and resources. The same principle applies to highly qualified graduates not being employed to perform the jobs that they are trained and equipped to do.

The third area is the civil service. Many of our top talents, on paper, are in the civil service. Could they be deployed in more productive areas in the private sector? Agree that successful entrepreneurs do not need academic excellence. But there are many advantages of having academically excellent talents in many fields in the industry that required serious technical knowledge that some entrepreneurs are not armed with.

Are we allocating our precious little super talent pools efficiently?

America losing credibility and support

Foreign Minister Shanmugam was invited to make a keynote speech in Washington at the Singapore Conference attended by the decision makers of the US. I heard that the Conference was oversubscribed, an honour that is rare for a visitor from Singapore other then Mr Singapore himself. And there in the heart of Washington, Shanmugam went on to warn the Americans of their jingo rhetoric against China and the containment of China. It must be a painful slap to those who paid to listen to this warning. And from Washington Shanmugam flew straight to Beijing to be hosted by the Chinese leaders and pledging to work more closely and to cooperate on international issues. This must be even harder to swallow for the Americans.

Then came the veto by Russia and China against regime change in Syria at the Security Council. And the fuming mad European mafia led by the US is now trying to bypass the UNSC to intervene directly in Syria with the UK saying that it was not bounded by the UNSC decision. The double vetos were a strong statement that the Russians and the Chinese are ganging up to take on the Western powers and would not let them bulldoze their way in Syria.

Coming closely to these developments is the key American agenda of sanctioning Iran. Like a lightning bolt out from the cold and from the most unlikely places, India is not going to go along with the sanction. Instead, the Indians are going it alone to expand trade with Iran. And the comment is that it is a golden opportunity to go in when the West and America have left a vacuum.

The defiance by three big powers from the BRICS group is a turning point in American dominance and dictation of world affairs. And with their strongest and most dependable ally Singapore telling them off on home ground, it is quite clear that the fortune of Pax America is going downhill.

The Americans can shout and scream, but not many will listen anymore. The raising of the profile of emerging powers to put their own national interests first rather than be made to tow the American line must have startled the American decision makers. A new paradigm shift is in the making. The three major Asian powers will have a mind of their own. If Japan and S Korea were to come on board, it will present a very formidable new power centre to challenge the American leadership and the Europeans.

Act I Scene 2 – More sleaze in Sin City

The Sin City is getting more oomph than is welcomed. The latest news that hit the island is that about 80 people were rounded up by the police for internet prostitution. And among them a principal from a top primary school and several senior civil servants. Not sure if they were patrons, customers or operators.

This episode is more than just personal indiscretion between consenting adults. It is something that infringes on the law of the country. Prostitution is illegal though tolerated to some extent as a necessary evil with so many single foreigners working in the country. In this case the parties are Singaporeans in respectable professions and the education of the young. The latter makes it that more sensational. Of all the professions a school principal of a primary sent discomforting signals to the parents of little children.

Would there be Scene 3 and Scene 4?

2/12/2012

Employ Singaporeans first

I was at the Speaker’s Corner last evening to listen to Gilbert Goh and his friends from Transitioning.org talking about employing Singaporeans first. He had lined up several speakers to talk about the plight of the jobless and under employed Singaporeans with several graduates sharing their stories with him.

One lost his $7000 job to an EP holder and is now a taxi driver. And other graduate also lost his job and is also a taxi driver. And a Malaysian shared with Gilbert that she is now employed by a foreign bank and her pay is $10k. She has a masters degree. Good for her.

In some of Gilbert’s article in Transitioning.org, he reported about companies where foreigners seemed to be in the majority, with some turned Singaporeans recently. We have also read reports of top jobs in sports and recreation clubs going to foreigners.

There seems to be an unplanned and uncoordinated conspiracy for foreign and local organisations to employ foreigners and leaving Singaporeans to be taxi drivers even if they are graduates of our world class universities. Of course there is a bit of an exaggeration here. Many Singaporeans are employed and many are still unemployed or underemployed. And that is the main reason why Gilbert went to the Speaker’s Corner to make a plea to the govt to do something to ensure that Singaporeans are employed first.

I find the preference by foreign and local organisations to employ foreigners rather than Singaporeans quite intriqueing. What is wrong with Singaporeans graduating from our world class universities? I am very sure that many of the foreigners are graduates of much less reputable universities, and they are not exactly paid lower than Singaporeans.
What is the catch? What is wrong with Singaporeans or why are Singaporeans having relatively more problems getting employed than foreigners? Work attitude, lack drive? Looking at the above two graduates who are prepared to drive taxis, you cannot say they have bad attitudes or lack drives. They are willing to do anything to put rice on the table. And we have the oldies working their guts out, long hours and little pay, in jobs that no Singaporeans would want to do. They can’t be lacking in drive?

Is there something that the govt can do as the caretaker of Singaporeans who were voted into power by Singaporeans to take care of Singaporeans first?

Silvaraju, my friend

On my way to the Raffles Place Station I saw Raju ahead of me. I called out to him and we had a little chat on the stock market before we parted. He was going to The Arcade and I continued to the station. That was Friday, just after office. He was in his cool and quiet manner and asking if the market was kind to me. He missed the rally by getting out too early with small profits.

I saw Raju again this morning in the Sunday Times Obituary page. He passed away peacefully yesterday at the age of 56.

We played golf together. We took turn to drive when we played. His game was improving greatly and his drive with his 3 woods was further than my driver. He was fit as a fiddle, and with no sickness. He is up there now.

Goodbye my friend, my golf kaki. And thanks again for the Chinese New Year greetings.

2/11/2012

The road of no return

As a country we are doing very well, and extremely well in many areas. We have become rich and life has become very comfortable to many. There is no doubt that we are the envy of the world in being what we are today. And it is quite appropriate to call this the paradise on earth to many of the wealthy residents.

While the rich and able are happily living their lives, the lower income earners are getting to feel the pinch. And this pinch is going to get worst everyday. No one can deny that many goods and services are going to be out of reach to the average citizens.

There are several major causes that are leading to a frightening future and if nothing is done to restrain these forces and reverse the trend, the eventuality is not going to look pretty.

The high property price of residential and commercial properties is a very dangerous game to play. For those who have acquired the properties, they are just in for a good ride and everything is looking better everyday. Many are selling their properties bought for a few hundred thousands and selling for a few millions. They are so happy to live with their new wealth till kingdom comes.

The problem will be those coming after them. Residential property is going to be the biggest debt for the future generations to bear. They would have bought these properties costing hundreds of thousands or a few millions. Their only hope is that the value multiplies like their predecessors and at the end of the day they could sell off for an easy retirement. Could this be repeated?

The high prices of commercial properties too have a compound effect on the cost of living. Everything, goods and services, will cost more and more to cover the rental or property cost.

The real problem is that there is no winding back. Falling property prices will hurt a lot of property owners. This time around, with the debt becoming so much bigger, it is inconceivable how serious would the problems be if there is a crash. And the govt cannot afford this to happen and will have to keep boosting or supporting the high prices. There is no other way out. Price going down is not an option of the planners.

It is unlikely that the lower income groups can catch up with the high cost of housing and services, in particular the very deadly medical bills. A gap is going to open up very soon, when more and more of the lower income will be gasping for air. Their meagre income and the mini increment rate can never keep up with the rapid rise in cost of living. Once this gap opens up, social disorder is going to be a major issue.

The other major concern is foreigners and foreign workers. There is no way to get rid of them in the short term. And as they grow and melted into the whole social fabric and economic system, they will be embedded as a part of our society and tearing it out is out of question. It becomes an inter dependable arrangement, that the system needs them or will face another big empty hole. This is another policy of no return.

The competition by foreigners, and many would have been given the pink IC, will be felt adversely by the original Singaporeans. How this game will be played out in the longer term is still hazy. Couple with the marginalisation of the lower income groups, which will keep swelling, it is looking like a recipe for more unbearable consequences. A recipe of no return.

2/10/2012

Want an angmoh face?

Many of our local organizations just did not have the confidence of Sinkies and hoping that an angmoh would be a safer bet. Never did they know that the angmoh could be another con job. How many more organizations would like be cheated by angmohs? Or how many organizations are still having angmohs to front for them and have yet to find out the truth of the angmoh credentials?

We are a developed world, with our local talents trained by angmohs and getting extremely good grades. And you can find them everywhere. Why is it that it is so difficult to find a good Sinkie to do the job and repeatedly spending money for angmoh headhunters to hire more angmoh freaks?

I got a better idea. Instead of bringing in all the third world super talents to improve our gene pool, we might as well offer citizenships to angmohs from Europe and the US. Of course be prepared to take the 3rd and 4th grades or even 7th grade angmoh as the really worthy ones may not be easily available unless we offer them ministerial posts.

At least the gene pool can be much better and future Sinkies can have blond hair and blue eyes and six feet tall. A much better option I think.
The joke is always on the low esteem Sinkies.

Shanmugam told US off

At the sold out Singapore Conference in Washington, Shanmugam pointedly told the Americans to shut up and stop trying to sow discord in Asia. He warned the Americans that the thought and talk of containing China is pure hogwash and would not be accepted by Asian and Asean in particular. It would not work. Asians are no longer unthinking colonized people that can be made to dance with the Western powers pulling all the strings. Asians will determine what is best for them and how to conduct their international relations with other countries. Asians know what is best in their own interest.

The Americans were advised to build more trade relations with Asian countries instead of military alliances and inciting differences and wars. The Americans must be shocked to get a bollocking from their little staunch supporter whom they probably believed will dance to whatever tune they played. And I think, I am not Shanmugam, Shanmugam’s message is more a consensus position of the Asean states with one or two exceptions.

The Americans must take note that their rhetoric to provoke cross border animosity is noted and that the Asean states will not be easily deceived and to allow conflicts to flare up in the region.

Please buzz off if that is the American intention. We don’t need conflicts, we don’t need wars.

The sad Arabian Tales

The Arabian countries are burning and Arabs are dying everyday, killed by foreign forces and instigated to kill each other by foreign forces. To whose interest or benefit it is to keep the Arabs in a constant state of turmoil an upheaval? And who is inciting the Arabs and fanning the fire of hatred in the Arab land?

Asia and Asians must learn from these pitiful and hopeless people if they want to remain in peace and give their people a better life without being embroiled in senseless warfare and killings. The people, be there Arabs, Africans or Asians, would not want to be dragged into wars that would keep them busy fighting each other, and become dependent on foreign charity and domination.

Many of these countries are led into wars because of a few selfish and idiotic leaders who only think of their own interest and positions. The people who are going to die are the average citizens. The people who are going to benefit from the bloodshed and destruction will be the leaders and their foreign accomplices.

There are a few silly leaders in the Asian continent and the South East Asian island countries. Some of them are very keen to drag their countries into wars thinking that it will be just another game of deceit and accumulation of wealth and power. The Asian people must be guarded against such foolish leaders and keep their countries free from wars and fighting other people’s wars.

The Asians must keep Asia in peace for their own good. The Arabs are in this pathetic state because they were weaked, selfish, divided and fixed up by western powers to kill each other, and the provocateurs profited from their foolishness and the destruction of their countries and people.
Asia must stay in peace. The Latin Americans are doing this very well and is a good lesson to learn from.

Lui Tuck Yew, SMRT, hold your horses

SMRT announced that it is going to spend another $90m or more on a new signaling system so that trains can arrive 20 sec or 30 sec earlier. Before even questioning whether this is money well spent, let me just recount my experience with the train services these few weeks after the resignation of the CEO.

I used to take the early trains and my timing has not changed. The strange thing that is happening now is that the interval of trains arriving in the early hours on the East West and North South lines has improved. But this is not all. The trains are less crowded than before and there is ample breathing space between the commuters. No longer would the commuters be forced to breath in the BOs and stench of unwashed commuters beside them.

This is a great improvement and no need to waste millions on another signaling system if it can be achieved at all hours. Funny how things could improve so drastically within a few weeks of the CEO’s departure.

The after office hour rush and jam have also improved dramatically. But this stretch is still not tolerable as the trains are still quite packed. A little more tweaking with a couple more trains could do the trick. I think it is all about more thorough management or a different management philosophy from one that is profit priority to one that is commuter centric.

I would suggest the SMRT keeps monitoring and review the train flow and tweak wherever necessary to improve the service and hold back on the huge expenditure that may not be necessary. And that expenditure need not be passed down to the commuters with higher fares again.

I hope SMRT, LTA and Lui Tuck Yew are listening.

2/09/2012

Increase CPF of oldies

This is another brilliant scheme in the brewing. The struggle to get oldies to work longer continues. Now the struggle to get oldies to be better paid. The cost of hiring oldies is lower because of lower CPF contribution, so can raise their CPF.

With all due respect to the oldies, I am also one, depending on the job one is doing, many will slow down and some jobs that are physically and mentally more demanding will extract their tolls on the oldies. Other than some exceptions and some specialized professions when age and experience counts more, many oldies would not be able to contribute as much as the young.

Let’s face the fact that nature made us that way, when one is young, one is full of energy and vibrancy. When one is old, hitting the sack is a big draw and taking life at a slower pace is only natural. Our taxi drivers can drive till 73 and may be even extended to 75. I don’t think it is a good thing. The pathetic state of Sinkies to have to work till that kind of age or else, is a reminder of our failure in our retirement scheme and pension fund. Everything is wiped away by high inflation and the high cost of living is making the oldies into the workforce imperative.

Would employer seriously want to pay more to the oldies for lesser work? Or can the oldies contribute the same with other workers for the same wage? If yes, then there is no issue. Can our workforce can be competitive with higher pay for the oldies without the same level of productivity?

What is questionable is who is going to profit from more CPF contributions from the oldies’ income? Why not just pay direct to their salary when other oldies are withdrawing their CPF savings?

NUS is going to raise the quality of its degrees

It was only a couple of years back when NUS raised its tuition fees. Today there are calling for another raise. And since the quality of education is closely related to the quality of tuition fees, the percentage of fee hike will see an equivalent improvement in quality. As they said, cheap is never good, and you want quality you will have to pay for it. At the rate NUS is improving its standard, soon it will be among the top 10 universities in world rankings.
The only thing that I am concerned is the daft sinkie students. Would they be able to move up together with the university rankings? If the university goes to the top 10, would the quality of Sinkie graduates also go up to the top 10?
NUS is now ranked among the better half of the top 100 universities in the world. Unfortunately the employers are still looking to hiring better graduates from lower ranked universities elsewhere. Are our students getting a good deal, paying too much for too little?
I still think value for money will be to send our daft Sinkie students to India and Philippines for their university education. Cheap and good and they will all turn out to be top management material. Pay less for more. The Indian and Filipino graduates are in demand and will beat any NUS graduate hands down when employment suitability is concerned.
Sinkie parents must think about the rate of returns before paying their children’s tuition fees.

Political smear

The recent exposure of indiscretion by prominent public figures in the news has sent tongues wagging everywhere. Opportunists would have a field day telling their stories and innuendoes of the moral correctness and suitability of such people in places of authority. Character smearing and assassination and taking body shots at people and political parties could be done in all kinds of innocent ways. The media can show more interest and zeal in investigative journalism as part and parcel of their job to cover up their political agenda. What better excuses can one have to put down an enemy of sort?

I am pleasantly surprised that a lot of self restraint and refrain has been exercised on the part of the media to avoid sensationalising such incidents and not to indulge in excessive and repetitive reporting to score political points.

What was left undone was passed to the social media to do the damage needed, to draw blood to the fullest. The internet has seen an unusually insensitive and inquisitive interest in the affairs of these affected men. There were plentiful of calls for more confession, more details to quench their thirst for more lurid news. And of course, it is another case of sorry also must explain. Transparency, they screamed!

The culprits must be hanged or put on the stake to be burnt. Some of the attacks were pretty vicious and hurtful to the parties by obviously upright individuals who are flawless. And thank God there are so many of these morally flawless individuals still living among us. But what could one expect in paradise? Only the best behaved could reside in this heavenly realm.

If only such attacks were to be carried out in the main stream media, one can be sure that the availability of more able people standing out to serve in public offices would immediately dry up. And political parties and the civil service would have to recruit their candidates from the monastry or nunnery. In today’s complex world of permissiveness, even finding a monk or nun not tainted by some indiscretion or personal misconduct could not be an easy task.

The issue is to what moral standard is demanded of people in public offices? Would the people accept others who have crossed the line of social indiscretion to be in public office? If not, if the standard for public service is a pristine life of a puritan, no unsavoury deeds or misconducts, then would there be a need for everyone to make a self declaration of purity and a sinless lifestyle before coming forward to serve? And should a list of unacceptable conduct be assembled and all those appointed to public service be made to swear under oath that they have not breached any of them? Anything short of this is pure hypocrisy.

Could this be one of the reasons why there is a dearth of talents willing to contest for political office and risking the barrage of venoms from the journalists and self proclaimed righteous saints living among us and in the world of cyberspace? How many people are left untainted and above the high standards set by society to be in public service, including those that are pointing the fingers and demanding that everyone should come out clean?

2/08/2012

Deserving kind words

As the founding fathers faded away to history, it is good to see kind words being said about them. They were the leaders who stepped forward at a very difficult time to create something out of whatever the British left behind. And the politics then could be a life and death experience. Funny that none of them have been heard screaming or thumping their chests about their great sacrifices for the people. And neither were they paid handsomely for compromising the quality of life of their families which could take a nasty turn for the worst. And there was no big carrot dangling in front of them, no assurance of what will happen tomorrow. Their participation in politics was a conviction to do something for the country and people. Nothing else.

This is a generation that through all their goodness and warts, will be remembered fondly by the people of this island. They are real contributors to what we are today and not that well rewarded in the monetary sense. Maybe this is the very reason why many of them are well respected and spoken with deference. The people could truly say that they owed this generation for their well being today.

Would this kind of reception and remembrance be repeated for the leaders coming after them?

The threat of no growth

Do you want more money? What a silly question. Do you want growth? Another silly question. But beware of what you are asking for. Many a time a dollar given can end up returning 90c or more. Money given must come from somewhere just like money taken must also come from somewhere. Money does not appear from nowhere except printing or OPM.

As for growth, there are many consequences for creating growth. But what is important is whether it is real growth or growth on one hand and higher cost on the other. On face value growth is desirable. Is growth the only panacea to all our ills? We laugh at the Japanese for more than 20 years of negligible growth while we keep growing every year. Should we be richer than the Japanese by now? And richer in what? Unfortunately no.

Japan is still the most prosperous nation in Asia or the world, with no growth. And they are able to maintain their high quality of life, graciousness, discipline and a good life, and a people that is proud to call themselves Japanese. And they will look Japanese.

What have we achieved with all the fantastic growth numbers? Yes, we are growing richer, and some extremely richer. But we are facing with greater and greater social and political cost. There were improvements in the quality of life but in some areas things are getting worst. Some of the not too desirable things are the adulteration of a population that was moving slowly to nationhood as a people, more graciousness, discipline and a cleaner environment to one that is less gracious with the social fabric being threatened. Many people are feeling alienated and marginalized in their own country. The pride of being citizens is now being questioned and ridiculed.

Compare to the no growth Japan that we are sneering at, you don’t see the same kind of silly and unnecessary problems that we are facing.
Some suggest that the Japanese must also adulterate their population, even bastardise them, but the Japanese choose to be otherwise. The freak nations of bastards are beginning to turn into a mess and will eventually be torned apart by the differences in the composition of their population. The greater the mixture, the more complex will be the problem and the pulls to different directions will be greater.

We used to have primarily three major races and a smaller Eurasian community in our mix and the issues of inter racial co existence may not be too arduous a task to deal with. If we continue to dilute this mixture and mess it around with all kinds of concoctions, we are only adding more problems for the future generations to deal with. And we are doing all these in the name of growth.

Will our model be more superior to the Japanese model? Will the model of China/India eventually prove more resilient that the mixed broth in the USA or UK?

By the way, there is no need to keep increasing the population just to register growth in the GDP. The goal is a better quality of life for the people, not GDP per se. The Japanese have proven that they can do that without crazy growth numbers. Maybe their politician’s salary is not linked to growth numbers.

2/07/2012

Samfoo not allowed in church

This lady in her beautiful pink samfoo was shocked to be told that she would not be welcomed for Sunday mass at the Church of St Anthony in Woodlands. The church has some dress code like wearing of skirts that should not be more than 5cm above the knees. The samfoo is a proper Chinese pant suit that ended 5cm above her ankles.

Let me see what is so offensive about the samfoo. Maybe the warden mistakened 5cm above the knees as 5 cm above the ankles. Maybe the samfoo is offensive to some people. Maybe the samfoo is offensive to God. Maybe the colour pink is offensive.

I really dunno why the samfoo is offensive and not allowed in a church. From the picture of the lady in her samfoo, it was an expensive dress for the Chinese New Year which she must be very proud to be in.

If I am not mistaken, samfoo could be worn something even in formal occasions by the ladies. Hey, it is not the cheap black and white samfoo worn by the Ah Ma chehs of the past. Nowadays many rich ladies are flaunting with their beautiful designers samfoo to look graceful.

No other reason was given except that the samfoo was against the church’s dress code. Maybe the church has its own good reasons. But one thing, please do not insult the beautiful samfoo as it is a popular dress of the locals. If other kinds of dresses are allowed, what is so offensive or demeaning about a samfoo?

Subhas Chandra Bose, a place in Singapore’s history

There is an ongoing debate for an honourable place in the history of Singapore for Subhas Chandra Bose of the Indian National Army. Some Indian nationalists wanted to erect a statue of Bose somewhere prominent to honour his role in fighting for the Independence of India. Under most circumstances this is a call that would be appreciated by many who fought against British colonialism.

Bose was using Singapore as a base for his uprising against the British Raj in India. The main reservation against such a proposal was that Bose was working with the Japanese invading army that inflicted horrendous pain and torture on the local citizens. No one is questioning if Bose and his army had any part in the aggression against the local citizens. But for being on the side of the inhuman murderers was enough to rule him out for a place of honour in our country and history. Bose was honoured by the Japanese with a statue in a temple in Japan. Think he held the rank of a general in the Japanese Army.

The Indians, especially those in India, rightly must honour this nationalist that set up a resistance against the British. To the Indians, he was undoubtedly a national hero. To Singaporeans, he was on the wrong side of our history. The pain and suffering of the locals under the Japanese Occupation is an indelible scar in the minds of our forefathers. I don’t think Singaporeans would want to honour him for working with the Japanese that tortured and killed our forefathers, raped our women, with a bust in any part of Singapore.

Let Subhas Chandra Bose be honoured by the beneficiaries of his nationalism. If only he was not on the side of the brutal Japanese, Singaporeans would have no issue with his place in our history.