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12/31/2012

DPRK has right to launch its satellite


China should never alienate the DPRK people for doing something they consider it their right to do. China and the Chinese people should never forget the difficulties they encountered in their pursuit of national independence and national revival in the past. The new Chinese leader Xi Jinping has just started talking about Chinese dreams of revival in the past few days. While China and the Chinese people think that they have the right to fulfill their national dream, how can China hope to deprive the DPRK people of those same rights to fulfill their dreams of national independence and a national revival?
As one of the oldest civilizations in the world, China and the Chinese people should never forget their national moral principle: jisuo buyu, wushi yuren ( do not impose on other people things you do not like yourselves) .
As the only third world country representative in the UN Security Council with the power of veto, China must uphold the principles that are fair to the aspirations of the vast population in the third world, which accounts for eighty percent of humanity, in order to be worthy of its permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
Our world is full of trouble and miseries, and our future looks dim, exactly because a few powerful nations do whatever they please in this world in complete disregard of the principles of fairness to all. They use their advanced weapons, such as unmanned drones, to kill people they regard as a threat. They do not even need to prove to anybody in a court or anywhere that these people who are targeted by these lethal weapons deserve the death penalty before they are killed by the push of a button.
Nobody has made any outcry about these inhumane killings carried out in the third world by the US military and the CIA. Who give them the right to condemn North Korea for launching a satellite for peaceful purposes? The people of the world need to wake up to the real dangers present in this world, and support the weak third world countries' right to defend themselves.

Posted by Professor Han Dongping

Hillary Clinton the evil American demon politician


Hilary Clinton is a vicious wicked aggressive warmongering woman and a trouble maker in the traditional satanic line of evil American supremacist exceptionalism. She is also  very extremely anti-China and anti-Chinese. She has told much lies about China and adopted endless evil confrontational policies geared to stop Chinese peaceful development with the intention to split and weaken China and thus eventually hoping to destroy China and the Chinese people. Her wicked policies include supporting the terrorists brigands of the demon Dalai Lama and the Uighur separatists as well as stoking problems in the East China sea and the South China Sea hoping thus to drive Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines to start an open warfare with China. She should be cursed by all Chinese and all peace loving people and if there is such thing as a God she should be instantly despatched to hell so that she will not be able to cause any more trouble in this world.

Bomb threats or pranks intolerable for public safety and security


An Indian national by the name of Aditya Bhatia, a foreign student at the Global Indian International School, has posted in his facebook a threat against Singapore. He wrote that he would take a ‘big big revenge” on Singapore when he leaves the country… he is going to spit everywhere…he will “plant bombs on Marina Bay Sands”

This is no joke and no small threat. Anyone mentioning the word ‘bomb’ in the airport can be expected to be whisked into custody and subject to intensive interrogation by the police. Here is an explicit comment on an act of terrorism, planting bombs at the Marina Bay Sands.

For the police not to take action or to treat this case as a childish prank is unacceptable. Some had been arrested in the past for making reports of bombs over the phone. The country cannot afford to take such pranks or threats for granted. If this is not curbed immediately, it could lead to more of such nonsense being repeated. After a while, nobody will take them seriously, just like crying wolf. That will be serious as the guards will be down and a genuine threat may be mistaken for another prank and lives and properties could be lost.

No one, yes, no one, must be allowed to make such threats even as joke or a prank, or as an expression in a moment of folly or anger. The police must punish the culprit severely and make this case or any such cases forbidden to fool around with.

How safe are our women folks?


The horrific rape and the death of a medical student in India must be an eye opener to the people here, and also the authority for the risk it is taking with our women folks. Foreign workers, not only from India, but from other third world countries are simply country folks that are basically hungry and a bit wild with their basic instinct.

We have half a million of them here or there about. Many are living in very close proximity with our women folks, our oldies and children. While our men folks are away, working, many of these shift workers are hanging around in the void decks and corridors of HDB and even condos, with too much time in hand and nothing to do.

Like it or not, these are hungry men, and their basic instinct and sexual desire are often unsatisfied. Their roving hearts, roving eyes can easily be aroused and who knows what they could do. When the men folks are not around, the women folks are easy victims to such hungry men.

How safe are our women folks in the midst of these foreign workers? Are we playing with fire, taking for granted that nothing will go wrong, that in our home ground, we are safe. The foreign maids and Geylang could take off some pressure for the moment. But it would never be able to remove all the built up pressure and lust that need to be released. And all it needs is a moment of folly, a moment of animal lust and some people’s life will be in ruin.

Sobering realities


There is no free lunch and nothing comes free. The extremely high cost of govt, and the extremely high cost to keep the yodas’ salary in the millions when they don’t need them, when they have abundance of them, but not time, is the biggest flaw in the distribution of wealth in this Sin City. And where is the money coming from for all the big paychecks, for good work, bad work and for doing sweet nothing?

The sobering realities that Sinkies have not come to terms with, are not thinking or did not want to think about, is the high cost to maintain this govt and the coterie of elite in high places and collecting humongous paychecks. If the super talented elite could generate and create incomes for their paychecks and their gregarious appetite for millions, it would be another issue that is less worrisome. The problem is when they are not creating the revenue and income to pay themselves, then the money must come from the people in all kinds of ways and schemes.

Paying the yodas and elite at the kind of salary and perks and whatever, is like throwing money into a black hole, and the demand is for more and more. And the poor and average Sinkies, many still did not know, will be the ultimate paymasters to make the rich richer and themselves poorer.

The Sinkies must wish that the two sovereign funds make more profits. The constant and regular reports of the SWFs losing hundreds of millions or billions at every sour deal must not be greeted with joy and celebration. The losses will need to be patched up, and where is the most convenient source of income to do that? Sinkies must pray and pray that the SWFs are doing well and could generate enough profits for the yodas and elite. In that way, the poor Sinkies could be spared from coughing out more and not deplete whatever little savings they have squirreled away in the CPF.
This is the sobering truth. The poor Sinkies are subsidising and paying for the well being of the rich elite. Sinkies must not wish any local GLCs to make big profits as the source of revenue is likely from them. When the big landlords and public services or privatised public services are trumpeting their huge profits, they are profits made from the Sinkies, unless the profits are from overseas investments.

Be aware of this sobering truth. It is the hard truth Sinkies are paying for.

12/30/2012

COE, a dangerous elitist trend of thought




In Saturday’s ST forum, two articles were published on the COE on how to make it effective as an instrument to control car ownership. Both thoughts were similar and highly elitist in nature. One former wanted to raise the cost of driving into congested area. Another wanted to make it more painful and unpleasurable to drive. There need to be more congestion to force people to take public transport.

Both forumers wanted to punish those who wish to drive by more or less the same solution, suggesting pay more until it hurts. For the rich this kind of reasoning and method of controlling driving is what they are wishing for. What is another hundred bucks when they could cough out a few hundred thousands to get a luxury car like small change? Who would be hurt most, those who cannot afford the high cost but must use private transportation out of no choice.

Elitism and elitist thoughts are very prevalent among the rich and super rich. They only think of the convenience money can buy for them and not how this kind of solution will make life very difficult, not only inconvenient to many average Sinkies. As it is, taxi fare must increase with higher COE. Public transport fare must also increase when more switched to public transport and the operators will claim the need to acquire more vehicles or upgrade the system.

The bottom line, the poor consumers down the bottom end would have to pay more for less, taking the same public transport and having to pay more for it. And the roads will be freer with lesser cars on the road, for the convenience and satisfaction of the rich that could afford the luxury of driving.

Original idea, original concept, original paintings

Talking about originality, the paintings created by the Art of RAR technique are absolutely original and conceptualised by Mother Nature. They are entirely new, unthought of by any human beings. They are Nature's own work, bearing Nature's trademark of exclusivity in every piece.

The works of many great masters are originals, and also imitations, or inspired by other masters' works. They pick up ideas from each other, innovate or refresh, made improvements to create more exciting works of art.

In the case of Art of RAR, Mother Nature does not need any inspiration from other human masters to create her own art pieces. There is no need to copy or imitate or improve on anyone else works. The works are Mother Nature's thumbprints and origin.

As time goes by, it is likely that such works of art will provide inspiration for other painters to become more creative and to produce even better works. Human artists and painters need inspiration, sometimes guidance from all sources, particularly from Nature. Mother Nature is the source of everything and will create works to inspire and to raise the level of art to ever higher art forms.

Mother Nature is original, the origin.

12/29/2012

Brutal gang rape victim from India died in Mt Elizabeth Hospital





The 23-year-old victim of the brutal gang rape and assault in Delhi died early this morning at the Mt Elizabeth Hospital here. The attack against this young medical student by animals walking on two legs has triggered mass protest in Delhi that is infamous for sexual crimes against the females. This poor young woman will now become another statistics and will soon be forgotten.

No one will know her name except her relations. She will only be known as the rape victim, like all the brutalised women in a male chauvinistic society that think of nothing about abusing women sexually. Many politicians and scions of powerful families have been involved in such sexual violence and got away Scot free, and still running for political office or remain in political office.

Women should be careful and not get too close to such highly sex individuals. Wearing sexy clothing, short skirts, etc, could trigger their animal desire. There are many foreign workers here who are alone, sex starved and have the same mentality. The men in blue should be extra careful not to loosen their control over such potential behaviour. Sinkie women are too innocent and did not know what they are asking for in their company. Do not tempt them. It's your fault if you do.

India needs a revolution and this can only be championed by their women, to defend themselves against such heinous violations from highly sex men. Rest in peace, sex victim and victims.

PAP clean sweep in Punggol East by election




The prospect of a 5 corner contest in the Punggol East by election led me to take a peep at my crystal ball. And the result is a clean sweep for the PAP with an unbelieveable victory of 90% of the votes. The opposition parties lost their deposits, everyone of them. No, this is no fluke. There is no hint or sign of fraud that led to this scintillating result for the ruling party. It is the best endorsement for the PAP and a thrashing for the folly and silliness of opposition parties that rightly do not deserve any support from the voters. The people decide to kick their silly asses to wake them up.

The thinking goes like this. What are the opposition parties trying to do? It is clear as day light that going on more than a straight fight would put their chances of winning very low. 3 corners are as good as losing outright. Anything more might as well forget the trouble, save the money and effort and don’t waste the people’s time. All they could gain, perhaps, is some cheap air time, some cheap publicity, to say a few angry words to the people. What else do they seriously think of achieving in a 5 corner fight? To prove their stupidity?

The other thinking is that there are moles present in the opposition parties that want to deliver the seat to the PAP. But the people would not know who is the mole, or how many are moles. And knowing that the outcome is going to be a PAP victory, might as well deliver the votes to the PAP and teach the clowns or moles a lesson. This could be an explanation of the final result. And there is no need to curse and swear for the missed opportunity just like the President Election. There is no point in blaming the other candidates that they should have pulled out of the race.

When opposition parties are thinking of having a wild party in every by election, to have a good time at all cost, they are not going to get any sympathy vote from the people. The people may be daft, but not silly. If the opposition parties are not serious and wanting to make every by election counts, why should the people take them seriously?

Under the present circumstances, with 5 parties contesting, my crystal ball is crystal clear who the eventual winner will be. No need guessing.

The National Celebration




The national football team won the Suzuki Cup for the 4th time, beating Thailand who was also vying for a fourth time victory. It was a big victory, something similar to the medals the table tennis team won in the Olympics. It was also cause for a national celebration.

The victories of the two teams have many things in common.  Both were great sporting achievements for the country, with imported players. The table tennis team was nearly a complete foreign talent team. The football team was regulated and the number of foreign players was restricted. One cannot help but to notice the foreign faces all over, including the coach. After so many years of foreign coaches, some are begging for the coach to stay on as there was no local talent coach available, trained and prepared to take over the national team when the current coach leaves. In terms of coaches, the table tennis team is looking more like a total dependency on foreign talents.
The other big similarity was the victory tours. Both teams were paraded in some parts of the city with autograph and photo taking sessions. Both were touted as big national events. There were great expectations of the citizens flooding the streets to welcome the heroes and heroines. There were reports of a national celebration, trophies to bring Singaporeans together, to make Singaporeans proud.

I was not in any of the celebrations. Based on the media, the celebrations were more muted, attended by a few diehard fans. There was no spontaneous outburst of joy that the country and its citizens have achieved greatness in the sporting fields. Whatever celebrations they seemed to have fizzled out in double quick time. There were no street parties or overnight parties happening across the island. Not many people even bother to talk about it.

Should Singaporeans rally to such successes and feel proud to be Singaporeans that Singaporeans can be world beaters?

12/28/2012

Medical fees for the seniors in Hongkong


‘…in HK everybody enjoys virtually free medical benefits. This is especially worthwhile for seniors who have more needs to see a doctor. In HK, all government hospitals charge a maximum of only HK$100 = S$16 for the treatment of any disease inclusive of all medicines, regardless of how many times the patient has to come back to see the doctor. …’

This is an extract from an article by AFP on the benefits of growing old in Hongkong. One of the biggest bug bear of ageing is medical fee. And if I read the article right, ‘everybody enjoys virtually free medical benefits’ in HK, not free totally but the cost must be quite minimal compares to what Sinkies are paying in our public hospitals. And $16 for the seniors, inclusive of medicine is a steal. And there is no mean testing to see who gets what or how much difference must be the subsidies. They are not that mean and petty.

Hongkong is very similar in nature to Sin City in many ways, including standard of living, cost of living and even taxation. Why shouldn’t our govt use the HK medical model to structure our medical services, particularly the fees for citizens and senior citizens? Why is it that HK can afford such medical benefits for its citizens and we cannot despite the billions or maybe trillions of reserves that we boast about? And the subsidies for medical services must be quite enormous for the HK Govt to bear, and the best part, it is not going bankrupt for providing them.

In the same article it was suggested that the cost savings by the HK Govt is that they don’t pay their politicians and civil servants ‘out of this world’ salary. And they too are not corrupt, quite as corruption free as Sin Govt. Should Sin Govt learn from HK Govt or vice versa, to provide good quality medical services to the citizens at very reasonable cost, but not very affordable cost? Is the quality of the medical service in HK much lower than that in Sin or comparable while the cost to the HK people is really peanuts?

The most frightening thing in Sin today is to fall sick, young or old. Many will be facing bankruptcy even with Medisave and Medishield unless one is very well provided with private insurance to end up paying less than $10 for a major op.

Punggol East a circus or a walkover

The news today, 5 parties will be contesting the Punggol East SMC when the by election is called. The parties announcing to be in the contest are WP, SDA, SDP and Reform Party, and the incumbent party PAP. The news is immediately met with a roar of ludicrity. Four opposition parties competing against each other and against the PAP would be as silly as it could be. The Presidential Election did not seem to teach any of the parties any thing.

In a tight contest of one versus one, any opposition party would still be in a tough position to think of winning. Are the parties real, in announcing that they all want to be in, for what? Are they thinking of a circus for entertainment or are they serious in thinking of winning and dislodging the PAP from Punggol East? At face value, it is just too clownish to be true except for SDA.

The other possibility is that Zhuge Liang is at work again. It is as real and as unreal. Everyone will be kept guessing. PAP will be kept guessing as well. Only on Nomination Day will the truth be out as to the number of parties will be contesting. Let’s hope reasons will prevail and sensibility will be the order of the day.

Yawning Bread thinking aloud on by election candidate

Yawning Bread did a bit of introspection as to the problem facing the PAP in finding a suitable candidate for the Punggol East by election. He ruled out Ong Ye Kung and Desmond Choo as possible candidates for obvious reasons. One has left politics and one a two time loser in Hougang. It is going to drain on him emotionally and psychologically to stand up in an election with so much controversies and negativities.

But there must be many candidates in the PAP’s reserved list. One thing for sure, the new candidate is likely to be put under the finest comb to be whiter than white, and more proper than a priest or a nun. And very likely, the candidate would have to declare in public that there is no misconduct in his record, in the past or in the future. The demand for such a candidate is going to be very stringent and PAP cannot be found not to have done its job in making a thorough screening for any flaws that could surface during and after the by election.

I can imagine the PM or DPM standing on stage to guarantee the moral virtues and integrity of the chosen candidate. It must be the most perfect candidate the PAP has ever put up for an election. The voters can be assured of a very fine and flawless candidate to serve them.

The opposition must take note of this and may have to offer another equally flawless candidate this time round. They had the experience of Hougang and should find this a familiar situation.

12/27/2012

High COE will lead to higher cost of living


The equation is straight and simple. When a car or van is costing double, the operating cost will go up accordingly. Any business that needs the use of cars and vans, including taxis, not sure about school buses, will simply have to raise their cost. The hawkers and foodcourt operators that need to move their goods and raw material, or the suppliers, will have to incur the additional cost, and these will conveniently be passed down to the consumers, the lowest feeder in the hierarchy of existence.

Don’t think high COE just affects those who want to own cars. It affects everyone, every business, directly or indirectly. Of course those who need a car will be hit most and some will be hit earlier when their COE expire. Some are hoping that it will not happen too fast, but the clock is ticking and the old car they are holding to will be history as days gone by. And the real crunch will hit them hard. Many would have to readjust, a new lifestyle, and the buses and MRTs will have higher loads, and more crams again.

Low corruption rate doesn’t mean no corruption


Just like Wong Kan Seng said about low crime rate doesn’t mean no crime, low corruption rate does not mean there is no corruption. According to the stats, of all the cases investigated by CPIB, only 7.5% involved civil servants. And of the 135 cases charged last year, only 6 were from the public service. The numbers look quite healthy for a city that is famed for being corruption free. The few high profile cases recently do not tarnish the good reputation of the public service.

The problem of corruption is prevalent in many other countries and how to deal with them is first to recognize the problem. Countries that don’t recognize that there is a problem will have no corruption problem to deal with in the first place. Some are true and some are fiction, or corruption being disguised in various forms.

China is getting very serious in this business, recognizing that it is a serious problem and has to be dealt with urgently and with the full might of the state machinery. Vice Premier Wang Qishan has been tasked to clean up corruption, the most senior minister in the new leadership appointed for the task. Many cases were revealed publicly. The most startling change is to allow the media/blogs to publish cases of corruption that have not been proven. Luo Changping, the deputy MD of a news magazine Caijing, famed for publishing corruption in high places, received a call by the police that they will protect him. His publication of such cases used to be censored immediately and be visited by the security officers. Now his publication could remain untouched for months.

Wang Qishan also urged other officials to read the French Revolution written by Alexis de Tocqueville. The 19th Century French Revolution led many aristocrats to the guillotine, not much different from the Communist Revolution in China in 1949. Wang Qishan’s message was clear, ‘The biggest failing of the old regime was the corruption of the rulers.’ Said Dr Gao Yi, a history professor at Peking University.

The corruption problem in China is huge and pervasive and would take more than one man and a few years to eradicate. They know they have a serious problem that could lead to regime change.

12/26/2012

After Palmer comes AIM


The Aljunied Hougang Town Council was given a red card of sort in the town council’s audit. This put Aljunied Hougang as the only one, I think, with a red card, which was bad when all the PAP Town Councils were mostly all greens except for a few yellow cards.

This event has led to the Worker’s Party making its defence as to why it was given a red card which made them looked bad. The problem was in the Town Council Management System for collection of town council fees from the residents which was terminated and WP could not get one up running in time. It was not due to any missing numbers or money.

The protest by WP led to some defending on why the system was terminated and the surfacing of a $2 company called AIM. The three directors of the company, the only staff with no employees, were Chandra Das, Lau Ping Sum and Chew Heng Ching, all former PAP MPs. The facts so far, the PAP Town Council developed the system, sold to AIM on a public tender. AIM bought it for $140k and leases back the system to the town councils for a monthly fee of $785 pm each. AIM then subcontracts National Computer Services to manage and service the system on its behalf. Apparently AIM could practically recover the full sum of $140k paid in a year and subsequent years will be more like profits.

The revelation of the company AIM and the details of the sale and the lease back of the Town Council Management System have led to many questions now being asked that are not looking good on the part of the Town Councils. Teo Ho Pin, Coordinating Chairman of PAP TCs would now have to fill in the blanks for all the questions being asked. How would this look from the point of efficiency, transparency, correctness and proper would depend on Teo Ho Pin’s answers. And the answers would likely to be in public and may even be raised in Parliament. This is going to overshadow the exciting details of the Palmer Affair for sure.

COE, a time bomb in the making


When COE of small cars costs $81k and big cars $100k, it is it. The anger has not become an outburst yet as many car owners are still hanging on to the last few months of their old cars. When their COE expires, when the need is genuine and serious, the cries will not be merely a whimper. Many less well off families are heavily dependent on private transport to get around. Public transportation would not do to these people when it is not just a matter of inconvenience but real difficulties getting to them. The very old, the very sick, the handicaps, the children that need to be ferry around to inaccessible schools will be the first victims to this ingenious and talented scheme to control car population.

The rich will go about their lives as if nothing has happened and many would quietly be saying, cannot afford private transport, take public transport lah. Why so difficult?

When more and more people ended up in such difficult situation, the noise is not going to be loud and unpleasant. It is could lead to an outcry, a revolt against the establishment that smugly sat in high heavens and making judgement on the loser mortals. How long could the losers bear with the difficulties of moving around or not able to move around anymore unless with great pain and trouble or paying a small fortune?

The time has come for a change, for a system that cares for the ordinary and the average Sinkies, a system that does not snub at the losers and telling them to buck up, to work harder, to earn more if they want to live better. The losers cannot write their own paychecks. The fact is that many of the losers are working very hard trying to make ends meet, to make their lives better. Now, with the huge population, with limited land and space left to provide for easier mode of transportation, and when owning private transportation is going to cost an arm or a leg, something gonna give. And some are still saying we need more people to come in to fill the space and take up the slag in property prices, to support property prices or the price will collapse.

The pain of this vicious cycle of high economic growth, high population growth, and high usage of land and space is starting to hurt.

SMRT was so perfect


SMRT was so perfect, so efficient and so profitable. And they rewarded themselves with huge bonuses and big pay packages. Then overnight the nightmare begun, starting from the clips falling off and stoppages every other day.

Now a new man is at the helm. 8 key managers were recruited to tackle the problems in the organisation. What problems? It was the perfect company a few months ago with its CEO earning praises for a very profitable and well run public transport company. How could there be problems and needing an infusion of top managers? And are they recruited to boost up the top management team that were doing so well or doing so badly? Or were they recruited to replace some of the top managers that were doing so well and still must be replaced?

No organisation has seen its fortune and image went legs up within such a short interval of time, from being so good to being so bad. What happened if the clips did not keep falling off? Would SMRT be still the darling of a well run and managed organisation, and its top management still receiving the laurels of success and efficiency and huge bonuses?

Are there other organisations that are looking so good, like a polished juicy red apple from the outside, but a rotten core that is waiting to be exposed? Is this the beginning of more disclosures, that all that is not well will not last long and cannot be hidden from the public for too long?

12/25/2012

By election Laws, the spirit and intent of the law




Since the last interpretation of the spirit of the law in the Hougang by election, the govt’s position is that a general election is to elect a govt. When such a govt is in place and when a MP’s seat is left vacant for some reasons, it really does not matter as the govt is already elected. So having a by election or no by election is not of much importance as long as someone else is looking after the constituency on behalf of the MP. A stand in, a MP on loan from another constituency, or in the same GRC, or a CCC Chairman or any appointee could really fill the seat legally in accordance with the provisions of the Election Laws. This is what I have heard to be the official position and I stand corrected. The govt can always correct me if I am wrong and educate us on the correct interpretation, the law, the spirit of the law, the intent of the law, or the convenience of the law to be interpreted to whoever’s advantage.

If the above premises are true, and if the judgement by Judge Pillay is the absolute truth, that the PM has full discretion to decide to hold or not to hold a by election, then the constituents of any single member constituency may not be served by an elected MP after a GE. Anyone or any appointee would do.

I choose to disagree as a citizen and as a constituent. And I would also like to interpret the spirit of the law, the intent of the law to my advantage. As a constituent, I demand as my right to be represented by an MP that I have elected or have a say to his being my MP. No substitute is good enough. No part timers or part time MPs from other constituency to part time in my constituency. I demand a full fledge MP elected by my fellow constituents to represent me in Parliament and to take care of my problems. There is a direct quid pro quo in the case of a properly elected MP who promised to serve the people and the people duly elected him. Anything else is no good. It is a short change.

What do you think?

Merry Christmas to everyone

Let me say merry Christmas to everyone first while I ponder on what I shall write this morning.

Cheers.

12/24/2012

Remisiers are low income earners

No more Peter Lim of remisier kings. The pathetic take home pay of remisiers that was reported in the news last week, this has been kept under the carpet for some time, is a revelation of a dying profession that once was the envy of many professionals. Gone were the days when remisiers could spend lavishly on their clients and living a high life. The $800 pm is even less than the lowly or uneducated aunties and uncles cleaning tables in the footcourts. The SMRT foreign drivers are earning much more. And the PMET drivers are laughing their hearts out, that they are rich compare to the remisiers. Those earning this sum are now qualified for assistance and monetary handouts from the govt. The Remisier Society or the brokerages should take the initiative to apply for govt assistance for this new poor in the country. Maybe the SGX should start to dip into the contingency fund to help the remisiers tie over this rough patch that does not seem to want to go away.

Many remisiers are professionals by training and experience, some with CFA, finance and post graduate qualifications. Many would have long quitted the industry if not for their age that rules them out from employment. They have become the new breed of ‘chiat pa tan si’ PMETs. They have no where to go and no one to turn to and waiting for the curtain to fall. I would have left too if I could find an alternative job. And to make things look sillier, remisiers have no official lunch break and are expected to work from 9 to 5, just to earn $800 with the market running non stop.

Does anyone know why the industry has hit such a low? Or does anyone really want to know?

CPF Simply said by ‘First Step’

This blogger posted a very simple but very effective explanation of the state of affair in the CPF scheme and how CPF account holders could kiss their savings good bye. And I quote,

‘First Step:

December 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm (Quote)

First Step – Increase Medisave. Second Step – Increase Medical Fees. Third Step-Increase Medisave Again. Fourth Step - Increase Medical cost again. Fifth Step – the cycle repeats itself, forget about seeing your CPF money again. Can just dream about it. Vote PAP out this Ponggol BE.’

This simplified statement says it all. And it can be duplicated for cost of living. The higher the cost of living the more needs to be kept in the minimum sum account. When cost of living increases, raised minimum sum. Keep raising the cost of living, the minimum sum will keep going higher in sync. It is like throwing money into a bottomless pit, never to be filled, and never to be seen.

Can Sinkies ever save enough for their retirement needs, for their medical fees and retirement? It is no longer how much the Sinkies are saving but how much they would have to pay for the high medical fees that they are expected to pay, like a guillotine knife over their heads. And the rapid and unstoppable high cost of living, starting with properties and car prices, will ensure that the minimum sum will be up and up and up.

Unfortunately daft Sinkies could not see the bigger picture and still clamouring to put more money into the CPF, a black hole.

12/23/2012

Sinkie IQ highest in the world




This is no joke. I have my doubt that our IQ is the highest in the world, but I think it is quite high up there. This is what Chok Tong said, “This is a shame really, considering we are ranked 1st in IQ, high in maths and science tests globally, competitiveness and other ‘hard’ areas.”

And IQ is not the only factor that we are good in. Science, Maths and other ‘hard areas’. This confirms what Veritas has always been saying here, that our IQ is many times higher than the FTs who are here to help us and be our bosses. Many average FTs, with questionable qualifications from questionable institutions, are now considered better than the locals with better IQs and genuine qualifications from world class universities.

How could this silly state of affair become a norm here, particularly in job opportunities for the locals that found themselves losing out to low quality and maybe even faked FTs, and ended up as taxi drivers or low paying jobs or worst, jobless?

Something is very sick in this Sin City where the brightest are sidelined, booted out, to be replaced by snake oil peddlers whose ability is absolutely doubtful and questionable but thought otherwise by the authorities and employers. This plague will not be noticeable yet but will take its toll down the road.

A local story in the 60s/70s, 走江湖

Let me deviate from the norms of my Sunday postings and write something about life in a different time not too long ago. I am not sure how many parts I could write but this is the first introduction of Morgan's rite of passage into 'Jiang Hu".

The story of Morgan 白面浪子

He was very strongly built. His arms were twice the size of his contemporaries. This physical blessing came from a time when babies were fed with Milkmaid or Blue Cross condensed milk. The poorer brands were Lady General or something else. Morgan was luckier. Born a few years after the war, poverty was the norm everywhere. People were jobless or on call as odd job labourers, waiting in the kopitiam or ‘koolie keng’, a place where the coolies called home where all each had was a bed. The rest were common areas. Landing a full time job was a great contentment. Morgan had the good fortune of being breast fed. Mother was an illiterate immigrant from China, with bound feet and not the type suitable for labour intensive work. Breastfeeding a baby was not as easy as it looked. The mother must have at least decent meals to nourish the baby with enough healthy milk.

When Morgan arrived, the family fortune improved in a strange way. Mother was a ‘chap jee ki’ runner, collecting the bets for the syndicate. After a while she saw the trend. Most bets were losers. She took the risk by not submitting all the bets and pocketed the balance. With more spare cash, she started to plough some into bets of her own. And lady luck was kind. Enough food, lesser worries, Morgan was the ultimate beneficiary of the good fortune. He grew up a happy and boisterous child, fair and unusually sturdy. He was the apple of his mother. And the breastfeeding continued till he was 5 or 6 years old.

Morgan was in a way allowed to do as he pleased. From young he could tell Mother that he was not interested in schooling. And that was it. It was accepted and no pressure was put on him to walk the extra mile to do better in his studies. There was no tuition and no need for tuition. The hope was pinned on his elder brother to do well in school. The father passed away in a traffic accident when Morgan was only 8. His last few words, the brother could do well in school, and as for Morgan nothing was mentioned. It was kind of fatalistic, or the ability to assess the potential of the children and accept their fate. No need high education to know that. A child’s potential was well written before his teens.

The brother’s report card was all blue. That was a great credit and a great pride when the whole neighbourhood’s children were mostly a colourful mix of red and blue. Morgan was one of the statistics. As he advanced from Primary 1 to Primary 6 in Radin Mas, the number of blue marks got lesser while the reds got more. In his last few years in primary school, it was nearly all red. That was his life, his destiny. Mother did not go hysterical and rushed him for tuition classes. A young nonya girl a few doors away was giving tuition. She only completed Secondary Two and was good enough for the job where the rest were unschooled. Maybe money was also a problem by then when the coolie Father was gone. The selling of little satchets of opium as a side income was also sold.

The good part about the educational system then was that one could either get promoted to the next level or be advanced, ie failed but still moved up to the next grade. Morgan was posted to a new neighbourhood school in Queestown, Newtown Secondary School, probably without passing his PSLE. The only thing that he excelled in school was ECA, the official and the unofficial kind. ECA did not carry any weight in a child’s school performance and was incidental, something that was just part and parcel of school. His athletic built and prowess made him a champion in field events where might was an asset. For that, the school was kinder to him and did not really put him under a short lease. He was mischievous but did not get overboard. The disciplinary master, a black belt judoka, the father of a future national swimmer, was watching and assessing Morgan’s every move. Many boys that crossed Morgan’s path were chased and beaten outside the school. Often they were chased all over the school’s neighbourhood and up into the flats across the road. Morgan did not do the chasing. Neither did his sidekicks in the same school. He would call on his support from nearby schools to do the hunt. That kept him from trouble with the school.

He was not entirely an angel though. In the science lab and a lesson in biology, the science teacher was doing a dissecting on the table. The eager students were gathered closely to watch the demo. Many were good students and still wanting to study and do well, unlike Morgan. There was no purpose in him being in school. He was bidding his time and waiting for destiny to unfold, to take him on a path he had to travel. It was he and his life and his life to deal with.

‘Kock’, a loud noise was heard. In full concentration and the quiet of the lab, the knock was a sudden interruption. Everyone lifted their heads wondering what happened. The male teacher also stopped what he was doing. He lifted his hand and started to rub the back of his head. No one said a word. The teacher did not ask either. Then it was back to business. The lesson continued. Teaching in new integrated schools had their little risks and challenges.

12/22/2012

My solo exhibition came to a close




My exhibition on the Secrets of Mother Nature came to a close after two months at the NUSS Guild House. A few of my paintings have found new homes. A few more could follow but unfortunately the deals did not go through.

The feedbacks from visitors were encouraging. Being a new artist, new technique, The Art of RAR, and a new kind of photopaintings, I am very pleased that people who have seen them appreciate and like them. For those who have acquired my paintings, they should be pleased to know that these are not the usual paintings that one can buy from everywhere.

Every painting is a mystery and a little miracle. There are painted by Mother Nature and appeared in a magic pond, and only visible to a camera. And the photopaintings that finally took form were conceptualised by the mysterious forces of Nature, a work of Nature. It is like Nature speaking or communicating to the mortals with its works. There could be some meanings in each of them that only the gifted could connect.

I am now planning to work on another exhibition with a few new series that are quite different from those that I have exhibited. My first exhibition was more of an introduction to the range of paintings that Mother Nature could share, a glimpse of the power and creativity of Mother Nature. My next exhibition will be more focus, maybe on a couple of series and with more depth.

What is real or unreal in accounting?




Or what is truth and fiction in accounting? SIA has booked a gain of $322m for selling its shares in Virgin Air for $439m. It bought the shares at a cost of $1.6b. I am a bit dull and think that this should be a loss of $1.161b! I am just being simple minded or ignorant of accounting practices and how profit and loss are computed.

Yes, the buying at $1.6b and selling at $439m led to a gain of $322m. I was reading Goh Eng Yeow’s article last Saturday and he explained how the apparent loss of $1.16b could turn into a profit of $322m. He said that over the years, the goodwill of Virgin Atlantic had been written down. There was also an amount of $117m written off to reserves. I do not know what this meant, really.

I must say that this is brilliant accounting practices and must be legal and correct. SIA is making money out of this deal by buying high and selling low. No wonder lay people are confused and there are companies like Muddy Waters trying to clean up the mud to make the water clean again.

12/21/2012

CPF Medisave Required Amount to be raised to $38,500



‘SINGAPORE: From January next year, the Medisave Required Amount (MRA) in the Central Provident Fund (CPF) will be raised to S$38,500 from the current S$32,000.

The MRA refers to the amount that must be set aside in the Medisave Account, after the CPF Minimum Sum requirement has been met.

The CPF Board said those who have met the CPF Minimum Sum and have an MRA shortfall at the point of withdrawal have to make a top-up to the Medisave Account....’

This is the latest. Does anyone want to ask the CPF Board who gives them the authority to raise the minimum sum? Who does the Board think they are?

SGX – The truth is out


It is reported, finally, in the ST that all is not well in the stock market. For a particular month, many remisiers were earning less than $1000 in commission. This is nothing better than the cleaners in the foodcourt. And in a normal month, many are raking less than $2000. What are the implications?

It is not simply a dying profession for the remisiers. The broking houses need the commission to pay its staff or they too will have to close shop. The green eye monster has done its job well to kill this industry that once was a roaring business and supporting many other businesses in one way or another. The drastic changes in turning a stock market into a casino drove the final nail into the coffin.

The volume of trading appears to be high but simply fictitious in a way, generated by computers for brokerages or trading houses, house trades that bear no commission. The real participation of traders, retail and institutions too is dwindling and drying up.

The state of health of the market is best seen by good stocks being delisted as their real values are higher than the stock values in the market. It thus does not make sense for good companies to waste their time and paying fees to be listed. And with so many penny stocks, 1c or less than 1c stocks in the main board, it simply says something is embarrassingly wrong.

Surely the people responsible for ensuring a healthy and viable stock market know what is going wrong and how to put it right. They are not paid in the millions for nothing. Once the stock market is crippled, with remisiers and supporting staff quitting the industry, with brokerages shrinking and folding up, the damage is very difficult to repair. There will be a loss of confidence and a fleeing of funds. The offices in the financial district could go empty and rentals will slide as well.

The job loss in the industry is insignificant to the demise of a stock market and the finance industry. Make no mistake about it. The numbers don’t lie. The market and the associated businesses are going kaput while millions are being paid and there is still no light at the end of the tunnel.

The final assault on PAP


PAP has been a very successful political party for nearly 50 years. Through this period, it was the dominant and unchallenged ruling party and well supported by the majority of people of all races and political affiliations. It has chalked up an impressive track record from successful policies that brought wealth and material comfort to the average citizens and all. And this track record has been the PAP’s first layer of defence. It always, without fail, waved this track record to the voters in every election. This is what we have done and achieved, and challenged the people whether their lives are getting better than before. Its two other armours are super talent MPs and Ministers and impeccable and selfless men and women in leadership roles.

This first ring of defence is starting to crumble. The people are having doubts of their well beings. The elite have no problem identifying with the great material success as everyone of them is a symbol of success.. Even then, some elite are also starting to question things that are not as right as before. Those further down the pecking order, needless to say, are clearer as to whether their lives are getting better or going to get worst.

The second level of defence the PAP has built around it is the quality of its leadership. They are able and talented men and women of great abilities. They are the best of the best, the crème ala crème of the country. This is now ringing hollow. Many policies have failed. Many ministries and ministers are found wanting in their areas of responsibility. And the new recruits at the lower level are viewed with so much scepticism and cynicism that it is not a laughing matter. It was like scraping the bottom of the barrel. The aura of greatness, of infallible men and women with great talents and ideas somehow is drawing a blank. Many are being ridiculed publicly in the social media, in public conversation and private gossip mills.

The third and final ring of defence, the integrity of the leadership, is now exposed to attacks. These include honesty, incorruptibility, moral righteousness, compassion, sincerity, selflessness and other goodness that are expected of benevolent rulers. Now the criticism and challenge are targeted at very personal level, very close to the heart and the persona of each and every leader in the party. This is not just about the ability to deliver anymore, though many are seen as not delivering. The people have gone past the stage of material well being. It is about the softwares, the ideas, the feelings, the hearts and the intangible goodness of being national leaders, to inspire and to lead, for the people and for the country.

When the characters of the leaders are being challenged, and if they cannot hold, there is nothing left to keep the party afloat anymore. Many good and charismatic rulers could survive and rule for years in spite of bad policies and bad administrations. No leaders can survive if they cannot win the support and trust of the people. The last chip to play by unpopular leaders that have lost the support of the people is to usurp power by ruling with an iron fist, authoritarianism, dictatorship, military junta etc etc.

Is the ruling party facing this final stage of assault on their rights and legitimacy to rule the country and people? If this is so, then it would not be long before the final curtain falls.

12/20/2012

Contract for service, short term contract and employee


There are still many discussions with regards to the SMRT drivers and whether the pay for a job should be the same or different. Let me just share a little on the HR practices with regard to this.

In the case of a contract for service, the workers are employed simply to do a specific job with a specific pay. Period. There is no employer employee relationship, no benefits or difference in pay between one worker and another.

In the case of a short term contract, there is an employer employee relationship, but the pay can be different and the terms and conditions of employment can be different. The main argument in this SMRT driver issue is whether the pay should be the same or different.

Allow me to clarify this. Thereotically, the basic pay for jobs of the same specification is the same. So there should be no quarrel over the job worth. Two persons doing the same job would be paid the same basic pay for that job. In practice this is hardly the case.

The computation of an employee’s pay, assuming new sign ons, will still have to take into consideration many other factors. Qualifications and experience would affect the pay offered if they are relevant. New sign ons could be offered different starting pay because of these factors.

The other factor that is in play in this case is the nationality. Workers come from different countries with different cost of living and could be comfortable with different pay offered. $100 can be a lot in some countries and not enough in others. A simple example is the pay of a similar worker producing Apple Iphones in Indonesia, China or Thailand. Their pay will be different for the same job because of the country they are in. If they are to be paid the same as those in the USA, then there is no advantage to farm out such jobs to lower cost countries. Same job different pay because of different cost of living of a country is only practical.

An added factor to this is that the foreign workers are not working in their own countries and bearing the respective cost of living. They are now in Sin City and have to bear the higher cost of living here. Thus, this point must also be input into the pay to ensure that they are adequately compensated or else it will be meaningless for them to be here. This amount could be the same to all foreign workers here as it is related to the cost of living here.

Employers also have to account for the cost involved in hiring them. And the workers must also take into consideration the amount they have paid to the recruiting agents to be here.

In summary, employers recruit foreign workers for competitive cost advantage. But there are occasions when there is a shortfall of skilled local workers and employers would be willing to pay more to bring in foreign contract workers even at higher pay then locals to complete a job. The final computation of pay for a worker is thus not a simple factor of same job same pay irrespective of nationalities and other factors. The critical issue is that the pay must be fair to the workers and to the employer after taking into consideration all factors, and both parties perceived that it is fair. This is the tricky part of salary administration. It is not QED.

The deadly derivative game


Justice Pillay had made a major ruling against Deutsche Bank of the lost of $59m for recommending derivative trading to a client few days back. In 3 months, the client, Dr Chang Tse Wen, lost $59m! This must be a kind of a record for the speed and the sum to be lost by an individual client.

The client was recommended to put money in discounted share purchase programme commonly known as accumulator. Whatever names they called it, derivatives, in whatever combinations or clever arrangements, are nothing more than betting slips. They are not investments but high risk betting or gambling.

How could such gambling slips be approved and be sold so widely across the world is troubling. The amount of derivatives bought and sold is mind blogging and could be the very instrument that could collapse the world financial system. But many high net worth clients would have to go first, losing their millions and their pants.

Investors who do not know how the derivative games are played are best to stay clear from such instruments.

Criminals in high places and high finance


HSBC was slammed with more than a billion in fines for money laundering. UBS too was fined as much for rigging Libor. And several other big banks too were caught for equally serious criminal acts. The American and European authorities are currently investigating several banks for similar financial crimes.

What is nauseating is that no individual was found guilty of any crimes. The criminals were the inanimate banks and institutions. And the fines paid were from the shareholders. The shareholders are paying the fines of these criminals in high places. Where is justice? People in high places can commit crimes and be freed from punishment? How then would they stop doing what they were doing when they know that they are untouchables?

The US is now looking into bringing a few of these criminals to court and make them pay for the crimes personally. Until this is done, until these criminals in high places are put behind bars, the banking and finance industry will be dominated and in the control of such criminals and getting paid obscenely, unchecked by anyone.

The banking and finance industry has been in the hands of rogues and robbers for too long. When would the long arms of the law reach them and put an end to their crimes?

What do fake degrees mean?



Many stories have come out from Australia where unqualified doctors were practicing and some even operated on their patients. Imagine taking drugs prescribed by quacks or operated by quacks! Could it happen here, in our renowned world class hospitals? Are there any quacks treating our sick and prescribing medicines which they know nothing about?

Then in the field of engineering, we are building many high rise flats. Any faked engineers or architects employed to build them? What can be the consequences should a high rise building collapse? Or our highways, bridges etc. Could they go down with the people and vehicles on them, onto people and properties below?

Fake degrees are not just about money, about deceit, cheating. It is about lives at stake. A fake professor lecturing in a university may not cause much harm except twisting the minds of the students. But fake professionals in many fields can be very deadly. No pray pray.

12/19/2012

Low Thia Khiang the new Zhuge Liang 诸葛亮


The Palmer Affair has slowly subsided with no politicians being ended up on the wrong side of the stick. Nobody got sued. When it blew up, there was a lot of temptation for the opposition parties to strike while the iron is hot and went on a lashing exercise to extract the same damage from the PAP as it demanded of WP during the Yaw Shin Leong Affair. The temptation was great and it took great of restraint for any opposition politician not to push the dagger a bit deeper and give it a little twist.

What happened was like a non event. The party that was expected to be up in arms, the WP, took a very low profile. There was a kind of discipline imposed. Other Low Thia Khiang, the rest was as mum as the PAP side. And Low’s comment, which could be eagerly awaited and could drag him into a heated tit for tat open war on who was dirtier, was greeted with great relief, perhaps a little disappointment for those who have sharpened their knives for full combat.

Instead of more dirt being dug out for display, instead of more heated accusations and defending, nothing of that sort happened. There was a little praise coming from Low which gave no one any chance to rebut or to tear him and his party down. The WP did not go down as another unforgiving and vicious party. It was like a gentleman party, like Low Thia Khiang. Hey, everyone is nodding that that was a coup de grace, putting himself and his party above the mud. Great strategic thinking at work.

And the rest of the opposition parties took the cue and all refrained from stirring up more shit to embarrass and to draw flakes to themselves. Our political temperature and climate seem to have improved, with great humility, graciousness and generosity. Hope this will be reciprocated in the by election and the next GE, as the new norm of decency. It bodes well for all. Low Thia Khiang and his party deserve a praise. I think it must be hard on him for now bowing to pressure from his members to do the fifteen when others did the first. 人作初一我作十五。

The little flutter is growing


Ever since the illegal strike or industrial action of the Chinese drivers in SMRT, more of such incidents are starting to appear. The little crack on the wall is getting bigger.

The latest illegal strike by the Indian and some Chinese workers in a construction site in Yishun is quite similar in nature to the SMRT strike. It was a sit in and work stoppages. In this case the workers were owed salaries by the sub contractor, Sime Chong Construction. The main sub contractor is now working with Sime Chong to pay the workers. MOM is also informed and in the picture.

The question is, would these workers be jailed, charged and repatriated like the SMRT drivers?

Natcon vs natcon


The Govt has taken the initiative to start a national conversation with the people. This exercise is to engage, listen and talk with the people to find out their aspiration, what the people want for the future, the type of country and society that they can help to create for themselves and their children. It is a massive exercise involving a lot of resources and fundings.

The mission of this Natcon is defined by the Govt and the discussion would be confined to this objective. The participants are likely to be talking about an ideal, and anyone going off topic will be hauled back. The mission and agenda are all set. The participants in a way are also set, invited by the organizers. There is a feel good feeling as it is all about a dream, about the moon and the stars.

It is kind of like an academic exercise like students in institutions of learning, a tutorial that would end up with a paper at the end of the conversation. Maybe there will be prizes for the best participant or the best papers to be presented.

There is another natcon (I am using small letters) going on among the people. It is spontaneous, uncoordinated, unstructured. Anyone can participate and it is happening everywhere, anywhere. It is free, no resources are committed to such a conversation. One major difference is that the participants are people who have something to say and wanting to say. The topics are unlimited and undefined and mainly about the realities, about their life experiences and their grievances. They are talking about the now, the immediate problems they are facing. There will be emotions and pains and anger as the issues are not something airy and fairy, not something that may or may not happen in the future.

Between the two natcons, a guided Natcon and a spontaneous natcon, the Govt is likely to listen to the Natcon it initiated. It must be as it costs a lot of money to organize such an exercise. And the findings cannot be put to waste. Would the Govt listen to the other natcon that it has nothing to do with, a natcon coming from the hearts of the people, or urgent issues that the people wanted the Govt to act on?

What would likely happen is that the findings of the Natcon will be compiled and may even be discussed in Parliament as the people’s aspiration for the future. The people have spoken. And it could even be the basis for the PAP’s position in the next GE, telling the voters that it has discussed with the people and they will deliver what the people want.

As for the spontaneous natcon that is unstructured and messy, it is likely to be regarded as voices from the disgruntled, from the losers, voices from the lunatic fringe, and likely to be ignored. To the people, their natcon is real and needs immediate attention. To the Govt, it is the guided Natcon that matters.

Is there a meeting of the minds between the Govt and the people? Yes, the Govt has spoken to some of the selected people invited. And no, the Govt is not talking or listening to the other people who wanted the Govt to listen to their problems. Which natcon is important and relevant is subjective and depending on who one is.

12/18/2012

How serious is the problem of fake degrees?


There are more than half a million PRs in the island plus many that have taken up citizenship. Assuming half of the PRs are FTs, ie professionals that are the equivalent of our PMETs, it means that there are easily 250k of them working here.

There have been complaints or rumours that are many FTs are here on fake degrees, unqualified or half qualified. There is no official statistics so far on the size of this problem and no one really knows how serious is this problem. What are the implications to the country if 10% of the FT qualifications are fakes? This does not take into account that many came from educational institutions where the quality/standard of education is sub par or even suspect.

The most obvious and painful problem is for such FTs to be employed at the expense of Sinkies, taking away Sinkies’ jobs. And many fakes could be the superiors of the Sinkies. And they are going to be paid more, to determine the fate of Sinkies and the performance of the organizations. Depending on the industries they are in, any mistake can be very serious and costly or deadly, eg in construction of buildings, housing and infrastructure, in medicine, in engineering, in food technology and science.

While this problem is festering and only passed around as rumours, not many seem to have surfaced and the cheats taken to task. Maybe it is all simply rumours and there is not much truth in it as the statistics said so. Maybe the numbers of offenders are not disclosed thus no one is panicking. Not seen, not heard, thus no problems.

How can such problems be tackled both at the organization and industry level and at the national level? Are there organizations that can check and verify the qualifications of FTs to minimize the problem, to give justice to Sinkies and the professions that hired them and the end products or services they rendered?

Temasek could end up as the biggest shareholder of Olam


Temasek owns 16.3% of Olam while Kewalram owns 20%. How is Temasek represented in the Olam Board and how much influence does it have with such a big share of the company relative to Kewalram? And Temasek could easily be the biggest shareholder of Olam after the bond issue. Kewalram, the mother company of Olam has said that it would take up its full entitlement of the bond/warrant issues. Temasek would take up its entitlement too, but also mop up everything that is not taken up by the market.

Kewalram would have to put up US$150m for the stake while Temasek’s stake is $120m. The whole issue is reportedly worth $1.25b. Theoretically it is possible for the balance, other than Kewalram’s stake, to fall onto Temasek’s lap or $1b worth of bond and warrants. That would be as good as Temasek owning anything more than Kewalram’s 20% stake. Shouldn’t this be a great opportunity for a cheap takeover of Olam and later sell it for a big profit? If it chooses to keep the company as a going concern, it can than appoint some Sinkies to manage the company as a private company. No need to privatise to be efficient and profitable.

The Sandy Hook School tragedy

The children died, shot many times by a young man with an assault rifle. The teachers also died, some bravely trying to save the children. The parents cried. The siblings and friends cried. The Americans in Newtown, Connecticut will never forget this dreadful day in their whole lives. Many dreams and happy relationships were savagely shattered in the most wicked way one can ever think of.

Could this tragedy be avoided? Could all the macho men who fought stubbornly to keep the rights to own firearms sleep well after Dec 14, 2012? The old wild, wild west of American history was a time of violence when law and order was difficult to maintain. Not that it is easier today, but when continuing with gun ownership the toll or tragedy could be that much more serious and widespread, is it time to rethink? Would Clint Eastwood still be the man that would shoot first and talk later still be role model of American manhood?

This is the sick ethos of the American society, that owning guns is a very respectable thing, the right to self defence, to face an aggressor squarely on the face and to an honourable face off. And shooting or going to war is an acceptable way to settle disputes.

In the wrong hands, the guns are very deadly and would show no mercy. Ask the Arabs in the Middle East, this sick American trigger happy behaviour had inflicted pains many times more than in Sandy Hook School, in bigger scale and with hundreds of thousands of unfortunate victims, young and old. And the children died, the innocents died, the olds died, and their families wept. Their cries of pain were never told in the American or western media. No one know or would understand, or would want to know or understand the pains the Americans are inflicting on the people of other countries, all because the Americans carry guns, big guns, very powerful guns, that the victims have no reply.

Would gun ownership be banned after this incident, or after many more similar ugly incidents that are going to happen, and many more children and teachers would have to die, and many parents and loved ones weeping their hearts out? Would the act of war, the belligerent policies of the Americans, be put to a stop for a world that is less violent, an American society that is safer for the children and the helpless at the mercy of crazy gunmen and crazy American politicians and soldiers?

Last week there was a lone man firing at kids. Tomorrow a crazy American Admiral could seize control of his fleet and fire at any country at his whims and fancy, drugged or insane, it is a hell that can break lose.

12/17/2012

Laura Ong – The people are angry


In all my postings, one of my key principles is to avoid tarnishing anyone personally, and the least for indiscretion in their private lives. I avoided writing too much about the high profile X rated cases in the courts. I also schemed through briefly about the indiscretions of the two MPs except making some factual reports that were already in the media.

Many people have taken high moral grounds to dismiss these people in all manners and descriptions. Some had done it to score points, some with an agenda. Even the public had a great time humiliating, sneering and laughing at the people involved, as if they were all saints and angels. They were not merely giggling at the victims but enjoying every bit of it. You can see them and hear them everywhere.

I reluctantly dragged myself into this sordid affair as some called it, or more politely, improper conduct for one reason. The people are angry at the diatribes thrown at Laura Ong. It seems that it is all her fault, that she is the troublemaker, the bad one, and the other party is wholesome goodness and honourable.

How could people be so wrong and unjust to one party of an indiscretion between two consenting adults? How could one be dragged across the public square wearing a conical hat and another praised as good and respectable, full of integrity and full of sympathy and forgiveness?

I am not going to say too much about this. The commentaries in the media are more sordid than the affair itself, and the people berating them are worst. I am very proud of the bloggers in this blog who have not indulged in the same manner as the ruthless and unspeakable. Let the one who have not sinned be the first to cast the stone.

China’s stock markets are safe


While many countries have adopted the American model of financial system and stock market operations, China is still very conservative and guarded. It is very careful in how its stock markets and financial systems are operating and opening up gradually without exposing them to the high risks of American model markets.

Among the key features are no derivative tradings, no hedge funds, no computer or high frequency tradings. It even restricts the amount foreign funds are allowed to invest in Chinese stock markets. And it carefully chooses the type of foreign funds to invest in its markets, and preference is given to sovereign wealth funds and pension funds but NOT to hedge funds. Some may think that this will restrict its growth and the liquidity in its markets. But China is not the least worry and not in a hurry. It is not blindly greedy for foreign funds and willingly opening its legs widely to be screwed, or allowed the foreign funds a free hand to run circus and exploit/rob the innocent investors of their hard earned money. It must know that the foreign funds, particularly the hedge funds and computer/HFT operators are not there to do charity but to make money, plenty of money, to take advantage of the system, with no qualms or worries about ethics and moral goodness or the well being of the investors and the stock market.

The funds that are permitted to invest in Chinese markets are Qatar Investment Authority, Temasek Holdings, GIC, Norway’s Norges Bank and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Even then, the amount they could invest in China is restricted to about US$1b each. Qatar has a limit of US$5b. China is looking for long term investors and not speculators and gamblers and would not allow big funds to create havoc by controlling the market with their large war chests.

Some may be sneering that the Chinese markets are unsophisticated and will not grow at the speed of western modelled markets, but what is likely to happen is that the Chinese markets would still be around when the western modelled markets failed as a result of its casino nature, fraudulent systems and products. China must be very prudent and not to be conned by the big funds and their criminal practices like computer trading, HFT and derivatives to destroy its markets.

The days of western modelled markets are numbered and will fail disastrously.

12/16/2012

Sluts and Slutwalk Singapore





When I called Singaporeans Sinkies, some got offended. I used this term for several reasons, sometimes negative, sometimes for convenience. It is a short two syllable word instead of the long and winding Singaporean. And often Sinkies should be called Sinkies just like some called them daft. Sinkies did not complain for being called daft but for being called Sinkies because Sinkies sound like sinking. Whatever, a rose is a rose by all names, and a piece of shit is shit no matter what you call it.

I came across this word Slutwalk in a new movement by a group of woman championing their rights to wear whatever they want, how sexily they want, and to party and drink like the men in the most fun loving places deep into the night. They are protesting that such dressing and behaviour are often branded as sluts by the male chauvinists, an invitation to be raped. So they are going to defy the chauvinists by doing what they want and showing their middle fingers to them.

Such brandishing of women’s rights is nothing different from women happily sharing dirty jokes with the men. Some did it happily even with strangers or people they knew only for a few days. To these women, it is all about being open, liberal and worldly, if not, being westernised or sophisticated. They think this is about having arrived and even mature and clever, to be able to engage the men in their saucy stories. Many men appreciate such openness in the women and always enjoy their great company.

Some ladies are more discreet and would only share with people in their close circles of friends. Letting go with strangers or people they hardly know is a no no. They are smart enough to know that the presumably merry men sharing the dirty jokes with them and flattering them could form very different opinions of them and may make unkind comments behind their backs.

I digress. The Slutwalk protagonists are very comfortable with the branding. I am not sure if they are comfortable and call themselves sluts. They must have welcomed all the spectators and guests to their events with words like welcome to the Slutwalk or Slut dinner or Slut party or something like that. But they are not sluts, definitely. It is just a choice of names they called themselves to gain attention.

So, should Sinkies be offended by the word Sinkie? If Sinkies can be just as proud as the woman for calling themselves Slutwalk or ‘Sluts’, then it should not be an issue. Be proud that you are a Sinkie and a Sinkie needs not be daft or sinking. Political parties may also adopt such eye catching and loud unforgettable names, like Prostitute Party or Pimp Party, as long as they are not prostitutes or pimps. It is very creative and going with the flow.

It is all in a name. Nothing much to it really.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms



The Western world is quite familiar with the Art of War as a book on military warfare. Thanks to the trainers who popularised this manual of warfare by applying the tactics and strategies in modern management practices. An equivalent and more powerful book, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, is less well known outside the Middle Kingdom but is stacked with many military strategies and tactics of psychological warfare.

In one of the stories, the famous strategist, Zhu Ge Liang, was pitted against the warlord Cao Cao. The game plan was about luring Cao Cao into a trap, allowing him to be victorious and became complacent. The finale was for Cao Cao to paint himself into a corner and defeating himself in a game of crafty deceit.

Zhu Ge Liang knew that Cao Cao had a weakness for women. Without disclosing this knowledge, he used it to plot Cao Cao’s embarrassing defeat by setting up one of his general, General Yao, with another woman in an improper affair. Of course this was leaked to Cao Cao who happily exposed the details of the relationship to the public.  Zhu Ge Liang’s Cukong Liu was greatly embarrassed and summarily dismissed General Yao who then left the state.

Tasting success, Cao Cao seized on the opportunity to embarrass Liu by ridiculing him, demanding that Liu tell the whole truth and be transparent, not to hide any material fact. Cao Cao’s ministers added fuel and fire, telling Liu’s people that Liu had let them down, and failed to carefully select his officers. They ran circus around Liu, accusing him of being inept in choosing his generals, lack of integrity and that Cao Cao’s camp was better in serving the people’s interest.

After a year, when things quiet down, when there was apparent peace under heaven, with Cao Cao smarting over his moral victory, Liu exposed Cao Cao’s affair to the world. What Cao Cao did was an exact replica of what Yao had done, the same affair with the wives of another officer in the same camp. Cao Cao was forced to face the same barrage of accusations and flaming and was helpless. Every word spoken by Cao Cao and his ministers were carefully recorded and read back to Cao Cao and his men. It was a taste of his own medicine. There were no buts, no running away from a similar and grave mistake. Cao Cao and his ministers who acted high and mighty, as the righteous ones, beyond reproach, had to swallow every word they said, heads bent low, some went into hiding. Cao Cao was defeated in his own game of moral superiority.

The Three Kingdom was a timeless classic, and the tactics and strategies have been thoroughly read and discussed and mastered by many modern military commanders and politicians. Some were able to use them so effectively in defeating their enemies through deceptions, schemes, plots and strategies that often caught the enemies totally unguarded and with their pants down. Zhu Ge Liang was a living legend of his time.

12/15/2012

Art of RAR - A new series

Another series of rar art created by Mother Nature. Size up to 24in x 36in in oil or pigments.

SMRT driver bashing – The other untold story




Untold may not be the right word as the story was told many times over several months, but no one wants to hear them. This untold and embarrassing story is starting to reappear to shed light on the plight of the SMRT drivers. One was jailed, 29 repatriated and 5 charged in court. The story in the media so far was all about the trouble makers, the SMRT drivers. And they were duly punished with many Sinkies throwing more vitriol at them.

Desmond Kuek has conducted an internal investigation on how the strike came about and commented that it could be avoided if the management was more “sensitive, attentive and responsive” to the problems the workers had brought up. Disciplinary action would be taken against those who allowed the drivers’ grievance to escalate to become a work stoppage. The drivers would not have been charged, jailed, repatriated and lost their jobs. The strike would not have occurred to embarrass the govt and the trade union. Relations with the Chinese Govt would not have been affected.

Since his last comment that there were many problems in the organisation, a witch hunt could be next and many skeletons are likely to be dragged out of the cupboard. But most important of all, the truth shall prevail and the drivers would be seen in a different light, that they could be victims of mismanagement and neglect.

Shine the light and brighten up the dark patches and return justice to those that had been wronged. SMRT would no longer need to say we are sorry, it should not have happen, we will make sure it will not happen again. ‘We are sorry for the inconvenience caused’.

Punggol East - A scramble for the spoils?

I wrote about the congregation of the vultures awaiting the ageing lion to fall. Every vulture is hungry and wanting to have its share of the meal. Would there be a mad scramble for the carcass or would each take its turn for a bite of the morsel? If they do it in an orderly manner, each will have their fill and more could come their way. If they go on a mad rush, the dying lion could walk away to live another day.

Lina Chiam of SPP, Hazel Poa of NSP have spoken. They would not be engaged in the foray in Punggol East. They would wait their turn as it was a battle field of WP and SDA in the last election. This sets up a gentleman's agreement on the pecking order in the opposition camp for the rest to follow. Would the others abide by this protocol, or would they defy the existing order and behave like when fools rush in?

Some parties are taking an ambivalent position at the moment with reservation that they could jump into the fray. Some quarters are openly encouraging all the opposition parties, or some parties to move in, 3 corners or many corners fight is irrelevant. Their intent could be simply a genuine interest in wanting their perceived favoured party to have a go at this seat. For some, the intent is nothing to hide, to agitate the opposition parties to strangle themselves and deprive themselves from a good fight.

The memory of the last Presidential Election is still vivid in the minds of the electorate. Some are cursing at the missed opportunities for their chosen candidate. Some are cursing at the spoilers. Would there be spoilers in the making, for whatever queer or make belief justifications, that they must be in the ring to split the votes of the opposition?

In a straight fight like Hougang, the chances of victory against the ruling party has been proven to be very high. So, would Punggol East be another Hougang or another multi corner fight that makes the opposition parties look like a bunch of unthinking and selfish hyenas, and ended with nothing and losing their credibility, and be the cursed of the electorate?

Should there be a multi party contest, the electorate could still be the deciding factor. They could despatch the spoilers into shame and losing their deposits as well. The electorate are no longer easily conned and a spoiler will be seen as a spoiler and will not be getting much sympathy votes. They would be rudely dismissed and their intent exposed.

Punggol East is staged like the last fort, the last resistance. Should Punggol East fall this time, the writings will be on the wall. There will be no stopping of the tide and a tsunami may follow suit to clear up everything in the way.

Hougang was  a watershed. Punggol East could be the Waterloo. Would there be spoilers to throw shit in to muddy the water?