Single BTO flat at $16K!

Where on earth can one buy a 2 rm flat for $16k? Surely not in Singapore when housing prices are hitting the roof. A small 3 rm govt built flat in the city could cost $400k or more in the resale market. But it is true. This is the latest govt offer to singles at a net price of $16k for a 2 rm BTO flat.

Now for the details. A 2 rm BTO flat is priced at $76k, how to get it at $16k? There is a govt grant of $30k for an applicant whose income is less than $750 or is it $1125 pm. And if there is a joint application by two equally low income applicants, each will get a $30k grant or $60k in full. There you are, $76k less $60k equals $16k.

Now who are the people earning less than $750/$1125? If I am not mistaken, most cleaners and dishwashers in the hawker centres are also earning more than this, probably $800 or $900. I can only think of those who are self employed like some remisiers or part time insurance or housing agents who make a sale once a year.

Oh, I think there is another category of self employed that may qualify to buy, the tin can or cardboard collectors or karung guni collectors, not the karung guni bosses. The latter are likely to be millionaires driving Mercedes around. Oh dear, I heard some were saying that the new karung guni collectors are new citizens or PRs. Hopefully not so. Could they be considered as talents with this kind of skills?

Can people who earn less than $2000 resign and apply as unemployed? Or could they get a temporary job and ask to be paid less than $750/$1125 to qualify for the $30k grant? Can right?

Notion of aggression not defined – Shinzo Abe

When Abe was asked the question of Japan’s aggression in Korea, China and the rest of South East Asia in the Second World War, his reply was that ‘the notion of aggression was not defined’. What he meant must be that while the countries invaded was screaming aggression, just like a sexually violated victim shouting rape, the Japanese do not see it that way. To him, it was not aggression, but probably liberation. They were liberating the colonized countries to free them so that Japan can rule over them under the East Asia Co Prosperity Sphere. So where got aggression? It is for the mutual benefit and prosperity of Japan and all the countries they invaded.

How many Asian countries would believe this man? Can this man and Japan be trusted to revive its military and aggressive past as a military power? Abe is now visiting some of the countries that were victims of Japanese aggression which he did not agree and offering another version of the East Asian Co Prosperity formula. Japan is going to be the same old Imperial power to lead these countries under Japan. Japan is going tear away its pacifist constitution, rearmed like it used to be, a military power, and to be the leader of Asian countries once again.

It is increasing its military budget, acquiring more arms, involved in military adventures, offering to help the Philippines fight against China. It is behaving aggressively and provoking China and Korea and still making devious moves to continue to stake claims to the territories of Korea and China.

Would Asian countries be stupid enough to buy this Japanese lie that the remilitarization of Japan is for peace and for the good of Asia? Have these countries forgotten what a beast Japan was and could be again when it becomes an aggressive military power once again? Can Abe and Japan be trusted?

Before the state of paralysis, STOP

At the rate we are building more flats and buildings across the island, when every little nook and corner will be scraped so that something can be built on it, it is frightening. We are going to run out of space for buildings if we go on clearing and building. We are going to run out of space for roads and transportation. We are going to be jammed and paralysed if we don’t stop pumping more people into this small piece of rock. We are encroaching into nature, robbing every inch of land available for this thing called economic growth.

Stop while we still can. Stop while we still have the time to ponder and to save our little land from further exploitation and conversion into concrete and humanly made objects.

If we need productivity and economic growth, it must be through other means, through science and technology, through creativity and inventions, definitely not through adding more people or using up more of whatever land that is left.

While the rest of the world is crying to save Gaia, we need to cry to save Singapore before it is plundered to a state of paralysis through a state of over building and over population. Stop before the state of mortis rigor sets in. It must not be allowed to, we must not go that way. Stop while we still can.

What is the point of building and building and to trade our precious land for cash? What is the point of stuffing this island with more and more people? Are we insane? Or who is insane?

Our transportation is going to be a gridlock with too many vehicles and too few roads to drive. Increasing and improving public transportation are not the solutions if we don’t stop the flow of more people into the island. Keep raising COE and ERP charges, are they really the solutions? We are painting ourselves into a tight corner and no where to move.

What is economic growth when our lifestyle is being constraint by rising cost and diminishing space? There is no need to turn the island into a Peking duck, to be stuffed to the fullest.


The Singapore recycling formula

One outstanding achievement of this city that has been overlooked by the rest of the world is its recycling formula. No, I am not talking about pulling down good buildings only to rebuild them, or scrapping cars that were in good working conditions and less than 10 years old. These are very wasteful things to do and we failed miserably in both areas. Our successful recycling process is not about little old people picking up drink cans or carton boxes or encouraging people not to use plastic bags.

The most successful recycling effort is the recycling human resources into the economy. We are making practically everyone that is economically active into the workforce. Mothers are encouraged to work to contribute to the economy too. Motherhood, raising children and providing a cosy and warm home for the family is secondary. Every adult is usefully employed. There is no waste.

What is more is that the work life of the adults has been extended to beyond 70 or 80. Many oldies that would normally be out of the workforce, retired by 55 or 60, are now recycled into the economy to be gainfully employed. Soon everyone will likely to be working till 80 or 90 years old.

This recycling of the oldies have extended the useful economic lifespan of the people by 30 to 40 years, which means that the people have practically made themselves useful for double the time they used to be. Or the workforce is actually doubled in a way. And if we include the normally economically inactive womenfolk, the recycling is even more successful.

Isn’ t this a great achievement? We never waste our people. Some are squeezed and squeezed to get every drop of juice from them. Some are so talented that it would be a waste to put them away. So they are reused and reapplied to share their talents and experience for the good of the country and its people, I supposed.

PS, We are even recycling the rejects from New York and London and all the Third World countries.

Biden calls for lowering of tension

The American VP visited several Asian and South East Asian countries and make an appeal for all to lessen the heightening tension in East and South China Seas. How much to believe him when everyone knows that he was on a mission to sign military alliances to contain China and to counter China’s claims to the disputed islands in the two seas?

There was no tension, or at least the tension in the two seas were minimal with all sides not trying to provoke each other or trying to out shout the other and brandishing their guns. East Asia and South East Asia have a span of 35 years of peace after the Americans evacuated from the war in Indochina. The Americans have been fighting one war after another from the Korean War, Vietnam War, wars in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria, in Bosnia and in Latin America since the end of World War Two. Wherever there is war, you can find the Americans as the main combatants or supporting and financing the war. The track records of the USA is about wars, making wars, provoking and inciting wars.

Now the Americans are coming back to Asia and moving ahead of their arrival is heightened tension and increasing prospect for wars. Are these just mere coincidences or an indication that the Americans are behind all the tension? And they are calling the Asian countries to lower tension!? What hypocrits!

Every country in Asia knows that the Americans are the main cause of increasing tension and behind all the provocative acts of otherwise docile little countries. Today they are all talking like they are America, the number One superpower and happily challenging a bigger country like China to war. Without the Americans instigating behind the scene, would these pesky little countries dare to act in such ways? With American backing they are going to challenge China in all kinds of claims as they have nothing to lose. But I am not too sure about this nothing to lose mentality.

Who is raising tension to incite wars? One thing for sure, when there is war, the Americans will be around and will be a major player. And the USA is on the other side of the Pacific Ocean but is deploying its armed forces in many bases on the western Pacific, for peace so it claims.

The open door immigration policy of UK under attack

Immigration in many countries used to be a natural thing when the number is small, manageable and at the comfort of the host country. The host country will determine who can come in, how many and from where. When immigration becomes a kind of economic pep pills to boost a country’s economy and the number allowed in has reached a level that is uncomfortable to the natives, immigration will gradually become a sore point. It affects the social and economic fabric of a country and its people. It will become a full blown political issue.

Britain, being an ex empire, has been quite liberal with its immigrant policy with respect to its ex colonies. Many have since made Britain their new found home with new found hope and a better life materially. But things are not looking good now and the Brits are starting to protest and demanding a slowing down in the import of foreign labour through immigration.

The Govt complied by making promises and announcing policy changes to tighten immigration. On the ground, the number of immigrants continues to swell and the Brits are not stupid not to notice the ever rising presence of more immigrants. Now they don’t even believe their govt and the statistics the govt puts up.

Let me quote Chris Bryant, an opposition Labour MP. ‘…the report showed the govt’s assertions on immigration could not be trusted. We should be able to count people in and out of this country…If the govt is going to boast about having cut net migration then you would think that the statistics would be reliable ones. The truth is, they’re not.’

How could govt statistics be not reliable, untruth? It cannot be, the govt are made up of righteous and honourable people with great dignity and trustworthiness. How can they not be trusted? The govt should be even more reliable than the main media as they are the govt, people of high morals and conscience. How can the people say the govt statistics cannot be trusted?

But that is Britain. Our govt statistics definitely can be trusted. Our main media too, producing news by professional journalists and reporters, men and women with great integrity, well trained and with reliable sources, and with facts and data vetted and double and triple check for accuracy. But we are Singapore and they are Britain. We can be trusted, they cannot.

How can they rank our media at 149th? They must be joking.


A brilliant solution to shortages of hospital beds

An American associate professor, Sean Flynn, is so impressed with our medical and healthcare system that he is going to use our system as the model to reform the US system. Actually no system is as expensive as the American system and thus must be better. The professor also acknowledged that a big problem facing our system is the shortage of hospital beds. His natural reaction is prices as our hospital beds must definitely be cheaper than those in the US and there is a lot of room for the price to go up.

I quote the professor, ‘One way to get rid of the shortage of B1 beds would be to raise the price…But this is difficult for politicians to do and if they had to vote on it every year, politicians don’t like to raise the price of anything. So a simple way to solve this problem is to just have everything indexed to inflation, so the prices of things would just go up automatically every year.’ I must say this is a brilliant idea and it only takes a foreign professor to teach us how to do it.

Wait a minute, I thought we did something very similar, like the minister’s salaries being pegged to the market, like HDB prices being pegged to market price, and so on and on. And the salaries and prices just go up automatically. No need to vote in Parliament to raise salaries and housing prices.

Now who is learning from whom on this brilliant idea? The unmentioned effect of hospital bed priced to inflation is that those who cannot afford it just don’t use it. Thus the demand will definitely come down. In fact this solution should be extended to all medical services and healthcare, then the queue for medical services will be shortened. And the undertaker’s business will flourish as more will not be able to afford medical treatment and can go to see their maker earlier. This makes great economic sense. The sick will save on the money that they would otherwise have to pay to the hospitals. The rich who can afford the higher price services will have all the services at their convenience as long as they can pay for them. Utilitarianism at work, pragmatism at work, economics at work, and prudence at work and the result is simply an efficient and effective healthcare service.

What say you? I really like this recommendation.

China trembling in fear

The Philippines have announced more effort to counter China militarily in the South China Sea. Other than announcing that it will increase its military budget, it is now seeking funds from other countries, it has acquires more military hardware, the latest are two big navy ships from the Americans. It has also announced that it will be moving it armed forces to the Subic Naval Base to be nearer to the islands in dispute so that it can react to the Chinese presence. The fighter aircrafts and warships will be able to engage the Chinese faster in the new base.

Philippines also has the backing of the US and Japan and should present a very formidable challenge to the Chinese forces in the area. The Chinese must be shivering in their pants. The strongest military power of Asean is flexing its muscles and telling China not to trifle with it or would face a military challenge by the latter.

With such a strong and concerted effort to strengthen its military forces and fighting capability, it is only a matter of time before China pull out its presence in the South China Sea or risk being attacked by the Philippines. The writing is on the wall and China better take heed and move out. The Philippines is serious and means business and will go to war with China.

Runaway Elitism

It was only a few weeks ago that Vivian lectured the young doctors not to overcharge their patients, in other words not to be too greedy and raise the cost of living of the people. Chok Tong has followed up with a similar call on Saturday night when he spoke to his famous alumni, the Rafflesians, in a dinner to honour him with the honourable Gryphon Award. His main theme is about meritocracy, elitism and the entitlement mentality of the elite. He made a call for the successful luminaries to give back to society, to the less fortunate and the less able.

Elitism without compassion is bad. Sure. An uncaring elite class that has no compassion for others, thinking only of their entitlements and how deserving they are is not a good thing socially and politically. It is good to share a little with those who have little. Actually elitism is not a bad thing and can be a good thing with a little compassion, generosity and empathy. It is not much difference from a benevolent dictator or a king when he rules with a heart of gold and for the good of the people.

In reality, asking the rich and powerful to share their wealth is a naive idealism, an aspiration that is good to hear and talk about. Putting into practice is a different matter altogether. Many of the rich and powerful will be so busy scheming of how to take more for themselves and would not have the time to think of sharing. How can they share when they did not have enough?

There is really no need for the rich to share with the poor. All they need to do is not to keep on taking. Whatever they take, the money must come from somewhere. And the more they take, the more someone else will have to pay or to have less. It is a different matter if the money comes from outside the country. Not that no one pays, but the payers are not the citizens and it is easier to account to the people. When one takes more and the citizens have less, it will definitely create tension in the system, a widening income gap. Now you know the reason why the income gap is getting wider? Unfortunately all those who are taking could not see this, or they don’t have mirrors in their homes. They cannot see who is taking and taking and from whom.

And to make matter worst, they are taking not just because they are meritocratic and elitist, they are going to make their children and grandchildren elitist without a thought on meritocracy. Or the children of elite are meritocratic by inheritance.

Chok Tong spoke about the discussion between LKY, Devan Nair and Winsemius on the issue of accumulation of wealth. The ideal philosophy was that ‘all wealth should revert to the state on the owner’s death so that each successive generation would start on an equal footing, and success would depend on hard work and ability, not inherited wealth’.

Chok Tong said the idea was found to be impractical. By who? I think Winsemius must have been overruled. He added that ‘the Govt has tried to level the playing field by putting more resources into education, including preschools, and giving financial aid to the needy students’. So inherited wealth will not level the playing field and should be retained and estate duty abolished. How is this to measure up with the concept of meritocracy?

There is nothing wrong with inherited wealth. The family and descendants deserved to inherit the wealth of their parents. Their parents worked for it, or their parents took what they could from the system. What was practised in the old system was to retain a tax structure to tax some of the wealth of the deceased estate for the state to redistribute to the people in other ways. As long as the tax structure is reasonable, it is not a bad thing. To allow the whole loot, oops, I mean the whole lot of wealth to be passed down, is only to accentuate the inequality in society and definitely is not promoting meritocracy but elitism. There must be a balance between over taxation and zero taxation on inheritance. Inheritance is entrenched meritocracy and inherited elitism, not individual meritocracy. It is meritocracy of the family, of the tribe. It is not about levelling the playing field. It is elite protecting their elitism and wealth.

When one is bragging about the merits of meritocracy and level playing field, and then supports tax free inheritance, the contradiction is obvious. It is like saying one thing doing another thing. Anyone talking about entitlement mentality of the elite? My family and children and grandchildren are entitled to be elite.


Bloggers and netizens unite

All of us should now be familiar with the case of Leslie Chew, the cartoonist of Demoncratic, being sued for contempt of the judiciary. TRE has posted a couple of articles on this and a call for donation to Leslie Chew to pay for his legal fees. There are many reasons offered on why everyone should support Leslie Chew and also why is this very necessary. Some even suggested turning this into a fund for future use exactly for such cases when bloggers are sued for engaging in such ‘nefarious’ activities like blogging on social and political issues that are important to every citizen of this City.

It is only prudent to expect seeing more of Sue and more bloggers needing funds to defend themselves when Sue is now the number one darling of people who are unhappy with what appears in the social media.

Bloggers and netizens must close rank, be united as a people. Only then will they remain strong and can withstand the strongest typhoons coming their way. For those who can, contribute whatever you can to the Leslie Chew’s fund. His POSB Savings Account is 121-32104-1 as posted in TRE. A few dollars from everyone can come to a significant sum to help this unfortunate cartoonist who is also a blogger and a netizen. This is not an issue of legally right or legally wrong. It is just to help another citizen in distress.

Stay united as a people, a country, a nation, only then can the people be strong to face whatever storm and adversities thrown at them. Stay divided, one by one will be taken down in due course. This is a test of the unity of the people, a test whether they share the same values, beliefs and principles, and a test if they are one people, one nation, the people of a nation coming together, standing united to help and support one another in good and bad times.

The successful conditioning of the daft Sinkie mind

Just put your ears to the ground and listen to the Sinkies talking and what they have come to accept as the truth, the realities that they have to live with, simply amazing. Aliens setting foot on this island would be so amused and aghast at the things that the Sinkies are made to believe and accept as part of their lives.

Let me just list a few of the Sinkie truths that will not be accepted in other developed countries with thinking citizens.

Sinkies are made to believe that they have the most talented Sinkies in politics and they deserved to be paid the millions or they would walk into another betterer paying job in the private sector.

Sinkies are made to believe that the only solution to corruption is to pay the public officers and appointees the millions and they will not be corrupt anymore.

Sinkies are made to believe that foreigners are more talented than Sinkies.

Sinkies are made to believe that they need foreigners to come here to create jobs for them. The truth is that we are creating all the jobs for the foreigners. Tio boh?And the best part is that the foreigners now believe that Sinkies are really daft and they are superior to Sinkies even if they come from third world countries that could not give them the jobs they have here nor pay them the salaries.

Sinkies are made to believe that their flats are affordable and worth the money they paid for. And that living in 900 sq ft flats is quality living.

Sinkies also believe that cars are unnecessary and they should not clamour for such luxuries. Taking public transport is good enough or even shiok. It is gracious living squeezing in the buses and trains packed with commuters.

Sinkies are made to believe that it is reasonable to pay $70k for a certificate to buy a car, on top of other taxes, and that it can be used only for 10 years.

Sinkies are made to believe that only the present political party can run this country and no other parties can do so. And they are so frighten of voting another party into power for fear that the country will go under.

Sinkies are made to believe that taxing the people through GST, especially the poorer ones, is to help the poorer Sinkies.

Sinkies are made to believe that the right to decide when and how much they can withdraw from their lifelong savings in the CPF is the right of the Govt. My God, the Sinkies accept this obediently.

Sinkies also believe that it is okay to increase the population to 6.9m and maybe after this number is reached, everything will be frozen and the population will remain at 6.9m.

Sinkies also believe that they have unlimited resources and land to keep growing the population.
And this one is classic. Sinkies are made to believe that the core of Sinkie population is strengthen when their number is reduced vis a vis non citizens and new citizens.

What else can one tell the Sinkies to believe? Sinkies are the chosen children of God and will be blessed forever. They are so rich that they cannot afford to retire and many are working as cleaners in their 70s and many will be bankrupt when they are admitted to a hospital.

There are many other beliefs, but just one last belief. Sinkies are made to believe that their 99 year leasehold properties will appreciate in price forever and ever.


Assault on Social Media continues

There is another article by Tessa Wong in the ST today on social media with the central theme that social media is unreliable and people are warned to read it with a big pinch of salt. And she quoted one reader thinking so after reading social media and getting more doubtful about its credibility. She continued to quote several more questionable postings in social media that were more of rumour mongering or untruths. The only instance that social media was praised was for saying the right thing, about the Yaw affair in Hougang. Here social media scored brilliantly.

Nothing was mentioned about the key role that social media has contributed on the AIM saga, the Brompton Bike saga, the hawker cleaning saga, the plight and unhappiness of the people on the influx of foreigners, plight of PMETs and job discriminations and high cost of living and the housing bubble. The contributions by the social media and independent bloggers digging for the truths, making investigations without being paid, and revealing many things that were not reported in the main media, not the right things maybe, are simply remarkable and as honest as it can be. And definitely more worthy of news reporting, more professional and important to be reported to give a balance picture of an affair.

Tessa Wong went on to talk about a survey conducted by the Institute of Policy Studies(IPS) which found ‘that on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is most untrustworthy and 5 is very trustworthy, the Internet received 2.82 on the average while television scored 3.55 and newspapers 3.58’.

She qualified that half of the respondents felt that there is too much govt control over the main media and that the newspapers and main media are biased in the political reporting. She further commented that ‘Such findings show that credibility is a complex creature’.

Allow me to add a few points. The main media is about a whole lot of other news other than social and political news. The social media is mainly about the latter. The second point I would like to make is that when the main media has too much govt control and is biased, how would it affect the honesty of the reports? Would too much control leading to being biased be another way of saying that the main media is not credible also, not telling the whole truth? How can a control media with the intention of reporting what it wants to report and reporting it in a biased manner be reliable and credible? You think and you find your own answer to that.

Perhaps a better comparison or survey will be to compare the reports and commentaries in social and main media on social and political issues. It is a given fact that 99.9% of non social and political news are factual and unlikely to be misleading or false. Some business and economic news could be misleading as they affect the companies and the stock market.

Also, the sample of a survey can easily be biased by the choice of the respondents and what kind of questions were being asked or cooked. This can be easily proven if I would to conduct a similar survey here on the reliability and credibility of the social media and main media just on social and political issues. I beg the findings can be shocking and contrary to what IPS found.

Shall I do it just to prove how biased even a survey can be and how biased a commentary on the credibility and reliability of social versus main media can be, as said, the issue is more complex than a survey can designed to cover the vital parts.

When the housing bubble bursts

All the signs are there that we are having a housing bubble, and a very big one. It is only a matter of when it will burst. There is no such thing as a bubble will not burst. We are not so exceptional that it will not happen. And given the high percentage of speculators and foreigners in the market, all it needs is for someone to decide to take profit and run. This will lead to more and more trying to get out before the next person and a trickle will lead to a stampede.

The point is that who will pay or suffer the most? No tears or sympathy for the speculators and the foreigners. What is undesirable is the number of young Singaporeans that will be hurt, the genuine buyers who have been pushed to grab that property fearing that they will not be able to buy it if the prices keep going up.

The fear of not being able to buy made them plunged down a few hundred thousands for a public flat or more than a million for private properties. How many will end up with negative assets and a big debt to service? But as long as they are able to service the loan, maybe in the long term things could still work out. What is troubling is that if they are unable to service the debt and are forced to sell their over priced properties at a big loss.

The high cost of living and prices of big ticket items are supported by a high income. Many of the yuppies or high living professionals are living on their salaries and the moment the salaries go, the balloon will go poop and all the nice things will become unaffordable. The house and the fine cars will have to be returned as they are still under mortgage or loans. The debt, as we all know, is just too big to stomach without a big income to service.

Things will not be pleasant. Pray the clock keeps on ticking and will not stop.


Boon Heng the right person for Chairman of Temasek

Why are there so many complains and criticisms on Boon Heng’s promotion to Chairman of Temasek Holdings? The barrage of attacks were quite uncalled for and getting a bit rowdy and rude sometimes. I want to suggest that everyone should look at the positive side of this appointment. Put it this way, Boon Heng has the breath of experience that is incomparable and unmatched by anyone or any standard. No Singaporean has the kind of experience that Boon Heng has.

From all his portfolios, I think the two most relevant appointments to his new appointment must be the NTUC Secretary General and his special assignment to find ways to look after the welfare of the oldies. He was even sent to Japan with a team of high caliber officials to learn how to improve the welfare of old Singaporeans. These two appointments are related in one area, welfare of workers and the oldies.

Let’s see what Boon Heng can do for these groups of people with the huge funds under his charge in Temasek. This is a good opportunity for him to show that he cares for the common people, the workers and the oldies. Maybe they can look forward to more and bigger hongpaos. Maybe Temasek can fund more projects or schemes to benefit the oldies. Maybe this is exactly the intent of the Govt, put him through the training, send him to Japan to learn what can be done to better the lives of the oldies and workers. And now the Govt says, ‘Here is the money, go and do what is good for the people’. Everything seems to fit in nicely.

This is called planning and development for top level management.

A snippet on the toothpick craze

Din Tai Fung is now famous for good quality service and good toothpicks on top of good food. It is instant fame and getting the best advertisement it can ever think of for free. Not bad, and thanks to Swee Say.

I received an email from a Jenny narrating her interesting experience with toothpicks in DTF. She is a regular customer at the Jurong Point and Paragon branches. She happened to be at the JEM branch one evening and strangely no toothpicks were offered. When she asked for them she was given a few pieces. On opening she found them to be wooden ones and not the famous good quality plastic ones.

On enquiry she was told that only Sentosa and Marina Bay offered the plastic ones. She knew it was not true as she had her good quality toothpicks from Jurong Point and Paragon. So she wondered why the change.

My thoughts, service outlets always take good care of their VVIPs. So they go all out to serve them. Maybe, I say maybe, in JEM and other branches they normally offer wooden ones but would still produce the good quality plastic toothpicks when VVIPs are around. There was this story that if one is important enough, one always get special treatment out of deference or respect or goodwill. When someone gets one egg in a plate of char kway teow, a VVIP may get two or three eggs. This is a truism and a very natural thing. Nothing mischievous about this.

So in the case of a normal customer, one may get wooden toothpicks or maybe a few pieces, while the VVIP like Swee Say could be served a box of good quality toothpicks out of respect and deference, and because he is a minister after all. There is nothing wrong with such treatments. Life is never fair.

There could be another reason for the wooden toothpicks. Now every customer are so impressed with the good quality toothpicks, many would be tempted to take half a box after dinner. That would not only add to the cost, the toothpicks would run out of stock very fast.

Now other than fancy toys, Sinkies have another fad, collecting good quality toothpicks for free. Don’t be surprise there will be overnight queues outside DTF soon.

Ministers and their ministries and their pay

A title like that will simply make what I want to talk about quite obvious. Our ministers are the highest paid in the world. Our ministers are even paid many times more than Obama. I don’t think anyone will want to dispute this with me. Please don’t tell me about Obama’s Air Force One and all his other perks like he can collect millions going on a lecture circuit. I am just taking a simple comparison of pay, basic or gross.

Why we pay our ministers such a big salary? We have been told that they are super talents. If the govt does not pay them well, the private sector will grab them and pay them more. Good point. We are also told that they should be paid market rate pay. We are also told that they should not be underpaid and be tempted to risk corruption. The pay is to help them not to corrupt.

So all our ministers are paid very well, with portfolio or without portfolio, with ministry or without ministry, with big ministry and with small ministry.

The question is, should the ministers be paid the same just because they are ministers? Maybe it is a bit complex to break down their jobs and responsibilities. So I think it is fair that every minister running a ministry should be paid the same salary. We are here talking about a ministry of people and responsibilities and big money at stake.

What about ministers without portfolio? I think this is an exception in the case of the Secretary General of the Trade Union. It is a big portfolio and a lot of things to take care of and the breath of responsibilities are pretty big.

What about ministers in the Prime Minister’s office? Should they also be paid the same salary as a minister running a ministry and has a big and complex portfolio to look after? A minister in the PMO does not run a ministry. How big is his or her portfolio and area of responsibility that the salary should be the same as a normal minister?

You ask me?


Makan dalam toilet Chapter 2

I have been attacked by some bloggers accusing me of rumour mongering and to create racial religious hatred despite the fact that I just mentioned an incident without making any reference to names or schools or country. It was a bad act of faith and not a pleasant thing to make children eat inside a toilet that some called a dressing room. There were 3 cubicles in the photograph. And the full news was carried in the main media. So shouldn’t the main media be accused of flaming racial and religious hatred as well?

Apparently some investigations have been conducted by the Malaysian Education Ministry and found that the practice was unacceptable and the principal, in all decency, has apologized. Who are the racists that are flaming this issue as a racial and religious provocation? I mentioned the word religion as the media reported that this incident happened because of Ramadan and the muslims were fasting. Not I say one ok.

The official explanation is that this thing happened since March. And the school was being helpful and considerate to provide the students with a safer place to eat while the canteen is under renovation. The school has an over capacity of 1,300 students instead of 600. So the students were allowed to eat in the toilet, or is it changing room? Just a question, how big is this toilet/changing room that can replace a canteen for 600/1,300 children?

It was also stated that the Parent Teacher Association was aware of this arrangement. The parents are disputing this and said that if it was done in March, why would they raise it only now?

As the Ministry has stressed that ‘this is not about religion or race’ and has seen it as inappropriate and presumably a more decent place will be provided, the parents should move on. There is no need to blow this out of proportion, said Mr Kamalanathan, a Deputy Education Minister.

The positive thing about this episode is that the parties involved have accepted that it should not be condoned and have apologized without letting it developing into another racial and religious ruckus. And I hope they are moving on from here.

The Pinoys protesting at Chinese Embassies

The most powerful Asean country is taking on China head on. They are organizing protests in several countries to challenge China’s claim to the islands in the South China Seas. China has no choice but to close its embassies abroad and in the Philippines.

China should instruct Hongkong to close its embassies for safety reasons, for 3 months. And if China could persuade Taiwan to do so, then there will be no more visa applications for the Pinoys to Hongkong and Taiwan. Then there will be peace between China and the Philippines.

The most effective govt tool

Well the latest case of corruption of an Assistant Director in CPIB is another unfortunate thing to happen. There are so few of such cases happening so no one should be unduly alarmed. After all we are a very young nation and such lapses are teething problems in a young country and a young administrative service. Some are saying that perhaps such officers succumbed to temptations as they are not paid enough. The high cost of living must have affected them and resorting to corruption to get by is understandable.

But have no fear. The Govt has a very effective management tool to curb such indiscretions and wayward ways. It is called review panels. Another review panel has been set up to look into the corruption case in the CPIB. More such panels will be set up along the way to take care of such hitches whenever they arise and things will be smooth running again.

The review panel will be able to find out everything that went wrong and will come up with a list of recommendations to clean up the problems. It would be nice if review panels are formed in advance before something happens. Can save a lot of money and time and embarrassments.

What do you think?

High frequency trader fined more than $3m by regulators

BBC 22 July 2013-07-23

Financial regulators in the UK and US have fined a high frequency trader and his firm more than $3m (£1.95m) for manipulating commodities markets.

The UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) fined Michael Coscia $903,176, while two US regulators levied the rest on him and his company, Panther Energy….

It is the first time the FCA has taken action against a high frequency trader.

Between 6 September 2011 and 18 October 2011, US-based Mr Coscia used algorithmic programs that he developed to create false orders for oil and gas on trading exchanges in the US and UK.

He made about $1.4m during the period using a computer program which placed and quickly cancelled trades to manipulate the price of commodities, an illegal process known as "layering" and "spoofing".

Tracey McDermott, the FCA's director of enforcement and financial crime, said: "Mr Coscia was cheating the market and other participants.

"High frequency trading and the use of algorithms are an important and commonplace part of the markets nowadays but in this case these techniques were deliberately designed to abuse the market, undermining its integrity.

"This is unacceptable, which is why we have taken tough action to punish Coscia and deprive him of any benefit he acquired."…

High frequency trading is coming under increasing scrutiny by regulators. Automated trading was blamed for exacerbating the "flash crash" on Wall Street in May 2010, when blue chips went briefly into freefall, and then recovered almost as quickly.

There have been many reports and complaints about this fraudulent trading methods and how dangerous it is other than cheating other innocent investors. The only reason that they are allowed to practise in stock markets in US and UK is because the lawmakers and regulators have been bought and paid to shut up.

Would HFT be allowed in the Singapore Stock Exchange? Are the Singapore Govt and the regulators fully briefed and understand that this kind of trading is basically cheating the ignorant and innocent investors and would not only cause them to lose their pants, it would eventually destroy the confidence of the stock market for fair play and providing a level playing field.

Would the authority and regulators approve this unfair system that could cause more damage than the Lehman Bonds and toxic notes? The risks and dangers of this trading method are all there to see. Anyone who chooses to ignore them must ultimately be responsible for the damages and fallout when big damages are inflicted on the investors and the stock market. The people who authorise and approve HFT cannot plead ignorance and must be fully held accountable and responsible for full consequences of this decision. The Govt would have to share a big part of the blame.

Everyone has been warned and there is all the time to stop HFT from entering the trading system. Would there be anyone responsible enough to pull the plug and put a stop to this self inflicted impending carnage?


Prudence man!

Sinkies are now advised to be prudent and not to buy too many over priced properties. Would anyone want to advise Sinkies not to be warded in expensive hospital wards that they cannot afford to pay or would empty their little savings in their Medisave accounts? Would anyone want to tell Sinkies to buy flats that are within their means or even smaller so that they have more money left? Cannot? Why cannot? Oh, because the law says you must buy big flats if you have more money or stay in more expensive wards. But I want to be prudent can or not?

This is the kind of logic is like head I win tail you lose. Who is best in using such logic to con the daft Sinkies of their money by forcing them to spend more than they should and then cry, be prudent, be prudent?

Colin Tan, the property expert from Chesterton, said that this call for prudence is a few years too late when the prices are already so high and many Sinkies have already invested.

I think all the calls for prudence is unnecessary. The property prices will continue to go up and all the Sinkies and foreign investors will stand to make a lot of profit before 2030. They will be more foreigners coming here and need to buy a place to stay. And they will be a lot of hot money to be parked here in this absolutely safe financial centre and low tax haven.

And if not enough is coming in, just relax the immigration laws and they will all be flooding in. No need to be prudent. Go, grab whatever properties available out there. The population is going to 6.9m and you know how many more properties are needed. The present available properties will simply be not enough.

Makan dalam toilet!

Who in his right mind would make children eat their lunch inside a toilet? This is a clear sign of primitive traits and the kinds of hellish things such people are capable of doing if in authority. And whoever decided that children should eat in the toilet should be punished as well.

And there was a case in Dubai, I think, of an European woman who was raped by the locals. She made a police report of the rape. You know what? Instead of going after the rapists, the police arrested and jailed her for having illegal sex.

How can you respect this kind of law and people?

The lesser I said of such vile acts the better. Thank God we don’t do this to our minorities.

Champerty is now legal and acceptable (Correction, my mistake)

The latest ruling in the High Courts by the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Judges of Appeal Chao Hick Tin and Andrew Phang on Champerty is most welcomed by the people and the legal fraternity. The practice of allowing lawyers to be paid only on winning a case was illegal in the past but due to the overriding circumstances of extremely forbidding legal fees this has to change. Otherwise many people who cannot afford the high legal fees will be robbed of justice in our world class legal system. It then would be like only the rich can buy justice and the poor will be robbed of justice, punished by injustice.

There are other issues for making this practice illegal in the past such as lawyers demanding excessive payouts and leading to conflicts of interest, or frivolous litigation. The latter, frivolous litigation, is now the hobby of the rich, knowing that they can threaten the poor with Sue and the poor would have to say sorry even if not guilty, no money to pay for legal fees. Such concerns can always be taken care of in modernity when the clients can seek redress should they think they have been cheated. The legal system, the legal profession, must make provisions for unhappy clients to have an avenue for mediation and conciliation when there is a dispute with the mighty legal professionals on legal fees. There must be transparency, honesty and integrity in the legal profession if this change is to work.

The change will now make justice available to all, including those who cannot afford the legal fees. Maybe the fees can be worked into a case on a contractual basis and open to scrutiny and investigation by the legal profession and the courts. This may make things more transparent and equitable and not be subject to abuse and discriminatory practices of foul lawyers.

This is definitely a good thing and the rich and powerful are less likely to take advantage of the poor and weak now.

PS. My apologies. I thought I read the paper yesterday saying that this was a big change in our legal system. I re read and see this statement, '

“We wish to emphasize that until and unless there is a change in the law, lawyers who enter into champertous agreements can expect to face at least a substantial period of suspension,” Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon wrote in the court’s 45-page decision, “and depending on the factual matrix this period could well exceed the present imposition of six months.”

Read more: http://www.law.com/jsp/law/international/LawArticleIntl.jsp?id=1202611925480&Singapores_Top_Court_Suspends_Lawyer_for_Champerty#ixzz2ZvN189oV

Hong Kong Brokers Drive Cabs as Competition Forces Locals Out

By Eleni Himaras and Stephanie Tong

July 22 (Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong, Asia’s second-biggest stock market, may see 25 percent of its local brokerages close as trading and fees plunge, and competition from banks intensifies, a securities association said.

The number of local broking firms may decline to 300 from about 400 in the next five years, Mofiz Chan, a spokesman of the Hong Kong Securities & Futures Professionals Association, said in a telephone interview.

“There are many people taking part-time jobs or completely moving out of the industry,” Chan said. “Many of our members have needed to shift into other jobs such as security, taxi drivers or tutors for primary school students.”

Fees have dropped since bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. in 2003 removed a brokerage commission floor of 0.25 percent of the value of transactions, squeezing profits for brokers as mainland Chinese rivals expand operations. The competition has claimed foreign equity traders, with South Korea’s Mirae Asset Securities Co. and Japan’s Daiwa Securities Group Inc., among brokerages that have cut jobs.

Eleven brokerages have ceased trading this year, according to filings posted on the website of the Hong Kong stock exchange. King Fook Securities Co., established in 1971, said it will close at the end of this month.
“King Fook Securities was one of the founding members of the stock exchange before it became listed,” parent King Fook Holdings Ltd. said in an e-mailed reply to questions. “We’ve been seeking to keep operating despite booking losses. High rentals and labour costs, together with the fact that banks are offering zero commission have made it difficult for us to survive.”...

The above is part of a Bloomberg article on the pathetic state of the stockbroking industry. And the Hongkong Govt is not thinking that this is bad and is not doing anything about it. The crippled stockbroking industry is already limping and now the unfair competition by the banks, using their strategic advantage to offer no commission for trading is allowed to go on. Where is the anti unfair competition authority in Hongkong to stop such hideous and unfair practices? For the benefits of a few big funds, and the bottomline of the Exchange, the authorities and regulators are willing to allow them to dictate how the stockbroking system should operate and leading to its eventual collapse.

None of these jokers bothers to look ahead and ask what would happen if the stockbroking industry goes kaput? A dead or critically ill stockbroking industry will severely affect the whole banking and finance industry and other related industries and many jobs.

The Singapore stockbroking industry is having a mirror image of its counterpart in Hongkong. And it is likely and highly probable that the Singapore industry will turn turtle ahead of Hongkong. Singapore is much smaller and there are fewer broking houses and fewer remisiers in the industry. And many are barely making enough for their pocket money.

Maybe it is already a known fact that the stockbroking industry is dying and there is nothing worth saving this industry. Let it be, let it die. Can Hongkong and Singapore still be financial centres with sick or non existence stock markets? Is the stock market a vital pillar to the whole financial set up or unnecessary and as long as the banks prosper, there is no need for stock markets?


India to call on millions of non-residents to defend rupee

By Manoj Kumar

Mon Jul 22,
(Reuters) - India is considering calling on its millions of non-resident citizens to help reverse a record slide in the rupee and does not favour the idea of a global sovereign bond at this time, senior government officials told Reuters on Monday.

However, the government strongly denied having ruled out a sovereign bond issue and said in a statement that "all options are on the table".

The officials, who spoke earlier on condition of anonymity, said India was running out of options and time to revive the currency and fund a record current account deficit but equally policymakers were wary of sending any distress signals to international markets.

Issuing a global bond might send such a signal, so instead policymakers will focus on attracting funds from Indians living abroad, such as by raising deposit rates in India or issuing bonds specifically designed for them - repeating measures carried out in 1998 and 2000 to steady a weak rupee.

The officials declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of discussing government deliberations. They were not immediately reachable for further comment….

India has the second-largest diaspora in the world, with a community estimated at more than 25 million, the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs says….

The Indian Govt is desperate to defend the weakening rupee and is expecting some help from the Indian diaspora around the world. One key factor that is leading the Indian Govt to this crisis is the lack of finance talents in India. Practically all their banking and finance talents are in the US and Europe and of course in Singapore. This is a costly brain drain, depleting whatever talents India has. It is now paying a price for losing its own talents who are out there helping the countries around the world to manage their finance and bankings.

How many of these finance talents are going to return to India to give a helping hand? Throwing some money back is not going to do much good. What India really needs is to bring back some of these top talents to save the country.

Singapore is so fortunate to benefit from India’s despair. We are taking too many of India’s talents to help us grow into the First World. Singaporeans should be very grateful for this and maybe Singapore should reciprocate in some ways to help India. Maybe we can loan some of the ex Indian Singaporean finance experts to get India over this crisis. For a start, a true blue Singaporean, the recently retired Dhanabalan, can be loan to the Indian Govt as Special Economic and Finance Adviser Emeritus.

My rejected letter from ST Forum

“From recent media reports on the AHPETC dispute, it is still not possible to make a judgement on the integrity, or otherwise, of the parties involved.

Can the Government detail the incontrovertible evidence, step by step, to support their position. Can the WP do likewise.

The parties to the dispute are not accountable to the other but to the citizens of Singapore. So, just present the evidence (with explanations as needed but no judgements) so that Singaporeans can judge for themselves on one or more of the outcomes below.

1) The incontrovertible evidence on dishonesty are what they are stated to be.

2) There is room for misunderstanding in the dispute.

3) The crux of dispute boils down to “A said this” and “B said that” without each being able to prove the other wrong.”

Hwang Teng Aun

The above letter by Hwang Teng Aun was posted in TRE. He said ‘It was not published even though two letters on the matter, more demanding of the WP, were published in Forum page later that week.’ This is likely to be the trend when letters sent to the main media were not published and they would then turn to the social media as the alternative source. If more of such cases keep happening, soon it will become habitual for forumers to just go to social media to be sure that their letters are posted.

Is this undesirable, bad, not right?

Sinkies lack humour

Lim Swee Say is perhaps the most engaging and down to earth minister in the cabinet. He always tries to put across his points in a light hearted manner, funny, humorous and effective. Given his academic brilliance, he could easily speak sikit atas, using all the flowery and bombastic words that he is more than capable of. But he tries very hard to be like the people, speaks the people’s lingo, shares their little fancies and distractions in life.

Unfortunately his attempts to connect with the people, his role as the union chief makes this even more important, to be able to relate to the people, is somehow not appreciated and misunderstood.

There is a post in TRE about Swee Say’s regular visits to Din Tai Fung, the famous Michellin class restaurant, and how he appreciates the little good things in life, just like the common people. He explained why he liked the good quality toothpicks of the restaurant and used to take half a pack back for his personal use. He explained that the toothpicks were of very fine quality and well designed. Swee Say could be boasting about how he ordered the most expensive items that money can buy, as he has a lot I am sure. But that would make him look snobbish and would not go down well with the proletariat, the workers he works with.

Instead, he talks about taking half a pack of toothpicks which the ordinary people like all of us are used to doing. It is the personal touch that he is like one of us. But from the nearly 100 comments it seems again his nice gesture is frown upon. Practically everyone is criticizing him as if he has done something wrong. Some even want to buy him toothpicks as if he cannot afford it. Come, come, Swee Say can buy enough toothpicks to go around the world a million times.

Where is your sense of humour, Sinkies? Enjoy and share the fun and jokes of the minister. He is trying very hard to connect and the people just do not appreciate his effort. Smile when he cracks his next joke and you could be rewarded with more jokes from him. Don’t take life so seriously. Politics is not just about power. Politics can also be fun.

Did anyone get Swee Say’s message? Good service is in the details.

The uncanny timing to perfection

Many of you who need to switch trains at the Jurong East terminal must have noticed this. Just as the train you were in was coming to a stop at the station you must have felt so glad that there was another train waiting on the other line to continue your journey. Perfect timing. Such efficiency must be acknowledged as it makes train connection so smooth and pleasant for the commuters.

Then the annoying and dastard thing will happen. As the doors of your train opened, the doors of the waiting train would close. For those commuters who dashed across the platform they would only see the train moving away, leaving them behind to wait for the next train. Perfect timing every time.

The good thing now is that with the free trips in the morning, this is now a thing of the past. The whole platform would be so crowded that it would take three or more trains before one could hop on to the train. The agony of seeing an empty train moving away when you alighted is replaced by the agony of a full platform of commuters and more waiting time.

There is another uncanny perfect timing incident that happened recently arising from the haze problem. The City was covered by haze for about a week and getting hold of a face mask was top priority. We got our face masks with compliments from the thoughtful company. And an interesting remark was made at that very moment. ‘The haze is going away.’ The issue of the mask was the sign that it would not be needed any more, just like when we were issued with a personal thermometer during the SARS crisis. After receiving the thermometer, the crisis subsided.

I think many people got their face masks just in time for the haze to go away. I am sure the 200,000 who got their face masks free too did not have the privilege to put them on. The sky is clear the next day!

Uncanny perfect timing ya. Lesson learnt. If they want a crisis to go away, do the necessary, like issuing the masks quickly, and the crisis will go away as it will always do. And the reason why the dengue problem is not going away is that they have not issue insect repellant to every household.

From irrational exuberance to irrational despair

The downgrading of local banks by Moody’s has elicited a strong rebuttal from MAS. MAS disagrees with the conclusion and offers a list of reasons to support its position. Our banks are financially sound with good asset backings and strong capital reserves. We also have strong regulations that are above what others are doing. The banks are regularly put under stress tests to ensure that they can hold their grounds when a financial crisis struck. So far the stress tests are showing good results.

As for the exposure to the high property prices and debt ratio, the Govt has implemented 8 measures to prevent a bubble forming. So there is no fear of a bubble bursting as there is no bubble at all. This part everyone must believe. All in, our banking and financial systems are rock solid. Would a huge pull out of funds affect our financial market? The answer is likely to be no even though the whole financial market is linked up to the whole world and when one market is affected the dominoe effect will bring the rest along.

I believe the arguments of the MAS are very sound and the people need not fear about what is going to happen to the world financial system and the contagion effect. But there is one possibility that we should not over look. A false and vicious domestic rumour may create a climate of irrational fear and lead to panic selling of assets. If that happens, it could be like a run on the banks and the result can be equally disastrous. The interconnectivity of today’s world has changed the dynamics of the financial markets. And the big funds and hedge funds will be there to do the damage and to profit from the stampede. We have seen how a single piece of news anywhere in the world can be used to push up the stock market or to crash a market.

Beware of the compounded effect of irrational fear, panic and the bull dozing of big funds to wreck the financial system irrespective of how solid it appears to be, or truly solid as a rock. Remember, we are just a little red dot in a stormy sea.


Vivian’s air tight case on honesty and integrity

The hawker centre cleaning issue just refuses to go away. It is quite bizarre that a small administrative misunderstanding could end up as an issue of honesty and integrity in Parliament. With all the information now on the table, I believe the issue is now pretty clear to even the Ah Peks and Ah Mahs in the market place. Let me try to summarise the case and where it is at the moment.

5 parties were involved, the NEA, Town Council and the non existent Hawker’s Association. I hope I got it right that there was no hawker association in the first place or just an informal one. Correct me if I am wrong. The hawkers in the market are not new. They have been operating there for many years and know exactly whether they should or should not pay for the scaffolding. The Town Council may be a bit new and could be expected to be raw or unfamiliar with some of the administrative stuff. But they are expected to know what they can make the hawkers pay and what they cannot. They would not dare to ask the hawkers for payment if they are not supposed to do so. This is a public matter and not something that can be hidden away. They can’t cheat the hawkers. The hawkers and the staff in the Town Council know what is happening. If they are asking for payment, it is likely be an honest mistake. There are things called honest mistakes right? The WP is denying that they did.

As for the NEA, lagi simple. They are the authority and administrator of market maintenance and Town Council matters. They must be very clear as to what the Town Council can collect and what cannot. A young executive from NEA could tell the parties in disagreement clearly who should pay for what. NEA could easily nip this misunderstanding in the bud.

It is strange and highly unsatisfactory that this little administrative misunderstanding could end up in Parliament and becomes an issue of honesty and integrity. And I believe Vivian Balakrishnan must have been convinced that he had an air tight case to prove that the WP MPs had to answer on issues of honesty and integrity. In the Parliamentary debate you could see how confident and assured he was in lecturing the WP MPs and in patronizing Low Thia Khiang to investigate his party members. And for Hsien Loong to openly state that he and his cabinet supported Vivian’s stand, it must mean that he and his cabinet too were convinced that it was a good and unquestionable case to push in Parliament. In a way Hsien Loong is putting his credibility behind Vivian’s charge.

The latest development is the revelation that two key personnel in the dispute are PAP members. This disclosure would create some doubts as to whether this is strictly an issue involving the hawkers and the Town Council or between the WP and PAP. The lawyers will use this to cast doubts into the case.

The next unfortunate things are the notes of the NEA officer and the dossier of Vivian. Apparently the NEA notes were referring to Spring cleaning and Vivian’s dossier was referring to Annual cleaning. Low Thia Khiang’s final statement in Parliament was about a misunderstanding between these two events. The Town Council thinks that it was Spring cleaning and the hawkers would have to pay for the additional scaffolding. They will not charge for Annual cleaning which they have planned for the year end.

Now, is the NEA officer clear that this is an issue of Spring cleaning? If so, why is the dossier of Vivian saying that it is Annual Cleaning? How did the word ‘Annual’ gets into Vivian’s dossier but not in NEA’s notes?

Would Low Thia Khiang stick to his position and regard this little discrepancy also as a misunderstanding and say move on, let the people be the judge? Or would he now go to Parliament with another air tight case that Vivian now has a case to answer on honesty and integrity when the NEA notes and his dossier are concerned? Would Low patronize Vivian and ask him to do an investigation into the matter to clear himself of the same accusation hurled at him?

Whose honesty and integrity are now in question?

Obama saddened by the verdict on Trayvon’s killing

Obama, the President of the USA, has spoken on this tragic killing of a black boy called Martin Trayvon. The unarmed 17 year old boy was shot dead by a burly white man armed with a gun and claiming self defence. Many white supremacists and their sympathetisers did not see anything wrong with that. And a jury of 6 with only one black woman in it gave a verdict that Zimmerman, the killer, should go free.

The black Americans are in shock. Together with the rest of the Americans, including many whites, they are up in protest. More than 100 cities staged protest rallies against this clearly unjust and racist verdict. Obama had no choice but to say his piece.

He related his own personal experience as a black man and how he was also the victims of racial profiling. What is this silly term called racial profiling? The White Americans tried to go around it and avoid saying bluntly that it is racism against the black Americans. Obama said most black Americans had such bad experience. And the boy Martin could be him. Obama could be killed in the same way.

In his Presidential address on the racial discrimination by the White Americans against the coloured people especially black Americans, he minced his words by carefully saying how disgusted he felt politely. He asked the Americans, the white Americans, to go do some soul searching on how they are still discriminating against the blacks in their racist ways.

Many silly Asians are still saying that this is a lie. The white Americans cannot be racist and the black boy deserved to be killed as he is black and according to racial profiling he is dangerous.
Where is JayF?

Singaporeans should stop uttering the phrase foreign talents

For so many years, the Sinkies have been conditioned to look at foreigners as talents and the Sinkies as daft. In reality, the foreigners have also gone through similar education systems in their respective countries as the Sinkies going through our own system. And many of the foreigners actually went through a poorer and less well equipped education system compares to the Sinkie system, which on paper is ranked among the world best. How did Sinkies become non talents when rubbish becomes more talented?

Why is a Sinkie with the same degree or degrees, be it a first degree or post graduate degree be non talent while a foreigner with the same degree/degrees becomes a talent? Why is a Sinkie with the same number of years of working experience be less able than a foreigner with the same number of years of experience? Why is a foreigner with lower qualifications, less distinguished qualifications, lesser number of years of experience be deemed better than a Sinkie and made to be heads of depts and institutions and the Sinkies be left in the cupboard?

Sinkies must take pride in themselves as the real talents. It must be. The Sinkies are schooled in one of the finest education system, one of the most expensive, and have proven their abilities to build a country from the Third World to the First World. In the case of the foreigners, many are schooled in ill equipped education system with poor facilities and inadequate teaching staff, in unranked universities, and came from Third world countries that they failed to turn them into First World, how on earth that they are now better talents than Sinkies, to help Sinkies, to create jobs for Sinkies when they could not help their own countries, could not find jobs in their own countries?

Who are the silly ones who are calling these Third World products as talents and rubbishing Sinkies as not talents, helpless, useless and daft?

All Singaporeans, especially the new media, the netizens, should henceforth refrain from the use of the phrase foreign talents or FTs. There are foreign talents but there are very few and only very exceptional ones. The more Singaporeans keep calling these foreigners as talents, the more Singaporeans unconsciously start to believe that they are when they are not and start to believe themselves as unworthy. Any Singaporean that spouts this phrase should be seen as betraying Singaporeans and deriding Singaporeans and should not deserve to be respected by Singaporeans, be they politicians or otherwise. Only real talents are deserving to be called talents.

Let’s do it together to say the right thing that favours Singaporeans and not the right thing that abuses and belittles Singaporeans. Let’s stop the crap that the lesser number of Singaporeans in the island is to strengthen the Singaporean core. It is a lie. The Singaporean core cannot be strengthened by having more foreigners to take over the rightful place of Singaporeans as citizens and in job opportunities.

Foreigners should just be referred to as foreigners, foreign workers, foreign white collar workers or at most foreign PMETs, ie foreign ‘pampered, mediocre, expensive thrash’.


Where is ownership of omission, negligent or fraud?

When the Subprime crisis and the American financial crisis hit, no one was found guilty of any crime or mistake or fraud. They only one punished was the institutions that were fined. This ultimately means that the main street, the minority shareholders had to pay for the crimes of the management.

When the Lehman bonds and toxic notes hit Singapore, something very similar happened. Only a few out of luck jokers down the line were dismissed to take the blame. The top management that allowed the farce and fraud to do damage to the investors continued to enjoy their big fat bonuses and pay. Whose money ultimately went to pay for the fines of these banks?

The NTUC’s My First Skool was issued with a warning and its licence shortened to 6 months pending probation. No one in management was held responsible. The teacher that committed the abuse was sacked and pending prosecution. If the Skool is closed, who suffers?

Think Mas Selamat and think the HDB fiasco. Think the state of health of the SMRT. Think the Sovereign Wealth Fund. Where is responsibility and where is accountability?

Black and White Matrix seriesAfrica

Tribal Dance

Three black and white pieces of rar art of the Matrix series.

Beware of anonymous bloggers and websites

This is the main topic of discussion in the ST forum page on Saturday 20 Jul. Do not trust bloggers that post as anonymous, or blogs that are owned by anonymous owners. In other words trust only those you know who is behind the blogs or when the identity of the owner is known. Would this also apply to articles in the main media when the name of the writer is not stated, like from the Editor, from the PMO, from the Ministry of Dounce?  Some may not even say that it is from the editor.

Superficially it may sound true that an article or blog with the owner identified is likely to be more composed and less capricious in what is being posted. Then again, there are many blogs with owners living in no man’s land and letting everything flies, right or wrong, truths or untruths, blasphemy, defamation, scandals, anything goes. And on the other hand there are many very serious bloggers blogging under anonymity and making very good sense. Even using a nick is posting in anonymity if no one knows who is behind that nick.

I used to pose as redbean without identifying myself until I signed up as a writer with Asian Correspondents. I do not see any difference in what I posted then and now. The style and content are still the same. What I am trying to say is that it is the person and his intent and not whether the person is posting in his real self or incognito.

Another forumer in the ST forum by the name of Tan Ying San also warned of websites run by anonymous owners. Then he quoted, “there have been reports of foreign agencies setting up websites to promote certain causes and regularly editing entries in Wikipedia to favour certain viewpoints (CIA, Vatican and Howard’s office ‘edited Wikipedia’”. He went on to say that ‘Many less discerning Singaporeans believe whole articles on such websites simply because parts of them are true and the message resonates with them. They forget the best liars do not lie completely.’

Tan Ying San has an important point here. Many undiscerning readers are unwitting made to believe what they read, sometimes over an article, sometimes over a long period of time reading a certain viewpoint. A very good example is the anger and hatred for countries the Americans have painted as bad or evil, like North Korea, Iran, Myanmar, China, Russia and a whole lot of others. People are just reading the American slanted views from American and western media source, NYT, Washington Post, Guardian or Reuters, AP, Agencies, Fox, CNN etc etc and will eventually think like them without realising it. That is why China and North Korea are so hated by unthinking Sinkies till today. The mentioned of North Korea will send the blood pressure up as if they are enemies of Singapore and are about to launch a nuclear strike on the island. Daft can be acquired or programmed by others with the victim unknowing or did not understand what is happening.

It is thus very important to know the source of the information, who wrote it and what is his agenda and motive. Know the author or owners of blogs and websites helps and is better than not knowing who is behind them. The important thing is to be discriminating and thinking and questioning and don’t be a literate fool, being fooled all your life without knowing it. North Koreans bad, Americans good. North Koreans killer, Americans not killers. North Koreans for war, Americans for peace. You have been programmed and conned.
How many of you trust the main media or information coming from the govts or official sources?


More cases of teachers abusing children exposed

A primary 6 boy was allegedly pinned on a school desk by his neck. This was done by his teacher.The incident happened on Tuesday, July 2 at about 10am in an elite school in the east of Singapore.

He had gone for classes late as he was not feeling well, and his mother was shocked to see his teacher chase him into the classroom. She claims she saw the teacher pinning her son on a desk by his neck.
Tay Weiming's father, 63, and his mother made a police report, complained to the Ministry of Education and also alerted Lianhe Wanbao.

There was another case reported in Stomp I think, of a primary school boy being made to stand in a corner for 3 hours without food, drink or break to go to the toilet and with a paper bag on his head. Punishing a child for bad behaviour is acceptable but it must be reasonable and should not go over the limit especially for primary school children. Forbidding a child to go to the toilet, without food or water is cruel, wicked and inhuman. Unacceptable for adults to dish such punishment to children unless these adults are from some primitive tribes that have yet to be civilised.

Harsh punishment, roughing up children, yelling at young children, and handling them in a threatening manner not only frighten them, they instilled fear in them. What the shit are these adults thinking, that they can harass young children without harming them emotionally and psychologically? My impression is that these are not only insecure adults but likely to be mentally sick or just unfit to take care of children.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, a few cases that were reported after the My First Skool case was exposed. Today another mentally sick teacher abused a 5 year old girl by making her standing naked in front of her classmates in a PAP Community Foundation Centre. She even swung her against the white board. And she was given a 21 probation on the ground that she too was an abused child. What a sick joke! What a sick mitigation excuse!

Is our teaching profession going mad? Or is our society going sick? Don’t the principals or MOE put their ears on the ground to find out what is happening? Oh, the second case mentioned above was dealt by a principal. No wonder Singaporeans are so docile, so authority fearing. They must have been mentally castrated from young in our schools.

The MOE must take a stand on this and get rid of sadistic adults that are unsuitable to take care of children. They will do more harm than good and the earlier they are removed the safer it is for the children. There is an urgent need to do some spring cleaning for the well being and safety of young children. Stop wasting time on cleaning hawker centres.

We need to guard against pyschopaths walking around as teachers. A serious personality and pyschiatric assessment must be conducted on all teachers. Though this may not weed out all of them, at least a big chunk could be taken out early. It is better to be safe than sorry. Subsequently, schools and pre schools, nurseries, kindergartens must have a continuous programme to monitor the teachers to ensure that they are safe for the children. There is an honest and naïve assumption that teachers are all normal people, love children and can be trusted in their entirety with the children in their care. They could be monsters and little devils in disguise.

Wake up and stop being complacent and think that every human bean is ok if he or she calls herself a teacher. Even one in a robe is committing all kinds of crimes behind the robe. Our children need to be protected from their teachers. Our preschools, kindergartens and nurseries must not be turned into frightening places for our children.


The right COE Scheme

Please note that I used the word right and scheme. I could have said the best COE formula or the correct COE system. You see, the right scheme to different people means different things. The right scheme to a super talent is different from the right scheme of a layman or the right scheme of a crook. They are all right schemes to each one of them.

When a designer of a scheme starts from the point of a right scheme you can bet what are his objectives and goals. The current COE Scheme is the right scheme for the govt and for the rich buyers. It is the wrong scheme for the less well off buyers for sure, and for those who cannot do without a car, eg the invalids or handicaps, the families with dependent young and old that have to be ferried to and fro. That is the reason why so many people are so unhappy with the current right COE Scheme as it is not right to them. And that is also the reason why so many people have so many brilliant ideas to offer but will not be accepted or ignored. Cause those ideas are good, excellent but not right.

Anyone who wants to offer any good suggestions to modify the current COE Scheme must take note of who it shall benefit. Otherwise, no matter how good or brilliant the suggestion is, it will simply go into the waste bin, wasted time and effort.

Now did I get my right idea across? It is the goals and objectives of the COE Scheme that determine how it should be designed, what to consider and what not to consider. Get it?

Anyone still wants to offer the best formula, the correct solution or better please think what is the right scheme first?

How to get rich quick?

The whole world is entering a golden era when wealth of money is made so easily, so quickly and in such a sum that our forefathers would never have imagined. Many of the old rich made it after a life time of slogging and business acumen and hoping that all the decisions made were the right ones. In today’s context, the money made by the old ways was just too slow and too little. The internet age has made many very rich overnight, and many are very young. These are the true entrepreneurs that were there at the right time with the right products. They truly deserve every cent they made.

The money did not go to only the mavericks of the internet world. Money is everywhere, overflowing and it is up for everyone to grab in whatever ways they could. Ok, the internet whiz kids are just an exception. And making money the true honest way is still the way forward for many. But there are many that are taking the shortcut to instant wealth. They defy the old wisdom of making money slow and steady in all honesty. Instant wealth does not come easy for many.

In today’s world of high finance, many fortunes were made by many through other than by the honest, slow and steady way. The old ways cannot make people rich overnight. Only the crooked ways, by cheating, by gambling, by conning and deceiving, by robbing, can people make money so easily and so fast other than the few exceptions stated above. When people are making quick money without having to really sweat for it, the answers are all out there. Put one and one together and you will get two, but the instant wealth makers will get three or four. And remember that they are cheating and robbing others and many will be poorer because of them.

An example of how corrupt the financial system is and how the crooks are making tons of money is the trial of an ex Goldman Sachs trader now going on in New York. ‘The trial of former Goldman Sachs bond trader Fabrice Tourre was about "Wall Street greed," a lawyer for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission…’, reported Nate Raymond in a REUTER article on 15 Jul 13.

The gist of the case is as reported in the same article: ‘The SEC accuses Tourre of misleading investors in a mortgage investment called Abacus 2007-AC1 by not telling them that a hedge fund was involved in selecting the underlying assets and betting against it.

Matthew Martens, a lawyer for the SEC, told the jury the deal Tourre put together was "secretly designed to maximize the potential it would fail" to the benefit of the hedge fund, which made about $1 billion.

"In the end, Wall Street greed drove Mr. Tourre to lie and deceive," Martens said.’

The snake oil seller, Goldman Sachs trader, was selling some toxic product designed to fail and pushing it to his clients while knowing that another party was shorting it and with knowledge of how the CDO was structured, could actually cause it to fail. The result was expected, the clients of Tourre lost more than one billion and the hedge fund of John Paulson made the one billion. How convenient and how easy to make money in Wall Street and how easy to find innocent suckers? The formula is being repeated across the big financial centres of east and west.

Structured products, derivatives, CDOs (Collateral Default Obligations) and CDS (Credit Default Swap) are instruments that the designers had a handle to turn them to their advantage without the victims having a clue of what is going on. That is why they called them ‘sophisticated’ instruments for ‘sophisticated’ clients, with clients thinking that they are sophisticated and clever but in fact the definition means ‘thinking that they know and can afford to lose but cannot claim ignorance.’

And the selling of such snake oils is spreading across the world financial markets with the perpetrators of such products seen as financial geniuses and welcome by greedy govts everywhere. In the meantime the financial time bomb has been set clicking. When will it blow up?