Big bucks no responsibility, no accountability

Taiwan’s Defence Minister Kao Hua-chu resigned over the death of a national service man who was punished for having a mobile phone with a camera.

‘Hung Chung-chiu's death sparked an outcry on the island, with thousands of protesters demanding an investigation.’ BBC.  The tradition of Confucianist honour and accountability is still prevalent in Taiwan and the Minister Defence found it honourable and responsible to take the full blame for the death of the soldier. It has to be as the death was too big an issue to be swept under the carpet or to pass the buck down to the junior officers. To have a senior military officer to take the fallout was also found unacceptable. Only the Defence Minister was fit and appropriate to shoulder such a responsibility.

In today’s context, when children are sparse and few, and national service is a compulsion, not voluntary or an occupation, the seriousness of the death of a national service man is more pronounced and glaring. The parents sent their sons to be trained to defend the country, to die fighting for the country, not to die through negligence or abuse by his officers, or uncalled for accidents and mistakes.
The ministers or military officers of Taiwan are not paid outrageously well. To them, public service is an honour itself. And they take their jobs seriously and honourably and will own up and accept responsibility when it is due. It is not a case of collecting big bucks but with no responsibility or no accountability to failures or mistakes of their subordinates.

Say what you like, there is honour in the man (the Defence Minister) and honour in the service.   Kao Hua-chu’s resignation brought respect to himself and to the Taiwanese govt. No matter how high is the position, no one escapes and can hope to walk away by patting his backside as if nothing happens when a serious mistake or failure occurred. High office and big pay must come with great responsibility and accountability. How nice if one can be sitting in high office, collecting big bucks and no need to be accountable for any failure or mistake.

Obama and Cameron face off in Syria

The lying and killing were executed by Bush and Blair and their councils of liars when they invaded Iraq, murdered Saddam Hussein and destroyed that country, killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in the process. Saddam Hussein would take many life times to do the same damage inflicted on Iraq and its people by the Bush and Blair team.

Today, history is going to repeat itself with Obama and Cameron taking on the faces of Bush and Blair and using the same recipe of lies and disasters. Everything is identical, the conspiracy, the mission, the fabricated intelligence, the finger pointing and the players, except this time the new victim is Assad, Syria and its people.

The best part is that these two clowns think that they could pull off the same trick without needing to change the plot. It is easy for Obama as the Americans, as a people, are war like in nature and always want to go to war to claim victory and to celebrate the invasion and killing of foreigners, in George Carlin’s words, brown people. They love it and have a very high propensity to kill and destroy brown people while at the same time claiming peace and for the good of the brown people. There will be little pockets of Americans with a little conscience to shout no. This time the only such voice came from brown Americans.

The world is not going to swallow the whole lie once again. And the Brits are also not going to go through this farce without feeling ashamed of themselves. The British Parliament has just shot down Cameron’s call to attack Syria under the same set of circumstances as Blair. They knew the lies and would not allow Cameron to send British boys and girls to become murderers of brown people. According to ST’s Europe correspondent Jonathan Eyal, ‘This is the same inexplicable rush to war, the same refusal to wait for a report from United Nations investigators, the same claim that Western govts “know” who is the culprit on the basis of intelligence information which, of course, cannot be fully revealed.’

Jonathan Eyal also quoted former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who was involved in the Iraq War, reminding the MPs of the perils of going to war on fuzzy logic: “I know,” and “I have the scars.”

The Germans too learnt from the disgraceful Iraq War that they would not be seen to be in the company of murderers and be made a fool and accomplice of the crimes of murderers. They are staying neutral this time and wanting to hear from the UN,

But there is an eager beaver who missed out the actions in Iraq and wanted to be the cheer leader in Francois Hollande of France. Hollande wanted to take the place of Blair in this new blood letting of brown people. He said France is going to punished those responsible for using poison gas to kill hundreds of people. What would he do if it is proven that the chemical attack was done by the USA or its allies? 

And of course the nit wit in Washington, a brown leader or is he black, will not have anything but his way, to drop bombs to kill more brown people like it is his right to do so. And the whole world should just shut up. How could they say no to a Nobel Peace Prize winner who wants to conduct more wars and kill more people? The world must be insane!

The most peace loving nation and people, led by a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, are the most deserving people to wage wars, and the wars they conducted are virtuous in the name of God and peace. Sorry brown people, God is white.


Western hypocrisy - Killing the Syrians is playtime

 Looks like we will be firing Tomahawk cruise missiles into Syria, dropping bombs over their cities, and we can watch them live on TV with a beer and sandwiches. Maybe hold a party and pop a few bottles of champagne. This must be the greatest real life entertainment on earth, better than Hollywood. This seems to be the mentality of westerners when they talked about the impending invasion and bombings of Syria or any country the Americans and the western powers have chosen. It seems that it is their right to do so, that their reasoning, justifications, intelligence reports, fabricated or truth, do not matter, cannot be questioned.

Put it the other way, if another superpower and its allies are going to do the same to UK or Japan or another pro West country, would the western media write with so much comfort, and so casually like it is a non issue? And there are international laws to abide by, the resolutions of the UN, of the Security Council, which to the Americans are inconsequential. They are the judge and the executioner, the self appointed policeman of the world. They decide who is right and who is wrong and how they will deal with them. Period.

In an article by Hans Blix reposted from the Guardian in the Today paper, he questioned the rights of the American to act so unilaterally, as the policeman of the world and showing their middle fingers at the UN and world opinion. And what is at stake, chemical weapons. No, not chemical weapons but used of chemical weapons. The Americans and the West alleged that President Assad used chemical weapons against the rebels. They are not going to listen to the UN, presumingly an independent source or neutral to the civil war that have sent their officials to investigate the incident. The Americans and the western powers have judged unilaterally, using their own evidence. Assad is guilty!

The real culprits attacking the civilians could be anyone, Assad or the Americans and the western powers. The treachery and deceit of war are not so simple and cannot be taken at face value. Who is being framed? Who would benefit from this accusation is clear. It is the Americans and the western powers that can use it to attack and invade Syria. This alone is enough to tell the story and the truth. The Americans and the West are thinking that the Middle Eastern people and the people of the world are stupid and would accept all the shit they throw at them.

Chemical warfare is moral obscenity! Then who are the people arming the rebels with chemical weapons? Who are the people providing chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein to use against Iran? Who are the people providing chemical weapons to Osama and the Al Qaeda and the Talibans?

Why not ban chemical weapons totally and forbid any country to have them? Who do you think has the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons and producing and stockpiling them? They are hobbyists? They are spending all the money and resources, scientists and experts, all for fun, not to use them?

These are the same obscene people who talked about chemical weapons as moral obscenity. How believable are they? No need to guess who. And they are going to use their moral obscenity to attack Syria to kill more Syrians than those killed by the chemical weapons.

How much more and longer can the world live with this American and western hypocrisy? And they are claiming that they are not going to topple the Assad regime, not to tip the balance in the battle on the ground. Who are they trying to deceive? And their allies are singing the same tune, refusing to question if the chemical weapon attack got anything to do with the Americans and the West. Who is there to arrest these international gangsters? At the moment no one and the Russians too have to eat humble pie if the American led attack goes ahead. The Russians too cannot protect Syria despite Putin and all the tough talks and its interests being violated.

While the Americans and the western powers think they can hit Syria and Syria unable to hit back, Syria might as well take on a single country like Turkey or Israel and throw everything it has on one target. Turkey looks like a more attractive target to extract heavy casualties and damages.

Discrimination by majority rule

We are still hearing a lot of angry discriminatory remarks being hurled every where about how the majority ill treated the minorities. I must say that there are policies that are discriminatory in nature. There is no denying that discrimination by the majority against the minorities exists everywhere and in every country. The difference is only a matter of scale and severity and also the reasons behind it.

There is some discrimination in govt policies towards the minorities in some areas for sure. To understand why it happened, one needs to understand the history behind some of these discriminatory practices and the necessity of it all then. One point that separates the discriminatory practices here from other countries is that it is not discriminatory by virtue of race or religion per se. The historical circumstances dictated that some policies were necessary as a matter of national security. Please feel free to disagree but let me explain.

During the days of Malaysia, our number one enemy was Indonesia. There was Confrontasi, with bombings in the streets and with commandoes dropping into Johore and if I can remember, in East Malaysia. It was war in a way, or the threats of war. There was hostility between the two countries.

Then we were separated from Malaysia in a not too amicable way. Malaysia became enemy number one with the hostility from Indonesia dying off. There were a lot of suspicion and mistrust and verbal warfare and agitation by the politicians.
These historical backgrounds led to the crafting of some policies that were discriminatory by any count but the reason was not racial or religious to begin with. Our relationship with Malaysia went on a roller coaster ride with a few ups and many downs. This in a way imprisoned the security mindset of the policy makers till today. We are having a lull, a good respite in our relations with Malaysia for the last couple of years. How long would it last and how quickly the relationship can turn sour is as fast changing as the weather as the source of acrimony between the two states is still there, and is unlikely to be removed for a long time to come.

Despite the so called discrimination, the country prospers in all fields and life is good to all the citizens, to a matter of degree. There is relativity involved with some doing much better than others and with some feeling that they could do much better without the discrimination. The reality is that life has improved for the majority and minorities and the economic pie is bigger to share around.

The composition of the population remains fairly similar from the days of independence. The Chinese are in absolute majority with the Malays, Indians and Eurasians forming the smaller minority groups. The circumstances leading to the migrants arriving in this island were mainly economics in nature. They came to eke out a better living and with many, particular the early Chinese and Indians, planning to return to their motherland eventually. The thought of permanent residence or becoming citizens were the furthest from their minds except for some who married the locals and had sunk roots here. The rest is history, and today they are citizens of this flourishing and modern city state.

The Chinese became a majority by chance, with no preconceived or preplanned intention to do so. It could be either way. The Malays could remain the majority with the rest as minorities. The Indians actually stood a better chance to be the majority by virtue of their closed association with the British colonial masters. The British were used to them and dependent on them for their administrative assistance and labour. If the British did not freely import the Chinese coolies here, the racial composition could be Indian majority and Malay minority or vice versa, and a trinkle of Chinese presence.

What would Singapore or Singapura be like if the absolute majority were the Indians or Malays? In all probability, Singapore would still be as prosperous as it is today, by fate or predestination. If the absolute majority is Indian, then it could be a mirror image of Mumbai or Kolkatta or another Indian city, an Indian PM and many Indian cabinet ministers and MPs. If the Malays were the majority, Singapore could be another image of a Malay city or state and the composition of the govt is likely to be Malay PM and Malay Ministers and MPs in the majority.

Now the interesting question, would the majority of an Indian or Malay state be less discriminatory as the Chinese majority state today? This is hypothetical of course. Would the Malay or Indian majority be as generous as the Chinese to their minorities? Would the Chinese as a minority plus the other minorities be hurling accusations of discrimination against the majority ruler? Would they be treated as fairly as the minorities of today’s Singapore?

What kind of Singapore would it be like? Would there be less or more discriminations on race and religion? What kind of economic opportunities would there be for the Chinese minorities?

PS. I hope we are mature enough to discuss this issue without resorting to name callings and behaving like mad dogs. Should this discussion go down the longkang when the insecure and extremists come in to mess up the discussion I would not hesitate to close down this thread. In a way this is a test on the maturity of the bloggers here, a small representation of the masses at large. Are we ready to discuss such issues?


Lessons from Syria and the Middle East

 Small countries should learn the lesson of Syria and many Middle Eastern countries. The arms that they have, the few aircraft they bought from the West and the few tanks or whatever, are totally useless when the mighty US and the western powers decide to band together to kick their asses. The arms they bought are only good enough to fight among themselves and kill their neighbours.

Lesson Two, the West will gang together but divide the little countries to be attacked one at a time. See how they did it to Iraq, Libya and now Syria? The West is still the dominant player in controlling the rest of the world.

Lesson Three, until these countries have the means of dealing a severe blow at the US/West through the possession of nuclear arms and delivery system, the US/West will take pot shots at them any time they like. And it is so easy to fabricate lies, false flag incidents, even using chemicals on their own sides to blame the enemies and use it as an excuse to attack or invade another country.

Lesson Four, the US lackeys will all sing in chorus without bothering to ask who was the real culprit in the use of chemical weapons. They just accept whatever the US/West said as truth.

Lesson Five, the UN will be used or bull dozed over to give some kind of approval for their deceit and excuse to invade another country using false information and lies. In this Syrian case, the Syrians have all the evidence to prove that it was the rebels and their supporters that used chemical weapons but were simply ignored.

Lesson Six, the supposedly honourable American President and his Secretaries and those in London and Europe will tell a white lie on TV without blinking to deceive their people and the people of the world for their criminal acts against humanity. And they will even swear to God that they are telling the truth.

A " Tribute " to Dr Mahatir

A “Tribute” to Dr M
By Andrew Cheng
A Doctor In The House wry and sly,
The Malay Dilemma you feign to cry,
Soon after the tragedy in May 69,
Rising from the ashes you became mighty and high,
A good 22 years you reign in style,
 Shedding crocodile tears when time to say good bye.
A crooked man with a crooked mind,
Wanted a crooked bridge, the rational hard to find,
Billions vanished without any trace or sign,
Plundering the country is never a crime,
Corruption, cronyism and racialism, all are fine,
Leaving this beloved Bolehland way far behind.
Ketuanan Melayu, Hidup Melayu is your battle cry,
You scream all these to cover your deception and lie(s),
Many saw these but pretend to be blind,
Mercy upon those who do not toe your line,
Know not why you lose your memory when in a bind,
Another intelligent devil like you we hope not to find.

What a lovely poem befitting to Mahathir.
The last sentence says it all.

HDB for citizens only

This is about what Han Fook Kwang was saying in his latest article on the housing problems facing the citizens. I quote, ‘Making the HDB market - both for new and resale flats - exclusively for citizens is the best safeguard for the future to ensure that public housing prices will always remain within reach of the majority of Singaporeans.’

Increasingly the elite from the establishment are coming to terms with the plight of the average Sinkies and not brushing off the sources of their unhappiness. The housing problem, high cost of living, high medical fees etc etc are not new, did not fall down form the sky yesterday, but were simply ignored as noises for too long.

Han Fook Kwang is not alone to gradually shift his leanings towards Singaporeans and the good of the people. When one starts to remove the blinkers to face reality, the veil of ignorance that was self imposed will be removed for good. And the inequality and unjust happenings facing the citizens becomes real and immediate. They just cannot be wished away and slammed them right in the face every time they tried to talk them away..

This is a good sign and hopefully it will transpire upwards to those living in the clouds to bring them down to earth to deal with the real problems of the people. Hankering and appeasing to the foreigners, including PRs at the expense of the citizens will increasing be a political debt the govt will have to pay. The daft citizens have had their blinkers removed and the cotton buds pulled out from their ears. It is now the turn of the political elite to get those hideous things from their faces and ears.

It is time to really understand and take cognizance of the woes of the people and do some real work as the elected representatives of the people. So many policies can be tweaked to favour the citizens without needing the intellect of a top academic. They are simple commonsensical things to do. Boon Wan has started the ball rolling in housing. Where is Chuan Jin and his PMETs versus foreigners issue?


Syria -The most evil empire at it again

Has the world forgotten about the lie that led to the invasion of Iraq on a fabricated WMD charge? Has the world forgotten the murder of about 30 South Korean navy soldiers in the sinking of the Choenan Incident? The two Koreans could have gone to war and destroying themselves and their country. Fortunately they have better sense not to fall into the trap. Can’t say that of the Middle Eastern countries that are helplessly being manipulated by the Americans and the western powers to keep killing each other. Many innocents have died due to false flag incidents created by you know who.

And now another false flag incident is being fabricated to justify the bombing of Syria by the Americans and western powers. The Americans have already pointed the guilty finger at Assad. In an AGENCIES report, ‘Washington said it already held Mr Assad responsible for “moral obscenity” and President Obama would hold him to account for it.’

It is so easy to fire chemical weapons on your own troops or on your own side and blame the enemy. And given the intent and who would benefit if Assad is accused of using chemical weapons, the answer is obvious and it is easy to conclude who would have all the reasons to use chemical weapons to blame Assad and to justify an invasion.

Assad, like Saddam Hussein, is not a fool and would not give the Americans an excuse to attack. So the likelihood of the Americans creating this incident to invade Syria is very high. Would the Americans be held responsible for this moral obscenity and the killing of more Syrians and the destruction of Syria? Would Obama be charged for crimes against humanity just like George Bush? No, no one will bring charges against them. They are the empire that is above the law.

Syria will be in turmoil and be destroyed. So would be the lives of the innocent civilians. How much more evil can the Americans and the West be?

Turning insurance upside down

The Medishield Life is a great scheme for the good of the people theoretically. It is going to bring affordable healthcare to everyone, especially those who really really need it, those who are already very sick with existing conditions. How much more can one hope for when no insurer would want to touch them with a ten foot pole? Now everyone is waiting for the details to see how real this can be and how many will be covered and how much will it cost.

Personally I have doubt if there can be a comprehensive insurance cover for everything and every one. It cannot be for many simple reasons. When the principles of insurance are turned upside down, when the uninsurable will be insured, when the highest risk will be made to pay less and the least risk will have to pay more just do not make sense.

In the matter of life and health, the young are the less risky group and normally will pay the lowest premiums for insurance. The older one gets, the nearer one gets to the other end when death and serious illnesses are as sure as the sun will rise. Naturally the premiums to be paid by the oldies will be many times higher than the young. And covering people above 70 and into the century is inconceivable and makes bad business sense and bad insurance. Further, who needs insurance at those ages and who can afford the premiums?

The first major flaw, to cover the young and make them pay for the oldies is incomprehensible. And who will be made to pay for the young who have no income?
The second big flaw, covering the high risk oldies, and making them pay less. I am wondering just how low would they be made to pay when the risk is so high. And it is unimaginable to get oldies paying insurance premium throughout their lives into the 70s and beyond. Many of them will be economically inactive, with no income and probably exhausting or depleting whatever little savings they have. Where got money to pay? Then who will pay for them, the govt or their children?

Now, the paymaster must naturally be the parents of the young and the children of the olds. Yes the economically active that will have to pay for their own insurance and the insurance premiums of their children and parents. God have mercy for this piece of sandwich.

Designing insurance schemes that violate the principles of insurance policy will not work as it will not be workable or sustainable. Either the premium will be so high or the insurers will all go broke. What is the likely outcome once reality sets in, when the numbers do not make sense, is that there will be a watered down version that may be a big let down.

The earnest of govt to want to talk to the people

The Natcon or OSC had run for one full year and 47,000 Singaporeans have been invited to talk to the govt. This is the clearest sign that the govt sees a need to engage the people, to listen to the people, to talk to the people. It also shows that the views of the people are important. The govt is encouraging the people to speak up, share their views and in the making of a Singapore that they want.

No one can doubt the sincerity of the govt for stepping out of their ivory tower to be up close with the people. One group of people that is glaringly missing in this equation is the critics in cyberspace. Somehow the govt does not seem to know that they exist and have a lot of things to say and want to contribute to the making of the future Singapore. Maybe if they shout louder or put up their hands they will be noticed. Stand up to be counted. The govt is talking about an all inclusive society and would have no intention of leaving them out. It must be a case of being in the fringes and difficult to know they are there. But no worry, soon the invitation will come.

The govt is in all earnest trying to get as much feedback and involved as many people in the business of the country. Wait, just wait, be patient. All the right people will be invited to share in the making of the country. Have faith.


Is Medishield Insurance a profit making scheme?

CPF account owners have the privilege to participate in two optional medical insurance schemes, Medishield Basic and Enhanced. Presumably because these are a national health care initiative by the govt, the terms and benefits must be better than what the market can provide, or at least not worse off. I am not going to spend time delving into how much better or how much worse off they are and feel comfortable that they must be reasonable to the policyholders.

From data available in the media, it was reported that between 2001 and 2010, MediShield premiums collected were over $2 billion and the paid out was less than $1.3 billion, giving a net gain of $850 million.(I thought it should be $700m which is still a big sum) This is a pretty healthy return for a business. If the Medishield schemes are meant to be a profit making enterprise, the shareholders must be very pleased with the result and profit.

My question is whether the schemes are meant to be such, or be a self funding public service? If it is for profit making, who should benefit from the surplus? And I can understand why there is a new scheme like Medishield Life in the making. This new comprehensive all encompassing scheme could be even more profitable by the sheer numbers of policyholders as a compulsory scheme. Those with existing health conditions are unlikely to get away without paying an extra hefty loading on the premiums. A profit making business must take into the risk taken. And the oldies, in their 70s, 80s and 90s and above, I am salivating at the sum they are likely to pay in premiums. There is no free lunch, and higher risk means higher premium. The insurers must be beaming at the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow surely.

What if the Medishield schemes are not meant to be profit making? If that is the case, should not the profits, like the $850m, be ploughed back to the policyholders to lower the premiums? A non profit making scheme should not be distributing the profits away right? I don’t think any policyholder of the Medishield schemes has seen his premium lowered or subsidized due to the surplus of $850m yet. Where has this $850m gone to? Should not any surplus be returned to the policyholders in some ways? This will prevent anyone from thinking of raising premiums all the time to generate more profits for dunno who.

And if the Medishield Life is going to be made compulsory, it has more reasons to be a self funding scheme to benefit the policyholders and making profits should not be a consideration at all. Of course it should also not be loss making as well.

So, where are we now? Are the current Medishield schemes meant to generate profit or to pay the medical expenses of the policyholders? The main mission of such medical insurance schemes must be clear and up front, and must benefit the policyholders. It is a ‘compulsory’national insurance scheme with no one allows to opt out. Thus it must not be profit making in nature. If not, woe beholds the policyholders as they will end up at the mercy of the scheme, feeding the bottom line and having to pay out generous bonuses to dunno who.

Anyone knows what is going on?

Current COE system is the best

LTA has rounded up its 3 month public consultation exercise on how to tweak the current COE system to benefit the car owners and hopefully lowering the COE premiums. From the feedback as reported in the Today paper, it seems that the current system is still the best.

One suggestion by the public is the pay-as-you-bid system. This is shot down as it would ‘not necessarily lead to lower COE premiums’, according to NTU don Ng Yew Kwang. This must be the most convincing reason to dismiss the pay-as-you-bid system. I can’t think of any better reason than this.

Asst Professor Walter Theseira, also from NTU, said that if the price did come down due to the pay-as-you-bid system, good that it is possible to come down, she was worried that it would be the same people paying for lower prices. Is this a good reason why pay-as-you-bid system is not good? What is wrong with the same group of genuine buyers paying for lower premiums? Isn’t the objective is to lower COE premiums? Does it matter who were the buyers as long as they are legitimate?

Another suggestion of tying COE to OMV was met with disapproval by the MD of Volkswagen, Steffen Schwarz. In his view, Singaporeans want the latest technology and safety features and pegging to OMV is not necessary the way to go.

Though some car buyers at the feedback session by LTA felt the pay-as-you-bid system could work, it was reported that the academics and industry experts felt that ‘the current COE bidding mechanism, where all successful bidders pay the lowest, market clearing price, results in the most efficient outcome.’

I can only say this is the biggest bull shit. But what can I say when the experts said it is the best. So, would LTA listen to the experts or the genuine buyers who want to change the system to bring down COE premiums? There seems to be an agenda to retain the current system with some minor cosmetic changes. Another exercise in shadow chasing perhaps. How can they change the best COE bidding system that is serving so well and generating so good revenue?


USA – a country that must dabble in wars

After the disastrous WMD lie and the destruction of Iraq and murdering hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, the world thought the Americans and the Brits would be remorseful and stay out of wars for a while. The Americans started to make some moves to pull out of the Middle East region and Iraq, only to reposition itself for a bigger war with its Asian pivot. Tension is rising high and the Americans openly talked about increasing military aids and selling more weapons to the regional countries.

That is not all. It is now preparing another big lie to engage in open warfare in Syria. Despite all the objections by the Russians, it is going in, again with another warmonger in Britain, and of course all the western powers. They are now making another case for another invasion of a Middle Eastern country, Syria. They are preparing the ground and the ‘intelligence’ like they did in Iraq. The Americans and their western allies are claiming that the Assad govt is guilty of chemical warfare against the insurgence. Everyone knows that a false flag incident can easily be staged without anyone able to prove who was the real culprit.

The Assad govt knows very well, just like Saddam Hussein, that all the Americans need is a false excuse to invade the country. In this case by pointing at the Assad govt for using chemical weapons, just like accusing Saddam Hussein for possession of WMD. All the Americans needed to do is to fire some chemical weapons into the insurgent camps and put the blame on Assad.

Syria is going to be invaded, by another American and British led Coalition of the Willing, and many more Syrians will perished as war collaterals, and the country destroyed and needing foreign aid to rebuild all over again.

Does anyone bother to ask why the Middle Eastern countries are in constant warfare, just like the Americans? Is there a correlation? Would the Asian and South East Asian countries learn from the tragedies of the Middle East and keep the American warmongers at a distance and not be dragged into another big war in their front yard?

The Americans need wars to keep their control over the susceptible and vulnerable countries. The Americans need wars to keep their war industries booming and profits in an exchange of lives for bullets. God have mercy on the Middle Eastern countries. God have mercy to enlighten the Asian and South East Asian countries not to be foolish to be fixed by the Americans and dragged into another wars incited by the Americans for the interests of the Americans while they pay dearly in lives and the destruction of their own countries and people.

How far can the govt go to make things compulsory and make the people pay?

We are familiar with CPF Life and the going to be introduced Medishield Life. Both are compulsory schemes and the people have no choice, cannot opt out but to pay at whatever rate the govt thinks appropriate and right to charge the people. Many have forgotten the Home Protection Insurance Scheme which is also a compulsory buy for any new HDB flat owners.

The people are accepting these compulsions quietly mainly for three reasons. One, the schemes are generally good for the people. Two, it is money taken from their savings in the CPF that they knew they may not be able to see them in their life time. So they did not feel the pain for paying. And thirdly, what can the people do without knowing their rights or the govt’s right to legalize such compulsory schemes and making the people paying for them.

The Medishield Life may come in to rub some people wrongly. Many would not be able to pay the premiums in the long term as it is like paying till one dies and with the premiums increasing with age at a time when many oldies no longer have any income or are economically active. So, could it happen that some may have to top up with cash from their own pockets or from family members when govt subsidies are not enough? Here we may inch closer to an area that is taboo, ie taking cash from the people directly for compulsory schemes.

Would this Medishield Life scheme, or later on new compulsory schemes, be introduced and expecting the people to pay by cash? If paying by CPF savings is legal, then there is no reason why paying by cash cannot be legal for govt introduced compulsory schemes of any kind that are claimed to be good for the people.

How far can the govt go with this line of thinking and with more compulsory schemes and expecting the people to pay in cash when there is nothing much left in the CPF? This possibility cannot be ignored and is not far fetched. The people must question how far can the govt go in such compulsory schemes. The govt cannot be given a free hand to keep scheming more compulsory schemes and making the people pay for them through their savings, and eventually may be taking direct cash.

The govt is pro active, think ahead, plan ahead. The people too must be pro active, think ahead and plan ahead and be prepared to pre empt policies that are not to their interests and benefits, to nip future govt policies in the bud.

Shadow chasing as an art

The Medishield Life is the latest govt effort to solving the high unaffordability problem of health care in Singapore. Admission to a govt general hospital has attracted the same fear as in the days of yore. Our parents and grandparents generations feared hospital admission due to ignorance and the perception of death as most illnesses were left too late and became too serious that admission was akin to dying. Today the fear of admission is more practical, cannot afford to pay and better to die. So here comes the white knight waving Medishield Life in his hand as the saviour of the troubled and very sick.

The runaway property prices have sent shivers down many youngsters and their parents for not being able to afford the affordably priced public housing. The truth that the affordable public housing was unaffordable finally sank in without any admission of guilt or ownership for creating this financial and social fiasco. Alright, never mind, no need to go witch hunting as the problem is being addressed by the most simple solution, to build more flats to meet the high demand. In some way the problem is being tackled with some success but with the prices remaining high and still going higher. Yes, the high price is not really a problem and is allowed to go higher albeit at a slower pace.

The high cost of living coupled with high inflation have made the money so much smaller, or a bigger income but smaller buying power. The silly and ignorant are still very happy that their income is growing and oblivious to their purchasing power. The most badly affected is the average Sinkie with a stagnant real income. The solutions offered so far are more subsidies and more subsidies.

The above three major bugbears of the citizenry have a common syndrome. The high cost of medical care will continue to go higher. The high cost of housing will continue to go higher. The high cost of living will continue to rise. None of the solutions to these problems touches on the need to stop the prices and high cost of living from going higher. Somehow this is not seen as a problem or the cause of all the problems. The prices and high cost of living must naturally go up. Or is it that they cannot be brought down? Or is it that it is good to let them go higher and higher.

I am still very curious why aren’t anyone tasked to solve these problems wants to bring down the runaway prices and cost of living/inflation? In a way this is similar to the population growth. Population growth is a necessity, an unstoppable reality, a must have. Without population growth the whole economy will go on a tailspin and the economy will fumble. So population growth must continue to grow. It is unstoppable, the fourth unstoppable growth that must not be fiddled with or be messed around.

A simpler way to look at this problem solving approach is the high prices of goods due to demand and supply. Both demand and supply affect the price and the price can be managed by fiddling with demand and or supply at the same time. But the mindset is just to tackle from only one side of the equation. How effective can this be or will it be? Or how real is the solution if one is closed to looking at the other part of the problem?


The intricacies of Indian bureaucracy

The crisis of the falling value of the rupee of India is in the front page of many papers recently. At least 20% of the value has been wiped off for those holding to the rupee currency. The second most populous country and setting it sight to overtake China as the next economic giant of Asia is now struggling with a lost of confidence in the rupee.

While the crisis is just unfolding, below is an article by Venkatesh, a Chartered Accountant that revealed the workings of the Indian bureaucracy and how money has to be paid all the way to get a project on the way. It is quite startling even to Venkatesh and the full article is worth reading by those intending to invest in India. Bid sovereign wealth funds must really be in the know of the corporate culture of India to place their multi million or billion dollar bets in the Indian economy. Lacking such knowledge and bravely punting and putting money into India is only for the brave and the knaves.
I have deleted some of the details to shorten the article. For those who want more the link is available. Happy reading.

'Indian economy comes to a fullstop

By MR Venkatesh on July 22, 2013
A fairly large South-Indian group with varied business interests had invited me to a strategy session to turn it around. It was the first meeting and was to be preceded by breakfast. As we waited to be served, I perused their latest balance sheet.

Noticing that it was a profitable, tax and dividend paying company, where was the question of turnaround I wondered? Nevertheless, I instantly zeroed in on the balance sheet. I observed that the company had invested approximately Rs 700 (1 crore = 10 million) crore on its subsidiaries and lent another Rs 300 crore — in the aggregate Rs 1,000 crore. Flipping across the accounts, I asked a simple question – what is the return from this investment of Rs 1,000 crore? (Amounts changed for obvious reasons.)

The CFO was silent. The executive director hummed and hawed. The body language of the rest was a dead giveaway of their uneasiness to discuss this matter further.

The junior-most amongst them blurted out, perhaps unwittingly, that it was virtually nil. His answer got a cold stare from his superiors. “Nil!” I exclaimed to the horror of my hosts. “You must be paying approximately Rs 150 crore as interest annually on this sum.” I commented, probably rubbing salt into their wounds. I went on to probe further, “Why, what happened to this money?”….

Unable to bear my repeated questioning, the CFO finally broke down. “Sir, as you are aware we are in infrastructure. That requires tremendous pay-offs to politicians and bureaucrats. We have used approximately 150 subsidiaries, some of which are foreign ones, to route these payments.”
I was stunned. My jaw dropped. “Sir, we expected you to know all these practicalities of our business. The turnaround strategy needs to factor these ground realities.” ….

The economics of kickbacks and payoffs

Instantly my thoughts raced to the Nira Radia tapes. Fifteen per cent was the kickbacks payable to the Minister concerned for approving every road contract. Add another fifteen to the bureaucracy and local politicians. Add another five to seven to bankers, lawyers, consultants and agents to procure funds. What we have is a staggering 35-40 per cent additional cost to every infrastructure project….
There is another dimension to this issue. Somewhere down the line these “costs” were funded, mostly by our banks. Corporates altered their top-line as well as bottom-line to keep their banks in good humor….

The impact of gold plating

….The net result – twenty per cent of lending by Indian Banks is stressed. Obviously, when banks end up funding pay-offs and kickbacks, this is the end result. And that is a whopping Rs 11 lakh crores – approximately $200 billion – a sum that even the banks in USA cannot afford.

Added to this is the stress on account of our external accounts. The foreign debt has risen to $390 billion. This was a mere $225 billion in 2008. What is galling is that the foreign exchange reserve has remained at a constant $300 billion during this period. Needless to emphasise, the ratio of foreign exchange reserves to foreign debt has deteriorated from 138 per cent then to less than 75 per cent now.
What is adding to the consternation is that in the short term – by March 2014 – we need to pay approximately $172 (billion) of our foreign debts. This works out to approximately 44 per cent of the external debt and a staggering 60 per cent of the total foreign exchange reserves of the country.


Tharman – A little meat and a little departure

In today’s ST front page, Tharman listed 5 priorities of govt policies that in a way are related to Hsien Loong’s NDR speech on a comprehensive health care scheme for the senior Singaporeans. Tharman filled in some meat to that general policy change and direction, and also included a few cautions and departures from the sweeping Medishield Life scheme for all, sick or unsick.

Tharman’s first priority is about targeting govt subsidies to those who need them and said that universal benefits are ‘wasteful and inequitable’. A comprehensive all encompassing healthcare benefit scheme will fit into this wasteful and inequitable definition perfectly. There is no need for further elaboration on this as the impact and consequences are simply obvious.

The second priority, to design redistribution policies to spur self reliance and individual responsibility has been the cornerstone of many govt policies. To lump every Singaporean into a healthcare scheme with no recognition of their needs and demands on the system is going to be in conflict with the concept of self reliance and individual responsibility. The reckless and irresponsible are going to pass the buck to the rest of the people to foot their bills, as simple as that. Would this be acceptable under the new scheme?

Tharman did qualify by saying that those who are in genuine need for assistance would not be left on their own. This is the big difference between humans and animals. In the animal kingdom it is survival of the fittest and the weak and sick will perish on their own steam. As a social animal, the human specie has this innate ability to want and can look after their weaker fellow beans, the old, the sick, the less able and less talented. Human beans can be caring, generous and selfless.

The third policy pointed out by Tharman is more startlingly in a way as it has been violated in many instances for vain glory and misplaced responsibility. This policy is about making ‘sure tax incentives and grants “aggressively” support and catalyse community and civic efforts, and strengthen “the values that drives us to be our brother’s keepers”’. How would spending money on foreign sports talents and paying for foreigners to study here fit into this brothers’ keepers idea? How would bringing in foreigners to replace our citizens in jobs be a good thing? We need to take care of our very own, incentivise and motivate our own to excel in all fields. The foreigners are not our responsibility and money spent on them is simply wasteful and also inequitable.

How would this policy fit into the comprehensive health care scheme with PRs and new citizens in our midst and standing to benefit wholly from public funds?

Tharman’s fourth policy is about progressive taxation, benefits and social spending. I think he must believe that GST is progressive taxation. Or would he now be more enlightened to tweak this regressive tax to tax the poor less? In this regard he hinted at the need for future tax increases to fund the growing health care needs. Here is his biggest contradiction. If the recently floated comprehensive health care scheme does take cognizance to the priorities mentioned, there should not be a need to raise taxes. Raising taxes is only necessary when the scheme is an unlimited buffet spread for all to partake with little regard to equitable distributions and prudence not to over provide with no regard to the cost involved.

Tharman’s final point is about a just and fair society, about opportunities to enjoy quality living, public spaces and our work and living environment. Would the govt be building more and smaller flats to improve the quality of living for Singaporeans, or would the dreams of the 70s and 80s when every family aspire to own a 5 rm flat or better, including private properties be reignited? Can Singaporeans relive this dream?

With the freeing of the two pieces of land in Paya Lebar and Tanjong Pagar, the govt is given a chance to really redevelop and design quality housing for the people and not more mickey mouse pigeon holes in close proximity. A new concept of living with bigger homes and space could be the future, if only the wet dream of 6.9m does not become a reality. We have more space and create even more space for everyone here, and not creating more space to squeeze in more migrants to fill up every inch of space created. Can there also be a departure from the mindset of more population for more economic growth and the deception that small and little space are good quality living, good for bringing up children?

Yes, we have the money to build our dreams. And our dreams must be better and bigger space and more amenities for the people, not more squeeze and lesser space to live like mice and competing for space and air. There is no need to drive down a road to hell when we can go to paradise. But as they say, the road to heaven is wide open but few takers, but the road to hell is narrow and dangerous and crowded like hell.

How would these five policies mentioned by Tharman be worked around the Medishield Life for all?


Overloading is dangerous and illegal

Our private cars have a legal limit on the number of passengers it can seat. Going above the approved number is illegal. The school buses or private buses, tour coaches, pickups and commercial vehicles too have a legal limit as well. And there is a very good reason for it other than graciousness. It is safety.

Often there were reports of ferries or boats sinking because of overloading. Our lorries and trucks also have loading limits and speed limits for safety reasons as well. Funny thing, why are public transport buses and MRT trains not having limits on the number of people they can carry on each bus or train carriage? Why are they allowed to squeeze as many passengers as they like into the cabins? And they have been suggestions to hire pushers to push more people into trains like it is the right thing to do.

Would overloading of public buses and trains affect the safety of the passengers? No? Not sure? What do you think?

Managing the people’s life savings

HDB prices are affordable based how the ability of the buyers to pay. Now the affordability is a couple’s monthly CPF contributions for the next 25 years. This means that whatever that goes into the CPF will go out the other way, to pay for the affordable HDB flat. The couple would likely to start to save a little 5 or 10 years after buying a flat when their incomes rise. How much savings could that be to go into their retirement account?

Then there is the Medisave Accounts to fill up and at current rate, more than $100k will have to be set aside as untouchable in the Medisave Minimum Sum Account. Technically there could be nothing left to be set aside for the Retirement account at least after the flat is fully paid in 25 years time.
By the age of 55 or 65 the CPF Life Scheme will kick in and whatever money left in the CPF would be compulsory acquired to pay for their retirement annuities. Luckily the Medisave Account is still untouched by any compulsory scheme, but not for long. The money in the Medisave Account will be compulsorily acquired too to pay for Medishield Life once the scheme is finalized.
The net effect of the two compulsory schemes means that the Govt has decided for you how your money must be spent. In the CPF Life which is an annuity scheme, there is still hope of getting something back if one lives long enough.

In the case of Medishield Life, it is paying and nothing is coming back except when one needs hospitalization or is seriously ill and provided the illness is covered by the scheme. Read the fine prints and the exclusion clauses carefully.

The Govt effectively has a hold on the CPF savings of its citizens through a monopoly public housing scheme that will feed on the savings of its citizens for the first 25 years and a CPF Life for the next 30 plus years. As for the Medishield Life, this is still work in progress and the payment into this scheme could come very early, maybe from the day one starts working and contributing to the CPF.

The best part, the Govt can decide as and when how much to raise the premiums and compel the people to pay. There is no opting out. Resistance is futile. You earn and save and the Govt will be the recipients in a way, helping you to spend your savings.
Your money is not your money anymore. The Govt knows how much you have and can afford to pay and the three items will effectively absorb practically every cent there is available or affordable with hardly anything left. This is a very efficient system to manage the people’s income/savings by the Govt, with compulsion, and the people are literally left with no choice of their own.

The Govt is caring for the people, to their last day and managing their last cent without having to ask the people for their consent. Our CPF savings are now absolutely safe with the Govt.

And one good thing, there would not be any more scheme to manage your CPF savings after this.There is nothing left to be managed anymore.


Economic suicide biggest threat to China

Economic suicide biggest threat to China
Global Times | 2013-8-14 19:28:01
By John Ross
 E-mail   Print
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
China cannot be murdered, therefore it must be persuaded to commit suicide. This summarizes the geopolitical situation as seen by Western anti-China circles.

It encapsulates that China's national revival has now reached a point where no external forces are strong enough to prevent China's rise. The US remains militarily stronger, but China's strength is sufficient that US losses in a war would be so great even neoconservatives do not advocate it.

US authorities can try to murder Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and possibly in the future Latin American countries, but China is too strong.

This does not mean Western anti-China circles have given up. If it is impossible to murder China, perhaps it may be possible to persuade it to commit suicide? This idea might appear ludicrous, but actually the US has already succeeded twice, with Japan and the USSR.

From the 1970s, confronted with dramatic Japanese economic growth, the US persuaded Japan to overvalue the yen, cut investment to slow growth, and implement ultra-low interest rates after the Wall Street crash in 1987, allowing Japan's capital to flow to the US and safeguarding the latter's financial system, while Japan itself suffered the "bubble economy" which exploded in 1990.

In the 1990s, the West persuaded the USSR not to follow China's successful economic reform, but to undertake "shock therapy" - total privatization of state companies.

The result was the greatest peacetime economic collapse seen in a major country in modern history. Russia's GDP fell by 40 percent, male life expectancy dropped by seven years, and Baltic and Central Asian independence movements destroyed the USSR, reducing Russia from leading a state of 288 million people to one with a 143 million population. Vladimir Putin accurately described this as "the greatest geopolitical disaster of the last century."

China is harder to persuade to commit suicide. Unlike Japan, it cannot be blackmailed via military dependence on the US. Unlike the USSR, China is not pursuing an economically adventurist policy of seeking military parity with the US on the basis of a GDP only 40 percent as large.

But the West understands its leverage points. Ordinary Chinese citizens are economically tied to their motherland, but the rich can take wealth abroad.

The fate of State-owned enterprises and many productive private companies is tied to China's economic revival, but some financial groups can get rich even amid chaos, while certain professionals can be offered jobs such as well-paid professorships at US universities.

Therefore, a comprador bourgeoisie exists with support among those Chinese professionals whose highest ambition would be a US green card. If China cannot be murdered, these may be used to persuade China to commit suicide by adopting policies damaging itself.

After experience with Japan and the USSR, the US government knows accurately which policies those are.

Investment is the most important factor in economic growth, so China's economy should be slowed by reducing investment, as was Japan's.

An overvalued currency slows an economy, so constant pressure should be exerted for the yuan's exchange rate to rise excessively.

China's State-owned companies are its economic core and key to its ability to calibrate macroeconomic policy, so they should be weakened or destroyed, as with the USSR.

Moreover, to attempt to conceal that China's rise in living standards is the fastest ever seen in a major country, billions of propaganda dollars should be spent exaggerating out of proportion every real problem inevitably arising in China's rapid development.

It is therefore to radically misunderstand the situation to imagine the biggest threat to China is US aircraft carriers in the Pacific.

The biggest threat to China is forces within it trying to persuade it to commit suicide by adopting policies inevitably derailing its national revival.

Such processes can easily be followed from outside China. But while murder involves another person, suicide is a personal decision. The world's most important question is whether China can be persuaded to commit suicide or not.

The author is former director of London's Economic and Business Policy and currently a senior fellow with Chongyang Institute, Renmin University of China. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Children need solution

It is bad to tell children all their faults and mistakes without telling them why and what they should do not to repeat their mistakes and to better themselves. Children do not often have the intellect to think out solutions and answers. Pointing out their mistakes would not make them become better. They are children after all and are at the bottom of the learning curve. Children need guidance and hand holding.

Adults are slightly different. Adults, even those who have average intelligence, are able to work out their problems without much difficulty unless it is beyond them. Just tell them where they have gone wrong, their mistakes, and that would be good enough for them to work things out in most cases, unless they are really dull or recalcitrant, refusing to change for the good.

Then there are very intelligent adults. Actually such intellects should know what they are doing and should not be making mistakes or simple mistakes or obvious mistakes or silly mistakes. Super talents are not called super talents for nothing. But being human, it is forgiveable that sometimes they do make mistakes, intentionally or unintentionally, or because of greed or vested interests or due to group think or whatever.

Mistakes or bad decisions are made by super talents now and then. And very likely they know what they are doing, that they are doing wrongs. The people, the cynics, the concerned citizens, often spent long hours trying to tell the super talents that some things are not right, not necessarily wrong. I think, given the fact that they are super talents, a little prompting should be more than adequate for them to work out better solutions. Is there really a need for the daft, the average and the not too talented to offer solutions to the super talents? If this is the case then something is seriously wrong. It is like those who can see asking the blind how to cross the road.

And why should the daft offer free solutions to those who are paid millions to do their jobs?

Often we heard from the super talents and the pretenders demanding the average Sinkies to not just complain, but to come out with solutions. Is this a reasonable expectation? Is it not enough to point out the faults, the flaws and the mistakes for the super talented to move on? They are super talents you know? Are the super talents expecting to be spoon fed by the daft? It is crazy, right?

The super talents should be very grateful that the daft are kpkb everyday about their daft policies and decisions. The only reason why they are not coming up with better solutions and demanding solutions from the daft is likely that they knew that the better solutions will not be what they want or what they think is right. The daft should not be patronizing to think they know better than the super talents. And the super talents should not act daft to demand the daft to offer their daft solutions.

As for the many pretenders, please, there is no need to be the spokespersons of the super talents to parrot and demand the daft to offer solutions instead of criticism. The criticisms are good enough for the super talents to pick up from there and come up with better solutions if the intention is there. Think about it.

Excuse me, take your hands off

Excuse me, take your hands off my money! It is a bad habit to dip your hand into other people’s piggy banks or savings to help yourself. Even if you are the govt, you have no damn right to do so. Tio boh? Even if you go to Parliament and vote to use my money, it is still ‘illegal’ and immoral. The Constitution, without even looking into it, must have provisions to protect the people from any one thinking he can help himself with the people’s private property, including money. And the savings of the people in the CPF, in the Medisave, belong to the people, the individuals who put them there as their savings for their retirement. Is there anyone with the audacity to decide how the money should be spent for the rightful owners?

Who is arrogant enough to think he can do what he likes with the people’s money without asking for their consent? This bad habit is now second nature, it seems. The Govt is now so bold as to think that it can suka suka take liberties of the people’s savings as if it is the owner of the money. How outrageous can it be?

Any constitutional lawyer or human rights lawyer could care to explain why this is so? Or does the whole legal profession believes or agrees that the Govt has all the right to do so and that is why no one is willing to stand up to be counted, to say otherwise? If that is the case, then I will take my words back and can understand why the Govt is doing so.

The Govt must know that it has the legal right to take the people’s savings to buy life insurance, medical insurance and even to keep it for the good of the people for as long as it deems fit. It must have been rightly advised that it can do so by the best legal minds in this island. Short of something similar to the Land Acquisition Act, the Govt’s action to use the people’s CPF savings is kinda like a de facto Savings Acquisition Act.

So silly of me. I shouldn’t have wasted my time writing this. If the legal profession does not think it as a wrong, no one in this city thinks it is wrong, then it must be right. I rest my case.

Excuse me, please do whatever you like with my savings, and feel free to do so anytime you feel convenient and the need to do so. You have the right to decide what to do with my savings and how to spend my savings for my own good.

Thank you very much. We are so bless with such a caring Govt.


How to conquer the world

Till the Second World War, the world or countries were conquered by the use of military might. It was all about superiority in technology and military weapons. Countries that were relatively small could conquer countries many times their size in land and people. All the European powers were small countries relative to Africa, the two Americas and even countries like India and China. But they ruled the world and built empires that lasted for several hundred years.

After the WW2, the two remaining superpowers of USSR and the USA attempted to continue to rule the world with military might. This time they were not so successful. The East European bloc under the USSR broke up with the breaking up of the Soviet Union. The Americans fought several wars in Asia and the Middle East and were defeated or unable to subdue the invaded countries. The Soviet Union left in defeat in Afghanistan, the Americans held on with some residual forces in Japan and South Korea but were bitterly thrashed in Vietnam, a poor and much smaller country. The Americans are still trying to rule the Middle East and northern African but finding it increasingly difficult as long as the people are willing to die fighting the Americans.

Unable to make further headways, the American’s are shifting their military targets into Asia hoping to fight another war using their allies as proxies. This new development is still work in progress starting with the American pivot and is doing fine with Japan, India, Vietnam and the Philippines happily on board in this bandwagon of war. The story is unfolding rapidly with tension rising and flashed points increasing.

There is yet another war going on quietly, to conquer the world. In this new warfare, it is not about military might and using extreme force and power. It is a sublime infiltration of people, through migration and population. This is a new war conducted by the poor nations, the so called Third World to occupy and conquer the rich and powerful First World, without firing a shot, and with the unannounced acquiescence and compliance of the First World countries. The migrants are invited to populate the rich countries and to eventually swarm and take over the countries by sheer numbers.

The remarkable thing about this new conquest of the world by the poor Third World and apparently helpless and less able people is that it is inevitable. The First World countries are not reproducing themselves and are inviting the Third World people to replace them, willingly though grudgingly and with certain amount of contempt. They, the First World countries, believe that they needed the numbers from the Third World to fill up the gaps and for economic growth, and nothing else. They did not count on the consequences in the long run when they become the minority or the sheer numbers and integration of the migrants would make the takeover of their countries unnoticeable and seamless.

A good example is Singapore, a small island with a small population that can easily be replaced by foreigners. And because of its unique multicultural history of migrants, the new migrants would become citizens and leaving no traces of the origins. And it is only a matter of time when the majority of the island will be new migrants. And the best part, the govt sees this as good, as a new formula to sustain economic growth and the viability of the city state. In one generation, the Singaporean core, the original Singaporeans from the year of Independence will become a minority in the island and in two generations they would probably be lost in a sea of new citizens and be extinct like the dodo birds or like many of the native flora and fauna in the island.

The Third World people will conquer the world and rule the New World without having to fight a world war. They are welcomed to take over by the more intelligent and more industrious First World inhabitants. Europe and the USA will go along in a matter of time, without knowing it.

Bringing Medishield Life down to earth

The madness of this Medishield Life has gone into everyone without any firm ideas being crystallised. At most the Medishield Life Scheme is just a red hot balloon floated in the air, an idea that has been thrown out in a rally but with no meat or bones in it. It has however, got many people thinking, excited, some scared to death and many people in delusion. Some even feel that their old age health problems are solved and there is no need to worry anymore. And there are those who are going to profit from it handsomely and smilingly quietly to themselves for the good fortune.

It is time to bring this hot balloon down to earth to make it real. Gan Kim Yong has said that there is nothing firm about this sketchy scheme and many hours of hard work will ensue to turn this into a reality, a practical solution to meet the expectations of all interested parties. The initial exuberance that such a scheme would cover all the medical needs of the oldies need to be toned down and the high expectations need to be doused with a pail of cold water. The cost of covering everything and every need of the oldies will make it near impossible to cover from the insurance point of view unless cost is not an issue. The premium is going to cost a bomb. It cannot be small and affordable for sure.

For practical and cost reasons, such an insurance coverage must be carefully defined. To be feasible from the insurer’s point of view and a reasonable premium to be paid, the insured must know that there is a price for everything. The people may want to demand that the Govt takes ownership of such a scheme and practise some filial piety towards the senior citizens of the country.

I hesitate to want to offer any free solutions for various reasons, ie not having a full appreciation of the complexity of such an issue, not having the resources and time to think deeply into the issue, and not wanting to insult the millionaire talents to think on their behalf, nor to offer stupid solutions as a layman. But there is no harm to make a few general suggestions that are obvious to many and not be accused of trying to be clever.

I would like to suggest that the Govt provide a first level of protection to all senior citizens either from 65 or 70 years onward comprising C class ward stay in govt hospitals and general geriatric care. Basically this scheme will pay for ward charges and basic medical care that are not prohibitive in cost. The scheme shall not cover any major and costly operations. The object of such a scheme is to provide some peace of mind to the poor oldies that they would be reasonably well taken care of in a hospital if admitted. The scheme shall not cover for expensive operations and treatments. This could be defined by the professionals. This scheme shall be provided free to the senior citizens and the scheme can be compulsory without frightening the people with unlimited premiums to pay.

A comprehensive coverage for all senior citizens cannot be extravagant and unlimited in nature.

On top of this basic coverage, the people could then be given a few enhanced medishield schemes that they are willing to pay for. These have to be voluntary and allowing the people to chose one within their means and expectation. Here the rich and those with the ability to pay can ask for the sky and demand for the best. This is like feasting in a restaurant, the economy class or high end restaurants with different price tags to suit the different aspirations and expectations. The Govt can offer the basic healthcare needs while the luxury part should be individualised and pay through the individual’s own pocket. The poor must not be made to pay for the rich and their high expectations. This is elementary.

Having two such schemes operating in parallel would not bust the Govt’s coffer or deplete the savings of the people in the Medisave. A comprehensive no limit coverage is definitely impractical and insane from the cost point of view. It will bankrupt every insured and also the insurers. To make such a scheme compulsory is unthinkable unless the Govt is footing the bill. To pass the bill to the insured is irresponsible.


Are we in the same boat?

My boat is a luxury cruise liner that can sail the high seas. And all the cabins are fitted up like a 5 star hotel room. And buffet is served round the clock for free. And if I am sick of the buffet spread, I can swagger into one of the fine dining restaurants to have the best of eastern or western cuisines. And if I am bored there are many entertainment outlets to amuse me to keep me happy or laughing the day and night away. And there will be plenty of waiters and waitresses running around to serve me with the snap of a finger. That is the boat I am travelling. Money is never an issue and in my boat, actually a huge ship, I can afford to pay for everything without a care. I just sign and sign away whatever that I want or amuses me.

Are you in the same boat? How many of you think you are in the same boat? How many of you are in a rickety sampan or a refurbished tongkang fitted with a 60 horsepower engine? How many of you are lucky enough to be in a small yacht or a two bedroom pleasure craft? How many of your boats can travel the high seas and visit all the best resorts in the world and be feasted every meal, without a worry or a care of where the next dollar is coming from?

Are we in the same boat? I will like to believe that we are in the same boat. Or even to dream, imagine or hallucinate, that we are in the same boat, living and enjoying life.

Health care – Please don’t help us

It has never failed. When the Govt said it is going to help you, be frighten, be very frighten. The Govt is going to help the people with a life time health care scheme. That is the good news. The bad news, you are going to pay for it dearly. It cannot be for free right? And there is no escape this time. It is going to be compulsory! Imagine the frustration over the years when Medishield cannot be made compulsory? Now with this ‘the Govt will help you Medishield Life’ it is now compulsory. And the premiums to pay for health care for life, I can’t imagine how much it is going to cost. The minister has said that it will be ‘affordable’, another very frightening word. We all know what affordable means to the average Sinkies and what affordable means to the rich and powerful. And the assurance that those who cannot afford to pay will be subsidized is not too much of an assurance either. How poor would one has to be before one is qualified for subsidies?

What are the statistics for Singaporeans to live to 70, 80, 90 and above 100? What kind of sicknesses were they hit and how big were the bills? At the moment the number for the oldies seeking major ops or expensive ageing related sicknesses could be relatively low. Many would rather die than to live on and on like the undead or vampires. The statistics would not be a true reflection of the reality as many could not afford to see the expensive treatments in the hospitals. But once there is such a medical coverage for life, many oldies will be demanding to want to be treated with no consideration to the prohibitive cost. It is free in a way with insurance coverage. Why not? How would this snow ball into an insatiable demand for more medical services?

When is the Govt going to accept that when one gets old, one must die? When is the Govt going to accept that many oldies cannot afford to grow old or did not want to grow old and live a life like walking corpses? There must be a clear definition of the kind of coverage under Medishield Life for the insurers to pay for, a ceiling on what is payable. It cannot be an open book and a blank cheque with the insurers footing every bill. If so, the cost would simply be passed down to the insured at great cost.

I hope the Govt would seriously reconsider this clever idea so that the people would have a choice to pay or not to pay. If it is so good, please make it optional and for all the rich to opt for it and for those who have reasons to want to live forever to pay for it themselves. Do not pass the financial burden to the innocent and the young and the majority that do not want it nor would appreciate it. Do not prevent people from dying. Dying naturally is a privilege, a blessing, and a right of being a human. Many would love to end their pathetic lives on earth soonest, the earlier the better. It is not a luxury to live a long life when one does not even have enough to eat. Prolonging life unnaturally is only a luxury for the rich.

Please think carefully. Please think of what the ignoramus are asking for. It may be true that some are asking for life long medical coverage. I bet this is a minority who did not know what they are asking for. We need wisdom in this issue of life and death. It is not simply about living and about the ability to pay, through a compulsory medical insurance scheme. It is geriatric care that is needed more.

This Medishield Life Scheme could be a very cruel scheme to many who did not ask for it. For those who cannot afford to live a life with simple human comfort, prolonging their lives is like making them a prisoner in a sick and dilapidated ageing body. Please, don’t help the people to extend their misery and pain on earth, and to empty their savings for it. They need their savings for the simple three meals. Don’t take that away. They don’t have millions in their bank accounts to feel happy and to want to continue living. They don’t need a heart bypass or chemotherapy or a pace maker or whatever machine to replace their failing organs.

Remember, when one passes 70 expect to die and prepare to die. That is the normal and natural thing to do. Do not prepare and expect to live another 100 years. It is a blessing to die naturally while one is still reasonably healthy than when one is bedridden and need someone to scrub your back. You simply stink and rot while still alive. And without the money you are dependent on other people’s charity and kindness to clean you and feed you. It is not filial piety to hang on to a life and to keep a dysfunctional body alive. Paying to keep a body alive but not working is an unkind act. There is a time to let go.

PS. When the Medishield Life scheme is extended to 92, it means you will have to continue to pay till 92. If it is extended forever, you pay forever. Tio boh?


Hsien Loong - We are all in this together

How many of you believe that you are all in this altogether?

First, how much are you earning and how much is a minister earning?
Second, what kind of homes are you living in?
Thirdly, how many houses do you own?
Fourth, how many houses do you own outside of Singapore?
Fifth, how much do you have in your savings?
Sixth, what kind of jobs are you employed?
Seventh, where do you eat, hawker centre, food court or restaurant?
Eighth, where do you send your children to school?
Ninth, do you have to worry for your next meal?
Tenth, do you have to worry about your hospital bill?

Are we in this altogether? Other than worrying about providing for your family, do you have to worry about your children’s future?
Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally – Not enough

Heard Hsien Loong’s Rally speech and what came across were some cosmetic changes that were less than expected after the hype by Heng Swee Kiat. There were great expectations for sure but now the great disappointments. With the strong ground shift and the negative sentiments, many were thinking that this would be a good opportunity for Hsien Loong to make some dramatic changes as preparation to the GE in 2016 or a possible surprise snap election. If these were all that the govt was willing to change to redeem itself and its falling popularity, it was obvious that many would see it as plain inadequate.

First the changes on high cost of healthcare. There will be some savings for the senior citizens at the polyclinics and those using CHAS. The changes to the Medishield scheme to Medishield Life is not as good as it first appeared. This new scheme will cover all the seniors that lived past 90 and at first glance sounded very attractive. But with this sweeping coverage that most seniors would not need, many would have died, many would not need a heart by pass or major ops, the failure to fine tune the needs of the very senior citizens would mean a huge paper cost to be shared by the rest. Everyone is going to pay for it.

Is this the best shot the govt could come up with and the need to raise the premiums for Medisave? What else is new? What was sorely missing is the silence on bringing down healthcare cost. Hsien Loong touched more on how to help the seniors pay and the need to increase the premiums for Medishield. What is so good about it when the cost is passed down to everyone?

In the case of housing, those earning up to $4k monthly household income would benefit from more subsidies and a lower net purchase price for 2 to 4rm HDB flats. The prices of these flats would still be maintained at the existing levels but the net sales price would be brought down to the levels of the 2005/6. The ignoramuses were clapping in glee like it was a big savings. They could only see how high were the current prices and thought it was a big discount and were very grateful. They forgot that the prices have been inflated so high and the supposedly lower prices were still very much higher than the prices in early 2000. There is nothing surprising that these people could be so easily deceived into thinking that it was a good deal. They could only see as far as the tip of their noses.

There was nothing mentioned about removing the upper income ceilings and many high income earners would still be disqualified from buying direct from HDB. How does this fit in to Hsien Loong’s statement that every Singaporean family would be able to afford a HDB flat? How many Singaporeans would still not be able to buy from HDB? I have received comments from a young couple that they were still excluded from HDB, and there were many highly qualified young Singaporeans that would prefer to remain overseas than to return to be robbed of a million to buy private properties because of the income ceiling.

This stupid policy means that many highly qualified Singaporeans would not return and their skills would be lost, a policy that literally kept highly skilled Singaporeans away from home. Is this policy meant to be this way so that the Govt can find the excuse to bring in more Third World fake talents to replace the sons and daughters of Singapore that they have driven away?
There were the usual big plans into the future, bigger Changi Airport and two huge puzzles of land in Paya Lebar and Tanjong Pagar for more concrete buildings to house more people. Do not be happy too early if these two big complexes are meant to house the 7m or 10m population. The existing infrastructure with the upgrades would still be inadequate, particularly the roads and public transportation. There will be rooms and housing for 7m or 8m, but could there be room for them to move around? It would be good if the new spaces created were meant for the same population size, allowing more breathing space for all, better facilities and bigger leg room. Fear not, it will be for more people, for more compact living.

The changes in some of the policies were to rein in the excesses of flawed policies but not enough to bring things back to an easier way of life. And the future developments would mean the squeeze and crams and jams would be worse. The cost of living will be up and up with more people cramming up in this island when the sky is the limit for building more Towers of Babel.

Would these changes be enough to win back more confidence and more votes in 2016? I doubt so.


Aggressive intent of Japan

An aircraft carrier is banned by its pacificist constitution, so the Japanese called it a helicopter destroyer. It has a length of 248m, much longer than many aircraft carriers in service. The Japanese lied to say it could carry 14 helicopters for disaster and search and rescue missions. In reality it could easily be converted to carry and launch offensive VTOL or STOL multipurpose fighter bombers to attack any country within range. It could easily launch the latest and most sophisticated F35s the Americans are trying to sell to its allies.
Japan can continue to lie but the world is not blind. Its remilitarization and aggressive intent is evident and it poses a clear and present danger to countries in East and South East Asia. And it deliberately chooses to name the aircraft carrier/destroyer Izumo, the same name as the flagship of the Japanese fleet that invaded China in the 1930s. This and the 731 painted on the fighter aircraft that Shinzo Abe sat on cannot be pure coincident. The aircraft carrier was launched on the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to gain support and sympathetic sentiments from the Japanese people. The Japanese knew exactly what they are up to. They are rearming to resume their imperial military role of the past, maybe with the intent of avenging the atomic bombings of their country.
Japan has rearmed! And it is all done with the consent of the Americans who chose to close one eye to allow a strong military Japan to counter the rise of China. Japan and China is on a collision path, and hostility could break out between the two, only a matter of when. It may be opportune for China to think like the Americans, a pre emptive strike against Japan before it gets too powerful.
In a way God is kind, to allow Japan to rearm and to attempt another war against China, Korea and maybe even the Americans. And this war will settle all the blood debt of WW2 that Japan has yet to repay.