The competition that Sinkies don’t need

Why is there a need to bring in rich foreigners to compete with Sinkies to buy and speculate on properties that are a must help for Sinkies as their basic needs, a roof over their heads?

Why is there a need to bring second rated foreigners to become citizens to buy public housing, to compete with Sinkies and to jack up the prices for poorer Sinkies.

Why is there a need to bring in more foreigners to compete with Sinkies for COEs to drive on the road?

Why is there a need to bring hungry foreigners to compete with Sinkies for jobs and push some Sinkies out of jobs?

Why is there a need to bring in foreigners at middle and top management level to compete with Sinkies and deprive Sinkies of the chances for these jobs?

Why is there a need to pay foreigners to take up university places while children of Sinkies have to pay through their own pockets by going overseas.

Would the country be worst off without these competitions by being more discriminatory and give Singaporeans the first right of refusal instead of forcing them to compete with foreigners often on unequal and unfavourable terms? Why bring in cheap foreigners and dismiss Sinkies as not competitive when the playing field is not level?

Is there a need to screw ourself with this kind of self willing, self invited competition, forcing our Sinkies to lower their expectations and go for less when the national goal is to make life better for Sinkies?

Is this not a self inflicted wound. This is a competition that Sinkies don't need and did not ask for.

The widening reality gap

Everyone is familiar with the widening income gap. A similar gap that is opening up but not frequently discussed is the reality gap or perception gap between the govt and the people. Both parties(maybe I should say 40%) seem to be looking in opposition direction but with the govt having the final say and adamantly expecting the people to accept its version of reality. Period, let’s move on, nothing else to talk about.

Or am I the odd one out that seems to be seeing things, that there is no such reality gap. Surely note if one is to read the comments in the main media and internet. What the govt said is the real thing, and the people agree completely, wholeheartedly. 60% said so. The direction set by the govt for the future of this island is the common goal of the people. There is no disagreement, the people are with the govt and will go along with all the govt’s reasoning and policies.

It’s the wrong formula

Giving worker’s a pay rise is like a nightmare to many, the employers are thinking of folding up, the govt is worried that the tripartite relationship will be affected, and the workers are unhappy of the pay increase coming their way. The problem, I think, is because of Prof Lim Chong Yah’s unsolicited recommendation. Would it make any difference if he was commissioned to come out with a recommendation?

This is perhaps the most controversial and unhappy recommendation coming out from someone who was and still is, I think, part of the establishment. Obviously he forgot what needs to be done to have his recommendation accepted in the first place and be received without any furore. Look at all the govt’s recommendations, from affordable housing, retention of CPF money, higher COEs, higher fees of this and that, the unending pursuit to raise the insurance coverage of the people with more and more premiums to be paid, none of them has received this kind of hesitation and rejection. Every govt recommendation is very well received by the people, with very little criticism and objections.

To me, it is good not to play to the gallery. Find a good formula that is acceptable by the tripartite. There is one proven formula that I think the govt will support for raising the income of workers. And the employers would not have the gumption to criticize or reject its logic and goodness.

Why don’t someone suggest using the same formula for the ministers and apply it to the workers, with the same kind of reasonings albeit a little modifications here and there? There are very few changes needed except for the choice of top earners. Instead of the top income earners of a few top professions, use the income of the top few select workers that is representative of the workforce, and peg it at a certain percentage. Need not be pegged right at the top, say 25% off would look reasonable. And the govt can tell the workers, see, whatever we do, we do the same for the workers, fair, fair. It is like leading by examples. And the employers, being a willing partner, will definitely agree with the govt’s reasons behind the thinking. Not agreeing would be a slap to the govt’s position and that is politically incorrect.

Where are the champions of worker’s interest? How about it? Swee boh?


Thaksin Shinawatra, the Thai hero

He was deposed by a military coup after being elected a second term as the PM of Thailand. He was a self made man, amassed a fortune through his business enterprises. Some accused him of corruption and abuse of power in his business dealings.

How many rich and successful people were not entangled in some form of legal and illegal activities in their quest for wealth? How many achieved fame and fortune through honest business transactions or through unscrupulous means?

But not many can measure up to Thaksin in sharing his fortune with his people, particularly the Thai farmers. His low interest lending schemes helped many farmers to start and grow their businesses and live a better life. His 30 baht health scheme brought medical care to within the reach of the poor of Thailand. A thyroid gland operation cost US$1 is unbeatable.

His sin was his populist policies to help the poor Thai people who adore him as their hero. This was the main cause of his downfall. His govt fought to break down the drug cartel only to be accused of breaching human rights and of course corruption. How many politicians are not corrupt? How many could hold a candle to Thaksin for sharing his wealth with the people, not only in Thailand but across the world?

Many amassed huge fortunes only for themselves, their families and their clansmen. Thaksin gave and still giving his wealth to his people. He could give more if the bulk of his wealth is not confiscated by the govt. For all the wrong accusations, nothing can beat his generosity for making life better for this Thai people.

He was and still is the hero of the poorer Thai people. He could do more if given a chance but denied. The Thai people and Thailand ended poorer for not letting their hero do what he pledged to do for them.  What is the point of amassing fortunes, legally or illegally, scrupulously or unscrupulously, if the wealth is not share to make life better for the general good of the people? The Sinkies are daft, but in this sense, the Thais are dafter, for what they had done, to depose and exile Thaksin.


Bill Gates does not need a pay rise

After the shocking therapy of Prof Lim Chong Yah and the expected knee jerk defensive mechanism and reaction from you know who, the labour chief said today that the high cost of inflation and high cost of living mean that there is a need to raise the income of workers. It is good that he finally came to know of the problem. He also added that the high income gap must be closed.

Now that the dust has settled down, the good sense and propriety of the real pain are sinking in. The retort against raising salary of the lower income group and the need for a closing of the widening income is indeed a problem that cannot be allowed to run away without a leash.

Rhetoric and political expediency aside, some of the elite truly believe that the bread of the rich should be buttered 3 or 4 times over as they are deserving of the buttering because of their supreme talent. On the downside, the losers deserve to be losers and they should count themselves lucky that their bread is even buttered at all. Count the blessing that they still have bread to eat.

Such line of thinking coming from those who have no responsibility over the whole of the population is understandable. The private emterprises and developers would choose to maximise profits at all cost as they are not in the business of charity. But if they come from the political leaders, it is irresponsible and obnoxious. Political leaders is not there to look after self interest, to protect elitist interest but to spread the goodies, ensure a more equal distribution of wealth and social equality to the people, but not to the extent of all men are equal and all should receive one bowl of rice.

Bill Gates does not need another pay rise. He has so much money that he has to give them away. And so is his pal Warren Buffett. There is no need to reach such a position to distance oneself from the accumulation of wealth. No one is frowning against an entrepreneur or a businessman from acquiring his wealth forever. What is objectionable is to spread public wealth through public offices to those who are bursting at the seams with more wealth. A very good but disgusting example was to raise the President’s salary to $4m when the masses did not think it was justifiable, nor the office justifies that kind of pay. But the existing god in power is always right and would have the final say. It is right today but would be very wrong when the next god comes into power.

Distribution of public money must be measured to serve the majority, to benefit more people than a few yodas who have so much and do not have much time or the need to spend them. This sickness is infected across the industries in the private sector when the top few would grab the lion’s share while the rest, minority shareholders and workers were left with crumbs.

And it is this kind of unequal and unjust system of wealth distribution that is causing the runaway inflation. No amount of small increases at the bottom can catch up with this kind of distortion in the system. In a pure capitalist and elitist system this is cause for celebration, and eventually cause for destruction. Is this what we want, a system where a few elite could buy tens of private properties and tens of luxury cars and with plenty to buy more while living on public money or feeding on the minority shareholders’ money?

And once in a while, when it is politically opportune, to cry for the poor workers, to shout, pay rise for the workers? May Day is around the corner.  

Prof Lim Chong Yah is absolutely right. He must have seen the greed and the amassing of unjustifiable and unnecessary wealth by a few at the expense of the greater good. What is so painful for a few years without pay even if one is not Bill Gates or Warren Buffett when one can live a few life times without having the need to earn a single cent?


When the boss gets a wage freeze…

Fear is spreading like wild fire among the SMEs that the recommendation of Lim Chong Yah is going to raise the cost of doing business here. The 3 year 50% wage adjustment will be very costly. Sure. But can this be offset by the 3 year wage freeze of the top management? Lim Chong Yah’s proposal is like Robin Hood, robbing the rich to pay the poor. Not pay the poor and pay the rich more.

How much does the top management get for their pay rise, visible and invisible, ie cash, perks, bonuses, share options etc etc? Assuming a CEO gets $500k in pay hike, plus an unspeakable sum of shares which could be another few hundred thousand, or say $200k, these would give a total pay increase of $700k. This amount can easily be translated into a pay hike of $1000 pa for 700 workers without adding more cost to the company. And if one is to add the top 20 or so management’s pay hike, the total could easily be a million or two, which means more employees could benefit from this transferring of wealth.

I know that the numbers are very simplistic, but still reasonable and real. What is so wrong about it? It is wrong only when the increase at the lower half is not accompanied by freeze at the top. Sure, they will be very unhappy and want to quit and look for more well paying jobs with more increments.

The company can take the opportunity to cut cost at the top and bring in fresh blood that is younger and more energetic to fill the empty seats. Can or not?

No one wants to talk about it

We cannot let higher income Sinkies to buy HDB flats. It will add to the demand and deprive lower income Sinkies from the chance of getting one, or they compete with the lower income and lowering their chances for a public flat. It sounds so clever, so logical. How many higher income Sinkies would want to buy a HDB if they could afford the million dollar private properties? No, they must be kept out to protect the lower income Sinkies. No they must be made to spend all their savings on that private property. Prudent, spending within their means and make them spend everything?

And every year they add on something like 20,000 new Sinkies, give them a pink IC and called them citizens. The truth is that they are foreigners who were added into the housing queue and it is okay. While the Sinkie singles and other Sinkies who need a flat would have to give way as the queue is getting longer, bigger demand, because of the so called new Sinkies. And no one want to mention this.

Did they add up to our housing problems? At 4 per family, each year the demand for public housing is 5,000 and over 10 years it is 50,000 units which could have gone to Sinkies. But no. These new Sinkies have priorities over original Sinkies, and original Sinkies can be cut off from the queue for all the good reasons.

The Sinkies are so blessed to have such a caring and considerate govt to think of their housing needs. And want them to live a better quality of life by spending all their money on private properties.


Which country is threatening freedom of navigation?

The US has been telling the world that China is threatening freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. Where is the evidence? Is China preventing any country from using the sea lanes, or is China arresting the fishing boats and fishermen in the South China Sea? Only countries that go around using their naval warships to harass and arrest ships and fishing boats are the ones that threaten freedom of navigations.

The Philippines have been doing it all the time, arresting Chinese fishing boats and fishermen. The latest incident which some called it a stand off, the Philippines were again at it, trying to bully Chinese fishermen with their biggest piece of floating antique. My apologies, they called it their biggest warship. The Chinese had to send in their civilian surveillance ships to stop them from doing it. Was it a stand off? Far from it. It was like an old hag waving his fist at some grown up men and thinking he would frighten them off. It was a mismatch in all counts.

The main point is that the real countries that are threatening freedom of navigation and raising tension in the South China Sea are the little pesky countries and their master pulling the strings from behind. Freedom of navigation in the region has never been an issue until the little pests start to throw their weights around, arresting Chinese fishermen. And they have to be kicked in the butt to stop them from being a nuisance to everyone in the region. These are the real trouble makers. And there is the international gangster from afar plonking his warships here in the name of peace but instigating war.

When angels speak…

The angels are up in arms to protect the oldies. They are all claiming that health insurance for the oldies is not enough. The cost of healthcare for the oldies is just too high and the payout of Eldershield, another automatic compulsory scheme that I just heard of, unless one opted out at 40 from his Medishield, is paying only half of what is needed. And the insurance man roared in approval. Yes, yes, not enough. The govt must do more and provide the direction…for more insurance?

First thing, why is healthcare so expensive? Why is the cost not coming down especially for the oldiers? If the cost is not coming down, who can afford to pay an insurance premium that is running along with higher medical cost, like two devils waltzing happily to the tune of The Last Waltz?

The second point is that many simply cannot afford to pay and pay. With so many big ticket items, high cost of living and expenses, high protection money locked up in CPF, where got money to pay for more insurance and more premiums? And oldies got no income you know.

The third point, please lah, many oldies’ lives are already so miserable that there is no need to prolong their agony and suffering on earth. Many would long to die and go to heaven. What more health care and more money to perpetuate their misery?

What is the real problem? What should be done? It is not a money problem. It is only a money problem for those who sees money to be made and the poor buggers, all with pockets already empty, are being targeted to pay more when there is heaven waiting. Why stop these oldies from going home to be with the Lord?

The expensive insurance schemes to take care of oldies till they are one hundred years old should be personal, individualized and never be compulsory or across the board. For those who are living a life of heaven on earth, go and ask them to pay more for their precious life. Leave those who cannot afford it to live in peace and return to the Lord soonest. Don’t rob them again when they are all dying and waiting to go home.

When angels are out to help, be frighten, be very frighten.


Crying for leadership

The state and health of the international financial system is so deplorable. Expecting the US to throw out a leader to challenge the scoundrels of Wall Street is like asking for heaven. With Congress being in the pockets of the white collar crooks, there is no possibility of any one of substance to break through the layers of bureaucratic corruption to do what is right and save the financial system. Corruption and mismanagement in the system have been institutionalized and legalized, and copied by many western countries. Period.

While nothing can be done to stop the rot in Wall Street, what other countries could hope for is to stop the rot at their doorstep, to keep the rot out of their national system. The Chinese are defending their infant financial system and are threading very carefully to avoid the pitfalls. But the sexiness and attraction of instant wealth for some are too tempting to resist. When there are so much to gain personally, people become blind to the flaws and the consequences to the country and other people. And if the Americans and the Europeans are doing it, it cannot be too wrong. Or at least they can point the finger to the Americans to justify their crimes. They are putting on the same blinkers not to see the rot. The Chinese are veering towards a tipping point to embrace the failed American financial system of computer and algo trading plus all the derivatives and toxic notes and currency manipulation.

Hongkong is equally cautious. There are brighter people there who could smell a rat and are resisting from falling into the abyss. They are not easily conned by a few westerners who came claiming to know it all and were able to show the way…to oblivion.

At a time like this, when everyone is selling snake oil as the panacea to immortality, it needs a very strong leader with the wisdom to know what is going on to say no. Is there no one out there who is thinking and can see the flaws in the whole financial system? The thinkers, the financial experts, must seriously look at the system and, if things are not right, to say so. Many are so bogged down with their own preoccupation and the money grabbing past time that no one has the time to take the pulse or to diagnose the sickness. There is an urgent need for someone to do this. Someone must have the conviction, and the power to go with, to say the system stinks and needs to be stopped and revamped.

Where is the leadership, the man to call a spade a spade, and want to change and save the system from sliding to self destruct? For the moment the jokers are having a great time, like Nero, fiddling on the roof while Rome burned. There is no one brave enough, knowledgeable enough, to challenge the snake oil salesmen?

High population is good. High property prices are good. High car prices are good. The stock market is in the pink of health. Just believe.

No let up in push for 6m population

Another big convincing article in the ST, and in other news media, telling how precarious the country will be if there is no intake of immigrants. The need for population growth or replacement is a critical issue and without growth or at least replacement it is like we are going to perish. This one track mind on population growth and economic growth will not change and will be the basis for all other policies of the country.

Why must there be population growth to survive? The fact is that if every country goes on this path, the world will come to an end faster. This world, and this island, needs lesser population growth. Lesser population and less growth in economic numbers do not directly lead to lower quality of life. We were 1m and 2m before. We survived very well. Why a need for 6m or 10m? Better economic growth? More people, more demand for goods and services, more jobs, more housing, but lesser space for everyone. And replacing Sinkies with foreigners so that the country can be proud of great economic numbers?

If we have lesser people, if the world has lesser people, there will be lesser demand and pressure for production of goods and services and lesser or slower depletion of the limited resources available. We don’t need to empty the oceans of fishes. There is no need to dig out everything from the earth, no need to burn away fossil fuel at such a rapid rate. They will be more spaces and resources for everyone.

This world and this island need to downsize the population to be sustainable. It is like chasing high property prices and ever increasing salaries but ending like a dog chasing its own tail. It is a circus, a joke. With lesser population, there is no need to build up every little space we got. There will be more people able to own cars and drive around, and living in bigger homes. There is no need for more departmental stores, shopping complexes, more food courts and more housing and more housing. There is a need to rethink this economic growth strategy and ask what is the ultimate objective for all this growth? What kind of life and what quality of life?

We are laughing at the Japanese for no growth and an ageing population. But their quality of life has not gone down despite lower economic growth. And with a smaller population, they will live better and the world will be safer, the whales and tunas will live freer and longer.

Do we really cannot survive without population growth, without more immigrants? Can someone think out of the box please and stop chiding people for not able to think out of the box. This one track mindset is going to destroy our quality of life instead of making it better. The thinkers and policy makers mindset is so fixated and nothing else can do except more people. So what if property prices fall with lesser people and lesser demand? So what if rentals of commercial spaces fall with lesser demand? Who needs to buy so many property and commercial spaces and ended the people being squeezed in every aspect of their lives?


Gintai’s article on Singaporeans being priced out

Gintai wrote an article on how our system benefitted the PRs most in terms of housing. The main point is that the PRs have an option to cash out at the end of the day, carry his pot of gold back to his home country to live like a rich landlord. This is fact!

The poor Sinkies would have to face the ever increasing cost of living, higher property prices, higher car prices, higher everything, and his savings waiting to vanish anytime, not enough to buy a car, not enough to pay for medical, not even to pay for retirement.

Didn’t anyone see this Hobson’s choice for the Sinkies, to be fixed into such a disadvantageous position? Didn’t the policy makers look ahead, plan ahead, and see the problems over the horizon? Maybe this is not a problem. Very likely, given their super talents, they knew what is coming up. But they need the Sinkies to pay for all the expensive and good stuff and good life, and their super salaries. The PRs can go home and downgrade to a landed property in their kampongs. Here we can enjoy our 650 sq ft million dollar flat and live in a first world city with all the convenience that money can afford to pay.

It is all in the plan. The Sinkies are captive customers, no way to run and no way to hike. Just con them with a few good sounding words and they will buy in the story. Singapore is home, the best place to be in, and good things have a price. Be happy and be contented. Why be envious of the PRs? They did not have such a brilliant and caring govt that will look after them from birth to death. And when they cash out, they will downgrade the quality of living. They are returning to stone age.

Count your blessings. Be thankful of what you got. A forumer is so pleased with the way we handled the train breakdown problems that he wrote to the ST to share his admiration. This is so much better than Mumbai. And he is so grateful to be here. He is right to think so. Singapore city is build by the best brains, engineers, architects, civil servants, all so talented, and a disciplined workforce.

But this is changing. There are no longer any talents here. The talents are in Mumbai. Singapore is sending delegations after delegations to Mumbai to recruit the talents to help to make this city better than Mumbai.

Revolution needed in the legal system

With the ridiculously high court fees and legal fees to be paid to lawyers, the system of arbitration needs a rethink to prevent abuses of the legal system. Going to courts today, to be represented by legal counsels, can be a make or break situation where a person can be bankrupted or made to cough out tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. As such, where are the safeguards for innocent but poor victims who are hauled to courts by the rich and powerful with their sharp and clever legal counsels paid to do the job?
Though there exists a parallel system now in the form of mediation and small claims tribunal to handle petty litigations, it is still not enough to prevent those with the means to get their way to brutalise the poorer victims by abusing the legal system and making the courts serve their private agenda, in the process, bankrupting a defendant even when the case is ruled in favour of the defendants. Settling out of court or through mediation etc or even winning a case is not good enough as the main purpose of the complainant could be to force the defendant to pay for all the legal fees and court fees and the hassle and the stress of going to court. That itself is a very heavy penalty, an injustice that is legal. The govt cannot allow this to go on without making changes to the legal system to make sure that such abuses are removed from the system of legal and social justice.

The main issue is to make the complainant who made spurious or unwarranted, unjustified complaints to pay dearly to the defendant. Also, the legal counsels representing the unreasonable complainant and filing spurious or unsubstantive charges must be made to pay as well, and not allowed to hide under the pretext of client’s advice or client’s instruction. When a case is unjustified in the name of the law, they must not pursue with the case. If there is no prima facie case they must not forced an issue to bring charges against a defendant. If they think they could get away with such accusations on the ground that it is a 50/50 case, let the judge be the final arbiter to decide if the legal counsel is taking advantage of the legal system, abusing the system, and be made to pay for the cost of wasting the court’s time and the time and stress on the defendant.

Let this be part of the judge’s responsibility to punish errant lawyers and their clients for attempting to make the court and the legal system as their hatchet man. Otherwise the courts will be filled with all kinds of nonsensical and petty suits when one party has an agenda or an axe to grind.

The court of law and its integrity must not be compromised and the institution must be respected especially by the legal community. Anyone who thinks he can pay to use the court and legal system to serve his private agenda and personal grudges must not be allowed to get away with it. And the legal counsel must not be accomplice to such distortion of the justice system.

The wicked Singaporeans

Another case of maid beating appeared in court yesterday. A school teacher thought it was her right to beat up the maid when she made mistakes, pulled her ears till they bled. Making maids clean windows in high rise flats, not giving maids a day off are nothing to crow about. Such wickedness in the mind is common, normal, among Singaporeans. Many of the wicked people are not the illiterates but well schooled and held high positions.

How to eradicate such wickedness in our midst? Should they be given a slap on the wrist and life goes on as normal? Or should a tougher deterrent sentence be imposed on the wicked to make a point? Or is our god bigger than their gods and so we can afford to be wicked to the children of lesser gods?

Maybe it is all relative. To many, such acts could be wicked. To many as well, such acts are normal, just like the recent failures of MRT. It is the new normal and the commuters are expected to live with the new normal, having breakdown every other day is unavoidable, like the flooding of Orchard Road. Learn to accept a lower standard of efficiency and quality.

Or in the case of chasing after the clients of underage prostitute being charged in court, it is part of the job to do what they were doing. To some, from the complaints in cyberspace and other media, such acts amounted to wickedness as well. But some will laugh it off. What’s the big deal? It is all relativity, life will go on.

Then in another realm of existence, there are people who are happily taking away people’s life savings and think it is their own money to decide what to do with them without having to seek the consent of the owners. And the poor owners could only smile when they look at their CPF statements but cry everyday for food and a little niceties in life that they longed for but unable to touch, not that they have no money. But someone else think it is his right to keep the money from the rightful owners and meant good to the owners who had to walk around with empty pockets.

Then there are those who told the people that housing prices are affordable when people have to squeeze a life time of earnings to pay for them. And some even tried to con people that living in mickey mouse flats would not affect their lives.

Some will tell the people it is a good life to earn $800 pm. Some will applaud and encourage the oldies to work till they die as a good thing., full of pride and dignity. On the other hand some will insist that earning less than $50k a month will be a tragedy in their lifestyle.

Are they just as wicked? Difficult to tell as it all depends on who you are, where you are and your value system. What is good or evil is relative. Some will vehemently disagree and insist that these people are wicked. Some will strongly defend the wicked and claim that they are angels. This is the new normal, to live among wickedness. Oops, among goodness.


Clockwork Singapore tick, tick, tickles

The once reliable public transport system is turning into a nightmare to many Sinkies, particular the university students marching to their examination halls. The fear is to be caught in a MRT train breakdown and be late for the examination. The universities are also scratching their heads as to how to deal with such a scenario. Should they bar the students from their examinations or make concessions, or alternate provisions to retake the examination? It is not the fault of the students.

Sinkies going for an appointment, job interviews, meetings with clients, attending a court order or police order, dates, submissions of tenders etc etc and are delayed, who is to be blamed? To be late is already a big headache and can cause one to lose a contract, a job, or a boy/girl friend. Now every Sinkie would have to make additional plans when going for an appointment. How much more time to provide for just in case? The need to make such contingency plans because of an unreliable public transport system is going to make life that much more unpleasant and unpredictable and costly. The uncertainty is stressful for sure.

What’s next on the card? More tickles?

The Philippines dragging Asean into confrontation

The Philippines dancing to the tune of its puppet master is trying to drag Asean into a confrontation with China. After threatening to arrest Chinese fishermen and driven off by China, it is conducting a naval exercise with the Americans to simulate an assault on an island. China is warning both protaganists that they are risking an open conflict in the region.

The Philippines is turning around to scream foul and telling its Asean partners that China is obstructing freedom of navigation. The fact is that the Philippines has been arresting Chinese fishermen for years, even pulling Chinese fishing boats into Manila. Only a pest and provocative little country with the backing of the Americans would dare to arrest Chinese boats. The Japanese used to do that but have ceased from such provocative acts.

On record, it is the Philippines that have been arresting Chinese fishing boats and not the other way round. China has been tolerating this little brainless brat but is taking its nonsense no more. China has no choice as the provocation will keep coming as long as this pest thinks that China is afraid of its master, the Americans.

Yesterday China has unequivocally told the Americans and the Philippines that it had enough and is prepared to take them on. The Americans as usual will pretend to be the innocent party and would push the Philippines to front the confrontation. The game plan is to drag the whole of Asean into this confrontation and possibly into open conflict with China. More sales of American arms and a bigger foothold for American troops and intervention, to be the leader of Asean.

Would Asean bite and get itself into an open war with China and turn the South China Sea into a region of hostility? Most Asean countries would not want that to happen, to fight a war for the Americans. But there are at least two American lackeys within Asean that would want to push the boundary for their own vested interests, even having war with China. In the meantime the Americans and the Philippines are adding fire to the brew.

White Man’s Conscience behind bars

I was watching the documentary on Wikileaks in CNA last week, ‘War, Lies and Videotapes’. The star player in the whole episode was Private Bradley Manning, the American soldier who was pricked by his conscience for knowing the evil things and crimes against humanity conducted by the American leaders and soldiers in Iraq. He did the dreadful thing by passing 95,000 military messages to his FBI friends who too, pricked by his conscience, passed the whole lot of information to Julian Assange of Wikileaks and the rest was history.

For this crime of conscience, Pte Manning is now serving 52 years of imprisonment in American jail. He was also accused of being a traitor to his great country, the USA. His fellow man wanted to lynch him. He is the White Man’s Conscience of modern day. There were a few in the past when Red Indians were slaughtered daily, when African negroes were treated like animals, beasts of burden.

Pte Manning is the living White Man’s Conscience, sentenced to imprisonment for telling the painful and feared truths, the lies the Americans fabricated and told the world. The rest of the Americans did not weep. They wanted this conscience to be put away. They did not see anything wrong in the lies they spreaded and the killings of Arabs and Afghans because of their own lies.

And they are going to do more in Korea and now the South China Seas. They are going to agitate the pesky nations to start more wars, through provocations in the name of military exercises for peace. China and Russia should start to hold joint exercises near Alaska, Cuba and the Caribbeans, and Latin America. Then the world will see how the rouges in the evil Empire react to these friendly military exercises.

The silly South Koreans no longer dare to a word on who sank the Choenan. The Philippines is having a LSD high after receiving an antique ship and thinking it is now a naval world power, strong enough to start a war with China. In the meantime the real culprit to start another conflict is hiding behind quietly, with a halo on his head while pushing the South Koreans and the Philippines to go ahead.


Two different perspectives to raise pay

Reasons to justify pay hike for workers

  1. Increase in productivity
  2. If recommended by the NWC
  3. Better employee performance
  4. Increase in company profit
  5. Cost of living adjustment
  6. Difficulties in recruitment
  7. Need to pay for talent

Reasons to justify pay hike for ministers

  1. Difficulties in recruitment
  2. To prevent corruption
  3. To pay for the bestest talent
  4. To keep up with the private sector
  5. To maintain a comfortable life style
  6. To compensate for the great sacrifice
  7. To maintain dignity
  8. To retain talent or they will quit
  9. Increase in GDP
  10. Individual performance
  11. More appointment or wearing more hats

From the above, it is obvious that there are more reasons to give pay rise to ministers. There are 11 reasons compare to 7 reasons for the workers.

My observations are limited and I am sure there are more reasons to justify for a pay rise for workers and ministers. Equally there are many reasons not to prevent pay rise for workers and ministers.

In the case of workers, they need to be competitive, to be cheap, better and faster. And they is a huge supply of workers from poorer countries who are willing to work for less. And workers have lesser hats to wear, lesser appointments to be blessed on them. The only reasons to prevent minister pay hike is when the people are angry just like the Citigroup AGM when they minority shareholders voted against the obscene pay of their top management. Other than this, pay hike for top management is a cake walk.

The Master Race

They ruled the world for more than half a millennium. Practically every country and people became the subjects of their empires.  As early as the 13th Century, they started to move out across the surface of the earth, to conquer, to rape and kill, to plunder and to rule. The Italians owned the Northern part of Africa, the French owned many parts of Africa as well, and so were the Germans and the smaller European states.  They divided Africa among themselves. The French also claimed IndoChina as theirs.

The Spanish went across to America and conquered that continent, and continued across the Pacific Ocean to take the Philippines. The Portugese skirted Africa to India and Southeast Asia. They were followed by the mightier Dutch who carved out Indonesia as their possession.

The mightiest of all were the British who founded a continent to call their own, North America. They also owned the major parts of Africa, the whole of India and many Southeast Asian countries, and further to New Zealand and Australia.

And together, they ventured into China and shared the spoils in dividing China among themselves. From the little extention of the Asia continent called Europe emerged a Master Race, superior than all the others, and when united, they were supreme in many ways. They built great cities, civilisations, great inventions, arts, culture, and modelled the world to their likings. They lived a life of plenty as rulers of the world, owning countries, people and all their resources and wealth.

The same great European grouping today is near the brink of bankruptcy, a beggar of the world, begging every where, demanding donations and charity from their conquered people, from the countries they had plundered to live in luxury, from the colonies they once owned and ruled, the people they once oppressed and killed
Saying that they were begging is a misnomer. They don’t beg. Empire builders, the Master Race, don’t beg from the lesser people. They are demanding to be fed, they are demanding trillions of cash to continue their lifestyle of plenty, of being civilised and cultured and being elegant.  Hundreds of billions or trillions have been spent to help them to live a better life while the rest of whole live in near poverty or a much Spartan way of life.  And they are not anywhere near to solving their voracious appetite for the good life without having to work so hard for it. They used to take from the rest of the world. And they want to take again.

The Americans, an abnormal outgrowth of the Master Race, refused to budge or give a penny. They couldn’t as they too are near to bankruptcy. China, a rich nation and empire of its own, plundered and subdued to bankruptcy, all its wealth and dignity stripped, has acquired new wealth and is also unwilling to support the lifestyle of the Master Race that is living beyond its means, and thinking that they still owned the world.

But some former colonies were generous. Some were kind, like little Singapore, offering to help with a $5b loan while it could not afford charity for its own people. Should the world, the conquered people, extend their helping hands to their former oppressor with more money to live a life of aplenty?

Or would this Master Race reassert itself, rearmed and go out to conquer the rest of the world once again, so that they can live on the labour and wealth of other people and nations? Till today, they are still asking for money without wanting to solve their own difficulties. What they are asking today can only last a couple of years and they will be asking for more. There is no end to their problems and there is no end to their asking.

What will the Master Race do next and how would the lesser people of the world respond to their needs? For now they are threatening the world that if they to down, they will bring the whole world with them. That is the strength and reasoning power of the Master Race, the new beggar of the world.


The most brilliant strategy becomes the worst liability

This is like the best policy becoming the worst baggage or weakness. When the GRC was first conceived, it was the most brilliant strategy of the PAP to ensure their continued dominance in the Singapore political game of control. The opposition was weak financially, and weak in their ability to attract and put up a number of good candidates. The PAP has all the financial power, even with the raising of election deposits, the more expensive the more favourable to the PAP. And also with its ability to attract the talents who were stay away from the opposition, the GRC is more like a sure win package.

The twist and turn of events have turned a cleverly formulated strategy into a nightmare, and fielding every GRC is now a grave concern to the PAP. The financial power is there, but the slate of good candidates is not. The domineering presence of a strong minister whose name would have carried a GRC is turning the other way, of a guaranteed loss of the GRC.

Unbelieveable but it is what is happening. The PAP may be wise to disband the GRC system and return to the single MP constituency of the past. At least they don’t have to lose a team and losing good ministers because of poor candidates. Yea, it once was having good ministers to carry weak candidates. Now a weak candidate in a GRC team can spell doom to a good minister.
In the context of today’s electorate awareness and voting pattern, I doubt there are more than a handful of ministers with the confidence that they could carry a GRC. Many will sink the GRC or with the GRC. 

It is time to scrap this outdated strategy and void heavy losses in the next GE.


A bad hangover

The ongoing saga of the underage prostitute and the 80+ high flyers of our society is top news for the day. Every evening the chase was reported in prime time news with those charged being hounded down by camera crews in their pathetic pursuits. It looked like great fun, great event, better than playing computer games. Who decides that this is great news to be fully covered in all details, with photographs splashing everywhere? Are they the witches or wizards of modern times, fit for the burning stakes?

After a few days, this thing has become bad taste. Yes, it is not a good thing for everyone. The customers of the prostitute are to be blamed for their plight and indiscretion, and infidelity. Have they not paid enough a price for their wrongdoings? Their lives have been ruined for a statutory crime that is an unacceptable social norm. Many innocents have been hurt just as bad, their families and friends and their institutions. They will carry this stigma for the rest of their lives and will be adversely affected in many ways.

We will need to find more talents to replace them as they will be temporarily indisposed except for those who are their own bosses. Those who need employment will find the embarrassment following everywhere they go. And if we cannot find replacements for their vacant positions, we may need to import more foreign talents to do the jobs.

How much more do these men need to be punished for a controversial crime, or sin? Should we leave them to the courts and not to brutally stab them while they are down? Where is the Yellow Ribbon? Or is it too early to think of that? Or shall we hang their photos everywhere for all to see and get the thrill out of them? Who is more mean and sinister?

If there were no internet…

Mah Bow Tan will still be the Minister of National Development, Wong Kan Seng the Minister of Home Affairs and Raymond Lim still minister of Transport. The housing policy will stay and housing will remain affordable. And of course 3 rm flat will be $1m by now.

Kan Seng would be very happy as the people would have long forgotten about Mas Selamat. Actually, for all the three ministers that were removed, Kan Seng was the most unfortunate one. It could be any minister in his shoe as the escape was not really his doing. He was there in the wrong seat in the wrong time. He had to take the rap for being the minister with the responsibility that comes with the position and pay. He took the rap for the failure of those in charge of the camp but he had no direct dealings with its daily operations.

Raymond would be in deep trouble instead of Tuck Yew. He should thank his lucky star that he is not in the shoe of Tuck Yew now. In a way the problems of public transport was partly the doings of the govt and not just his ministry. They pumped in millions of heads into the system and it was just not possible to build a completely new transport system overnight to cater to the sudden increase in population. From 3m to 5m, you would need another comparable public transport system of buses, trains and taxis to keep it in balance. He was screwed by the system and took the rap for other people’s wild ambition. But the problem may actually be more manageable without the bloggers kpkb in cyberspace. The problem with public transport failure was just too transparent and close to the people affected.

And one thing for sure, without the internet, there will be less complaints heard and all channels of communications will be singing praises that all is fine. And any breakdown could have been played down without the fanfare and fire in the internet that indirectly forces the news into the main media. And our population will have blossomed to 6m by now and the economy could grow by another 15%.

And our property prices would have made every HDB flat owners a millionaire too. The affordability of HDB flats would still be the song being sung daily. And a $1000 pm worker could definitely afford his 2 rm flat which may now cost half a million to buy. Sinkies will all be playing the property market instead of working, like the stock market boom of the early 1990s. There will be long queues in all property launches and all smiling to the banks.

The Minister for National Development would still be Mah Bow Tan. And he would be the toss of everyone who owns a property. He and his team crafted all the policies of housing, the number to build or not to build, the pricing, the market demand and supply for land, and the subsidies. Of the three ministers, Mah Bow Tan’s ministry was thick in action in the property market and public housing. His position was different from Kan Seng or Raymond, whose role in the problems they were held accountable for was more indirect. In housing, the ministry was involved in every comma and full stop of the housing policy for good or bad. They deservedly be held accountable or be rewarded for them.

Can’t imagine what things would be like if Mah Bow Tan is still the minister in charge of housing. For Raymond, it would be hell giving the daily stoppages. In the case of Kan Seng, it would be as quiet and peaceful as the Western front if he has not been removed. National security is still an issue with the huge population but nothing dramatic or hilarious to put him in a spot. The Home Affairs Minister is having a ball at the moment.

Maybe I have over exaggerated the importance of the internet. It was the GE that led to their predicaments.


Shintaro Ishihara is going to buy Diaoyutai

The right wing militant governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, is still waving his samurai sword like a true samurai. He is still living in the days of the Japanese Empire, when Japan ruled East Asia, with Korea and Taiwan as their colonies and China a semi colony. Yesterday he proudly announced that he is going to buy Diaoyutai, a Chinese island which the Japanese claimed during the Empire days and named Senkaku, from a Japanese owner. What’s next, he is going to buy over Taiwan from another Japanese and Dokto from another Japanese as well.

China is lucky that it now carries a bigger stick than the samurai sword and when comes to the crunch, China can wield the stick and swing it hard at the Japanese. What else can the Chinese do if the Japanese insist on taking over Diaoyutai? The Japanese position has weakened over the last decade with the realization that China will go to war if Japan dares take over the island. They used to arrest Chinese and Taiwanese fishing boats and chased them away with their coast guards like what the Philippines were trying to do. The Philippines too were arresting Chinese fishing boats till the latest incident when they threatened some Chinese fishermen with their WW 2 antique warship donated by the Americans.

What happened after the provocative attempt to arrest the Chinese fishermen and threatening to defend their claims with their big guns? They quietly sailed back to Luzon on the pretext of refueling and needing food ration. Or was it that the Chinese told them that they would be sunk by Chinese submarines on their flanks if they refused to get lost?

Lately the Japanese too have been less brazen in arresting and chasing away Chinese fishing boats. They know that their Empire days are over, except for militants like Shintaro. It may be time for some fireworks. And this time it would be the Chinese turn to tell the Japanese that it was the Japanese fault for carrying a smaller gun than the Chinese. That was what the Japanese told the Chinese when they invaded China in the early 20th Century. The Japanese like Shintaro may want to taste their own medicine by pushing the boundary against China. They can still count on America to fight on their side. They can try and see if Tokyo still exists in the aftermath.

Celebration time for Sinkies

HDB flats costing $1m in the resale market, or near to $1m. COE for small cars is now $64k and big cars $91k. And the best part, Sinkies are all celebrating, or at least none is complaining. The property owners are feeling so rich. The car owners who can afford to buy just a piece of paper to entitle them to buy a car must definitely be very rich.

These are happy problems. It only means that Sinkies are getting richer by the day without having to work. No wonder they have to import foreigners to do all the works. Sinkies only need to sit on their properties and feel richer everyday. Now they can also buy cars, park in the car park and wait for the prices to soar with COEs costing more than the value of a car.

With the million dollar flats, they can make a quick pile and spend a little on a brand new car. Who cares whether the train is delayed or not moving? Who cares if COE is $100k? A million dollar HDB flat can buy several COEs and cars. Life is wonderful in this little paradise.

The best plan is to sell the million dollar flat and switch to a 2 rm flat and take advantage of all the subsidies. Don’t work, so will qualify as low income earner. The extra cash can buy a Mercedes to drive around. Hear only the good stuff.

Clockwork Singapore

Singapore used to be a clockwork country. Push a button, press a switch, turn on the tap, everything works. Singapore used to pride itself as a first world country, an oasis in the third world. It differentiated itself with world class quality and services, reliability and efficiency In just a few months, the public train system is breaking apart. How so? This kind of thing does not breakdown overnight. It takes a long gestation period to build up a series of lapses for such a thing to happen. An entire system functioning smoothly over 40 years does not go down like a string of dominoes. That is exactly what is happening to the train system.

Having breakdowns, stoppages and delays are daily business. And the frequency is no longer funny. The standby support system is activated and is working like a substitute to the main system. Excuse for coming late to work chits are printed so that workers can bring it back to office as proof of being late, like getting an MC. Soon organizations will have to check with public transport operators on the validity of such chits and breakdowns. And there will be permanent signs outside every station just to report on delays and breakdowns. It could even have a dedicated radio channel or mobile phone apps to inform commuters to take alternative transport.

It was only yesterday that workers were encouraged to sell their private cars to take public transport, as cheaper, faster and more convenient. Those who opted for the change are finding it a daily hustle to get from point to point. What is going on man?

And with COEs hitting $100k, what is the alternative for those who cannot afford cars now? What is happening to this first world oasis? It is like the light is being switched off, the end is near, age is catching up. The mandate of heaven has been withdrawn and nothing is going to work like clockwork anymore.

And it is happening despite the super talents being in charge and being paid super talented salaries. It is time the people vote like Citigroup against the huge pay packages when the management cannot deliver.

Singapore Day for 3000 in New York

We flew our hawkers to New York. We flew the chief of PA to entertain them. We flew Chee Hean and Amy Khor to shake hands with our Singaporeans and let them know that we missed them and want them to feel that there is a home back home. We flew Michele Chong, Hossan Leong and a few of our local entertainers to give them a bit of Singlish humour.

$4m were spent in the process or about $1,300 per head going by the 3000 happy participants. Only a rich country can afford to throw this kind of party for its overseas citizens. It is money worth spending. What is the purpose of the party? To tell them to come home after their studies or after their overseas experience and acquisition of knowledge and skills? Would they come home?

Heard one of them saying he will need $1m to come home but he could not afford to. He will not be eligible to buy a HDB flat as his income exceeded the ceiling to be classified poor but not rich enough to plonk $1m for a 655 sq ft luxurious condominium. So how?

Singapore can wait. And thanks for the food and the thought. To go home and contribute $1m to the property market and another $100k to buy a COE just do not make money sense. One bowl of laksa may be $10 in New York, but still very cheap.


All victims of Japanese atrocities need to apologise to Japan

After Liew Khai Khuin’s response to a school teacher’s enactment of WW2’s Japanese Occupation, there were some violent responses in the ST forum. Yesterday there was a follow up on the issue by Clarissa Oon, a senior ST writer. This is perhaps the most objective article written by the apologetic victims after the emotional outbursts in the ST forum.

The gist of her objective and critical analysis is that the war and the atrocities are only a matter of interpretation. There is no right and wrong really. In the case of China, it has no right to ask for an apology from Japan after what it had done to its people during the Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution and the Tian Anmen Incident. If China could kill its own people in the millions, what was so wrong about Japan killing Chinese? Until China acknowledges its crime over its citizens, it is inappropriate to demand an apology from Japan for war atrocities.

As for the other nations like Korea or South East Asian countries, their histories have a lot of omissions. ‘Singaporeans should also cast a self critical eye on biases and omissions in the telling of our own national history, even as we take a hard look at the narratives of other countries.’ And ‘While Japan’s neighbours should continue to nudge it to face up more fully to its wartime abuses, these countries should also move towards more honest and open examination of their own histories.’

So Asian countries, please rewrite your history honestly before making demands on Japan. Your own interpretation of your history is wrong. Japan’s interpretation is their business. Asian countries have to be honest first before they can ask Japan for an apology. I am wondering what the Asian countries were so dishonest about? Have they distorted their history and anyhow blamed the Japanese for the atrocities which did not take place? Were the claims of atrocities and brutality false, exaggerated as in the case of the Nankin Massacre? What is the relationship between their own histories, or what have the Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution got to do with Japanese barbarism towards the Chinese and South East Asian people?

I am floored by the convincing objectivity of the brilliant article and how the Asian countries were wronged about Japan. I must pay a visit to Yasukuni Shrine to apologise to the dead Japanese soldiers. We have no right to demand for an apology from the Japanese if we were not honest with our history, or in other words, our history could have been wrong. There were no atrocities and Japanese interpretation could be right, or the Japanese have their right to interpret their own history. It is only a matter of interpretation. It is our fault for wrongly interpreting our history and worst, for omitting about the good part of the Japanese atrocities against Asian people.

Lim Chong Yah’s recommendation and the big risk

There have been all kinds of criticism against Lim Chong Yah’s shock therapy but all seems to miss the most dangerous point. His freezing of the pay of those earning above $15,000 is perhaps the most dangerous of his recommendation. Singapore will definitely sink and become another third world.

With the freezing of top talent’s pay one thing will sure to happen. They will be underpaid and what will be the outcome? Corruption! Corruption will become rampant. For the moment corruption is controlled and prevented from rearing its ugly head. Everyone is paid so well that there is no need to be corrupt or be tempted to corrupt. Once the deserving top talents are not paid enough, this monster can no longer be restrained.

Think the good old professor must rethink and find a solution to this big risk. Don’t believe, some may openly say I no pay enough so I corrupt lah. Don't pray pray.

How to talk cock with cock reasoning

Dr Jim Yong Kim, a Korean American medical doctor was chosen to be the new World Bank chief over the widely respected Nigerian Finance Minister, Ms Ngozi Okonjo Iweala. And the cock reason in an article by AGENCIES reprinted in the Today paper, ‘Inexperience in economics and finance may just help World Bank chief steer agency in new direction.’ Is the new direction towards the abyss? For such an important post, maybe a pimp will be more suitable as you do not need anyone that is finance trained or with a good grasp of world finance. All he needs is an American endorsement and to be the puppet of the Empire.

I mean no disrespect to Dr Jim Yong Kim. He could be a good man, a good doctor. But his appointment is smelly and nonsensical. But the Americans are very good at that. They have been starting wars and killing innocent civilians throughout their history and made the world believe that they are as innocent as an angel and welcomed to kill. They are free from all war crimes.

And their recommendation of a doctor with little experience and financial knowledge is the best thing to happen to the World Bank, to save the world. And the unthinking people of the world believe so. And the Americans must be laughing themselves silly for selling another bottle of snake oil to the gullible people of the world.

False logic and reasoning

The danger of using false logic and reasoning to justify an unjustifiable act is like using a lie to cover another lie. The new lie conceived will need to be a bigger lie than the first, and every subsequent lie will become bigger and more indefensible. And every attempt to defend or cover the lie will make the liar look more stupid and the faked logic more untenable. It is only a matter of time when the lies fall through and the liar falls flat on his face.

The logic that GST is to help the poor, foreigners to help the citizens, foreigners are more talented, new citizens are Singaporeans, like one of us, high pay to prevent corruption, high minister pay is the right thing to do, HDB flats are affordable and driven by market forces, etc etc have started to have that hollow ring.

The people are starting to question these logics and starting to disbelieve in them. No matter how often are these songs being sung or printed as the real stuff, the good stuff, the truth will surface to tell a false logic is a false logic.

I recall a story of a poor family having a great reunion dinner behind closed doors. And they were celebrating and offering each other roast pork and chicken in a very happy and generous way. And they were toasting each other with cognac. Anyone outside will be so envious of the party and the feast they were having.

Peeping through the door, the truth was plain and clear, that they were sharing red and white potatoes and drinking plain tea. But they were living a life of make beliefs, just to feel good and be happy. The good thing was that they knew that they were deceiving themselves for the moment. It would be sad if they did not know that they were living a lie. It would be sadder if they were living under other people’s lie.


The myth of a vibrant stock market

If we lower the commission rate there will be increase in trading volumes which will translate into more business and more commission. When there are more foreign funds operating and trading in our stock market, trading volume will increase, more vibrancy, oh I forgot, more oomph, and sure more business, and more commission. When there are more stocks, derivatives, structured products, there will be more business, more commissions, and dunno more what.

When our stock market is linked to more stock markets, the sky will fall down, money will fall into the laps of everyone as business across the world can be done here. We will be a one stop business and financial centre and all will be doing roaring business. All the stock brokers and broking houses and all the supporting staff will be looking towards a windfall, not a downfall.

And we are nearly there, and daily trading volume is in the billions. And commissions must also be in the millions at least. And stock prices must have shot through the roof with such vibrant trading activities. The phones must be ringing non stop and remisiers will have no time for lunch. Yes, extended trading hours, no lunch break, business will go up by at least 10%.

What is real? Many stocks are now penny stocks, quite a number are worth less than 1c and listed in the main board. And where is the commission? Where are the investors and traders? Who is doing all the trading? Machines, really? But never mind if the machine can generate more trading and more commissions. Good times are here.

We have done everything right according to the norms and practices and conditions of Wall Street. We even invested in the world’s fastest computer to facilitate greater trading volumes in micro seconds. The best fund managers are all here trading in our market. Everything is going to be right. Trust me. Now be patient and wait, just wait.

What the train is saying?

‘Stop, stop, help, help, I can’t go on anymore.’

No you can, our population is only 5m, and we will have a few more millions coming in.

‘No, no, really, can’t take anymore. I am not designed to take so many commuters.’

No you can. The trains in Tokyo can, so why can’t you? You are only half filled, running on half capacity.

‘Stop it, I say. All my parts are starting to fall off, can’t you see? I will run to a halt if you don’t stop adding more commuters to my load.’

Don’t worry lah, a few more wouldn’t kill you lah. Those car owners who have to give up their cars will come on board soon when they cannot afford the new COEs. Take a deep breath and carry on.


‘Your attention please, this train will be delayed due to a mechanical fault. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.’

‘Your attention please, this train will be delayed due to a mechanical fault. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.’

‘Your attention please, this train will be delayed due to a mechanical fault. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.’

Lim Chong Yah’s model no productivity

The main bug bear to Lim Chong Yah’s shock therapy is productivity. It is logical that before one raises the wage of workers, one has to take into account many factors, competition, costs and of course productivity. How can anyone think of getting big pay hike without complimentary productivity? The raising of worker’s income is a very serious matter and much deeper understanding and thoughts need to be put into it unlike bloggers like Redbean who would post anything that appears in his mind and in 5 minutes it is in mysingaporenews. No depth, no analysis.

I think the good professor must have spent many hours seriously contemplating on the problem and the solutions. It is not a wild shot. It is definitely a serious proposition that is supported by economic and academic considerations. An economics professor of his stature does not spout nonsense like bloggers, and his proposition should at least be placed on the tables for serious discussions. Bloggers can freely criticize anything without thinking. But to criticize the works of an economics professor who has done deep thinking before coming out with his recommendations, due diligence is needed from anyone who would want to dispense his criticism to do justice to the professor. Be respectful. Put in some effort to understand what the professor was saying before shooting off the hip.

Productivity may be an important factor in raising wages. But in the real world, wages or salaries can be raised by using other factors and considerations other than productivity. One standard methodology is to do a market survey and compare job values. And jobs of similar values should be paid similar pay. So when one is paid more, the other also must be paid more. This method is silent on productivity. It just says since you got so much, I also want to be paid so much.

Another way is to peg one’s salary to other people’s salary. Just assume one’s job is more important than others. So if other people earn more, one’s income will also go up accordingly. No need to talk about productivity. Just wait for the more talented and enterprising to work harder, to earn more, then one just tag on the bandwagon. When other people earn more, one must also earn more. What’s the correlation? Beats me. Where is the element of productivity? Who cares?

Oh, productivity is meant only for workers. Workers and farmers really produce goods of value and thus their productivity is important. When one’s job does not produce anything of value except talking cock, there is no need for productivity? Productivity is irrelevant to raise pay in such cases.


The big guns are trained at Lim Chong Yah

The big guns have been rolled out and lined up with their cross hairs on Lim Chong Yah. This is the first time that a biggie from the establishment is standing in front of the firing squad. Ngiam Tong Dow did his fair share of criticism and seemed to get away with it. In Lim Chong Yah’s case, looks like he is going to be burnt on the stake.

Given his credential as a renowned economics professor, his past appointments and contributions as Chairman of the NWC, and his connections, it is intriguing to see where the attacks are coming from. Would it turn into a free for all whereby anyone from the winning camp will start to take potshots at the professor? And if that happens, what is the story behind it?

Has the good professor fallen out of grace, going to fall out of grace, or is his shock therapy shocking people out of their comfort zones? This is an interesting development to watch. It will reveal a lot of unspoken truths as the plots thicken. It could also be another watershed, with more thinkers changing side and more stepping forward to call a spade a spade. And the final moment will come when the people realize that the mandate of heaven has been withdrawn and a regime change is on the way. By then the cards will all be opened and a new alignment of forces will take place as has been the case in history.

Two major dangers facing China

The West is greeting the widening of the trading band of the yuan with glee. They want more, they want the yuan to be traded freely like the greenbacks and other currencies. They also want the Chinese to open up their stock markets and allow the western funds to move in and convert the trading system to those of the West, particularly the Wall Street model. The bottom line, they want the Chinese stock markets to trade derivatives, fakes and worthless papers instead of real stocks.

The loosening of control of the yuan, to become freely convertible to foreign currencies and to be at the mercy of the currency manipulators is the biggest danger China is facing. It is under tremendous pressure from the West to allow the West to do as they like, as they please with the value of yuan. When that day comes, the West will buy up the yuan with toilet papers that they printed in unlimited quantities and will use the yuan to control the Chinese economy. China will then be at the mercy of the Western financial oligarchs working in collusion, and be controlled by them. They could bankrupt China at will by their complicated financial products and manipulations and the extensive network of financial players working hand in glove together. It will be a bloodless war that will destroy China in the name of free market.

The other major front is the stock markets. The western stock markets have been transformed into an unrecognisable monster and are stock markets only in name. The stocks will eventually all be worthless if the stocks listed in western model stock markets are a clue to what is happening. Many stocks are trading for one or two cents or less. What kind of stocks or stock markets would trade on such worthless stocks? There is no interest in the real stocks but in toilet papers printed with the words stocks or derivatives or other financial jargons. The base point is that they worthless and are not stocks but stock killers.

While China is in a hurry to develop its own financial and stock markets, it must not be conned into accepting the western model of stock market system and mechanism which are nothing but contrived legalised casinos with gambling chips printed with money value on them. The fundamentals of stock trading have been flushed down the toilet bowl and the substitutes are not stocks but meaningless and worthless scrips of papers, fakes.

China should go slow, develop its own stock markets based on traditional principles and conventional system, where the fundamentals are right. There is no hurry to rush into a system of madness that is unsustainable and is being kept alive not unlike a ponzi scheme. It looks good superficially but has no real value add like what real stocks are. It is the greatest con job of modern history. And like all con jobs, the bluff will be called and the system will collapse, if it has not collapsed already.

China must conscientiously guard against being duped into a freak financial system that is waiting for self destruction. If China should stupidly appease the West and unthinkingly embrace the western financial system, it will help the flawed system to extent its life a little longer at its expense, maybe giving it a semblance of rapid growth for a while, like a flash in the pan, and everything will be blacked out in quicker time, with a bigger bang.

The collapse of the western financial system is near, given its unproductive and destructive mechanism and the unjustifiable high rewards for doing nothing constructive, useful or productive. And when it falls apart, hopefully China is not another sucker being sucked into it and pay as heavy a price as the decadent West. The fundamentals of economic growth are production, productivity, creation of goods, values and real services. The western model is not any of these. It is just paper shuffling, financial engineering or tricks, accounting frauds, a complex system of unproductive con jobs. It produces nothing of value. It is conning one sucker after another to prolong its existence and delay its final ending. It cannot keep going without real economic growth and production.

China should just go on its own steam, doing what it thinks is right, keep producing valued goods for the world, and frustrate the modern day robbers and thugs and not be robbed by them. Do not fall into their trap by playing a game that the crooks have designed.

The great subsidy game

In paradise, everything is subsidized by the govt. School fees, university fees, all subsidized. Hospital bills, subsidized. Polyclinic bills, subsidized. Housing, more subsidies in terms of tens of thousands or at least $60k for those earning $1000 pm. Dunno how much subsidies for the bigger flats, but must be big. Public transport, also subsidized, the latest $1.1b to buy buses and pay staff salaries. PUB bills, conservancy bills also got subsidies but called rebates.

If these are subsidies, that means the govt is paying a large portion of the bills. The cost must be genuine and that is why there is a need to subsidise. Can someone work out how much would all the subsidies come to that are paid by the govt? I think it is no small amount. Or this is already provided in the budget under Subsidies?

If one flat is subsidized by $60k, 1,000 flat would mean $60 million. And for bigger flats, the subsidies could be more. Imagine how much the govt has subsidized for 800,000 HDB flats? Add the rest of the subsidies, it could come to billions.

We should call ourselves Subsidy Paradise. I am thinking of setting up a Subsidy Club. Everything in the Club is subsidized including meals, services, retails etc etc for as much as 70%. Membership fee is $200k. Monthly subscription fee is $1000. I think this is an excellent concept. Forgot to add, Membership fee is already subsidized and so is monthly subscription fee. Members no need to worry. This subsidy concept is perfectly sustainable in the long run.

The great subsidy game is one of the key factors that allows the thousands of millionaires to live their normal lives. Without the great subsidies, the millionaires will have to tighten their belts and may go begging. Can our asset rich millionaires survive without the subsidies? This is perhaps the only rich country in the world where millionaires have to live on subsidies.

I remember that a figure was thrown out claiming that an average Sinkie would receive something like half a million dollars of subsidies in his life time. Foreigners must quickly opt to become citizens and become recipients of half a million dollars just by becoming Singaporeans. Where on earth got such a good bargain?


Faces of Agent Orange

This is a face that you can recognise in the documentary by CNA.

Channel News Asia (CNA) will be featuring a special documentary on the victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam next Friday, 20 Apr at 8 pm. It is a very painful story of what this pretentious magnanimous, defender of human rights, and the advocates against chemical warfare did to the poor Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. They were so hypocritical, so freakish, to launch a war to kill Saddam Hussein for amassing WMD, including chemical weapons, when it was the US that provided Saddam with such destructive weapons in the first place. And the US is still holding on to a huge cache of chemical weapons in its arsenal, waiting to use it generously on its next victim. And the world still believes that the US is such a kind and loving country, so caring and honourable.

The programme is a must watch to see what the Americans had done against what they preached.

CBF is better

The shock therapy of Lim Chong Yah is facing immediate resistance. It is flawed in many ways. In the first place it was not a sought after advice. Nobody asks for it. So it looks like a ‘keh khian’ or smart alec type of proposal. The saying in paradise is to be smart but don’t act too smart. And do not give advice if not asked for.

The second problem with the therapy is that it is free. There is no need to pay a million or two to consult a foreign expert to work on it. Things that are free are not good. And there is no angmoh element to give it some weight?

The third flaw, it seems, is that it is from a different camp type of thing. It is like everything from the opposition is bad. Only the super talents can come up with good solutions. I can bet the next salvo of questions will be something like, how is he going to pay for this therapy? Chen Show Mao already kenna from this kind of questioning. And Tan Jee Say also got it for his $6o billion restructuring programme. Both failed because there is no money to pay for them.

Come to think of it, giving 50% increment to the pay of workers is too far fetch a dream to come true. The workers will not accept it. The workers will prefer to go for CBF, cheap, better and faster solution. That is a sustainable solution in the long term. It has been in practice with full support from the tripartite arrangement or the holy trinity. Our workers only believe in the trinity and will not want the proposed 50%. They are happy as they are.

And the audacity to freeze the salary of top talents for 3 years is unthinkable. You want them to suffer, you want their life style to be painfully affected, you want them to be quitters?

The shock therapy is a no go from the word go. Now everyone will be asking for the blood of the good old professor. He should have done the politically correct thing, freeze the worker’s and raise the super talent’s salary by 50% over the next 3 years and receive all the praises and recognition.

Meanwhile someone may be thinking of lining up a team of super foreign talents with super consultancy fee to go with to counter this outrageous therapy. It must be done as the non economists and the layman politicians would not have the credentials or ability to shaft this recommendation down the longkangs in the usual way. This therapy must be exposed and every point rebutted to show that it cannot work.


A new ministry to look after PRs and foreign talents

With the govt starting to place emphasis on the goodness of being citizens and cutting down on the privileges of PRs and foreign talents, these people will start to feel what it is like for being neglected by govt policies. Lam Pin Min is quite pro active in seeing the plight and suffering of these saviours of Sinkies and would like to see more assistance to help them. Setting up some funds to help the lower income PRs and foreign talents is a good start but definitely will not be enough. There are more than a million of them here and the problems they are facing cannot be solved by piece meal solutions.

The interests and well being of 2 million PRs and foreigners, just my guess, would need a ministry and a minister, plus minister of state and parliamentary committees to do a proper job. 2m is a big number when the locals, ie citizens, only make up 3m of the population. And for the 3m of citizens, there is a whole govt with all the ministers and MPs looking after and caring for them. It is time that a proper ministry be created to do a good job. And don’t forget, our benefactors are not here to sponge on the economy, but to help us. They need to be well looked after. If not they will move on.

As for the new ministry, the work is already cut out for it. One of the key missions is to make sure that govt policies are favourable to the PRs and foreigners and any changes must take into account their interests. Can’t imagine what the economy will be like if they vote with their legs. They can’t vote with their hands yet. Scary.

Don’t ask me where the money is going to come from to start another ministry, to pay for minister, minister of state, parliamentary secretary, permanent secretary and the whole works. One possibility is to make the PRs and foreigners to pay some kind of welfare levy to support such a ministry created specially to look after them. Singaporeans could help by subsidizing a part of the cost too, to show appreciation and gratefulness for their contributions to Singapore and Singaporeans’ good.


Lim Chong Yah’s shock therapy timely

The remisiers in the stock broking industry are thrilled by the recommendations of Lim Chong Yah’s shock therapy. Those remisiers earning less than $1,500 pm can look forward to a 50% increment in their income in three years time. That should make them quite comfortable to buy a 2 rm HDB flat with money to spare. It is like a timely intervention from heaven to this dying trade. For the time being they can shelf their plans to become taxi drivers. Just wondering if they will try to upgrade the skills of taxi drivers, or improve their knowledge in driving and be tested on driving buses, coaches and lorries, or even cranes.

Another good thing is that the remisiers can think of submitting their claims to the Skills Development Fund for upgrading courses, for course fees and examination fees. The first batch of remisiers taking the Module 6A are busily calling the SDF to enquire on their applications.

Remisiers cannot ask for more with additional training and upgrading of their skills. They will be better equipped to engage in more sophisticated products with the new knowledge they have acquired. Or they can become FTs in other countries that need their sophisticated skills.

Though it is not sure how the 50% increment will apply to remisiers whose income is from commission and not salary, it is still something to hope for, to look forward to. The only thing that they may be worried about is the possibility of more reductions in commission due to competition and lowering of business cost. If that were to happen, after 3 years and 50% increment, they may still end up making $1,500 or less.

And they have no control over the commission rate as it is now freely negotiable and freely cut when necessary to beat the competition.

Fear not, there is hope for a better tomorrow. Every remisier can still become another Peter Lim. But don’t bet on it that commission rate will be raised or business will pick up with the machine taking over.

Parliamentary Elections Act, Section 24

Parliamentary Elections Act, Section 24, under the Writ of election.
Writ of election

24. —(1) For the purposes of every general election of Members of Parliament, and for the purposes of the election of Members to supply vacancies caused by death, resignation or otherwise, the President shall issue writs under the public seal, addressed to the Returning Officer.

(2) Every such writ shall be in Form 1 in the First Schedule and shall specify the date or dates (referred to in this Act as the day of nomination) not being less than 5 days nor more than one month after the date of the writ and the place or places of nomination (referred to in this Act as the place of nomination).

(2A) In respect of any group representation constituency, no writ shall be issued under subsection
(1) for an election to fill any vacancy unless all the Members for that constituency have vacated their seats in Parliament.

The above is a part of our election law which many are now familiar with, especially 2A(1) which states that the President will not issue any writ for a by election in a GRC ‘unless all the Members for that constituency have vacated their seats in Parliament’. What is in this Act is very clear, no by election unless all the MPs have vacated their seats in a GRC, all resigned, sacked or mati. If one is left, no need for by election.

The legal minded and the critics have pointed out this section as a violation of Section 49 (1) of the Elections Act which provided for a seat to be filled.

The question is who drafted Section 24(2A) and what was the intent, or what was the reason behind the law?

The next question, who were the MPs who voted to pass this Act and what were their intentions? Do they believe that this is what the law should be, that in a 5 or 6 member GRC, if only one MP is left, it is perfectly ok for the single MP to look after a whole GRC? And is this a reasonable thing to do or to believe, and to pass as a law? And if not, why is this happening?

For those who believe this is a reasonable law, a good law, a practical law, a law that they themselves would support and vote for it, case closed. For those who think this is not right, that one MP cannot possibly look after a GRC and it is only fair and proper to have a by election quickly under normal circumstances, they may want to think back and ask why such a law can be written and can be passed in Parliament.

Even if a Prime Minister calls for a by election, the President can say no under this Act if one MP in a GRC is still in office. Even if a Prime Minister wants a by election, there shall be no by election in a GRC under Section 24(2A). The President cannot issue a writ for a by election. But I am not a learned legal counsel so I must be misreading or misinterpreting the law, or the reason behind the law. Mine is a layman’s unlearned and blur reading of the law. Sure wrong one. I better admit first before kenna bokok by the honourable learned counsels.

Why would an MP support and voted for such a law?

My First Home

‘How can someone who can’t grasp simple and straightforward concepts be in a position to manage and lead a country? Look at Prime Minister Najib Razak's failed My First Home ownership scheme and the recent decision to scrap the controversial new civil servant remuneration scheme, apart from other flip-flops.

Launch a year ago, the house-ownership scheme for low-income earners failed because banks are unwilling to hand out 100 per cent financing applicants earning less than RM3,000 a month. How can Najib fail to grasp the fact that with a gross income of RM3,000 a month, a person simply cannot have any spare cash to pay the monthly installments for the house? Surely, Najib must know that a person has also to pay for essentials such as food, transport and other expenses….’

The above is an extract from an article by Nawawi Mohamad, Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle.

The comments were quite surprising given the similar situation in Singapore. Spending power of 3000 ringgits is roughly equivalent to $3000 in Singapore. And our govt has recently proved to Singaporeans that a $1000 income is enough to buy a 2 rm flat. And definitely our govt will also include the other essentials that the person would have to pay for, like food, transport etc. And considering the property prices in Malaysia are so much lower than Singapore even with subsidies, it just sounds not right. Maybe Najib should pay a visit to Tharman for some advice on how to make Malaysian public housing affordable to 1000 ringgit and 3000 ringgit Malaysians. I think the trick is that in Malaysia they don’t have market price subsidies to go with.

One thing right about Najib’s formula is to make sure that all Malaysians will be able to afford a first home. I think they don’t have such rulings like singles, income ceilings or whatever to mess around to prevent Malaysians from owning their first home. They care for their citizens, to have a roof over their heads. And they don’t have to give preference to new citizens over their old citizens as they don’t have a million new citizens to provide housing to.

Singaporeans are luckier, to be able to afford quality public housing marked to market with only $1000 monthly income. The subsidies really work.