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11/30/2012

Olam did the right thing



Olam is perhaps the first locally listed company that stood up to defend its position in the face of an attack to run down the value of the stock. This has saved many investors from having the value of their investments wiped out over night. Olam’s price is holding steady at 1.55. It could be seeing $1.20 or a run with its value crashing if Olam did not stand up to fight. The act itself is an assurance and affirmation that the management is confident of what they are doing and no hanky panky operations is going on.

And also must thank Temasek for speaking up to in support of Olam. Otherwise, its investment in Olam could also be sold for a song and another big write off. The position of Temasek is very important to hold back local investors from shorting the counter to kill off Olam.

The battle is still not over yet. The selling is still going on. No one really knows who or how many funds are behind the sell down of Olam. It can’t be just computer trading that is putting the pressure on the stock. The final picture is still unclear and this could be a temporary hold fire stage. The collaborators could come out selling again when the coast is clear. They have not show hand yet.

This is frightening, really, please wake up.



“For a member who passed away on or after 1 July 2006 during his/her hospitalisation, he/she can use his/her Medisave savings to pay for the last inpatient hospital bill in full, without being subjected to the existing Medisave withdrawal limits. This is because the need to save for future healthcare needs is no longer relevant”.

The above was quoted in Leong Sze Hian’s article on the ‘Erosion of CPF protection from creditors’ in the TRE. Read the intent and purpose of this change carefully. I swear I will not admit myself to any hospital in my dying days to help them clean up my savings in the Medisave.

No say I never warn you. This is a very brilliant and compassionate and merciful change to help the decease pay for everything he owes to the hospital, to the last cent in his Medisave. He will die a free man, free of his savings in the Medisave, with not debt to the hospital and nothing left for his dependents or children.

A conversation 2000 years ago



It was a mass conversation led by a young man with the poor, the downtrodden, the hopeless, the homeless, the beggars and vagabonds, the lowest rung of the social hierarchy. The conversation was held everywhere and anywhere, from market places to foodcourts and restaurants and to parks and the hills.

The young man looked ordinary, dressed simply. But his father was very rich and very powerful. He openly acknowledged the power of his father and what his father could do. He promised the lost sheep of a paradise in the future. He promised them that life would be very good, a life of abundance and no worries, in the future.

One thing very clear about his conversation, it was all about the future. He even asked them what they wanted for their glorious future. But the poor illiterate homeless and despair were just clueless and just listen to the good news. The young man told them to go and spread the good news around, but no need to enter the homes of the rich and powerful.

As for their immediate problems, no food, no roof, no jobs, these were simply unspoken. And when they were hungry, he took out a piece of bread, broke it down into little crumbs to share with them. And the poor could not be choosy. Any food, any amount, would be a blessing. They thrived on the crumbs offered by the young man. They forgot about their immediate problems. There was a bright future awaiting them. And neither would the young man want to remind them nor would he be able to solve their immediate problems. He was only interested to lead their thoughts to the future that might not come, or at least in the life time of many who were there.

I dunno what happened to the young man or whether the poor and hopeless eventually found a life of abundance. What was good then was the offer of a hope, a better tomorrow, to forget about the dire straits they were in.

Caution. The above story is purely fictional and any similarity or resemblance to anyone, people, things or places is mere a coincidence.

11/29/2012

Miracle Drink: Carrot, Beet Root and Apple




Miracle Drink : Carrot, Beet Root and Apple 

This MIRACLE DRINK has been circulating for a long time long ago. It is worth your while to take note. There is a celebrity Mr. Seto who swears by it. He wants to make it public to draw the attention of people who have cancers.
This is a drink that can protect bad cells forming in your body or it will restrain its growth! Mr. Seto had lung cancer. He was recommended to take this drink by a famous Herbalist from China. He has taken this drink diligently for 3 months and now his health is restored, and he is ready to take a pleasure trip. Thanks to this drink! It does not hurt for you to try.

It is like a Miracle Drink! It is simple. You need one beet root, one carrot and one apple that combine together to make the JUICE !

Wash the above, cut with the skin on into pieces and put them into the juicer and immediately you drink the juice. You can add some lime or lemon for more refreshing taste.


This Miracle Drink will be effective for the following ailments:
 

1. Prevent cancer cells to develop. It will restrain cancer cells to grow.
2. Prevent liver, kidney, pancreas disease and it can cure ulcer as well.
3. Strengthen the lung, prevent heart attack and high blood pressure.
4. Strengthen the immune system
5. Good for the eyesight, eliminate red and tired eyes or dry eyes
6. Help to eliminate pain from physical training, muscle ache
7. Detoxify, assist bowel movement, eliminate constipation. Therefore it will make skin healthy & LOOK more radiant. It is God sent for acne problem.
8. Improve bad breath due to indigestion, throat infection,
9. Lessen menstrual pain
10. Assist Hay Fever Sufferer from Hay Fever attack.

There is absolutely no side effect. Highly nutritious and easily absorbed.
Very effective if you need to loose weight.
You will notice your immune system will be improved after 2 week routine.
Please make sure to drink immediately from the juicer for best effect.

WHEN TO DRINK IT;


DRINK IT FIRST THING IN THE MORNING ON AN EMPTY STOMACH! AFTER ONE HOUR YOU CAN EAT BREAKFAST. FOR FAST RESULTS DRINK 2 TIMES A DAY, IN THE MORNING AND BEFORE 5PM in
 the Afternoon.

YOU WILL NEVER REGRET! IT DOES NOT COST YOU MUCH MONEY! PLEASE CIRCULATE TO YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
Cheers!!  

Sin City has peaked



Sin City has reached new heights in many things and it is looking like hitting its peak. Many things just cannot go up anymore or at its last leg, another last hike and that is about all.

Top on the list is income of political leaders. Raising this will bring about grave consequences or angry disapproval for sure. Housing prices are still going up, but for how long, when the income level is not going up except for those living in the stratosphere? COE and car prices are peaking at the same time.

Population, there are two major school of thoughts. The super talented will tell you that 20m is ‘sup sup suey’. The lay people will not want any of it and rather stay at this level. Unbelieveable that birth rate is at a record low of 1.2 percent and population is growing exponentially. I personally think that the capacity to support people in this piece of rock is reaching its peak and optimum level. Anything more is madness. How many of the unthinking would go along with this madness is frightening.

The talent pool for political office is drying up or peaking as well. Every batch the quality is not getting betterer than the previous batch. And many bright young professionals are not coming home and the talent pool for political office will now have to come from the newly minted citizens whose credentials are suspect, whose certificates and qualifications need to be scan under a microscope.

The land for use is also peaking and the only way out is to demolish and rebuild higher and higher. Roads and rails capacity are also peaking as well. Is there really any more room for growth at the rate the land is being used up?

Even the number of straight A students for PSLE, A and O level are peaking and if not stop, every student will be getting straight As.

Rentals, medical fees, cost of living are also peaking and the strain on the people is showing. Hospital and medical services are at a peak that no one even realized. Someone with a toothache will be given an appointment 6 mths down the road. His immediate pain is hopefully taken care off some time down the road, like Natcon.

MRT capacity is definitely at its peak level. The next challenge is to be as world class as Tokyo in terms of passenger per train car.

The only thing that is not peaking is probably the number of millionaires. There are 800,000 HDB flat dwellers waiting to become millionaires. This would be the last peak I think. Oh, I miss out another major peak, with a lot of room to grow. Don’t forget the minimum sums in the CPF savings. These still got a long way to peak. Did anyone whisper ERPs and GST?

Govt giving HDB dwellers $40 for Xmas



The Govt is so considerate. It is giving 94% of flat dwellers $40 to pay for the increase in property tax. I am so happy, at least for this year. Next yearand many more years will have to pay for the full increase.

I think I am also among the majority who are unhappy with this increase in property tax. The increase is due to the higher rental values HDB flats can fetch. Shit, how many HDB flat dwellers are renting out their flats to be deserving of paying for the higher tax? If I am not mistaken, the bulk of HDB dwellers do not rent out their flats. Why are they paying for some imaginery paper gain that they did not benefit and ended up paying for it?

Should the tax be tweaked to tax on those renting out their flats? Funny leh, why the majority always kenna hit for nothing and expected to be happy because the value of their flats goes up and the rental value also goes up.

Some are now even questioning that as a leasehold properties, with so many restrictions imposed by the real owner of the flats, shouldn’t the HDB be paying the property tax as the ultimate owner? Of course this kind of reasoning is bad as the next level of ultimate owner is the govt and why should the govt pay tax to itself. And the ultimate ultimate owner of the flats is God himself as God owns everything.

What is material is that the benefits of higher rental value is fictitious to many owner occupied HDB flats and is it unfair to make them pay for this paper value. The retirees will be worst hit. The Govt should use the higher rental value to tax on those that are renting out their flats and not those that did not make a cent of out it. Tiok boh? Fair or not? I like to think simple.

The Cantonese have a phrase, 'Bo tin tin fat tat'. In this case is 'Bo tin tin kenna screwed'. While people are happily renting out their flats to make money, the majority of the Sinkies can only put on a silly smile and pay for nothing.

11/28/2012

A coalition of forces or an independent attack



When Nick Leeson tried to corner the Nikkei with the war chest of his bank, he believed that his bank was big enough to bank roll him against the small investors. He was successful initially as the rest of the investors were acting alone and lack the fire power to contest him. But when the stakes got too high, the Japanese investors got worried of his position. A crash of Nikkei could bring about a series of events that were difficult to control. The zaibatsu and the big guys gathered together to deal a deadly blow to this young turk acting alone. In unison, they took position against Leeson and the rest is history.

An almost similar picture happened during the Asian financial crisis when the big funds from the west formed an informal coalition to sell down the Hongkong market. HK stock exchange and its financial sector could be ruined if not stopped. The taipans, the HK Govt and the Chinese Govt got together with a bigger war chest to defend the onslaught and the victors were obvious. The western big funds took a rubbing and went back to lick their wounds.

In the local market we are seeing a smaller scale onslaught of a single stock, Olam International. The modus operandi is different. There is a report on the accounting and business practices of Olam put up by Muddy Waters to justify the sell down. The shorting of the stock has been going on for weeks. Olam is resisting and defending its management and business decisions. These have become side issues. The main thrust is the shorting of the stock in the market. At this point in time Olam appears to be losing ground as there is no let up in the selling.

It was reported that 12% of Olam scripts were on loan, probably to parties that were shorting the stocks. Who is going to win this battle of wits or is it a matter of war chest? Muddy Waters on its own could do just so much damage. Could it still be shorting and keep exposing itself to bigger position, alone? Or is it working in coalition with other parties to short down the stock?

At the other side, is Olam buying and supporting its stock value? If Olam is defending its position just by clarifying its management decisions and not buying back its stocks, it is going to be a losing proposition. And working alone to defend a stock without knowing how many parties are in cahoot with Muddy Waters to press down the value of Olam is not going to work.

What are the big funds here doing? Are they shorting the stocks as well or just standing on the sideline waiting to see what happens? How would the crash of Olam, if the shorting continues, affect the general well being of the stock market and the financial system?

The other issues to note, is Olam deserving to be sold down? If there are fraudulent practices, the fate of Olam is as good as sealed. If it is just a management decision, a fair practice, would any party think it is good to prevent a viable company from being destroyed by short sellers?

No one in the market is any wiser except the insiders. Are the local funds and big wigs willing to join force to defend Olam, if they could think of a reason? Or would the big shareholders of Olam get together to defend their investment? Or would they join force with the short sellers and sell down the stock in the quiet hoping to buy back with big profits at lower prices?

Who are the players, the short sellers in this game? In any situation of such a nature, the wolf pack or hyenas would often strike in unison, as a coalition, and the victim would be defenceless on its own. This is the precarious nature of the stock market when funds can move quickly, in tandem to cause destruction of stocks, stock markets or the financial system of a country, particularly the small ones. It is rare to have a repeat of the defence against Nick Leeson or the onslaught of the HKSE by the taipans and the Chinese Govt. Is it fair game, market forces?

Najib kenna stabbed in the back



Must give it to Najib for trying so hard to woo the non Malay voters for the coming GE. He has done many things that were tabooed before, offering concessions to other ethnic interests. I must say that some of the fence sitters were wavering and could be thinking of returning to the BN banner. And even Mahathir said the moment is ripe for a GE. But he qualified that with time down the road, things could change and will change if the election is not called soon.

Unfortunately he has spoken too early. There was a news yesterday that a Chinese hair dressing shop was issued a summon for cutting the hair of a male Chinese by a female Chinese hair dresser. This is the new ‘law’ that the govt is pulling out to impose its value and lifestyle on other ethnic groups. When they don’t do it or cannot do it, other ethnic groups would not be allowed to do so. There is a new ‘law’ that Muslim female hair dressers can only cut the hair of female Muslim customers and male to cut the hair of male customers. Now this is being imposed on the non Muslims.

This hidden and deep seated obsession to impose its religious ethos, values and life prohibitions is going to remind the other ethnic groups of more to come. Would it be extended to no pork, no alcohol, no movies and no whatsoever, no lion dance, no religious parades etc etc?

Did Najib know that this is being done and is undermining his friendly gestures and olive branch to the other ethnic groups? It is interesting to know how the other ethnic groups are thinking now. UMNO will never know the truth, and neither will Najib know the truth until the next GE result is announced.

PS: Just read the paper, Correction, the hair cut summon was issued by PAS in Kelantan and MCA is taking issue with. Still this is something the non Malay parties are very high about. They just did not know when and who is going to up the challenge to see who is more ultra.

11 year old selling CD to pay for eye surgery



I was won over by the bubbly nature of this precocious little girl when she performed at the President’s Charity Show. She was confident, intelligent and very mature for her age. It was so painful to see her living life without sight. She was born with opaque cornea and unable to see.

Yerterday TRE carried an article of adelyn Koh composing songs and selling her CDs to raise fund for her eye operation. It is going to cost her $40k per eye and a total of $80k for both eyes. I wish the hospital could have done it for her for $8. It would be so nice and I will willingly pay for it.

The richest country in the world with the most millionaires per capita, and there is this little girl being left to fend for herself, to raise money on her own, for the badly needed surgery. She had done 4 operations without success. It was reported that she has just operated on one eye and still trying to raise the balance to pay for the next eye.

Wonder how much we paid for the conjoint twins for the operation held here several years back. Is there an eye surgeon willing to do a little charity to charge her less, to give her sight, to live like a normal child? Would the govt….never mind.

11/27/2012

Obama's potential opportunities for peace



Obama's potential opportunities for peace
Updated: 2012-11-23 21:30
By Han Dongping ( chinadaily.com.cn)

PART     TWO


It refused to respect the Asian people's desire for freedom from outside interference in their own affairs. More importantly, the role the US chose to play in Asia at the time was destructive rather than constructive, and divisive rather than unifying. It sought to divide in order to gain.

It seems that the Obama administration has not learned a lesson from the failures of past US administrations. It still plans to play a more destructive than constructive role. The rise of China has benefitted the Asian countries, particularly South East Asian Countries tremendously in recent years.

But the US sees the rise of China as a threat, and seeks to check China's rise. Right now, the US has tried to utilize the territorial disputes concerning the South China Sea to stir trouble in the region in order to further its own interests. Some of the countries in the region, driven by short term interests, have welcomed US involvement in these regional disputes. But these countries should be aware of the consequences of serving as someone else's pawn. It is easy to invite the devil into your house but much more difficult to remove him later.

The Asian Countries are beginning to play more significant roles in the world's economy. And this growth will only continue to increase if they learn to peacefully resolve their differences without outside involvement. More importantly, Asian countries should never forget the harm that outsiders have done to them in the past, and they should work hard together to avoid the circumstances in which the outsiders utilize Asian country as pawns for their own gain.

President Obama should not attempt to play a divisive role in Asia. The Asian people have seen enough American wars on their land, and Asian people are still recovering from the destruction American military operations have caused in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

President Obama promised the American people change during his campaign in 2008. He received the Nobel Peace Prize because of his campaign rhetoric for peace. Instead, his policy of troop surges in Afghanistan disappointed many people both inside and outside the United States.

Yes, President Obama was elected for a second term, but in many ways, that was more on account of the fact that the alternative was far worse, rather than any real satisfaction with the job President Obama had done thus far.

The people in the US want you to be an agent for peace. The people in Asia and in the whole world want the US to be a peaceful and constructive force. Now is President Obama's opportunity to redeem himself and make good on his claims for peace.

The author is a Professor of Warren Wilson College in the US.

Obama's potential opportunities for peace



Obama's potential opportunities for peace
Updated: 2012-11-23 21:30
By Han Dongping ( chinadaily.com.cn)

PART     ONE

Obama's potential opportunities for peaceIn the wake of his successful reelection campaign, President Obama embarked on his trip to South East Asia to attend the Summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations held in Cambodia. Along the way, he visited Thailand, an important ally of the US and also became the first American president in history to visit Myanmar and Cambodia.

The Obama Administration has stated that a return to Asia would be the focus of its foreign policy for some time now. Most world media covering Obama's visit to South East Asia believe that this visit is a significant component of the Obama administration's foreign policy. A Washington Post commentary openly suggested that the objective of Obama's trip was to check China's growing influence in that part of the world.

For the past 60 years, the US has had a very troubled history in Asia and South East Asia. It started in supporting the unpopular nationalist government in the Chinese Civil War. After investing billions of dollars in the unpopular Jiang Family Regime, US foreign policy in China failed miserably when Jiang was kicked out of mainland China in 1949. In order to save its face and to provide a lifeline for the Jiang regime, the US involved itself in the Korean civil war and backed the unpopular and losing South Korean Regime under the mantle of the United Nations.

As the US-led UN forces crossed the 38th parallel and approached the Chinese border, the Chinese Government was forced to send volunteers to Korea in an effort to protect the integrity of its border. Outgunned, the Chinese volunteers, in collaboration with North Korean forces, pushed the US-led UN forces back to the 38th parallel where the civil war started, and forced the US to sign a cease fire. As a matter of fact, the cease fire still stands today in Korea, where the US still maintains close to one hundred military bases.

The US refused to learn its lesson from the Korean War, and soon got itself involved in the internal affairs of Vietnam. It first supported the French in its mission to reclaim its former colony after WWII. When the French were defeated by the North Vietnamese, the Americans took over where the French left off.

Starting from 1954, the US involvement in Vietnam gradually escalated, from sending military advisors to de facto war after falsely claiming that North Vietnam fired at American gunboats in 1964. The US dropped more bombs in Vietnam than all the warring parties combined during WWII, and after spending hundreds of billions of dollars and incurring hundreds of thousands casualties, it still could not have its way in Vietnam. In the end, the US had to leave Vietnam in disgrace and dishonor in 1975.

The US floundered in Asia in the past because of a combination of arrogance toward and ignorance of Asia and Asian people. At the time, it was overconfident from its victory in WWII, and its superpower position in the world with 75 percent of the world's gold, and 50 percent of world GDP.

PRC bus drivers acknowledge citizenship has privileges



The one day strike by the PRC drivers for SMRT buses caused a stir like a storm in a tea cup. It was greeted with cheers when it was announced. It was something that no one thought would happen in this peaceful and richest island in the world. It was more entertaining than anything else and with SMRT involved, gave it a more hilarious twist.

What was the issue for the strike. According to reports, the PRC drivers were unhappy that they were doing the same jobs as Malaysian drivers but were paid less. If this is factually correct, then management would have to answer for it. A word of caution, in such a situation, one must compare apple with apple. Is the nature of work similar? Are seniority and performance factors included? Are the PRC drivers being provided with free or subsidized accommodation that the Malaysian drivers were not? One has to take into account the whole compensation package and other relevant factors into consideration before making a judgement.

One interesting point raised by the PRC drivers is that they don’t mind being paid less than Sinkies, an acknowledgement that this is Sinkie country. And this point is relevant. Citizenship has its advantages. Otherwise might as well throw the piece of paper into the dustbin or flush it down the loo.

Sinkies must know that this is their country and they must not be treated otherwise, to be discriminated or disadvantage in their own countries by foreigners. Any thinking foreigner here must take note that this is Sinkeland and Sinkies must be the top dogs and not the other way. Is this the case? Are companies and organizations discriminating against Sinkies or treating Sinkies unfairly or favouring instead foreigners? I will faint if this is so. But looking at so many public comments praising foreigners, this could be the reality and daft Sinkies dumbly accept this situation as their fate.

Thank you PRC drivers, for reminding the Sinkies that this is their home, their country and they should be treated better than others.

Hidden soldier no move 按兵不动



This seems to be the strategy of the Workers party lately. Though there are many hot issues in the media and social media, in the Natcon, the WP apparently is no where to be seen or heard. I was getting a bit worried about the party and why they were not engaging the people in any way. I thought something untoward could have happened. The only thing I can think of is a deliberate strategy of not wanting to be in the news, play safe or play whatever you like, not to be in any controversy, just look after their constituencies, attend Parliament, and wait for the next GE while consolidating the party administration and position.

This ‘hidden soldier no move’ strategy is a strategy, but by not participating in any issue or conversation, it is kind of like a default to allow other parties to gain ground and presence, and some may even comment negatively that the Party is inactive.

In my view this is not necessarily a good strategy. A political party cannot be cut off from the people by disengaging, by not being involved in public issues, and by being silent. Maybe I am wrong and they have been talking and talking, except not being reported in the media. Whichever or whatever the reasons for this inactivity and reticent, it is not going to be good for the party. The SDP is apparently taking the initiative to champion the causes of the people which is something that the WP should be doing. SDP’s involvement is giving it a very high profile of being in the politics.

With its resources and the number of MPs elected and in Parliament, whatever its strategy, WP cannot afford not to engage and not to be seen and heard. They can’t be adopting this ‘Hidden soldier no move’ strategy for the next 4 years and to lose the ground and the goodwill it has gained since the last GE and by election. It may even become a negative point for the WP as an issue in the GE.

Let’s hope the WP is not facing any problem and thus unable to engage the people more actively and participate in national affairs in a more conspicuous way.

Singapore a model for China to fight corruption




In the latest CNA programme, Perspective, on China, the issue of corruption was thoroughly discussed by an eminent panel of professors that include Tommy Koh, Kishore Mabubani, a James Tang from SMU and a Huang Jing from the LKY School of Public Policy.

The most prominent point in the discussion came from Tommy Koh, that China would not be able to curb corruption like Singapore. He pointed out 3 factors that made Singapore’s fight against corruption a success. One, the rule of law, two, govt leaders that smell clean, and three, a ruthless regime to tackle corruption.

China’s rule of law is always found to be lacking. Did they have any law at all, or is their law fictional? Tommy also brought out the legend of Justice Bao of the Sung Dynasty who was the epitome of law and order many centuries ago. As for Chinese leaders to smell as clean as our leaders, this can only be done if they are paid millions instead of the being paid like impoverish peasants. With their kind of pay, it is just too tempting and natural to be corrupt. A low down Sinkie civil servant would likely be paid more than the President and Prime Minister of China. China should take this advice and pay their top leaders handsomely like Sin so that they would not be tempted to be corrupt. Singapore is the best model to adopt.

As for ruthlessness in tackling corruption, Chinese death penalty cannot be compared to the ruthlessness of the things Singapore had done? Sorry, I missed the points as to what were so ruthless in our regime that make the firing squad looks so tame. I also cannot recall anything that is more ruthless than the death penalty for corruption in Singapore. Or is it that death penalty is not ruthless enough?

I am not up to it intellectually or may not know the workings of our system to suggest what is best for China. I think what Tommy suggested make good sense. China must learn from us if they are thinking of eradicating corruption in the govt, to be corruption free like Sin City.

11/26/2012

PG for court hearings



What is the case all about between Ng Boon Gay and Cecilia Sue? Is it a case about promiscuity or about corruption? So far the case is more about detailed sexual acts, explicit, implicit, lewd, perversion, and nearly everything there is to make an X rated movie sell. The corruption part seems to be less important and superficially treated. It is like a violent movie with all the gore and blood with little care to the plot.

I think the censorship board should be called in to snip some of the scenes from being published in the main media or people may think that it is an evening paper or some wanbao.

Should the media also be rated for certain news like PG, under 18, under 16 like in the cinemas or on TV?

My view is that this episode should receive a PG rating at least if reported in the media.

The stupidity of scrip lenders


The lending of shares to short sellers in the stock market was originally a scheme to facilitate error trading by investors. Short selling was also an offence in many stock markets or at least discouraged for obvious reasons. The encouragement by stock exchanges to facilitate scrip lending to sellers who short the market to make a quick profit for the right or wrong reasons is turning into a game of stupidity for the owners of scrips. It also makes the exchanges look just as silly.

Scrip owners or long term investors are encouraged to deposit their scrips or make them available for short term loans in return for a small fee that is nothing more than the prevailing interest rate. To earn such a pittance, the investors risk the value of stocks they are invested in to be driven down to ridiculous level and to suffer heavy losses.

The latest case of Olam International is a glaring example of how stupid this scheme has become and how silly the long term investors were made to look. They were actually helping the short sellers to destroy the value of their investments by lending them scrips to short sell. How could stock exchanges encourage such a scam is unbelieveable.

In a period of 6 months, from mid May to mid November 2012, the number of Olam scrips on loan increased from about 6% to 12%. In the same period, the price of Olam was down from around $2.20 to $$1.70. This is a loss of 50c or more than 20% of the value in May. If 100 million scrips were on loan, it amounts to a loss of $50m. How much could the owners of these 100m scrips get for lending the shares to the short sellers, $500k?

Is this so difficult arithmetic to understand that the scheme is so nonsensical and daft to the long term investors? Scrip lending only makes sense when it is in small numbers and does not affect the price of the shares aversely. It is useful to facilitate the smooth functioning of a stock market. When it is being abused, when it is used to destroy the value of a stocks, why would investors want to participate in such a scam to incur losses? Why would stock exchanges think that this is a good thing to encourage and to make it so convenient to borrow scrips in big amounts to destroy the value of stocks like in the case of Olam?

You don’t need to be a genius to work out the sums and to cry foul. The only people who could benefit from this scheme are the short sellers and long term investors who are also shorting the market to buy them back later. Obviously there are some long term investors with big holdings that would participate in such a scam. In the Olam case, the owner, the biggest holder of the stocks, is crying foul as a huge sum of money has been wiped out from the value of the stock. Olam International, as the major owner, cannot participate in such a scam as it would be questioned and may even be found guilt for insider trading or share manipulation. Other than Muddy Waters, who are the other best scrip lenders that are making a killing in this sell down? Unlikely to be Olam.

This can happen to Olam and any other stocks, the minority shareholders and the owners would be the ultimate losers. The manipulators would be laughing to the banks cause the stock exchanges allow it through the scrip lending scheme and short selling.

In praise of the brilliant policies


Two key issues dominated the Natcon recently. Public housing is still affordable and CPF savings for the young will be enough when they retired. Some could add a third, the PSLE. I fully agree with the survey and comments that public housing is affordable and the CPF savings of the young will definitely be enough when they retired.

The caveats. As long as the repayment term is flexible, as long as the rubber band formula does not snap, public housing is affordable. (My personal definition of affordable is one income and a 20 year repayment at not more than 30% of monthly salary. Sinkies must not blindly subscribe to the deception of a moving reference point that makes the next astronomical number looks like only a small increment. It is a sneaky way of reasoning to make the unreasonable appears reasonable). It is time to put a stop to this unending Natcon that public housing is not affordable. It is affordable! You need proof, well just look at the queue and the happy buyers of every BTO launch. You want real numbers? There was a case where a buyer’s monthly income is only $1,000 and he could buy a 3 rm flat, or was it 4 rm? Then there was this couple who earn less than $12,000 pm and could afford to buy a $1.77m executive condo. These are hard proofs that at both ends, public housing is definitely affordable. Other wise there will be no one buying them. And for those who cannot afford to buy, just too bad, work harder and earn more or lower your expectation, buy within your means. But if you earn more than $12k, buy within your means also, empty your wallet to get a private property. It is prudent to spend every cent you have for a private property.

As for the savings in the CPF, sure, I am 100% sure that the young will have plenty of money in their CPF when they retire. The fear that inflation will eat up everything in the savings and turns the currency into banana notes is unfounded. When inflation goes up, just increase the amount to be saved, to be kept in the minimum sum. So easily done. If inflation goes up by 200%, make sure that the minimum goes up by the same amount or more. By then, if a plate of char kway teow is $1000, no sweat, the minimum sum could be $20m. So much moolah! As long as the minimum sum formula is as elastic as a rubber band, it can be stretched and stretched to accommodate the slack. I would even guarantee that it would be affordable when the young hit retirement age at 80 or 90. There will be plentiful of money in their CPF. Don’t worry about the value of the money. Don’t worry, I won’t be around.

In conclusion, these two topics should cease to be national issues for discussion in the Natcon. Natcon should be used to discuss about happiness, graciousness, kindness, harmony, and how we want the country to be in the future.

11/25/2012

In conversation with Mother Nature

This is a new piece that I have created. It is untitled and not in my Exhibition.



In conversation with Mother Nature

We used to be very close to Nature, living off Nature and walking with Nature. Those were the days when people were living on landed properties, be they attap houses, zinc roof wooden huts or simply some mixed mesh of structure to provide shelter, and spent the days in the field, in the sea, farming for a living. The animals, pigs, goats, fowls, cats and dogs lived in close proximity with human beans, sharing the same common space.

In a highly urbanised lifestyle, it is not surprising that many children today did not know what a chicken or duck looks like. Their lives circulate from one concrete building to the next and revolve around modern gadgetry. The only chicken or animal they know are in small pieces on the dinner table. The closest they get to Nature is likely to be a walk in the rain.

I have been in conversation with Nature daily, in a way, through my art. My 7000 pieces of raw images of simply water taken with my camera will keep me busy for years trying to figure out what Nature has imprinted in them. Daily I will work on a few pieces, reviewing and manipulating them for an insight into the thoughts of Nature. Every frame of digital image that looks innocently bland and boring contains a hidden image or message, or many images and messages that are waiting to reveal themselves. Every picture or photopainting that surfaced is the end result of hours of negotiating with Mother Nature, attempting to understand what Mother Nature wants to show to the human world.

I spend many hours daily working with Mother Nature and talking to her, through her works that are deceptively concealed in the unassuming form of reflection and refraction in a pool of water. Sometimes I wonder if it is real, that Mother Nature could be behind all the photopaintings that came forth like a magician and his doves or pulling a rabbit from a hat. Sometimes I wonder if what I finally put into print is the ultimate image that Nature wanted. Sometimes I wonder if there is a message, a hidden message of some kind that Nature wanted to tell us.

Everytime I attempt to look at another perspective, a totally new concept and picture could appear that is entirely different in nature from my earlier interpretation. It is like trying to discover a mystery, to understand Mother Nature through her paintings. Through my photopaintings, Mother Nature is like being there with me, occasionally tipping me off with a little exciting shades and shapes that would lead to more fascinating ways of looking at something so common and unemotional, a reflection or refraction of nothing but light in water. This is going to be a long conversation with Mother Nature and is like an unending journey, as I have only taken my first step, a tip toe, into this wonderland of paintings out of thin air, or simply water.
 




Catching spiders, flying kites and PSLE





While many oldies reminisce daily about the good old days of catching spiders, flying kites and 5 stones, as if these were the greatest things to happen in their lives, and wanting the young of today to share their wonderful amusements of the past, do the young really appreciate or want to appreciate these primitive distractions of days of poverty? Would they care a dime or want to spend a second to ponder what the excitement was about?

What is really in their mind, what is really exciting to them is beyond the grips of the oldies. Their fantasies and passions today are things that were out of this world in the times of the babyboomers, unheard of then and still alien to many of them today. In their lips, in their sleeps, it is things like BoA, EXO K and M, TVXQ, and Shinee. Now what’s that? Not a clue.

These are the young sensations from Korea, the K pop generations. They are in town to perform live at the floating platform in Marina Bay. The young have been queuing 2 fortnights in advance for a front row seat costing many times more than a kite.

These young performers are earning real good money that comes with fame and a big following of fans. They are celebrities in their own right while in their 20s and could be making more money than our scholars. Who cares about PSLE? What is PSLE? Not that they did badly in their school days, but PSLE is almost irrelevant in their success.

Our young are only there to be spectators to their success, to pay to watch them, probably because of PSLE. They have no time, no passion for anything except PSLE while these entertainers are having a ball of a time, travelling the world, wowing their little innocent fans that probably have a few sheets of model answer papers in their bags while at the concert. And in their spare time the Sinkie young were enticed to visit the museums to admire the good old days of their parents, how great a time they had with little beads of seeds, match boxes to hold spiders, catapults, and what primitive little toys.

Why are our young so imprisoned in a small and uncreative world of books and PSLE and ancient toys and not aspiring to be world beaters on their own, to be provocatively creative and exploring the new frontiers like Gangnam or K Pops? If the young Koreans can do it and be such an international success without PSLE, why the obsession for that piece of paper as the end all of living happily and having a good time?

Would our little ones be inspired to new challenges and not be bounded or trapped by the PSLE forever, and complaining about stress that is not worth it? I would suggest that all the parents bring their young to the Marina Bay and see a different facet of life, of living life, of creating something new beyond old mindsets and be emancipated, and to set their young free on a course of discovery and finding new meaning in life.

11/24/2012

China's "Positive Influence" on ASEAN growth


China becomes 'positive influence' on ASEAN growth

Updated: 2012-11-06 17:59
( Xinhua)
VIENTIANE -- With its inevitable rise, China has become a "positive influence" on the economic growth and cooperation of its neighbors in Southeast Asia, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Tuesday.
The PM made the remark with a group of foreign correspondents on the sideline of the Ninth Asia-Europe Meeting Summit in the Lao capital Vientiane.
He urged ASEAN countries to actively engage with China. "With its inevitable rise, China can be a positive influence in terms of economic development particularly in this part of world."
As a major global player, China has been providing impetus to the economic development of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the bloc's members like Laos is getting a lot of injection of Chinese capital for developing the region's hotspots like the Mekong area, said Najib.
"If you look to this part of the world, they see China as a strong and benign economic force."
As for China's role in facilitating Europe's economic recovery, Najib, who once served as Malaysia's Minister of Finance, said European countries hope that China could rebalance its economy, put less emphasis on export but on boosting domestic demand.
The two-day event, the ASEM Summit, the biggest international conference the country has ever hosted, gathers heads of state, government as well as ministerial officials from its 51 members. Global economy and financial situation top the meeting's agenda.
Within the frameworks of ASEAN, ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3, ASEAN Summit, among others, said Najib, there is enough "collective will" to ensure that ASEAN and China could work in a very cooperative way.

Emergence of alternative elite


When a storm is brewing, the little creatures will stir, be they in the sea or on land. They are able to sense the coming of a major climatic change. They are more sensitive than any human made instrument or gadget to detect weather or geological phenomena. A political storm is in the making that will bring about great changes in our national landscape. Some have sensed it coming and have started to rise from their slumber.

The last GE saw the surfacing of many new faces that are professionals in their own right, very credible people, to stand for election as an alternative to the present govt. We are now seeing a continuation of this movement, with more elites standing up to offer alternative views that are equally cogent and coherent and sound. This group comprises mainly the ex civil servants or ex establishment. The latest candidate is in Yeoh Lam Keong, the ex Chief Economist in GIC. He has joined the ranks of Lim Chong Yah, Tommy Koh and Ngiam Tong Dow. The earlier batch of ex’s is already in the political parties, the likes of Tony Tan, Hazel Poa, Benjamin Pwee, Tan Jee Say and Tan Kin Lian.

It is still a trickle and it may not be long before the tap flows at its full capacity. Every notable that stepped forward will be an inspiration for more to follow. They will also beat a path for their peers, friends and fans to walk through.

There were criticisms that many of the ex’s have come out too late, that they should have done so earlier, or said what they are saying now when they were in the establishment. This may be a bit unfair as the situation has changed in the last decade or so. The ruling govt was the darling of the people in the past when the ex’s were in service. The ex’s must have contributed the good stuff and the failing fortune of the ruling party today must be due to the absence of the ex’s in some way.

I have noticed another development, still in its infancy. Some elites in the establishment are appearing to be wavering or feeling uneasy. They are not making their feelings felt too noticeable yet but are starting to question the wisdom of the establishment in a polite way. Some are starting to acknowledge alternative views as sound and reasonable. Maybe they are waiting for the flow and will go with the flow when it changes course.

A more dramatic change will come when the old oak tree falls. That could mark the real change to come when some in political office would stand up to be different, to want to be their own men and women, with a viewpoint of their own that have been suppressed in the name of conformity and party. When this happens, it will be the culmination of all the little changes that have been taking place, to start a new chapter in our political history.

The trickle has started. A tornado can have its origin in the flutter of a butterfly in the Pacific Ocean.

11/23/2012

Powdered coffee 'creamer' isn't food, it's processed chemicals


May 6, 2012
(NaturalNews) Every day, millions of Americans add powdered coffee "creamer" products to their morning cups of joe because they falsely believe that these substances are somehow healthier than real cream. But little do they know that most coffee creamer products contain no actual cream,
or food for that matter, as they are really nothing more than a crafty blend of toxic chemicals.

When powdered coffee creamers first came onto the scene back in the 1950s, they actually contained real dehydrated cream and sugar, which made them a convenient, non-perishable source of cream
for coffee. Over time, however, manufacturers began to phase out the cream, and replace it with
things like processed vegetables oils, stabilizers, chemical sweeteners, and other additives that
were less expensive and that more easily dissolved in coffee.

Today, the average canister of so-called "creamer" substitute contains not a trace of actual food,
at least not food in the technical sense of the word. Take the Coffee-Mate brand of coffee creamer,
for instance. The original powder flavor contains corn syrup solids, hydrogenated vegetable oils,
and a handful of stabilizing, emulsifying, and flavoring chemicals (http://www.coffee-mate.com).

Not only is there no "cream" of any kind in Coffee-Mate's Original Powder, but there are also no
natural food ingredients whatsoever. This is why some countries actually require that powdered
coffee additives be called "whiteners" rather than "creamers," since they do not actually contain
any real cream.

Corn syrup solids and hydrogenated oils are highly-toxic 'non-foods'

Though both are derived from real food, corn syrup solids and hydrogenated oils are not technically foods themselves. To produce corn syrup solids, corn kernels are first transformed into corn starch, which is then chemically treated with hydrochloric acid, a highly-corrosive, industrial chemical solution that is also used to make plastic materials. The resulting liquid goo is then processed again and dried to form dried crystals -- delicious, eh?

And hydrogenated oils are produced using a similar chemical process that involves subjecting already heated, pressurized, and highly processed oils to various chemical catalysts and metals such as nickel and platinum that change its density and molecular structure. The final product is the definition of a trans-fat, which are linked to causing heart disease and death (http://www.naturalnews.com/027445_fat_fats_trans.html).

Then, there are ingredients like sodium caseinate, a milk derivative; mono- and diglycerides;
sodium aluminosilicate; and artificial flavor, all of which are non-foods as well. Sodium caseinate,
for instance, is derived from a milk protein known as casein using a chemical extrusion process.
The chemical alteration is so significant that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not even consider the final product to be a dairy product.

And sodium aluminosilicate is an anti-caking, flow agent chemical additive produced specifically for use in processed food items, laundry detergents, and other dry, powdered products. Like its name implies, sodium aluminosilicate contains toxic aluminum, which is linked to organ and tissue damage, bone disorders, gastrointestinal problems, Alzheimer's disease, cell damage, and other problems (http://www.angelfire.com).

If dairy is problematic for your dietary needs but you still want to add creamer to your coffee,
it is important to always read ingredient labels and carefully avoid all powdered creamer products
that contain artificial ingredients.

Some great non-dairy alternatives to conventional creamer products include liquid coconut creamers like those made by So Delicious (http://www.sodeliciousdairyfree.com), for instance. Fresh coconut cream or milk (http://www.wildernessfamilynaturals.com) and homemade almond milk (http://georgiapellegrini.com/2012/03/07/recipes/homemade-almond-milk/), are several other useful options as well.

Sources for this article include:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-dairy_creamer
http://www.naturalnews.com/z035784_coffee_creamer_hydrogenated_oils_HFCS.html

Serious, our education is one of the best




I am saying this with all sincerity and seriousness. If one is to look carefully at our education system, it is a very comprehensive system, like a buffet spread to cater for all abilities of students. It is not perfect for sure and can make do with some tweaking and fine tuning. Fine tuning here is used quite appropriately as that is all it needs. Unlike housing when it is totally unaffordable to many and no matter how often and loud one shouts the word affordable, no one believes this crap anymore. The person who is still shouting affordable will end up shouting in the wilderness and totally ignore by the consumers, or at best a lunatic.

Back to the education system. Sin City did not get the recognition as an education hub for nothing. And this reputation is achieved through the good public education system, definitely not because of the private schools. What is disappointing arising from all the hooha is the caving in of the MOE and to think that the system is really flawed when under attack by the parents. The main problem today is unreasonable and illogical expectations of parents of their children and the education system. The outrageous demands of parents, and to a certain extent the super talents, to want a child to be everything, to be good in everything is laughable. No child can be good in everything. Very likely every child can be good in something but no education system can be a straight jacket production line to deliver super intelligent robots out of little children.

The other point that is very subjective is the high expectation and demands made on a 12 year old. I personally think it is too young an age to separate the diamonds from the chaff. This issue could be thoroughly reviewed and better to be delayed by a few more years when a child is more mature mentally and emotionally to face the tough reality of what they are gifted at and what educational route they should embark on. Each will have to find his/her own path to success in life.

The Minister of Education should stand up tall and tell the parents not to make outrageous demands on the system. The current system must not be thrashed around for all the wrong reasons. Some tweaking is necessary as in all systems to keep up with the time and changes and to improve on what was found unsuitable with hindsight. This is a time for a minister to stand his ground and not to wobble at the knees. The education system is on solid ground compares to the failed policy in housing but being stoically and stubbornly defended for all the wrong reasons.

New ethos, In celebration of Mediocrity




A little girl was huddling in the corner of the school hall after the PSLE result was announced. She was looking anything but happy. No one is talking to her or interested in her. Could have failed the exam I supposed. Then a couple approached her, presumably her parents, and looking angry. ‘Why are you standing at the corner alone? Didn’t you do well in the PSLE?’ The little girl started sobbing and shaking her head. She shoved her result slip to her mum who was looking more annoyed by her dismissiveness and lack of confidence.

289! The mother screamed. While everyone was getting the attention of the media and the principal and the school staff and the whole cohort, this little girl was left alone in a corner of her own. No one was supposed to know her, what was her score or her grade. The mother started to wave the result slips, ‘See, see, my daughter is the top student!’ But no one bothered to turn her way. Everyone had been briefed not talk to or about the top student. Even the media refused to interview her. They were happily talking to the number 6 and number 7 students to write an article for the media.

By then the little girl started crying. All the effort to be the top student in the PSLE examination was like a non event. They quietly left the school knowing that they were not welcomed and shunned by everyone.

After decades of meritocrazy, this is the result. Meritocrazy is now an embarrassment for the problems it is causing to other parents and students. Soon this new disease could invade all the institutions in the City. It is like an edict coming down from the Emperor. The President Scholars will not be announced. Classified Top Secret. Cannot tell. Universities and Polytechnics will no longer award Gold Medals and what not to their top students. But the average students will be celebrated as the model students, as role models for all the students. All the students will now be very happy that being average they will be recognized and become celebrities in their own right.

Oh, who is the Prime Minister? Dunno leh. They are not telling now. The newspaper will not carry news on the Prime Minister anymore. Too stressful to know.

11/22/2012

PSLE - New school of thought?



The most common reply for not announcing the top students in the PSLE is that it would remove the pressure on parents and children. Why should it be so? I always look at the achievements of these youngsters as a shining light for the rest of the children, that with hard work and some talents, they can aspire to do much better in their examination. I am always impressed by the abilities of these children to do so well in their PSLE. They are real success stories to be told and to be proud of.

The good results of the top students are something admirable, not something to be envious but acceptable in some ways, but definitely not something disgusting, to be ashamed of, to be hidden and not spoken about.

What is important is to educate the parents, to live with what their children can achieve. The important thing is for the children to do their best, and grow up as decent and responsible young people. The grades are just grades and the future of the children is not dependent on these grades alone. There are many avenues to achieve success, to do well in life, to live well. There is a saying, 行行出状元, or every profession will have its star achievers.

This craziness about not publishing names of top students is getting ridiculous, and stupid. Might as well abolish all examinations.

Imagine how good things could have been…without Boon Wan




A total of 27,000 units of BTO flats launched, just building, in 2012 and maybe another 20,000 to be launched in 2013, and the headline in Today paper, ‘Prices to climb despite more HDB flats launched’. And this is after the spate of news of prices shooting to new record highs and after all the fine tuning to prevent it from going through the roof.

On the opposite of the supply side, the demand side was also fine tuned to slow the influx of foreigners a wee bit. And Boon Wan has been telling the people not to worry, the price will be stabilized. Then some were saying that HDB flat owners should not sell as the prices would only go up and up. The resale market is responding as it is, up and up.

Imagine, if the BTO programme was not ramped up, the influx of foreigners was not slowed down, Boon Wan did not come in to fine tune the housing policies, prices would have easily doubled and more millionaires would have been made. 3 rm and 4 rm resale flats would been fetching a million each by now.

Imagine how many more millionaires would there be in Sin City? Half the population of Sinkies would be millionaires by now. Boon Wan should not have put his fingers into such a good thing that is happening in Sin. Now many Sinkie dreams of becoming millionaires by not selling their HDB flats, by not working and just sitting on their HDB flats would have been doomed. And without this asset inflation, how are they going to pay for the world class medical bills and to buy a new car or to retire rich?

Things could have been so much better, Sinkie so much richer, if only Mah Bow Tan remains as the Housing Minister. Many Sinkies must be regretting for missing the golden opportunities and becoming millionaires. In the next GE they will be demonstrating for the return of Mah Bow Tan to continue with his housing policies that made Sinkies instant millionaires.

Now Sinkies have to live with only moderate increases in the value of their properties, but still a consolation as the prices will be up and up but on a slower pace, like doubling every 20 years instead of 10 years.

Boon Wan, look at what you have done to bust the happy dreams of Sinkies? Boon Wan should not have ramped up the BTO programme, then everyone will be shouting, ‘Huat ah, huat ah.’

You can't please everyone. Some like high prices, some like low prices. Some will love Mah Bow Tan and some will love Boon Wan.



11/21/2012

What is worth living for?



‘Fun City it isn’t. U.S. pollster Gallup conducts surveys in over 140 countries to compare how people feel about their lives. Singapore ranks as the most emotionless society in the world, behind Georgia, Lithuania, and Russia. Singaporeans are unlikely to report feelings of anger, physical pain, or other negative emotions. They’re not laughing a lot, either. “If you measure Singapore by the traditional indicators, they look like one of the best-run countries in the world,” says Jon Clifton, a Gallup partner in Washington. “But if you look at everything that makes life worth living, they’re not doing so well.”’

The above is a report by the Gallup Poll with comments that there is something really missing here. It is akin to what George Yeo said, ‘Everything looks so perfect…but it is not real.’ The comment by Jon Clifton, ‘…what makes life worth living, they’re not doing so well.’ Now is this serious?

The Sinkies are so happy watching how much their properties are worth as the prices keep going up, and smiling everyday, congratulating themselves that they are becoming millionaires without having to work for it. Isn’t that worth living for?

The Sinkies are driving the finest and most expensive cars in the world. This must be something to be proud of and to live for. One may include the milion and multi million dollar properties and the million dollar views these properties came with. The sights from the balconies are definitely worth living for.

And we have the best education for our children with many scoring straight As until the parents are too shy to talk about. Now the ministry also agrees and will not talk about them. Now what else to live for? Oh yes, we have the best and most expensive govt to live for don’t we? A caring and compassionate govt that will take care of every needs of the Sinkies, from cradle to grave, including the Sinkies’ savings. Sinkies will know that they will all live well and with a lot of money left when they depart from this worth. And at the slightest stir, the govt will quickly jump in to offer help and more schemes and solutions.

There are many more things worth living for, the fantasy land in Orchard Road, Avatar Gardens, beautiful buildings, all glittering in the night sky.

The Gallup Poll is wrong for not being able to see all these.

Ostrich School in Problem Solving



The latest acquisition to the Animal Farm is the ostrich, famous for problem solving skill that the kangaroos, doggies, cows and horses were found to be wanting. This ostrich problem skill is world renowned. It can make all problems vanished instantly…by burying its head in the ground. Unable to see the problems means the problems are no longer there. Problem solved.

Let me try to apply this method to the current PSLE angst of the parents and children and maybe help them to solve all their stress problems. Indirectly it will also help to relieve the problems of those in the MOE and in the govt, without the parents bugging them everyday.

Like all problem solving methodology, the first thing to do is to identify the problems. In this case, the problems are caused by the following.

1. Glorifying the high achievers

2. Creating elite schools

3. Creating elitist Through Stream Process

4. Creating elitist grading system

I believe there are many other sources and causes of stress to the parents and children. Let’s just limit to these 4 to demonstrate how effective the Ostrich Problem Solving Methodology will work.

The authorities should stop reporting and glorifying top students and those that did well in the examinations, starting with PSLE. When parents cannot compare how badly their children have fared in the examination, the stress is no longer there. See, very effective. The problem is gone.

Elite schools with their elitist names is another sore point. Raffles Institution, Hwa Chong Institution! Why is my neighbourhood school named Telok Blangah Secondary School when others are called institutions and with great names attached to them. Easy to deal with this problem. All the schools should now be named after the streets or roads nearby. Raffles should all be called Bishan Primary, Bishan Secondary and Bishan High. Hwa Chong will be renamed Bukit Timah Primary, Bukit Timah Secondary and Bukit Timah High. See, the elitist tag is removed instantly and all the schools now look the same or at least sound the same. This is like leveling the playing field.

The third problem, Through Stream. This is even easier to solve. All students entering a primary school will continue with the same secondary school and proceed to the same high school, eg, Jurong Primary to Jurong Secondary and then to Jurong High. It is a Through Stream, from Primary One to A level. It also saves a lot of hassles and administrative problems.

Finally the elitist grades. All schools are good schools, so all schools shall produce good and excellent students. For this to be believeable, all the students shall receive an excellent grade on completion of the schooling system. The grades to be adopted can be like these, Excellent in Sports, Excellent in Technical, Excellent in Arts, Excellent in Domestic Science, Excellent in Academics. All the students will be very happy, and so will be their parents.

See how effective and easy it is to apply the Ostrich Problem Solving Method to solve such a huge problem that cannot be resolved after so many years. Now no one can see which school is good, which student is good, everything looks the same. A uniform education system when every school looks the same and every student also looks the same. Wait a minute, all the school uniforms must be the same also. Can adopt the Maoist style, dull grey, same dull cuts and with no character. Everyone can blend in and not be noticeable. Very egalitarian. Can send the students to the country side to do farming, very holistic also.

Wow, I am a genius. I am going to write a book on this topic and put it in the Fiction Corner of the Library.

11/20/2012

Rise of Japanese militarism and the Evil Empire




The Emperor of the Evil Empire has descended on Phnom Penh and war cries were heard. With Obama strutting into the Asean Summit, Japan and the Phillipines were emboldened to challenge China in their claims on the disputed islands. Even Aquino was so brave to shout at the meeting about defending Filipino territories. And Noda finally removed his veil of being a moderate and took the stance of the right wing militants.

The full coterie of the Evil Empire chieftains in the Summit must be reassuring and a show of force to put down China. And this kind of militant gesturing can only get worst by the days with the USA gaming on its pivot to Asia doctrine. Let’s see if Hillary’s call to use trade to win friends will happen, or use arms to force obedience prevails. It is as good as saying we are here to stay and to call the shot. Obama has already told Myanmar to cut ties with North Korea and Cambodia to release political prisoners and meddling with its human right issue.

China better be strong and not allow Japan to push it around. It must be ready to engage the Japanese militarily at Diaoyu Islands. This is the only way to tell the little pests on the by line to stay clear as China means business and would not be pushed around. As for the Phillipines, China should scale down its trade, stop buying bananas and other crops from the Phillipines. Let the Phillipines sell everything to Japan and the USA.

China is in a now or never situation with the Evil Empire and the little pests standing on its head shouting threats of violence. It has to take them down one at a time and test the resolve of the Emperor to show its hands.

Pay and you will get the answers



MAS is keen to know why some goods sold here are more expensive than in other countries or why the prices were different. A tender has been called to conduct a study on the causes. I think they roughly know that some of the factors could be labour, rent, tax, regulations, cost of living, markups, advertising, preference, the weather, hype, consumer irrationality, cost of govt, profiteering, no choice, monopoly, affordability etc etc. The affordability factor is unique to Sin as it means that the seller can sell at any price as long as the consumer has the money and willing to pay, or has no choice but to pay.

Paying for this survey will come up with a clear picture of the whats and the whys of expensive things. Hopefully it will be used to bring down prices so that things that are expensive for rubbish or wrong reasons can be made cheaper. But this is conditional on the caveat that the affordable logic is not used.

I think this will also be useful to me to know how to price my red bean soup too. Then I will know why my red bean soup is more expensive here than in Batam and JB. And for sure I will not price my red bean soup using the affordable logic as I cannot control the supply and demand.

And definitely the survey will help Boon Wan to price his HDB flats. At least he would know why the public flats here are more expensive than in other countries, if he still didn’t get it, and maybe he could then price the flats correctly, and be more affordable. Oops, don’t use the term affordable or the affordability logic can?

I strongly recommend that the Housing Minister also call for a tender to survey why housing prices are so high here. Tenders are useful instruments when conducted properly and the results would be objective and beneficial to who ever commission it.

11/19/2012

High Speed trading ‘risky and unfair’ by AFP


This is the title of an article written by Agence France Presse a couple of months back. The gist of the article was about American finance experts raising the dangers and risks of high speed trading in Congress and warning of the consequences. They were all crying foul about how dangerous this animal is and that it must be put down. What they failed miserably to say was that this is cheating and an offence against trading rules and by laws, and against the principles of fair play, a level playing field that all regulators are expected to enforce to protect the traditional and retail investors.

‘”US equity markets are in dire straits. We are truly in a crisis,” said Mr David Lauer, a former trader and now a consultant on markets and high frequency trading at Better Markets ….High frequency trading now accounts for 50% to 70% of the volume on markets each day…But it simultaneously works in “dark pool” trading operations away from regulated markets, with computers able to work at hyper speed to exploit price anomalies and take advantage of buyers and sellers trading in traditional ways.’

This was what Lauer said to the Senate Committee on Banking. He was simply saying that the regulators of the exchange were working hand in glove with the high speed traders using computers, dark pools and tweaking the trading system, to cheat on the traditional traders. To put it even simpler, the regulators are part of the crime syndicate that were exploiting the trading system to cheat the traditional traders and getting away with it with the US Govt either sleeping or closing an eye to their crimes.

‘The effect is that traditional retail investors have pulled out, frightened by the volatility brought by HFT and the perception of unfair pricing…Mr Andrew Brooks of brokerage T. Rowe Price told senators “the almost myopic quest for speed has threatened the very market itself. There is a growing distrust of the casino like environment that the market place has developed over the past decade. We worry that the erosion of investor confidence can undermine our capital markets, which are so important to the economy.”’

Unfortunately all these efforts were in vain as Congress was a lame duck as many congressmen have vested interested to allow the cheating and crime to continue. Some could have participated in the crime themselves. The traditional investors would continue to be cheated and the stock market will continue to wind down to a stand still in time to come. By the end of the day when it becomes unbearable, it would be too late. And the criminals would have walked away with their loot, with the blessing of the US Govt and the appointed regulators to keep watch on the cheats. Who is there to watch over the regulators who became partners of the crime?

Is our market going to suffer the same fate? Are there any similarities?

What is this nonsense called unfair trading? There is no such thing as unfair trading in the stock market. Unfair trading is cheating and is an offence. Even keying in and withdrawal of orders with no genuine intent is an offence to create a false market. Buying and selling without change of ownership is also an offence. Are the computer traders doing this while churning the market and creating a false market? Are they allowed to do this? Anyone with a little privy to price sensitive information and traded on it is committing an offence for insider trading. And high speed trading is doing exactly this, with access to the stock market computer to have privy of orders and to exploit this to an advantage cannot be allowed but is allowed and accepted by the regulators as innocent as a little child.



When would the Americans call a spade a spade that HFT and computer trading are cheating and be made an offence? This is American nonsense at the highest level, allowing the computer traders to cheat on the innocent traditional retail investors. If the American Govt is not going to haul in the offenders, they will pay a very high price eventually with the collapse of the stock market and the end of NYSE.



The Americans must learn from SGX, to ban HFT and computer trading from the market, to protect the interests of traditional retail investors and the capital market. Unfair practices and cheating will never be allowed in SGX. That is why our market is so sound and solid as a rock, with trading volumes increasing and growing.

Two thirds of jobs created went to foreigners


Lim Hng Kiang has quoted some numbers on jobs created over the last 5 years and how many of these jobs went to locals and foreigners. He said, ‘In the last five years, we have been generating something like 120,000 jobs a year, of which 40,000 are Singaporeans and we end up with 80,000 foreign workers. Going forward we have decided that this is no longer tenable over a long term.’

In summary, over the last 5 years 600,000 jobs were created and only 120,000 went to Singaporeans. Could the numbers be extrapolated backwards for a 10 year period and could the number be 1.2m jobs created with 400,000 going to locals and 800,000 going to foreigners? How long has this ratio of employment favouring foreigner been going on that Hng Kiang now realised that it is unsustainable and must be stopped? He said that his ministry would now be more selective and stringent in the type of companies to bring in and the type of jobs that would be created.

His projection is that this year 80,000 to 100,000 jobs will be created and between 40,000 to 60,000 foreign workers would be added to the workforce. The numbers of jobs created for foreigners would still be around 50 to 60 percent. The country is thus creating more jobs for foreigners than for locals even when the govt is going to be more selective going forward. Only if some of the jobs created can go to local PMETs, the unhappy noises would be much lesser.

‘To cow play harp "对牛弹琴!"





Following SDP’s detailed proposal for a NOM public housing scheme, many well meaning citizens have voluntarily cracked their heads to come up with many meaningful proposals to salvage the mess created by the housing policies. This is a really thankless task, not being paid a single cent, and at their own time and resources, they are passionate enough to do the sums. This is not the kind of thankless task that are paid in the millions and no answers. The thinking, effort and solutions should rightly come from those that are paid in the millions. True or not?



Another thorough proposal was in the Sunday Times yesterday by Chua Mui Hoong, a veteran establishment spokesperson. She was given more than half a page in the paper on her proposal, ‘How to cool the HDB resale market’. This effort is not the free labour type like those of SDP or other citizens but still free in a way as she is not responsible for the housing policies and the mess. Her job is to write for the paper.



What she suggested in her proposal made good sense, and so were the proposals in the SDP paper. All were made with good intentions to help the struggling minister and ministry to do a better job. But I must say again that it would all be in vain as the ministry and minister were thinking that they have done a damn good job. So what is the fuss and all the unnecessary proposals and recommendations for?



There are many reasons why all these proposals will end up in the dustbin. Firstly, they all assumed that there is a big problem that needs to be addressed. Secondly, they assumed that the ministry and minister did not know their stuff or did not know how to solve the problem. Three, accepting the proposals is as good as an admission of incompetence. How could lay people not paid for the job have the audacity to think they know better? And how could the professionals be made to look dumb?



The last point is always a hurdle and a big farce whenever an institution or person asked for suggestions. Accepting other people’s idea is acknowledging one’s own incompetence or shortcomings. And not accepting after opening the mouth to ask is an act of insincerity. Think Natcon.



What I don’t believe is that the highly paid super talents could not think of all the recommendations put up by the laypeople and the public. They are paid humongous salaries not for nothing. They are exceptionally talented and how could the less talented ignoramus think they could think better? Doesn’t make sense right? So, what is happening? To scratch or not to scratch?



The ‘to cow play harp’ is not really a good analogy. This phrase applies to the hopelessness of playing music to one that doesn’t understand music at all. Here the cow is no ordinary cow but a wise cow, a clever cow who knows what is happening and how to solve all the problems. What is holding back the cow or preventing the cow from coming out with a complete and effective solution really beats me. Excuse me for the pun.

11/18/2012

Painting with your camera





The painters are some of the most talented artists around. They train hard, work hard and acquire great skills in wielding a very primitive instrument developed thousands of years ago and still in its original form, the brush, to create and paint great works of arts and masterpieces. A good piece of brush could be had for a few dollars.

What the painters can do the photographers can’t despite the highly expensive and sophisticated precision instruments in their hands. The camera is not only a piece of fine engineering tool but also a computer added in. The best could fetch several tens of thousands of dollars. Any decent piece of camera of professional grade would cost several thousand dollars.

Other than in capturing great shots that are newsworthy, not many photographers are able to create photos that could come near to a masterpiece of an artist/painter. Are the photographers ready to accept the limitations of their expensive tool and resign to the fate that photography is only photography and still found wanting when compare to what a cheap piece of ancient primitive brush can do?

This is about to change. The camera can paint. There are still many limitations that the camera cannot take the photographers to the world of paintings. But with a new technique that I have developed, the world of paintings is beckoning. Using the technique called The Art of RAR, short for Reflection and Reflection, I am able to create paintings using the camera. My experiment into this realm of photopainting is still in its nascent stage, but the potential of painting with the camera is only limited to the imagination and creativity of a photopainter. Some of my works can be viewed at www.artofrar.blogspot.com.

The kind of paintings that could be created from The Art of RAR technique could vary from realism to abstract art with ease, using only natural light and the natural environment. More creations are waiting to be discovered in a control environment with the right set ups and accessory equipment. Photography is not going to be the same again. Photographers need not be limited by what they were used to be doing with their cameras and could venture into many unknown frontiers of artistry. Technology has given the photographer and their cameras room for more creativity and innovation and experimentation.

The Art of RAR is only a small step forward.

Little fantasies, myths and beliefs

I could not remember what was the annual sum quoted to maintain the make believe gardens at Marina South. The novelties are wearing down and the exuberant crowds have dissipated, or at least during weekdays. The abundance of eateries is putting pressure on the operators of barely half filled joints, sitting glorious like petrol stations in a way out park in the desert. If the revenue from the eateries were computed to defray the original maintenance cost of the gardens, this is going to rocket when they called it a day or with rentals tumbling down. The little fantasy could be a long drawn financial drain on the public coffer. There is another interesting article in the Sunday Times on the poorest president in office, Uruguayan President Jose Mujica. He does not live in the equivalent of a White House or the Elysee Palace but in his little farm house. He donated 90% of his US$12,000 monthly salary to charity and drives around in a 1987 Volkswagen worth US$1,800. His philosophy in life is not to be burdened by possessions. This is what he said, ‘I am called “the poorest president”, but I don’t feel poor. Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle, and always want more and more.’ I don’t think he will fit into the ethos of living in Sin. He is easy going, no drive, no greed and no ambition to want to be a multi millionaire, and did not claim that he had sacrificed for the country by taking up political office. Neither did he claim that his income is far below market rate. Another piece which would trash the learning Mandarin is difficult myth for the Chinese Sinkies is about the two precocious little girls of investment guru Jim Rogers. They were Americans but speak fluent Mandarin that they learnt while attending local schools on arriving here. The presence of a Mandarin speaking home environment helps with a full time personal tutor. What is more important is the passion and purpose of wanting to learn a language and the ability to see its usefulness in the future. But this will be an exception as some Chinese Sinkies will still find learning Mandarin more difficult than pursuing a course in rocket science. Another myth centres in the now infamous CIA Director Gen Petraeus. It has nothing to do with his ECA but how the CIA thought it expedient or convenient to con the American public and the world with their reports. Think WMD. In this case it was the 911 attacked of the US Embassy in Benghazi and the killing of its Ambassador. The official and public statements made were that it was a spontaneous rioting. The truth is that it was a planned terrorist attack to commemorate the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre twin towers. This kind of misinformation or telling white lies is nothing new to the CIA or the American Administration. Fortunately or unfortunately many believers will still believe that anything coming out from the American govt or western media must be the truth, as they keep repeating them. These are interesting readings and food for thought on a Sunday morning.

11/17/2012

USA, The Evil Empire


                 USA, The Evil Empire

Since its independence from imperial Britain, USA has always been run by bad wicked people whether in the government or in the private sectors. In fact its government departments be it White House, CIA or PENTAGON and its business institutions like the big banks, insurance business, stock exchange and other big business conglomerates have  always been run by crooks, robber barons and scoundrels. Immediately after its independence from Britain the white American invaders started on an aggressive war path of wiping out the native Americans through killings, murder and genocide and as a result over eighty-five million or about ninety-eight percent of the natives were brutally and wantonly killed. Then the white invaders started on a massive programme of getting millions of white immigrants from Europe to fill up America. Then to develop America the white invaders embarked on a programme of using African slaves as free labour to work in the plantations and other labour or construction works . Believing in its own superiority the white Americans went on a rampage march of aggression to attack and invade Mexico and consequently took by force of military might about one million six hundred and fifty million square miles of Mexican lands comprising the present states of Florida, Texas, Utah, Dakota, New Mexico and California. It subsequently attacked and took away Hawaii and Guam from the natives of these Pacific Ocean islander kingdoms.

While the politicians and the military were active in political and territorial aggressions their counterparts in the business institutions were just as aggressive in building up big business empires at the expense of the natives and the people. These white American crooks, scoundrels and robber barons are very much in the big picture of the present day of controlling and ravaging banks, insurance, real estate and stock markets not only in America but also throughout the whole world. It is through their selfishness and uncontrollable greed that they have not only brought the American economy, banks and finance to its present debacle of self destruction but it has also extended its evil operations across the seas to affect the economy and finance of many others countries .

With the American economy and finance are in shambles and the country already bankrupt the wicked American politicians and its military can't bear to see other countries especially Asian countries coming up growing rich in peaceful development. So in their warp thinking they will not allow others to develop and grow rich while they stagnate and so they try all ways and means to create troubles, instability and wars across Asia to stop the march of Asians to development and prosperity. This can be seen in its wanton open attacks on Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and soon Iran as well as creating tensions and suspicion between the countries in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. The world especially Asian countries must wake up to realise how  wicked and satanic the Evil Empire, USA is and unite and cooperate to stop the Evil Empire from doing further damage to others.

Southernglory1
Saturday, 17th November,2012