2/28/2014

No need sympathy, no need charity

This is an old story of a beggar in Chinatown. His hands were chopped off so he became a handicap and had to beg for a living. Jobless, unemployable, he sat at the foot of a pedestrian bridge waiting for someone to throw him some crumbs or handouts.
 

This guy was a bit different. He hung a placard on his chest and it read, ‘I don’t want your charity. I don’t need your sympathy’.
 

Many were puzzled by his poster. One day the MP came by and was caught by the eye catching phrase. He could not resist asking him what he wants. His reply, ‘I want to be independent to do my own things. But I am handicap, got no hands to do things myself. My balls are itchy. Please scratch for me.’
 

So?

PS: Didn't know I used She unintentionally. Has changed to He to avoid any embarrassment : )

Comfort women or sex slavery

Agongkia has posted several times in TRE and mysingaporenews that Sinkie PMEs are very fortunate to have jobs like taxi drivers and security guards to fall back on when they are replaced by fake and poorly educated foreigners. In a way it is true. It is better to have a decent job than to end up as sex slaves or as the Japanese disguised it and calling them comfort women. And Japan is revising its history to deny that this actually happened and the sex slaves, mostly Koreans with some Chinese and Taiwanese and other Southeast Asians were willing slaves. Some Japanese even claimed the women volunteered for it.
 

When a people lost their country, when they are conquered, they lost everything, their freedom, pride and dignity. The hundreds of thousands of sex slaves that were sent to provide sexual services to the Japanese Imperial invaders were a historical fact and a shame to those countries affected. And they could not do anything about it when their countries were conquered and ruled by foreigners.
 

Sinkies better prayed very hard that their country would not be occupied and conquered by foreigners or simply handed over to foreigners. Do not take the presence of huge numbers of foreigners in your country innocently and foolishly, even if they were given the pink ic and converted to citizens. We were one after nearly 200 years of co existence and 40 plus years as people of a nation. We must not take this lightly and think that the foreigners would be the same as us. In great numbers we do not know their agenda and what they are up to.
 

Many of them are still thinking that they are citizens of their former countries. This kind of mindset cannot be simply erased by a piece of paper over night. To think and behave like one of us, to be one of us, take a long time of living together. Human beans are not machines that can be switched on and switched off.
 

We have too many foreigners among us and it is as good as being conquered and occupied by these foreigners. You would not know what would happen if they came to power, with their numbers and fresh memories of who they were. We are seeing many rude and frightening signs of what these foreigners could be like. Being foolish, ignorant and the stupidity of being welcoming and nice could destroy everything your parents and fore parents have built for you and your future generations.
 

Sinkies cannot be so daft to think everything is so innocent. Yes, be grateful that with all the tertiary educations, degrees and diplomas, you can still drive taxis and be security guards. This is a kind of blessing that daft Sinkies are getting accustomed to today. Soon your wives, mothers and daughters would count themselves lucky to be maids of foreigners. The worse fate awaiting them is to be comfort women or sex slaves when you lose the very country that you have.
 

Be frightened, be very frightened. It is happening gradually and barely recognizable, but your country is slipping away from you if you don’t stand up to take it back. Think 2050 when the true blue Sinkies become an absolute minority.

Kopi Level - Yellow

A case for opulence

The mansion of Dr Michael Lim that was splashed across cyberspace and the media is a testament of the good life of our rich and famous. The scale of the mansion and the furnishing say that Dr Lim is very rich and living a very comfortable lifestyle that the heartlanders and even many private property owners could not dream of. This is the meaning of rich. Good for him and his success story.
 

In the 60s and 70s, the medical professionals were living well and many lived very well practicing their trades. The opulence in the class of Dr Lim’s was an exception though some did achieved that level of grandeur then. No medical professionals was complaining and people could afford doctors making home visits at very affordable fees.
 

And the best part, many medical services in govt hospitals and govt clinics could be had for free or for a song. There was no fear of unaffordable medical fees and no fear of getting sick and unable to pay for treatment. There was no fear of being bankrupt by a terminal disease. There was a nice balance between what the people can afford to pay for medical services and providing the medical professionals a good life. Many medical professionals could afford landed properties and the Mercedes Benzes.
 

Those were the good old days. Today we have medical insurances, the 3 Ms and now the 4th M in Medishield Life and the people are still living in fear of being struck by a serious illness that they cannot afford to have. Even minor outpatient treatments are not cheap and unaffordable to many. There is no such thing as FREE! What on earth is that thing called FREE medical services?
 

Today, medicine and medical services are all about money and how much to pay, and about affordability. And many are asking how did we arrive at this state of affair when medical fees are so prohibitive that you need so many fanciful schemes and insurance to try to make them affordable but still unaffordable to many? What have these things got to do with opulence?
 

Have we progressed or regressed in this life and death services that the people cannot do without? Several decades back we were looking in astonishment and awe at the excesses and abuses of western medicine and medical services. Today we walked right into the same trap and try to outdo the western medical industry in everything, especially the prohibitive cost of medicine and medical treatment. We never seem to want to avoid the same pitfalls of the outrageous medical practices of the west. We simply aped everything, lock stock and barrel, fearlessly doing what the west have been doing.
 

Would the Medishield Life help to reduce medical cost and the anxiety of the people? Would medical cost be really affordable or be as affordable as our property prices under the same definition of affordability preached by the govt? Or would Medishield Life help to increase and spread the level of opulence?
 

How did our medical cost get to be so expensive?

Kopi Level - Yellow

2/27/2014

A new law on stalking and harassment

This is a law that should be supported given the prevalence of harassment by dubious people particularly in cyberspace. I am not too familiar with the incidents on stalking but that is definitely a violation of a person’s freedom to be stalked by someone everywhere. And some of the stalking incidents reported were serious in nature.
 

In cyberspace, incidents of harassment are so frequent that they have become an unacceptable normal. People are harassed constantly and viciously by perpetrators under the veil of anonymity. This has to be stopped. It is ok to disagree with someone else but to constantly hurling abuses at another person for reasons of hatred and grudges or simply differences in opinion is not an act that should be tolerated. Let’s be more civil and discreet with one another. Disagree for as much as you want, have your say and your views, but personal attacks, character assassinations and harassments must not be condoned.
 

One of the usual tactics that is being adopted, seemed so legal and proper, is to file police reports or threaten another person to file a police report against him. This is harassment of the worst kind. This is abusing the police and making use of the police in harassment. Should the police allow this to happen when many of the complaints were either very minor, spurious or unjustifiable? Should the police issue warning to such vile and wild accusations and charge the complainants for abusing the law, yes, for harassment instead?
 

I hope the men in blue are reading this and review their protocol and procedures to stamp out such harassments, like the saying, using the police hands to catch snakes. The police are being made use of by unscrupulous troublemakers in many such cases. What have the police to say about this kind of harassment?
 

There are also misgivings about this new law on harassment and stalking. Let’s hope that the law will be applied judiciously and fairly and not be abused by anyone to settle a personal feud. The law is good but can be bad in bad hands and can be badly abused for objectives that the law was not meant to serve.
 

Would it be abused or misused against individuals on the wrong side of the equation?

China’s meekness as a super power is courting trouble

China has never learnt from its past mistakes. It is a super power that is afraid to use its clout and allowed pesky little countries to climb all over its head and kick its ass. Look at the USA or even India, who dares to trifle with them knowing for sure they will be whacked?
 

China is being threatened and provoked by the Japanese daily and not doing anything. The worst case is to be provoked and threatened by the Philippines. The Pinoys are threatening to use force against China if its fishing boats are attacked by the Chinese. So what can China do? It did sprayed water at the Pinoy fishing boats in the Scarborough Shoal or Huangyan Island. And this has angered the Philippines govt.
Why is China behaving so meek to the Philippines? In the past, the Pinoys had towed many Chinese and Taiwanese fishing boats into Manila Bay from the area and demanding fines and ransoms. The Pinoys even fired and killed a Taiwanese fisherman. Neither Taiwan nor China could do anything.
 

The precedents set by the Pinoys should be used to China’s advantage. China should simply tow Pinoy fishing boats to Hainan and fined them for fishing in Chinese waters. There is no need to go further and shoot at the fishing boats like the Pinoys. Is China acknowledging that the Scarborough Shoal/Huangyan Island is a disputed territory so it has no right to do so? This kind of meek behavior is unbecoming of a super power and little pesky countries like the Philippines would see it as a sign of weakness and would continue to tease China, even threatening to use force against Chinese ships.
 

When is China going to learn to behave like a super power, to be respected or if not feared by little irritating countries? The inaction or meek reaction will only embolden little pests to continue taunting at China. It is time that China put a stop to the pomposity of little countries like the Philippines to make them behave and know their proper place in its relationship with a super power. If the Pinoys were to try the same act to the Indians, they will be whacked until their butts bleed.
 

A super power must behave and act like one to avoid trouble from trouble makers.
A super power must behave and act as a super power or it will be plagued by constant irritations from little pests. China cannot be nice to trouble makers and think they will go away.

The troubling fate of Sinkie PMEs – A sad story of Mr Tan

‘Mr Tan was let go by a prestigious MNC company located in Science Park some years ago. Until today, in his late 40s, Mr Tan cannot secure any permanent job. He tried to find a job in his industry but was consider too old. He went to try other sector to be a property or insurance agent and did not meet any success.
 

Mr Tan shared his struggles. He is paying off his debt and had to cut down extensively on their family lifestyle. Gone are yearly holidays and meals in restaurants. He sold off his car to pay off some of the debt and started taking taxi course. This is the ONLY protected industry in Singapore from FT invasion.’
 

Please read the story of Mr Tan in TRE under the title ‘FT converts to S’pore pink IC but ostracizes S’poreans
 

How long would Sinkies be willing to bear and endure such discrimination by foreigners in their own country? When would Sinkies put an end to their pathetic plight and suffering from unemployment in the hands of foreigners? It seems that the story of Mr Tan is a familiar one and many affected Sinkies suffering from the same fate simply swallowed their pain and misfortune and turned to taxi driving which some jokers claimed was a good alternative, that they could become their own boss. And foreigners happily kept coming in to replace Sinkies one by one with impunity. This is a crime against the citizens.
 

Boh cheng hu!
 

About 60 years ago, the colonial govt was running the island as their prized possession and fed themselves handsomely while throwing a few crumbs to a small group of local elite. A group of young men was driven enough to want to take over the running of the country from the colonial govt for the good of the people. They could not stomach the disinterest of the colonial govt while they took care of their self interest and the excesses of the elite. They fought valiantly to wrestle the island from the British and eventually founded a new nation. They saw a bad situation and turned it around.
 

Today we are seeing quite a number of citizens being forced out of their comfort zone by foreigners into a corner with no jobs. And the foreigners exploited their haplessness to the fullest, to replace them in good jobs by bringing in more foreigners with impunity. This unhealthy state of being is becoming intolerable to many citizens, even those looking from the sideline.
 

Would this pathetic situation be good enough to spawn a few good men to stand up for the good of the people, to take back the country and run it for the good of the people before the country is taken over by the foreigners? Would there be people driven enough to want to change this despicable fate of the PMEs?
 

Ask yourself, when would you be next to be replaced by foreigners?

Kopi Level - Green

2/26/2014

Consider local contractors for MRT projects

Chin Kee Thou wrote in the Today forum pleading to the authority to consider local contractors in the award of contracts. We have been in the train business for about 40 years and there should be enough expertise to do it ourselves. Why continue to award contracts to foreigners, to be forever hoping for the transfer of know how to our local boys. China opened up for less than 40 years and they are building bullet trains on their own and many other things without the need for foreign talents. Or shall we wait to recruit train experts from the recently commissioned Mumbai LRT to run our trains as they would then be deemed as foreign talents and better than our no talent locals even after so many years of running our train system?
 

Actually I am crossing over, or bought over by this craze for foreign talents. I think I am getting the disease. We really need more foreign talents or we will sink. Let’s have more of them. We have foreign talents in DBS and the bank is getting better and better. No bluff. And our stock exchange is so vibrant, the best in the world.
 

And we have quite a number of foreigners in the stats boards. Ok, let’s open up the ministries to foreign talents, and to make it more palatable, any position that is equivalent to the premier admin service the employee shall be given the pink IC to be seen as one of us. We can start by replacing our permanent secretaries, deputy secretaries and assistant secretaries with foreign talents.
 

I think all our senior civil servants will love the chance to work with foreigners as their bosses, more oomphs and creativity. They have been the ones pushing for this policy and they would not oppose it for sure. Let’s start with SPH, MHA and Mindef.
 

What do you think?

Salma Khalik kpkb about medical insurance

Following closely behind Han Fook Kwang’s unhappiness about the free hand given to medical insurers to change their premiums and terms of coverage, Salma Khalik has written another piece to highlight the ‘abuses’ or liberties given to insurers at the expense and interests of the insured. Not only can insurers raise premiums, but could stop insuring someone with serious conditions, change the coverage or not even paying for what they deemed should not be covered under the insurance plans. And the insured is stuck with an insurer and changing to another insurer would be difficult or not possible. Salma is yelling at the MAS to do something for the good of the insured.
Medical insurance has always been a commercial transaction with the insurers thinking only of profit as their main objective. And the insured would be at their mercy, to be made to pay for their profits all the way. And this can become a scam to the consumers. And this is something that is not addressed in the proposed Medishield Life Scheme.
 

To be serious, for the interests of the the people, the Medishield Life must not be farmed out to any private insurers. It must be managed as a govt service like the CPF, ‘for the good of the people’. I know some of you are sneering. Nevermind that this is a truism that is found wanting. The profit motive of the Medishield Life must be taken out from the equation. And to ensure that this will be the case, all the excess revenue from premiums should be ploughed back to lower the premiums of the insured in the scheme.
 

This is a govt initiated compulsory national scheme and must be managed with morality and social responsibility as the key principles, not profit. No one should be allowed to covet the revenue churned out by this Medishield Life Scheme and to lay their hands on the surpluses for whatever devious schemes they have in mind in the future. Any surpluses must go back to the people in the Scheme.
 

In a small way this could ease the buffet syndrome and cut down on excessive consumption of medical services if the insured know that by not over consuming they could end up paying less, paying just enough.
 

And it should remove totally the desire by anyone to think there is money there for harvest. Oh, there are so much money in the Scheme, let’s make it more affordable, or the money can be put to better use. Take your hands off the money!
 

Don’t touch the money in this compulsory Scheme. It is the people’s money, forced to pay ‘for their own good’ and it must stay that way. If the govt is serious in its intent ‘for the good of the people’, keep this out of private insurers or any insurers. This must be a non profit making govt scheme, with govt regulated terms and conditions and coverage for all with no exceptions and exclusion clauses.
 

Not that I have agree to a compulsory scheme, but it is not going to be otherwise, so everyone must make the govt know that the surpluses in the Scheme must be retained in the Scheme for the benefits of the people in the Scheme.

Kopi Level - Green

Jin Soh Lee apologises to Desmond Quek

Singaporean commuters are feeling so guilty for causing the frequent breakdowns of MRT trains that a Jin Soh Lee felt obliged to say sorry to SMRT CEO Desmond Quek for making him work so hard to solve the breakdown problems. Another Singaporean, Boh How Seow suggested that Sinkies should stagger their time to board the trains to prevent overloading so that the trains will feel lighter and no need to crawl at a snail pace. He will be going on a diet to reduce his weight to have ease the load on the trains.
 

And another Singaporean, Jin Kay Khian, suggested that more electronic boards be installed at MRT stations to inform the commuters on the capacity of arriving trains and how many spaces are available, like signs for carparks. He credited this suggestion to an MRT station that have installed ‘traffic lights’ to regulate the flow of commuters. With such advance information, the commuters can decide which train to take or not to take. It will help to ease the load on the trains too.
 

I think MRT should follow other organizations to call for feedbacks from the public on how to improve its services, on how to maintain the trains so that there will be no more break downs. Conducting a COI will be good as there are many experts among the commuters to offer specialist advice for free. The aunties and uncles and Boh Tak Cheh will have a lot of clever ideas to offer.
 

What do you think?

Usman Harun – What was the drumming all about?

Out of the blue Singapore was caught in a verbal spat with Indonesia over the naming of a frigate after two terrorists that exploded a bomb in the heart of the city in the 1963. Were there any signs that something is brewing that the public do not know? Was the cancelling of the contract to buy natural gas a precursor to this spat? There was also an announcement by Indonesia not selling granite to us after the gas contract was terminated. Subsequent to the blow up of the frigate naming it was reported that the Indonesians were planning to erect statues in honour of the two terrorists they regarded as heroes in Batam, literally right at our door step. What else did the public were not privy to that drew the ministers to make their firm objections to the frigate naming? Did they know something more sinister than the public?
 

The sequence of events with publicity in the media, in the TV networks, revealed that a lot of work and resources had been involved in putting up the media reports and TV programmes on the issue. To the public it seemed to come out of the blue but to the govt it was a coordinated event to make a very strong point to the Indonesians with the risk of heightening tension between the two states. And if not managed carefully, if both sides were less restrained, we would have a crisis at hand.
 

Fortunately the event has now quiet down and relations are at even heel, I hope, after the ‘storm in the tea cup’. This prompted some to comment that it was an exercise to drum up the spirit of nationalism among the Sinkies that has ebbed. The people seem to be taking the relative peace and security for granted and a dose of nationalism with an external factor could be good for the soul of the nation.
 

Assuming that this is a possible reason, it makes sense for the leaders to come out one by one to talk tough and for the media to keep splashing spreads of articles on the subject daily. There was a hype to arouse the sense of belonging, a national identity and a need to stand up for the country.
 

If this is the objective of the exercise, the response from the people was muted. Not many took heed of the call to rise to the occasion. There was an absence of a public outcry to support the leaders’ call. There was not much anger or excitement towards a possible external aggressive intent. It was a non event.
 

Why didn’t the people answer the call of the leaders to speak as one voice against an external event? Is it another case of complacency, that the people did not see anything unto it, that the naming of the frigate was uncalled for but so what? Or was it that the leaders were not forceful enough to rally the people behind them? If the intent was to gel the people as one with the leaders, it did not happen. The people were not aroused, or was it a case of the leaders not inspiring the people to rise to the occasion, to take the cue and follow them? Was it a test of leadership? Or was it a gauge on how apathetic the daft Sinkies are?
 

There was no spontaneous outcry like what happened to Anton Casey. It was just like a rehash of a past event, a lesson in history. Period. The people did not feel the spurs on their hide to feel anything.
 

What do you think?

2/25/2014

Battle of China

The forgotten history of American China relations was recorded in a film made by Frank Capra. This movie can be googled under the title ‘Battle of China’. Today China is enemy number One to the Americans for no other reasons than a challenge to its world domination as the number One superpower. China was friend and ally in World War Two but enemy when it turned to communism and joined the Soviet camp. The Cold War and rhetoric embedded in the generations of post war Americans see China through a tinted glass and reinforced by the daily barrage of western media and propaganda. The reason then was communism.
 

Today China was anything but communist. China is the number trading partner of America. China is America’s number One financier. China is sending its bright students to America to learn the American way of life. China is a capitalist state in the mould of America but with socialist ideas. China has many commonalities with America and has many common interests too. But China is seen as an enemy, promoted in all literatures as an enemy.
 

The Yellow Peril still lingers in the mindset of the Americans. But the Yellow Peril came and gone, in the form of little yellow Japanese, as quoted in Frank Capra’s movie, that sunk the American Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbour. The Chinese are arriving in America and in Canada as normal immigrants, economic immigrants, not the likes of little yellow Japanese with plans to conquer America as in the Tanaka Memorial of world conquest. The Chinese do not have such a plan.
 

In the Battle of China, America was China’s biggest ally. America provided all the logistics and weapons, from artillery pieces, vehicles, fighter and bomber aircraft, to China in its fight against the invading Japanese. The Americans trained and equipped Chinese soldiers and airmen in Arizona and New Mexico, and fought side by side with them against the Japanese Imperial Army. America played a vital role in saving China from the Japanese. And the British, Dutch and other European soldiers were also fighting on the side of the Chinese with the Americans.
 

Why is it that China today is America’s number One enemy and Japan is America’s friend? The craps about ideology and communism belonged to a bygone era. The two economies are intertwined and interdependent on each other. Both countries can prosper together and there is no real reason to maintain a mindset of hostility. China is not there to conquer America or the rest of the world like the Japanese. China does not have a plan for world conquest.
 

It was only opportune that America won the Second World War or else it would become a colony of Japan. Australia too would be a Japanese colony. Though it is no longer feasible for such an ambitious plan by Japan to rule the world, the psychic of the Japanese is very different from the Chinese. The former is still harbouring the desire to revive Japanese Imperialistic glory while China is only reclaiming what belongs to her and were taken away during the days when it was a semi colonized country.
 

Can the Americans tell the difference between the Chinese and the Japanese? Which is the real Yellow Peril? Let me quote a short passage by Craig White from his book, ‘In Search of the Origin of Nations’.

‘Documents discovered in military archives in 1993 uncovered
a Japanese plot to attack Sydney and Melbourne with bubonic
plague, the black death. In its Harbin biological warfare centre
in Manchuria, the infamous Imperial Army Unit 731 succesfully
bred plague bacteria (in addition to cholera, typhoid, anthrax
etc) and deliberately infected 3,000 Chinese, Korean and
Mongolian civilians with the diseases from which they died
horrible deaths. Plague-infected fleas were dropped over Changde
in Hunan Province and elsewhere, resulting in an epidemic which
killed several hundred in a few days. As the war was drawing to
an end, they planned to send plagues into Samoa, Guam and the
Philippines as well as Dutch Harbour in Alaska. Journal records
show that Unit 731 was ordered to ensure that the bacteria could
be taken by ship or submarine to Sydney, Melbourne and Hawaii and released to kill hundreds of thousands.’

Little India riot – Snippets of COI

The details of the inquiry on the Little India riot are being reported fully in the media. The transparency index is as good as 100% with everything in the open. So far, other than the experts in the COI committee, the witnesses are also proving to be experts themselves. The two Certis Cisco officers are giving very good and expert views on the situation on that night and on how the riot could not have happened if the police were well trained to handle such a situation and acted swiftly to arrest the trouble makers before the situation worsen. This is a valuable piece of information that the police should take note of. Maybe the police should recruit them into the force to conduct lessons on riot control. These are officers who have lived experience in a real riot, something like soldiers with war experience, been there, very valuable people to have.
 

Another thing that surfaced from the expert opinions is that the foreign workers were really like little innocent children, very nice but very soft. And the woman bus attendant was like Hercules, rough handling them. And with a push these construction workers from very polite environment in the villages, would be sent flying. I am exaggerating here. It was reported that they fell down when pushed by the woman attendant. The bus operators must take note of this and hire gentler bus attendants to handle the construction workers with more tender loving care, like little children. It is just not nice and not proper to manhandle these men, oops, I mean children, or treat them roughly, like shouting at them or pushing them around. Maybe a male attendant would be more gentle and can do the job better than a strong woman.
 

Maybe it was the pushing and the rough handling by the woman bus attendant that made these very nice construction workers very angry and wanted to kill her and burn the bus, according to the expert eye witness at the scene who understood Tamil spoken by the rioters.
 

There are so many valuable information and lessons to be learnt from the evidence coming out from the COI.

Short sell reporting a prudent move

Goh Eng Yeow wrote about the plans by SGX to level the playing field to require short sellers to report their short positions. This is a fair statement to keep all investors posted with timely information of what the big boys are doing in the market. The important point is that the information will be made available to all in a timely fashion and not some that are privy to information to take advantage of those that are in the dark.
 

The SGX has another disclosure measure introduced last year that required investors to indicate their short positions as and when executed in the SGX system. The purported objective is to disclose such short positions to the public and investors, another level playing field effort. All short positions will henceforth be reported by SGX the next day. This seems very fair but is that so?
 

What happens is that for those computer traders who have their super computers plugged into the SGX system will have immediate information of any short positions and could capitalize on it instantly. They don’t have to wait till the next day to know the short positions. They have real time short selling information to take advantage of.
So, is there a level playing field? With computers plugged into the SGX to have real time information when other small traders do not have, how fair is the system? 


Is there an elephant in the room?

Anger mounting with more MRT disruptions

SMRT had another major disruption on the North South Line at peak hours yesterday morning between Yew Tee and Kranji. And from a 10 minute delay it went on to more than an hour, affecting the most vulnerable group of commuters, students rushing to schools to take examinations. The anger and frustration were all over the net. Some of the comments posted by the youth and quoted in TRE are here:
 

Dory Shi Min: That is really nonsense. Board train at cck at 6.50 now is around 7.30 I still haven reach kranji. Hello I am having school exam
 

Zzq Alex: 10 min delay announcement at first then plus 20 min delay announcement then plus another additional 20min delay announcement…. Total stuck in train for 50 min… Now another 20 min delay announcements
 

Sky Oo: BULLSHIT!!!! Train faulty for 15min ? I waited 1hr30min and i am still stuck in the train haven reach destination. Poor service provider. We do not want word we are looking for action
 

Sue Salleh: What a sucking Monday SMRT!! And thanks as i’m in one of those affected train!!
 

Jeff Wong: Thanks for making me late for work today. I still could not board my train from woodlands for 30 mins already. The next interval at 6 mins during this peak hour. Come I clap for you.
 

Cheong Soon Hao: Can use cable tie fixed? I’m stuck for 30mins plus and counting
 

Dolphin De Esther: I am late for work…how mrt is gng to compensate tat?
 

WaOne Ketari: F**k you and ur management f**kin a***holes…!!!!!
 

Irene Kaea: SMRT you did it on purpose right? So that you can fine people $500 when they try to squeeze in the train when its full! If you want increase fare for more efficiency please show us, not breakdown everytime. Or is it we have no choice but to use your service so you dont give a fk about it and keep increasing price as n when you like?
 

Choi Dong Soo: Well done u wana raise the transportation fees for this crap service???
 

Alissa Ash Burn: On Monday… AGAIN? Why don’t u deploy your engineers on Sunday to do checks so it’s good to go for the peak hours???? Tts service for the people. We are not taking the train for free u know.
 

Justin Peh: Still say “smrt rank among better rail operators in international standards”?
 

There is no point belabouring on improving services and cutting down disruptions. It is better to look at the bright side. You may be wondering what can come out from these daily breakdowns that have become a new normal. For one, the engineers and management will gain first hand experience on trouble shooting, fire fighting and how to react to such failures on a daily basis. The experience earned would be of great value. They could then be as experienced as those engineers from 3rd World countries that have chalked up mountains of CVs for tackling frequent breakdowns in their train systems. Very experienced men.
 

Our public transportation experts could then use the experience to work in 3rd World countries to compete with their seasoned engineers and management, to prove who have handled more breakdowns and therefore better qualified for employment. From a recruitment point of view, somehow the ones that have more experience in a failed system are more attractive than those who worked on a system that has few breakdowns and their impeccable maintenance regime were not noticed. On home ground, the SMRT needs not have to recruit 3rd World engineers and experts anymore now that the chaps here are just as experienced as them.
 

Give it another few years we would have a highly trained and experienced team of engineers and experts that the last 40 years failed to produce. Not bad huh?
 

In every dark cloud there is a silver lining if you care to look for it. And now no one would dare to employ a sales girl to manage a complex engineering system. It is proven that an orchestra cannot play Mozart or Beethoven when the conductor is a bus driver no matter how talented he is in driving a bus.
 

PS. Students from the Republic Polytechnic were greatly affected by the train fault and many students unable to take their exams. Grades were affected even though SMRT late slips were given to the schools. Students would have to take another exam normally for students with MCs.

Kopi level - Green, nearly Blue

2/24/2014

Long winter for property market?

This is the headline of a report in the Mypaper today. It lamented that the hopes for some of the curbs to be removed did not materialized and the cold remains in propertyland. It said, ‘It was a letdown for property players, who were hoping to see policies such as the additional buyer’s stamp duty rolled back.’
 

Yes it is a letdown for the property players who had made a killing in the last few years. The property bull run lasted for more than 10 years and after a year of cooling measures when prices barely changed the property players are crying father and mother.
On the other side of the equation, ‘The non changing of the policies basically creates a buyer’s market for another one year or so…Serious buyers will be able to buy a property at a fair discount.’ Said Mohamed Ismail of PropNex.
 

Whose interests should the govt take care of first, the serious buyers that have been given the short end of the stick or the propery players that are gaming for more profits?
The fact is that even at today’s prices, the serious buyers are buying at a high with prices doubling or tripling for the last decades. What is another 10% or 15% fall in prices? I fully agree with Tharman’s decision not to remove any curbs as it is really too early to do so. The high prices only profit the speculators and hurt the serious home owners real bad. It also undercuts the quality of life when people are forced to buy smaller and smaller homes and paying more and more.
 

The policies for home buying must serve a national objective, the welfare of the people and the quality of life must be paramount. The drumming of property players must be the least of concern to a responsible govt that cares for the people.
What is this long winter shit?

Denise Chong’s agenda on more immigrants

 The ST does not publish articles on social and political issues in the city for no reasons and one is not wrong to assume that every article is carefully screened and approved before appearing on print. The weekend article by Denise Chong, a young journalist on the politics of envy or jealousy by Sinkies against the influx of foreigners here is no exception. What is the message?
 

Here is just a small quote to give an idea of what she is pushing and approved for printing.
 

“I guess no matter how comfortably some have feathered their own nests, the psychological weight of seeing other people with nest eggs that are 20 or 40 or 60 million times bigger can sour contentment they might feel about their own more modest success.”
 

Why is a young journalist pushing so hard for more immigrants to come on board in this tiny island that is already over populated and squeezing the citizens out in many things, jobs, space, owning properties and cars? Why are there people who are so adamant, stubborn and persistent to want to flood the island with more foreigners? Why is it that now with a 40% of foreigners here, and targeted to be 50% or more in 2030 is a good thing and the more the merrier? What is the agenda?
 

What is the intellectual level of a young girl to push such a serious matter of national interest that would impact the whole population into the future, and to be worthy of being published in the official media? Or this is just an innocent view of a young girl and has nothing to do with the officialdom?
 

The citizens are crying foul, feeling squeezed and deprived and marginalized and wanting to stop the influx, and here is another journalist trying to stuff it in with no heed to their pain and anger, even giving them a dig as being selfish and green with envy. Would we want to see more foreigners coming in to take on top positions in the ministries, stats boards and the govt offices in general? Do we want to see a new citizen as our permanent secretary, head of our armed forces or the police, or even the intelligent services?
 

Do we see any difference between foreigners, new citizens and the original born and bred citizens, or that they are simply the same and the citizens should make way for these ‘foreign talents’? What is good for a country or the citizens if the foreigners are here and took over all the top jobs in the country?
 

How many more foreigners do we want to flood this island before we say enough is enough? Are we a country, a nation, or just another fuck shop?

Pioneer Generation Package – The brass tacks

While the euphoria is still in the air that the 2014 budget is as generous as one could expect, let’s get down to brass tacks to know what it really means to the beneficiaries. As a 65er, it is up close to want to know what one will get from this package.
 

Assuming that one is healthy and not going to visit the outpatient clinics often, one is not going to get any subsidy from this provision. The main thrust of the Pioneer Generation Package is the life long subsidies of $200 to $800 per annum which are targeted at the impending introduction of Medishield Life Insurance. Presumably the Medishield Life will cover all and sundries of medical conditions of an oldie and there is no need to quibble over what is covered and what is not, and also no need to look at the fine prints of the T & Cs.
 

As I pointed out in my first post on this subject, the 65ers will get $200 per annum for life. And if this is fixed, meaning no incremental adjustments over the years as the 65ers grow older, it is likely that most of them will get about $4000 in all for another 20 years of lifespan, plus or minus depending on when one kicks the bucket. And that is it, nothing more, nothing less.
 

The next part that a 65er will be interested to know is the premium for Medishield Life. The current Medishield Plan premiums for a 65er are around $400 to $800 per annum depending on the coverage. The Medishield Life premiums cannot be lesser than these for the same age group. Assuming that the premium is $1000 and a 40% subsidy, a 65er will still have to pay $600 for the annual premium. The net cash impact is another $400 outlay on top of the $200 top up.
 

For the 65ers in the current Medishield basic plan, the net cash impact is unchanged but presumably with better coverage. Not sure about the co payment part and how much one will eventually have to pay for hospitalization under the Medishield Life.
 

The impact on the premium is not going to be static on two grounds. One, if the $200 per annum top up is going to stay as it is over the years while the Medishield Life premium rises with age. Another expected change is the annual adjustment of premiums by the insurers tagged to the amount claimed and the escalating cost of hospitalization bills. The status quo situation as projected by the current computation may not stay and the premium cost to the 65ers could go up and up with time. The compulsory Medishield Life Scheme may not be what it is today, and the funny thing, we don’t even know what this animal is like except to assume that it is benign. Would it be so and for how long before it turns into a beast like the dreaded CPF schemes, started with good intention but not the same any more?
 

There are many variables that can change along the way when the agenda changes. On the whole, the govt is giving away $8b over a 20 year period. With 3.5m citizens, excluding PRs, and at an estimated average premium of $400 pa, the premium to be paid to the ‘insurers’ will be $1.4b a year or $28b over 20 years ceteris paribus. Who is going to benefit from this $28b? Leong Sze Hian and Roy Ngern wrote in their joint paper that the govt needs not pay a cent more for healthcare with the schemes proposed in the budget.

Kopi level - Green

2/23/2014

Thoughts of an 18 year old Sinkie



 
‘I often think about how to repay my parents for they have given up so much for me just to keep me living and educated in hopes for a better future. I also often wonder if it’s easier or cheaper for me to die earlier instead. Is this investment worth it in the future, will I be able to pay them back….

Our growing and relatively efficient infrastructure is all thanks to them. Without them it would be impossible for Singapore to have such a beautiful landscape amongst other things. Without them there would be no skyscrapers to house those major corporations, no MBS and RWS for the affluent tourists….

And as for incessantly blaming the government for such issues, is there any way around it?
How sure are you that the opposition will implement better measures. Can you come up with a better way to deal with such multi-faceted problems? Change isn’t necessarily a good thing….

Economic and social problems are rife and it seems like Singapore’s gonna burst soon. Between fight versus flight, regrettably, I choose flight.’

Apathetic 18 year old

The above paras were extracted from a post by this Apathetic 18 year old posted in TRE. He covered a lot in his post, from hopelessly, to hope, from wanting change but not wanting change. The youth of today are caught in a dilemma between wanting to do their best, to carve out a good life for themselves and facing a competition that they still did not know what it is and how to deal with it.

I would say that this is a typical Sinkie youth, well brought up, still believe in the values of filial piety, looking after and repaying the hardwork and devotion of his parents. And as he grows up and comes smack into the face of reality, a harsh and rapidly changing world that he has to grasp by the horns to make meaning of it, it is a new battle to be won.

Singapore was not built yesterday. Singapore existed even before 1819. It is a continuous existence of a people and a society. In between there were ups and downs and prominent milestones in our history. The young must read our history in full, not just after 1965 or after 2000, the years that many of the young were familiar, but not knowing the past.

The phenomenon of an over populated island and the hordes of foreign workers in the construction sites are new. It was not like that before. We built this island. We built the main part of our infrastructure by the pioneering generation. The foreign workers only came in recently to add on the finishing touches to complete the story of modern Singapore. For the youngs who were born in Spring, they would know the winter before them.

We owe much more, in fact everything to the pioneering generation that turned this island into a modern cosmopolis. By the time the foreign workers were brought in, things were pretty easy and straight forward. They just came to put the lego pieces together. I am not so generous to give them so much credit. And so were the foreign mercenaries called talents. We built our airlines, shipping lines, banks and many big institutions by ourselves. The foreign mercenaries came to pick the fruits. It is easy but not when one was ploughing the barren land, planting the seeds, watering and pouring manure on the soil, and sweating it out under the hot sun with not enough to eat and wear, and not knowing if the seeds would grow into a tree.

The children of today will see only the finishing touches of a successful story and think they owe a big debt to the foreign workers and foreign talents that are here now. This is the price for not teaching history in schools, or teaching only contemporary history from 1965. And some may even think that is too distance and the only thing they are aware is yesterday, after year 2000.
 
We need to stop spouting nonsense like we owe everything to the foreign workers and the foreign mercenaries in Raffles Place and MBFC for our success. The recognition of the Pioneer Generation is most timely to remind our young that they have missed out on the winter of our history and are enjoying the three seasons of warmth and plenty. 

Be sure that you know who you should be grateful to. Yes be grateful to your parents and your grandparents, not the new foreign workers and mercenaries. Do not forget the contributions of your parents and forefathers. It is ungrateful to think that they did nothing and everything is done by the new foreigners.

What is the most difficult thing to find in Sin City?




Angels? No, there are plenty of them floating around, including immortals. Money, no, there are so much money floating around that some don’t even where the money is coming from but their bank accounts keeping growing. Talents? No, there are plenty of talents in Sin City, I mean the real local ones. Take a cab and you are likely to be driven around by a local talent who has lost his 5 figure job and could not find another that pays $2000. So they all end up as their own boss, driving taxis

Foreign talents there are also plentiful, nearly 2 million of them and all happily employed, replacing the local talents. So what is so difficult to find?

Fake talents, foreign talents that have fake CVs and qualifications are a rarity. With 2 millions of them in the island, and many came from countries that are notorious and infamous for fake talents, selling degrees and dilplomas on the road sides, these fake talents must be very easy to find. Statistically, every 10 so called foreign talents, there must be at least 3 or 4 fake talents.

The problem is that these fake talents are so ingenious that they cannot be found. The latest report, a paltry 25 were found as reported in the media a couple of days back. There is another possible reason why they are so hard to find. If they are not so clever to conceal their fake qualifications, then it is proof that Sinkies are really daft that they could not outwit the fake talents and could not find them at all. Another possible answer is that they don’t even bother to try.

But all could be false assumptions and the truth is that there is really a dearth of fake talents in the city. All the foreign talents are real talents and that is why the authority is unable to find the fakes in the city. This may be another case of needing 50 man years or more to find a single fake talent. They are really a rare find.

And we can hear the official view being flouted daily, we need more foreign talents or else we will perish. Have we perished when we were 2m or 3m? Now we are 5.4m and we will perish if we don’t bring in more, 6.9m to be exact, and the truth is that it is going to be more than that. And we have many silly young things being made to write about how selfish Sinkies are in wanting this island to themselves.

We have shared this island with more than 40% foreigners. Not enough? We want them to be 90% and Sinkies become an absolute minority? The bigger countries are already crying foul for having 10% foreigners in their countries. And we are asking for more. Who’s silly idea is this? Would anyone who is so confident that this is the way to go stand up to claim ownership of it? If it is so good, be proud to tell the citizens that it is your idea and claims credit for it or gets shit in the face when things turn bad. Don’t ask na├»ve little children to say it is good. No sensible people would want to be lectured by little boys and girls on this.

They don’t have this phrase, ‘pai jia zi’ for nothing. Oh it means a prodigal son that squandered away his inheritance by his stupidity. Many rich families turned to dust because of ‘pai jia zi’. Countries too can be taken over by foreigners if it is run in the same way, by ‘pai jia zi’.

The COI of the Little India riot has a lesson that the police learnt the very hard way. Little India was so peaceful, crime rate so low. So they found it not necessary to have the riots police on standby until the very nice and peaceful mobs attacked. The same lesson can be superimposed on the island. All the foreigners are so peaceful and helping to grow our economy. By the time they decided to take over the island all the riot police would not be enough. And the ugly signs of these ungrateful asses and arrogant beasts are showing everyday with Sinkies being abused, insulted, threatened and beaten. And the people that could make the meaningful change are just turning the other way. And the official line is still being pandered by kids. We want more foreigners. We must not be selfish. They don’t even know that they are selling their country away.

Kopi level - Red.
Yesterday hit the lowest level for this month.

2/22/2014

Photo essay of Extreme Sailing at Marina Bay 6pm 21 Feb 14.

The girls are cheering for Aberdeen.

An awesome $8b budget giveaway




Everyone is wearing a smile when they spoke about the budget. Pauline Straughan appeared on a news interview like an 18 year old girl given the key of puberty. MPs were all beaming and raring to rush to MPS to tell their residents the good news. The budget was a give away, a give, give and give budget. Pioneer Generations will receive Medisave top ups and subsidies on the up and coming and most feared Medishielf Life Scheme. There will also be subsidies for outpatient treatments at polyclinics. Those who missed out by a few years would also be given Medisave top ups. Working seniors will have higher CPF contributions from their employers. And there are also goodies for the SMEs.

Let me just focus on the Pioneer Generation Package. It is all about healthcare and how to pay from their Medisave savings plus Medishield Life and outpatient subsidies. For those who are 80 and above this year, the Medisave top ups and Medishield Life subsidy will see them fully covered without having to cough out extra payement. This is a fairly clear cut case. The 70 to 80 will get their proportional top ups plus 50% subsidies on the Medishield Life premiums. The Medisave top ups range from $200 to $800 depending on the age group with the 65s getting $200 annually for life. The Medishield Life premium subsidies will be 40% for the 65s and 60% for the 90s.

There is a little thing that is not clear here. Would the 65s be getting $200 top up for life or the amount would increase as they hit the higher age group? This point is very important as we get to the details of the give and give budget. What would be the net position when the take and take Medishield Life Scheme is announced?

Assuming the Medishield Life premium for a 65 is at $600, can be more, a 40% subsidy would mean that he still has to pay $360. With a $200 Medisave top up, his net payment is $160.

In the case of a 70 year old and a Medishield Life premium of $1000, a 50% subsidy means he will have to pay $500. If he gets a $500 Medisave top up, he needs not pay anything extra.

For the 80s, the announcement is that the govt will pay fully for their Medishield Life premium for this year, so likely the compulsory scheme will be implemented this year. What about subsequent years? If the Medishield Life premium is $3000, a 60% subsidy means they need only to pay $1,200. With a $800 Medisave top up, he still needs to come up with a cash payment of $400.

The above scenarios look very affordable and reasonable. The situation would not be the same if the Medishield Life premiums are higher than the above guesstimates. And for the 65s, if the Medisave top up is fixed at $200 annually with no match up as they hit the next age group, then the higher Medishield Life premiums will become less affordable and getting worse with years.

The other issue to consider is the Medishield Life package itself, what are being covered and whether there are things like co payments, and exclusion clauses. As for the subsidies for outpatient treatments, the pioneers will be paying less with the subsidies. There is not upfront payment of any kind. But like all subsidised or discount pricing, the trick is how high is the ‘marked up’ The subsidy and discount could be just a marketing ploy and the net effect is that one is paying more and more while feeling shiok with the high subsidies.

The thing that people may forget at this point in time is that while the Pioneer Generation have escaped the dragnet to pay Medishield Life for life, those that were not in the package, the younger generations and their children will be the ones that would be there to pay and pay for life. Can they afford it?

The euphoria now is give and give and give by the govt. Wait for the take and take and take part to fall in place for the net effect of this budget to be felt. Hope the morphine jab will last and the pain will not be excruciating when it comes. There is a saying, ‘xian tian hou ku’, or give you the sweet first then comes the bitterness.

Self funding organisations no need to submit financial statements



The PA has explained why financial statements of grassroots organizations under its charged were not included in PA’s audited accounts. From 2008 to 2011, the auditors KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers had submitted ‘adverse opinions’ on PA’s accounts for ‘the exclusion of the grassroots organisation’s statements that was not in compliance with the Statutory Board Financial Reporting Standards’.


The issue was raised in Parliament by Low Thia Khiang in 2008 ‘and it had explained then its view that the funds in those accounts belonged to the grassroots organizations, which were operationally self funding’. So, does this means that it was satisfactorily explained and all was in order? Apparently it was so and the matter closed.


What does this mean? Self funding organizations need not submit financial statements for auditing? No need even if it is a requirement and financial reporting standards for statutory boards? If this is the case, can one conclude that any non govt self funding organizations, associations, clans, society etc also don’t have to do so? This will include the mega churches that are obviously self funding, the clans association or societies as well, tiok boh?


I am no accounting man, no finance experts so not in a position to make any meaningful comments or conclusions. Anyone could enlighten on this matter? Maybe must ask Leong Sze Hian for advice.


What do you think?

Kopi level - Green

2/21/2014

The lies American leaders told the American people

This is reported in the Asian Review on 7 Feb 14. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel was reported to have told a congressional committee, ‘China's provocative actions, including the declaration of a sweeping offshore air defense identification zone, "have raised tensions in the region and concerns about China's objectives in both the South China and the East China Seas,".
 

And while the Americans have been waving the flag of peace and encouraging the ‘neighboring countries to seek diplomatic solutions to their maritime disputes, America is preparing for what-if scenarios’. The Americans are not only ignoring all the provocative steps taken by the Abe Administration, instead they are accusing the Chinese of provocations. And a defensive act like the declaration of an ADIZ which is the right of all countries to guard their airspace against foreign intrusions, the Americans have several of these, it was falsely claimed by the Americans as a provocation.
 

And added to this, the Americans are beefing up their military presence with more and better weapons of wars in the region. The ‘U.S. Navy will swap three ships stationed in Japan with newer, better-equipped ones to boost American deterrence in the face of China's continued military buildup’. The Americans don’t come for peace. The American pivot is not about peace.
 

With the continuous provocation by the Japanese govt and the build up of more American military hardware in Japan, Japan is likely to be the next stage for an all out war between China and the Japanese/Americans. Americans are not pulling back the leash on the Japanese but instead are stoking the fire of Japanese militarism.
 

The Americans have forgotten how the sneaky Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour and how American pilots bombing Japan could seek the protection of China when they crashed landed in Chinese territories after their bombing missions. The Chinese who were their friends, who had never attacked or invaded America, are now the new enemies while the Japanese that killed several thousand unprepared Americans in Pearl Harbour and in the Pacific Islands are now the American allies to fight China.
 

While the Americans have forgotten, the Japanese have not. They are still very bitter over the bombing of Tokyo and the two Atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Americans would one day live to regret their foolishness to encourage the remilitarisation of Japan that could avenge the American bombings of their country and the death of a few hundred thousand Japanese soldiers and civilians.
 

The glory of the sinking of the American Fleet at Pearl Harbour would one day be commemorated as the greatest triumph of the Japanese Empire against the Americans and this could only be topped by another bigger attack in American soil. Roosevelt was furious of the attack on Pearl Harbour and wanted revenge at all cost. Would the Americans be so dull to think that the martial spirit of the Japanese and their pride in Imperial Japan would forget the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? The extreme rights of the Abe Administration are reviving Japanese nationalism and militarism with the stories of American attacks and brutality against Japan as their central theme.
 

Good luck America, for sleeping with the devil. The Chinese have no blood debt to settle with the Americans. Not sure about the Japanese.

Singapore’s soaring land prices ‘suicidal’ for developers

This is the title of a Bloomberg report on 20 Feb 14. ‘Billionaire developer Kwek Leng Beng said last year that skyrocketing prices and restrictive rules make buying residential land in Singapore ‘suicidal’. That hasn’t stopped international developers from rushing in.’
 

Now we know what is the major factor that is causing unusually high property prices. But it is ok, no problem, international developers are still rushing in to buy. This means that there are still a lot of profits to be made.
 

While the developers have a billionaire to speak for them on high land prices, is there anyone speaking for the home buyers when the home prices are skyrocketing to the stratosphere? Anyone bothers and care? Or is that a good thing, higher and higher property prices for the buyers, and they can sit on their profits after every purchase?
 

What we know is that property prices have shot up 2 or 3 times, (not 2 or 3% or 20 or 30%) over the last ten years. Why no one cries wolf? And now that the prices are holding steady or slipping by 1% only in a certain sector while the rest are still going up, and developers are crying foul, that prices are not going up fast enough?
 

What do you think? Are high property prices suicidal for the genuine home buyers?

AHPETC – A battle for Transparency and Impropriety

Ng Eng Hen is furious with the poor verdict of Transparency International on how his ministry spent money on the purchase of weapons. TI ranked Singapore together with Afghanistan and Iraq, in another word, our integrity in procurement is at the same level at these 3rd World countries, or at least in the Defence Ministry. The implications of such a rating are very serious, and many times more serious than the audit report of AHPETC.

Khaw Boon Wan had written a letter to Tharman to instruct the Auditor General to conduct an audit on AHPETC’s account quoting a Disclaimer of Opinion from its auditor, implying serious issues in the town council’s financial and accounting system. The Auditor General will now have to comb through AHPETC’s books to verify on all the misgivings and non compliance of Town Council’s regulations.

What we are seeing is the PAP wanting to set a very high standard of accountability and transparency for all town councils. And all town councils will be judged using the same standard of accountability, nothing less. On the other hand many critics are crying foul, that this is another political scam of the PAP to run down its political enemies, probably getting them disqualified from the next GE or, if serious enough, could see some of them behind bars. If this is indeed a political ploy, one can expect the PAP to extract the full mileage possible with the timing of the findings, the penalties and punishment, to ensure the WP suffers untold damage that it would become a lame duck when the GE is called.

Putting this expected and understandable perception of PAP critics aside, the involvement of the Auditor General to audit a town council’s account would set a series of precedents that would then be applicable to all the other town councils. To be consistent and be seen as fair and impartial, and standing on moral high grounds, the Auditor General would also have to conduct the same investigations on all town councils with the same ratings from their auditors or worse, like Adverse Opinion in auditing terms. The opposition parties and netizen investigative journalists in social media must be busy scouring the auditor’s reports for the same gradings to be tabled to Boon Wan and the Auditor General. And should there be such findings, the PAP would now be compelled, or at least Boon Wan would be duty bound to make similar requests to Tharman for the Auditor General’s audit.

Would this high standard of transparency and accountability also be applicable to similar or comparable institutions like the People’s Association? In a Breaking News TRE editorial, it posted an article stating that the auditors had given the PA several years of Adverse Opinions that were technically worse than the Disclaimer of Opinion in the AHPETC’s audit. Why was there no calls for the Auditor General to investigate? All eyes will now be focussed on Boon Wan to do the necessary to PA. Would he or would he not request Tharman to do the same?

With the issue of transparency and accountability high in everyone’s agenda, how far would these issues be pushed to vindicate Singapore’s standing as one of the top nations in incorruptibility? Would there be any other town council fitting the bill for an Auditor General’s audit? Would PA be put under the microscope as well?

For Boon Wan to take such a drastic action, he must be very sure that his own house is in order, ie all the town councils’ audit were beyond reproach. Like the bible said, ‘Let the one who has not sinned be the first to cast the stone....’ We have several embarrassing episodes involving the WP and the PAP when the ball curved back to slam the attackers. Retribution came fast and swift at times. How would this incident turn out and who would have the last laugh?


Kopi level - Green

2/20/2014

COI for Little India Riot – Respect

My admiration for the Chairman of the COI for the Little India Riot, Pannir Selvam. Senior State Counsel David Khoo pointed to his attention of an article in the ST on an interview with the bus driver involved in the accident that started the rioting. Pannir Selvam took the opportunity to caution the public and other civil society groups not to act too clever and interfere with the COI with their clever suggestions. He said, and I quote:
 

‘This is all highly improper and we don’t need their advice. If anybody thinks that you, your witness or anybody else can fool us, then you’ll be fooling yourselves because we have had enough experience and we know what we are doing. We don’t need your guidance or advice or anything like that.’
 

This is not only a statement of wisdom but of fact and conviction. Many of the boards of inquiry formed comprised of eminent and experienced people with the right expertise to do a proper job. Unless of course the people appointed to such boards are wishy washy type that do not know what they are doing or are incompetent. This is rarely the case. Then they would need the advice of any Tom Dick and Harry to help them with suggestions that they came up with after a few minutes in the kopitiams.
 

Calling for public contributions, suggestions, public consultation papers, presumes that the public knows better. How can this be when the best super talents that are paid millions are the professionals while the public are mostly ignoramus or at best with a little knowledge in the subject? The calling of suggestions from the public inadvertently can be an admission of incompetence or inadequacy, or even a farce.
 

There are things that the public can be invited to express their views, like whether we want 6.9m population as there is no right or wrong in such a position but a matter of preference. It is like a life style choice that is subjective in nature. In professional and technical areas when technical expertise is involved and needed, how much can the lay public contribute in things they don’t know much about? In this riot case, the public can at best offer eye witness evidence for the COI to make an educated assessment of what actually happened.
 

I must say respect to the Chairman of the COI for putting his foot down on the noises coming from the public. It is not wrong to claim they know best as they really are the best. Now who else is asking for the layman uncles and aunties for advice and suggestions on technical matters? Are they saying that the uncles and aunties know more and better than them?

Losers, go back to your own country

Below is a short extract from a post in My Real Singapore by a Joseph Tan.
 

‘Dear The Real Singapore,
 

Just wanted to share my experience on Saturday with a FT couple at Parkway Parade.
I brought my wife and 2 boys to Parkway Parade for dinner and after dinner we were heading to the carpark located on the 5th level.
 

As we walked pass giant towards the escalator, a lady (Indian national) abruptly turn and nearly bang into my and my boy without checking looking.
 

I turned to her and said:"excused me" and continue towards the escalator.
She turned and shouted at us "what excuse me?"
 

Before I could react, her partner came charging to towards me and my son and demanded why I shouted at her wife.
 

I told him, I only said " excuse me" as she nearly bang into me and my son.
He demanded that I should talk to a lady nicely and continue charging towards us with his chest pump up.
 

I replied: "Ok, how I shout at you and what you going to do about it?"
He replied:"Loser, go back your own country."’
 

I agree with the foreigners that Sinkie losers should go back to where they come from if they allowed foreigners to kick them in broad daylight. If you cannot defend your right in your own country and allowed foreigners to bully you, then you don’t deserve to be here. You are a real loser indeed.
 

Or maybe these foreigners have been briefed that Sinkies are losers and they have to come here to help the losers. So in their mind all Sinkies are losers and kicking them is ok. The best part is that the said foreigner could be a fake and he was telling the truth, that even as a fake the Sinkies don’t even know and can’t tell the difference.
 

Sad to say, Sinkies are mostly losers. They got scolded, insulted, beaten by foreigners and got replaced by fake and shit foreigners who claimed to be talents in good jobs, and lan lan become taxi drivers to be ‘praised’ by hypocrites that it is a good job as they can be their own boss, but quietly wallowing in self pity.
 

What are you going to do about it, losers? You have lost your jobs and your country to foreigners and you don’t even know it. And foreigners are so bold to call you losers and to go to where you came from? What can I say? How many of the losers were at Hong Lim Park when Gilbert Goh held his protest rallies?

A big moral battle in the making

Senior Pastor Lawrence Khong has emerged as the point man to take the fight against homosexuality with the LBGT group. From reports in the media, the Pastor Khong’s group has been quietly organizing themselves and has came out with a seven page guide on how to express support for Section 377A of the Penal Code. The LGBT has been mustering support to have this Section of the Penal Code rescind, so far without success. Their fight is in the open with the big show of support at Hong Lim Park on a couple of occasions. On the other hand, supporters of Section 377A have been rather quiet or afraid to voice out their stand. This is the first time, after many closed door sessions, that this group is coming in the open to challenge the views of the LBGT.
 

It was a solitary battle between the LGBT group and the govt with everyone staying clear from this thorny moral issue. The growing acceptance of the lifestyle of the LGBT both locally and internationally has encouraged the LGBT to come out openly about their lifestyle choice, some biological, some hereditary, as normal or natural and not an abnormality.
 

Now we have a religious group coming out openly to challenge this lifestyle choice as not normal and to protect the provisions in Section 377A that makes homosexuality a crime. There are now two big interest groups with equally big supporter bases and international organizations as their backers to pitch their voices for and against the other.
 

The Govt could breathe easier and could take the role of a neutral party other than upholding the law. The less vocal majority could now pitch in their supports for either groups and more fireworks can be expected with both sides quite evenly matched at the moment. Where would this lead to eventually would be interesting to watch as it would affect the moral fibres and values of our society. It is not just a battle of the conservatives against the liberals. It goes deep into the accepted morality of the day and could change quite dramatically on what is normal and acceptable and what is not.

Kopi level - Green

2/19/2014

The most hilarious article posted in TRE to date

The editorial post in TRE titled ‘Dr Ng condemns TI’s defence spending rating for SG’ is drawing a lot of laughters and funny comments from readers. The latest count on the number of comments is 65 and growing. This is a great thread for laughter but some might have their eyes popped out or their throats choked for lost of words.
 

Great thread. Highly recommended for jest and entertainment reading.

Singapore needs to monitor the 500 mile long Straits of Malacca

‘U.S. defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. hopes to pitch its high-altitude military drones to Singapore to help the city-state better monitor air and sea traffic at the Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest trade corridors….
 

“The need to be able to have very long-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability to monitor all that traffic… suggests that [Singapore] needs a…system that could stay up in the air for a very long period of time and cover a very large ocean area,” said David Perry, Northrop’s chief global business-development officer, at the Singapore Airshow.’
 

The above paragraphs were posted in TRE. Northrop Grumman is going to sell us a very good drone eye in the sky. My immediate response was why not, the more we can see, the further we can see, the safer it is for our security. If we can monitor traffic in the Indian Ocean and the East and South China Seas would it not be better?
 

After much serious contemplation, all two seconds of it, I think this drone from Northrop is not good enough. What we really need is an eye in the sky, like a series of satellites floating in space to monitor the traffic across the globe. Then we can even double as the Deputy Sheriff for the Empire. We can wear a badge and carry a big clout too.
 

And to add to our defence and offence capability we need at least two aircraft carrier groups, one for the Indian Ocean and one for the South China Sea. We have the money and can afford it. All these military weapons manufacturers only need to convince us on how good their weapons are and how great would it be to have these toys. Surely we need them just like we need the F35s.
 

What do you think, boys?
 

PS. A blogger by the nick of Expensive Toys made this comment in the same thread in TRE. ‘Northrop is selling its drone here because it believes in the saying: “A fool and his money are soon parted.” It knows PAP will by anything as long as it is considered high-tech.’
 

I strongly disagree. We must have the best and the most expensive hardware to keep our potential enemies away. We must make sure they know we mean business and we can back up by our hardware and anything money can buy to deal with them. This kind of feeling and confidence really damn shiok.

The Sheriff invites himself here

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State is marching into town in the capitals of East Asia and South East Asia to tell the regional leaders what is expected of them and their behavior. The USA has an interest here and the Sheriff will call the shot. Ignore at your own risk. At the moment the Sheriff is waltzing around with a wide grin on his face. When this fails to work, when the regional leaders do not toe the line, the next move will be to expose the gun tuck in his belt.
 

The regional leaders do not know how to behave, do not know what is good for them. They need the Emperor to think for them, and to back them up with the firepower if needed, to do what is right, according to the plans of the Emperor.
 

Indonesia better remember how they twisted the arms of Suharto during the Asian financial crisis. If they don’t behave, even haze can become an arm twisting excuse. Be afraid. And for the smaller states, be more afraid. There is free choice, freedom of choice, to join the Empire.
 

The Sheriff is really a very nice man. See, no guns. He comes in peace, to bring peace to the region that needs peace badly. Without the Sheriff around they will go to war over very silly things.
 

The Sheriff has invited himself here. Let’s welcome him for more peace in the region, and no arms twisting. Did he also take the opportunity to warn the Indonesians not to bully American allies in the region while he was in Jakarta?
 

What is clear is that the Sheriff did make the Indonesia to come up with a statement that they would not accept China’s ADIZ in the South China Sea. Actually this matter did not really concern the Indonesians but with the Sheriff breathing down their neck, they just have no choice but to do the Sheriff’s bidding. What the Indonesian failed to understand is that they would not have the backing of China or anyone should it decide to have its own ADIZ over the airspace facing Australia.
 

Anyway, whether the Indonesians accept it or otherwise, it was an unnecessary statement that the Chinese would simply ignore but would cost Indonesia dearly one day. It also forces the Chinese to want to declare an ADIZ to show the Indonesians and the USA to mind their own business in their own backyard.
 

Indonesia has cowered under the pressure of the Sheriff and this would undermine its image as a regional power to be. If it has to take the cue from the Sheriff, it shows how weak it is, and how it could be made to toe the line by a superpower. It is weak and does not have a mind of its own.

SMRT – a pledge by then Transport Minister Yeo Ning Hong

Someone took the trouble to sieve through the old newspaper and came up with a copy of the ST dated 9 Jul 86 with Yeo Ning Hong announcing the opening of the MRT. He said that ‘One thing was certain…Because the Govt will be paying for the construction of the stations and lines, fares on our MRT will be lower than fares in other MRT countries where commuters will have to repay the capital cost and financing of the construction of their systems…He pledged that the private company which will be set up to operate the MRT will not be allowed to profit at the expense of the public. The principle for fare setting was clear. Fares will be kept as low as possible, consistent with collecting enough revenue to meet the running cost of the MRT, replace parts and equipment regularly and provide company shareholders with a reasonable return.’
 

How far have the govt and the SMRT deviated from this original pledge with their new formula for fare increases? The cost of building the MRT was borne by public fund, not from the shareholders. The principles of lower fares, enough to repay capital cost and financing of construction should be fairly clear. The part about replacement of cost for parts and equipment is also not difficult to understand. Only the last part, provide company shareholders with a reasonable return can be subject to different interpretations. What is reasonable? From whose perspective?
 

What is interesting to note is that the current formula to adjust fare hikes which is directly linked to returns to shareholders does not include parts and equipment replacement cost and financing cost. The formula has been changing over the years with no reference to the original position and pledge.
 

Is the pledge another nice to have aspiration not meant to mean anything? What were the factors in the latest formula? The 2012 formula which was also used for the 2014 fare hike includes the consumer price index, wage index and productivity gains. There was no direct reference to replacement cost of parts and equipment or profits for shareholders.
 

Obviously the 1986 pledge was not in the radar of the Fare Review Mechanism Committee. The 1986 pledge and the principle of lower fares were no longer factors for consideration. Forgotten, not important any more, dumped into the waste bin?
 

Does it matter if the pledge by the former Transport Minister and the original principle are disregarded and ignored or discarded? Or they are actually following closely to those principles pledged by a past minister?

Kopi level - Yellow