Eugene Tan – How should we honour our pioneers properly

SMU’s law professor Eugene Tan had an article in the Today paper on 29 Mar on the above topic. Here is the gist of what he said and I quote,
‘Let us ensure that the legacy of our pioneers lives on, not only to inspire us but to also provide us with new pathways to critically understand and interpret our nations, our challenges and our evolving destiny. This self knowledge is our collective intelligence that provides valuable guidance as we navigate uncharted waters.  Our nation’s life story is about our greats and pioneers, who steadfastly believed in our right to be a sovereign nation state, and who … build this little red dot to what it is today.  It is to our collective peril if this life giving belief is not nurtured and sustained.’
This is the crux of our story, the reason why our pioneers built this island into a nation state. The big question, build this nation state for who? This life giving belief is about a home, a country for Singaporeans, the descendants of our pioneers, to live a good life.  And if we foolishly dismiss this life giving belief, not nurtured and sustained it, it is to our own peril.
Anyone understand what Eugene Tan said? Our pioneers built this island for us Singaporeans, not for foreigners to come here and inherit everything they built for us. The foreigners here today did not build a single thing, not a single shit. Everything was built by our pioneers.
Are we not betraying our pioneers to give this island away to foreigners and not to Singaporeans, the children of our pioneers? Who says this island shall go to the most talented foreigners and their children?
In the minds of our pioneers, it is all about us, about their children, the future of their children. The foreigners were not in their mind, not in the equation. It was us, Singaporeans first and last.
Any silly twit wants to tell the Singaporeans they should move out and leave and let the foreigners take over their homes and their country, built by the pioneers, their forefathers? Should we bundled the pioneer generation and throw them out in the sea, rewrite our history starting today, Singapore is built by the foreign talents in the 21st Century?
How should we honour our pioneers properly?  Still didn’t get the answer? It is to make sure the children of the pioneers inherit this island and enjoy the fruits of their labour. This island is what our pioneers willed to us, our inheritance, not to be given away freely to foreigners.  The pioneers will be turning in their graves if their children could not inherit the legacy they built and left behind for them.

PS. Many Singaporeans, the daft and the new Singaporeans, are telling the true blue Singaporeans to give away this island if they are stupid and cannot make it here, cannot compete with the foreigners with their fake degrees and talents. Heard of 败家子?


A Separate, unAccountable and unEqual Singapore Elected Presidency

In Reality, the Elected Presidency is Subordinate to Cabinet and Parliament.

The Singapore Elected Presidency (EP) has a 6-year term and has veto powers over the spending of national reserves and monetary policies as well as over the appointments of key positions in the Civil Service, government companies and statutory boards.

A 6-member Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA) advises the President in the exercise of his custodial and discretionary powers. The President is obliged to consult the Council in the exercise of his discretionary veto powers in matters such as the Government’s budgets and key appointments.  If the Council agree with the President’s veto, then the veto is final and Parliament must comply. If the Council disagree, the President can still use his veto, but Parliament can override the veto with a two-thirds majority.  In other matters, such consultation is optional.

In many ways, the current Constitutional framework does not give due cognizance to the fact that the President is popularly elected and enjoys such moral weight and electoral authority that is implied from popular election.

This Post highlights the practical reality of the Elected Presidency as a separate, unaccountable and unequal “branch” of the political governance structure of Singapore.

The Constitution expressly and deliberately subordinates the Presidency to Parliament even though its s23(1) has first pronounced that “the executive authority of Singapore shall be vested in the President”.  The Constitution then proceeds to dilute the same “executive authority” by distributing its exercise jointly among the President, the Cabinet or any Minister authorised by the Cabinet. 

The Constitution [s24(2)] further explicitly vests the executive power to run the Government in the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, who “shall have the general direction and control of the Government and shall be collectively responsible to Parliament”.   

Elsewhere, the Constitution also empowers Parliament ie the Cabinet and Members of Parliament (MPs), but not the President, to “enact laws conferring executive functions on other persons”, and the President is mandated to give his assent as long as such laws did not interfere with his discretionary powers [s22H(4)]. 

The Elected President does not have any law-making powers. In other words, the Constitution did not provide the EP with any tool or “tooth” for the execution of his Constitutional “executive authority”, the bulk of which were “separated” and delegated or assigned by the Constitution to the Prime Minister (and his Cabinet).  And in their exercise of such executive powers supposedly vested in the Presidency by the Constitution [s23(1)], the Prime Minister and his Cabinet is accountable to Parliament, not the Presidency.

In further clear and unambiguous language, the Constitution in s21(1) pronounces that the President shall, "in the exercise of his functions under this Constitution or any other written law, act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or of a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet".  The President cannot behave or act unilaterally without Cabinet’s approval.

This “distribution” of executive powers by the Constitution among the Elected President, Parliament and the Prime Minister (and his Cabinet) impacts the efficacy of the Presidency by confusing their separation of powers and frustrates the EP’s critical role as the national reserve watchdog vis-a-vis government’s financial prudence and possible indiscretion.  In fact, many of the EP’s powers, and its decisions even on critical discretionary matters are not absolute and can be “overruled” by a two-third majority vote in Parliament acting in accordance with Constitutional provisions.  

The popular election of the President was meant to imbue the Office with moral weight and democratic electoral authority for the exercise of its functions, especially on matters relating to past reserves and the appointment/removal of key office holders.  This is however misconceived and an exaggerated expectation of democratic elections.

The Elected President may be popularly elected, but it is not a “democratic” institution by any measure since nothing in the Constitution requires the EP to be responsible and accountable to the electorate.  There is also no key performance indicator (KPI) to assess the EP performance during his tenure. This further confirms the lack of executive function and authority in the EP.

Unlike MPs, as well as the Prime Minister (and his Cabinet) who must regularly renew their electoral mandate, the Elected President faces no such prospects even though there is nothing in the Constitution preventing the EP from being elected again, as indeed President SR Nathan.

To what extent therefore is the Elected President “accountable” to his electorate?

Answer: The Elected President is NOT accountable to the electorate.

To the extent “approved” by the Prime Minister (and his Cabinet), the EP can publish in the Official Gazette his opinion and the case for his support or veto of the Government’s request to use the national reserves.  No provision exists in the Constitution for the EP to engage in public communication or debates in order to allow questioning and probing by the electorate regarding his opinion to agree or his grounds for veto, whichever the case may be.  It is clearly not the intention of the Constitution for the Elected President to be an alternate political power centre to that of the duly-elected Government.   

The Singapore Elected Presidency, with its Constitutionally-vested “executive powers” tremendously diluted by the very same Constitution, is a separate and unequal branch of the political governance structure.  Constitutionally, it is also not accountable to its own electoral constituency.  

Having “consulted” his CPA, should the Presidential use of veto power be absolute? There is no constitutional provision for the President to obtain a second opinion outside the CPA.  The Constitution creates an anomalous and ironic incongruity by requiring an Elected President to accept the opinion of his unelected members of his CPA; but where they disagreed to his veto, the Elected President could very well face a two-third Parliamentary veto overturn.   

Should a veto by the Elected President in his discretionary decisions be challenged and over-ruled by Parliament?

Or only by a National Referendum? 

A simpler mechanism is to bypass the need for Presidential approval for the spending from national reserves if, and only if, two-thirds of Parliament has already approved the expenditure.   

Separate, unaccountable and unequal, whither the future of Singapore Elected Presidency?

A “big picture” perspective is necessary to remove the anomalies in the Elected Presidency innovation.  The EP remains very much a work-in-progress in Singapore’s political governance landscape.  A custodial Presidential oversight responsibility over sovereign reserves and appointment of senior public officials does not necessarily confer any viable executive authority onto the Elected President.

The current review of the Elected Presidency should examine all the constitutional provisions relating to the EP, Cabinet and Parliament. To avoid ambiguities with regard to who has final and ultimate executive authority would require expressed and explicit statements to the effect. In a democracy, it is the Cabinet, supported by Parliament, who has true electoral mandate and therefore the ultimate executive authority to be responsible and accountable to the electorate. 

Computer trading - When Indians fear...do not tread

Below is a Bloomberg article on the danger of HFT and computer trading and how this new animal is frightening the Indians and their calls for actions to curb the beast. The only shortcoming is that there is this denial to call a crime a crime. But anyone in the business could figure out from the comments of the article how criminal are HFT and computer trading, how they cheated the innocent investors and how they are ruining the stock market from their gambling tactics instead of trading on stock fundamentals. As a result the stock market is in ruins and tatters. It is unbelieveable and criminal for stock market operators to continue with this destructive crime against the investors and the imminent destruction of the stock market industry. Here is the gist of the article with some of the irrelevant being deleted to shorten the piece.

Hottest Emerging Market for Algo Trades Wants to Cool Down (1)

By Santanu Chakraborty
     (Bloomberg) -- India’s flash boys are discovering that even the biggest emerging market for computerized trades has its limits.

In just five years, high-speed and algorithmic traders have gone from bit players to a dominant force on Indian exchanges, enabled by a technological arms race between the nation’s top exchanges that cut transaction times to tiny fractions of a second. Now, as some of the country’s largest brokerages call for tighter regulation, those same bourses are starting to explore whether speed traders should be reined in.

National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. is considering higher fees for traders who flood the market with unfilled orders, while its cross-town rival, the BSE Ltd., has called for “corrective action” to address the harmful side effects of high-speed strategies. Critics of India’s supercharged market structure say it’s raising costs for long-term investors, introducing little-understood risks and distracting exchanges from what should be a priority: getting more of India’s 1.25 billion people to put their savings to work in the country’s capital markets.

 “It seems that man is losing out against the machine,” said Jitendra Panda, a governing board member of the Brokers Forum, an association of 800 broker-dealers in India...

Both bourses have introduced co-location services -- allowing traders to put their computers in exchange data centers so they can execute faster -- and offered monetary incentives for derivatives transactions. India’s fragmented markets, where many of the same securities trade on multiple venues, also makes it attractive to high-frequency traders looking to arbitrage price differences. In October, the BSE reduced its average processing time for trades to 6 microseconds from 300 milliseconds, the fastest worldwide, according to Ashishkumar Chauhan, BSE’s chief executive officer.

While Chauhan says India has been among the world leaders in setting regulatory standards for high-speed trading, he sees scope for creating a more level playing field.

“We are doing a lot of HFT compared to the size of market and we need a clear understanding of the risk,” Chauhan said in an interview. “We need to take corrective action so that the good part of HFT is maintained and the harm that can come can be reduced to the maximum extent possible.”....

Exchange officials are quick to point out that their goal is to accommodate all types of investors and that computerized trading has brought important benefits to Indian markets, including smaller spreads and higher trading volumes.

But detractors claim that those measures don’t tell the whole story. They say some high-frequency traders are profiting unfairly at the expense of long-term investors by spotting their orders, then pushing up prices before the slower trader has time to react.

“Investors are being forced to pay more to buy or sell stocks due to HFT and algo systems,” said Panda....

The NSE is “continuously addressing concerns about different HFT models and their potential to distort markets,” Narasimhan said.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India, which issued broad guidelines on computerized trading in 2012 and 2013, said in December it’s considering new restrictions, but has so far taken no action....

For Deven Choksey, managing director of Mumbai-based K.R. Choksey Shares & Securities Ltd., India’s stock market would be better served if exchanges focused on attracting more of the nation’s growing pile of household savings instead of luring ever-faster traders and the higher fee income they bring. The base of individual investors has shrunk from about 30 million in 1991 to less than 25 million today, BSE’s Chauhan said.

“Exchanges won’t be able to help channelize household savings into the capital markets if their focus is only profit maximization,” Choksey said. “We will invite trouble if there’s no structural solution.”


Green house politicians can learn from Malaysian politics

There are no permanent friends or enemies in politics. The friends and foes in Malaysian politics are regrouping under Mahathir, the man that had charged them and put them in jail, for a common mission, to unseat Najib. Anwar and Lim Kit Siang, the arch enemies of Mahathir are now smoking peace pipes and drinking together and planning what to do to bring down Najib. They are all politician extraordinaire, knowing what is the common goal and to put down differences or personal grudges when there is a common enemy to strike.

In the Singapore context, the opposition camp did not have such bad blood to talk about.   Oops, I stand corrected on this. There were differences and often differences created by third parties to divide them up.  The differences among the opposition parties and leaders are nothing more than I don’t like your look and you don’t like mine. As far as political agenda and differences are concern they are very minor.

Why then is it so difficult for the opposition parties here to put their differences aside and sit down together, like the Malaysian politicians, to chart a common course, a common objective to take on the PAP?  They are not arch enemies, are they? What is the stumbling block that makes the divide so difficult to bridge? Could they see further down the road, to join forces, to work together and bring down a common enemy first, other things can wait?

There have been many calls, friendly gestures, olive branch being extended, to bring the opposition parties together but in vain. They don’t even want to talk to each other or be seen together.

This brand of politics can only happen in this island. The opposition parties know they have very little chance of unseating the ruling party, maybe if luck is good, get a few seats into Parliament, and if not, get completely wiped out from Parliament.  And they are contented with that.  On the other hand, coming together, to present a united front, combining their talents and resources, they would look more real, credible and serious as an alternative to the ruling party and to stand a better chance of being elected, and a better possibility of forming a coalition govt.  Why not?  The answer is our sanitized greenhouse political climate. Better be safe and be on the right side than be sorry.
It is such a bewilderment to see them struggling as splintered groups hoping to win a seat or two in a GE when they could gain a bigger pie.
Be real politicians, not greenhouse politicians, need to be politically correct, cannot be seen with politicians that are deemed no good by the ruling party and thus tarnishes their reputations in the eyes of the ruling govt. Is this the reason, that opposition parties are watching their steps carefully, to be seen as reasonable and good guys by the ruling parties, so stay away from other opposition parties that have been branded as bad boys?
May I suggest they look at the Malaysian politics carefully, study them and pick up some of the good points to help them make a bigger impact in the next GE. There are no permanent friends or permanent enemies in politics. A coalition of convenient is just as good as anything if it can bring results. If PAS can sit together with DAP, If Mahathir can sit together with Kit Siang and Anwar, what else cannot be done?
It is politics, stupid. You don't need the blessing of the ruling party to be acceptable and to win an election.

Budget 2016 – Govt can afford to be more generous

How much is the govt’s handout in this year’s budget? You think it is enough or can the govt afford to be more generous? Don’t panic, no one should be thinking of robbing the reserves. Keep the lid tight on the reserves. Tony Tan will be there to guard against touching the reserves. There will be more tons to weigh down and to look after the reserves if Tan Cheng Bock becomes the next President.


The govt has a lot of money from the last CPF Life and Medishield Life Schemes to throw back to the people. Just look at how much the govt is raking in from the people with a stroke of the pen from the Medishield Life Scheme. If each adult is to pay $500 a year for Medishield Life, and if there are 2m adults in the CPF, that is $1b of premium annually, every year going back to the govt. This one no pay back except for those who needed to claim for medical bills less co payments.


And don’t forget the $200k plus locked up in the two minimum sum schemes that would delay payback time by another 20 years. This means twenty years of free money to use, like the Americans enjoying free money selling the dollar as an international reserve currency, with no payback time. This $200k per head is like no payback time as another member will join the scheme for anyone leaving the scheme. The 20 year lockup time is the minimum as many would live to 80 or 90 and the money would still be out of their reach, till death do they part.


The $200k plus per CPF holder of 2m CPF members works out to be more than $400b free money to use for the next 20 years or more. Can the govt be more generous in throwing back a fraction of the money that rightly belonged to the people for the rightful owners to use?


What would a hundred million or a few hundred millions be to the govt when Medishield Life is taking $1b annually and the hundreds of billions locked up in the minimum sum schemes? The handouts thrown back at the people are directly/indirectly  the people’s money?


Leong Sze Hian may want to work out this relationship between money kept or paid to the govt by the CPF members and the money used as handouts to be given to the people. Then the people can decide if the govt is generous and if they should say a big thank you to the govt or to themselves.


Donald Trump will be dumped by the American cabal

Donald Trump
Interesting take on Donald Trump and today's political system. Former U.S. Secretary of Education, William J. Bennett's frankly candid and shocking observations of Donald Trump's impact on the behavior of the entrenched Washington D.C. bureaucrats in both parties -- and the risk The Donald faces in so doing.
William J. Bennett, Host of Bill Bennett's Morning in America Show, is one of America's most important, influential, and respected voices on cultural, political, and education issues. He has one of the strongest Christian world views of any writer in modern times.
 What I See Happening In a Trump Presidency
by Bill Bennett
They will kill him before they let him be  president. It could be a Republican or a Democrat that instigates  the shutting up of Trump.
Don't be surprised if Trump has an accident.  Some people are getting very nervous: Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Jon Corzine, to name just a few.
It's about the unholy dynamics between big government, big business, and big media. They all benefit by the  billions of dollars from this partnership, and it's in all of their  interests to protect one another. It's one for all and all for one.
It's a heck of a filthy relationship that makes everyone filthy rich, everyone except the American people. We get ripped off. We're the patsies. But for once, the powerful socialist cabal and the corrupt crony capitalists are scared. The over-the-top reaction to Trump by politicians of both parties, the media, and the biggest corporations of America has been so swift and insanely angry that it suggests they are all threatened and  frightened.
Donald Trump can self-fund. No matter how much they say to the contrary, the media, business, and political elite understand that Trump is no joke. He could actually win and upset their nice cozy apple cart. It's no coincidence that everyone has gotten together to destroy The Donald. It's because most of the other politicians are part of the good old boys club.  They talk big, but they won't change a thing. They are all beholden to big-money donors. They are all owned by lobbyists, unions, lawyers, gigantic environmental organizations, and multinational corporations - like Big Pharmacy or Big Oil. Or they are owned lock, stock, and barrel by foreigners like George Soros owns Obama or foreign governments own Hillary and their Clinton Foundation donations.
These run-of-the-mill establishment politicians are all puppets owned by big money. But there's one man who isn't beholden to anyone There's one man who doesn't need foreigners, or foreign governments, or George Soros, or the United Auto Workers, or the teacher's union, or the Service Employees International Union, or the Bar Association to fund his campaign.
Billionaire tycoon and maverick Donald Trump doesn't need anyone's help. That means he doesn't care what the  media says. He doesn't care what the corporate elites think. That makes him very dangerous to the entrenched interests. That makes Trump a huge threat to those people. Trump can ruin everything for the bribed politicians and their spoiled slave masters....
Once Trump gets in and gets a look at the cooked books and Obama's records, the game is over. The jig is up. The goose is cooked. Holder could wind up in prison. Jarrett  could wind up in prison. Obama bundler Corzine could wind up in prison for losing $1.5 billion of customer money. Clinton could wind up in jail for deleting 32,000 emails or for accepting bribes from foreign governments while Secretary of State, or for misplacing $6 billion as the head of the State Department, or for lying about  Benghazi. The entire upper level management of the IRS could wind up in prison.
Obamacare will be de-funded and dismantled. Obama himself could wind up ruined, his legacy in tatters. Trump  will investigate. Trump will prosecute. Trump will go after everyone involved. That's why the dogs of hell have been unleashed on Donald  Trump.
Yes, it's become open season on Donald Trump. The left and the right are determined to attack his policies, harm his businesses, and, if possible, even keep him out of the coming debates. But they can't silence him. And they sure can't intimidate him. The more they try, the more the public will realize that he's the one telling the truth.

LKY – too much of a good thing

The big celebration in the remembrance of LKY on his first anniversary is starting to raise eyebrows and turning a bit sour. It is opportune that Lee Wei Ling spoke up against it and warning those over zealous supporters and believers not to go overboard. Many great leaders in the past have been revered by their people through history. Many have made their marks decades ago, some hundreds or thousands of years ago and still fondly remembered by the generations of people coming to know them.

The celebration of LKY was compared to the celebration for Mao Zedong and Winston Churchill and to some, more like Kim Sung Il. In China and North Korea, huge monuments and statues of the two leaders were built to honour them. Some in China wanted to elevate Mao to the status of a deity, , and probably with temples built for him for people to worship him. This was rejected by the Chinese govt and similarly I don’t think there were temples to deify Kim Sung Il.

Without someone from the family to speak out against this irrational exuberance, it can be expected that the political opportunists could carry things a bit too far in revering and remembering LKY and turn it into a personality cult that Wei Ling rightly pointed out. And when that happens, a good thing could turn into a bad thing for the stupidity of it.

Too much of a good thing can easily turn bad. This is the 21st Century and Singaporeans, especially the highly educated, would find it a bit uncomfortable to stomach such overt expression of reverence.  This is different from religious outpouring of love within the confines of a religious abode. Some may find it revulsive though they may not utter a word or show any sign of their true feelings.  It is better to keep things in a proper and respectable perspective before it goes out of hand.

Wei Ling’s comment is timely and effective. Coming from anyone else outside the family may draw a mix bag of reactions.  LKY shall be remembered by Singaporeans for generations to come and by the foreigners who came and gone home rich for his blessings on them. Let history and the millennial remember him in a way appropriate to them.  Do not create controversies and a sour note so early after he left the scene. The first time was a nation in grief. This time it does not seem to be going the same way.

It will be perfectly alright to do such a thing in countries like North Korea, but in Singapore today, I think it is better to be more circumspect. Wei Ling has spoken but she is the only voice from the family. Is she representative of her siblings or they have different ideas?

Please feel free to disagree with me. Those who would like to set up altars in their homes, please do so as you like.

PS. For those who benefitted greatly from LKY's policies, may I suggest a better way is to donate a bit of their good fortune to help the poor in his name. Would that not be better?


The secret formula for more by elections 美人计

First there was Yaw in Hougang and followed by Palmer in Punggol East. Now we have Bukit Batok heading for another by election. The opposition strategists must be putting their thinking hats together trying to figure out how to make more by elections happening in order to get more of their candidates into parliament.

If they still cannot figure out how, maybe they can learn from the Police in their well developed investigating procedures. Put all the facts and evidence on the white board and try to pin down the common denominators. In all the three cases you have a man and a woman, actually not a man, but an MP. Then there is the element of indiscretion. So, what are the common factors and what are the relevant factors that eventually lead to a by election? Give you a clue, it is not a 4 letter word.

For those who are still trying hard but unable to find the answer, look at Sun Tsu’s military strategies, the 36 arts of war. One of them is applicable in this case. The KGB and CIA used this art form very well, and very successfully. James Bond also had been willing victim to this deception and took the risk with all its pleasures.

The big question is whether the opposition parties are ready to put this strategy into practice to gain a few more by elections: )



Masagos worrying about Singapore’s water supply

Is Masagos missing something? He is worried that Singapore may not have enough water? Did he talk to his other ministers who are going to bring in more people to increase the population to 6.9m and then 10m? I am sure those planning for 6.9m or 10m would have the answers to our water problem. For them to be so confident about growing the population, they must have worked out the needs for more water and more energy sources. So, why is Masagos so worried when other ministers are not worried? Is he out of the loop?

Remember the incident when HDB was panicking and quickly selling of the excess stock of flats only to discover, after selling everything and running out of stock, that plane loads of foreigners are being unloaded into the island and creating the infamous housing crisis?

When the population goes up, definitively there will be bigger demand and needs for more water. Unless the new population is a kind of rare breed that don’t need to consume water, no need to bathe, then it should be ok.

Or is this a case of right hand and left hand not knowing what the other is scratching? Our planners cannot be planning for 6.9m or more and forget to think about our water problem right? They must also have thought through the need to build more flats, more Towers of Babel. Energy need should also not be a problem.

Any minister wants to tell Masagos no need to worry about a non problem. We don’t have water shortage problem or energy shortage problem, at least for a population of 6.9m or 10m.  And now we only have 5.5m, there cannot be water shortage problem right?  6.9m or 10m are a piece of cake. Everything is already planned.

Sleep well Masagos. Looks like you are the only one worrying about water shortage problem that no one sees. So either everyone is right and you are wrong or you are right and everyone is wrong. Did they tell you about the 6.9m and 10m population plan?

Bukit Batok – What is this by election all about?

This by election is not about the SDP or the PAP. It is not about Chee Soon Juan or Murali. It is about the political system, about a democratic political system for the good of the people.  The track record of the PAP was good but I am not sure what would become of Singapore and the Singaporeans with the policies of recent years. The impact of govt policies would take a longer time to gestate and to show up the faults. Our two child policy, education policy, the lack of talents for the market despite all the crowing about how good our education and planning were, the low population growth, the need to bring in plane loads of rubbish from all over the world, the recent problems caused by bad policies in housing, in the train system, the high cost of living that we have to live with, and our CPF savings, just to name a few.

We have yet to reap the full force of policy errors while we still benefiting and blinded from the good policies of the past leaders. Like in economics, the supply and demand curves will intersect and go different ways thereafter.

The intrinsic problems that we are living with and the state of denials in violating age old wisdom and throwing caution to the winds will extract a heavy price when the time comes. Let me just rattle a few of these wisdom, not in any order of merits or importance

A democracy needs two relatively strong political parties to check and balance each other and to provide an alternative govt if one falters or turns rogue. We don’t have this comfort and cushion to protect the system and the people with a one dominant party. Anyone telling you that a one dominant party is what we need is just a salesman selling his wares.

Do not put all your eggs in one basket. We know the moral of such a saying. We cannot put all our hopes and faith in one political party. You want to believe in a person telling you to put all your eggs in one basket?

Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. You think there will be exceptions, and if there is, will the exception be forever? It will not last the test of time. No man is infallible.

Historically, powers entrenched would lead to abuses, to protect self interests, to exist for its own sake. Nearly every civilized country would have checks and control on their political system to prevent the entrenchment of power by any group or individual. There is wisdom in such a precaution. Only those from IMH would believe that entrenchment of power over a long period of time is a good thing.

Do not let anyone deceive you by saying the above are ok, nothing wrong, and in Singapore’s context, it is unique and these are uniquely good for us.

Bukit Batok by election is a small step to make amends to the colossal mistake the people made in the last GE, to give the PAP such an overwhelming winning margin, like giving it a blank cheque to do what it likes, a vote of over confidence. Many must be regretting the outcome not because the PAP is bad, but it is bad for the country, bad for a democratic political system, bad for checks and control, bad for the people.
It can only be good if you believe that man is infallible and all the good men are in the ruling party.

This by election is to correct this major mistake, to take a few seats back for the opposition parties, it is not about the SDP, but any opposition party, to increase the opposition representation in parliament to moderate the big majority of the ruling party. There must be bigger opposition representation in parliament and this is just a small step towards that direction.

The voters must wise up to make sure that in the next GE more opposition candidates are voted into parliament to avoid the present state of having an over dominant ruling party in charge. This by election should do that, to get in another opposition candidate to parliament. Another opposition candidate would not change the govt or create a tsunami to destroy the system. If it can, then this ruling party is not worth to be the ruling party. But it would give the people a bigger voice to check on the govt, to speak out for the people and to present alternative views on what can be good for the people.

Put aside all the differences, the main issue is greater opposition representation. Do not ignore the age old sages and their wisdom on absolute power, on entrenchment of power, on the basic principles of a democracy, on separation of power.

You are voting for the future of your children. Do not mortgage their future away.


SMRT accident – So difficult to state the facts?

Reports in the Today paper on 23 Mar stated this, ‘However, SMRT Corporation chief executive officer Desmond Kwek maintains that the two victims were walking behind their supervisor and the 15 member team were walking in single file on the 0.5m wide walkway…They were 50m away from the location of the signaling equipment at the time of the tragedy.’

My contention, if the team was walking in single file in a path for maintenance personnel, the path should be safe enough to walk on, passing safety guidelines. The train would go pass them, with a bit of squeeze, but safely.  The fact that the supervisor was in front of the single file, he would be the first to be hit if the train could hit the two behind him. What supposedly happened, the train missed hitting the first man, but could hit the second and the third, and missed the rest behind the third man. This was only possible if the train jumped track after going pass the first man, hit two men, then jumped back to the main track. Of course this was highly unlikely, impossible.

Today’s reports on 24 Mar have a bit more detail, with timeline of what happened but still left a lot of blanks to be filled. It went with the 15men team walking in single file, and ‘SMRT said before the team was allowed to step back onto the trackway it had to coordinate with the station’s signal unit “for oncoming trains to be brought to a stop and to ensure that no trains enter the affected sector”. “Our records do not show that this procedure took place.” SMRT said.’

So, were the men crossing onto the track to the signal equipment or 50 meters away? The above statement suggested that the men or some of the men were crossing the track or on the track near the equipment.  It was only in such a position, on the track that they could be hit by the oncoming train.

What is strange is that the report did not say whether they were on the track or otherwise. What was also strange is that it was a procedural lapse, never get permission to cross onto the track.

Remember, even if there was no permission requested or granted, 15 men were at the scene. Did anyone see or hear the train coming? Did anyone shout for whoever were on the track to jump off the track?  All the 15 men were blind and deaf? No one see the train coming?  How does a chicken cross the road? Wait for the traffic light to turn red.  Then look left, look right, all clear then cross. Would anyone in the middle of a road, or in this case in a train track, would be oblivious of oncoming train, no need to pay attention to look out for on coming train?

What is the true story? Were the men on the train track? Did anyone see the train coming? Did anyone shout to those on the train? Silent movie?

Oh ST quoted one of the men saying they were crossing onto the track and saying, “We didn’t realize that there was a train coming towards us…After I put my foot over the rail, my senior technical officer behind shouted: ‘Train is coming! Train is coming!’” This is about as complete as you can get. Still a question goes abegging. Why no one was assigned to watch out for oncoming trains in a ‘live firing’ area?
The train cannot hit anyone on the walkpath. If it could, it would hit the first man and the rest of the team unless it came to an immediate halt.

Even if the procedure was not followed, no record, there were 15 pairs of eyes and ears to see and hear the train coming? It was dangerous, but could the accident be avoided if the eyes and ears were open?

What do you think?

Paul Tambyah is a better choice for the by election

There was an article posted in TRE claiming that Paul Tambyah would make a better candidate in Bukit Batok. I must agree with the assertion but not necessarily the arguments. Some commentators were questioning the intent of the author, Jeremy Chen, who was once an SDP member but fell out with the party and wanting to drive a wedge between the two top SDP leaders.

Paul Tambyah is a good man and a very safe candidate for the by election. He is less controversial and has the credential and stature to be a PAP minister if he chose to join the PAP. He is a big cut above many of the ministers in the govt.

The very decision for Paul Tambyah to join the SDP is telling enough to say that he not only shared a lot of things with Chee Soon Juan but also is there to support him. No one can drive a wedge into their relationship. There is chemistry and mutual respect in the two men and Paul Tambyah would be fully behind Chee and supporting him fully in this by election. Don’t have any doubt about it.

Paul Tambyah is a very comfortable and secure man, in all aspects of his life and will be doing very well in what he is doing now. He is likely to defer to allow Chee to have a go at this by election knowing how hard and how much effort Chee has put into his political cause. There is no need to put up a case on why Chee is better or Paul is better as a candidate for the Bukit Batok by election.

Chee is no push over. And despite his controversial history and relationship with the opposition parties, deep down, the opposition camp knows that Chee is the right man to stand in this by election. There is this unspoken respect and admiration for Chee and what Chee has done as a politician. And no worthy or honourable opposition politician would want to go into Bukit Batok to spoil the broth for Chee literally.

And if elected, Chee would create a real impact in parliament and the politics of Singapore like you have never seen before. He would stand out, even if as a solitary representative of SDP, as the de facto opposition leader if in parliament. You will hear him, see him and not to miss him as a leader in the opposition camp. The opposition bench would gain more respect and weight if Chee is with them and working in unison with them in parliament.

There is no candidate today in the opposition camp that is the equal of Chee Soon Juan in the ability to articulate a political cause or a political issue in parliament. There is no one that has the same stature internationally and domestically as Chee Soon Juan as an opposition politician.

Like him or against him, Chee Soon Juan stands a head above the crowd.


Bukit Batok by election – Who to win?

One gave 10 reasons why Chee Soon Juan should win and one said otherwise with 10 reasons to back up. Let me put a few reasons why Chee should win despite the odds and the bad showing of SDP in the GE. The most important reason is God’s will. Heaven is on the side of SDP and Chee Soon Juan. When God is helping him, there is no obstacle that cannot be overcome.  Ok, I am using God’s will for convenience. I could have used feng shui and the name Bukit Buttock to justify my argument. Maybe some other time.

The first point, there is no chance for Chee or anyone to get into Parliament until the next GE. It needs a little miracle or indiscretion to force a rerun. And this rerun can be anywhere, in any constituency, in a GRC. But it has to be in a SMC and in Bukit Batok, not in any other SMC. And when it comes to Bukit Batok, the only candidate that has been working so hard for so many years is Chee Soon Juan. Why not the last SDP candidate that ran for the GE? This is a by election and only the best candidate will do, and PAP is putting up its best candidate, the very best candidate in its stable of candidate. Murali Pillai is the best the PAP has and putting up anyone in SDP will get an even bigger rubbing. See the hands of God at work?

Even the by election is crafted in Chee’s name. No one is calling it a Murali by election. It is called a Chee by election. Don’t have naughty ideas please. It is all about Chee Soon Juan, the come back kid.

And of course this is not going to be easy and PAP would make it even harder. The PAP is going to put up its best and most hardworking candidate supported by the whole PAP machinery to win this by election. Murali is even more hardworking than David Ong, and have excellent relations with the grassroots. According to Tharman, an old auntie was asking for him to come back to serve Bukit Batok.

But there is a catch that many people did not see. PAP is like giving away this by election, conceding an own goal before it even started. How’s that, many of you would not get it. PAP is putting its very best, how to concede an own goal?

Think GRC? Why GRC? There were two key assumptions when the concept of GRC was mooted. To ensure minority representation in Parliament through GRC. Why? One, minority candidates are weaker. Two, the voters would vote on racial grounds. So minority candidates would stand on weak grounds and fighting in SMC is a losing proposition. Then why put up a minority candidate in Bukit Batok? So he is the best candidate, though a minority. This part is like saying my logic is ‘head I win, tail you lose’.  Heard of ‘mao dun ’? So what if Murali is the strongest minority candidate, and that he is better than a majority candidate? The people would still vote on racial ground he sure to lose. This kind of logic, not I say one huh. I only parrot this clever logic.

But now things have changed. According to Tharman and other PAP politicians, the voters are smart and not racist, and would not vote on racial ground. This argument I also parrot.  Not I say one, not my logic. Head I win, tail you lose.

If this logic is true, if things have changed, the voters have matured, not daft anymore, not racist, it must mean that there is no need for GRCs anymore. True or not? If PAP believes in this logic, there must come out with an amendment in Parliament that henceforth there is no need for GRCs and all will be single wards.

Would the PAP do this? If not, then it must mean they don’t believe the people will not vote on racial grounds. Then Murali will be a sacrificial lamb.  Tiok or not? Do I sound logical or illogical? I am just trying to practice the art of ‘mao dun’.

Incidentally, for those who are still guessing what is this art called ‘mao dun’, let me explain. It is about a super talented salesman trying to sell his spears and his shields. He claimed that his spears were the best and can penetrate through any shield. Then he also claimed his shields were world best and no spears could penetrate them. One time said could poke through, one time said could not poke through. Which is right?  Some one asked what would happen if his spear would to be used against his shield? This was how the phrase ‘mao dun’ came about. ‘Mao’ is spear in Chinese, and ‘dun’ is shield.

So what do you think of this ‘mao dun’ logic and the chances of Murali against Chee? Is Murali put there to win or to lose? I just find the ‘mao dun’ logic of fielding Murali a bit difficult to accept and thus conclude that Chee should win. I may be wrong, because I am not a super talent and therefore unable to understand the logic of super talents.

So, Chee wins or Murali wins?

Singapore Fooled AGAIN By 2016 World University Rankings

By MIKOspace

Singapore Retains Brand of Questionable Authenticity

Need to Restore Authenticity and Integrity in Our Universities

Once again, 2 of Singapore’s top 4 Universities are ranked among the global top 10 for 15 subjects, according to the 2016 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subjects.  The National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) are at top 10 in the QS 2016 World University Rankings just-released by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).  And since only UK and US Universities were ranked better, it means that Singapore NUS and NTU are the best Universities in Asia.

The other 2 Universities, the Singapore Management University (SMU) and SIM University, did not participate in “The Big Lie” propagated by such annual beauty contests of Universities.

And yes, this is the same QS Ranker whose annual QS World University Ranking was condemned by eminent Chicago University Professor Brian Leiter, Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values, as a fraud on the public.   Another scholar, Professor Simon Marginson, an eminent scholar in international higher education, had also criticized “QS simply doesn’t do as good a job as the other rankers that are using multiple indicators”.  

It is common knowledge that QS methodology contains serious fundamental conceptual and methodological flaws to render QS Rankings practically useless, irrelevant and immaterial for any serious educational policy purpose.  Under scrutiny, the QS Ranking Methodology should have failed to withstand the penetrative professional scrutiny of truly Top Academics and Research Institutions like NTU and NUS, who instead now endorse the spurious Rankings results so as to position themselves dishonestly in full knowledge of the lack of validity and reliability of their proxy measures and methodology.

In return for dancing and cavorting with bogus University Rankers like QS and THE, we received for our legacy excellent Universities a Brand of Questionable Authenticity. This is a disservice to Singapore and Singaporeans.

By embracing misleading University Rankers like QS and THE, NTU and NUS administrators, senior manager and Professors have been disingenuous and unprincipled in conferring legitimacy on the meaningless results of what essentially are bogus ranking standards of dubious University excellence. 

The successful Annual seduction of NTU and NUS by “beauty contest” University rankings can only be attributed to either sheer mindless stupidity, or the abject ignorance of rigorous, sophisticated and transparent scientific research methods.

In fact, one of QS’ competitors, the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Ranker, had in fact pointed out that QS employed a “very, very weak and simplistic methodology” to assess universities worldwide.  According to THE, the QS’ “weak” methodology has actually ranked undeserving Malaysian Universities to be of world-class status when they were “way off” from being so, and thereby gave Malaysian education authority an “over-optimistic, distorted” idea of how local varsities actually fare.

All the World University Rankers use different factors and criteria to “measure” University excellence. None has any scientific basis for their choice of proxies for University quality. None have in fact published their methodology nor subject it to the vigorous due diligence expected of a simple research paradigm. 

Actually, QS themselves have "been surprised by the extent to which governments and university leaders use the rankings to set strategic targets. We at QS think this is wrong.  …" And added: "Ranks should not be a primary driver of university mission statements and visions.  …. "

NTU became a full-fledged University in 1991. It is noteworthy that by April 2001, NTU's research had resulted in 20 spin-off companies with many funded by venture firms, with 150 disclosures, 76 patents filed and 30 patents granted.  The research papers of its staff and students in refereed international journals also won numerous awards in international competitions and conferences. 

In the recent 8 years, NTU has re-directed its energy and resource to satisfy the bogus criteria/standard of dubious University excellence purveyed by Rankers such as QS and THE.  And as it improved on its meaningless Rankings on the QS and THE, its earlier highly visible impact of entrepreneurship, patents and innovations disappeared strangely from its list of true achievements.  These never returned.  

The impact of NTU and NUS on Singapore students and society cannot be measured by the degrees of newly ascribed dubious proxies of excellence defined by bogus “World University Ranking” Standards.  It can only be measured in terms of their contribution to the happiness and well-being of stakeholders and of the Singapore and global communities to which we belong and serve.

It is more important what we think of our own Universities and what they have achieved for our young people, our communities and our nation.  What foreigners think of us using irrelevant and bogus criteria should not make us unhappy.

A University’s contribution to society is its sufficient measure. The important thing is to let other people think whatever they want, and not to lose one’s self-esteem by letting others diminish the accolades of our genuine acclaims and true achievements, so that we can lend them our excellent reputation of authenticity and honesty to cover up their lack of credibility, validity and reliability. 

We should stop participating in any and all the fraudulent World Universities Rankings, so as to stop endorsing such bogus standards of dubious quality excellence.


Quoting and misquoting LKY’s legacy

On his first year anniversary, it is like LKY returning to life on the TV sets and appearing in every home. You see him, you hear him and you can feel him. He is shouting down into everyone his wisdoms and wise quotes. ‘Go chase the rainbow’, or ‘Do not mortgage the future of your children’.

It is so easy to parrot what LKY was saying like quoting verses from the bible, ‘Whoever believes in me shall have ever lasting life’. Many people are mouthing about living his legacies, and living his wisdoms. But in reality do these people really understand what LKY was saying, what were his intentions?  Or they took his legacy and wisdom and turned them upside down, turning his wise words into mockery, instead of doing good for the people, actually doing more harm than good?

When LKY talked about chasing the rainbow, he was talking to Singaporeans, the young and not so young. He was not talking to the foreigners. He wanted Singaporeans to be successful, to step on what he had built and get a lift to better things in life. It was never about foreigners. It was never about giving our rainbows to the foreigners, allowing foreigners to pluck the low hanging fruits that we grew by our sweat and tears. Did I get this part wrong, that LKY was telling the foreigners to go chase after the rainbow? Did LKY say take the rainbow and give it to foreigners?  I did not read it that way? Anyone thinks LKY is telling them to snatch the rainbow away from Singaporeans to give it to foreigners?

The other part is about not mortgaging the future of our children away. Has anyone done that, mortgaging the future of our children away? No, no one is silly enough to mortgage the future of our children away. But has anyone give Singapore away, to foreigners? How much of Singapore has been given away to foreigners? No, we are only sharing our Singapore and our wealth and assets with foreigners. No one is giving them away. Please take this, it is a Singapore passport to prosperity, to a share of Singapore. It is complimentary.

Did I read LKY rightly or wrongly, in mortgaging the future of our children away? Quoting LKY is very easy. Primary school children also can do that. But understanding him, his intent, and the meaning of his wise words are a totally different thing altogether. One thing that people should not do is to turn LKY on his head, destroy his legacy and abuse his wise quotes or misquoting him.

What have we done to his legacy and his wise quotes?


Bukit Batok – Straight fight?

Several opposition parties have made their stand clear in not contesting the Bukit Batok by election and in supporting  Chee Soon Juan in a straight fight with the PAP.  Would there be a straight fight after all? Would there be any clowns or rogues stepping forward lo force a 3 corner or 4 corner fight?

How many opposition parties have yet to make their stand on this? Why are they not making their stand yet? Still counting the odds and thinking that they stand a chance, or waiting for oders to split the votes? Common sense will tell everyone that Bukit Batok is a tough call even for the SDP. The PAP won more than 70% in the GE and to turn around 30% of the votes for one party is an uphill task. Would another party improve its chance and to win the by election for entering into the fray?

The chances for another opposition party to come in and win is as good as zero, may even lose their deposit. But that is not important, it tells a lot about the agenda of the party that die die wants to come in to spoil the votes for the SDP. It also upsets an unwritten agreement among the opposition camp, to respect the right of another opposition party to fight in their designated constituency and not to break faith, to close rank to support each other in the opposition camp.

Let’s wait for the revelation of the spoiler or what some said, ‘mole party’ to show themselves. In a critical situation, the hands may be forced to open cards and the mole to be sacrificed for the bigger good.

Would this come to passé?

Brussels attacks – Where are the Americans?

After stirring the hornet’s nest and set the hornets scattering all over Europe, the Americans quietly fled the scene. Not their business anymore. Who created ISIS, dunno. Why are the Arabs fleeing Syria and the Middle East?  Dunno. But Europe is now going to pay the price for this heinous crime against humanity. Europe will burn because of the crime of the Americans.

Not only Europe will have to bear the brunt of ISIS attack. Our ministers already gave the warnings, that it is a matter of when it will hit us. The threat from ISIS and suicide bombing is real and present. Stop wasting time and money dreaming of buying F35s. Use the money and resources wisely for this imminent threat to our lives and properties. I must emphasize on properties so that those people with a lot of properties will wake up, that if we are hit by ISIS, their property prices will collapse.

What happened in Brussels, in Paris, in Istanbul, were very expensive lessons for us to learn and to take steps to deal with them. Our intelligence sources, our monitoring and surveillance teams, our checkpoints, our researchers, our field soldiers, are they doing the right things, do we have enough of them, or are they stretched thin and become the weak links in the chain?

We are fortunate to be privy to the sequence of events happening in Brussels and other places. We may not be able to stop some of the attacks, but these live scenarios would be very useful to help us prepare for them, the command and control, the Home Teams, the SCDF, the soldiers, how many are needed, how to deploy them, I am very sure our experts would be working on them in great details and in earnest. How to react, who to react, what to react, and how to deploy the resources?

The ISIS threat is very real and requires all the resources available to deal with them.  The number of soft targets here is unimaginable. Would all the valuable resources deployed for less important duties or spurious activities be recalled and regrouped to deal with this immediate threat?  There is no privilege for politicking and shadow fighting with one’s own shadow instead of preparing for this very real threat?

When similar attacks like the ones in Brussels or other cities hit us, would we be ready to roll out the forces like clockwork precision, or would we be in the same situation like the Little India riot, not enough manpower, caught in traffic jams, running for cover instead of rushing to the scene to take control of the situation?

We have the advantages of hindsight from these incidents to prepare for such eventualities. Let’s not waste time and get to work immediately and take this threat very seriously. We need more manpower and resources to tackle this imminent threat.

Do not depend on the Americans. They are busy preparing another war zone for Asians in the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea. And the Koreans are smart enough not to take the bait and go on to kill each other. Not sure about the silly Asean countries and their bravado in the South China Sea.


Bukit Batok – The opposition politicians are so decent

The Bukit Batok Incident is all about decency. If only one can remember the Yaw Shing Long affair, we can see how decent or indecent politicians were then. In an issue like this, the real asses will appear to show themselves.

It is a pleasant surprise that the opposition party politicians are not making a mountain out of this mole hill and respect the privacy of the parties involved. The conduct of the opposition party politicians is exemplary and something to be emulated. 

Some of you may disagree that this is not a mole hill. I can accept that, as some people have higher moral standards and would want to condemn those that have erred for being human. And that was probably the reason why in the Yaw case the highly moral human beans demanded more transparency and wanting to flog the flawed beans.

Or maybe some may even conclude that the opposition party politicians are not beans of high moral standards so did not see anything wrong with this indiscretion. Actually, in this case it appears that all those with high moral standard either died or suffered from a dumb disease and so were unable to speak to demand for more clarity and transparency. Whatever, it is a good thing that they could not open their filthy mouths.

Let’s hope everyone can learn a little about decency from the opposition camp. And for those religious people, remember what Jesus said, ‘Let the one who have not sinned to cast the first stone’. Any taker, is there anyone that is so unblemished to want to cast the first stone?

Would the discreteness of this indiscretion be the unwritten rule henceforth and no one will climb up the altar of high moral grounds to smear anyone in the future for such indiscretion again? Would the plea for privacy and to protect the innocent children be the new unwritten code of conduct for decency?

I can only say this like any ordinary bean. Not sure if the super beans, high moral beans, sinless beans or pure beans would agree to such a low standard of moral righteousness, not to demand for the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

Thank you opposition politicians, for setting a good example for being so decent and so kind, not to politicize this issue, not to appear as bad asses.

Remember, karma is a bitch. Do not do unto others what you do not want others to do to you.